BY SAM GREISMAN
A look back at today's top stories
A group of scientists says that they are closing in on determining the biological reasons that certain people are gay. Apparently we might have our parents to blame. Ricky Martin was at the UN today, and no that's not the beginning of a joke. He was there along with other LGBT rights activists to sit on a panel called Leadership in the Fight Against Homophobia.
Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia was at Princeton University on Monday and he stood by his anti-gay writings when a student pressed him about them. I guess we know which way he is voting on the Prop 8 and DOMA cases.
Thomas Roberts interviewed the gay couple who recently made history in JET Magazine's wedding section.
The New York Times Bill Cunningham says that the most exciting thing happening in fashion is young men's clothes. He says they are breaking down barriers, however, that does not mean that Anderson Cooper will be caught wearing "meggings".
Glenn Beck made a shocking statement in support of gay marriage last night. Of course it was under the guise of "what can the Republicans do to win the next election," but still. NOM's Maggie Gallagher is upset that GOP lawmakers aren't talking about DOMA more.
Also Nate Silver is already back at it, take a look at some of his early number crunching for a possible Hillary 2016 ticket.
Ricky Martin also participated in today's Human Rights Day panel at the United Nations, talking to those assembled about his decision to come out. He added that he wishes he could come out again because of the joy that it brought him.
Martin also talked about the institutionalized homophobia he encounters every day when he is told in interviews and by fans on social media to stop talking about LGBT issues.
"People that used to listen to my music say, "Ricky stop it! Stop talking about LGBT issues. We understand. You're gay. That's it. We're tired of that subject...It brings back the fear again - self esteem issues kick in...I guess I'll use my music to talk about this as well."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Read UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's remarks HERE.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Condemns Oppression of LGBT People at Human Rights Day Forum: REMARKS
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon offered powerful remarks at a Human Right Day forum earlier today at the United Nations called "Leadership in the Fight against Homophobia"
I'll post a video if it becomes available, but following are his remarks, in full:
Thank you all for coming to this remarkable meeting. What a meaningful way to commemorate Human Rights Day. I welcome all of the activists, supporters and others here today.
The very first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
All human beings – not some, not most, but all.
No one gets to decide who is entitled to human rights and who is not.
The United Nations has a proud record of combating racism, promoting gender equality, protecting children and breaking down barriers facing persons with disabilities. We have a long way to go in all of these areas. But we are turning the tide on discrimination in both law and practice. Slowly, some old prejudices have started to dissolve.
Yet others remain in place, with horrendous consequences.
Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are targeted, assaulted and sometimes killed. Children and teens are taunted by their peers, beaten and bullied, pushed out of school, disowned by their own families, forced into marriage … and, in the worst cases, driven to suicide.
CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...
LGBT people suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity at work, at clinics and hospitals, and in schools – the very places that should protect them. More than 76 countries still criminalize homosexuality. I am pained by this injustice. I am here to again denounce violence and demand action for true equality.
Let me say this loud and clear: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. They, too, are born free and equal. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their struggle for human rights.
I am proud that as Secretary-General I have a global platform to highlight the need to end violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The United Nations should lead by example. I recently reiterated to all senior managers that discrimination against staff on the basis of sexual orientation will not be tolerated. I have also asked that the UN’s rules and policies be examined to ensure that the rights of our LGBT staff are protected.
More and more governments are working to tackle homophobia. Last year, the Human Rights Council adopted the first UN resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, which expressed “grave concern” at violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights published the first UN report dedicated to the problem, which was then debated at the Human Rights Council, marking another UN first.
The past decade has seen far-reaching reforms in Europe, the Americas and a number of Asian and African countries ... and extraordinary shifts in social attitudes in many parts of the world.
I applaud Argentina for introducing some of the most progressive legislation in the world on same-sex partnerships and gender recognition. I am pleased that we are joined today by Blas Radi, from Argentina, who helped drive the gender identity law adopted there earlier this year.
I also welcome Olena Shevchenko who leads an important human rights effort in Ukraine.
In a number of countries, including Ukraine, draft laws have been proposed that would criminalize public discussion of homosexuality – potentially making meetings such as this one illegal. I deplore these kinds of measures wherever they are introduced. They threaten basic rights, feed stigma and lead to more abuse.
We are also pleased to have Gift Trapence, a prominent human rights defender from Malawi. When I visited Malawi in 2010, two young men had just been sentenced to 14 years of hard labour for the so-called “crime” of celebrating their wedding. At my request, the then President Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned them, on the very day when I asked him, but he defended criminal sanctions. Now under the new leadership of Her Excellency President Joyce Banda, Malawi is weighing possible changes in the law. I hope Malawians take the opportunity to turn a page.
