Boehner support gay GOP candidates
December 5th, 2013
Sometimes the extra-special brand of crazy right-wing nutcases are useful. Like, for example, Virginia Representative Randy Forbes. (Politico)
Forbes has waged a lengthy crusade to convince his colleagues and the National Republican Congressional Committee brass they shouldn’t back some gay candidates. His efforts on Capitol Hill were described to POLITICO by more than a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of the talks.
Republican leadership is only in the infancy stage of wooing gay voters, but they recognize that to be a viable party in the future they need to shed the anti-gay rhetoric and ideology (among other positions). And they have taken steps, including putting party support behind a handful of gay GOP candidates.
Yet they also recognize that this will not sit well with a segment of their constituency, so they are not trumpeting their support of gay candidates on a broad scale. However, Forbes’ obnoxious hate-filled grandstanding forced the hand of leadership.
On Thursday, following POLITICO’S report, Speaker John Boehner said his party should support gay Republican congressional candidates.
Many Republicans seem willing to back DeMaio. Rep. Darrell Issa, a senior California Republican who has endorsed him, said that “he will be supported by the NRCC when he wins the primary.”
“I will see to that,” said Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Asked about Speaker John Boehner’s policy toward gay candidates, an aide pointed to several contributions the Ohio Republican made to Tisei during the past election cycle. Boehner also visited Boston to raise money for Tisei during the summer of 2012.
This is, of course, no indication that the party as a whole is supportive of gay issues or that it is going to become so overnight. It does, however, suggest that the leadership now recognizes that it can no longer be associated with blatant bigotry and it sends a signal that the power of the far right within the party may be waning.
Congregations find each other
December 4th, 2013
There’s an interesting story out of Minnesota about a pastor of a predominantly African American church who lost most of his congregation after voting for recognition of marriage equality in the United Church of Christ denomination. (Star Tribune)
[Oliver] White’s struggling, nearly 20-year-old congregation saw its situation worsen in 2005 when he voted with a majority of delegates in favor of a resolution supporting gay marriage at a national UCC assembly. His vote didn’t go over well with most of the 320 Grace Community members, White said. Membership dropped to nearly 100, he says.
Last July, the church White led for 22 years — Grace United Community Church of Christ in St. Paul — closed its doors after two thirds of the congregation left because White voiced his support for same-sex marriage.
For more than a year and without much success, White searched for a place for his remaining members to worship. Then, he called Clark Memorial United Church of Christ in South St. Paul –where the older, shrinking congregation was looking for ways to save its building.
“She said, ‘We need you and you need us. Quid pro quo,’” White recalled. “I said, ‘They got a building and I got a young congregation. Maybe this could work.’”
White’s predominantly black congregation, Grace Community, now worships alongside the mostly white members of Clark Memorial Church in South St. Paul in an unusual partnership that grew out of both congregations’ advocacy for gay rights.
“I have to scratch my head and wonder, ‘Oliver, what are you doing there?’ ” said White, 71, during a recent interview. “Then I come to realize, we’re all people and if I can be an advocate for the LGBT community, then why can’t I be an advocate for bringing people together in one accord, which is what I’m trying to do.”
I’m sure the very different worship traditions are new and challenging to both congregations, but also probably quite exciting.
Filipino President ambivalent about marriage
December 4th, 2013
Filipino President Benigno Aquino remains uncommitted on the issue of marriage equality: (Rappler)
“One side of me says human rights are supposed to be universal. On the other hand, if we go into gay marriages, then of course the next step will be adoption and I don’t know if… I still have to look at it from the child’s perspective,” he said. “Is that something that is desirable in an environment for a child?”
Aquino also questioned whether it would affect the children in “understanding the world” or if it would “induce more confusion.”
His stance is the same as his original opinion from two years ago.
This could be a reflection of the position of the nation. The Philippines is heavily Catholic and (ironically) history suggests that such demographics open opportunities for marriage equality advancement.
Israel moves closer to couple recognition
December 4th, 2013
On Sunday morning the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs authorized a new bill which attempts to mend the Income Tax Act and grant same-sex couples with children the same tax exemptions enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts.
“We are talking about tens of thousands of shekels given to the parents of children under 18, sums which were prevented from same-sex parents,” said MK Adi Kol (Yesh Atid) who proposed the bill.
In addition there are proposed bills that would allow secular marriage, including same-sex marriage. Currently in Israel all marriages are distinctly religious and are under the auspices of religious bodies, mostly Orthodox Judaism. Secular and other marriages that would not be allowed to be conducted in Israel are nevertheless recognized by the state.
