Stonewall, Gay “Liberation” and the Supremes

 | LA Progressive | June 29, 2013

orty-four years ago almost to the day, the first Stonewall riots happened. Stonewall was a NYC bar frequented by the most disenfranchised of the gay (although that word was not in common use yet) community – drag queens, transgendered, homeless youth. The bar was raided, the patrons rousted and then rioted.  They may not have shouted “We’re not going to take it anymore,” but that was the effect and things started to change. Slowly.

A few months later, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I worked for the decidedly left-wing Old Mole newspaper, I met a young man named Stan. Stan was promoting a new organization, Gay Liberation.


Since this was the time of women’s liberation, with its consciousness raising groups, marches and protests (our group had recently taken a stand with Gloria Steinem against the dress code in the stuff Ritz Carlton Hotel, among other more substantive measures including a march to “seize” a building from Harvard and turn it into a women’s building). I was all over that.  “Gay Liberation!” I enthused to my fellow journalists. “We have to write about it.”

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Half a million people to march in Paris gay pride parade

Jean Paul Zapata | Gay Star News | June 29, 2013

Today over 500,000 people are expected to attend the first gay pride parade since same-sex marriage was legalized 29 May.

Given the history of violence that has come with many Paris anti-gay demonstrations in recent months, Paris pride organizers are bracing for thousands of anti-gay protestors at today’s gay pride parade.

‘This will be the most massive and festive protests in years,’ said Nicolas Gougain, spokesman of leading gay rights groups Inter-LGBT.

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Challenging Liberty: The Danger of DNA Databases

Devon Douglas-Bowers | The Hampton Institute | Truthout | June 29, 2013

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court passed down a ruling stating that it is legal to take DNA swabs from arrestees without a warrant on the grounds that “a DNA cheek swab [was similar] to other common jailhouse procedures like fingerprinting;”[1] and this week, it was reported that the New Jersey state senate passed a bill that “would require the collection of DNA samples from people convicted of some low-level crimes, including shoplifting and drug possession.”[2] While many are praising the passing of such legislation, it ignores the inherent dangers of allowing the government to collect DNA.

While DNA databases may seem new, this is only because they are recently coming back into the news. They have been around for quite some time as, since 1988, “every US state has established a database of criminal offenders’ DNA profiles” with the goal of “quickly and accurately [matching] known offenders with crime scene evidence.”[3] Politicians are arguing that taking DNA samples of criminals will actually lower crime, as the DNA works as a deterrent by increasing the likelihood that a criminal will be convicted if they are caught. However, this may not be the case, as a working paper from the University of Virginia found last year that, “The probability of reoffending and being convicted for any offense is 3.7 percentage points (23.4%) higher for those with a profile in the DNA database than those without,” (emphasis added) and, that DNA profiling mainly affects younger criminals with multiple convictions, as they are “85.6% more likely to be convicted of a crime within three years of release than their unprofiled counterparts.”[4] Thus, on a practical level, we should be skeptical as to whether or not DNA databases will actually lower crime in the long-term.

A separate but equally important issue in regards to these DNA databases is the assault on our privacy. Barry Steinhardt, then-Associate Director of the ACLU, stated back in 2000 that:

“While DNA databases may be useful to identify criminals, I am skeptical that we will ward off the temptation to expand their use,” said Barry Steinhardt, Associate Director of the ACLU. “In the last ten years alone, we have gone from collecting DNA only from convicted sex offenders to now including people who have been arrested but never convicted of a crime.”[5]

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Sponsors of Proposition 8 file petition to stop same-sex marriages

Stephen Magagnini | Sacramento Bee | June 29, 2013

While dozens of same-sex marriages were being performed in San Francisco on Saturday, the Proposition 8 legal team filed an emergency petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the unions.

The Proposition 8 sponsors claim the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals jumped the gun by allowing gay marriages to proceed before opponents had time to request the Supreme Court to reconsider its action Wednesday. The high court said it declined to rule on California’s voter-approved gay marriage ban, opening the door to same-sex marriage in California.

Opponents have 25 days from the date of a Supreme Court ruling to ask the high court to reconsider. Until that period elapses, the 9th Circuit should not have allowed California to start performing same-sex weddings, according to the emergency petition.

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Violent Arrests at pro-Gay Rally in Russia

Cathy Kristofferson | Oblogdeeoblogda | June 29, 2013

REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

(Straight ally) Daniil Grachev REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

Today in St. Petersburg, Russia pro-and anti-gay supporters clashed at a gay pride event organized by ”Ravnopraviye” (Equal Rights.) The event had been sanctioned by the authorities.  The rally-march was organized to protest recent legislation banning “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” in Russia.

