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News: Steubenville, Brett Ratner, Mugabe Travels, Giorgos Katidis

1NewsIcon Oz the Great and Powerful obviously has some friends: it topped the box office for the second weekend in a row and with $142 million in domestic sales, it is now the highest grossing movie of the year so far.

Oscarandy1NewsIcon Garbage survey in England asks about sexual orientation.

1NewsIcon Teenagers Trent Mays & Ma’Lik Richmond have been found guilty of raping a 16-year old girl during a drunken party in Steubenville, Ohio. They may be incarcerated in juvenile facilities until they're 21.

1NewsIcon Get a look at the off-stage antics at last night's GLAAD Media Awards, starring Anderson Cooper and Madonna.

1NewsIcon A rehabilitated Brett Ratner, the director who stepped down from the 2012 Oscars and underwent sensitivity training after using the word "fag" during a Q&A in his movie Tower Heist, received the Ally Award at the same event last night. From his speech, "Homophobe. Bigot. Gay-basher. Ignorant frat boy. Fat, Jewish pig. I was called all of these names when I foolishly used a gay slur in a misguided attempt to be funny during an interview. Do I believe what I was called to be true? Aside from the Jewish and fat part? No, absolutely not. But I learned a valuable lesson: a word can matter, whether it's said with malice or a joke."

1NewsIcon A young Ryan Gosling gives the Mickey Mouse club a tour of Canada.

Hoping to boost his campaign coffers, comedian-turned-Senator Al Franken's holding a raffle in which supporters can win brunch with Conan O'Brien at Conan's house.

Lois271NewsIcon Bad news for female journalists: "For the third year in the row, the number of male bylines and works by male writers reviewed vastly outnumbered those of women almost across the board, and a look at all data from all three years indicated that things haven’t improved over time (in fact, at several publications, the percentage of women represented decreased between 2011 and 2012)."

1NewsIcon Despite being banned from traveling into the European Union, tyrannical Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe will cut through Italy on his way to the Vatican, where he'll attend Pope Francis' inauguration.

1NewsIcon So much vitriol in 67 words: "In another case in the annals of conservative 'adaptation' to yesterday's liberal innovation, Ohio Republican senator Rob Portman has just announced that he now supports faux marriage. The change was motivated, he said, by his son having come out to him and his wife as a homosexual. Well, it's a good thing his son didn't announce that he was involved in bestiality. Talk about a pandering parent."

1NewsIcon Meanwhile: "Greek soccer player Giorgos Katidis has been banned from his national team for life after giving a Nazi salute while celebrating a goal in the topflight league."

Cruise-ship-capsized-0121NewsIcon Oy. Panama-based Carnival Cruises enjoys a largely unregulated freedom and tax payer-backed Coast Guard rescues.

1NewsIcon Ick. "Lawrence Reed, the man accused of killing [Marco McMillian], appears to be laying the groundwork for a so-called "gay panic" defense, and he might just get away with it, highlighting the justice system’s troubled relationship with cases in which sexual orientation is clearly a factor."

1NewsIcon Aww. Pug pups get baths.

Posted Mar. 17,2013 at 5:04 PM EST by in Anderson Cooper, Brett Ratner, GLAAD, Madonna, News, Ohio, Rob Portman, Ryan Gosling, Television, Travel | Permalink | Comments (17)

MPs Push For Same-Sex Nups In Westminster Chapel Under Parliament

WestchapelThough marriage equality will most likely be passed very soon in England, the proposed law includes a loophole prohibiting religious bodies like the Church of England from performing same-sex nuptials, meaning same-sex couples won't be able to get married in their chosen places of worship by men or women of their preferred cloth. This includes chapel of St. Mary Undercroft, or Westminster Chapel, the small chapel nestled beneath Parliament.

A number of MPs are now hoping to change all that by converting the chapel from a strictly Anglican space to a non-denominational interfaith chamber. The Telegraph has more:

The plans to open the chapel to worshipers of all faiths are being considered by senior parliamentary officials together with Helen Grant, the equalities minister.
The scheme was first proposed by Chris Bryant, the Labour MP and a vocal supporter of the Government's plans to legalize same-sex marriage, in a debate on the legislation.
Mr Bryant, a former Anglican vicar, said the chapel was already being used to hold Catholic masses, adding that it seemed "odd" not to formally open it to worshipers from other religions and Christian denominations, including those who will conduct same sex marriage.

He added: "St Mary Undercroft has been many things in its time. It was the Speaker's dining room and before that Cromwell used it to stable his horses.

"It is a bit odd that we have no place for people of other faiths to worship. If we have got over this hurdle with Catholic masses being celebrated there it seems odd not to allow services of other denominations to be held there."

And, again, if it was good enough for Oliver Cromwell's horses...

Posted Mar. 17,2013 at 3:16 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, Great Britain, News | Permalink | Comments (5)

Scott Walker Sees GOP Far Removed From Reality: VIDEO


David Gregory and the Meet the Press round table today spent some time discussing Ohio Sen. Rob Portman's announcement that he's bucking Republican Party policy and supports marriage equality.

One of the MTP guests, GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, was asked whether same-sex nuptials are a civil rights issue worth fighting for and whether younger Republican voters will expect their candidates to back equality. Walker's responses to both questions are text book avoidance.

