Seattle Medical Marijuana Raids Highlight the Clash between State and Federal Law

English: The Seal of the Drug Enforcement Admi...

English: The Seal of the Drug Enforcement Administration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

| Forward Progressives | July 30, 2013

A series of raids this past week on Seattle-area medical marijuana dispensaries brought the disparity between state level changes in drug laws and those at the Federal level into glaring focus. Amid much jubilation, on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, New Hampshire signed the bill to join the growing list of states passing legislation legalizing marijuana for medical use. Then on Wednesday, the 24th, the Seattle branch of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched a raid — reported as two years in the making — on area dispensaries.

The use of medical marijuana is legal in the state of Washington. Dispensaries are licensed and regulated at both the city and state level. While all of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the Seattle area were not raided, reports varied with the number of reported raids ranging between 5 and 19. Although the DEA did not provide information on the number of warrants or dispensaries targeted, four dispensaries were confirmed raided through media sources.

This was not the first time medical marijuana dispensaries have been raided in Seattle. Previous raids supposedly only targeted those operating outside the law, and cease-and-desist letters that included Federal forfeiture notices were sent to a number of area dispensaries back in the spring. While a number of those who received the letters said they were in compliance with all state laws and medical marijuana dispensary regulations, the DEA letter stated “…distributing, possessing with intent to distribute, or manufacturing controlled substances, or aiding and abetting such an offense violates federal law….”

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Lesbian candidate Christine Quinn emerges as Democratic favorite in NYC mayoral race

English: This is a headshot photograph taken o...

English: This is a headshot photograph taken of New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn by her photographer William Alatriste (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greg Hernandez | Gay Star News | July 30, 2013

A new poll has lesbian candidate Christine Quinn now in the lead in the race to win the Democratic nomination in the race to become the next mayor of New York City.

According to Quinnipiac University poll released Monday (29 July), Quinn has the support of 27% of likely voters with former US Congressman Anthony Weiner finishing fourth with 16%.

The poll was conducted July 24-28 on 446 likely Democratic primary voters.

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Australia will send LGBT refugees to Papua New Guinea despite anti-gay laws

Provinces of Papua New Guinea.

Provinces of Papua New Guinea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Andrew Potts | Gay Star News | July 30, 2013

LGBT refugees who try to seek asylum in Australia by boat will be relocated and resettled against their will in Papua New Guinea despite the country jailing people for up to 14 years for gay sex and its high rates of HIV.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus confirmed that LGBT refugees would not be exempt from the controversial policy which the Australian Government hopes will put an end to the people smuggling of refugees to Australia.

‘It’s a general policy that anyone who arrives in Australia by boat without a visa … will be transferred to Papua New Guinea,’ Dreyfus told a press conference earlier today.

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America’s Real Subversives — The FBI and NSA, Spying on the Public

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amy Goodman | AlterNet | July 30, 2013


s the 50th anniversary of the 1963  March on Washington approaches, commemorating that historic gathering where  Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous “I have a dream” speech, it is important to recall the extent to which King was targeted by the government’s domestic spying apparatus. The  FBI operation against King is one of the most shameful episodes in the long history of our government’s persecution of dissenters.

Fifty years later,  Edward Snowden, who is seeking temporary asylum to remain in Russia, took enormous personal risk to expose the global reach of  surveillance programs overseen by President Barack Obama. His revelations continue to provoke worldwide condemnation of the US.

In a heavily redacted, classified FBI memo dated 4 January 1956 – just a little more than a month after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger – the Mobile, Alabama, FBI office stated that an agent “had been assigned by [redacted] to find out all he could about Reverend Martin L King, colored minister in Montgomery and leader in the bus boycott … to uncover all the derogatory information he could about King.”

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What do pope’s remarks on gays mean?

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kevin Clarke | CNN | July 30, 2013

Pope Francis ignited a firestorm on the Internet with a few words about gay and lesbian people that seemed to suggest a new church position on homosexuality. I say “seemed to” because it would only appear new to someone who was unfamiliar with the old position.

Speaking to a gang of reporters bringing up the rear of his plane on the way home from his quotific visit to Rio de Janeiro, the pope was asked about his recent reference to a “gay lobby” among the curial staff in Rome. That phrase is already the source of some confusion.

The pope responded that although a “gay lobby,” as in an inter-curial pressure group — for or against more acceptance of gay Catholics, who can say? — might be an issue, he did not have a problem with men and women who are homosexual. “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”

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Gay marriage in the year 100 AD

English: John Boswell Maver by Sergei Stefanov...

English: John Boswell Maver by Sergei Stefanovich 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Annalee Newitz | | July 30, 2013

Gay marriage sounds like an ultra-contemporary idea. But almost twenty years ago, a Catholic scholar at Yale shocked the world by publishing a book packed with evidence that same-sex marriages were sanctioned by the early Christian Church during an era commonly called the Dark Ages.

