11/08/2013 12:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Huffington Magazine This Week: Gays Not Welcome

In this week's issue, Lila Shapiro takes us to Shannon, Mississippi -- population 1,753. That's where businesswoman PJ Newton tried, unsuccessfully, to open what would have been the only gay bar in a 100-mile radius on the town's main street.

In the course of Lila's conversations with Shannon residents, a telling detail emerged: most who opposed the bar declined to give their names. But one 80-year-old woman spoke frankly about her reasons for signing a petition to stop the bar from opening. "I'm anti-gay," she said. "I know that's not politically correct these days, but that's the way I feel."

Others had more nuanced views, and an ability to distinguish their personal beliefs from broader principles. As Tom Lyles, a lifelong Shannon resident and business owner, put it: "Two men, two women, I'm against it. But I can't stop it. The thing of it is, it's freedom of choice, freedom of speech. We're in America."

Newton has filed a lawsuit with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center, accusing the town of unconstitutionally discriminating against gays. The lawsuit contends, "In opening and maintaining the bar, Newton intends to convey a particularized message: it is okay to be openly gay, and LGBT people are due an equal and respected place in the community."

In our Voices section, President Barack Obama condemns discrimination against gays in the workplace, where it is still possible for an LGBT American to be fired solely because of his or her sexual orientation. President Obama urges Congress to pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which would make such firings illegal.

"If we want to create more jobs and economic growth and keep our country competitive in the global economy, we need everyone working hard, contributing their ideas, and putting their abilities to use doing what they do best," President Obama writes. "We need to harness the creativity and talents of every American."

Finally, in our continuing focus on The Third Metric, we share some of the habits of supremely happy people -- including such simple things as appreciating the beauty of a good mixtape.


This story appears in Issue 74 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available Friday, Nov. 8 in the iTunes App store.