Saturday, March 31, 2012

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Unpopular French President Nicolas Sarkozy Desperately Woos Les Gais

From Queerty:
French president Nicolas Sarkozy is facing a tough re-election battle against socialist rival Francois Hollande, trailing in most polls by 8 to 16 percentage points.

LifeSiteNews reports that Sarkozy and Hollande have both spoken with gay French mag Têtu, and that Sarkozy appears to be making concessions toward gay marriage.

But what Sarkozy’s offering to the gays is almost insulting. He’d like to add a ceremonial aspect to the beginning of a PACS, a weak French civil union, so it feels like more of a marriage. Said Sarkozy:

“I am ready to propose—it would be a matter of a decree—that the marriage ceremony, for a homosexual PACS, be made a right… the ceremony would permit a true social acceptance [of same-sex unions].”

Sarkozy also recognized the legitimacy of different types of families: “A family can be one father-one mother, two fathers or two mothers. I think that it’s necessary to leave the situation as it is, in a somewhat unclear area, that we are not obligated to legislate everything, to vote for laws for everything.”

Hollande, for his part, has supported gay marriage on his platform all along, and told Têtu he’ll be pushing the issue in early 2013, should he win.

Frank Turek: Gay Folks Would Benefit From North Carolina Gay Marriage Ban

About 500 people turned out Friday for a town hall meeting on North Carolina's proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Voters will decide on the amendment during the state's upcoming May 8 primary. If approved, it would also ban other forms of legal recognition, including civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships.

Speaking in favor of the amendment was Turek, whose 143-page anti-gay marriage book Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone led him to lose speaking gigs at Bank of America and Cisco Systems. Scott Sigman, an openly gay Charlotte School of Law professor specializing in family law, argued against its passage. The debate, held at McGlohon Theater in Charlotte, was moderated by WFAE's Julie Rose.

Sigman said the amendment would be bad for business.

“Businesses hate this kind of controversy,” he told the audience. “Businesses have to compete to attract and retain real talent.”

(Related: Bank of America's Cathy Bessant against North Carolina gay marriage ban.)

In his opening, Turek said gay folks would benefit from the amendment because it would improve the economy.

“Natural marriage lowers social costs to government and thus taxpayers,” Turek said. “One major reason for our soaring deficit is the breakdown of the two-parent family. When the family breaks down, government expenditures swell to deal with increased crime and poverty. … Everyone in society, gay and straight, benefits immensely from government promotion of natural marriage.”

Sigman noted that the amendment would not alter anything in North Carolina because state law already prohibits members of the same sex from marrying.

Yup folks, people are really this stupid.

Friday, March 30, 2012

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Downtime 16

Doms And Subs

The Forgotten History of Gay Marriage

  Okay kiddies, seeing as it's almost Easter and many of you will be visiting family/relatives for the Holidays and almost invariably, some loud mouthed know it all redneck relative will try to school ya on this whole marriage equality bullshit and at some point will reduce the argument into a smug self satisfied summation: "Marriage has always been between one man and one woman"

But has it really?

   Republicans and other opponents of gay marriage often speak of marriage as being a 2,000 year old tradition (or even older). Quite apart from the fact that the definition of marriage has changed from when it was a business transaction, usually between men, there is ample evidence that within just Christian tradition, it has changed from the point where same-sex relationships were not just tolerated but celebrated.
In the famous St. Catherine’s monastery on Mount Sinai, there is an icon which shows two robed Christian saints getting married. Their ‘pronubus’ (official witness, or “best man”) is none other than Jesus Christ.
The happy couple are 4th Century Christian martyrs, Saint Serge and Saint Bacchus — both men.
Severus of Antioch in the sixth century explained that “we should not separate in speech [Serge and Bacchus] who were joined in life.” More bluntly, in the definitive 10th century Greek account of their lives, Saint Serge is described as the “sweet companion and lover (erastai)” of St. Bacchus.
Legend says that Bacchus appeared to the dying Sergius as an angel, telling him to be brave because they would soon be reunited in heaven.
Yale historian John Richard Boswell discovered this early Christian history and wrote about it nearly 20 years ago in “Same Sex Unions In Pre-Modern Europe“ (1994).
In ancient church liturgical documents, he found the existence of an “Office of Same Sex Union” (10th and 11th century Greek) and the “Order for Uniting Two Men” (11th and 12th century Slavonic).
He found many examples of:

