Marriage equality has come to the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in favor of marriage equality!

“The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.”

There it is, the ruling that gay-marriage advocates and opponents have been waiting for since April when the Court took up the case—but really, for years long before that. There is now a constitutional right for people of the same sex to get married in the United States.

In the Court’s opinion—authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic who has long been seen as the possible swing vote on gay marriage, joined by JusticesStephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, and with four separate dissents authored and joined by combinations of  Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas—lists four major reasons for its decision in Obergefell. First, Kennedy writes that “decisions about marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make.” Allowing LGBT people to marry is a matter of personal choice and autonomy, just as it was in the Court’s 1967 in the case Loving v. Virginia, which outlawed bans on interracial marriage.

Second, Kennedy writes, marriage is a distinctive institution: “It supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals.” Here, he points to the Court’s opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut, which affirmed the right of married couples to use birth control. “Same-sex couples have the same right as opposite-sex couples to enjoy intimate association.”

But then, the decision takes an interesting turn: The Court seems to flip the oft-used reasoning of same-sex marriage opponents, who claim that gay marriage is harmful to children and families, and disruptive to the longstanding order of American society. In the oral arguments for Obergefell, several justices raised this very question—even Breyer, who joined in the decision, said that marriage between a man and a woman “has been the law everywhere for thousands of years. Suddenly you want nine people outside the ballot box to require states to change [this configuration].” But on Friday, Breyer joined four of his colleagues to do exactly that.

“Protecting the right to marry is that it safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education,” Kennedy writes. Not all straight married couples have children, and they’re certainly not required to do so by law, he reasons; the same rule should apply to gay married couples. But more importantly, for those gay couples that do want to have kids—including the many, many couples who adopt or have children using the genetic material of one parent—seeing their unions as less than marriage under the law creates a “more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue thus harm and humiliate the children.”

Finally, Kennedy affirms that marriage is “a keystone of the Nation’s social order.” It is the institution at the center of the United States’ legal and educational structures, and because of this, “it is demeaning to lock same-sex couples out of a central institution of the Nation’s society, for they too may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage.”

“Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations,” Kennedy writes. This is, perhaps, the most striking argument of all, for it is an argument about the nature, significance, and dignity of marriage itself. “The ancient origins of marriage confirm its centrality, but it has not stood in isolation from developments in law and society,” Kennedy writes, but the “institution—even as confined to opposite-sex relations—has evolved over time.”

I really have nothing to say other than I feel almost blissfully, joyously happy. Not just for myself (really, I don’t have anyone in my life, so marriage remains theoretical for me), but for so many other people out there. There are who knows how many people who have wanted to marry, but were prevented from doing so bc they were lesbian, gay, or bisexual.  And it comes during Pride month! This is one step closer to being treated as full human beings in the eyes of the law.  Thank you SCOTUS. Thank you for doing the right thing!

Marriage equality has come to the United States

The bible is no guide to morality

As the United States Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, poll after poll after poll demonstrates that the majority of U.S. citizens support the extension of marriage rights to LGB people. Nevertheless, bigots across the country are apoplectic at the idea that two men or two women may soon be able to marry in all 50 states. 2016 Presidential hopeful and all-round shithead Ted Cruz thinks that “gay marriage” (which is different from “hetero- marriage”…not) is the greatest threat to religious liberty in USAmerican history. The vile End Times radio host Rick Wiles thinks that god is sending drought and famine to California to punish the US for “gay marriage” and abortion (such a nice guy, that Yahweh, to increase the suffering of humanity). Anti-gay bigot Phyllis Schlafly thinks the goal of “gay marriage” is to wipe out the Christian religion (in her world there’s no such thing as a gay Christian or non-gay Christians who support marriage equality). Rafael Cruz, father of the aforementioned bigot Ted Cruz, thinks that “gay marriage” is part of a plot to destroy America. On his hate-filled site Barbwire, Matt Barber says that a SCOTUS ruling in favor of marriage equality will-I kid you not-spark a revolution. Meanwhile, Pastor Jim Garlow (one of the key leaders in the passage of California’s Proposition 8) says that the anti-gay right will become ::snicker:: an underground resistance movement. Alan Keyes thinks that “gay marriage”, like climate change, will lead to the destruction of humanity. Cliff Kincaid thinks marriage equality puts us on ‘the road to ruin‘, James Dobson (of hate group Focus on the Family) and Tony Perkins (of yet another hate group, the Family Research Council) both think “gay marriage” signals the “fall of western civilization” , and conservative commentator Robert Knight thinks that gay people are “stealing the moral capital of marriage“, whatever the fuck that means. All of that is just a small sample of the ridiculous rhetoric of the Radical Religious Right.

Whether it’s “the Bible says homosexuality is immoral and we all should follow the Bible because reasons” or “traditional marriage, as found in the Bible, is the only permissible form of marriage”, homophobes in the U.S. frequently (though not exclusively) cite the Bible to justify their bigotry. They view that religious tome as a guide to morality that all humans should follow and that U.S. laws should be based upon. The problem with that is the Bible is anything but a guide to morality.

I’ll let Betty Bowers explain why there is no such thing as ‘biblically-defined traditional marriage’:

Secondly, to those individuals who believe that their “sincerely held religious beliefs” should form the basis of laws in this country, let me introduce you to the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution:

The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.

So no-Christian beliefs should not be the basis for laws in this country as that would favor the Christian religion over others. Also, requiring all citizens of the U.S. to adhere to the tenets of Christianity would be a violation of the First Amendment right of all citizens to believe and worship (or not) as they choose.

With regard to the belief held by bigots that the Bible is a (or the) source of morality, I have one thing to say: you folks have a completely fucked-up view of morality. To you, morality is all about following the rules laid out by your deity. These rules are many and varied, and include prohibitions on worshiping other gods, working on the Sabbath, wearing clothing of mixed fibers, eating shellfish, and masturbation. Biblical rules also call for unruly children to be stoned, for wives to be subservient to their husbands, for women to be silent in church, for rape victims to marry their rapists, for Christians to kill anyone who holds different religious beliefs, for the execution of anyone who doesn’t listen to a priest or judge, and much more (the Skeptics Annotated Bible has an extensive list of the various forms of injustice found in the Bible). Meanwhile, the god of the Bible condones slavery, rape, and genocide (and note the absence of two of the three from the 10 Commandments, which are wrongly cited by many as the foundation for laws in this country). I daresay that most rational people hold that slavery, rape, and genocide are bad things (and if you don’t, please get as far away from other human beings as possible). Immoral things even. And therein lies the problem with claiming the Bible is a (or the) source of morality–all manner of horrific actions are condoned in that tome while completely innocuous actions are condemned (all because Yahweh says so). And yes, I’m aware that many people recognize the barbaric nature of many Old Testament teachings, and prefer to focus on the teachings of the New Testament. Leaving aside the fact that many believers do not do this, there is still a big problem-original sin. The doctrine of original sin punishes humanity for the actions of Adam and Eve. I can’t fathom how anyone could argue that it is moral to punish people for actions they did not commit and I feel the doctrine of original sin is deeply unjust. Whether it’s the Old or New Testament, there is no coherent set of guidelines or principles in the Bible which people can use to decide whether a given action is moral or immoral. As such, the Bible is neither A, nor THE, source of morality, and should not be consulted in deciding which actions are moral or not.

As I alluded to, I believe that rape, slavery, and genocide are immoral, but what do I mean by that? What does it mean for an action or behavior to be immoral? I define morality as principles that help us distinguish between right/wrong or good/bad behavior with an eye to engaging in behavior that is right/good. A starting point for identifying the rightness or wrongness of a particular action ought to be something like “Will this course of action result in others being harmed?” rather than “What does this religious book say?” With the vast majority of humans living in societies in which they have to regularly interact with others, it is vitally important that codes of conduct be established to regulate those interactions to ensure that all (or most, given that criminals do exist) people are able to live in relative harmony with one another while maintaining the freedom to engage in activities they desire. Hence legal prohibitions on theft, assault, battery, rape, or murder. Such actions bring demonstrable harm to their victims, harm that most people would prefer to avoid. Of course, any discussion of morality as it relates to the law must acknowledge and address the existence of immoral laws (slavery was once legal in the U.S. as was marital rape until the 1980s), so I won’t pretend that the above is anything close to a final word on morality. I do think that viewing morality through the lens of “will this action/behavior impact others” provides a better framework for deciding the moral nature of a given action than consulting the Bible.

