Out in the Community: CCA Gives Back

One of the most important things to us as an organization is helping the Baton Rouge community. After all the support that we received at Pride Fest and during the Equality March, it was time for CCA to find some ways to give back. This weekend, we’ve been lucky to have a number of opportunities to give our time in the service of others.

National Gay Blood Drive

Friday, July 11th, was the National Gay Blood Drive. Cities across the U.S., including Baton Rouge, organized blood drives to show the impact of the donor ban for gay and bisexual men. In 1983, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood due to the perception that they were at an increased risk for transmitting HIV. This policy is outdated and perpetuates a discriminatory stereotype about gay and bisexual men. All donated blood is rigorously tested for infectious diseases before it is finally approved for transfusions. Additionally, our nation’s blood supply is at a perpetual emergency shortage. Willing donors should never be turned away, and the donor ban means that hundreds of thousands of pints of blood are lost every year.

National Gay Blood Drive 1 National Gay Blood Drive 2

CCA is outraged about the donor ban and went to the planned event at the United Blood Service on Friday to show our support for those who continue to be discriminated against. We were happy to be there and brave the needles alongside our friends at Equality Louisiana. The Gay Blood Drive worked by having allies donate in place of gay and bisexual men, bringing awareness to the men who are willing to donate their blood but are not allowed to do so. Our board chair donated for one of his best friends and our board secretary donated for her cousin. The event was a powerful demonstration of what is lost when perfectly healthy donors are turned away.

The Walls Project’s Community Paint Day

Saturday, July 12th, we were so excited to help The Walls Project’s Community Paint Day! CCA shares office space with the Walls Project and we are very close organizational allies. They fiercely support the work of CCA, so it was wonderful to have the opportunity to give back to them. The Walls Project works with community partners to create public art installations. Part of that work includes allowing the community to paint large concrete walls in parks, changing them from drab spaces into beautiful works of art. This is precisely the project that we were so excited to join in on Saturday morning.

We met up with our friends from Equality Louisiana early Saturday morning and got right to work! Despite the heat and humidity, we had an unbelievably fun time getting our creative juices flowing. We spent a couple of hours painting with other members of the Baton Rouge community at the Gayosa Park near midcity and left our artistic mark on a gorgeous, collaboratively painted wall. The Baton Rouge Advocate came out and did a phenomenal video on the project, which you can watch here:

The Advocate has posted some terrific pictures from the event on their website, as well!

Second Sunday Brunch

We capped both of those days off with an amazing brunch today!  We had a packed house at Mestizo, as you’ll see from our video below!  Having a space and time each month where we can come together and catch up is so important.

We have to say we are pretty invigorated and inspired by all that we’ve had the opportunity to do with the Baton Rouge community this weekend!  Finding ways to help and connect with others in our city is really what it is all about. Sometimes we get bogged down in our own struggles, but there are always ways to get involved with causes that remind us of all we have to be thankful for and the ways in which we can truly make a difference.

Equality March Reflections

Photo by Amanda Pittman Photography

What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!

June 28, 2014 was the celebration of our 3rd Annual Louisiana Equality March. The amount of people that march with Capital City Alliance and Equality Louisiana continues to multiply each year. The faces that painted the crowd represented a vast array of LGBTQ organizations, churches, friends, family, and allies from all over the state. This reality needs to resonate in the hearts of our neighbors and in the hearts of our legislators because the people that attended this march are their neighbors and citizens of this state. Every person, by their very presence at the march, said through their actions, “I am not afraid, I believe in equality for all of us, and I want to stand up for what I believe in.” These brave citizens of Louisiana walked on the public streets in the sweltering heat that rested over the capital city, gathered at the Capitol, and hopefully left that evening with less fear in their hearts and a sense of community in their souls.

I remember the morning I attended the first Equality March and became one of these brave, empowered, and changed citizens. I had a terrible fear in my chest—Am I ready for more than close friends and select family members to know? Is it necessary to do something so public when my life is already ok? Will I be treated differently at the work place? Will it hinder my career opportunities?

After I battled through those fears, courage broke through and said, “If you don’t stand up for yourself, who else will? You chose a profession in which you swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and to advocate for the citizens who cannot otherwise advocate for themselves.” Attending the first Equality March back in 2012 planted the seed to my courage in my everyday life. As each day passed, my fear of the fear of consequences from being out and proud continued to diminish and the support from my family, friends, and coworkers grew. For the first time in my life, a true wholehearted unashamed happiness has been achieved, and I can contribute the positive domino effect to my attendance of the Equality March.