Giving a boost to the movement is the endorsement of President Shimon Peres
In an interview with Ynet on Sunday while in Mexico’s Guadalajara, Peres said that “even a person who is a homosexual is a human being, and he has rights. We have no power to take away (their) rights.”
Peres added: “We cannot take away someone’s rights because they are different. We cannot take away their right to breathe, right to eat or right to start a family. We must allow everyone to live as is natural to them.”
Christians Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Marry Because Christians Aren’t Monogamous
December 3rd, 2013
There’s a new dating site making a big splash: CristianSwingers.com:
The web site is here to help you to:
Meet Local Christian Swingers Who Believe That an Open & Honest Relationship With Each Other Will Keep Any Marriage Fresh and Exciting. Click To Get Started!
The site explains:
For Christian Swingers things are not easy – often other religious people judge you, out of ignorance or envy, telling you that your lifestyle and love practices are wrong. But the Bible teaches us ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’ and there’s that verse about the first stone… but if you’re keen on keeping your privacy, well – yours, and don’t want your friends, coworkers, other PTA members or just about anyone else to know that you don’t have a problem with faith and enjoying free love with other couples, this sitecan help you! It’s designed to cater to the needs of those like you: devout Christian couples who still want to have an active love life and share it with another, in good faith!
Michael Glatze marries
December 2nd, 2013
On October 26th, ex-gay writer Michael Glatze and his lovely wife Rebekah were married under the canopy of trees in a riverside park. The bride wore a gown and veil; the groom wore khakis.
I am of two minds in writing this. One the one hand, Michael Glatze has presented himself as being on “the other side” of homosexuality and as having been “healed”. His marriage is very likely going to be used by him as an evidence of his testimony. Commenting is fair game.
On the other hand, Glatze’s history of religious confusion and his bizarre racist and sexist writing suggest that he may well be suffering from mental health issues. Discussing his marriage feels a bit cruel.
I don’t know anything about his new wife Rebekah, but I wish them both much wedded bliss. I hope Glatze finds true happiness in his marriage.
However, Glatze’s writing in May of this year suggest that Michael Glatze is not fully reconciled with his chosen sexual identity and that Rebekah may find her new life trying. Glatze’s hypothesis is that homosexuality is a perversion of the spiritual union that should be between man and God. (WND)
Thus, since God is male and His creation – man – is male, the appropriate relationship (under the Headship of Christ) is to be satisfied in spiritual union with God. That is why Paul, in 1 Corinthians 6, says we have “become one spirit” with God. And, it is also why Paul describes, in Romans 1, the pattern of degradation that takes place when men turn from God. Ultimately, it results in homosexuality, because the man – seeking for a spiritual fellowship with God – positions himself either as a “god” for another man, or in the position of worshiping another man as “god.”
And with God as Glatze’s spiritual male lover, there may not be much room for Rebekah. And, to the extent there is, it will not be an equal union.
Men lead society, and women follow. What men elect to do will have an effect on the responses of women. That, also, is the natural order of things…
This simply does not have the hallmark of something that will end well.
Croatia bans gay marriage
December 1st, 2013
In an entirely expected move, the citizens of Croatia have voted to deny civil equality to their gay neighbors and relatives. (Guardian)
A majority of Croatians have voted in a referendum to ban gay marriages in what is a major victory for the Catholic Church-backed conservatives in the European Union’s newest nation.
The state electoral commission, citing initial results, said 65% of those who voted answered “yes” to the referendum question: “Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?” About 34% voted against.
Russia allows foreign adoption only by Italians
November 30th, 2013
It appears that the Russian government’s children’s rights minister, Pavel Astakhov, has determined that Italy is the only nation that meets Russia’s qualifications to allow Russian children to be adopted. (rbth)
“It turns out that Italy is currently the only country whose citizens are able to adopt Russian children because, first of all, this country refused to recognize same-sex marriage, which, for its part, does not require Russia to change the existing agreement, and, secondly, they [the Italians] abide by the terms of this treaty. That is all,” Astakhov said.
Russian legislators recently banned heterosexual parents living in countries where same-sex marriage is legal from adopting their precious baby Russians. This appears to be expanded, de facto, to any nation that offers any measure of equality or dignity to their gay citizens. Italy does not.
But if Russian children go without families, don’t point at them.
“It is not our fault. You [foreign partners] should work harder if you want international adoption to continue. Our priorities differ from yours. We generally prioritize the adoption of children inside the country,” he said.
Although this sounds too wacky to be anything but a spoof, it comes from Russia Beyond the Headlines, a Russian state-owned newspaper.
