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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for December, 2013

Brits can set the date

Timothy Kincaid

December 10th, 2013

Same-sex couples in England and Wales can plan a spring wedding: (BBC)

The first same-sex weddings can take place from 29 March 2014, Equalities Minister Maria Miller says.

Initially it was thought the first same-sex marriage in England and Wales would not take place until the summer.

Marriage goes to the Queen

Timothy Kincaid

July 16th, 2013

Jim already put up the story, but I love the fireworks pictures.

UK Lords pass marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

July 15th, 2013

Bloomberg

The upper, unelected chamber approved the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill without a vote in London today. Some members of the house wore pink carnations to mark the occasion.

The legislation has already been passed by the Commons amid opposition from more than 100 lawmakers from Cameron’s Conservative Party. The bill will now return to the Commons, where amendments introduced by the Lords will be considered. If they’re accepted, the bill will be sent to Queen Elizabeth II for her signature before becoming law.

Lord Jenkin’s theology

Timothy Kincaid

June 6th, 2013

Sometimes you read something that simply must be shared.

Patrick Jenkin is a rather accomplished man from a distinguished family. He served in several positions in the Thatcher Cabinet and has been Baron Jenkin of Roding since 1987.

In the debate in the House of Lords over marriage equality, Lord Jenkin said the following: (PinkNews)

Finally, I return to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leicester. I hope that he will not feel it is unfair if I call him my “old friend”, as indeed he is. I have come to the firm conclusion that there is nothing to fear in gay marriage and that, indeed, it will be a positive good not just for same-gender unions but for the institution of marriage generally. The effect will be to put right at the centre of marriage the concept of a stable, loving relationship. As a practising Christian, perhaps I may make the point to the Bishops’ Benches, including to the most reverend Primate, that there is every reason why, in time, the Anglican Church should come to accept that, although I recognise that it may take some time. The character of love which marriage reflects—that it is faithful, stable, tough, unselfish and unconditional—is the same character that most Christians see in the love of God. Marriage is therefore holy, not because it is ordained by God, but because it reflects that most important central truth of our religion: the love of God for all of us.

This is a very compelling argument for those who value their faith as something more than a mask for their prejudices.

Marriage advances in House of Lords

Timothy Kincaid

June 4th, 2013

By jove, they did it! (telegraph)

After two days of intense debate, peers supported gay marriage by a margin of more than two to one.
There will now be a series of other votes but the clear signal from the proceedings was that the legislation will now pass into law.

The Lords, however, were still a bit concerned.

In a bid to appease religious leaders critical of the Bill, Baroness Stowell, the deputy Tory chief whip in the House of Lords, said that ministers will now consider changes to the legislation to offer churches further protection if they refuse to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies.

It would appear that the quadruple lock is deemed insufficient. Therefore Stowell is contriving and quintuple lock. Should anyone dare even suggest that a church which has not opted in be frowned at for refusing to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies, they will be sent directly to Azkaban.

House of Commons officially passes marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

May 21st, 2013

The House of Commons has now passed the third reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by a vote of 366 to 161.

Altogether 133 Tories opposed the bill, along with 15 Labour MPs, four Lib Dems, eight Democratic Unionists and an independent.

So even after all the hand-wringing and fury about Prime Minister Cameron “betraying” the Conservative Party, less than half of the Tories voted in opposition to the bill.

Now it moves to the House of Lords. Expect some rather wacky statements.

Northern Ireland narrowly rejects equality

Timothy Kincaid

April 29th, 2013

GaySTarNews:

Northern Ireland leaders in the Assembly have narrowly voted against same-sex marriage today (29 April).

Out of the 97 members of the legislative assembly, 47 voted in favor while 51 voted against.

That’s a lot closer than I would have projected. And as Ireland changes its constitution to include equality and as the rest of the United Kingdom enacts civil marriage, soon Northern Ireland will feel the discomfort of fitting nowhere.

British Parliament votes for marriage (second reading)

Timothy Kincaid

February 5th, 2013

NPR

By an overwhelming majority, the British House of Commons passed a bill that legalizes gay marriage. The bill is expected to become law because it is supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.The House passed the bill with a vote of 400 to 175.

