Indie artists and "Same Love" songsters Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are going on their first arena tour this fall, covering ground in the U.S. and Europe. Thanks to a five-part documentary chronicling their journey, you can get a glimpse of the duo's life on the road. The documentary is part of Buffalo David Bitton’s "Blank Check Series" and provides artists funding so they can continue to create and work.
Check out the first episode in the installment AFTER THE JUMP...
Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Commissioner Tom Creighton compared giving benefits to gay couples and "giving money out to people's pets" in his remarks promoting an amendment to the Lehigh County budget. The amendment is meant to deny benefits for same-sex spouses employed by the county, Think Progress reports:
“The state has a ban on same-sex marriage, so why should the county be offering benefits for same-sex marriage?” Lehigh County Commissioner Tom Creighton asked. “I don’t feel the county should be looking for new ways to give away taxpayer money. Next it could be giving money out to people’s pets or whatever. No, it probably won’t go that far.”
Creighton made the remarks to promote his amendment to the Lehigh County budget, which would deny benefits to the same-sex partners of county employees “whose marriage is recognized in another state.” Lawmakers has been hoping to expand benefits, which could cost the County “much less than $219,000.”
Pennsylvania has a rich history of politicians who make unusual claims about same-sex marriage. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services recently compared gay and lesbian couples to 12-year-olds and during his 2012 presidential campaign, Rick Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, likened marriage equality to a napkin, not a paper towel; water, not beer; tea, not basketball; a tree, not a car.
Though the comparisons can be amusing, especially coming from good ole' Santorum, you have to wonder when they will start to be challenged more vehemently in popular culture. Has Jon Stewart seen this? Someone should send it along.
What do you think? Are these kinds of statements too absurd to be taken seriously, or do they stand a chance of influencing people's opinions?
President Obama sat down for a CNBC interview and shared his reaction to Pope Francis's recent statements regarding the Catholic Church's obsessive focus on gay marriage and women's rights. He seemed to have nothing but admiration for the guy.
USA Today reports:
"I have been hugely impressed with the pope's pronouncements," Obama said, describing Francis as "somebody who lives out the teachings of Christ. Incredible humility -- incredible sense of empathy to the least of these, to the poor."
"And that spirit, that sense of love and unity, seems to manifest itself in not just what he says, but also what he does. And, you know, for any religious leader, that's something -- that's a quality I admire.
"And --I would argue for any leader period -- that's a quality that I admire."
Some current American leaders (e.g. certain members of Congress) could certainly learn a thing or two about love and unity. Obama, for his part, really seemed to avoid the meat of the Pope's statements. Was he too afraid to interpret them further, or simply being respectful?
Watch the interview clip, AFTER THE JUMP...
In February, 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt was arrested and charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery for entering into a consenual relationship with a fellow classmate who was 14.
Although a judge ruled that Hunt could stay in school as long as she didn't contact the other girl, the 14-year-old's family pressured the school board and succeeded in having Hunt expelled. As we reported at the time, Hunt's parents told The Examiner that the family of their daughter's girlfriend had targeted Hunt because they never approved of their daughter dating another girl:
"They are out to destroy my daughter, because they feel like she 'made' their daughter gay. They see being gay as wrong and they blame my daughter. Of course, I see it 100% differently. I don’t see or label these girls as gay. They are teenagers in high school experimenting with their sexuality – with mutual consent. And even if their daughter is gay, who cares? She is still their daughter."
This August, Hunt was arrested again, after prosecuters withdrew a plea deal that would have allowed her to stay out of jail, alleging that Hunt had been in communication with her mother, who had encouraged her to delete texts that could be used against her.
Today, however, CNN reports that Hunt pleaded no contest to the charges as part of a deal between her lawyers and prosecutors:
Hunt pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor battery, misdemeanor contributing to the dependency of a child and two counts of felony interference with child custody.
Hunt has been in jail since August 20 for violating a court order not to contact the alleged victim.
Under the terms of the agreement, Hunt will be sentenced to four months in jail, to be followed by two years of house arrest with electronic monitoring, and nine months of monitored probation after that, according to prosecutor Brian Workman.
If she has no violations, she will not be a convicted felon under Florida law, and she will have the possibility of sealing her file and having the case expunged after 10 years, he said.
Hunt has been in jail since August 20.
In an artful display of chauvinism and condescension, Republican Representative Todd Rokita (Indiana), while appearing on CNN's show News Room this morning to discuss the government shutdown and the protracted battle over Obamacare, told anchor Carol Costello, "You're beautiful, but you need to be honest."
However, as Jezebel points out, the awkward exchange did not end there, with Rokita making comments such as, "I don’t know if you have children yet, I’m sure you don’t have grandchildren yet, you look much too young, but we’re fighting for them. Carol, do you have any idea how much this law is going to cost?"
Watch a video of the cringe-worthy interview AFTER THE JUMP...
Speaking at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, France on Tuesday, Russian State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin attempted to refute the charge that Russia's anti-gay laws negatively impact the rights and freedoms of gay Russians. Naryshkin suggested that one need only make a trip to Moscow's gay clubs to see that the rights of those with "non-traditional sexual orientations" are protected, as Rapsi News reports:
“We have a lot of accomplished people here with non-traditional sexual orientation. They succeed in business, art and any creative sphere… They have the right to safe recreation in Moscow and other Russian cities. There are a lot of gay clubs. I personally have not been in one, but word goes around that people have a good time there,” Naryshkin said during a PACE session.
“If you want confirmation on this, I invite you to come to Moscow. Sadly, I won’t be able to go with you, but I will definitely take care of you,” the State Duma speaker added. The speaker stressed that the people with non-traditional sexual orientations enjoy the same volume of rights as people with traditional sexual orientations.
Naryshkin also stressed Russia's conservative roots, explaining that the country has "retained Orthodox values, including the traditional family," according to RT.com. In a further attempt to make clear how Russia's gay propaganda law does not limit or violate the rights of gay Russians, but instead only protect children, Naryshkin stated: "If you can’t cross the road at a red light, that does not mean that you cannot walk down the streets."