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Global push for same-sex marriage

December 31, 2022, 10:08:58 am NilsFor1611 says: blessings
August 08, 2018, 02:38:10 am suzytr says: Hello, any good churches in the Sacto, CA area, also looking in Reno NV, thanks in advance and God Bless you Smiley
January 29, 2018, 01:21:57 am Christian40 says: It will be interesting to see what happens this year Israel being 70 years as a modern nation may 14 2018
October 17, 2017, 01:25:20 am Christian40 says: It is good to type Mark is here again!  Smiley
October 16, 2017, 03:28:18 am Christian40 says: anyone else thinking that time is accelerating now? it seems im doing days in shorter time now is time being affected in some way?
September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
September 20, 2017, 04:32:32 am Christian40 says: "The most popular Hepatitis B vaccine is nothing short of a witch’s brew including aluminum, formaldehyde, yeast, amino acids, and soy. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin that destroys cellular metabolism and function. Hundreds of studies link to the ravaging effects of aluminum. The other proteins and formaldehyde serve to activate the immune system and open up the blood-brain barrier. This is NOT a good thing."
September 19, 2017, 03:59:21 am Christian40 says: bbc international did a video about there street preaching they are good witnesses
September 14, 2017, 08:06:04 am Psalm 51:17 says: bro Mark Hunter on YT has some good, edifying stuff too.
September 14, 2017, 04:31:26 am Christian40 says: i have thought that i'm reaping from past sins then my life has been impacted in ways from having non believers in my ancestry.
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« Reply #60 on: July 07, 2014, 07:15:24 pm »

UN recognizes gay marriages for staffers

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations announced Monday it would recognize the gay marriages of all its staffers, in a major policy shift that opens the door for the spouses of homosexual employees to enjoy the same benefits as the husbands and wives of their heterosexual colleagues.

Previously, the United Nations only recognized the unions of staffers who came from countries where gay marriage is legal. Now anyone who marries in countries where gay marriage is legal is included.

The change means gay spouses of U.N. employees can get health insurance coverage and the chance to accompany spouses on their home leave every couple of years, among other benefits.

For Anna Guerraggio, an Italian citizen who works at the U.N. in New York, this means the certainty that she can now be joined by her girlfriend of five years without worrying about visas or immigration issues, or waiting for her partner, Flaminia De Agostini, to hear whether she got a job with a visa.

"If she doesn't get the job, then we get married and she benefits from my visa," Guerraggio said in a telephone interview from Italy, which doesn't recognize gay marriage.

UN-Globe, a group representing LGBT staffers at the U.N., had pushed for the U.N. to recognize gay staffers' marriages since 1997. It welcomed Monday's announcement as a massive step forward.

"Too many of us have suffered under the previous policy. Too many of us have been unable to secure, for example, residency visas and health benefits for our spouses because of a discriminatory policy that would refuse to recognize our legal partners," the group's president, Hyung Hak Nam, said in a statement. "Let us just enjoy this moment, this huge victory."

The new policy, led by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, became effective June 26, and will impact the U.N.'s approximately 43,000 employees worldwide. Employees of separate U.N. agencies, such as the children's agency UNICEF and the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO, are not affected by the change, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Ban has been an outspoken supporter of gay rights, openly denouncing homophobia in speeches around the world. He notably did so in Sochi, Russia, just before the opening of the Winter Olympics, when he condemned attacks and discrimination against homosexuals. The speech came at a time when activists and protesters had stepped up their campaign against Russia's law restricting gay rights activities.

"For a couple of years, the secretary-general has boldly spoken about equality for all people, and now he was bold enough to do it," Guerraggio said. "He is defending his own employees, and we appreciated that."

According to the Pew Research Center, gay marriage is legal in 18 countries, plus parts of the United States and Mexico. But prejudice remains deep in many countries. An extreme case is Uganda, which in February passed a law making gay sex punishable by a life sentence.
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« Reply #61 on: August 01, 2014, 08:30:09 am »

Ugandan court invalidates anti-gay law

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A Ugandan court on Friday invalidated an anti-gay bill signed into law earlier this year, saying the measure is illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum.

The panel of five judges on the East African country's Constitutional Court said the speaker of parliament acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the measure despite at least three objections — including from the country's prime minister — over a lack of a quorum when the bill was passed on Dec. 20.

"The speaker was obliged to ensure that there was a quorum," the court said in its ruling. "We come to the conclusion that she acted illegally."

The ruling was made before a courtroom packed with Ugandans opposing or supporting the measure. Activists erupted in loud cheers after the court ruled the law is now "null and void."

The anti-gay measure provided for jail terms of up to life for those convicted of engaging in gay sex. It also allowed lengthy jail terms for those convicted of the offenses of "attempted homosexuality" as well as "promotion of homosexuality."

Frank Mugisha, a Ugandan gay leader, said the ruling Friday was a "step forward" for gay rights even though he was concerned about possible retaliation.

Ugandan lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, an attorney for the activists, said the ruling "upholds the rule of law and constitutionalism in Uganda."

Lawyers and activists challenged the anti-gay law after it was enacted in February on the grounds that it was illegally passed and that it violated certain rights guaranteed in Uganda's constitution.

The court ruled Friday that the activists' entire petition had been disposed of since the law was illegally passed in the first place. This means there will be no further hearings about the activists' argument that the anti-gay measure discriminated against some Ugandans in violation of the country's constitution.

Nicholas Opiyo, a Ugandan lawyer who was among the petitioners, welcomed the ruling but said there is still a missed opportunity to debate the substance of the law. "The ideal situation would have been to deal with the other issues of the law, to sort out this thing once and for all," Opiyo said.

A colonial-era law that criminalizes sex acts "against the order of nature," still remains in effect in Uganda, allowing for the continued arrests of alleged homosexual offenders, Opiyo said.

Lawmakers will likely also try to reintroduce a new anti-gay measure, he said.

Kosiya Kasibayo, a state attorney, said a decision had not been made on whether to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court, Uganda's highest court.

The anti-gay measure was enacted on Feb. 24 by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who said he wanted to deter Western groups from promoting homosexuality among African children.

Although the legislation has wide support in Uganda, it has been condemned in the West and rights groups have described it as draconian. The U.S., which wants the law repealed, has withheld or redirected funding to some Ugandan institutions accused of involvement in rights abuses.

The ruling Friday may also win the Ugandan delegation a softer landing in the U.S. next week as it heads to Washington for a gathering led by President Barack Obama.
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« Reply #62 on: August 06, 2014, 01:01:51 pm »

Target publicly endorses same-sex marriage

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target Corp. is adding its name to a legal defense of gay marriage, joining other large companies that are taking a stand, just four years after the retailer came under criticism for supporting a strident opponent of same-sex unions.

Target said it has signed a court brief backing marriage equality in a pending court case and publicly declared its support of gay marriage, a move similar to those taken by Starbucks, Intel and Apple.

"It is our belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes rights we believe individuals should have related to marriage," Target Executive Vice President of Human Resources Jodee Kozlak wrote on the company's blog.

Target has come under fire in the past from gay rights activists who threatened boycotts after the retailer — along with Best Buy and 3M — donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to an organization that supported Republican Tom Emmer, a vocal opponent of gay marriage, in the 2010 Minnesota governor's race.

Target has worked to win back customers in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and has long offered benefits to the same-sex partners of employees.

Nearly all of Minnesota's biggest corporations declined to take a position on the 2012 state referendum to ban gay marriage except for General Mills, which opposed the ban. The referendum failed and the state Legislature passed a bill recognizing same-sex marriage in 2013.

Phil Duran, legal director of OutFront Minnesota, which worked to defeat the state's referendum to ban gay marriage, called Target "a powerful voice."

A spokeswoman for the Minnesota Family Council, which led the charge against gay marriage, predicted that the move will backfire.

"This is a very risky business decision and ultimately the wrong one because it is families that shop at Target," Autumn Leva told the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1qUU8DQ ). "People in Minnesota are still deeply divided on this issue."

The case in which Target has filed a brief combines legal actions in Wisconsin and Indiana. Federal judges overturned gay marriage bans in both states and state officials appealed. The case is scheduled for an Aug. 26 hearing in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
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« Reply #63 on: August 13, 2014, 07:06:48 pm »

Uhm, yes - no surprise, as Romans 1:18-32 says it all!

Religion Unimportant to Most LGBT Americans

Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) are much less likely to be religious than non-LGBT Americans, according to a new Gallup poll.

Just less than half of LGBT Americans said religion is important in their daily lives, compared with about two-thirds of non-LGBT Americans. Moreover, about 40 percent of non-LGBT adults identified themselves as highly religious, compared with just 24 percent of LGBT adults. About the same percentage of LGBT and non-LGBT Americans said they considered themselves moderately religious (29 percent). But LGBT Americans were much more likely to identify as not religious at all: 47 percent considered themselves not religious, compared with just 30 percent of non-LGBT Americans.

Participants were categorized as "highly religious" if they said religion played an important role in their day-to-day life and they attended a religious service every week, according to Gallup. A person was considered "not religious" if they said religion is not important in their daily life and they seldom or never attended any religious service, according to Gallup. "Moderately religious" people reported that religion is important to them but they do not regularly attend services. [10 Milestones in Gay Rights History]

Part of the reason for the disparity in religiousness may be that LGBT individuals do not feel welcomed into religious communities whose doctrine does not support any kind of nonheterosexual relationship, Gallup representatives noted.

However, religious doctrine is not the only explanation for the difference in religiousness between the two groups: Gallup representatives pointed out that LGBT people may be more likely to live in areas where religion is less common, and more likely to adopt the same mind-set and practices of others in the area. 

Age may also play a significant role, according to a statement from Gallup. Overall, the U.S. LGBT population is much younger than the non-LGBT population, and young adults are less religious than any other age group in the United States. This could partially explain the lower rates of religious people among the LGBT group, according to Gallup.

However, even after breaking up the data by age, LGBT individuals are still less likely to identify themselves as religious. More than half of LGBT young adults (ages 18 to 34) reported they are not religious, while only 39 percent of non-LGBT young adults said they are not religious.

LGBT individuals were most likely to identify with Protestantism (35 percent), followed by Catholicism (20 percent). LGBT individuals were also much more likely to identify with a non-Christian religion (8 percent) than non-LGBT individuals (2 percent).

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Presbyterian Church voted to allow ministers to marry LGBT couples if their state has legalized same-sex marriage. If religious communities continue to become more accepting, the religious gap between LGBT and non-LGBT individuals may close, Gallup representatives said.

**Not if, but WHEN - it's only a matter of time before the 501c3 corporate church caves into IRS pressure.

The results of the poll are based on 104,000 telephone interviews with U.S. adults ages 18 or older between Jan. 2 and July 31.
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« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2014, 09:37:17 am »

Arizona's 'pregnant man' has right to divorce wife: court

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A transgender man who made headlines by giving birth to three children can divorce his wife of more than 10 years, an Arizona appeals court ruled on Wednesday, rejecting a lower court's decision.

A three-member panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals unanimously decided that the divorce can proceed because Thomas Beatie's 2003 marriage in Hawaii was considered legal in Arizona.

"As the Beaties' Hawaii marriage was lawfully entered in Hawaii and is not deemed void by Arizona law, the marriage is valid within this state," said Judge Kenton D. Jones, in the 12-page opinion.

The court's decision overturns a ruling made in March 2013 by a Maricopa County Family Court judge that blocked the divorce.

Judge Douglas Gerlach denied the divorce on the grounds that Beatie had not shown he was a man when he wed in 2003, and thus could not show he and his wife were a heterosexual couple. Same-sex marriages are not recognized as valid in Arizona.

Beatie, 40, was born a woman, but has lived as a man since his 20s after hormone treatments and surgery to change his gender. Beatie was legally allowed to change his birth certificate and other documents to reflect his being a male.

He first gained notoriety after stopping the testosterone treatments and deciding to have a baby when his wife was unable to conceive because she had a hysterectomy.