After a weekend of threats of revolt from conservative Tories and whining from church leaders, Parliament has soundly supported the change.

Now the bill goes to committee, a third reading, and the House of Lords.

For a recap of the drama: the Times.

“but, but, but we didn’t mean that we wanted you to BAN us from conducting gay weddings”

Timothy Kincaid

December 14th, 2012

Oh what a funny funny state the world is in.

For example, over in the UK, marriage is on the table. And the Anglican Church was wrought up about the sanctity of penis and vagina or some such thing. And how dare, how very dare the government to hint that anything other than penis and vagina could be linked in holy hoohaw.

So the government came of with the perfect solution. They would protect the Anglican Churches with a lock, no a double, scratch that, the government would protect the Anglicans with a “quadruple lock”. They would say that while other churches could opt-in and offer marriage if they so wanted, Anglican churches can’t. Even if William and Kate’s little bundle of joy grows up to be a charming young man who trots off to St. Andrews and falls in love with the Earl of Pudding.

So now they are all in a dither. You see, they didn’t want restrictions on themselves so much. They really just wanted the government to tell the Quakers and Jews what not to do. (Scotsman)

Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan said that the move to outlaw gay marriage in the Church of England and Church in Wales came as a “total shock” when it was announced by equalities minister Maria Miller on Tuesday as part of a “quadruple lock” to protect them from legal challenge.

Dr Morgan said that his church did not want the protection, which has put it in an “enormously difficult position”.

Is the Telegraph’s John Bingham a lying scoundrel or a blithering idiot?

Timothy Kincaid

June 8th, 2012

Bingham: liar or dunce?

John Bingham, the Social and Religious Affairs Editor on the Daily Telegraph, is either shamelessly lying in promotion of his opposition to equality in Britain or he is the biggest dunce to ever grace the pages of that newspaper. Bingham, without a moment’s hesitation repeated the “conclusions” of a “poll of homosexual people” paid for by Catholic Voices in order to bolster their claim that civil partnerships are enough and that the nation should not allow gay people equality.

The first poll of its kind in Britain also found that only a minority of gay people believe redefining marriage should be a “priority” and only half said that having the opportunity to marry was important to them personally.

By now our readers are well familiar with the difference between a poll that seeks to find out how the populace feels about a subject and a “poll” which uses loaded language, confusing questions, and a series of statements and prior questions in order to get a completely false and unrepresentative “conclusion” that can be used deceptively for public relations purposes. Clearly, Bingham is not a reader.

ComRes does not easily provide the methods used for sampling. The one item we do know is that their survey of “homosexual people” excluded “heterosexuals” and “refuse to answer” but includes the categories “gay/lesbian” and “bisexual” and “other” (ah, good old “other”). And considering that this is a candidate for (if not the very) worst example of a loaded poll that I’ve reviewed, I think it is far more likely than not that it too was rigged. [Update: it was an “online survey”, a polling method a step or two higher than “asking my friends and family”]

Here were the questions. Yes, you will laugh. Yes, you will find yourself muttering, “God, Bingham is a dunce not to see through this!”

    Does each of the following apply to you or not?

  • I am in a Civil Partnership
  • I am not in a Civil Partnership but would seriously consider it
  • I do not ever intend to be in a Civil Partnership
  • I would get married to my partner if the law permitted it

Each category allows for “applies”, “does not apply”, and “don’t know”. So a person in a Civil Partnership might answer yes or no to marriage, but the deliberately ambiguous language encourages a “doesn’t apply” response from those who strongly support marriage, but are currently partnerless.

    Does each of the following apply to you or not?

  • I am against marriage as an institution
  • I support marriage as an institution but only between a man and a woman
  • It is important to me that marriage is extended to same-sex couples
  • Insisting that Civil Partnership and marriage remain separate and distinct worsens public attitudes towards gay people

Again, it encourages those who oppose marriage as an institution to say that it is unimportant that marriage be extended to same-sex couples – a number that the Catholic Deceivers wanted to be as low as possible.

But now on to the question that qualifies this as a serious contender for “worst poll ever”. I mean even Maggie Gallagher wouldn’t put out this poll – and that’s really saying something.

