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.