He made the rounds of national talk shows as the man with the thin beard and baby belly when he first became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl in 2008. Two other children followed in the next two years.

Beatie filed for divorce in 2012, seeking dissolution of his marriage with plans to marry his new girlfriend.

Beatie attorney David Michael Cantor said he hopes that the appeals court ruling goes beyond this one case.

"People are going to have to get used to the fact that transgender people exist and they deserve the same rights and responsibilities that everyone else have," Cantor told Reuters.

"That includes the right to get married and the right to be divorced and the responsibilities that go along with all that."
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« Reply #65 on: September 02, 2014, 10:20:59 am »

Mexican state of Coahuila approves same-sex marriage

The northern state of Coahuila has become the second region in Mexico to officially allow same-sex marriage. Coahuila's congress approved changes to the civil code which give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, including adoption. In Mexico, laws on same-sex unions fall under state legislation, and a number of them have divergent rules.   

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« Reply #66 on: September 05, 2014, 05:30:44 pm »

I’m a senior GOP spokesman, and I’m gay. Let me get married.

By James Richardson September 4
James Richardson is a former spokesman and adviser for the Republican National Committee and Governors Haley Barbour and Jon Huntsman.

The federal government’s number crunchers believe some 21,318 same-sex couples call Georgia home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent accounting, and new research forecasts that as many as half would jump the broom within three years if allowed by their government.

I’m one-half of one of those aggrieved couples — denied, for more than five years, the social stability and legal protections of marriage. And, as a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee and adviser to prominent party figures, I’m also a professional political operative who’s helped install in government those who perpetuate marriage bias in America.

Throughout my career I’ve publicly advocated for the freedom to marry, urging the party for which I work to allow gay men and women to wed even as I never openly disclosed my personal stake. I’ve preached the small-government virtues of equal marriage, echoing a conservative case that had been made many times before by thinkers more eloquent and far brighter than myself. Never once did I write that I am gay.

For my admission here, I will alienate friends whose faiths regard my sexuality as culturally corrosive. I’ll suffer the snickering of those across the aisle whose politics regard my own as personally injurious. And conservative clients may regard me as a liability. After all, the tide is not as unidirectional as people say.

While the conventional wisdom holds that the public’s dramatic shift was driven primarily by expansive support among millennials, pollsters estimate that one-in-seven equal marriage supporters were once opposed to the convention. Nearly one-third of these belated boosters say they were won over through personal encounters with gay family members or friends, so the potential reward of convincing even one dubious neighbor is greater than the assumed risk of a diminished social orbit. And it’s okay if I alienate a Facebook friend or two.

It’s not always easy to love Georgia, or love in it. Our state constitution explicitly forbids same-sex unions, and the local economy remains defiantly sluggish. Yet in spite of its blemishes, my would-be groom and I are deeply committed to our community, one whose values of faith and family we share.

On Saturday we huddled with 90,000 of our closest friends in approaching-100-degree heat to cheer on the University of Georgia Bulldogs in the season opener. And this Sunday, as those before it, we’ll be in the pews of the same evangelical church we’ve quietly attended for years. We bless our suppers, we pay our taxes, and we own a home in the suburbs. Norman Rockwell would have thought us boring, because, frankly, we are.

But even if we failed, or refused on principle, to cross straight America’s bourgeois threshold for normalcy, gay people deserve the same the legal and moral considerations — and rights — enjoyed by all others. They are Americans whose rights were granted by God and the grit of their forbearers, yet they are forced to defend their love, and the various planes on which it may be judged (constitutional, cultural and economic), to distressing and revolting ends.

Still, America’s marriage detente is not helping anyone. Consider the numbers: Georgia rates 49th in the nation for joblessness, only narrowly edging the vastly-more-rural Mississippi to our west. Within just three years of legalizing same-sex marriage, according to a new white paper by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, upward of 1,000 out-of-work Georgians would find stable employment and the state treasury would bank $5.5 million in new sales tax revenue borne of a big gay dowry for an expanded hospitality industry.

**Just like the lying politicians say - "It's the economy, stupid!"

That’s revenue that could revitalize the state’s long-suffering transportation and education systems. More importantly, it’s money that won’t exist until (and unless) government gets out of the way of responsible gay couples wishing to honor one another and their families and communities in lifelong commitment.

But this isn’t, or at least shouldn’t purely be, a discussion of wages and government revenue. That confines broad ethical and constitutional questions to one merely about utility. Instead, this is a debate about individual Americans and the dignity their unions are necessarily due from their government. My partner and I are envious subscribers to the conventional, conservative family model; yet together, as two men wishing to grow grey and ornery in matching rocking chairs, we are consigned to “cohabitation” as a consequence of law. That’s unjust, and it’s uniquely painful.

On the foundational question of marriage’s value, to individuals and society, gay couples and the institution’s cultural conservative gatekeepers agree: marriage is deeply special. We wish to participate in earnest, to strengthen the institution that our straight peers are abandoning. Gay couples don’t want to rock the marriage boat — they only want a ticket for two to ride.
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« Reply #67 on: September 14, 2014, 09:06:48 pm »

Gay rights group, after recent victories, turns to a new frontier: the South

NATCHEZ, Miss. — Just three months ago, Rob Hill was a Methodist pastor with a burning secret. But as a swampy heat took hold one recent morning, he put on a suit, climbed into his car and headed into this river town on a mission that would have been unthinkable not long ago: promoting gay rights in rural Mississippi.

It’s hardly the most audacious thing he’s done this year. In July, after 12 years in the clergy, Hill came out of the closet — not at an intimate gathering around his kitchen table, or to friends on Facebook, but at a news conference orchestrated by the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based gay-advocacy organization that is pouring $9.5 million into an effort to push the needle of public opinion in the Deep South.

It is part of a broader shift within the gay rights movement, which has turned much of its attention away from same-sex marriage now that it is legal in 19 states and the District and is a question likely to be settled by the Supreme Court. The focus has shifted to improving job protections, passing local anti-discrimination ordinances, bolstering the rights of gay parents, reducing anti-gay bullying in schools and nudging change in places that have resisted it.

Hill is now the face of that campaign in Mississippi, a state that has remained largely untouched by the recent wave of gay rights victories. So all summer, he has been going from town to town like this, to coffee shops and living rooms, coaxing quiet gays into becoming a little louder and a little angrier, urging local officials to be on what he describes as the right side of history.

He has been encouraged by the initial victories — for example, when leaders in the coastal town of Waveland unanimously passed an anti-discrimination resolution, presenting the document at a meeting with a little rainbow flag printed on the bottom. But the road forward is steep. This is Mississippi, after all, a state that embodies the values of the Bible Belt.

That was apparent even in ­Natchez, a community of graceful antebellum homes huddled along the Mississippi River, known to be relatively welcoming to gays. But neither the mayor nor a well-known liberal alderman had accepted an invitation to meet with Hill on this trip. At a coffee shop, card-carrying liberals nodded vigorously as Hill spoke but hesitated when asked if they would propose an anti-discrimination ordinance.

Even many local gays expressed a reluctance to rock the boat, satisfied with a kind of truce that had been struck. At the Cotton Alley Cafe, a funky little restaurant with mismatched chairs and artwork cluttering the walls, owner Guy Bass said he was sympathetic to Hill’s efforts but unsure of how aggressive he wanted to be in asserting his presence.

“We’ve just lived our lives here,” Bass, 55, told Hill. “We’re not out, I guess, but everyone knows we’re gay, and they support our restaurant, thank God. We don’t shove anything down people’s throats, and it’s worked out for us.”

Bass’s partner for 35 years, David Browning, 53, put it a little differently: “It’s great here — as long as you don’t put the pinky out.”

But being open and demanding equal treatment is exactly what the Human Rights Campaign is hoping Browning and others in the region eventually will do. The group set up permanent offices in Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama this summer in the hopes of swaying public opinion in a region that has been resisting the tide of gay rights.

“The reality is that a lot of that progress has been limited to the coasts and a few bright dots in the middle,” said Brad Clark, head of the multi-state program, called Project One America.

There is reason for the group to be optimistic. Over the past year, eight small towns across Mississippi have passed resolutions meant to create a welcoming atmosphere for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Most of them passed unanimously.

The group’s work will probably run into resistance from organizations espousing more conservative social values that have traditionally had more sway here, especially since the Human Rights Campaign is a Washington-based group with ample resources and ties to the Democratic Party.

“States of the so-called Bible Belt are kind of the stronghold for our position for holding firm against some of what we sometimes refer to as the homosexual agenda,” said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council. “We intend to work closely with our allies there to resist some of these efforts.”

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group based in Tupelo, Miss., that owns more than 200 radio stations across the country, said he was skeptical that the Human Rights Campaign would be successful. “Mississippians are not going to be swayed, I think, by this group coming in, in terms of their personal beliefs on GLBT,” he said. But he challenged the organization to try.

For now, though, the campaign is less of a fight than a soft pitch, made by charismatic characters such as Hill, 39, a lifelong Mississippi resident with a receding hairline and absorbing blue eyes.

While many friends knew he was gay, it was not something he broadcast publicly — the United Methodist Church does not allow openly gay ministers. Had he come out, he would have been forced to resign and surrender his credentials — a gut punch after so many years in the pulpit.

But last fall, the pressure of keeping this secret became too great a burden. He began to envision leaving, not just the church but Mississippi altogether. His partner of six years got a job in New York City, and the two were there, about to sign a lease for an apartment in Washington Square, when it simultaneously dawned on them.

“We had the paperwork in our hands and said, ‘Let’s not do it,’ ” he recalled. “We have friends here, family here, and the truth is it’s not a bad place. . . . We realized, this is our home. We shouldn’t have to leave it to live authentic lives.”

It was around that time that the Human Rights Campaign began its work in Mississippi, and eventually the group asked him to head the project. His job would be to meet lots and lots of people. He would help shepherd local resolutions and cultivate relationships with religious leaders — friendly and not — and collaborate with a lobbyist in the capital to resist anti-gay legislation and push favorable bills.

Hill quit the church and took the position. Since then, he has put on 15 pounds, which he attributed to stress. He has lost some friends and gained a whole lot more. He has all but stopped going to church. And he has become addicted to pulpy top-40 country music: Just outside ­Natchez, Hill cranked up the radio and shook his shoulders when the car radio blared Joe Nichols’s “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.”

His first stop was the Natchez Coffee Co., where taco soup was on the menu and a group of regulars huddled at a pair of tables — the liberals at one, the conservatives at the other. At the second table was a 79-year-old retired stockbroker from New York who was baffled that a Washington-based group would try to infiltrate this community of 18,000 residents.

“This is a perfect little town,” said the man, who declined to give his name. “There are no class distinctions. No crime. The kids generally grow up nicely with good educations. Why would anyone come in here and try to change it? Things are just fine.”

Hill’s purpose is not to challenge his foes but to find friends. So he had arranged a meeting with Mary Jane Reed Gaudet, a seventh-generation Natchezian and a local mover and shaker who is known for her embrace of progressive causes. She had assembled a group of local gays and activists, including the community-theater director who had caused a stir with his production of “La Cage aux Folles,” a musical centering on the lives of a flamboyant gay couple.

They told Hill that their town was surprisingly accepting. When a local publication outed an area official whose mother didn’t even know he was gay, the community hardly blinked, they said.

Hill asked if they would ­propose an anti-discrimination measure to the local board.

“It’s very accepting here, but it’s just not something you talk about,” Gaudet said, expressing her preference for “indirectly approaching conflicting feelings, whether it be race relations or gay and lesbian things.”

His final meeting of the day was more encouraging. Margaret Perkins, 56, whose family owns the local radio station, and her partner, René Adams, 48, said they were in favor of an anti-discrimination measure as well as more-binding state laws that would prevent employers from being able to fire employees for being gay.

Perkins recalled the times when she had held her tongue while her co-workers prattled on about their weekends, fearful she might slip up while telling some mundane story and inadvertently reveal she is gay. “Why should I act like I don’t have a life?” she said.