Under this (admittedly underdeveloped and provisional) system of morality, actions that result in harm to others should be avoided. The key word there is ‘actions‘ (or you can substitute ‘behavior‘). As with heterosexuality, homosexuality is a facet of one’s identity, not an action or behavior (contrary to misinformed anti-gay bigots, being gay is not the same thing as engaging in gay sex)Therefore, there is no need to question whether it is moral or not. In fact, I do not believe there is a moral component to human sexuality. It is neither right nor wrong. The issue of marriage equality is a bit different as marriage involves actions and behaviors between people, so theoretically there could be a moral component to the issue. Do same-sex marriages result in harm being inflicted upon others? Bigots claim they do and often cite the infamous Regnerus study to support their belief that children raised by same-sex parents are harmed by having gay parents. Aside from the fact that marriage is not inherently about having or raising children, new research not only debunks that study (again), it also shows that children living with same-sex parents demonstrate “comparable outcome profiles to those from other family types, including intact biological families.” Just imagine me giving a middle finger to all the homophobes out there.

You’d think that demonstrating the errors in their logic or pointing out the flawed nature of their evidence would be enough to cause bigots to rethink their views. Sadly, that’s not the case. Not only do they have a deathgrip on their dogmatic beliefs, they also hold a great deal of power and influence in this country. While that influence has waned in the 37 states where same-sex marriage is legal, 13 states still refuse to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. That’s due in no small part to the opponents of marriage equality who continue to marshal their time, energy, and resources to prevent LGB people from having the right to enter into legally recognized marriages. That’s why this matter has come before the Supreme Court. Hopefully, come June, the justices will make the correct decision and bring LGB people one step closer to equality.

The bible is no guide to morality

LGBT Link Round-Up 4.2.15

Michigan public school removes transgender equality post after complaints from parent, students find another way to show their solidarity with trans classmates

A school bulletin board highlighting transgender equality is sparking controversy in Marshall.

The Gay Straight Alliance recently decorated the school’s bulletin board to spread a message of acceptance for their transgender classmates.

When that was taken down, some students say their right to free speech was silenced, but the district says that’s not the case.

It was meant to promote inclusion and acceptance, but instead, the board is pinning [sic] some parents against students.

“This was surrounding a Facebook incident surrounding a mother that was very upset,” said Kate Samra, the President of the Gay Straight Alliance. “She thought it was inappropriate for the school setting and that it didn’t exhibit Christian values.”

Let her be upset. It is not the job of the public school system in the United States to “exhibit Christian values”, whatever the heck that means. Come to think of it, I guess “Christian values” don’t include tolerance, an appreciation for diversity, and inclusivity. Thankfully students were able to show their solidarity in another way:

* * * *

Ooooh, this is going to cause the right-wing blogosphere to light up with irrational anger and faux outrage. The New York chapter of the Boy Scouts hired the nation’s first openly gay Eagle Scout as a summer camp leader:

The Boy Scouts’ Greater New York Councils said they hired Pascal Tessier, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout who has been a vocal advocate of opening the 105-year-old organization to gay scouts and leaders.

Board member Richard G. Mason said the councils see Tessier as “an exemplary candidate for employment as a camp leader.”

“We welcome him,” Mason said in a statement.

The Boy Scouts of America didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry about the hire. The national organization changed its policy in 2013 to allow openly gay kids as scouts, but not adults as leaders, after a bitter debate over its membership policy. The change took effect in January 2014.

Advocates for letting gays participate in scouting hailed Tessier’s hire.

“This is a watershed moment,” Zach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, said in a statement. “We are proud to see such an important Boy Scout council standing up for the full inclusion of gay members.”

When the national Boy Scouts began allowing gay boys as scouts, liberal Scout leaders and gay rights groups celebrated the shift but called for allowing gay adults to participate, too. Conservatives involved with the Scouts, including some churches that sponsor troops, decried letting any gays — including kids — participate, and some threatened to defect if the ban were lifted.

* * * *

I bet among the members of the Florida House Judiciary Committee are people frustrated over the incremental advances in LGBT rights in USAmerica. Such frustration may have played a role in the decision to pass a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds. I guess they are determined to ensure that gays in Florida remain second class citizens.  And of course, they don’t give a shit about the welfare of the children.

Thursday morning the Republican-majority Florida House Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would expressly allow open anti-gay discrimination on religious grounds by adoption agencies that are funded with taxpayer dollars.

The bill, HB 7111, applies to private child-placing agencies, stating they are “not required to perform, assist in, recommend, consent to, or participate in the placement of a child when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”


It adds, “The state or a local government or community-based care lead agency may not withhold a grant, contract, or participation in a government program from a private child-placing agency because of the agency’s refusal to perform, assist in, recommend, consent to, or participate in the placement of a child which violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”

* * * *

Malta now has one of the best trans and intersex laws in the world

Malta is now leading with one of the most comprehensive laws protecting trans and intersex people in the world.

They will no longer need to have surgery, sterilization and a diagnosis of mental illness to legally change gender under a law passed yesterday (1 April).

It will also ban medically unnecessary surgery on the genitals of intersex infants.

‘To say that this Act is a groundbreaking human rights milestone is almost an understatement.’ Paulo Paulo Côrte-Real, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board,said.

‘It provides an inspirational benchmark for other European countries that need to improve their own LGBTI equality standards. The Act is a beacon of hope – and bears testament to the political leadership and hard work of the LGBTI movement in Malta.’

The passage of the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (GIGESC) followed an apology from the governent to a trans woman Joanne Cassar who was successful in her fight to marry her husband.

* * * *

Michael Sam may be joining a Canadian football team

Jim Popp, the general manager of the Montreal Alouettes, believes he has a 50/50 shot of signing the player before training starts at the end of May.

The athlete, currently appearing on Dancing With The Stars, has said he is determined to return to the game by any means necessary.

Sam made history last year when he became the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team. He was later cut by the St. Louis Rams and the Dallas Cowboys.

‘The [Canadian Football League] is cut out perfectly for his style,’ Popp said. ‘It would give him the opportunity to do what he does best.’

* * * *

Angie’s List: Indiana’s RFRA fix ‘is insufficient’

Indiana lawmakers have drafted an update to the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act that seeks to explain that the law cannot be used in a discriminatory fashion, but critics of the law say the “fix” doesn’t go far enough to protect LGBT Hoosiers.

The first major company to dismiss the changes was Angie’s List, the Indiana-based business-review website that has been one of the most vocal critics of the law, reports the The Indianapolis Star

“Our position is that this ‘fix’ is insufficient,” Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle said in a statement Thursday morning, reported by the Star. “There was no repeal of RFRA and no end to discrimination of homosexuals in Indiana.”

The proposed amendment to the existing legislation, announced by state lawmakers Thursday, would explicitly prohibit “service providers from using the law as a legal defense for refusing to provide services, goods, facilities or accommodations,” reports the Associated Press. “It also bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or United States military service.”

But the prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination applies only to entities affected by the so-called religious freedom bill, also known as Senate Bill 101. It does not change existing Indiana nondiscrimination law, which does not include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, education, public accommodations, or housing.

“Employers in most of the state of Indiana can fire a person simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning,” said Oesterle. “That’s just not right and that’s the real issue here. Our employees deserve to live, work and travel with open accommodations in any part of the state.”

As a result of the “insufficient” changes, Angie’s List is standing by its decision to cancel a planned expansion of its headquarters in Indianapolis, according to the Star.

This is a good thing by Angie’s List.