    Do you agree or disagree with these statements?

  • David Cameron is only trying to extend marriage to LGBT people to make his Party look more compassionate rather than because of his convictions
  • Generally speaking the best environment for children is to be raised by their own father and mother in a loving relationship
  • Marriage is more about love between two people than it is about rearing and raising children
  • I think redefining marriage is a priority for gay people
  • True marriage equality would mean that same-sex couples could marry in places of worship as well as in civil locations
  • Faith groups should be forced to allow gay weddings in places of worship
  • There is no need to change the law on marriage because Civil Partnerships give all the same rights as marriage

How do you even answer this bullsh!t? Now do you think that “redefining marriage” is a “priority” for gay people? I don’t, so I would “disagree”. But then again I’ve never met a gay person who wanted to redefine marriage at all, though I know plenty who very much want to join the institution just as it is – except without discriminatory entrance requirements.

But absent a question that actually makes sense and reflects the views of the people being questioned, 39% “agreed”. I don’t even know what that means. But John Bingham thinks it means something so he parroted what the Catholic Deceivers fed him.

And look at the loaded “Faith groups should be forced to allow gay weddings in places of worship”. Obviously “forced” is thrown in there to make martyrs of the Catholic Deceivers. Say “no” to forcing and you don’t support marriage. Say “yes” to forcing and you hate religion and are tying to impose your will on people of faith.

But even beyond that, it’s vague and meaningless. Does that mean their places of worship? I would say, “no, Catholics should not be forced to allow gay weddings in Catholic Churches.” But that isn’t the issue in Britain. Rather, Catholics are trying to deny gay people the ability to marry in any places of worship, even those who are petitioning the government to allow them the religious freedom of conducting marriages in their own churches. So I could say “yes, Catholics should not be allowed to block gay weddings in churches that are none of their business”.

And after all of that confusion and nonsense and deception and intentionally vague wording, we come to the question that they are trying to drive: Do you agree or disagree that “There is no need to change the law on marriage because Civil Partnerships give all the same rights as marriage.”

Huh? I’m hearing double negatives so could you repeat the question?

And joy of all joys, they got 26% of respondents to say that they agreed. Yeah, mostly older and mostly rural, but hey they managed to get some positive response to that.

Which brings them to what they surely saw as the icing on the cake. Get ready to laugh. This is the question that would have led any responsible newspaper to say, “I’m sorry, we don’t print bullsh!t here.”

    Do you agree or disagree with these statements?

  • I’m glad I was raised by both a mother and a father because it means I can relate to both sexes

Really? Could they be more obvious? And what on earth does that have to do with the decision to support marriage rather than civil partnerships?

Okay, at least they didn’t follow it up with, “And why do you hate your Mum and Dad?” But to the credit of British gays, only 37% fell to the temptation to support Mum and Dad. So that question slipped out of the article somehow.

But while championing the completely bogus numbers in this completely bogus poll would have been dishonest, they went for the big lie. And having the mental competency of the average church mouse (or having not one smidgen of personal integrity), Bingham went along for the ride.

Looking at results for this ludicrous nonsense, Bingham announces

The poll suggests that support for changing the law to redefine marriage among the homosexual community could be more lukewarm than previously thought.

Or it suggests that Catholic Deceivers are a bunch or liars and you are a complete fool. I’m betting on the latter.

Welcome back proposal

Timothy Kincaid

April 27th, 2012

A few days ago Pendleton Air Force Marine Base in San Diego was the site of another first (LGBT Weekly):

Finally, luggage in tow, Guerrero emerged with a smile on his face. Upon seeing Huston, Guerrero dropped his bags; aimed a kiss toward Huston’s lips; and opened his arms to his boyfriends waiting embrace. The time and distance of 10 months’ separation evaporated in a public show of affection that less than a year ago would have been cause for court martial. After a few minutes of emotional holding and kissing, Huston went anxiously down on one knee; looked up at Guerrero, who was dressed from head to toe in military fatigues; and produced an engagement ring and the time-honored phrase, “Will you marry me?”

Huston’s mild tremble, a result of hours and days of anticipation about this day, was quickly quieted by the one word every hopeful fiancé wants to hear: “Yes.”