But the couple suggested a more circuitous route rather than directly taking a resolution to town leaders. Why not start with a pitch to the tourism board that being gay-friendly is good for business?

Hill said it was a good idea and agreed to come back another time, when the pair would throw him a fete to meet more locals — and perhaps set up a meeting with that progressive alderman he missed this time around.
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« Reply #68 on: September 15, 2014, 06:16:14 pm »


America's gay rights battle goes global
As anti-gay rights leaders export ideas abroad, Human Rights Campaign ‘names and shames’ them


Starting in 2012, the leader of the most prominent American anti-gay marriage organization unexpectedly began adding a ton of stamps to his passport.

As federal judges struck down gay marriage bans left and right at home, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown appeared at meetings and marches for various anti-gay rights causes in France, Trinidad and Tobago, Russia and Australia — a surprising uptick in travel for the stateside activist. The result: In June, Brown’s group began discussing rebranding itself as the International Organization for Marriage, according to materials from a “March for Marriage” meeting in Washington, D.C.

Brown is just one of many in the American “traditional marriage” movement who are aggressively pushing their message abroad now that they face an increasingly tough sell at home. In so doing, he is making common cause with foreign activists whose anti-gay rights crusades are more robust — and more resoundingly successful — than America’s homegrown one. Among them are Americans who actively worked behind the scenes to support the passage of Russia’s law preventing gay people from adopting, as well as Uganda’s law that punishes homosexuality with up to a lifetime in prison.

The U.S. involvement in anti-gay rights international activity has become so intense that one of the premier gay rights groups in the country, the Human Rights Campaign, started a special “global engagement program” last year to track their activities and help gay rights activists abroad. The program has a $1 million budget for its first year and five full-time staffers. On Monday the group released its most comprehensive report on the internationalization of the American anti-gay rights movement.

The report, “The Export of Hate,” names the most prominent individuals and groups — Brown among them  —working to pass anti-gay rights legislation abroad.

“With anti-LGBT losses mounting in the United States, and with strong indications of increased activity abroad, more must be done to expose this work and the people doing it,” the report says.

The report calls out Scott Lively, an American missionary who traveled to Uganda to warn about what he described as the evils of gay people in the runup to the passage of the country’s law that punished homosexuality with death. (The law was later toned down so that the maximum punishment is life in prison, before the nation's highest court invalidated it.) Benjamin Bull, the chief counsel of the conservative legal group the Alliance Defending Freedom, is also cited for the alliance’s 2011 announcement that it would take its legal arguments against gay marriage overseas; it now supports groups that are working to uphold bans on same-sex marriage all over the world.

“Our primary focus is naming and shaming,” Jason Rahlan, communications director for the Human Rights Campaign, said of the report. “My sense is a lot of Americans and even a lot of folks in the LGBT community have absolutely no idea this is going on.”

Some of the organizations profiled in the report have acknowledged in their own way that the line has moved irrevocably in the U.S. debate over gay rights. It’s been more than a decade since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws allowing states to punish same-sex sex acts with prison, and the U.S. debate now revolves around whether lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have a right to marriage everywhere in the country, along with anti-discrimination protections at work.

Groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom have given up on arguing that same-sex activities ought to remain criminal in America, and are instead focusing on preserving same-sex marriage bans. But in many other countries, including the 80 that outlaw being openly gay, the landscape is completely different — and much more welcoming to their arguments.

“Oftentimes they work under the radar and they mask their intentions,” Rahlan said of the American activists.

That’s why it took some piecing together for the group to notice that the National Organization for Marriage, which was pivotal in passing the same-sex marriage ban in 2008 in California, had gone international.

“They are a lot more active in the international space but are being very quiet about it,” said Becky Parks, the Human Rights Campaign’s associate director of global engagement.

“I have been so excited to be part of this new international solidarity movement in defense of marriage, children and family,” Brown wrote on NOM’s blog last year. He did not respond to an interview request about NOM’s international expansion.

Many of these overseas groups and individuals are expected to send representatives in October 2015 to Salt Lake City, Utah, for a World Congress of Families summit. The Human Rights Campaign will be watching the event closely, Rahlan said.
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« Reply #69 on: September 19, 2014, 10:33:42 pm »

LGBT movement organizing to mandate “gay history” in schools across America.

In California already. Starting now in Massachusetts. Their goal is to force it into schools nationwide.
POSTED: September 18, 2014

The push to require that “gay history” be taught in the nation’s is already in place in California and is now making headway in Massachusetts. The LGBT teachers conference brought in techniques that activists can use to expedite that process around the country.

The homosexual movement is organizing and strategizing to achieve their latest goal in the schools.

This is the sixth part in our series on this year's annual GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) Conference held in Boston in April 2014 which brought together LGBT teachers, school officials, and education activists (and their "allies") -- along with children as young as fifth grade -- where they outlined their latest tactics for the schools.

Why a push for “gay history” in schools?

“Gay history” is an important psychological tool that homosexual movement uses to convince schoolchildren that homosexual behavior is a normal and positive influence in society. By making it part of the school curriculum -- with lectures, exams, term papers, etc. – it becomes ingrained in kids’ minds. Thus, students would never question its legitimacy -- and legitimacy is an obsessive goal of the homosexual movement.

Perhaps more disturbing, “gay history” introduces deviant figures such as Harvey Milk (a sexual predator of teenage boys), pro-NAMBLA activist Harry Hay, and other “gay pioneers” (some of whom were pornographers) as legitimate historical figures worthy of admiration. Plus it often teaches kids the unproven political “quackery” that famous people such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Julius Caesar, and even Abraham Lincoln were homosexual.

For example, soon after the California law was passed, one LGBT social studies teacher in San Francisco in an interview with a high school newspaper gave a taste of what what “gay history” should include:

In considering the possibilities, [the teacher] described potential lesson plans featuring rumored gay authors such as William Shakespeare and Walt Whitman and famous court cases involving gay defendants like that of Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 court case that ended Texas’ sodomy law.

Gaining steam since the 1990s

That “gay history” push has been slowly but steadily progressing. Since the 1990s individual “gay activist” teachers have woven homosexual themes into their classes, including history lessons. Over a decade ago “gay history month” displays began to appear in “progressive” school districts, and that has spread across the country. For over a decade, national LGBT groups have trained teachers how to incorporate “gay rights” into history classes (example from 2001). (NOTE: This link is from the MassResistance blog – which Google still partially blocks!) But the goal has always been mandating it across the country.

This handout at the workshop shows some of the LGBT activists over the years that they intend to portray as heroic "historical figures" to schoolchildren.
California becomes first state to mandate “gay history” in schools

In 2011, California passed Senate Bill 48, the Orwellian-labeled “FAIR Education Act.” It requires that the “historical contributions” of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” be included in courses, instructional material, and textbooks in California Public Schools. Furthermore, the law includes prohibition of any “materials that reflect adversely” on LGBT persons or the movement. This onerous law was the result of a well-crafted campaign by the homosexual lobby, spearheaded by a homosexual activist state legislator, and actively supported by the liberal press.

This was such an abrupt change that Grades K-8 have been given until July 1, 2015 to comply, but high schools are required to move as fast as possible. Many California high schools are rolling out their new “gay” curricula this month – September 2014.

The conference workshop: Strategies to do it . . .

This year the conference had a special workshop to show teachers and activists how a “gay history” mandate was successfully effected in one school district in Massachusetts. Here’s how the conference program listed it:

    2.5 Reversing the Erasure of LGBT History
    Using Los Angeles Unified School District and Lowell School District as case studies, this workshop examines strategies for introducing vital LGBT inclusive history curriculum into schools.

    Presenter(s): Debra Fowler, Debbie Costello & Erin Kehoe, Lowell High School

This was one of the best-attended workshops of the conference. The room was full. The main presenter was Debra Fowler, who teaches English as a second language at Lowell High School.

The workshop was largely a how-to description of how Fowler and others were able to pressure Lowell High School in Lowell, MA to make “LGBT history” mandatory in the 11th grade. She is also the producer of a very slick and emotional video, “Through Gay Eyes”, which is also now a required part of the Lowell High School curriculum and was shown at the workshop. And they are taking steps to push this statewide (and eventually nationwide).

How they got the Lowell politicians & administrators on board

Fowler showed her video “Through Gay Eyes” to the workshop. Some of the messages in the video, which Fowler also talked about) are:

    Kids need to know they have a gay teacher.
    The teacher was uneasy about coming out to students, but did anyway.
    Boston TV News Anchor Randy Price "married" his boyfriend on the State House steps.
    The world is evolving and changing.
    It’s wrong to oppose people’s beliefs when they don’t affect you.
    Children shouldn't have to worry about growing up with a gay parent.

Fowler described her successful strategy for getting the politicians, school administrators, and faculty all to sign on to requiring “gay history” (and more) at Lowell High School. She said her emotional video “Through Gay Eyes” was used as a “catalyst.”

Starting in August, 2013, she made sure that as many students as possible -- and also the key politicians, administrators, and faculty –attended a screening of the video. Although the messages from the video do not have a direct relationship to “gay history” it gave them an emotional attachment to the cause, which was even more important. Then she had hundreds of students and faculty sign two petitions demanding that the video and “LGBT history” be included in the curriculum.

The final step was the Lowell School Committee. At the November 20, 2013 meeting she arranged to have the necessary items on the agenda, and she packed the room with supporters. The two petitions were presented to the Mayor, superintendent, and members of the School Committee to sign themselves, which they all did. All their agenda items were passed unanimously. Thus, the following was accomplished by Fowler and her activists:

    Lowell High School would require “gay history” in the 11th grade, starting in September 2014.
    The video “Through Gay Eyes” would be required in the middle and high school health curriculum.
    The School Committee officially endorsed proposed changes to the Massachusetts Common Core curriculum to include LGBT individuals and events in 11th-grade U.S. History courses statewide. That is the next big push for the LGBT lobby in Massachusetts, they’ve said.

After the School Committee vote, Fowler (left) posed triumphantly with the headmaster of Lowell High School. The photo was circulated on LGBT education sites.

At the workshop, Fowler acknowledged that she got a help from “gay” educators and activists in California. One important thing she told the group: “The lessons are not ‘stand-alone’ lessons,” she said. “The lessons are seamlessly woven into history.”

In closing, Fowler told the workshop, “Reach out to people who can make changes in curriculum. You have the power!”

Below is from the handout that Fowler passed out at the workshop describing their successful strategy. You can also download it here.

National group has already prepared LGBT history curriculum

The homosexual movement is not leaving anything to chance. They are already preparing course material for “gay history” mandates, as well as supplying it to individual activist teachers. GLSEN, the well-funded national organization that organized this LGBT teachers conference, is at the forefront of creating LGBT curriculum for all grades. 

GSEN is very serious about supplying your schools with "gay" history.

At the workshop, GLSEN passed out some materials, and they have been posting much more on their website. Here's a sample of what's being offered now to schools across America. From the GLSEN web site:

    LGBT History: stories & lessons for grades 6-12 (web page)
    LGBT History: stories & lessons for grades 6-12 (pdf file)
    LGBT History lesson for grades 9-12 (web page)
    LGBT History Lesson for grades 9-12 (pdf file)
    Incorporate LGBT history, themes and people into entire curriculum

"Celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month." 18-page document passed out at the workshop. Exhaustive list of LGBT-themed books, websites, and course material targeting schoolchildren. Also includes strategies for introducing it into the schools and weaving it into regular class lessons.

How harmful are the recommended resources in this GLSEN document (above)? To point to just a few:

Kevin Jennings, former Obama "Safe Schools Czar" and founder of GLSEN, edited a gay and lesbian history source book for high school and college classes, Becoming Visible. Included is a chapter praising NAMBLA supporter Harry Hay, along with a portrayal of "gay cruising" (anonymous homosexual sex acts in public places) as a "civil rights" issue!

Another recommended book is Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg. Massachusetts Youth Pride honored Feinberg in 2005, inviting her to lead the youth parade. Besides being a radical transgender activist, she is openly communist and was then editor of Workers World.