LGBT Link Round-Up 4.2.15

LGBT Link Round Up 1.6.15

A Trans 101 lesson from a mainstream US periodical 

Reporting for TIME on transgender issues (particularly for what became the cover story “The Transgender Tipping Point”), there was one maxim that pretty much every person I interviewed seemed to agree on: there is no single story about being transgender that sums it all up, much like there’s no one story about being Hispanic or blonde or short or straight that sums that experience up. But I also came to learn that there are some good rules of thumb to follow when it comes to language.

For instance, if you meet a trans person—someone who identifies with a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth—it’s generally a good idea to ask which pronouns (he or she, him or her) they prefer and to use whatever that is. If you meet a trans person, you should not ask about the particulars of their body, much as you would likely prefer strangers not to inquire about yours. And if you meet a transgender person, you should not refer to them as “a transgender” or “transgendered.”

Referring to someone as “a transgender” can sound about as odd as saying, “Look, a gay!” It turns a descriptive adjective into a defining noun and can make the subject sound distant and foreign, like they’re something else first and a person second. This guidance is part of GLAAD’s media reference guide, under the heading “Terms to Avoid”: “Do not say, ‘Tony is a transgender,’ or ‘The parade included many transgenders.’ Instead say, ‘Tony is a transgender man,’ or ‘The parade included many transgender people.’” These key language nuances haven’t been consistently adopted by the media.

This is an example of putting people first, before their descriptors, and is important in talking about people as people.

* * * *

2014 saw transphobic crimes soar in the UK, but real number of attacks likely higher

Some of the UK’s biggest police forces have seen transphobic hate crimes soar this year – with the true number of attacks likely to be much higher.

Police data reveals victims have been subjected to assaults, verbal abuse and harassment on the street.

The Metropolitan Police saw offences against transgender people soar by 44 per cent in 2014 with 95 crimes recorded, up from 66 last year and 59 in 2012.

They included 53 harassment offences this year, 17 common assaults, seven grievous bodily harm (GBH) offences and seven assaults with injury, as well as rape, robbery, criminal damage and burglary.

Eleven forces revealed they recorded more transphobic hate crimes between January and November than the whole of 2013, according to figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.

However, a leading charity warned crimes against transgender people were “massively under-reported”, meaning the actual number may be much higher.

Serge Nicholson, from the charity Galop, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, said a third of trans people in the UK received transphobic abuse every year – thr second highest of any EU country.

“As much as 80 per cent of transphobia is not reported. So the rise in transphobic police recording can be viewed as encouraging, though it leaves us with mixed feelings. One transphobic hate crime is one too many.

(bolding mine)

That last bit there?  Bolded for truth.

* * * *

Atlanta Fire Chief fired for writing anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Semitic book

For several months in 2009, Kelvin Cochran was FEMA’s Administrator for the United States Fire Administration. But Cochran returned quickly to Atlanta, and became the city’s new Fire Chief. Today, he’s not serving the people of Atlanta, he’s out of a job, fired after a one-month suspension, by Mayor Kasim Reed.

Last year, Cochran wrote and self-published an ugly book, Who Told You That You Were Naked?, that uses religion to support his anti-gay beliefs. Calling them “unclean,” the book compares gay people to pedophiles and people who have sex with animals. The book also has anti-Semitic and anti-women passages. Not only did he publish the book, he handed it out at the firehouse, and reportedly discussed its contents with his employees – something many might feel makes for an uncomfortable work environment.

“Might”? Chances are Cochran had worked with gay people, women, and Jews, so yeah, I think it would make for an uncomfortable (even hostile) work environment.

In the book, Cochran writes that his “job description as a fire chief of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department” is to “cultivate its culture for the glory of God.”

Somehow I don’t think that’s in his job description. In fact, proselytizing is probably not in the job description of anyone who works for the government. But for some theists, that pesky separation of church and state (as well as anti-discrimination policies in the U.S.) doesn’t apply to them (at least in their bigoted noggins).

Cochran also identified himself in the book as Atlanta’s Fire Chief, without clearing the book with the City. Mayor Reed reportedly was concerned some might think the City of Atlanta endorsed the book or its contents, which it does not.

During his suspension, Cochran reportedly made clear he would continue to make anti-gay statements upon his return.

“When you have more than 1,000 people working under your command, you can’t go around publicly suggesting that some of them are perverts on a par with those who indulge in bestiality or child sexual abuse, as Cochran did in a self-published book,” Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes today. “When you serve as a top manager in a government that has pledged not to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, you can’t suggest to workers that such discrimination might be justified, as Cochran did by distributing copies of that book to his subordinates. (Apparently, Cochran had been advised by the city ethics office against publishing the book, but chose to do so anyway.)”

Mayor Reed held a press conference explaining his decision, and issued a statement saying that Cochran’s “actions and decision-making undermine his ability to effectively manage a large, diverse workforce.”

“Every single employee under the Fire Chief’s command deserves the certainty that he or she is a valued member of the team and that fairness and respect guide employment decisions. His actions and his statements during the investigation and his suspension have eroded my confidence in his ability to convey that message.

“Chief Cochran also failed to notify me, as Mayor and Chief Executive of the City of Atlanta and his employer, of his plans to publish the book and its inflammatory content. This demonstrates an irreconcilable lapse in judgment.”

* * * *

Jeb Bush thinks respect should be shown to people on both sides of the marriage equality debate

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush just wants everyone to respect each other’s views on issues like marriage equality.

After facing criticism for his tepid statement Sunday that marriage equality should be decided on a state-by-state basis, the possible GOP presidential nominee attempted to clarify his stance in a statement to The New York Times Monday.

“We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law,” Bush, 61, told the Times via a spokesman Monday. “I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue — including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”

In a word: NO. I do not respect people who would deny my rights as a human being and a citizen of the United States.

For TLGB people, this is a matter of basic human rights. We’ve been denied many, many rights that are accorded other citizens of the United States (and in many cases, TLGB people have been deprived of their lives) and that is flat-out wrong. We are not second-class citizens. We deserve the same rights as everyone else, and I don’t give a rat’s ass if opposition to marriage equality (or any other fight for rights) stems from religious reasons. You can have your religious beliefs, but when it comes to the laws of the land, your belief in one particular mythology should not have any influence over those laws (note the word SHOULD). Nor should anyone be able to impose their religious beliefs and practices upon others. Don’t like marriage equality? Fine. Don’t marry someone of the same sex.

* * * *

Marriage Equality has come to the state of Florida

It’s official:  marriage equality has come to the state of Florida and hundreds of gay couples across the state lined up to get married. Even though I’m single (and have been for 12 years with no sign of an end in sight), this is still a big deal to me bc marriage equality isn’t about me. It isn’t about any one person. It’s about treating gay people as human beings with the same rights as everyone else. It’s also a diminishing of religious privilege in the U.S. (which is one reason the Right Wing is so angry).

By day’s end, just over 100 licenses had been issued in Miami-Dade County which began performing ceremonies on Monday (5 January) – a day earlier than any other county.

In Broward County, 120 couples were married throughout the day and issued an additional 63 licenses while 20 licenses were issued in Monroe County, according to figures compiled by the Miami Herald.

Photos of many of the couples began popping up on social media throughout the day including that of Broward County Sheriff’s Detective David Currie and Aeron Woodard (pictured above).

Same-sex couples can now get married in 36 states in the US plus the District of Columbia.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama was ‘pleased to see that Florida is taking a step in the direction of freedom and liberty.’

Yes, this is a step in that direction. Another step, one that is just as important, would be the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, bc Florida is one of the 29 states in the U.S. where TBGL people do not have workplace protection.

LGBT Link Round Up 1.6.15

LGBT Link Round Up 11.29.14

Russian Government Sanctions LGBT Support Group for Suggesting Gay Youths Are Brave

The founder of “Children-404,” an online support network for LGBT teens in Russia similar to the “It Gets Better” campaign in the United States, now stands formally accused of illegal “gay propaganda.” Lena Klimova first reported the case against her group last week, after investigators visited her home and then summoned her to a federal police building. Klimova was asked to appear in Moscow today, November 18, but she couldn’t make the trip, as she lives more than 1,100 miles away, in Nizhny Tagil. Police refused Klimova’s request to move the case closer to her home.