First, he downplayed the idea that Portman represents a "sea change" for the party — "I think the senator's announcement made the topic timely," he said — and made it seem as if voters don't care about marriage equality anyway, "It really isn't an issue; it didn't come up in my 2010 election, it didn't come up in 2012." To the second part, whether it's a generational matter, he switched topics.

Here's transcript from ThinkProgress:

GREGORY: Are younger conservatives more apt to see marriage equality as something that is, you know, what they believe, that is basic rather than as a disqualifying issue?

WALKER: I think there’s no doubt about that. But I think that's all the more reason, when I talk about things, I talk about the economic and fiscal crises in our state and in our country, that's what people want to resonate about. They don’t want to get focused on those issues.

While Walker lets his imagination run wild, over half the country thinks marriage equality should be legal and TP's Igor Volsky notes that 83% of Americans think same-sex nuptials will be legal within the next 5-10 years, so clearly it is an issue Americans are thinking about.

No wonder former Oklahoma Gov. and fellow Republican Frank Keating disagreed with Walker and said there is a sea change, though Keating also said he wants marriage decided by the states. "That's federalism working as it should," he said.

You can watch his and the other panelists' remarks AFTER THE JUMP.

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Posted Mar. 17,2013 at 1:29 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, News, Republican Party, Rob Portman, Scott Walker | Permalink | Comments (23)

Frank Bruni To Pope Francis: Stop Talking About Sex

Pope-Francis-on-the-busLike many people, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni sees the ascension of Jorge Mario Bergoglio from simply Argentine cardinal to Pope Francis as a time for the church to transition as well. The church has become too mired in sexual policing, something of which Francis too is guilty, and that mission derailed the church by shining the light on its own misconduct.

To get back on track, Bruni says, the church must first ignore Salt 'N' Pepa and stop talking about sex.

It's time for the church to stop talking so much about sex. It's the perfect time, in fact.

It's on matters of sexual morality that the church has lost much of its authority. And it's on matters of sexual morality that it largely wastes its breath. By insisting on mandatory celibacy for a priesthood winnowed and sometimes warped by that, by opposing the use of contraceptives for birth control, by casting judgment on homosexuals and by decrying divorce while running something of an annulment mill, the church's leaders have enraged and alienated Catholics whose common sense and whose experience of the real world tell them that none of that is wise, kind or necessary.

The church's leaders have also set themselves up to be dismissed as hypocrites, unable to uphold the very virtues they promulgate.

If Francis lives up to his reputation and truly embodies the spirit of the saint after which he's named, a humble servant of the poor, he must start rebuilding the church's outreach to the world's least fortunate, the 1.3 billion people living in poverty. That number, Bruni points out, is more than the 1.2 billion of people who identify as Catholic.

Posted Mar. 17,2013 at 11:49 AM EST by in Catholic Church, Frank Bruni, Pope Francis, Religion | Permalink | Comments (11)

Watch Boy Scout Madonna Introduce Anderson Cooper: VIDEO


Now that we've had time to savor Anderson Cooper's speech from last night's GLAAD Media Awards, here is video of Madonna introducing him. Dressed as a Boy Scout, the pop singer dropped not rhymes or tracks but admonishment and shame for those pockets of the world where homophobia still rules the day, places like St. Petersburg, Russia, where the singer defied laws against "homosexual propaganda" by celebrating gay love during a recent concert.

Of course no one can do Madonna's words justice quite like the Material Girl herself, so AFTER THE JUMP, Madonna's complete 12-minute introduction of Cooper at the GLAAD Media Awards.

Posted Mar. 17,2013 at 10:33 AM EST by in Anderson Cooper, GLAAD, Madonna, News | Permalink | Comments (50)

Anderson Cooper Accepts Vito Russo Honor at GLAAD Awards: VIDEO


Anderson Cooper thanked not only presenter Madonna and sponsor GLAAD but also the many known and unknown LGBT activists who have come before him as he accepted the Vito Russo Award at the GLAAD Media Awards last night.

The award, named for the groundbreaking gay author behind The Celluloid Closet, is given to someone whose work and life are dedicated to breaking barriers and making life easier for the rest of the LGBT communities. Cooper, of course, knows he couldn't have done it alone. Nor is our job done: the fight continues to make sure these people's stories are told.

Watch video of Cooper's comments, AFTER THE JUMP...

Here, an excerpt from the ever-humble journalist's speech, in which he again says that being gay is his greatest blessing.

As a gay person, it's important for me to remember that all of us come from a community whose stories have for too long been forgotten and ignored, a community whose lives have for too long been ridiculed or misrepresented, a community that in spite of all that has found ways to love and to laugh and to care about one another, a community that has found ways to stand tall and stand up and make ourselves visible.

I know that I'm only able to be on this stage because of generations of gay people who have come before and some of their names are known, but so many have lived and died in silence… There lives never even acknowledged, their love hidden in the shadows, hands furtively held in the dark…

I've had many blessings in my life and being gay is certainly one of the greatest blessings. It has allowed me to love and be loved; it has allowed me to open my head and open my heart in ways that I never could have predicted. The ability to love one another, The ability to love another person is one of God's greatest gifts and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with people in my life, with my family, my friends, and my partner Benjamin.

Watch video of Cooper's comments, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted Mar. 17,2013 at 10:07 AM EST by in Anderson Cooper, GLAAD, Madonna, News | Permalink | Comments (36)


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