Amanda Terkel | Huffington Post | June 20, 2014
WASHINGTON — Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, has been largely silent on the legalization last month of marriage equality in his state, after U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III struck down the state’s ban. The situation was slightly awkward for the former GOP presidential candidate because he had supported Jones’ nomination in 2002.
When asked about Jones Friday by The Huffington Post, Santorum said, “We’re all entitled to a mistake.”
His comments came after his speech at the Road to Majority Conference, a gathering of social conservatives sponsored by the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
Graham Gremore | Queerty | June 20, 2014
This year’s New York City Pride marks the 45th anniversary of the historic 1969 Stonewall riots.
At 1:20 a.m. on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay dive in the New York’s Greenwich Village. The evening quickly turned from raid to riot, with patrons refusing to hand over identification and fighting back against authorities. Only one known photograph was taken during the night of the riots. It appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News the following day and depicts several homeless youth taking on the police.
This event is widely considered the catalyst for the the modern gay rights movement, which has birthed many notable heroes – as well as some notable antiheroes. We couldn’t possibly list them all, but we’ve done our best to compile a diverse list of 45 people — both well-known heroes and everyday folks, with a decided emphasis on the latter (no celebs) — who have made a lasting impression in the ongoing fight for equality. Please add your own suggestions in the comment section, and Happy Pride 2014.
Paul Krugman | The New York Times | June 20, 2014
ou’ve surely heard about the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs. A number of veterans found themselves waiting a long time for care, some of them died before they were seen, and some of the agency’s employees falsified records to cover up the extent of the problem. It’s a real scandal; some heads have already rolled, but there’s surely more to clean up.
But the goings-on at Veterans Affairs shouldn’t cause us to lose sight of a much bigger scandal: the almost surreal inefficiency and injustice of the American health care system as a whole. And it’s important to understand that the Veterans Affairs scandal, while real, is being hyped out of proportion by people whose real goal is to block reform of the larger system.
The essential, undeniable fact about American health care is how incredibly expensive it is — twice as costly per capita as the French system, two-and-a-half times as expensive as the British system. You might expect all that money to buy results, but the United States actually ranks low on basic measures of performance; we have low life expectancy and high infant mortality, and despite all that spending many people can’t get health care when they need it. What’s more, Americans seem to realize that they’re getting a bad deal: Surveys show a much smaller percentage of the population satisfied with the health system in America than in other countries.
Tom Boggioni | Raw Story | June 20, 2014
The recent decision by the Republican Party of Texas to throw their support behind voluntary ‘reparative therapy’ for gays and lesbians has not been met with approval with all Texas Republicans, including Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri.
Speaking with Texas Public Radio, Munisteri said he doesn’t believe LGBT individuals can be converted to heterosexuality simply by talking to them.
“And I just make the point for anybody that thinks that may be the possibility: Do they think they can take a straight person to a psychiatrist and turn them gay?” Munisteri explained.
Megan Geuss | Ars Technica | Reader Supported News | June 20, 2014
n a surprising vote late Thursday night, a strong majority of the House of Representatives voted to cut funding to NSA operations that involve warrantless spying on Americans or involve putting hardware or software “backdoors” into various products. The amendment to a defense appropriations bill, offered by Reps. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Thomas Massie (R-KY), passed 293 to 123.
The amendment specifies that, with a few exceptions, “none of the funds made available by this Act may be used by an officer or employee of the United States to query a collection of foreign intelligence information acquired under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1881a) using a United States person as an identifier.”
In addition, “none of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the National Security Agency or the Central Intelligence Agency to mandate or request that a person…alter its product or service to permit the electronic surveillance…of any user of said product or service for said agencies.” Since Edward Snowden began leaking documents about the NSA’s tactics in June of last year, security experts have worried about reports of intentional weaknesses left in widely used cryptography specifications.
Gay Asian News | June 20, 2014
Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstan’s parliament on June 17 has passed an anti-gay propaganda law that now makes any type of information on same-sex relations a crime punishable by fines and a jail sentence.
Nicole Kiil-Nielsen of the European Parliament Delegation to Kyrgyzstan says it’s only been 16 years since Kyrgyzstan decriminalized same-sex relations.
“It is unacceptable that people might again be put in jail for being who they are, or even for sharing objective information about different sexual orientations. I urge the Kyrgyzstan not to go back to state-sponsored homophobia,” GayNz.com reported the official as saying.