Writing on LiveJournal today, Klimova published some excerpts—what she calls the “tastiest bits”—from the government’s charges against Children-404. The following language is from the state’s case against Klimova’s community:

The materials [on Children-404] can cause children to believe that being gay means being a person who is brave, strong, confident, tenacious, and someone with a sense of dignity and self-respect.

The comments [on Children-404] are openly negative toward mothers who condemn their teenage homosexual kids.

This community contains almost no information about the fact that this [sexual] orientation is untraditional according to the norms, customs, and practices of the Russian Federation.

Being gay does not prevent anyone from being brave, strong, confident, tenacious, or possessed of dignity and self-respect.  It’s a good thing to instill this in children…to show them that they are just as normal and human as everyone else. As for the comments, of course they’re going to condemn homophobic mothers (what about the fathers?). It’s a support group.  What kind of support group would allow bigoted, hateful comments to sit side by side with messages of love and support? And why does Children-404 need to tell people that being gay is untraditional? There are already so many messages being sent to LGBT youth in Russia that there is something wrong with them.  This is a support network you rabidly homophobic shitspigots! Of course they’re going to treat homosexuality as being completely normal.

* * * *

Why straight women and bisexual men may not exist

‘Let’s look at female sexuality,’ said Rahman taking a sip of the glass of Spanish white wine that had been recommended by our waiter. ‘There is a general assumption that female sexuality is generally more fluidic than that of males, and the current research really supports this.

‘An interesting starting point is that the number of women that identify exclusively as lesbian is about 1.5%, that’s about half that of the number of gay men.’

‘Another interesting fact is that of the self-identified straight women, anything up to 35% to 40% of women report they have had some sort of same-sex sexual experience or arousal.’

Rahman is quick to point out that research based on self-reporting or identification has its limitations.

‘Research that looks at physical responses provides us with a different level of insight because we’re looking at the involuntary physical response of a woman’s genitals. While female physiology is complex, by using a tool called a vaginal photoplethysmograph we’re able to record vaginal lubrication which is a strong indicator of sexual attraction and arousal.’

Apparently how this works is that participants in the study are shown footage of sexual activity. They get to see same-sex activity between men and same-sex activity between females. Footage of ‘straight’ sex isn’t used as it wouldn’t give a clear reading as it wouldn’t be clear whether the arousal was in response to the male or female.

Rahman explains that: ‘When these types of studies have been done with men, what we see is quite a binary response – self-identified straight men are only aroused by watching sexual activity between women; self-identified gay men are only aroused by watching sexual activity between men.

‘Women that identify as lesbians are only aroused by watching sexual activity between women.

‘However women that self-identify as straight or bisexual will generally show a more fluid arousal response in that they are aroused by footage of same-sex activity between men, same-sex activity between women; and footage of straight sexual activity.’

There is still continuing debate as to why this might be the case or what this may mean.

‘While we know that greater exposure of a female foetus to testosterone increases the chances of the child being a lesbian,’ says Rahman, ‘there is some suggestion that non-lesbian women don’t actually have a sexual orientation, that they’re not limited by physiological orientation.

‘That their self-identified sexual attraction category doesn’t necessarily match up with their physiological orientation doesn’t necessarily make their self-identification invalid, but it is an interesting insight into human sexuality – the primary purpose of which (according to evolutionary principles) is reproduction.’

In other words, women can think of themselves as straight and act straight but deep down inside they’re all capable of being attracted to other women.

So if we’re saying, from a scientific perspective, that all females are in some way bisexual, what does this mean in terms of bisexuality in males?

‘When we look at self-identification studies, men will either identify as straight, gay or bisexual (meaning that they are equally attracted to the same and opposite sex). However the prevailing scientific view is that bisexuality in males doesn’t physiologically exist.

‘In physical response studies (using a recording tool called a penile plethysmograph), we find that self-identified straight men and self-identified gay men respond as you would expect with a category-specific response. So straight men are more aroused by watching footage of same-sex activity between women; gay men are more aroused by watching footage of same-sex activity between men.

‘However 95% of of self-identified bisexual men are only aroused by the footage of same-sex activity between men, the remaining 5% are only aroused by the footage of same-sex activity between women.’

So you’re saying that there is no such things as a bisexual male?

‘The point is that male sexuality appears to be category specific. Bisexual males may exist but it’s likely that the numbers may be so low that it’s almost impossible to identify them through the available research.’

Bisexual males do exist.  I have the number for one of them in my phone right now.  This article seems like it was written to erase the experiences of bisexual men and heterosexual women.

* * * *

Male Sex Workers Reveal The Truth About Their Lives And Clients

The book, edited by Australian academics Victor Minichiello and John Scott, takes an in-depth peek at the lives of male sex workers from all around the world, offering a fascinating and complex portrait of the men’s daily experiences, the criticisms they face from both mainstream society and the gay community, and the way they’ve utilized the internet to build their businesses.

Minichiello and Scott studied more than 250 men in countries ranging from China to Australia to Germany to Brazil. They say their hope is to break down the stereotype that all male sex workers are “deviants” or “crazy,” and instead show that many of them are smart, rational people who have made a conscious decision to enter the sex industry.

Here are just some of the things Minichiello and Scott uncovered in their research:

Prostitution is a young person’s game.

Most male sex workers skew younger, usually between 20 to 30 years old. They tend to describe themselves as “fit” and “good-looking.” A large number of them call themselves “Jake,” and more often than not have brown hair and brown eyes.

“To succeed, these young men need to be skilled negotiators, small business operators, engaging conversationalists and fit, active and appealing,” Scott says.

Most clients are older, married men.

Clients tend to be predominantly middle-aged, married men who identify as “straight.”

“I discovered a side of my personality that I didn’t know existed,” one male client revealed in an interview. “And I discovered that I love to be sexually dominated by another man. For a long time, I was in relationships with women and had what I would call ‘traditional sex’, but somehow with time this stopped working for me.”

The majority of male sex workers are entrepreneurs.

“Street workers” represent very small portion of male sex workers. Some of the men work in brothels, though this requires paying brothel owners a commission. As a result, many of the men work independently.

* * * *

Marriage Equality In Mississippi! Can It Get Any More Inevitable Than That?

You’d have thought that you’d see a Muslim governor in Mississippi before you’d see marriage equality, but it turns out you’d be wrong. A federal court has ruled that the state’s ban on marriage is unconstitutional. Just to underline how inevitable marriage equality has become even in the South, a federal judge in Arkansas struck down that state’s ban just hours before.

The ruling is on hold for two weeks while the state prepares an appeal. There are now 35 states where marriage equality is the law or been found constitutional.

Judge Carlton Reeves determined that Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage amounted to “state-sanctioned discrimination” and concluded that “same-sex couples should be allowed to share in the benefits, and burdens, for better or for worse, of marriage.” Reeves also addressed the state’s decades-long history of homophobia, calling Mississippi out for “a constellation of state laws that treat gay and lesbian Mississippians as lesser, ‘other’ people.”

It’s worth noting that both Reeves and Kristine Baker, the judge in the Arkansas case, were appointed to the bench by Obama. (Just in case you ever wonder about the consequences of elections.) It’s also worth noting that the lawyer representing the couples challenging the law was Roberta Kaplan, who represented Edie Windsor before the Supreme Court.

(bolding mine) I’m glad this was mentioned bc I’m sick of people claiming that voting Democrat is the same as voting Republican.  Yes there are huge problems with Obama’s administration (the ramping up of drone attacks overseas and the continued invasion into the private lives of Americans being two big problems), but positive developments have occurred under President Obama that would likely never have happened under a Republican administration.  For one thing we’d have never gotten the Affordable Care Act under a Republican presidency, and that act brought healthcare to millions of Americans who previously didn’t have it.  And yes, as the above article points out, the two judges who struck down the bans on same-sex marriage were Obama appointees. That wouldn’t have happened under a Republican presidency.