COE working group proposes blessing same-sex couples
November 29th, 2013
The Church of England, fresh off a political campaign in which they sealed their inability to sanctify same-sex marriages, is now going to consider blessing the same unions they fought so hard not to officiate. (Mail)
Bishops should lift their official ban on ceremonies to mark civil partnerships and the relationships of gay and lesbian churchgoers, a long-awaited CofE report said.
It signalled an end to the Church’s longstanding insistence that gay relationships are sinful and less worthy than heterosexual marriage.
The report, written by former civil servant Sir Joseph Pilling and a team of senior churchmen and women, may now open the way for a reversal of the CofE’s opposition to same-sex marriage and the eventual appointment of actively homosexual priests and bishops.
The report appears to have the support of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and may reflect the intent of the church to bring it’s rules in line with the reality that such blessings are already widely conducted.
November 28th, 2013
November 27th, 2013
Correction to Greek ‘straights only’ domestic partners proposed
November 26th, 2013
Earlier this month we reported that Greece had been found guilty of discrimination for their domestic partnership registry which explicitly excludes same-sex couples. Now changes have been proposed. (Greek Reporter)
Dimokratiki Aristera (DIMAR), submitted an amendment to Parliament, which brings changes in Law 3719/2008 regarding the cohabitation agreement aimed to stop the discrimination against couples of the same-sex.
The amendment was submitted in the draft law of the Ministry of Justice “Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of the General Assembly of the United Nations.”
DIMAR holds about 5% of the votes in Parliament.
Kentucky jury fines gay couple for protesting in marriage office
November 26th, 2013
In January of this year, Rev. Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard and Dominique James went down to the Jefferson County Clerk’s office (Kentucky) to request a marriage license. When they were denied, they refused to leave until such time as their civil rights were honored.
At the end of the day they were arrested for trespass.
Today a jury found them guilty and levied a fine. (Courier-Journal)
A Jefferson County jury Tuesday convicted a gay couple of trespassing for refusing to leave the county clerk’s office after they were denied a marriage license — fining them a penny for their crime.
HIV Greek infection rumors and nonsense
November 26th, 2013
H.I.V. rates and heroin use have risen significantly, with about half of new H.I.V. infections being self-inflicted to enable people to receive benefits of €700 per month and faster admission on to drug substitution programs
So declared the World Health Organization about HIV infections in Greece.
And so trumpeted social conservatives, including radio personality Rush Limbaugh, who declared it to be an evidence of “what the welfare state does to people”.
What it really illustrates is how leaving out a few words, followed by shoddy review, and based on third hand sources can result in meaningless reporting.
The report intended to say
H.I.V. rates and heroin use have risen significantly, with about half of new H.I.V. infections being due to needle injection, some of which is deliberate self-infection to enable people to receive benefits of €700 per month and faster admission on to drug substitution programs
And even that isn’t really supported by evidence. Rather, the WHO report was relying on a Lancet report from Greece, which itself only reported a “well-founded suspicion that some problem users are intentionally infected with H.I.V., because of the benefit they are entitled to”.
They didn’t actually find a single verified anecdote of anyone deliberately self-infecting. Much like there didn’t ever seem to be any actual cases of real “bug chasers” that were the darlings of anti-gay activists a few years back.
But you know that now that it’s been said, the notion of half of the HIV cases in Greece being deliberate self infection will linger out there in the public subconsious.
Federal Court orders Illinois To Issue Early Marriage License for Lesbian Couple
November 26th, 2013
A Federal District Court took the unusual step in ordering the state of Illinois to issue a marriage license to a lesbian couple, one of whom is terminally ill, so the couple can marry without waiting until marriage equality becomes legal there in June of next year. U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin signed a temporary restraining order yesterday ordering Cook County Clerk David Orr to gant a marriage license to Vernita Gray, 64, and Patricia Ewert, 65:
Even though the Cook County couple entered into a civil union in 2011, Gray and Ewert wish to marry in Illinois before Gray passes away. Erik Roldon, a spokesperson for Lambda Legal, said now that the couple has the temporary restraining order, they could marry as soon as Wednesday.
In a statement, Gray expressed tremendous joy that she’d finally be able to marry her long-time partner in their home state.
“I have two cancers, bone and brain and I just had chemo today — I am so happy to get this news,” Gray said. “I’m excited to be able to marry and take care of Pat, my partner and my family, should I pass.”
Doctors say Gray may have only weeks to live. This is believed to be the first time that a federal judge has ordered a state to provide a marriage license to a same-sex couple. Last July, a federal judge in Cincinnati ordered the state of Ohio to recognize the marriage of a gay couple who married in Maryland, one of whom was terminally ill with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He passed away
Moscow Gay Club Targeted in Gas Attack
November 25th, 2013
Central Station, a popular Moscow gay club, sustained what was described as a “gas attack” Saturday night.