Can this be stopped?

It can certainly be daunting that major US corporations like Google, Wells Fargo, McDonalds, Target, CitiBank, Disney, Mattel, IBM, and others are funding the homosexual agenda in the schools. But nevertheless, parents and citizens can do amazing things to stop this.

It’s entirely possible keep this from happening. The biggest problem on our side (besides funding) has been that parents have been unaware of what’s happening, are not armed with good information to counter the activists, and have no effective strategies for counteracting their slick lobbying effort.

We at MassResistance are working to help with that.  Exposing this is the start.
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« Reply #70 on: September 23, 2014, 08:33:17 pm »

Providence: Mayor OK to send firemen to gay parade

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci did not violate the rights of firefighters ordered to drive a fire truck in a 2001 gay pride parade, a lawyer for the city argued to the Rhode Island Supreme Court on Tuesday.

A lawyer for the two firefighters told the justices that her clients' constitutional religion and free speech rights were violated when they were ordered to drive in the parade.

The arguments centered on the question of whether Cianci and his then-fire chief are immune from being sued over the decision. Cianci was forced from office in 2002 after being convicted of corruption. He is currently in the midst of a campaign to win back City Hall. Both sides said the timing of the hearing was coincidental.

Cianci sat in the front row during the arguments and occasionally chuckled as the justices and lawyers hashed out their arguments.

He was represented by the city's lawyer, Kevin McHugh, who argued that the city sent trucks to various parades as a matter of course, including the Columbus Day parade, Purim parade and others, and driving in the parade was part of the firefighters' regular duties of community outreach. He said no constitutional rights were violated.

McHugh called the case "ridiculous."

The firefighters' lawyer, Gina DiCenso, argued that the act of participating in the parade and driving the truck was a show a support for the parade, but the justices seemed skeptical.

"They're anonymous public servants," Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg said, comparing it to being called to fight a fire in a temple or in a mosque.

DiCenso said that when the men asked to get a substitute, they were not allowed to do so. The two firefighters drove the truck in the parade, but partway through were called away to a fire.

Outside the courthouse, Cianci said if elected, he would likely make the same decision again. He said he had no idea until recently that the case was still in court, and that he shouldn't have to still be faced with uncertainty about whether he'll have to pay damages in the case.

"From 2001 to 2014. That's a bit long, don't you think?" Cianci said. "Public officials who make decisions based on what they truly believe and what they think their job is should not be, 13 years later, in front of the Supreme Court."
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« Reply #71 on: September 23, 2014, 09:18:07 pm »

A Transgender Student Was Fined For Wearing A Skirt To School, So These Boys Wore Skirts In Protest

When a transgender student in Brazil was recently fined for wearing a skirt to school, a group of male classmates rose to support her in spectacular fashion — by all showing up at school wearing skirts themselves.

According to the U.K.’s Orange News, 17-year-old Maria Muniz, a student at Rio de Janeiro’s Colégio Pedro II, was fined by school officials who said that she was breaking a school rule that states that male students must wear trousers.

After the punishment, Muniz reportedly agreed to change out of the skirt. Little did she know, however, that a few of her classmates would soon put up a fight on her behalf.

Brazilian news outlet R7 reports that a group of about 15 boys showed up to Colégio Pedro II wearing skirts on Sept. 2 to support Muniz and her clothing choice. A photograph of the boys posing in their skirts has gone viral in recent weeks:

Muniz says she was moved by her classmates’ support.

"I am really happy about the way my classmates supported me and I hope it serves as an example to others to feel encouraged to do the right thing. I was always taught at school to accept who you are, I am only trying to live that,” she said, per Orange News.

On their part, school officials say that they are absolutely against “intolerance and discrimination,” and have said that they are open to discussing a change in their uniform policy, R7 reports.

"The sexual orientation is not important for us, all our students are equal," the principal of the school said, according to Orange News. "However, the uniform determines male and female clothing, but we will study a new manual of coexistence."

As the story of Muniz and her classmates goes viral, netizens everywhere have been showing their support for the teens with the hashtag #VouDeSaia, meaning "I'm going in a skirt" or "wearing a skirt."

“Such a beautiful display of working together to beat transphobia,” wrote one Twitter user Monday.

“Faith in humanity: RESTORED,” declared another.
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« Reply #72 on: September 24, 2014, 08:49:33 pm »

23 September 2014 Last updated at 07:56 ET
South Molton paper's homosexuality column criticised

A newspaper column that branded homosexuality "an aberration", linking it to the collapse of "great empires", has been criticised by gay rights groups.

The South Molton and District News article was written under the pseudonym Grave Turner.

Editor Paul Henderson said he stood by his decision to publish it but said he was not homophobic.

He confirmed police had questioned him after a complaint was made.

'Treated with sympathy'

The columnist has not commented on the issue.

The paper has a circulation of about 2,000 in north Devon, with the article generating five complaints since it was published on 3 September, said Mr Henderson.

Michael Halls, from the Intercom Trust, which supports the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans community, said: "We have a lot of respect for the idea of free speech and we don't want to stop people expressing views and opinions but this article is hurtful and offence and that is deplorable. It's also full of errors.

"I really wonder what the motivation of the author and the publisher could have been."

The article said: "Clearly homosexuality is a naturally occurring phenomenon, that is nonetheless, an aberration.

"Such persons as suffer from it should be treated with sympathy and understanding.

'Anarchy take over'

"It was not homosexuality per se that caused the collapse of the great civilising empires of Greece, Rome, Britain, et al, but rather public acceptance of it was the exclamation mark that signalled the end of empire.

"Slowly, but surely, anarchy will take over."

Richard Lane, from Stonewall, said: "It seems that Mr Turner needs to spend a little bit more time re-reading his history books and a little less time writing unpleasant articles denigrating loving, committed same-sex couples."

Mr Henderson said: "It was very, very close to the mark. It has not broken any laws as far as I'm aware.

"I'm not anti-gay or homophobic.

"It has created interesting discussions and a full right of reply will be published in the next edition."

Mr Henderson said he had been questioned by Devon and Cornwall Police following a complaint to its diversity unit, but as far as he was aware no further action would be taken.

The force said it was aware of the article but was unable to provide further information until they had spoken to all involved.
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« Reply #73 on: September 27, 2014, 11:28:45 pm »

Michele Bachmann Says Gay Marriage Is 'Not An Issue,' 'Boring,' At Values Voter Summit

Is even Michele Bachmann throwing in the towel on marriage equality?

For years, the GOP congresswoman from Minnesota has been a leader among Christian evangelicals and a vocal opponent of gay marriage. She not only supported a federal marriage amendment; she worked tirelessly as a state legislator in years past to get a an amendment on the ballot banning gay marriage in her home state's constitution. It finally got on the ballot in 2012 and was defeated. And then in 2013, Minnesota passed marriage equality.

Now Bachmann seems so disillusioned she’s got only one word for gay marriage: “Boring.”

Asked about gay marriage in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress at the Values Voter Summit in Washington on Friday, Bachmann said, “It’s not an issue," before walking off and adding, “In fact, it’s boring.”

This seems consistent with what she told Meghan McCain two weeks ago in an interview: "I think that was an issue, yeah. I think it was in the last election and the previous election, but I think, you know, it's changing now.”

Asked his response to Bachmann’s comments, the American Family Association’s radio host Bryan Fischer, broadcasting from the Values Voter Summit, strongly disagreed.

"Well, I’d have to know more about what Representative Bachmann meant when she said that,” he responded. “The debate is far from settled. We’ve got a long way to go. Unfortunately, there are people in the conservative movement who have sort of given up. There are even evangelicals leaders sending signals that the battle is over, that the battle is lost. ‘We’ll never be able to capture the millennials. They’re gone.’ I think it’s way premature for that. You know, when the homosexual lobby was 0 and 31 [having lost at the ballot in 31 states on marriage], the gay lobby didn’t quit. They didn’t give up. They didn’t do it. They didn’t give up, and neither are we.”
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« Reply #74 on: September 27, 2014, 11:37:42 pm »

UN passes resolution on behalf of LGBT citizens around the globe
09/26/14 05:32 PM—Updated 09/26/14 08:19 PM

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a landmark resolution for LGBT rights during its 27th session on Friday, the second-ever motion of its kind. The resolution, which was heavily promoted by the U.S., was sponsored by Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil and Chile. Countries from every geographic region in the world joined as supporters.

The action, which passed by a 25-14 vote margin after more than an hour of debate, condemns violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity across the globe.

“We are pleased to see that today the international community is visibly and publicly upholding the rights of LGBT individuals, and thereby we demonstrate ourselves as a global community respecting the rights of all,” said Ambassador Keith Harper, who represents the U.S. on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Still, since the resolution comes with no enforcement capability — it simply calls for a report from the U.N. high commissioner on LGBT rights abuses — it will likely largely be seen as a symbolic gesture, albeit it one that the U.N. has largely failed to make in the past. This resolution is only the second time the U.N. has referred to LGBT rights as “human rights.”

Not all of the reaction to the resolution was positive: Pakistan’s representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council called it a “divisive and controversial initiative.”

“We feel there is an attempt to impose uniculturality” that “runs counter to religious and cultural practices of some countries,” said Saudi Arabia’s representative during debate. “In my opinion, this [resolution] is a human rights violation.”

South Africa, considering their recent history of harsh anti-LGBT legislation, surprisingly backed the resolution. But Buzzfeed reports that insiders on the Human Rights Council say the African nation helped “water down” the resolution before lending its support.

A total of 21 countries either opposed or abstained from the resolution. Also — ironically in light of the sponsors of the resolution — Latin America accounts for almost 80% of the world’s reported murders of transgender people, with more than half of these deaths occurring in Brazil.

“The Human Rights Council has taken a fundamental step forward by reaffirming one of the United Nations’ key principles — that everyone is equal in dignity and rights,” said Jessica Stern, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, after the vote. “This resolution puts the U.N. on a trajectory to address the discrimination and violence LGBT persons suffer daily across the world.”

“The council is confirming that LGBT people have universal human rights,” she added. “We know, of course, that the struggle is long, and that we will need the Council to focus on the violations we suffer for many years to come. But for now, we celebrate that the majority of States stood with us to declare, unequivocally, that human rights are for everyone, everywhere.”

While this resolution was passed on Friday, Russia’s Constitutional Court upheld their country’s anti-gay “propaganda” law. “This disappointing ruling legitimizes an unjust law created to target and oppress Russia’s LGBT community,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “However the court makes it clear that the law’s application should be limited to cases involving minors."
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« Reply #75 on: October 02, 2014, 11:21:41 pm »

Republican Group Meets to Press Gay Rights


Big-name Republican donors and lawmakers are quietly gathering in Washington on Wednesday night for a first-of-its-kind conference dedicated to advancing gay rights, in a sign of how far and fast some within the party are evolving on the once divisive cause.

The conference, modeled after the kind of exclusive, polished and influential meetings held by the Koch brothers, is intended to build a permanent political infrastructure that can insulate nervous Republicans from conservative backlash on issues like same-sex marriage. It is being hosted by the American Unity Fund, a two-year-old group founded by wealthy Republican donors.

The two-day meeting will draw high-powered party figures like Theodore B. Olson, the solicitor general during the administration of George W. Bush, and Ken Mehlman, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee; donors like Paul Singer, the billionaire chairman of the conservative Manhattan Institute, and Jon Kislak, a Miami businessman; and elected officials like Senator Mark S. Kirk, an Illinois Republican, and State Senator Dawson Hodgson, the Republican candidate for attorney general in Rhode Island. About 100 people, most of them donors, are expected to attend, said Jeff Cook-McCormac, a senior adviser to the American Unity Fund.

He called the meeting “a demonstration of how developed the center-right strategy has become to win freedom to marry for L.G.B.T. Americans.”

This is no longer a few donors,” Mr. Cook-McCormac said. “This is a network of Republicans, many of whom are straight, who believe this is consistent with conservative values and want to be a part of the civil rights movement of their generation.”