* * * *

UK Politician: Gay ‘Deathstyle’ Brings 500–20,000 Sexual Partners And ‘Short, Miserable Lives’

Lord Christopher Monckton is the former UKIP deputy leader and was a Special Advisor to the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But the 62-year old climate change denialist has been spreading his wings – and hate – across the pond, here to the U.S.

Claiming – though not naming – an “expert in non-heterosexual lifestyles” had confirmed that gay people, whom he calls, among other names, “the QWERTYs” are “far more promiscuous than the heterosexual community,” Monckton writes in the equally vile World Net Daily (WND) conservative website,

Lord Christopher Monckton is the former UKIP deputy leader and was a Special Advisor to the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But the 62-year old climate change denialist has been spreading his wings – and hate – across the pond, here to the U.S.

Claiming – though not naming – an “expert in non-heterosexual lifestyles” had confirmed that gay people, whom he calls, among other names, “the QWERTYs” are “far more promiscuous than the heterosexual community,” Monckton writes in the equally vile World Net Daily (WND) conservative website,

Official survey after official survey had shown that homosexuals had an average of 500-1,000 partners in their sexually active lifetime, and that some had as many as 20,000. One wonders how they found time for anything else.

Monckton also claims – falsely – that “QWERTYs – who represent about 0.5 percent of the population – have brilliantly promoted themselves by carefully shifting the debate away from what homosexuals actually do to each other (just ask any proctologist: all of them are heartily sick of trying to repair the gross damage caused by deviant sexual practices) and on to “celebrating” what is misleadingly presented as a ‘valid alternative lifestyle.’ Deathstyle, more like.”

“And why have homosexuals – most of whose partners last as little as a few hours – been so keen to promote the lifetime promises of so-called ‘gay’ so-called ‘marriage’? The reason, of course, is that they cannot produce children, so they want to adopt them. Is this fair to the children?,” Monckton asks. “The answer is no.”

I was initially going to say that I needed a citation for all the claims this fuckwad makes, but y’know what? Fuck that.  He’s spewing lies.  First off, he’s limiting his discussion of “homosexuals” to gay men, when lesbians are also homosexual.  Secondly, I know plenty of gay men that have relationships lasting months, years, and decades.  Thirdly, yes, adopting children to give them a good and loving home is fair to them. Fourthly, what is up with bigots and their obsession with gay sex?! I get it. You don’t like fellatio or anal sex. But guess what? No one is asking you to engage in either activity, so what’s your fucking problem. What I do…what any gay person does in the bedroom is none of your fucking concern. It doesn’t affect others and as long as it is consensual between two adults, no one should give a flying fuck about the sex lives of gay people.

But I really do want to see a citation for the claim that “Official survey after official survey had shown that homosexuals had an average of 500-1,000 partners in their sexually active lifetime“. Not bc I think it’s true (believe me, I don’t). I’m just curious where he’s getting his “facts” from.

LGBT Link Round Up 11.29.14

LGBT Link Round Up 11.11.14

Dedicated social activist and mayor of Kiev, Vitali Klitschko, refuses to speak up about the rights of gays and lesbians

Taras Karasiichuk, head of the organization UPO Gay Alliance Ukraine said in the statement that he was ‘very disappointed’ by the mayor’s comments.

‘What were we all speaking for during the Revolution of Dignity at the Maidan? It was all about providing Ukrainians, Kyiv citizens with equal rights – regardless their sexual orientation.

‘Our mayor as one of those politicians standing at the Maidan should have been the flagship of those changes in Ukraine. His statement – is a sheer contradiction: he is supportive of human rights, but will not support the same rights of LGBT people.

‘It is impossible – there are no special rights for heterosexuals, and separate rights for homosexuals, or bisexuals, or transgender people. Human rights are rights of humans! The rest is discrimination.’

Taras Karasiichuk appears to make the same mistake I frequently do: thinking LGBT people are human beings who deserve to live their lives free of oppression and discrimination. WhatEVER on Earth are we thinking?!

* * * *

Trans women stage first Pride parade in Bangladesh

More than 1,000 transgender women staged Bangladesh’s first ever pride parade yesterday to mark one year since the government recognized them as a third gender.

The colorful hijras, as transgender women are known in the conservative Muslim country, brought the busy roads of Dhaka to a standstill with their singing and dancing.

They unfurled a huge Bangladeshi flag and carried banners, one of which read, ‘The days of stigma, discrimination and fear are over.’

‘I never dreamt that I would see this day in my life,’ Sonali, 25, told AFP.

‘We are stigmatized everywhere. We are discriminated against. We are laughed at just because we do not feel like a man or woman. But today is different. We feel like we’re normal human beings.’

Bangladesh recognized hijras as a third gender in November last year, securing their rights and enabling them to identify their gender as ‘hijra’ on all government documents, including passports.

* * * *

Marcus Bachmann still defending conversion therapy

This weekend, according to Right Wing Watch, Mr. Bachmann was a guest on the radio program Understanding the Times.

He described himself, and others like him, as ‘people of ethics.’ Attacks on his clinic was because he was speaking ‘truth’ and ‘creating a safe space’ for LGBTI people.

‘Once the far-left understood that we were actually creating a safe place, a place where people who said “I have this issue with same-sex attraction, this desire. I’m a believer, I’m a person of faith and it’s conflicting with my values systems,”‘ he insisted.

‘Anyone who would walk alongside and then encourage that person’s values systems, and their beliefs, and bring that in alignment, that is like blasphemous to the other side,’  Bachmann continued. ‘How dare you even consider being involved in someone who has decided or is desiring that to influence in any way shape or form another side in the book on this one?’

The American Psychological Association has reported ‘efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm.’

This is one of many reasons why progressives feel that conservatives are not in touch with reality. They think their religious beliefs and opinions trump reality.

* * * *

‘Tony the Tiger’ Pride ad upsets Christians

The Kellogg’s cereal company is experiencing a backlash from Christian consumers who claim they’ll no longer buy the company’s products after it helped sponsor the Atlanta gay pride march in mid-October by using the beloved Frosted Flakes mascot, Tony the Tiger, in a pro-LGBT advertisement in the event’s pride guide.

“Wear your stripes with pride,” the Kellogg’s ad states, highlighting the word “pride” in large-font rainbow-colored letters, while Tony the Tiger stands to the right with his arms crossed and a familiar smile on his face.

The American Family Association, a traditional Christian values activist group, posted a picture of the Tony the Tiger advertisement to its Facebook page last Friday and since then, the post has received over 800 comments. Many of the comments were highly critical of the company for using a cartoon character to promote homosexuality, while a number of other commenters stated that Kellogg’s has no place, as a food manufacturer, to weigh in on sexual preference.

They aren’t promoting anything. They’re celebrating diversity. They’re saying “We aren’t going to shame you. We support LGBT Pride.”  Is there a bucket big enough to collect the tears of the bigots?

* * * *

Anti-Gay Duggar family asks couples to post kissing photos. Guess what happens next?

Recently, Jessa Duggar married her beau, Ben Seewald, and rumor sites claimed they “shared a private first kiss away from the altar immediately after their enormous wedding ceremony last weekend. But according to a shocked guest, the newlyweds may have done more than just smooch— and their steamy tryst wasn’t so private after all!”

So the Duggar parents took to Facebook to defend their good name.

“Recently, Ben & Jessa received some criticism for posting a kissing picture. We are so grateful they waited to share their first kiss until after marriage,” they wrote on their official Facebook page.

God designed marriage to be a loving, dynamic relationship between a husband and wife for a lifetime. God loves marriage and it is supposed to be full of love, joy, fun and romance. Marriage is where romance belongs!

We are so grateful they waited to share their first kiss until after marriage. We’ve been married 30 years and are still in love! We had fun trying to duplicate Ben and Jessa’s happily married kissing picture. We challenge all married couples to take a happily married picture and post it here.

I don’t think they got the response they expected.

