Friday, January 31, 2014

Bois With Tois

Coca-Cola to Try and Blunt LGBT Criticism with Super Bowl Ad About Diversity?

Coca-Cola, under fire for months for its sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, may try and blunt criticism from LGBT activists by running a Super Bowl ad "touting its commitment to diversity," writes Scott Wooledge at DailyKos:
A reliable source provides some interesting news: In an effort to spin their way past protests over their sponsorship of the Sochi Olympics in Russia, Coca Cola has contracted to place an ad in the Superbowl touting its commitment to diversity. Described as a Benetton's style feel-good "we are the world" commercial, reliable sources say the media purchase was only for the United States market.

Times and Wall Street Journal. Initially the property of McDonald's the #CheersToSochi hashtag has been hijacked and now also used against Coke and evolved into an all-purpose Olympic sponsor protest tag.

Thousands Gather in Stockholm to Sing in Support of the LGBT People in Russia

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Sochi 2014 Committee: Athletes Can 'Express Themselves' But Not Protest at Press Conferences

From The Towleroad:
Yesterday we reported that Dmitry Chernyshenko, the Russian head of the Sochi Games said that Olympic athletes should not be allowed to express their political views during news conferences at the games, a position that put him at odds with IOC President Thomas Bach, who said athletes are free to make political statements when speaking to the press.
The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee is now trying to clarify Chernyshenko's remarks, the AP reports:
"The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee would like to clarify comments attributed to Dmitry Chernyshenko yesterday concerning athletes being able to express themselves during press conferences. Sochi 2014 are fully aligned with the position of the International Olympic Committee," the committee said in a statement.
"Mr. Chernyshenko simply meant that athletes are free to express themselves at a press conference - but of course they cannot use a press conference to make a demonstration or protest - similarly, they cannot use any Olympic venue to demonstrate."

This clarifies absolutely nothing...
What constitutes a demonstration or protest, just speaking out against Russia's ban on gay propaganda, or does it require some other physical demonstration, like wearing a gay pride pin?
Seems to me, they should have had all this worked out by now huh?
I, for one, hopes this blows up in their faces and the IOC is put on the spot for it's lack of concern for either gay rights or Olympic athletes.

Sochi ‘anti-gay stuff’ overstated, IOC’s Dick Pound says

The world’s concern about terrorist activities at the upcoming Sochi Olympics has been a result of the media losing interest in the homosexual issue in Russia, Canadian IOC member Dick Pound told Metro.
“Nobody has got anything else to write about and for some reason as they have sort of moved away from the anti-gay stuff — I think it’s not drawing the kind of attention that they wanted,” Pound said.

Pound said other countries have “far harsher laws” regarding homosexuals than Russia and little is written on that.
“In Malaysia, you can be put to death. In Nigeria, you can be put in jail for God knows how long,” Pound said. “So it’s a target of convenience with respect to Russia, not that I approve of the law, but putting it on a scale of 1-10 of odious laws, it’s not way up there near 10.”
Pound said much of the anti-Russia gay stand emanates from the United States, where, Pound says, only a handful of states allow same-sex marriage.

“So whose ox is getting gored here?” Pound said.

Sorry *Dick* the way I see it, those other countries aren't hosting the Olympics are they?
Just because things may be worse in other countries doesn't exempt this host country or the IOC from their flagrant homophobia!
It's like comparing the Spanish Inquisition against the Holocaust, just because the Holocaust was more brutal and despicable, it doesn't negate the pure, evil of the Inquisition.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nekkid Muscle

Appeals Court Upholds California's Ban On 'Ex-Gay' Therapy

A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld California's law banning “ex-gay” therapy to minors.
The full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals let stand an earlier decision by a 3-judge panel of the same court upholding the law, which prohibits so-called conversion therapy that attempts to turn gay teens straight.
Christian conservative groups Liberty Counsel and the Pacific Justice Institute had filed the lawsuit to block the law, enacted in 2012, from taking effect. They argued that the therapies are beneficial and that the law violated the free speech rights of counselors.
“The minors that Liberty Counsel represents … are greatly benefiting from this counseling,” Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver earlier stated. “Legislators and judges in the state of California have essentially barged into the private therapy rooms of victimized young people and told them that their confusion, caused by the likes of a Jerry Sandusky abuser, is normal and they should pursue their unwanted and dangerous same-sex sexual attractions and behavior, regardless of whether those minors desire their religious beliefs to trump their unwanted attractions.”
Supporters of the law argued that such therapies harm young people.