Ria Novosti reports that several dozen pro-gay activist people who took part in the rally were confronted by about 200 Nationalist anti-gay activists who threw eggs, smoke flares and stones at them.

“After the complaints of local residents, representatives of the local administration and the police warned the protestors that their protest was illegal and asked them to leave,” a police spokesperson said. Police officers then broke up the protest and arrested dozens of gay rights activists, the spokesman added.


The Russian LGBT Network is reporting that some of the approximately 50 pro-gay activists arrested have since been released.  Some of those arrested  have refused to sign charges which may have been trumped up by police and so apparently they will be held in detention for 24 hours.

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Singapore goes pink to support gay rights

Herald Sun | June 30, 2013

MORE than 20,000 people wearing pink clothing have gathered in Singapore for an annual rally in support of gay rights in the city-state, where an archaic law criminalises sex between men.

From pink tube tops to hats and even facial hair dyed in pink, straight and gay Singaporeans arrived on Saturday at Speakers’ Corner, a government-designated free speech park, in the colour theme picked by organisers to represent the freedom to love.

Some brought their dogs and cats in pink pet clothing and leashes.

Organisers, who stressed the event was not a protest but a public show of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, estimated 21,000 people had attended.

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US same-sex marriage activists welcome first green card issued to gay couple

Herald Sun | June 30, 2013

A MARRIED same-sex couple in the USA has had their relationship recognised for the purposes of having a green card issued: the first time such a thing has happened.

On Friday, Bulgarian-born Traian Popov was notified that his application for permanent residency had been granted, enabling him to stay with his partner, Julian Marsh.

Same-sex marriage advocacy organisation the DOMA Project have welcomed the ruling, which follows the US Supreme Court’s decision last week striking down section three of the Defense of Marriage Act.

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St. Petersburg Busts Up Pride Parade

John M. Becker | Bilerico | June 29, 2013

LGBT activists were arrested in St. Petersburg, Russia today for participating in a gay pride parade, in violation of the state’s ban on so-called “gay propaganda.”

According to a report from the Associated Press, about 40 people courageously gathered to show their pride. Approximately 200 anti-gay nationalists also showed up, chanting homophobic slogans and pelting the equality activists with rocks and eggs.

Police arrested dozens, including all the participants in the pride parade and several nationalists. Some parade participants were apparently beaten badly by anti-gay protestors.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Student Loan Rate Rise Will Be a Disaster”

Sen. Bernie Sanders | Reader Supported News | June 29, 2013

Citing a major crisis in college costs, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today urged quick action by Congress to keep student loan interest rates from doubling on Monday.

“If we do not act immediately, the subsidized Stafford loan program will see a doubling of interest rates from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent,” Sanders said in a Senate floor speech. “That would be a disaster for millions of students and their families in our country. We must not allow that to happen.”

At the very least, Sanders said, the current Stafford loan program interest rate of 3.4 percent must be extended. In the long term, the Higher Education Act should guarantee that students will be able to attend college and not be burdened with crippling loans.

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New BofA Whistleblower Reveals More Homeowner Abuse

David Dayen | Salon | Reader Supported News | June 29, 2013

Bank of America whistle-blower details latest scheme to abuse homeowners, evade settlement rules and pocket cash.

Last week, I detailed bombshell revelations from Bank of America whistle-blowers, in which former employees of the bank detailed systematic fraud and deceptive practices inside their loan modification department – including bonuses and Target gift cards for staff who racked up foreclosures.

Now, another new lawsuit, featuring a separate whistle-blower, contains additional remarkable revelations – and may shed light on Bank of America’s strategy in getting out from under the mountain of legal exposure and costs in which it now finds itself. Simply put, the bank seeks to pocket quick cash and evade practices set forth in major settlements – by cashing out of the subprime mortgage servicing business. The result would be to leave struggling homeowners back at square one, with even fewer protections to avoid foreclosure.

First, some background. Over the past year, non-bank servicers like Nationstar and Ocwen have been buying up servicing rights to millions of mortgages, gradually positioning themselves to become the biggest companies in the space. These non-bank servicers, which process monthly payments and deal with foreclosures but do not originate loans, have an asset not available to their big bank colleagues: They haven’t yet been officially caught scamming customers. Therefore, they are not a party to the various servicer settlements brought by state and federal regulators, and they need not submit to those settlement guidelines. This includes rules like establishing a single point of contact for borrowers, stopping foreclosure operations when a modification is in process (ending what is known as “dual track”) and facilitating proper payment processing.

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