LGBT Link Round Up 11.11.14

LGBT Link Round Up 11.6.14

Broken bones.

Chipped teeth.

Severe bruises and lacerations.

A young man was subjected to all that and more. Simply for being gay.

Two weeks ago, 17-year old Dylan Beard was lured to a skate park in Baytown, Texas by one friend, then beaten by others. They called him “faggot,” and “booty lover.” They broke his nose, punched him, kicked him in the ribs, and left him with  chipped teeth, severe bruises and lacerations on his knees, elbows and face.

Dylan’s mother says the local police aren’t doing enough, and she’s hired a lawyer who’s now asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate this as a hate crime.

It doesn’t surprise me that the police aren’t doing enough. For all that marriage equality appears to be an unstoppable juggernaut, there are still a great many hateful bigots in this country who would brutalize someone for being gay.

“We are asking for the Department Of Justice to step in and investigate this assault as a hate crime. It was planned to target him because he’s gay,” Quanell X, Beard’s attorney, said in a press conference yesterday. He accuses police of being negligent, ignoring witnesses, refusing statements, and insulting Dylan, just because he’s gay.

“It doesn’t make you a man, it doesn’t make you a tough guy, it doesn’t make you some real person to be proud of because you want to prey on a little kid because he’s gay,” Quanell X added. “Why don’t you pick on somebody your own size? Why won’t you pick on some men who you know will fight you back?”

“This little kid does not deserve to be treated like this. Whether you agree or disagree with his sexual orientation, or not, it does not give anyone the right to treat him like he’s less than a human being and rob him of his human and civil rights.”

Argh. There it is again. “Disagreeing” with someone’s sexual orientation is like “disagreeing” with someone being Asian. Or “disagreeing” with someone being left-handed. Or “disagreeing” with someone being blind. This is part of who we are. You can not like us because we’re gay, but how do you disagree with how someone exists? I mean, don’t get me wrong. The overall point of the lawyer is still correct, but some of the language used is problematic. I’d like this notion of ‘disagreeing with someone’s sexuality’ die a horrible death.

* * * *

Speaking of ‘disagreeing with someone’s sexual orientation’, Lea DeLaria of Orange Is the New Black shut down a subway street preacher ranting about the ‘sin of homosexuality’:

Judging by the video, DeLaria — who is also considered the first openly gay comedian to appear on television in a 1993 episode of The Arsenio Hall Show — seems to have been riding the M train when she epically shut down the homophobic preacher. “You have no right! Go to another train,” she told the man, before adding, “Get off this train. Other people believe other things and have every right to believe other things on this planet and in this world. We do not have to be force-fed this man’s religious beliefs. Jesus never said for you to do this – ever! […] Don’t come at me because I went to f***ing Catholic school for 12 years and I know every line.”

You go Lea! I’d love to see more people speak up in this way.  Publicly criticizing bigots is a great way to marginalize them. If they’re not going to change their views, let’s shove them to the fringes of society.

* * * *

6th Circuit Court rules that states may ban same-sex marriage

In a continuation of conservative values slamming Americans this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit just ruled that states can in fact ban same-sex marriage.

The ruling, while not unexpected, is still stunning.

In a cautionary warning that clearly does not understand history, the Court claimed “the people,” and not lawyers or judges, should be allowed “resolve new social issues like this one.”

I really appreciate the Court’s decision that my rights and the rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people across the country should be determined by popular vote. I wonder what these judges would have said about interracial marriage. I guess they’d have said that should be up to the people as well. What about women’s right to vote? Should that have been up to people as well? Or how about slavery? That one should have been up to the states, no?

Fuck these conservative shitstains!

You can read the Court’s ruling here.

You can also read the scathing dissent by Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey here.

* * * *

MO Attorney General appeals ruling that allows same-sex couples to marry in St. Louis

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who has gubernatorial aspirations, says he personally supports marriage equality but has chosen to defend Missouri’s ban. Koster sought a temporary restraining order to stop further marriages, but it was denied by St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison after city officials voluntarily agreed not to issue any more licenses to same-sex couples without first notifying attorney general’s office and the court. Attorney General Koster then sued the city of St. Louis.

Yesterday, Judge Burlison heard the attorney general’s challenge to the city’s act of civil disobedience and ruled that denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in Missouri is unconstitutional. No stay was placed on his ruling, so the weddings began immediately – but only in the city itself, not in all of Missouri.

Today, KSDK reported that Attorney General Koster has filed an appeal, saying  in a press release that the issue needed to be resolved by the Missouri Supreme Court. It’s not unexpected, but Koster would not be the first attorney general to decide not to fight on – perhaps he is thinking more about the governorship in 2016 than the hundreds of couples waiting to be married.

(bolding mine)

If you’re defending the ban, you’re not in support of marriage equality fuckface!

* * * *

Public businesses refusing to serve gay customers isn’t limited to the United States. A couple in Belfast who own and operate the Christian run Ashers Bakery refused to make a cake for LGBT activist Gareth Lee:

LGBTI rights activist Gareth Lee ordered a cake from Christian-run Ashers Baking Company in May for an International National Day Against Homophobia party held by QueerSpace Belfast.

In a 16-page letter dated 27 October, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland accused Ashers of discriminating against Lee on the basis of his sexual orientation and demanded an apology and compensation within seven days.

A commission spokeman yesterday said the company did not believe it had acted unlawfully and would ‘accept service of a civil bill in regard to this matter.’

‘In its letter the Commission stated that they would prefer not to have to litigate these issues and sought an acknowledgement that there has been an unlawful breach of the equality laws and an assurance that this will not be repeated,’ he said.

‘It made clear that the claimant will be seeking only modest damages for the upset and inconvenience caused and that, failing this, a civil bill will be issued.’

Shop staff initially took Lee’s order for a cake decorated with a picture of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie in an embrace and the slogan, ‘Support Gay Marriage.’

However, the owners of the family-run business later called him to explain why they could not fulfil his request and offered him a refund of his deposit.

In a statement on the website of Christian Institute (CI), which is supporting the family, general manager Dan McArthur said, ‘We feel that the Equality Commission are pursuing us because of our beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman.

‘It feels like a David and Goliath battle because on one hand we have the Equality Commission who are a public body, they’re funded by taxpayers’ money, they have massive resources at their disposal whereas we are a small family business and we have limited resources at our disposal.’

‘We’re continuing to hold to the stand that we took originally because we believe it’s biblical, we believe it’s what God would want us to do, and we also think that if we do cave in to the Equality Commission at this point it’ll put pressure on other citizens who are defending their view of traditional marriage.’

Once again, it’s “my sincerely held religious beliefs should allow me to discriminate against whomever I choose, despite the fact that my company is a public entity”. These people need to realize that they can still continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but they cannot discriminate against LGBT people. Christian privilege on display once again.

LGBT Link Round Up 11.6.14

LGBT Link Round Up 10.22.14

Top anti-LGBT crusader wanted his wife to stay in a marriage where she wasn’t happy

Jonathan Saenz, the leader of the top anti-LGBT groups in Texas, complained recently that it should have been much harder for his lesbian ex-wife to get out of the marriage.

Earlier this year, court documents showed that Corrine Morris Rodriguez Saenz was dating another woman when she filed for a divorce from Saenz, who became the president of Texas Values six months later.

What is up with these conservative nincompoops being members of organizations with such positive sounding names like Focus on the Family, National Organization for Marriage, or Texas Values? On the surface they sound all wholesome and gosh darn nice. It doesn’t take much digging to see that they endorse a conservative viewpoint that is at odds with progressive, Humanist views that call for equality for everyone. I suppose they’re self-aware enough to know they would be ridiculed and mocked for calling themselves something honest like the National Organization for the Advancement of Homophobia or the Texas Evangelical Asshole Party (oh, darn…that’s right, there’s already a TEA Party). I’m not giving them props for that. In fact, if they were more honest about their motives…well I still wouldn’t like them, but at least they wouldn’t be hiding behind a pretense of being concerned about values and morality.