In the night of November, 23 a well-known Moscow gay club “Central Station” was again under attack. Unknown malefactors sprayed some harmful gas inside the club among about 500 attendees. Several people sought medical attention but refused to go to a hospital.
The club staff immediately turned on a smoke removal machine which eliminated the gas from the premises in a couple of minutes, LifeNews reports.
“Today is the fourth provocation against the club arranged by unknown persons. We believe that they are connected with the building owner”, says Andrey Leschinsky, the club general director. “They are spaying the gas inside the club premises, thereby trying to express their extremist views against LGBT community, which likes to visit our club”.
On the previous Saturday, security cameras caught two men harassing patrons outside Central Station, and then shot at the club’s exterior when security refused their admission. No one was injured. Police have not made any arrests in either incident.
And look who showed up
November 21st, 2013
While most protest to the marriage bill was celebrating an exorcism, the Chicago Police cordoned off a space in front of the UIC Forum – where the signing ceremony was being held – for protest, should anyone wish to do so. And look who showed up, our old buddy Peter LaBarbera, the head of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality.
Poor, poor Peter. He looks a bit lonely.
(photo shamelessly stolen from Joe.My.God)
Stolam mea est pulchellus
November 21st, 2013
While the marriage bill was being signed, those who oppose equality as being contrary to the procreative purpose of marriage met in Springfield at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to join celibate Bishop Thomas Paprocki for a rather unusual response: an exorcism.
Speaking in a language that has for 1,000 years been spoken only by those who vow not to marry, Paprocki commanded that “every unclean sprit, every power of darkness, every incursion of the infernal enemy, every diabolical legion, cohort and faction” be gone.
But evidence suggests that the command may not have been effective as he himself did not immediately disappear in a puff of purple smoke
Congratulations, Orlando Cruz
November 18th, 2013
Gay Puerto Rican boxer Orlando “El Fenómeno” Cruz on Nov. 16 married his boyfriend, José Manuel Colón, in New York’s Central Park.
The Mojo is Gone
November 18th, 2013
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I haven’t been blogging lately. Last week our family has suffered a terrible tragedy. Twister, our half-beagle/half something similar, was bitten by a rattlesnake on Monday. We took him to the veterinary emergency room and was given a vial of antivenom. Typically, under these circumstances the prognosis is good and he improved Tuesday morning, but then stalled out by Tuesday night — not improving, not deteriorating dramatically, although his platelet count was slowly declining. We gave him another vial of antivenom late Tuesday night.
The vet’s main concern was actually that he wasn’t eating. So on Wednesday morning I laid in the floor with him and was able to coax him to eat about three-fourths of his breakfast, which the vet was very happy to see. His platelets were still unstable, but his coagulation, while not back in the normal range, wasn’t deteriorating.
At 5:00 on Wednesday — this would be soon after I quickly posted about Hawaii’s marriage news — I talked with the vet over the phone and her main worry still was that he wasn’t eating and that his numbers weren’t improving. Getting him to eat seemed to be the key. She agreed that it would be a good idea of we brought him home where I was sure Chris and I could get him to eat. She would give us pain meds and a list of things to watch for and if there were problems we could still take him to the emergency room again. But in the hour it took to get there — we stopped at Walgreens on the way to stock up on supplies — Twister took a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse. The vet met us and said that his heart was damaged and giving out. We asked to be with him, and she said she’d bring him to the visiting room so we could spend as much time with him as we wanted. But not even a minute later she returned to say that he was too unstable to move.
So we went back to the intensive care area and said our goodbyes. At first, I thought Twister was unconscious, but at one point he raised his head and saw us, and knew we were there, he then lowered his head and closed his eyes. We pet him and told him we loved him. It was clear that he didn’t have much time at all. We gave the signal and he was gone.
Chris and I are absolutely devastated. We had gone to the vet expecting to bring him home — I had already made arrangements to take the next day off thinking that I’d be taking care of him — but that just wasn’t in the cards. I find myself in shock over the tragedy, and surprised by how much grief we are experiencing. I know that people without children often treat their pets like substitute kids, but I always thought that we were smarter than that. I never once thought of Twister as a substitute child, nor do I want to in any way compare our grief to that of a parent’s. But somehow it happened: Twister was deeply loved and now he is gone and Chris and I are really having a very hard time right now. I have to go back to my father’s death when I was 22 to recall a grief this massive and dark.
All of this is to say that I don’t know how much blogging I’ll be doing for a while. I’ll keep the Agendas going, but beyond that I’m not sure when I’ll return. I will be back, but I just can’t say when.