John Boswell was a historian and religious Catholic who dedicated much of his scholarly life to studying the late Roman Empire and early Christian Church. Poring over legal and church documents from this era, he discovered something incredible. There were dozens of records of church ceremonies where two men were joined in unions that used the same rituals as heterosexual marriages. (He found almost no records of lesbian unions, which is probably an artifact of a culture which kept more records about the lives of men generally.)

Bolstered by this evidence, Boswell published a book in 1994, the year before his death from AIDS, called Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe. The book comes out next month for the first time in a digital edition. It was an instant lightening rod for controversy, drawing criticism from both the Catholic Church and sex pundit Camille Paglia. Given the Church’s present-day views on gay marriage, these detractors argued, Boswell’s history seemed like wishful thinking.

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$1.35 Million Grant Will Examine Transgender Military Service

The transgender pride flag

The transgender pride flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chris Geidner | BuzzFeed | July 30, 2013

WASHINGTON — The research institute best known for coordinating more than a decade of research into the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the Palm Center, has received a $1.35 million grant over the next three years to study transgender service in the United States military, BuzzFeed has learned.

Indra Lusero, the project director of the Palm Center’s Transgender Military Initiative, has commissioned 16 scholars to conduct 11 studies investigating “whether and how the U.S. armed forces could include transgender troops without undermining readiness” — in areas ranging from privacy and medical accommodations to the experiences of foreign militaries and sports programs.

“This academic research will inform an important public conversation by providing facts and evidence about transgender military service and gender expression in armed forces. Militaries around the world are updating their policies, and we are already conducting research in Canada, Britain and Australia to learn whether their trans-inclusive regulations have impacted readiness,” Lusero said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed.

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Cozen O’Connor v Tobits Ruling: Company Must Pay Survivor Benefits To Lesbian Widow

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: chadmagiera)

Robin Wilkey | Huffington Post | July 30, 2013

The historic Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act showed its colors Monday when a federal judge ruled that a lesbian widow is entitled to survivor benefits from her deceased wife’s employer.

Judge C. Darnell Jones II cited United States v. Windsor, the case that struck down DOMA as unconstitutional in June, when he ruled that Philadelphia-based law firm Cozen O’Connor P.C. owed benefits to Jennifer Tobits, whose wife Sarah Ellyn Farley held a $41,000 profit-sharing plan before her death.

“Following the court’s ruling, the term ‘spouse’ is no long unconstitutionally restricted to members of the opposite sex, but now rightfully includes those same-sex spouses in otherwise valid marriages,” ruled Judge Jones.

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Russia Will Not Suspend Anti-Gay Legislation For 2014 Sochi Olympic Games: Official

English: GUATEMALA. Visit to Russia House in G...

English: GUATEMALA. Visit to Russia House in Guatemala City after Sochi\’s presentation as a potential host for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Русский: ГВАТЕМАЛА. Посещение «Русского дома» в Гватемала-Сити после завершения презентации Сочи – города-кандидата на проведение XXII зимних Олимпийских игр 2014 года. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 | Huffington Post | July 30, 2013

Despite assurance by the International Olympic Committee July 26 that attendees of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi would not be held under the jurisdiction of Russia’s anti-gay legislation, the law’s co-sponsor is now articulating a different set of circumstances.  Vitaly Milonov, the politician responsible for the “gay propaganda” ban in St. Petersburg later adopted by the country as a whole, claims that the law cannot be selectively enforced nor suspended.

In an interview with Interfax, Milonov stated:

I haven’t heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation, but I know that it is acting in accordance with Russian law. And if a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.

In effect, it seems as if foreign athletes and spectators at the 2014 Olympic Games will, in fact, be subject to the legalities of Russia’s recent stream of anti-LGBT legislation.  Signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on June 30, the legislation gives the Russian government agency to detain gay or “pro-gay” foreigners up to 14 days before facing expulsion from the country.


How does a pogrom against LGBT people pass muster in 2013?

Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride.

Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

| America Blog | July 30, 2013

Nancy Goldstein really is one of my favorite writers. Smart, succinct, and able to pull a lot of data together, from various sources, in an interesting, new way. Her new Guardian piece about the plight of gay and trans people in Russia (I literally almost wrote “Soviet Union”) excels.


As a bit of background, over the past few years Russia has cracked down, hard, on gay and trans people living in that country.  The officially-sanctioned brutality became especially severe in the past few months, when they outlawed adoptions to foreigners from countries that recognize marriage equality, and worse, basically outlawed anything pro-gay nationwide. That means pro-gay speech is illegal, filming a documentary about gay life is illegal (as a Dutch film crew recently found out), and even wearing rainbow suspenders is illegal (since the rainbow is a symbol of the gay rights movement).

In response, gay, trans people, and our allies around the world announced a boycott of Russian products, particularly Russian vodka. At the top of that list is Stolichnaya, probably the most famous Russian brand.

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