On Monday, Lone Star Q published video of Saenz discussing his divorce last month while participating in a panel on same-sex marriage at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin.

The Texas Values president explained that he had always held anti-LGBT views.

“There’s no question that the beliefs I have when it comes to marriage, when it comes to the importance of marriage, to the impact it has on public policy and society, there’s a long history of me being involved in that,” he told moderator Emily Ramshaw. “I’ve always had these strong beliefs.”

Ah yes, those sterling values that lead you to believe that your wife should stay married, whether she wants to or not. Clearly, you view her as a human being with rights that should not be infringed just because you don’t want a divorce. See this is problem #395 of the Republican Agenda against marriage. They hold marriage up as this sacred institution that is more important than people. They are openly dismissive and disdainful of marriage equality, bc in their eyes, marriage is one thing and one thing only and everyone, including all citizens, as well as the government, should be bound by that same definition. Because the happiness and desires of the individuals getting married are secondary to the sacred institution of marriage. Viewing a marriage as a divine relationship inspired by a deity divorces it from the very human world, where it is about two people coming together in love. What’s the benefit of that? I guess it means that Christians get to claim that marriage is “theirs”, but other than that, I see nothing to be gained by elevating marriage beyond a human institution.

But he didn’t hold back when it came to the “negative impact” of no-fault divorce.

“These polices that we have, particularly some that deal with divorce, no-fault divorce, things of this nature, that I think could have an impact of encouraging people to giving up on permanency, giving up on monogamy, fidelity, and thinking that the answer is to move on to another relationship,” Saenz insisted. “So these are real, important issues that we deal with.”

“No fault divorce… has had a very negative impact, I think, on marriage, on people’s lives, because I think it some ways it encourages people to just get out way too soon.”

Yes, divorce (of any kind), affects people–most notably those who are/were married (and any offspring). People are more important than the institution of marriage dude. Get it through your head.

But what’s his problem with his ex-wife not wanting to remain married? Shouldn’t she have the freedom to enter or exit relationships as she desires? Isn’t this a human right? Not to this self-centered assclam.  I guess to him, the feelings of his ex-wife mean nothing. His wishes are paramount (probably bc god says so, too). Again, because of his views on marriage, he shows greater concern for the abstract idea of marriage (a Christian version to boot) than for the concerns of [one of] the people in the relationship. I hope that the campaign for marriage equality leads to a greater understanding that marriage should be about the wishes and desires of the people involved, and no one else.

* * * *

Top VA GOP adviser unhinged on Facebook: Gay sex leaves men in diapers, ‘pooping their pants’

Steve Waters, an advI’miser to Republican congressional candidate Dave Brat in Virginia, argued this week that homosexuality was not “normal” because it caused cancer, and it would eventually force gay men to wear diapers by destroying their rectal muscles.

On Wednesday, blogger Benjamin Tribbett called out Waters for several anti-LGBT messages that he had written on Facebook earlier in the day.

“I will say this, if homosexuality is so normal, how come the diseases, illnesses and cancers connected with it are so abnormal?” he wrote. “Even the CDC recognizes this.”

A second posting by Waters was more graphic: “Is it normal for adult males to have to wear diapers because their rectal muscles have been abused so badly they can no longer control or tighten them to avoid pooping their pants.”

After Tribbett re-posted the remarks on his Facebook page, Waters defended himself.

“I’ve got history, natural law and biology on my side on this one,” he insisted. “What do you guys have, emotion. You should know emotion doesn’t work well in public policy. But I’ll concede one accusation, I’m not normal-my wife would agree with on some days, lol!”

When pressed for evidence on his diaper theory, Waters produced a link to a Christian website that claims homosexuality is “brimming with disease,” but does not mention anything about abused rectal muscles or diapering.

I’m sure that Christian website is a resource on human biology.  ::eye roll::

* * * *

Talk Show Inspires 1 Million+ Callers to Protest India’s Anti-Gay Law

A recent episode of an Indian talk show aired to more than 100 million viewers has had a massive impact on the country’s perception of LGBT people. More than one million calls were made to a toll free hotline set up by the show to protest Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which stigmatises the LGBT community by criminalising homosexual sex.

On 19 October, an episode of Indian television talk show “Satyamev Jayate” (Truth Alone Prevails) titled “Accepting Alternative Sexualities” attempted to break a lot of misconceptions surrounding the ostracised LGBT community by answering a number of questions on the issue.

The guests included transgender woman Gazal Dhaliwal (@gazalstune) and her parents, popular psychologist Deepak Kashyap and other LGBT activists. Dhaliwal, a film writer, described her traumatic childhood as a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and her journey from self-discovery to the decision to undergo a sex change operation.

* * * *

WATCH: Bystanders at Dallas Airport stop antigay attack by piling on drunk bully


(via Raw Story)

* * * *

Cory Booker Targeted By Hate Group For Being Pro-Gay

Cory Booker made a name for himself by hands-on care his constituents. As mayor of Newark, he could regularly be found at the center of relief efforts wherever disaster or mother nature struck his community – everything from shoveling snow to risking his life in a memorable fire rescue. As a senator, he survived a dinner with Ted Cruz. Enough said?

Eugene Delguadio is not even in the same weight class as Cory Booker.

Cory has always been a steadfast advocate for LGBT equality. In the 2013 special election to fill the Senate seat held by the late Frank Lautenberg, Cory answered questions about his own sexuality with a shug and a “what does it matter?”  Now, Cory is running for re-election against Republican Jeff Bell, (that’s them in the photo above at last night’s debate,) and The Public Advocate has decided if they can just get the word out that Cory Booker supports gay equality, the voters will turn on him.

So Delgaudio, in an effort to help Jeff Bell, who Bloomberg reports is trailing Cory by 13 points, sent out this mailer. You will notice he spelled Cory’s name “Brooker”, but that isn’t his biggest mistake:

Given Cory Booker’s support for LGBT people, I don’t doubt that his plan is to fight for their right to be recognized by the government as citizens who should have all the same rights as other Americans.

LGBT Link Round Up 10.22.14

LGBT Link Round Up 10.17.14

Hate Crimes Down Overall But Up Against Lesbians And Transgender People

And now for some good news: hate crimes decreased by 17 percent in Los Angeles in 2013.

This number comes from the L.A. County Commission of Human Relations (LACCHR), which analyzes reported hate crimes in L.A. every year. There were 384 reported hate crimes in 2013, down from 462 the year prior, according to a release. Those numbers are also the lowest they’ve been in 24 years.

The best fact from the report is that there were no murders or attempted murders classified as hate crimes, something that hasn’t been true in the past decade. Additionally, serious physical assaults or assaults with deadly weapons dropped 38 percent.

Another good thing is that there are less young people committing these crimes. While juveniles once made up the largest group of perpetrators of hate crimes (40 percent in 2006), they’re now the smallest group at 14 percent.

Of all the hate crimes, 82 percent involved victims from four groups: African-Americans, gay men and lesbians, Latinos and Jews. While this has generally been true over the years, there is some good news: hate crimes targeting gay men have dropped 41 percent, and crimes targeting Jews have dropped 48 percent. But, it’s not all good news and not every group has seen a decline in aggression. Attacks on lesbians, transgender people, Asians, Middle Easterners and Protestants have all increased. There were 25 attacks against lesbians, up from 11 the previous year, while there were 19 reported attacks against transgender people, up from 13. There has also been no change in the number of anti-immigrant slurs used in the commission of crimes—there were 15 reported both in 2013 and 2012.

* * * *

Fake Job Applications Prove There’s Real LGBT Discrimination in Hiring

Jennifer and Michelle both apply for an administrative assistant position at Exxon Mobil in Illinois.

They went to the same high school and the same college, and they have a similar work history, though Jennifer got better grades and achieved management positions. Yet it’s Michelle who gets the callback for an interview.

The only other real difference between the two is that Jennifer has a history of LGBT activism.