  • A community gathered in a church

  • A blessing of the couple before the altar

  • Their right hands joined as at heterosexual marriages

  • The participation of a priest

  • The taking of the Eucharist

  • A wedding banquet afterwards

  • A 14th century Serbian Slavonic “Office of the Same Sex Union,” uniting two men or two women, had the couple having their right hands laid on the Gospel while having a cross placed in their left hands. Having kissed the Gospel, the couple were then required to kiss each other, after which the priest, having raised up the Eucharist, would give them both communion.
    Boswell documented such sanctified unions up until the 18th century.
    In late medieval France, a contract of “enbrotherment” (affrèrement) existed for men who pledged to live together sharing ‘un pain, un vin, et une bourse’ – one bread, one wine, and one purse.
    Other religions, such as Hinduism and some native American religions, have respect for same-sex couples weaved into their history.
    When right-wing evangelical Christians talk about “traditional marriage,” there is no such thing.

    Obama Will Turn You Gay?

    This just in: Obama’s radical left-wing agenda is worse than we feared. In fact, his is the “most radical, ideologically-driven administration in American history.” Not only is he attacking religious freedom by asking employers to cover women’s hormonal birth control (you know, the way they already cover Viagra), but if Obamacare is allowed to stand, every man, woman, and child in America will be turned gay.

    You heard it here first, folks. Straight from the mouth of right wing activist Mat Staver on VCY America’s Crosstalk last week. Here’s the full quote:

    What we have is a president and an administration that he has gathered that is the most radical, ideologically-driven administration in American history and the ideology is very much pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights and that trumps everything, it seems to trump the economy, it trumps national security. Of all the myriad of things that the president and the administration could be working on to make America a better place, to bring more jobs and so forth, they are working on these kinds of micromanagement things to push a very radical agenda that is anti-life and anti-liberty. It’s to not just satisfy the radical fringe that supports this administration but it is to satisfy the ideology that comes with this administration, it is part and parcel of what they believe and who they are. In terms of where the end is, nothing should shock anybody at this stage in terms of where this will be going. It is in-your-face forced abortion funding, in-your-face forced homosexuality and in-your-face a deconstruction of moral principles.

    Forced homosexuality? Really? If you’d like to torture yourself with a full hour of insight into the frightening alternate universe Staver inhabits, you can do so on the Crosstalk website.

    Thursday, March 29, 2012

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    Downtime 15

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    Chris Matthews Grilled About Hosting Anti-Gay Tony Perkins

    From the Towleroad:

    It's typically Chris Matthews who's dolling out the questions, but the MSNBC pundit was the one getting grilled during a recent book signing in Massachusetts, where gay Christians from Faithful America asked him why he consistently hosts anti-gay Family Research Council activist Tony Perkins, one of the people on GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project.

    The video's description reads:

    At a book signing in Framingham, Massachusetts, Faithful America members confront Chris Matthews about his consistently inviting Tony Perkins, President of the hate-group Family Research Council, on his show.

    Matthews responds by falsely claiming that Perkins never says homophobic things on his show, but when challenged that his invitations give legitimacy to what Perkins says outside the show, Matthews has no answer.

    Matthews also later claimed that every time Perkins is on, he's challenged. But Matthews never challenges Perkins on his long record of hateful lies about the LGBT community.

    Broadway Bares XXII: Behind the Scenes

    African-American Leaders Condemn Gay Marriage Foe NOM's Race Strategy

    African-American leaders are speaking out against the National Organization for Marriage's (NOM) race strategy to defeat gay marriage.

    Gay rights advocate the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on Monday posted four of NOM's internal strategic memos from 2009, which were unsealed in the course of NOM's ongoing legal challenge to Maine's campaign reporting laws.

    The memos have caused an uproar for stating that the “strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two key democratic constituencies.”

    Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) criticized the group.

    “It confirmed a suspicion that some evil hand was behind this,” Bond told The Hill.

    Referring to last year's failed attempt to legalize gay marriage in Maryland, which Bond said was largely due to opposition from black religious leaders and politicians, he said: “I would not be surprise to find this group and its filthy hand in crafting this situation.”

    (The law was approved during this year's legislative session, however opponents are looking to repeal it through a referendum.)

    NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous called the attempt to create a wedge as “artificial.”

    “This memo only reveals the limits of a cynical agenda,” Jealous said in a statement. “The truth is that no group, no matter how well-funded, can drive an artificial wedge between our communities. People of color understand what it is like to be the target of discrimination. No public relations strategy will make us forget that.”

    Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, had harsher words for the group, calling NOM a “hate group.”

    “These documents expose NOM for what it really is – a hate group determined to use African American faith leaders as pawns too push their damaging agenda and as mouthpieces to amplify that hatred,” Lettman-Hicks said in a statement. “NOM is fighting a losing battle. With these memos made public, the black faith community must refuse to be exploded and refuse to deny their fellow brothers and sisters equal protections under the law.”