Now two years later, I did not just attend as a brave citizen of Louisiana, but as a changed one—a Capital City Alliance volunteer, board member, and Host of the 3rd Annual Louisiana Equality March. The view from the podium was mesmerizing. There were so many brave, passionate, and compassionate people that sat on the steps of the Capitol on Saturday. It resonated with me that to make changes you have to be brave and unite together. At the end of the rally at the Capitol, I didn’t see individuals from subsets of the LGBTQ or Ally communities. The people that gathered on the Capital steps were a united front—hundreds of men and women from different racial, ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds had come together to celebrate each other and fight for the work left to do. What I saw when I looked across the Capitol steps was a crowd of united and brave people with the same song resonating within them, “What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!”

Photo by Amanda Pittman Photography

LUSH Cosmetics Mall of Louisiana and Capital City Alliance Make It Official

LUSH Cosmetics is a company devoted to using its resources to promote a positive change in the world through charitable donations and campaigns. LUSH advocates for not only humans, but also animals and the earth itself through campaigns such as: Fight Animal Testing, Erase Bullying, No Nukes and Freedom to Marry… just to name a few.


Following in true LUSH fashion, LUSH Cosmetics Mall of Louisiana has been a strong, visible supporter of equality in Baton Rouge for the past few years, and now that support has become official as they make Capital City Alliance their Charity Pot partner! Charity Pots are filled with luxurious hand and body lotion and with every purchase, LUSH donates 100% of the price (minus taxes) to small grassroots organizations, such as Capital City Alliance.


Last Saturday, June 21st, a celebration was held in store to welcome Capital City Alliance and let the community meet the newest LUSH charity pot partner. The day was filled with treats, activities and advocacy. Capital City Alliance would also like to give a special thank you to Shop Manager, Lindsey Brou and Charity Pot Star, Brianna O’Rourke for making this all possible. All the “LUSHies” made us feel very welcome and we were moved by their continued dedication and support!


Capital City Alliance is so grateful for the support and commitment of LUSH Cosmetics Mall of Louisiana and we urge all of you to thank them as well. Stop by the store to offer your gratitude or thank them as the Third Annual Louisiana Equality March… We are positive you will be able to spot them!

Metro Council Withholds Support for Repealing Crime Against Nature Law

Last night, the Metro Council voted 7-3 against a resolution expressing support for HB 12, a bill to repeal the unconstitutional provisions of Louisiana’s Crime Against Nature law.  The three Council members voting in support of the resolution were Councilmen John Delgado and Ryan Heck, the resolutions sponsors, and Councilwomen C. Denise Marcelle. Speaking in favor of the resolution were representatives from Equality Louisiana, the ACLU of Louisiana, and other interested community members.

Local coverage of the Council meeting

‘Crime against nature’ resolution fails

Family Forum, LGBT Advocates Spar Ahead Of Council Vote

Baton Rouge Metro Council votes against removing unconstitutional ‘crimes against nature’ provisions

Bad for Baton Rouge’s image? Baton Rouge Council resolution to support removal of unconstitutional “crimes against nature” provisions fails

Metro Council members say it wasn’t their place to support striking ‘crimes against nature’ laws


Baton Rouge Metro Council Poised to Support Repeal of Crime Against Nature Law

This Wednesday, East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Councilmen John Delgado and Ryan Heck  are set to introduce a resolution before the Metro Council supporting a bill abolishing Louisiana’s unconstitutional Crime Against Nature law.  The resolution also calls upon Baton Rouge-area legislators to vote in favor of House Bill 12, sponsored by Baton Rouge’s own Rep. Pat Smith and Equality Louisiana. Although declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court over a decade ago, the Crime Against Nature law was still being illegally enforced locally as recently as last summer.

Capital City Alliance commends Councilmen Delgado and Heck for their leadership and recognition of the dignity and liberty of all Louisianans. The Crime Against Nature law is not strictly an LGBT issue; it applies across the board to all adults—men and women, gay and straight, married and unmarried. While disproportionately enforced against certain groups, the law infringes on the constitutionally-protected liberty of all of us. And although a Council resolution cannot directly effect the law’s repeal, passage of the proposed resolution would send a strong message to the Legislature that citizens of the state’s second-largest city value dignity and privacy.