The conference will feature panels dedicated to expanding gay rights, especially same-sex marriage, at statehouses and in Washington. (A sampling of the sessions: “Making Progress in Congress” and “Reaching Red States.”)

Single-issue advocacy groups, focused on everything from immigration to gun control, have a spotty record of reshaping the Republican Party’s agenda. But so far, Republicans backing same-sex marriage have found greater success, aided by wealthy donors, fast-changing public opinion and a growing air of inevitability surrounding the issue.
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« Reply #76 on: October 15, 2014, 07:48:53 am »

Marriage Rates Hit All-Time Low in United States

The number of American adults who have never been married has hit an all-time high. The latest date from 2012 shows one in 5 adults over the age of 25 fell into that category. In 1960, it was about in 10 adults.   

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« Reply #77 on: October 15, 2014, 08:43:10 am »

Marriage Rates Hit All-Time Low in United States

The number of American adults who have never been married has hit an all-time high. The latest date from 2012 shows one in 5 adults over the age of 25 fell into that category. In 1960, it was about in 10 adults.   


Well, neither Apostle Paul(nor I) was/I married.

Seriously - from what I've been reading, one of the reasons it's hit an all-time low is b/c more people are co-habitating. It became the new norm since the 80's. The seeds were planted a long time ago.
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« Reply #78 on: October 22, 2014, 09:16:12 pm »

How America learned to love gay marriage

American attitudes to gay marriage have been turned on their head in the space of a single generation


After a US Supreme Court decision this month, 30 of America’s 50 states will have gay marriage laws, which is testament to the sudden shift in attitudes towards same-sex unions in the US.

Two decades ago barely a quarter of Americans believed members of the LGBT community should enjoy equal marriage rights; now nearly two-thirds accept gay marriage.

This quantum leap cannot be explained by what sociologists call generational shift – that is older, conservative folk dying off and younger, more liberal people taking their places. Something more radical and unforeseen took place that precipitated a change in opinion that leapt across the generations.

So how did it happen?

The title of Bill Clinton’s legislation to allow gay people to serve in the US military told its own story: the gay and lesbian community could be tolerated, but only if it kept itself to itself.

“Don’t ask don’t tell” sounds ugly now, but at the time it was a hard-fought compromise with the generals who warned that gay soldiers would cause dangerous confusion on the front lines.

That bill showed how far attitudes still had to travel. The Democrats had a “no discrimination on basis of sexual orientation” clause in their policy platform since 1980, but in practice that was far more aspiration than actuality.

Defence of Marriage … 1996
Defying the increasingly vocal gay rights movement, Congress passed legislation defining marriage as “the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, and a spouse is a husband or wife of the opposite sex.”

Bill Clinton signed the bill into law but described it as “unnecessary and divisive”. His press secretary went further, calling it “gay baiting, plain and simple”, but it also reflected some hard political realities in an election year.

At the time, only 27 per cent of Americans said gay marriages should be valid, according to a Gallup survey of that year – and 68 per cent said not.

Ellen comes out, and loses out … 1997

TV comedienne Ellen DeGeneres comes out in an episode of her eponymous sitcom, only to have her show cancelled shortly thereafter due to poor ratings.

In an interview with Oprah at the time, Ellen said she felt “like a freak”. She has since become one of the most popular and recognisable figures in American pop culture.

And then along comes Will & Grace … 1998

It wasn’t necessarily obvious at the time, but in hindsight the NBC sitcom Will & Grace that featured a successful gay New York lawyer, William Truman and his (straight) best friend Grace Adler has been credited with playing a huge role in bringing gay culture out of the ghetto and into the mainstream. Speaking in 2012, before the Obama campaign officially announced it was backing gay marriage, vice president Joe Biden estimated that Will & Grace “probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has ever done so far.

Back in the real world, America gets its first openly gay congresswoman … 1999

The needle starts to move. Three years after the Defence of Marriage Act now 35 per cent of Americans support gay marriage, but 62 per cent still do not. In a sign of the (slowly) changing times, Tammy Baldwin becomes the first person to campaign for national office as an openly gay person and get elected, winning the 2nd Congressional district in Wisconsin.

Massachusetts become first state to pass gay marriage law … 2003

The proudly progressive state of Massachusetts becomes the first US state to strike down ban on gay marriage, a move that sends shivers across the conservative Deep South.

It is only in this year that the US Supreme Court, in Lawrence V Texas, declares that anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional.

The power of pop culture … 2008

Does pop culture shape the agenda or just reflect it? Difficult to say, but a 2008 Harris poll indicated that real-life attitudes can be changed by on-screen events. Of those people who said they had recently changed their minds on gay marriage, over a third said their views were influenced by seeing gay or lesbian characters on TV.

Modern Family, which debuted in 2009 and prominently features a gay couple, has changed attitudes even further.

The Obama campaign remained unmoved … 2008

Barack Obama promised "hope and change", but his data-obsessed campaign managers didn’t dare to lead on gay marriage, even thought the direction of travel was clear. Now 40 per cent of Americans said they approved, and 56 per cent did not, but the final destination was still out of sight.

But the numbers did not … 2011

The tipping point. This was the year that graphs crossed: for the first time since 2003 when Gallup started regular surveys of attitudes to gay marriage more Americans said they approved of gay marriage than disapproved … and they have never looked back.

Although that’s not to say the argument is over …

More than half of Americans might now support same sex marriage, but that still leaves large pockets of America profoundly opposed to an idea they believe is undermining the social and religious fabric of the country.

They might be disparaged as bigots and crazies by the liberal left, but that only makes them holler all the louder.

Finally Obama catches up with the times … 2012

Having repealed "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" in 2010 and decided not to enforce DOMA, announcing his support for gay marriage was a logical step for Barack Obama. The president had “evolved”, his spin-doctors said, although Mr Obama credited listening to his teenage daughters and their young friends for his change of heart.

And Hillary followed suit … 2013

It didn’t take long. Barely weeks after stepping down as Secretary of State where she was forced to stay out of domestic politics, Mrs Clinton released a video saying the was all in favour of gay marriage.

It sounded a little opportunistic from a politician who clearly had one eye on the 2016 presidential contest, but Mrs Clinton positively bristled at the suggestion.

And DOMA got struck down … 2013

Only 17 years after the DOMA legislation was passed to defend a view of marriage that had stood “for 200 years” the Supreme Court rules the legislation unconstitutional in an impassioned opinion that said same-sex unions could no longer be treated as “second-class marriages”.
Barack Obama, who himself had come out in favour of same sex marriage only the previous year, called the lesbian couple involved from Air Force One. The conversation was broadcast live on television.

And then even the jocks joined in … 2013

It’s perhaps not surprising that the macho culture of American professional sports was late to the party but the impact of America’s first openly gay pro sports star was still not to be underestimated.

Jason Collins, a 34-year-old journeyman NBA basketball player, said he didn't want to come out but somebody had to do it. “I'm black and I'm gay … If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand’.

He was not the last. In February 2014, Michael Sam became the first NFL American Football player to come out – and he did it with quite a smash.

But the Supreme Court has still not had the final word … 2014

Public support for gay marriage is undeniably growing, but the US Supreme Court has remained cautious, moving with the times without dictating the tempo of change, as it had done with the Roe v Wade decision on abortion.

Gay rights activists want the Court to rule same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right – like abortion – to all Americans, in all states, but for now the justices have ducked the question. No one expects it to go away.

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« Reply #79 on: October 27, 2014, 04:48:02 pm »

Same-Sex Marriage Support Nearly Universal Among Entering College Students

The national landscape for marriage equality has changed considerably in the past month. On Oct. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals on five different cases challenging lower courts' rulings that found same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. The decision paved the way for same-sex marriage in five states immediately (Oklahoma, Virginia, Utah, Wisconsin, and Indiana). Just a few days later, Idaho and Nevada joined the growing number of states allowing same-sex marriage. On Oct. 17, same-sex marriage bans in Alaska and Arizona fell with Wyoming following suit just days later.

Ted Olson, one of the lawyers in the landmark "Proposition 8" Supreme Court decision (Hollingsworth v. Perry), declared today that the "point of no return" on gay marriage has now passed. Indeed, it seems clear that the U.S. Supreme Court decision is signaling to the lower courts that it will not take up the issue of same-sex marriage any time soon, particularly if the lower courts continue striking down state marriage bans for same-sex couples.

As these state bans continue to fall, the federal government has announced that it would immediately begin recognizing same-sex marriages in all of 33 states. This decision follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013 (United States v. Windsor), which held that denying benefits to married same-sex couples was unconstitutional.

It is hard to believe that Congress enacted DOMA less than two decades ago. Right after that law went into effect, the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey at UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute began asking incoming freshmen their views on same-sex marriage. Since CIRP first started asking the question in 1997, a majority of incoming college students have agreed that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry; however, it is remarkable how strongly incoming students now endorse this position. The CIRP Freshman Survey last asked this question in 2012, and three-quarters of first-time, full-time students (75.1 percent) agreed that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry, and the data suggest that nearly all (91.1 percent) of students who identify as "liberal" or "far left" hold this view.

Support of same-sex marriage among "conservative" and "far right" students has increased more than 20 percentage points since the question first appeared on the CIRP Freshman Survey. A near majority (46.4 percent) of students who identify their political ideology as "conservative" or "far right" now agree that same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry.

The largest gains in support of same-sex marriage have been among incoming students who identify their political ideology as "middle-of-the-road." In 1997, a bare majority (51.5 percent) believed same-sex couples should be permitted to marry. By 2008, more than two-thirds (67.7 percent) felt similarly, and that figure jumped another 10 percentages points by 2012 with 78.9 percent of "middle-of-the-road" students supporting same-sex marriage.

Today's college students do not just support same-sex marriage; they also support allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt. In 2013, 83.3 percent of all first-time, full-time college students agreed that gays and lesbians should have the legal right to adopt children.

Most individuals are more than mere single-issue voters, but given these numbers, it is interesting that some politicians continue to focus so heavily on social issues like same-sex marriage. The recent spate of court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage in the past two years, and particularly in the past four weeks, has caught up with public opinion. The political views of today's college students increasingly suggest growing divide with the "culture wars" being waged by social conservatives. Candidates running for political office who continue to emphasize social questions while doing everything in their power to impede progress on an issue such as gay marriage risk alienating this large bloc of potential voters.

The question regarding support of same-sex marriage appeared again on the 2014 CIRP Freshman Survey, and we expect to see even greater support for the issue. The 2015 Freshman Survey likely will be the last time the item appears, as the data make clear that support for same-sex marriage is nearly universal among entering college students.
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« Reply #80 on: October 28, 2014, 03:29:22 pm »

Transgender lawyer in Texas embraces change

DALLAS (AP) — When lawyer Katie Sprinkle works at the Frank Crowley Courts Building, she occasionally runs into an acquaintance who, trying to place her, asks whether she has a brother who once worked in the public defender's office.

"No," she replies. "That was me."

After 16 years as a public defender, Sprinkle started her own firm a year ago — practicing law for the first time as a woman. While no organization formally tracks such things, Sprinkle is the only known openly transgender lawyer in Dallas County and one of just a handful across Texas.

In addition to her criminal defense practice, she's become a go-to lawyer for transgender issues at a time when transgender people are getting more attention than ever in mainstream media, yet remain one of the most misunderstood groups in the LGBT community. Sprinkle, 47, uses her unique perspective to empathize with clients and guide them through the legal challenges of transitioning genders.

Not all people who are transgender — which means your personal sense of being male or female doesn't match your assigned sex — choose to transition. For the 0.25 to 1 percent of the general population that does, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality, transitioning is a years-long, emotionally intensive process that includes hormones, counseling, and in some cases, surgery.

When ready to live full-time as their new gender, transgender people need legal documentation to get a driver's license with their new name and sex on it. The paperwork isn't just a symbolic milestone; it's also a practical step that lets them present ID without fear during job applications, airline travel and credit card use.

