PHOTO OF THE DAY: A UFC weigh-in gets steamy.
BY SAM GREISMAN
A look back at today's top stories
Last week it was reported that two cast members from this run of Big Brother were caught making homophobic and racist remarks, well it turns out it wasn't just a one time thing. It seems like a bad idea to insult a good portion of the American population while appearing on a show that requires people to vote for you, doesn't it? Pat Robertson wants Facebook to create a "vomit" button for him to push when he sees photos of gay couples. The bigger question is how are gay couples showing up on his feed?
It's a sad day when former President George W. Bush seems relatively sane, but "Dubya" made some moderately enlightened comments regarding gay marriage. Louisiana remains a tough place to be gay as a Republican official wants to keep Pride flags from being displayed on public property. An NHL player is blaming a homophobic tweet on hackers and Capital One is being urged to drop Alec Baldwin over his recent Twitter rant.
Gay geeks are urging film goers to skip the upcoming Enders Game because of the writer's blatant anti-gay views. Also Chris Pratt is aware that shirtless gym pics are 'kinda douchey' but shows us his anyway.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY
If you are fan of bears then you will love gay singer-songwriter Tom Goss' new single. And now that Steve Grand's All American Boy has gone viral, he showed up to perform the song live over the weekend.
After being sent five petitions on its "We The People" site, the White House issued a statement on July 1st condemning actions by the Westboro Baptist Church, but also stating that it cannot list the organization as a "hate group" or take actions against the group's tax exempt status.
The statement was released in response to a "We The People" petition that asked the White House to legally recognize the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group. Despite the WBC's extensive history of fiercely antigay statements and controversial protests, the Obama administration had conceded that its hands are tied in this situation.
"To the extent that these petitions request a particular law enforcement or adjudicatory action, we cannot issue a comment. In addition, as a matter of practice, the federal government doesn't maintain a list of hate groups. That's the prerogative of private organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center."
According to the Washington Post, all "We the People" petitions receiving more than 100,000 signatures within 30 days automatically receive a response. Two recent petitions have recently met said goal: one asking to label the WBC as a hate group and another asking for the organization to have their tax-exempt status revoked. WaPo has noted that these petitions are two of the five that were created after the group announced that it would picket the funerals of the shooting victims in Newtown, CT.
In its response, the White House did make a point to express its disapproval of the WBC's practices, as well as prior action that it has taken against the hate group:
"We agree that practices such as protesting at the funerals of men and women who died in service to this country and preventing their families from mourning peacefully are reprehensible-- a point that President Obama has made for years. That's why he signed a law to ensure that protesters keep an appropriate distance at military funerals."
Unfortunately, many of the group's unsavory practices are still protected by the First Amendment, a fact that was reaffirmed in 2011 by an 8-1 decision by the Supreme Court. Most recently, the so-called church has announced that it will be picketing a One Direction concert taking place in Kansas City, MO, on July 19.
The folks over at Wiwibloggs decided to have some fun with Eurovision's muscle-bound Azerbaijani singer and are holding a caption contest for the above photo of Farid and his dancer in the green room. The submissions are pretty slim so far, so head on over and test your creativity after watching the video of his performance AFTER THE JUMP...
Esteban Navarro was the victim of a vicious attack by six men on June 23, where the perpetrators reportedly shouted anti-gay slurs while brutalizing him with a machete, knives, and iron bars. Navarro was subsequently rushed to the hospital in serious condition, where doctors had to amputate the teen's foot. Now, less than a month later, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News is reporting that Navarro will have to have his entire leg removed.
Navarro's family issued a statement via the gay rights group MOVILH:
"We are very sad and concerned. Expect that here there is justice and punish those responsible to the fullest extent of the law. Esteban's life has changed dramatically in a homophobic attack."
This attack is just one of several anti-gay hate crimes that have recently taken place in Chile. Towleroad has previously reported an attack that took place in March of 2012 that claimed the life of Daniel Zamudio. Chile subsequently passed legal protections for gay Chileans in the wake of the incident. However, MOVILH is now arguing that the Chilean autorities need to do more to prevent subsequent attacks. Spokesman Oscar Rementería criticized "the lack of public pronouncements by authorities on this case. Apparently for some solidarity and commitment to non-discrimination is determined by the media impact of a particular event, rather than by the severity of the violations." He went on to say...
"A young man lost his leg last May, a young transsexual lost an eye and here almost all of the authorities condemned the murder of Daniel Zamudio , have kept absolute silence on the two latter cases, which is unacceptable."
Pride ended poorly for the patrons of La Bata de Boatiné and El 23, two bars in Barcelona, Spain. At 3am on June 29th the gay bar La Bata de Boatiné was raided by about 20 Mossos, the civilian police force, as they broke down the door to the bar. According to News Vine, the Mossos wore bulletproof vests and masks but no identification, which is illegal in Spain. The Mossos in turn only asked for the ID of the bar owner, Miquel, and performed a cursory search for drugs with a police dog, which found nothing. Customers found the raid to be unecessary and violent, and done only to intimidate. Miquel told the El Diario newspaper:
[...]he believes the tactics used by the agents were due to "homophobia" otherwise "it makes no sense to have all this police presence just to ask me for a document," especially when the bar passed a city inspection only four months ago.
The night went even worse for El 23, the straight bar next door. One of the patrons, Sergi Boal, complained loudly during the raid and as a result was kept in the bar as the rest of the patrons were escorted out. When left alone with the Mossos, things allegedly turned violent as Boal was then grabbed by the throat, called cowardly scum, and beaten until the thought he "was going to die." They examined the contents of his wallet and then left. It is suspected that because El 23 shares an address with La Bata de Boatiné that the Mossos thought it was a gay bar as well. This suspicion is supported by one of the Mossos calling one of Boal's friends a "maricón," which as we learned from the holy Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez is a slur that generally translates as "faggot." Across town other gay bars such as El Cangrejo were the victim of similar raids.
El Diario's sources at the Mossos and at the city police force Guardia Urbana say that these incidents were routine and merely a coincidence that they happened at a bunch of gay bars during Pride. Barcelona city counselor Mercè Homs offered a weak "apology" for any "inappropriate attitudes." Bar owners are considering legal action and liberal political parties are asking for investigations. The Mossos would do well to look at the history they are repeating that happened at Stonewall or, more recently, The Rainbow Lounge and the fallout that they may well be bringing down on their own heads.
Kathy Sowden and Deborah Grier have been together for 21 years, and now they share Arizona's very first civil union, as KGUN9 reports:
Sometime small steps in small towns lead to big changes. In Bisbee, Kathy Sowden and Deborah Grier went to Bisbee City Hall to file the papers to recognize their 21 year relationship as a formal civil union.
The documents spell out how they want to handle some of the privileges that come with marriage like the ability to make medical decisions for each other.
Bisbee's City attorney says because the city wrote the documents like a contract between two people, Bisbee's civil union carries legal weight outside Bisbee and throughout the US.
As we reported in early April, the Bisbee City Council voted 5-2 to approve a civil unions bill for same-sex couples, making it the first jurisdiction in the city to do so. The following month, the council approved an amended version of the provision in the face of a threatened lawsuit by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne alleging the civil unions legislation conflicted with state law. The revised measure explicitly stated that "the city of Bisbee makes no warranty or guarantee regarding the legality or enforceability of any agreements or nominations of the parties."
Last month, the Tuscon City Council unanimously approved its own civil unions bill. Previously, the city had offered a domestic partnership registry that offered limited rights, such as hospital visitation privileges. The new civil unions law provides couples with inheritence rights and power of attorney and allows them to establish living wills for each other.