    NOM President Brian Brown told The Hill that it has a diverse group of supporters.

    “This was an organization memo with many authors. Perhaps it was inarticulate in the way it laid it out,” he said. “Great for them that they're highlighting a 2009 memo that actually depicts the reality that Democrats are trying to hijack the civil rights movement.”

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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    NOM Needs a Few Good "Noncognitive" Celebrities

    The National Organization for Marriage wants a few "noncognitive" celebrities to carry its antigay message to the masses.

    That's the latest revelation to get attention from NOM's strategy document, marked "confidential," that was uncovered as part of a lawsuit in Maine. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is calling out NOM for what it says is a cynical view of voters' intelligence.

    "Celebrity or not and 'cognitive' or not, given how cynically NOM views its supporters, who would want to stand with them and support their agenda?" said Herndon Graddick, GLAAD’s vice president of Programs and Communications.

    In the strategy document, which has already received a deluge of criticism for its plan to use race to divide the country, NOM outlines "cultural strategies" that include recruiting celebrity spokespeople.

    "We are looking for a new set of messengers," the document declares. But it doesn't seem to think too highly of whoever volunteers, calling them "glamorous noncognitive elites."

    "Here's the bottom line: Hollywood with its cultural biases is far bigger than we can hope to be. We recognize this," the strategy states. "But we also recognize the opportunity - the disproportionate potential impact of proactively seeking to gather and connect a community of artists, athletes, writers, beauty queens and other glamorous noncognitive elites across national boundaries."

    GLAAD points out that NOM did in fact recruit a "beauty queen," as it had strategized. Miss California Carrie Prejean, who famously said she opposed "opposite marriage" in an answer on stage at the Miss USA pageant, was a short-lived spokeswoman for the group before a sex tape of her surfaced.

    Then NOM successfully recruited an athlete, as it had imagined, to speak out against marriage equality in New York. Former New York Giants wide receiver David Tyree, a Super Bowl hero, said in a video for NOM that same-sex marriage would lead to "anarchy" nationwide.

    While NOM failed in New York, NOM did succeed in getting a lot of attention for its celebrity partnership, and that seems to have been part of the plan. But NOM hoped that "glamorous noncognitive elites" would inspire others to stand up, and it's unclear whether that's happened in the form of donations or other ways.

    "When people are isolated they are silent and ineffectual; in community they gather courage and also give courage (by being visible to others)," the strategy says. "Precisely because Hollywood is currently so massively biased, there is an opportunity for a small countercultural community to have a disproportionate cultural impact."

    Verbal Vogueing - "Conservatives On A Dance Floor"

    Gay Alexander Hamilton: Was this Founding Father homosexual?

    There’s plenty of speculation-ready evidence that Founding Father Alexander Hamilton was gay. Between the years 1779 and 1792, the revolutionary author of the Federalist Papers wrote dozens of intimate, emotional letters to his comrade in arms, John Laurens.

    “I wish, my Dear Laurens, it were in my power, by actions rather than words, to convince you that I love you,” the future U.S. Treasurer and victim of Aaron Burr’s fatal bullet wrote in April of 1779. Then, on the subject of Laurens’ marriage, Hamilton pined, “As we are generally indulgent to those we love, I shall not scruple to pardon the fraud you have committed, on one condition; that for my sake, if not for your own, you will always continue to merit the partiality, which you have so artfully instilled into me.” Hamilton even goes so far as to describe himself as a “jealous lover” when Laurens, then imprisoned for trying to free slaves, was incapable of responding to his many missives. “Like a jealous lover, when I thought you slighted my caresses, my affection was alarmed and my vanity piqued.” And according to historian Paul Hardman, Laurens reciprocated Hamilton’s love: “[Laurens] “took Hamilton by storm, capturing judgment as well as heart, and loving him as ardently in return.”

    Read with the 21st Century eye, these missives certainly sound like the words of a love lorn man longing for another man. And Hamilton and Laurens’ relationship certainly has the markings of same-sex desire. The two men met while on the battlefield with George Washington, fighting for this nation’s freedom, and rapidly developed an affectionate relationship, one so strong that Hamilton fell into a deep depression when Laurens was killed during a 1792 fight with the British. “I feel the loss of a friend I truly and most tenderly loved,” he wrote at the time.

    As I and others have mentioned elsewhere, it’s dicey business trying to brand forefathers like Alexander Hamilton as homosexual. The term wasn’t coined until 1869, 65 years after Hamilton’s 1804 death. And, as Hamilton biographer John C. Miller wrote in 1959, the men lived in an era when eloquence and emotion were the order of the day, even between men.