Meanwhile, across the pond, the Brits are debating whether to adopt Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to replace civil unions with full legal equality for same-sex couples. This ad is one piece in the campaign. (tissue warning)

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UK lifts blood ban

Timothy Kincaid

November 7th, 2011

As in the United States and much of the world, in the 1980’s the United Kingdom implemented a ban on blood donations by gay men. The UK Department of Health has now revised the ban to reflect the changes in blood analysis and knowledge about HIV that have occurred since that time. (herald)

.. following a review by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (Sabto), men who have not had homosexual sex within a year will be able to donate if they meet certain other criteria. The move will be implemented in England, Scotland and Wales.

Men who have had anal or oral sex with another man in the past 12 months, with or without a condom, will still not be eligible to donate blood, the DoH said. They said this was to reduce the risk of infections being missed by testing and then being passed on to a patient.

Health officials agree that this policy change will not measurably increase risk of HIV contaminated blood.

However, over the objections of the Red Cross and other health officials, the United States continues to base its blood donation policies on fear and prejudice rather than science.

Because…

Timothy Kincaid

October 5th, 2011

In our era of identity politics in which positions are often based less on principle than on who else believes it, I find myself marveling at the contortions that folks go through to justify their views. Small government libertarians who find justification for federal intervention into state marriage policy, civil rights activists who argue for excluding rights based on attributes, advocates for religious freedom who propose imposing their moral code on others, champions of tolerance who berate those who dare be of a differing political identity, foes of racism, sexism, and heterosexism who hold conferences with strict race-, sex-, and orientation-based criteria for participation, and defenders of diversity who only know people identical to themselves in all possible relevant ways.

But perhaps the most ironic (and entrenched) identity-based paradox is that of conservative traditionalists who oppose gay marriage. Of all possible expectations that a society can place on its gay citizens (other than the flippant “don’t be gay”), nothing is more traditional or conservative than marriage. Marriage is conformist, often religious, steeped in expectation, bound by socially enforced rules, and – as conservatives are quick to remind us – the bedrock of society, the most basic form of social unit, and an inculcator of values, traditions, and notions about family. Marriage is the smallest of small government. It is the place where a balanced budget is unquestioned, where “spend less” is a shared goal, where “family values” is literal and the only “special rights” are the ones you choose. In a logical world, conservatives would not only support gay marriage, they’d insist on it.

Absent the peculiarities of Social War alliances and doctrinal demands, the natural response of the conservative would be, “Stop all this running around and grow up already. Find someone decent, settle down, get married, and start contributing to society for once, you hippie!” Okay, maybe not the hippie reference, but you know what I mean.

As does the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, David Cameron.

“I once stood before a Conservative conference and said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and another man,” he said.

“You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage. And to anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.

“So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.”

A man and a man on Mann

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2011

Congrats to the residents of the Isle of Man. (BBC)

Gay couples on the Isle of Man will get the right to a civil partnership after a new law was signed in Tynwald, the island’s parliament.

It gives them the same rights as married couples regarding inheritance, pensions and tax allowances.

Which brings the British Crown Dependency into alignment with the UK.

Britain cracks down on freedom of speech

A Commentary

Timothy Kincaid

January 27th, 2011

Two men in the UK are being prosecuted for distributing leaflets that violate the law forbidding the incitement hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. (Independent)

The men charged were named last night as Razwan Javed, 30, and Kabir Ahmed, 27. They are accused of handing out a leaflet entitled “The Death Penalty?” in Derby.

The leaflets, which were also pushed through letterboxes, are understood to have called for homosexuals to be executed.

What does this accomplish? Who wins when speech is stifled? Certainly not our community, who now appear to be intolerant of religious view. Certainly not Muslims, who now are cast as murderous. Certainly not people of good will, who now have to take sides and play the which-minority-do-we-support game.

I think it far wiser to allow haters to say outrageous things and then use that as an opportunity for dialogue and interaction. Give Muslim clerics in the UK the opportunity to side with the gay community through public discourse, rather than force them to take a ‘religious freedom’ position that calls for the death penalty.

I know that other cultures have other values, but I am glad that the US values freedom of speech over freedom not to be insulted.

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