If you haven’t already guessed, Jennifer and Michelle are the names on fake résumés that were submitted to eight different federal contractors as part of a recent study by the Equal Rights Center and Freedom to Work, an LGBT organization pushing for equality in the workplace. Although the applicants in the study are fictional, the results are very real: LGBT applicants were 23 percent less likely to get an interview than their less-qualified heterosexual counterparts.

* * * *

 Bush appointed Federal Judge strikes down Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage

Judge John W. Sedwick has just ruled that a same-sex marriage ban in Arizona is unconstitutional. He also is refusing to stay his ruling, meaning his ruling is effective immediately, and same-sex couples may be able to marry soon if not today, based on Arizona law.

“A stay of this decision to allow defendants to appeal is not warranted.,” Judge Sedwick wrote. “It is clear that an appeal to the Ninth Circuit would not succeed.”

He also warned defendants to not appeal his ruling, as “the High Court will turn a deaf ear on any request for relief from the Ninth Circuit’s decision.”

The stay didn’t last long:

Arizona’s Attorney General will not appeal marriage ruling-weddings begin immediately!

Stating the Governor of Arizona “does not disagree” with his decision, AG Tom Horne told reporters that Arizona will not appeal today’s decision striking down his state’s marriage ban. He was adamant that while he disagrees with the court, as an attorney he is ethically bound to not file an appeal, because the chances of winning would be “zero.”

Horne stated that marriages can begin immediately. Arizona has no waiting period. The State will also immediately recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state he said.

Horne stated that “we” lost, and added he thinks the decision “should be made by the people and not by the courts.”

Horne pointed to the 14th Amendment as being “a good basis” for anti-discrimination laws based on race, but not gender. “The courts disagree with me.”

I’m sure he has a totally non-bigoted and secular reason for arguing that the 14 Amendment doesn’t apply to gender.  I wonder what Amendment he would point to as the basis for anti-discrimination laws based on age, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or sex…

* * * *

 Let’s play a game.  It’s a game called ‘Check the Definition Of…’, where I select a word and you go to the dictionary and find a definition of the word.  The word of today is ‘discrimination’.

The definition of discrimination:

treating a person or particular group of people differently,especially in a worse way from the way in which you treat other people, because of their skin colour, sex, sexuality, etc.

Gosh. That sure was easy.

Why the fuck then, does Florida Governor Rick Scott seem uncertain what discrimination is?  Does he not have a dictionary at home? Does he not have a computer? A smart phone? A tablet? (there a joke dangling there about Governor Scott and technology, as seen this week in the gubernatorial debates, but I’ll leave it alone).

Scott was asked in Wednesday’s debate if he believes banning same-sex marriage is “discriminatory.”

The Florida Republican governor just couldn’t manage a simple yes or no.

And his response, “none of us believe in discrimination” was so blatantly patronizing and just plain false, when he restated it, “I don’t believe in discrimination,” the audience actually booed.

Meanwhile, when Charlie Crist stated he supports same-sex marriage, the audience loudly cheered.

It must be so hard to say “Yes, I oppose discrimination against gay people. They should have the same rights as everyone else.”  But I guess that’s not in the GOP playbook. They’re going to stick to this anti-Marriage Equality plank til the bitter end.

Watch the video of Governor Scott being a fuckwit:

LGBT Link Round Up 10.17.14

LGBT News Round-Up 10.8.14

Kennedy orders temporary stay in Idaho, Nevada same-sex marriage rulings

Justice Kennedy, lost in thought as he considers “Do I continue to deny Americans the right to marry, or do I do the right thing and allow LBGT people to get married. I’ll wear my pensive face for this photo so that people may see how tough a decision this is.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling that declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada.

Kennedy’s order came a little more than an hour after Idaho filed an emergency request for an immediate stay and about 10 minutes before the state said that state and county officials would otherwise have been required to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The order also applies to Nevada, where marriage licenses to same-sex couples were going to start to be issued later Wednesday.

The delay could last just a few days. Kennedy’s order requested a response from the plaintiffs involved in Idaho’s gay marriage lawsuit by the end of day Thursday.

The full court almost certainly would weigh in to extend the delay much beyond the weekend. That has been the justices’ practice in other cases in which a single justice initially blocked a ruling from taking effect.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada on Tuesday. A day earlier, the Supreme Court let similar rulings from three other appeals courts become final and effectively raised to 30 the number of states where same-sex couples can marry, or soon will be able to do so.

This is justice delayed. Again.


Justice Kennedy allows same-sex marriage to commence in Nevada

* * * *

Kentucky town rejects a non-discrimination ordinance 

The proposal failed on a 5-3 vote Tuesday night in the Kentucky town in the Appalachian foothills, according to media reports. The meeting drew a standing-room-only crowd, and others filled a former service station next door to watch the deliberations via television.

The measure would have prohibited discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people in housing, employment and public accommodations.

Councilwoman Violet Farmer, who opposed the measure, expressed support for the concept of treating everyone fairly but questioned the need for “another protected class.”

Chester Powell, another council member who voted against the proposal, cited a lack of documented complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation. “I’m not seeing any reason for the ordinance,” Powell said.

Next time you’re looking for discrimination, why not try asking the LGBT people who have experienced it. For fuck’s sake, this is a town that denies that discrimination exists.  Do you people really think you’re that damn special? Do you think you live in some sort of bubble that prevents homophobia and discrimination from affecting the citizens of your town? Homophobia is a widespread problem and it occurs in Anywhere, USA. That you don’t see it is due to your heterosexual privilege, which allows you to navigate through life oblivious to the difficulties faced by LGBT people for their sexuality and gender identity.

* * * *

 Nevada Democratic State Senator Kelvin Atkinson proposes to his long time partner

“I’m black, I’m gay, I have dealt with a lot of what you folks are talking about,” Atkinson told his fellow Senators. “I know some of you,” he said, for first time are “hearing me say that, that I am a black gay male.”

Atkinson added he had “heard some people say some nasty, ugly things, because they didn’t know” he was gay.

Yesterday, speaking at an event hosted by Freedom Nevada at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, Atkinson again surprised his audience who were celebrating the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling striking down marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho.

“I didn’t want to go to another state,” Sen. Atkinson told the audience.

He said he always felt he’d stay in Nevada and would “stick it out,” until marriage came to his state, “and hopefully Woody would stick it out with me and we’d wait until this was done so that I could do what I thought that I wanted to do, and that was to propose to him.”

The crowd began to cheer, and Woody, Atkinson’s partner of six and a half years, Sherwood Howard, smiled, and looked surprised.

Atkinson observed that the cameras were “live right now,” and the audience screamed, “Do it!”

Howard nervously made his way on stage, and Atkinson said, “Woody, I know it has been six years, they haven’t alays been great, but we’ve been great partners.” He added that Woody does a lot of his political work and he is “the one person I trust the most toy be there with me, to be there for me, to be that confidant, to be my friend, and my partner.”

“So I’ll say it in front of everybody, will you marry me?”

Howard said “Yes”.  Hoo-Ray!

* * * *

Black America wants gay weddings protected from discrimination despite opposing gay marriage

Even though only around 4 in 10 African Americans support same-sex marriage, new research has found that a majority of them still feel that it is wrong for businesses to be legally able to refuse to provide goods and services to gay couples who are getting married.

The Pew Research Center found that 61% of the African Americans they surveyed agreed that it was wrong for for-profit businesses to deny same-sex couples goods and services based on the owner or employee’s religious beliefs.

In comparison only 45% of White Americans thought businesses should not be allowed to deny wedding related services to same-sex couples.

This was despite 53% of White Americans saying they supported the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Researchers at the Pew Research Center believe the high level of support among African Americans for gays and lesbians to be legally protected from discrimination may be a result of their shared experience of being discriminated against.

Why do I think the opposition to same-sex marriage is religiously based? LGBT Americans have the same rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights.  To deny that is to deny citizens of this country basic human rights.  To deny rights to a segment of the population based on their sexuality is homophobia. It’s bigotry. I don’t care what your justification is.  Even if your god existed, it would still be bigotry.

LGBT News Round-Up 10.8.14