    Hamilton and Laurens belonged to a generation of military men that prided itself not upon the hard-boiled avoidance of sentiment but upon the cultivation of the finer feelings. Theirs was the language of the heart, noble, exalted and sentimental. For Hamilton and Laurens were not merely soldiers doing a job; they were classical scholars whose thoughts and actions were colored by the grandeur of antiquity.

    Besides, what would concrete evidence that Alexander Hamilton was gay really prove? That gay men existed before being classified as such? This we know. That gay people have played a role in the birth of a nation. This we know, too. Another of Washington’s soldiers, Lt. Frederick Gotthold Enslin, was booted from the Continental Army for his gay dalliances, and Martin Luther King Jr. would have been lost without his gay right-hand man, Bayard Rustin, who helped outline the civil rights hero’s most famous speeches.

    Indeed, the question of whether Founding Father Alexander Hamilton is inconsequential, and in fact impossible to determine. One thing is certain, however: Hamilton and Laurens had a close relationship unencumbered by social norms or moralistic legislation holding them down, living in a culture where love knew no bounds, a culture for which all Americans should fight.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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    Downtime 13

    Dawgs Of War

    "Join the Party!"

    This is fucking awesome and I laughed my ass off!

    NOM's Anti-Gay Marriage, Race-Dividing Plans Revealed In Secret Documents Obtained By HRC

    The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has gone public with a series of confidential documents which outline the National
    Organization for Marriage's (NOM) multi-year plan to thwart the national campaign for marriage equality.

    The documents reportedly emerged as part of an ongoing investigation by the state of Maine into NOM's illegal campaign finance practices, and reveal some of the group's racially-driven strategies:

    "The strategic goal…is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…"

    Another passage reads:

    "The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity -- a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation."

    "We have learned much about how to win the marriage battle," one document concludes. "What we need now is to find the resources to prosecute and expand this strategy to win marriage in the U.S., and expand it into a global movement."

    The revelations were quickly condemned as "callous and extremist" by HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Such brutal honesty is a game changer, and this time NOM can’t spin and twist its way out of creating an imagined rift between LGBT people and African Americans or Hispanics," he said in a statement.

    Echoing those sentiments was Jeremy Hooper, editor and publisher of Good As You and NOM Exposed partner: "It's hard to find joy in such divisive political games, but I'm certainly glad we know NOM's hurtful plans now before more folks are hurt."

    UPDATE: NOM President Brian Brown has responded to the controversy in a statement, pointing out that his group has "worked extensively with supporters of traditional marriage from every color, creed and background." He continues:

    "Gay marriage advocates have attempted to portray same-sex marriage as a civil right, but the voices of these and many other leaders have provided powerful witness that this claim is patently false. Gay marriage is not a civil right, and we will continue to point this out in written materials such as those released in Maine. We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage."

    Still, ThinkProgress pointed out: "Everything in this statement confirms the strategy of using people of color as spokespeople and using the language of 'civil rights' as a catalyst for division."

    Mladen Obradovic, Far-Right Serbian Leader, Jailed Over Gay Threats

    BELGRADE, Serbia -- A far-right Serbian leader was convicted and sentenced Tuesday to 10 months in prison for making death threats that led to the cancellation of Belgrade's 2009 gay pride march.

    Belgrade's district court ruled that Mladen Obradovic, the leader of the extremist group Obraz, or Honor, made the threats ahead of the planned march. His group incited discrimination with graffiti that read "Death to gays" and "Blood will flow, there will be no gay parade."

    Lazar Pavlovic, a leader of a Serbian gay-rights group, said he is not satisfied with the length of the sentence because such charges should carry prison terms of up to three years in prison.

    "We expect that the prosecution will lodge an appeal and we will continue to follow this case," he said.

    Obradovic has been sentenced in a separate case to two years in jail on charges that his group incited violence during a gay pride march in 2010 that left scores of people injured. He is currently a free man while appealing the verdicts.

    Serbia has pledged to protect gay rights as it seeks to join the European Union. But the gay community still faces threats and attacks, especially as it tries to organize pride marches.

    Serbia's constitutional court has been deliberating over whether to ban Obradovic's far-right group, one of many that have mushroomed in the Balkan state after the wars in the region in the 1990s.

    Obradovic said upon leaving the courtroom on Tuesday that he doesn't care whether Obraz would be officially banned because it could continue acting illegally.

    "Let them prosecute and rule, but they cannot stop us," Obradovic said.

    Monday, March 26, 2012