“Today's decision affirms that California can protect young people and their families from being deceived and harmed by unethical therapists who falsely claim they can change a person's sexual orientation,” said Shanon Minter, legal director of NCLR, which defended the law in court. “These practices have no scientific basis and can cause serious, lasting harms that devastate families and destroy young lives. California has a duty to protect the public from deceptive and unsafe practices by medical professionals who are licensed by the state. The Legislature did the right thing by enacting this protective law, and the ruling today strongly confirms that other states should follow California's example and adopt similar laws.”

What Mat fails to point out, absolutely nothing prevents these same people from seeking out this kind of, therapy, as soon as they turn 18.
The state has decided to stop misguided parents from *forcing* underage children to under go harmful and destructive treatments from charlatan Bible thumping antigay religious zealots, who have no regard for their victims beyond the depths of their pocket books.

Bishop Gene Robinson Nails It On Gay Marriage

From the Huffpost:
Sincere and thoughtful people of faith disagree about homosexuality and its rightful recognition (or not) in society. Some people's understandings of God conclude that homosexual behavior is a sin, while others (myself included) believe that God's own love of diversity has resulted in God's creation of a certain minority of us who are emotionally and affectionally attracted to people of the same gender, and like the rest of creation, God has proclaimed "it is good."
It did not come as a shock to me when Gene Schaerr announced that he was leaving his law firm to assist the Attorney General of Utah in resisting the recent court decision that judged Utah's exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from the secular institution of marriage to be unconstitutional. As reported in Above the Law, and according to a firm-wide memo written by him, Schaerr says he left "to fulfill 'a religious and family duty' to defend 'the constitutionality of traditional marriage.'" (It should be pointed out that the constitutionality of traditional marriage is not at stake here, only whether or not gay and lesbian couples have the same constitutional right to marriage as do their heterosexual fellow citizens.)
He has every right to believe the way he does. People of faith are motivated - even compelled - by their faith, to do all sorts of things in the world (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit those in prison, advocate for the poor). Mr. Schaerr's Mormon faith compels him to fight for - in the secular courts - the understanding of marriage as only possible and legal between one man and one woman (although his Mormon history shows that this understanding of marriage as between a man and only one woman is a fairly recent development in Mormonism). I wholly support his right to his own understanding of God.
However, -- and this is a big "however" - when Mr. Schaerr brings that motivation into the courtroom where laws are being made or changed, he must abandon his Bible and his Book of Mormon as the sources of reasoning about those secular laws, relying instead on the foundational documents of the nation, namely the Constitution. We don't live in a theocracy, where certain religious documents are the touchstones for what is good, right and just. Rather, we have a Constitution which bars the establishment of or preference for any one understanding of God. So while Mr. Schaerr has a right to express his religious beliefs and be motivated to take action in accordance with them, religious arguments against the right of same-sex couples to marry must be checked at the courthouse door.
The difference between one's own personal motivation and what may be appealed to in our courts is an important one. Both Mr. Schaerr and I are motivated by "love of God and love of neighbor," dictated by our respective faiths (and virtually every major faith on earth). But what counts under the law are "equal justice for all" and "equal protection under the law." Frankly, what God thinks, or rather, what any one of us might believe God thinks, is irrelevant to the secular argument about equal rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
We are seeing this distinction playing out in other court cases around the country, and in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases coming before the Supreme Court this spring. No one questions the right of Hobby Lobby's CEO or a group of Mennonites to oppose certain forms of contraception. The question is whether, in a civil and secular society, one person's version of what God wants trumps another person's right to reproductive healthcare. What mattered in the Supreme Court's overturning of key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act was not whether God approved of gay marriage or not, but rather whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees non-discrimination against any one, singled-out category of its citizens.
Many, if not most, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are religious too, despite what many organized religions have said about us, believing that we too are created in the image of God. Perhaps a bit of humility would enhance our discussions of these controversial matters if we all acknowledged that none of us know what God wants - we only know what we have discerned that God wants, based on our individual notions of God and our particular faith's historic understanding of God. And then, we go into society and its courts, arguing not from those understandings of God, but from the precepts of "equal protection under the law" promised in our secular interpretations of the U. S. Constitution. Mr. Schaerr has every right to his private faith beliefs, as do I. But we are both bound to argue the issue of gay marriage from the Constitution, not our sacred texts.

Gene Robinson is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Washington, DC, and the recently retired Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Eat More Ass Tuesday