For those interested in showing support for the resolution, the Metro Council meeting will be this Wednesday, February 12, at 4:00 PM (Meeting Agenda).  Anyone interested in speaking should complete and file a Request to Speak Form with the Information Coordinator near the podium before the meeting starts.

If you cannot make it to the meeting but would still like to express your support, below is contact information for each Council member (find your district). Alternatively, you can reach all twelve members by emailing metrocouncil@brgov.com.

District Council Member Office Phone Email
1 Trae Welch (225) 389-5170 council-dist1@brgov.com
2 Chauna Banks-Daniel (225) 389-4699 council-dist2@brgov.com
3 Chandler Loupe (225) 389-5162 council-dist3@brgov.com
4 Scott Wilson (225) 389-5166 council-dist4@brgov.com
5 Ronnie Edwards (225) 389-5171 council-dist5@brgov.com
6 Donna Collins-Lewis (225) 389-5165 council-dist6@brgov.com
7 C. Denise Marcelle (225) 389-4691 council-dist7@brgov.com
8 Buddy Amoroso (225) 389-5168 council-dist8@brgov.com
9 Joel Boé (225) 389-4688 council-dist9@brgov.com
10 Tara Wicker (225) 389-5140 council-dist10@brgov.com
11 Ryan Heck (225) 389-5169 council-dist11@brgov.com
12 John Delgado (225) 389-4697 council-dist12@brgov.com

EBR Sheriff continues to deliver on promises to LGBT community

Hate crimes statistics are now being collected in Baton Rouge!

In July 2013, a meeting between Capital City Alliance leadership and Sheriff Sid Gautreaux generated a number a productive solutions in the wake of reports that the Sheriff’s department was making arrests that targeted the LGBT community using unconstitutional “crimes against nature” laws.  The Sheriff assured Capital City Alliance (CCA) that he would work with legislators to get that portion of the law removed from the Louisiana law, in addition to a number of other resolutions to improve the relationship between his department and the Baton Rouge LGBT community.

As of January 1, 2014, the Sheriff’s department will collect information on hate crimes occurring in Baton Rouge, including those that are motivated by biases regarding sexual orientation.  This is the first time that these figures will be reported to the Justice Department for East Baton Rouge Parish.

In addition to this new development, the Sheriff has also notified the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association (LSA) that his department would no longer be enforcing the crimes against nature statute.  Additionally, the Sheriff has appointed Casey Rayborn Hicks as the LGBT liaison in the Sheriff’s office.  Ms. Hicks will act as a point person for community concerns.

Capital City Alliance and Equality Louisiana are continuing to work with the Sheriff to have gender identity added to the department’s EO statement and to incorporate training curriculum for deputies informed by research and best practices in reference to fairness and equality for the LGBT community.

The steps the Sheriff has taken to ensure that the LGBT community is sufficiently protected and not unjustly targeted or arrested is heartening.  We are continuing to work with the Sheriff and look forward to his support in all attempts to repeal this law during the 2014 legislative session.

What it means to the LGBT community that coverage under the Affordable Care Act begins today

Beginning today, coverage under the Affordable Care Act will begin for many Americans. Here are some important things to remember about how the ACA directly impacts the LGBT community:

  1. Plans purchased through the Marketplace can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  2. You can’t be charged a higher premium just because you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
  3. Any same-sex married couples, regardless of where they live, can apply for and receive health insurance marketplace subsidies as a family.
  4. No more lifetime limits on coverage or arbitrary withdrawal of insurance coverage protections, which is especially important for transgender people and people living with HIV/AIDS.

Additionally, as noted by the National LGBT Health Education Center, the Department of Health and Human Services will expand collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data on national health surveys to better understand LGBT health needs, educate clinicians about them, and reduce treatment disparities.

Still on the fence or procrastinating about enrolling? Maybe this will help:

Guest Post: Tax Advice Following DOMA Decision

Carnahan Andrews CPA Logo

Recently DOMA was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court making way for the Internal Revenue Service to enact regulations to federal tax laws for legally married couples. Depending on the cumulative range of taxable income of the taxpayer and spouse, it may be beneficial to amend your taxes as married filing joint for a refund. You have the option to amend tax returns up to 3 years prior.

Regardless of prior filing status, legally married couples must file their return as either married filing jointly or married filing separately starting with their 2013 tax return. For the state of Louisiana, at this time, and any other state that does not recognize the union, there will be separate calculations for state versus federal. Please be sure the tax professional you use has the expertise to process these returns.