Sprinkle works with three or four transgender clients a month and also hosts free legal clinics, offering a "critically important" service to transgender people, said Sprinkle's roommate Leslie McMurray, also a transgender woman.

"Getting your ID changed isn't a vanity plate," McMurray told The Dallas Morning News (http://bit.ly/1suiKlz ). "It's safety, security, affirmation."

Sprinkle said she first realized she wasn't like other boys at age 4 when she watched the original Batman TV series in the 1970s and idolized the superhero's female counterpart, Batgirl. By 11, she was trying on her sisters' clothes and makeup in secret.

**As you can see - the rotten fruits of television are out in the open. Look how many effeminate programming there is nowdays.

"I didn't have the vocabulary to say, 'I'm transgender.' I had no idea what that was," Sprinkle said. "There was just this persistent sense something was wrong."

Sprinkle said she learned to suppress her true self until she graduated law school at St. Mary's University in San Antonio in 1993. That's when she moved back to Dallas, got her own place and began dressing as a woman when home alone. After a few years, she ventured out in women's clothing to run errands, or when she felt brave, to the movies.

Publicly, she maintained her persona as a straight man. Once, a girlfriend asked why Sprinkle had women's clothing covered in trash bags in her closet. Sprinkle told her she stored them for her sister.

By the mid-2000s, however, Sprinkle's denial had morphed into severe depression. She ballooned to 220 pounds, which layered heavily on her naturally thin frame. She went to counseling, but for years she couldn't work up the nerve to confess why she was really there.

In 2011, Sprinkle finally accepted she was transgender. She was 43.

"I was expecting the fireworks to go off, the grand epiphany to blast my world apart, and it wasn't," she said. "It was just this peaceful acceptance."

That year, Sprinkle moved to Marble Falls, a small town about 50 miles northwest of Austin, to work in the Burnet County public defender's office while she transitioned.

She went on hormones and sought hair-removal treatment for her beard. She started highlighting and growing out her hair. She wore earrings and painted her toenails. But she still wore men's suits to work.

Locals thought she was a "crazy hippie boy from Dallas," she said. Inside, she felt like a 13-year-old girl, exploding with new hormones and gleefully checking out her new bust line in the mirror.

In 2012, she changed her name with the State Bar. The following year, she returned to Dallas to start her private practice out of her Carrollton home.

On a recent morning, Sprinkle lay on a reclined chair and winced as an electrologist wove a needle in and out of the skin along her jaw. She squeezed her hand into a fist and wiggled her toes, painted bubble-gum pink with white polka-dots on the largest one.

She endures such pain regularly for the results: a smooth, scruff-free face. Electrolysis procedures are among the ways Sprinkle maintains her appearance and propels her transition toward permanence.

These days, Sprinkle is 6-1 and lean, with shoulder-length blond hair and an angular face. She speaks in a light voice she's mastered through practice, striking a balance between her naturally deep pitch and what she calls the "Minnie Mouse" voice some transgender women use. Her style is feminine but understated: bareMinerals foundation, subtle eye makeup, loose dresses and a men's watch she's had for years.

In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and bowling with her roommate. And she's exploring the complicated world of dating. Since sexual orientation is distinct from gender identity, Sprinkle remains attracted to women. She was a straight man; now, she identifies as a lesbian.

**This is why the transgender movement being accepted in the mainstream is THE BIG piece to the whole sodomy movement(even more so than SSM) - b/c transgenders continue to be attracted to their respective opposite sexes from birth(all the way through their transformations). Which is why the pro-gay lobby hasn't accepted them for years(b/c their "sexual orientation" is straight).

But either way - what they do is an abomination to God(as the effeminate cannot inherit the kingdom of God).

At work, Sprinkle is one of six openly transgender attorneys licensed to practice in Texas, according to Houston municipal judge Phyllis Randolph Frye, the nation's first openly transgender judge. Frye said the timing of Sprinkle's transition was particularly unusual: Most trans lawyers transition before they graduate law school — or not at all.

"There aren't very many that I know of who transitioned after they've established a law practice because they're scared," she said, adding that she knows of about 40 lawyers who haven't come out because they're afraid of losing their jobs.

Sprinkle chose to start over under her new name when she opened her own practice, and now prefers not to publicize her former moniker. She said she felt petrified the first time she returned to the criminal courthouse, which she had once frequented in a suit. Most people, however, welcomed her back without issue.

"The only difference I see is she looks like a woman," said state District Judge Rick Magnis, who worked with Sprinkle in the public defender's office. "She's got longer hair and her voice is softer but other than that, she's the same person to me."

Sprinkle agreed. "I'm still the same smart *** I was before — I just have cuter shoes," she joked.

But these days, Sprinkle does more work in the civil courthouse as she takes on transgender clients looking to change their name and gender marker, the 'M' or 'F' at the bottom of Texas driver's licenses.

Recently, she sat in a courtroom and sifted through papers, preparing for the judge to call her case. Nearby, her client — a woman in a pant suit who works as a programmer analyst — waited out the final moments of her given name in silence.

The woman had already submitted fingerprints for a criminal background check and obtained recommendation letters from her doctor and therapist. This appearance before the judge was the final step in a two-month process to legalize her transition. Soon, she would officially be Helena.

Many judges across Texas, particularly in conservative counties, don't regularly grant gender marker changes. But Sprinkle said about a dozen judges in Dallas do — more than anywhere in the state.

At Helena's hearing, Sprinkle approached the bench, wearing a coral wrap dress and **** ballerina flats. "Good morning, judge," she said. Sprinkle then called on her client and asked her to confirm that she wasn't seeking a name change to avoid criminal prosecution. Helena vowed she wasn't.

The judge asked no questions and granted their request within seven minutes. Helena looked relieved. Sprinkle smiled.

"It's a very liberating moment for many," Sprinkle said. "Because now they feel like, 'OK, I can now move forward and be me.' "
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« Reply #81 on: October 28, 2014, 10:54:06 pm »

Creighton University to offer same-sex benefits

OMAHA, Neb. —Creighton University will soon offer health benefits to legally married same-sex spouses of its employees despite the objections of the local Catholic archbishop.

Creighton President Rev. Timothy Lannon announced the change Monday. He said 21 of the 28 Jesuit universities in the U.S. already offer similar benefits.

Lannon said Creighton continues to support the Catholic Church's teaching about marriage.

But he added the university is taking this step to meet the needs of its employees and remain competitive with other universities that already offer similar benefits.

Lannon outlined the decision in a letter sent to trustees. Below is the text of the letter obtained by KETV NewsWatch 7:

Dear Trustees,
This is to inform you that I have decided that Creighton University will extend healthcare benefits in 2015 to the same-sex spouses of our colleagues who have been legally wed in other states.

I have notified Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha of my decision, acknowledging his disagreement and disapproval of such a decision based upon a previous conversation he and I had.

Consequently, the decision was not made lightly. After much prayer and discernment, I believe the extension of benefits is the right thing to do at Creighton. The decision involves the tension between the Church's teaching on same-sex marriage and social justice concerns for the care and well-being of our colleagues' families.

Many other Catholic universities, including 21 of the 28 Jesuit universities in the U.S., have done the same. I asked the University Benefits Committee to consider benefits coverage for legally married same-sex couples. They were unanimous in supporting this change. The extension of benefits is not a statement of approval of same-sex marriages but rather an acknowledgement of our responsibility to serve the needs of faculty and staff who faithfully serve our students and patients every day.

This decision not only reflects a commitment to our colleagues, but our ongoing commitment to health and wellness. It is important in today's competitive workplace environment that values fairness and equal treatment and is consistent with our efforts to foster an inclusive, compassionate and respectful campus environment. Many major employers in the Omaha area as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the College of St. Mary all offer these benefits to their colleagues.

I anticipate that we may receive some negative media attention for this decision. Nevertheless, I believe it was the right thing to do.
Thank you for all you do for Creighton. See you at our board meeting next week.

God's blessings,
Timothy R. Lannon, S.J.

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« Reply #82 on: November 14, 2014, 06:22:03 pm »

Gay Acceptance Is Rising Globally, Study Says

Around the world, it's getting more acceptable to be gay.

A new study says that acceptance of homosexuality has grown in 90 percent of countries surveyed over the last 20 years.

According to findings by social researchers at NORC at the University of Chicago and the LGBT think-thank Williams Institute at UCLA, acceptance rose an average of .9 percent annually by nation.

"This study shows a clear trend toward increasing acceptance across the globe,” Andrew Park, director of International Programs at the Williams Institute, said in a statement.

Researchers ranked countries in northwestern Europe as the most accepting, "followed by the following clusters of countries: Australia/Canada/New Zealand/United States, Southern European countries, Latin American countries, former Soviet Union/Eastern & Central Europe, Asian countries, African countries, and majority Muslim countries."

Even within continents, attitudes varied greatly, research showed. For instance, in Africa, two percent of Ghanians accept gays and lesbians, compared to 38 percent of South Africans.

Researchers reached their conclusions by examining the results of hundreds of surveys on attitudes toward gay men and lesbians in up to 52 countries since 1981, the study noted.

The report, "Public Attitudes toward Homosexuality and Gay Rights across Time and Countries," follows a recent study that indicated religious acceptance of gays is also on the rise.
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« Reply #83 on: November 15, 2014, 10:51:24 pm »

America's shift in attitude toward gays started at work

WASHINGTON -- In the beginning, it was about money as much as rights.

Long before America started rapidly changing its mind about gays, corporate America set the stage. From companies such as Marriott, founded by socially conservative Mormons, to technology giants led by libertarian-minded gurus, business started thinking in the last decade that it was in its best interest to treat gays the same as straights.

That approach is now taking hold more broadly, as a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage for the first time, forcing politicians to jump on the bandwagon and likely changing the country's politics. While this social change is driven by many factors -- a new generation that's more open, an older generation adjusting to gays in their families and lives, courts opening the doors -- it first took hold at work.

Marriott International, for example, was founded by Mormon John Willard Marriott. By 1999, his son and successor, Bill Marriott, worried about losing highly trained employees to competitors and decided to start providing health benefits for partners of gay and lesbian employees.

"Bill Marriott got it immediately," said Apoorva Gandhi, Marriott's vice president of multicultural affairs. "He thought of it as a business judgment and a fairness judgment."

"It was really about attracting talent," said Bob Witeck, a marketing expert who's worked with the executives at American Airlines, Marriott and other big-name companies to provide same-sex benefits and ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
By easing into it, Marriott avoided the backlash that Walt Disney Co. suffered in 1997 when it offered same-sex benefits and allowed Gay Days at theme parks.

"They treated it as a business decision. They didn't make a public expression of it," Witeck said of Marriott. "They didn't put it out in a press release. ... That approach certainly helped."

Times have changed rapidly since then. Today, Marriott aggressively courts gay consumers. It sponsors floats in gay-pride parades. Its home page includes a section courting gay travel that features photos of men kissing. "At Marriott," it says, "there is no room for inequality."

"The backlash is almost nonexistent," Gandhi said. "Some people will say, 'I'm not going to stay with you anymore.' Where are they going to go? All of the hotel chains are doing this. The blowback does not ring true on this."

The need for a skilled high-tech workforce also drove the initial push for same-sex benefits elsewhere.

Companies didn't care whom employees slept with as long as they could write software programs and understood the fast-moving technology that would change American life.

"Tech companies were desperate for employees who could basically expand their business," said Cathy Woolard, the first openly gay City Council president in Atlanta, who now advises corporations on nondiscrimination policies and same-sex benefits.

"The tech companies were headquartered in Silicon Valley," she said, "and the places tech companies expanded were places like Austin, Texas, New York and Seattle, where you had large gay communities."

One such pioneer was the software company Lotus, which was later acquired by IBM. Apple was another.

Companies operating in multiple states also needed uniform rules.

That need drove more than 100 name-brand corporations such as Nike, Starbucks and Johnson & Johnson to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In a joint brief to the court, the companies cited "unnecessary cost and administrative complexity" and said the law "forces us to treat one class of our lawfully married employees differently than another, when our success depends upon the welfare and morale of all employees."