We must all speak out against homophobia, especially those who are considered leaders in society as well as others in the public eye.
Let me say a big Bienvenido to pop sensation Ricky Martin. Muchas Gracias! You are a wonderful role model for LGBT youth and for all people. Thank you.
I am again honoured to share the stage with Yvonne Chaka Chaka – a global superstar and a champion of development, including as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and Roll Back Malaria. Thank you very much.
Yvonne, you are known as the Princess of Africa. Today, you are our Queen of Equality.
Our guests – and you here today – have helped to open a door. We cannot let it close.
It is an outrage that in our modern world, so many countries continue to criminalize people simply for loving another human being of the same sex. In many cases, these laws are not home-grown. They were inherited from former colonial powers. Laws rooted in 19th century prejudices are fuelling 21st century hate. In other cases new discriminatory laws are being introduced. These laws must go. We must replace them with laws that provide adequate protection against discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
This is not optional. It is a State obligation, based on the principle of non-discrimination – a fundamental tenet of international human rights law.
We also need a broad public education effort to spread understanding and counter fear.
When I meet with leaders from around the world I raise my voice for equality for LGBT people. Many leaders say they wish they could do more. But they point to public opinion as a barrier to progress. I understand it can be difficult to stand up to public opinion. But just because a majority might disapprove of certain individuals does not entitle the State to withhold their basic rights.
Democracy is more than majority rule. It requires defending vulnerable minorities from hostile majorities. It thrives on diversity. Governments have a duty to fight prejudice, not fuel it.
I am deeply grateful to the cross-regional LGBT core group of Member States for bringing us together. I hope many other countries will join you.
You and I and people of conscience everywhere must keep pushing until we realize the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all people. The freedom, dignity and equal rights that all people are born with – must be a living reality each and every day of their lives.
Thank you very much.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked today if the administration planned to take a public stance on the Supreme Court's consideration of the Proposition 8 case, "in particular some of the broader questions raised by that case, including whether or not the Constitution protects the rights of same-sex couples to marry? "
"Well, I appreciate the question, but for comment on the court's actions on that case I would point you to the Department of Justice. As you know the administration is not a party to this case and I just have nothing more for you on it."
Attorney Ted Olson told reporters in a conference call following last week's SCOTUS announcement:
"I would hate to predict what the United States government is doing, but given the stand the president of the United States and the attorney general of the United States made with respect to marriage equality, we would certainly hope that they would participate...And I'm quite confident that if they did participate that they would support our position in this case that the denial of equal rights is subject to close scrutiny by the courts and cannot withstand that scrutiny. It's a denial of rights, and it's quite clear that it is."
It's something Obama needs to do, according to the Washington Post's Greg Sargent:
This would be a big, big move on the administration’s part. And Obama must do it, for two reasons. First, because it could help influence the Supreme Court to reach a broad conclusion on the constitutionality of gay marriage. Second, weighing in could help prepare public opinion to accept this right, too.
The Supreme Court’s decision to weigh in on California’s Prop 8 may be even more important than the decision to weigh in on the Defense of Marriage Act. If the Supreme Court adopts a broad ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional because it violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the constitution — as opposed to a narrower ruling that can only be applied in California — that will effectively enshrine the federal constitutional right to marry, meaning it’s only a matter of time until all state statutes banning gay marriage are ruled unconstitutional.
Obama, of course, has said he personally favors gay marriage and has come out against Prop 8. But his administration has not clarified whether it sees Prop 8 as unconstitutional (as it has in the narrower DOMA case).
Embedded reporter Mrs. Betty Bowers is on the front line of the 'War on Christmas' - the local shopping mall:
"I'm hearing from Macy's security forces that just moments ago secular insurgents invaded Jessica Simpson juniors and launched verbal grenades assaulting shoppers' ears with wishes of cheer not worded exactly as Christians demand in this time of great joy."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
They have been suspended. Wrote the station in a statement:
We strongly believe two of our employees crossed the line when discussing a transsexual person on their program last Thursday. Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company. Due to the nature of this conversation, the pair have been temporarily removed from ESPN980's Sports Reporters program.
Writes GLAAD: "GLAAD has extended an offer to sit down with Czaban and Pollin and leaders from the transgender community to talk about the issues that affect transgender Americans, particularly those who are involved in athletics. It is important that the lesson they take away from this isn't simply 'don't make fun of transgender people or you'll get suspended.' LGBT equality and inclusion in sports will never improve unless we are able to use these moments to educate each other and see each other as human beings."