To determine if you should amend your 2009 (if extensions filed and must be amended by Oct 15, 2013), 2010, 2011 or 2012 federal tax return, add line 43 together on each tax year of you and your spouse’s single tax return. If this total taxable income is $40,000 or more you should find benefit in amending your returns. This benefit will cover the fees to amend the returns plus around a $500 additional benefit each year. Please note as CPA’s we charge a flat rate fee, not a percentage of refund.

The above estimate comes from basic calculations and can vary due to individual circumstances. Under certain circumstances there is the possibility that amending your return will not be beneficial even if your taxable income is $40,000 or more and a possibility that having under $40,000 will yield you more than the above benefit. We will be happy to look at each return on a case by case basis to determine the benefit.

Please note, you will not be charged a fee, if upon meeting with us, it is determined that it would not be beneficial to amend your tax returns. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment call our office at (225) 243‐4980.

Shelby Carnahan Andrews, CPA
110 LaSalle Street
P. O. Box 1361
Denham Springs, LA 70727
Phone: (225)243-4980
Fax: (225)243-6327

Thanks for a Great Year!

CCA Thank You 2013

Throughout 2013, Capital City Alliance has worked hard to engage, promote, and advocate for the LGBT community in greater Baton Rouge. We have endeavored to provide a face and strong voice for the community, and have sparked initiatives that will hopefully make a difference in the lives of LGBT people in Baton Rouge and across the state.

Of course, none of our efforts and success this year would have been possible without your time, dedication, and financial support. We hope you will consider volunteering or donating to Capital City Alliance in the new year after considering all of the things your support has made possible in 2013:

  • CCA spearheaded a pioneering statewide poll with our partners showing overwhelming support for the fair treatment of LGBT people in employment and housing, and school bullying prevention.
  • Monthly 2nd Sunday Brunches have continued to help build community and introduce new members to the organization.
  • Over 300 participants, and 30 benefactors and co-sponsors, took part in our Second Annual Equality March following Pride Fest this past June.
  • CCA put on activities that directly enriched the community including a self-defense workshop with PKSA Karate and an LGBTQ financial planning workshop with Morgan Stanley.

This past year has certainly been a great success for Capital City Alliance and the greater Baton Rouge LGBT community! It could not have been possible without your support. Every donation goes directly toward improving and engaging our community, making Baton Rouge a more inclusive and rich place for LGBT people to live. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation of $15, $25, or $50 dollars—whatever you can afford—so that Capital City Alliance can continue making a difference in the new year to come.

Thank you for a wonderful year and your continued support!

Poll: Louisiana Supports Fair Treatment for All

A statewide poll commissioned by Capital City Alliance and its co-sponsors Equality Louisiana and Louisiana Progress was recently conducted by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, revealing overwhelming support for fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Louisiana.

Capital City Alliance is encouraged by the results both here in Baton Rouge and across the state. The poll will play a pivotal roll in reshaping the discussion of LGBT rights in Louisiana that better reflects the actual sentiment of the people of this state. The poll of course would not have been possible with out the generous support of our members and the community. To help us continue to conduct this research and improve the lives of LGBT citizens in Baton Rouge and all over Louisiana, please consider donating today.

“It’s very heartening to see that close to 90% of the state by all measures supports fundamental equality. For too long, we’ve been told that Louisiana is not ready to address these issues, but that is clearly not the case, as these numbers demonstrate. This is a game-changer.” —Carrie Wooten, CCA Board Member

The following three questions relating to LGBT people were polled:

Should schools protect gay and transgender students from bullying and harassment?

Baton Rouge YES
Statewide YES
94.0% YES
85.4% YES
89.0% YES
88% YES
92.5% YES

Should people be evicted or denied housing because they are gay or transgender?

Baton Rouge YES
Statewide YES
94.6% NO
93.2% NO
92.9% NO
92.3% NO
95.5% NO

Should employers other than churches or religious organizations be able to fire employees because they are gay or transgender?

Baton Rouge YES
Statewide YES
92.0% NO
85.9% NO
87.4% NO
87.7% NO
91.0% NO
Survey Methodology

The results presented in the PPRL poll here have been weighted by Age, Race, Education and Gender to reflect current adult population demographics of the entire state of Louisiana as reflected in the 2011 Census Estimates.

The combined survey includes 1,280 respondents including 627 respondents selected from landline telephone numbers via random-digit dialing and 653 respondents selected from available cell phone blocks. Interviews were conducted from November 6th to November 26, 2013. The overall survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.74 percentage points.