How Children Could Help Win The Fight For Gay Marriage

 | Huffington Post | April 13, 2013

Braiden Neubecker was sitting on the bed and her dad was shaving at the sink as the president made his historic remarks about gay marriage during his second inaugural address.

President Barack Obama talked about “our gay brothers and sisters,” and declared “if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

In the kitchen after the address with her dads, David and Lee Neubecker, Braiden, who is 10, had a question.

“Aren’t you guys married?” she asked, confused.

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Antonin Scalia’s anti-gay words are poison; so I confronted him

Duncan Hosie | LA Times | April 14, 2013

It seems these days as if everyone is speculating about how Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will approach the two same-sex marriage cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. But I haven’t heard anyone wondering which side Antonin Scalia will be on. He has made his views on gay relationships painfully clear.

In December, Scalia spoke at Princeton University, where I am a freshman, and I asked him about language he used in past decisions involving gay rights — language that I, as a gay man, found extraordinarily offensive.

In my question, I quoted from two of Scalia’s opinions (both of them dissents). One passage came from the case of Romer vs. Evans, which involved a Colorado statute banning laws that recognized gay people as a protected class. Scalia wrote: “I had thought that one could consider certain conduct reprehensible — murder, for example, or polygamy, or cruelty to animals — and could exhibit even ‘animus’ toward such conduct. Surely that is the only sort of ‘animus’ at issue here: moral disapproval of homosexual conduct.”

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Zambia: Lawmakers seek to ban ‘homosexuality’ and ‘lesbianism’ in new constitution

 |  | April 15, 2013

Lawmakers in Zambia are pushing ahead with plans to further ban same-sex activity in the country’s new constitution, which is currently being drafted.

Same-sex sexual activity is already illegal in Zambia for both males and females.

Those convicted can face up to 14 years’ imprisonment.

Zambia Reports the National Constitution Convention has recommended that “homosexuality” and “lesbianism” should be included in a list of “abominable practices”.

At the same time, Zambian politicians are debating protecting citizens from discrimination on the grounds of “birth, race, sex, origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language, pregnancy, health, marital, ethnic, tribal, social or economic status”.

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Christian Minister: Many American Christian Leaders Are Authoritarian Bullies

Rev. Howard Bess | Consortium News | AlterNet | April 14, 2013

Bullying is now a major reason that American teenagers give for skipping school and eventually dropping out of high school. Students get bullied over race, sexual orientation, clothes, looks, handicaps, intelligence and economic class.

Yet, where can we find a voice of sanity that will publicly call for a halt in the practice of bullying? It is not the Christian churches. Indeed, many Christian pastors and fundamentalists practice the art of bullying themselves, demanding obedience to holy books and creeds.

I cringe every time I hear preachers and devout Christians declare “The Bible says…” Rarely do they identify the author or the circumstance of the passage to which they refer. “The Bible says…”is the sledge hammer of Protestant Christianity.

The message is all too plain: Get in line or you are headed for punishment, rejection or even Hell. It is the ultimate bullying tool because it is difficult for a parishioner to out-gun a holy god who has spoken with finality and without error. Dynamic and authoritarian preachers are especially good at Bible rhetoric that is calculated intimidation. Preachers may be the most skilled persons in our society in the practice of bullying.

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Explosions At The Boston Marathon

Igor Volsky | Think Progress | April 15, 2013

Two bombs — in two different locations — detonated next to the Boston Marathon finish line this afternoon, about three hours after the winners crossed the line. Google has established a person finder for the incident here.

The Boston Police Department estimates that two explosions, possibly detonated by a remote device, occurred at around 2:50 PM, injuring at least 100 people and killing two, including an 8-year-old. Police say no suspects are in custody, though they are “questioning many people.”

Some pictures from the scene:

The New York Times has a rough map of where the explosions took place:

While the official cause of the explosion is unknown, law enforcement officials tell NBC News that small homemade bombs may be responsible and CBS News is reporting that “police have surveillance video of someone bringing multiple backpacks into area 20 minutes or so before explosions.”