Corporate America also is speaking up in other venues.

When Arizona's Legislature passed a state law that would have allowed businesses asserting religious objections to refuse service to same-sex couples, Apple, American Airlines and many other companies threatened to withdraw investment from the state. Their arguments persuaded Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the law in February.

When Georgia debated similar legislation, the chief executive of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, Richard Anderson, warned that the measure would cost local jobs as employers shunned the Peach State. His position helped quash the legislation.

The changes have been rapid.

When the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, started to rank gay-friendly policies with a Corporate Equality Index in 2002, 319 companies participated and 13 received top scores.

This year, 734 companies participated, and 304 received top scores.

Some big-name companies such as Apple, General Motors and Chevron got perfect scores. But billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. got a zero and energy titan Exxon Mobil got a negative score, penalized for actively working against internal policy changes to allow same-sex benefits, the report said.

"The report is inaccurate," said Richard D. Keil, a spokesman for the energy company. "Exxon Mobil's global policies prohibit all forms of discrimination in any company workplace, anywhere in the world. This includes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

In 2002, 61 percent of Fortune 500 companies provided explicit nondiscrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation. This year, it's 91 percent.

Federal legislation to do the same passed the Senate a year ago but is stuck in the House of Representatives.

Corporate America is now rated by investors as well.

This year, Denver-based ALPS began offering investors a chance to buy shares in an exchange-traded fund that tracks the Workplace Equality Index. The index was created in 2001 by Denver Investments in response to requests from foundations and endowments looking to invest in companies with gay-friendly policies.

The 162 companies on the index have outperformed companies on the S&P 500-stock index from 2009 forward, data show.
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« Reply #84 on: November 27, 2014, 11:11:05 am »

School apologises over Bible and homosexuality worksheet

A Belfast school has apologised after complaints were made about a worksheet on religious views on homosexuality.

Hunterhouse College in Belfast has withdrawn the worksheet after the father of one student complained.

The three questions appeared in a Religious Studies worksheet.

The school said they have an ethos of inclusivity and the worksheet was part of a wider discussion on sexuality on both sides of the debate including extreme opinions.

The questions were in relation to 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and were set by teaching staff.

They included:

What do these verses tell us about homosexuals?
Who else is included with homosexuals?
What hope is there for all these people?

The BBC has seen a copy of the test which includes the bible passage and questions about homosexuality.
Andrew Gibson, the headmaster of Hunterhouse College, said that the worksheet had been withdrawn and that the school has approached the gay rights charity Rainbow Project NI for advice.

"This is in the introduction to Christian ethics centred around personal and family issues. As part of this, pupils are encouraged to consider a variety of attitudes to homosexuality," he said.

"The questions were set in house but they were in the context of the CCEA specifications. We have a very strong pastoral care system at the school and deal with issues around sexuality with great sensitivity."

Mr Gibson added that the school "got it wrong" by allowing the worksheet to be sent home individually and out of context from the rest of the class.

Gavin Boyd of the Rainbow Project said that the school was not to blame as this happens in most schools and comes from a lack of clarity in the syllabus.

"If any LGB child was sitting in that class and asked to list a bunch of people to associate with themselves including drunks and all these licentious people, it's horrible," he said.


**This article used a modern-day perversion - I replaced it with what the KJB says.

1Corinthians 6:9  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
1Co 6:10  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1Co 6:11  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

"It was ill prepared and ill thought out as it actually could have amounted to an actionable claim of discrimination against the pupil,

"However, I'm confident no malice was intended and I'm impressed that the school have taken steps to quickly rectify the situation."

The parent who made the complaint has also praised the school's response to the issue and the steps it has taken since the incident.

Peter Lynas from the Evangelical Alliance said that while the "wording of the question could have been better" it is important to remember that most of the world's main religions are against homosexuality.

"It is important Christian values are taught in school and schools can sometimes feel pushed into a corner over these issues," he said.

In a statement, the exam board CCEA said: "We do not produce guidelines for schools on question setting."
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« Reply #85 on: November 29, 2014, 01:43:32 pm »

Scores of Russian gays are seeking asylum in US

NEW YORK (AP) — Had he stayed in Russia, Andrew Mironov would be settling in to a stable job with an oil company, likely with a newly awarded doctoral degree in electrical engineering.

Instead, he faces an uncertain future in New York City as one of scores of Russian gays seeking asylum in the United States because of hostility and harassment in their homeland.

"In Russia, I would have gotten my Ph.D. this fall, had a job and health insurance," said Mironov, 25. "Now, here, I'm nobody."

Yet the sacrifices have been worth it, Mironov says, given the fears that lingered after he was severely beaten by several assailants in the lobby of a gay bar in his home city of Samara.

"Which is more important, happiness or success?" he asked over coffee in midtown Manhattan. "I would say happiness. I feel no fear here."

There are no firm statistics on the number of gay Russian asylum seekers; U.S. government agencies that handle applications do not report such details. However, the Department of Homeland Security's latest figures show that overall applications for asylum by Russians totaled 969 in the 2014 fiscal year, up 34 percent from 2012.

The increase is due in part to the worsening anti-gay climate in Russia, according to Immigration Equality, a New York-based organization which provides legal services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants.

The organization says the number of inquiries it received from gay Russians seeking U.S. asylum has risen from 68 in 2012 to 127 in 2013 and 161 through Oct. 30 of this year. During that period, gay-rights gatherings in Russia were frequently targeted by assailants, and the parliament passed a law targeting "gay propaganda" that was widely viewed as a means of deterring gay activism.

Said Mironov of that law, "It helped homophobic people feel the government is on their side."

To get an application approved, an asylum seeker must present a convincing case that he or she has a "well-founded fear of persecution" in their home country. Russia's anti-gay policies and its record of anti-gay violence are factors that could strengthen an individual's case.

Aaron Morris, Immigration Equality's legal director, said most of the recent asylum inquiries came from gay men in their 20s and 30s who had been targeted by anti-gay attacks, while only a handful have come from gays or lesbians raising children.

"If you have kids, it can be really hard to leave everything behind," Morris said.

In several U.S. cities, programs have been launched to assist gay asylum seekers from Russia and elsewhere as they await processing of their applications, which can take six months or more. For the first five months, the asylum seekers are barred from taking paying jobs, so they often struggle to support themselves, even with resumes illustrating professional success in Russia.

In Washington, D.C., housing is among the major challenges, according to Matthew Corso, who has helped the DC Center for the LGBT Community create a program to assist people who are seeking asylum.

"We have no trouble finding them legal representation, but trying to find someone willing to give part of their home or money for food or transportation is not easy," Corso said.

Another group aiding gay Russian asylum-seekers in the Washington area is the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, founded in 2011 by Russian immigrant Larry Poltavtsev.

Poltavtsev, who studied chemistry at the University of North Carolina in the 1990s, is frustrated by the rules that bar asylum-seekers from working. "It makes no sense because most of our arrivals have advanced degrees and speak good English," he said. "They're capable of being productive, paying taxes, but we are not letting them do those things while they're waiting."

Soon to join the queue of applicants are Andrew Nasonov and Igor Bazilevsky, longtime partners from the Russian city of Voronezh who wearied of threats, harassment and beatings and came to the United States in July. They're now assembling the paperwork for their case and getting Russian documents translated into English.

"Of course we are worried, but we hope for the best," Nasonov said.

Nasonov, 25, was a journalist and human-rights activist in Russia; Bazilevsky, 32, was a graphic designer. They hope to pursue those careers in the U.S. if their asylum applications are approved.

Meanwhile, they've been provided with lodging by a gay couple in a Washington suburb and took a step in October that would have been impossible in Russia — they got married.

"We were finally able to say that we are a real family — there are not enough words to describe how wonderful these feelings are," Nasonov wrote in an email.

"But of course, we are still faced with a lot of difficulties," he added. "It was hard to leave our relatives, friends, and parents behind in Russia. ... We have nothing here, and in many ways are completely dependent on the assistance of the people who surround us."

In New York City, many asylum seekers have received advice and support from Masha Gessen, a Moscow-born journalist and activist whose family moved to the U.S. in 1981 and who holds U.S. and Russian citizenship.

She said her family, as Soviet Jews, had group refugee status, allowing for an immigration process far easier than that faced by today's asylum seekers who must prove their individual case.

"There's no worse way to immigrate to the U.S. than the way these people are doing it," Gessen said. "You have nothing, and you have no right to work or public assistance. We've seen people end up on the streets."

View galleryIn this Nov. 19, 2014 photo, Russian emigre Andrew …
In this Nov. 19, 2014 photo, Russian emigre Andrew Mironov poses for a photo in New York. Had he sta …
She and her allies have lobbied the State Department to extend refugee status to LGBT people from Russia, but thus far to no avail. So for now, asylum seekers arrive unsure of their long-term prospects.

"After your tourist visa runs out, you're basically undocumented," Gessen said. "It can be hard to rent an apartment or get a cellphone. You have problems navigating everyday life."

The United States is among several countries favored as havens by LGBT Russians who emigrate from there. Canada, Finland and Israel are among the others. Gessen said the U.S. is more receptive than many Western European countries, and Aaron Morris, the Immigration Equality lawyer, said his legal team had been able to win approval for most of the Russian asylum cases that it has handled.

Morris commended the Department of Homeland Security for asking Immigration Equality to train its asylum officers on distinctive aspects of LGBT asylum cases. "They understand our community is a little different," Morris said.

Among the many pending cases is Andrew Mironov's asylum application, buttressed by photographs showing the injuries he sustained in Russia that required a hospital stay. He's not sure when he'll be called for an in-person interview but says his lawyer believes the case is a strong one.

View galleryIn this Nov. 19, 2014 photo, Russian emigre Andrew …
In this Nov. 19, 2014 photo, Russian emigre Andrew Mironov poses for a photo in New York. Had he sta …
Mironov has been in the U.S. since November 2013, spending his first night in a homeless shelter run by the Metropolitan Community Church of New York. He now lives in Brooklyn but continues to attend the church, which serves the LGBT community.

The past 12 months have been challenging. One obstacle, he said, is a chilly reception from many non-gay Russian immigrants in New York.

"Americans don't care if you're gay, but the Russians here, they still have a problem with it," he said.

Mironov worked for several months as a bartender at a restaurant in Manhattan but said his manager often mistreated him, calculating that he wouldn't complain because of his uncertain legal status. Now he's trying to establish a photography business, called Strekoza — Russian for "dragonfly."

"It's hard to not be sure about your future," he said. "In Russia, I'd planned my whole life out."
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« Reply #86 on: December 01, 2014, 07:58:36 am »

Chinese gay dating app grows to 15 million users

BEIJING (AP) — By day, Ma Baoli was a high-ranking officer in a seaside city police force. By night, he ran a website for gay people to share experiences and where he spoke under a pseudonym about the pressure he faced as a homosexual.

After several years, the police force found out and told him he could not run a private website that was earning money from advertisements while serving as a police officer.

Ma chose his website, a move that later proved fruitful. His Danlan.org has spawned a Chinese-language dating app for men called Blued that has garnered 15 million users, 3 million of them outside China, over two years.

And last month, his company, Blue City, received $30 million in funding from Silicon Valley venture capital company DCM Ventures. Ma hopes to use the money to expand abroad and possibly prepare for an IPO. He is also considering launching a dating app for lesbians.

In a country where the government considers any activism dangerous and where homosexuality has traditionally been taboo, Ma has managed to build his business partly by reaching out to government agencies and showing them he can provide a public service in spreading safe-sex messages.

In 2012, he was invited to meet with now-Premier Li Keqiang because of his AIDS prevention work.

Wu Zunyou, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases center, praised the app for its usefulness in conveying information to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community.

"It's very hard to receive so many registered users in such a short time," Wu told The Associated Press last week at an AIDS awareness event held by Blue City and also attended by local government officials. "None of our public awareness websites can receive such attention. This is a very important channel to be able to spread information about AIDS prevention among the LGBT community."

