gay rights

Mercedes Ricks may be the perfect candidate to help launch a new cultural push in Magnolia, Miss. The 50-year-old native of Colombia ended up in this tiny south Mississippi town by way of New Orleans nine years ago.

"I met these ladies from here," Ricks says after greeting guests in the barroom next to her Mariposa restaurant. "They invited me to come spend a weekend in Magnolia. We were going to go to the river and drink beer, and Katrina happened that weekend."

New Orleans passed a so-called "fairness ordinance" in 1999, banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation. Shreveport followed suit last year. Later this month, the Baton Rouge Metro Council is slated to consider an ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, veteran status, and, yes, gender identity and sexual orientation. But here it looks to be a tougher sell.

Rebekah Allen, city hall reporter for The Advocate, discusses the dynamics at play. 


For the past four years, Flint Dollar has been teaching music at Mount de Sales Academy, a Catholic school in Macon, Ga. He is, by all accounts, beloved by his students.

But Dollar won't be leading the band or teaching the chorus in the fall. His contract was not renewed after administrators found out he plans to marry a man.

Under federal anti-discrimination laws, employers are not prohibited from hiring or firing people on the basis of sexual orientation. Dollar is working to change that.

The Baton Rouge Metro Council on Wednesday considered a resolution to voice support for a bill to be taken up by the state legislature that would get rid of Louisiana’s anti-sodomy law. It was a lively discussion.


Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.

Any day now, the New Mexico Supreme Court may grant same-sex couples the right to get married.

At this point, such a ruling may not seem like such a big deal. Prior to last year's elections, gays and lesbians had a civil right to marry in only six states. Now, they have it in 16.

"This year represented the true tipping point," says Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History. "We've reached a moment in history where it's very difficult, if not impossible, to go back."

Kevin Gallagher

Jim talks about acts of anger and hatred against LGBT citizens in Louisiana with former Capitol correspondent John Hill, his partner John Weimer and former Monroe area news anchor John Denison.

Kevin Gallagher

A discussion of the flap over undercover sting arrests of gay men at area public parks, under the state's crime against nature law. The law was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003. Bruce Parker, with Equality Louisiana, and Metro Councilman John Delgado will talk about it.

Jim visits with novelist and former Baton Rougean David Madden, who just turned 80.

With new momentum for same-sex marriage from the Supreme Court, gays and lesbians are hoping for progress in another sphere: the workplace. In more than half the country, it's still legal to fire people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

On Wednesday, Senate lawmakers will once again debate a bill that would change that.