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Idaho Transgender Woman Charged With Trespassing For Using Grocery Store Restroom

Zack Ford | Think Progress | April 15, 2013

An Idaho Rosauers grocery store has filed trespassing charges against transgender woman Ally Robledo, banning her from ever shopping there. Her violation, according to Lewiston, Idaho Police Captain Roger Lanier, was “urinating while standing up”:

LANIER: The store security officer said he had been dealing with a problem over a couple days with the person going into the women’s restroom and urinating while standing up. […] A male subject who was using the female restroom, and that made some women customers uncomfortable because of the appearance that a male was using their restroom.

The store employees didn’t want any further problems, and they chose to exercise their right to trespass this individual from the business. Anyone who owns or controls their property can make that decision.

Indeed, Idaho is one of 37 states that does not offer nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity in public accommodations, and state law entitles the owner of a property to deny access to anybody.

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Why Tea Party hypocrites should fully support marriage equality

| Forward Progressives | April 15, 2013

Over and over again, parsed with the “Obama’s a fascist Kenyan Muslim” mantra, you’ll hear Tea Party folks say how they want government out of their lives. I agree, not on the Obama part of course, but on limiting government interference in people’s lives. I’ve often said that the role of government is to protect people from each other, not from themselves.

Sadly, the majority of the people complaining about “Big Government” are hypocrites. There are some who actually do stay ideologically consistent–they tend to be reasonable members of the Libertarian mindset–but they’re about as hard to find as Michele Bachmann riding a unicorn in the ever-shrinking pseudo-grassroots movement known as the Tea Party.

No matter what your feelings are on gay marriage or what your religious convictions are, there’s still the 1st Amendment which separates the state from the church, and the 14th Amendment which states all individuals are equal under the law. You cannot call yourself a strict Constitutionalist, yet cherrypick which parts of it you want to follow in the same way you do your religious texts. You cannot rail about the importance of your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment (which seems to be the only one conservatives talk about) but then talk about repealing other amendments in the Constitution.

Here’s the deal…you don’t have to support marriage equality, just as I don’t think you need to have an arsenal rivaled only by the local National Guard armory. Yet, you cannot demand rights for yourself under the Constitution while actively working to deny other people’s rights under the law. That’s not how the Constitution was intended, and you know it.

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The Myth of the Constitutional Republican

| Forward Progressive | April 15, 2013

I’ve said for a while now that Republicans really don’t love our Constitution, they only love what they wished it was.

It’s not uncommon to hear Republicans proudly boast about their resolve to protect the “Constitutional” way of life, but based on what?

They’ve shown time and time again that they have no issues supporting measures that either have proven to be unconstitutional or seek to infringe upon rights that have been ruled Constitutional.

The following are just a few examples:

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UN chief Ban Ki-moon to lead global campaign for gay rights

Tris Reid-Smith | Gay Star News | April 16, 2013

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he will lead a campaign for LGBT rights and pressurise governments on the issues.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has promised to lead a global campaign for LGBT rights.

And he has told governments around the world that they have a ‘legal duty’ to protect gay and trans people and that ‘culture, tradition or religion’ could not be used as an excuse for failing to do so.

His comments in a video message to the Oslo Conference on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity yesterday (15 April) were not his first remarks on sexual orientation or gender identity – but were the strongest-worded.

The head of the UN has previously called the criminalization of homosexuality ‘an outrage’ inherited from ‘former colonial powers’, saying the laws ‘must go’.

Some of the same language is reflected in his address to the Oslo delegates

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Vietnam’s Ministry of Health recommends gay marriage is legalized without delay

Anna Leach | Gay Star News | April 16, 2013

Vietnam's deputy health minister Nguyen Viet Tien

Vietnam’s deputy health minister is expected recommend that gay marriage be legalized during a speech reviewing marriage and family law today.Nguyen Viet Tien will deliver the speech in Hanoi today, Thanh Nien News reports. He will say that gay people have the same rights as everyone else to love, be loved and marry.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice began consulting on gay marriage last July, but Gay Star News revealed in February that a vote on the matter was likely to be delayed until 2014.

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