The app allows users to look for people by location or the last time they logged on. It also enables group settings so people can organize activities such as hiking or assembling a basketball team, as well as providing information from health authorities on locations for HIV testing and treatment.

Andrea Pastorelli, a policy specialist at the United Nations Development Programme, said the Chinese CDC had recognized the app's usefulness in reaching people they were unable to.

"They are having a real issue reaching out to the most marginalized people and in China that's where the epidemic is," he said.

"The fact that they have been able to attract this much money shows that there is interest in the so-called pink market," Pastorelli added. "Private companies are realizing that gay people exist and gay people represent a huge market."

An investment manager at the Beijing office of DCM Ventures who asked not to be named because she was not authorized to speak to the media confirmed that the company had invested $30 million in Blue City, saying its future outlook was promising.

"Five percent of the total population are LGBT people," she said. "Social attitudes toward gay people will become more and more tolerant in the future."

For Ma, 37, who goes by the online pseudonym Geng Le, the investment signals a shift in attitudes already among Chinese toward homosexuals.

Five years ago, his website Danlan.org would be regularly shut down. Today, that doesn't happen anymore, and it carries discussions on whether to legalize same-sex marriage, for example.

"I now feel more and more comfortable saying, 'Yes, I'm gay and yes, what I do is run a gay-themed website,'" he said.

Still, the app does provide privacy for people who are worried about others finding out about their sexual orientation by allowing them to use their smartphone to meet someone, he said.

A law against "hooliganism" that had been used to target gays was eliminated in 1997 and homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder in 2001, but some clinics still promise to "cure" people by offering conversion therapy that includes electric shocks. China does not recognize same-sex partnerships and no laws outlaw discrimination against homosexuals.

However, more organizations are being created in China that are specifically devoted to LGBT advocacy issues, and gay bars that once could only be found in bigger cities like Beijing and Shanghai are increasingly opening up in smaller cities.

Ma quit his job as deputy director of a division of the Qinhuangdao police force in March 2012. He still misses being a police officer, his dream job since childhood. He says some former colleagues cannot accept what he is doing because they think homosexuality is "abnormal." Ma says he hopes to change their thinking.

Blue City employs about 40 software engineers, designers, salespeople and advocates.

"I would like to use the power of the economy to promote the LGBT community," he said. "In many ways, the economy can trigger changes in policies. So if, for example, I do this thing very well, if my users go from 15 million to many more in the future, if we can go public, I can tell the government: See, we can go public being a 'gay company' and we haven't caused you any trouble."
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« Reply #87 on: December 20, 2014, 07:09:29 am »

Wal-Mart Uses Corporate Dollars to Promote Gay Agenda

Walmart is increasing capitulating to the homosexual-bisexual-transgender agenda. So says the Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH).
The group is calling on Americans to urge Wal-Mart to stop promoting homosexuality and gender confusion (transgenderism) with its corporate dollars.
"During the Christmas season, we should focus on honoring God and His Son, Jesus, who came to earth to die for our sins," says AFTAH President Peter LaBarbera.
"Wal-Mart has done much good in the world, but celebrating politically correct sins—homosexuality and transsexuality—only dishonors God and incentivizes Walmart's own workers to embrace immoral and confused behavior patterns in their lives. Walmart needs to get out of the sin promotion business and at least return to neutrality on the homosexual/transgender issue."
Here's the backstory: Wal-Mart is now publicly pro-"gay" and giving major grants to homosexual/transgender events and organizations, including $25,000 to $50,000 to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund—a group that helps elect "out" homosexuals to political office, mostly Democrats.
Giving corporate dollars to "gay/trans" groups like GLVF helps Wal-Mart increase its score on the rigged "Corporate Equality Index" (CEI) put out annually by the homosexual group Human Rights Campaign.
Wal-Mart's pro-homosexual/transgender CEI score is now 90 percent—up from 40 percent in 2008. The world's largest company has embraced a pro-homosexual/bi/transgender agenda in recent years, especially after granting homosexual "domestic partner" employee benefits in 2013.
The CEI scoring system is completely biased against social conservatives: If Wal-Mart were to give a grant to a pro-family group like AFTAH that opposes homosexual "marriage" and male "transgenders" using female restrooms, it would lose 25 points according to HRC's rigged CEI scoring system.
The only way for Wal-Mart to get the 10 points it needs to reach a perfect "100-percent" score on the CEI scorecard is for it to provide "transgender health benefits"—paying for or subsidizing body-mutilating sex reassignment surgeries as an employee "health" benefit. AFTAH is calling on Americans to urge Wal-Mart to stop promoting homosexuality and gender confusion (transgenderism) with its corporate dollars.
TAKE ACTION: Call Wal-Mart's headquarters at 479-273-4000 or use their Contact Page to politely express your concerns about Wal-Mart "going gay" and turning its back on godly morality and traditional marriage.

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« Reply #88 on: December 27, 2014, 07:26:53 pm »

Europe’s New Gay Cold War

An old new power struggle is underway in Europe. With Russia on one side and the United States and the European Union on the other, the struggle is geopolitical—in Ukraine, violently so. But it is also ideological, a clash of values and cultures at the heart of which is the question of whether societies should integrate or ostracize their LGBTQ citizens. It is Europe’s new gay Cold War.

In countries aligned with the United States and the European Union, the general trend on LGBTQ rights is toward greater equality under the law. In 2014, the United Kingdom (excluding Northern Ireland) became the 10th country in Europe to legalize same-sex marriage, and beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, Luxembourg will be the 11th. In 2013, Croatia, Malta, and Gibraltar made same-sex unions legal. In the coming years, Finland and Estonia will open up legal unions to same-sex couples, while Ireland will hold a referendum on the subject in May 2015.

One of the most admirable aspects of Obama-era foreign policy has been the decision to use American soft power to actively promote LGBTQ rights, including in Europe. Since I frequently meet with LGBTQ rights organizations in Eastern Europe, I have learned that many of them receive financial, logistical, and moral support from U.S. Embassies and NGOs in their countries, as well as from European embassies. Qesh in Kosovo, for example, receives assistance from USAID and the Finnish Embassy.

By contrast, the experience of being queer in Russia today modulates between miserable and brutish. It is illegal, through the legislation on gay “propaganda,” to speak openly of homosexuality in the street or to petition for LGBTQ rights. Gay people are hunted for sport, beaten, and raped—and the government chooses not to respond. The work of LGBTQ organizations is suppressed not only by the propaganda laws but also by legislation on the funding of NGOs, whereby groups involved in “political activity” and in receipt of foreign funding are subject to increased scrutiny from the Russian authorities. Streams of dissent are being choked as foreign media outlets, including CNN, are ceasing to broadcast in Russia, while non-state TV channels are closing.

As Mark Joseph Stern put it so succinctly in these pages, “By putting the government’s stamp of approval on rampant Russian homophobia, [President Vladimir] Putin effectively declared open season on gay people.”

Now Russian anti-gay influence is spreading in Europe. After Russia illegally and illegitimately annexed Crimea, its LGBTQ citizens found themselves subject to the anti-gay propaganda law, and the Pride parade scheduled to take place in Sevastopol this summer was canceled. “Before Russian occupation, it was really complicated to be a gay in Ukraine,” Maxim Kornilov, a 29-year-old resident of Crimea, told NBC News. “Now it's absolutely unbearable.” Moldova adopted an anti-gay propaganda law in 2013 (before overturning it); Kazakhstan and Belarus may be the next nations to adopt one.

Russia’s allies in Europe, particularly in the east, are also those least likely to care for the cause of LGBTQ equality. The counterprotests to this year’s Pride parade in Belgrade, Serbia, were widely covered in the Russian media. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban condemned E.U. sanctions against Russia, and, according to one observer, his increasingly anti-democratic government “has largely succeeded in advancing conservative values, which [tend] to exclude gay people.” In biology classes in Hungarian schools, students are taught that homosexuality is a mental disorder linked to HIV/AIDS, venereal disease, and risky behavior.

“[Putin] had nothing to offer to his former zone of influence,” Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, told BuzzFeed in a 2013 interview. He continued:

So what he’s telling them: “OK, Europe is promising you much more, it’s a better market, they might give you subsidies, they might give you lots of new opportunities and openings. But what you should know is Europe is all about gay rights. If you go to Europe, your family values will be undermined, your traditions will be destroyed. So we as Orthodox unity, we should stick together.”

Russia is indeed able to exercise influence through the Russian Orthodox Church, which claims exclusive jurisdiction over all Orthodox Christians living in the republics of the former Soviet Union. Its churches act as forums for hatred of homosexuality on a weekly basis. And, while it is true that Russia has so far used hard power only in countries on its periphery—notably dismembering Georgia and Ukraine in recent years—it does have some ability to use soft power to influence events in the heart of Europe. Most of the continent, including Germany, is heavily dependent still on imported natural gas, which arrives in pipelines originating in Russia.

Today, the distinction is clear. To align oneself with the United States and the European Union is to accept that one must implement anti-discrimination legislation and protect the rights of minorities—the latter being part both of the Copenhagen Criteria on E.U. membership and the European Convention on Human Rights—and to acquiesce to the use of U.S. money to fund NGOs that promote LGBTQ rights. To avail oneself to Russia as an alternative to U.S. and E.U. influence is to adopt the opposite view and perhaps accept Russian influence on the matter.

This not only goes for nation-states but for political factions, too. All across the continent, anti-European parties on the far right of the political spectrum are drawn to Russia as opponents of U.S. hegemony were pulled into the Soviet orbit during the Cold War. Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, has said that the European Union is an “empire” with “blood on its hands” for the crisis in Ukraine, where Putin was “unnecessarily provoked.” Farage also told GQ that Putin was the world leader he most admired.

The European parties that are most pro-Russian tend also to be anti-gay. UKIP does not support same-sex marriage, while the Front National’s Marine Le Pen took part in the anti-marriage-equality Manif Pour Tous demonstrations that rocked France in 2013. In response to the suicide of anti-gay essayist Dominique Venner—who shot himself at the altar of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral shortly after same-sex marriage was legalized in France—Le Pen said, “All respect to Dominique Venner whose final, eminently political act was to try to wake up the people of France.”

Farage and Le Pen represent two different political streams within the European right—Le Pen is a statist; Farage a libertarian—but their anti-gay, anti-E.U. agenda sits happily with that of Putin and his handmaidens in Europe. It illustrates starkly that the annexation of Crimea, the bloodshed in the towns and battlefields of eastern Ukraine, and the awakening of the consciousnesses of Russian minorities in the Baltic states is only one facet of the ongoing struggle in Europe. Just as important is the culture war, a battle where, mercifully, the United States and the European Union have the upper hand, but LGBTQ Europeans are still caught in the middle.
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« Reply #89 on: January 07, 2015, 04:11:51 pm »

Italy court recognizes child born to gay couple for first time

ROME (Reuters) - An Italian court has for the first time recognized the legal status of a child born to a gay couple in a ruling, made public on Wednesday, that challenges the country's official stance on marriage only being between a man and a woman.

Italy, where the Roman Catholic church still has a great influence on politics, does not allow gay marriage or civil partnerships but in recent months some courts and town councils have begun to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages contracted abroad.

The appeals court in Turin ruled that the birth of the child, conceived by artificial insemination and born in Barcelona to a Spanish and Italian lesbian couple, should be transcribed into the official records of the town where the Italian woman lives.

The ruling gives Italian citizenship to the child, who was born in 2011, and means it can come to Italy to be with the mother, who is now divorced from her Spanish ex-wife.

Same sex marriage is legal in Spain and a Barcelona court gave joint custody to both women.

The Turin court's ruling, which was issued in October but only made public on Wednesday, overturned a 2013 verdict that the birth could not be legally recognized in Italy.

The appeals court said it was acting in the "exclusive interests of the child, who has been brought up by two women which the (Spanish) law each recognizes as its mother."

The names and places of residence of the people in the case were not made public due to the sensitivity of the issue in Italy.
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