President Obama has released a statement regarding the reported signing of the anti-homosexuality bill by Ugandan President Museveni.
Says Obama in the statement:
As a country and a people, the United States has consistently stood for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights. We believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love.
That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people. It also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights.
As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda. At a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the LGBT community from Russia to Nigeria, I salute all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons.
The bill penalizes anyone who aids or abets a known homosexual, and punishes homosexuality with life imprisonment.
Vladimir Luxuria, the former Italian MP and the first transgender person to hold that office, has been arrested in Sochi after displaying a banner reading 'Gay is OK', according to Italian media reports.
Luxuria was taken into custody, according to Italian LGBT activist Irma Battaglia of the 'Gay Project', and the attitude of the agents has been "brutal and aggressive".
Luxuria tweeted a photo earlier in the day as she held a rainbow fan. She wrote: "I'm in Sochi! Greetings with the colors of the rainbow, in the face of Putin!"
Sono a Sochi! Saluti con i colori della rainbow, alla faccia di Putin! pic.twitter.com/E68Lgtadgv— vladimir luxuria (@vladiluxuria) February 16, 2014
Luxuria said she had been protesting against a law signed by President Vladimir Putin last year banning the spread of "gay propaganda" among minors. Critics say it discriminates against gays and that it has fuelled violence against homosexuals.
"I think it is important ...(to have) the opportunity to talk internationally about these things because otherwise these things happen in Russia and nobody knows, nobody cares," Luxuria said after stepping off the stage at a gay cabaret bar in Sochi.
"They think: 'Well, it's not in our country, it's far away, it's in Russia, who cares?'"
She said she had been treated with respect while in detention but was told by the police that she could not promote pro-gay slogans in public.
The police declined immediate comment and the Russian organizers of the Games said the police had no formal record of her detention. International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said: "We hope that the Games will not be used as a platform for demonstrations."
Note: Reports use differing pronouns when referring to Luxuria, who has stated in the past that she does not consider herself male nor female. The Italian foreign minister uses the pronoun 'she' which we will use here as it appears to be the predominant mode of identification in varying reports.
On This Week, George Stephanopoulos asks Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler, NFL punter Chris Kluwe, and Pete Thamel, the author of the disappointing Sports Illustrated article which featured 8 anonymous NFL execs discussing the NFL's lack of readiness for an openly gay player, what Michael Sam will face in the coming weeks.
And Outsports' Cyd Zeigler expresses his indignation that the media is responsible for fabricating the "struggle" Sam supposedly faces to get into the league.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
As you may have read on Towleroad earlier this week, the Kansas House passed a horrible bill that would allow people, groups, and businesses to discriminate against gay couples based on religious beliefs.
On The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur laid out the details in this deplorable Kansas bill which essentially introduces a "new segregation" in the U.S. There is one bit of hope for Kansas - the Senate president recently suggested that the bill won't have support to pass her chamber.
But we must remain vigilant against this kind of horrible legislation.
Watch and be disgusted, AFTER THE JUMP...
The Mizzou basketball stadium went wild last night as Michael Sam returned to the school to accept the 2014 Cottom Bowl Champaionship trophy with the Tiger football team at halftime of the Mizzou vs. Tennessee game.
Fans holding signs like 'We Heart Michael Sam' got to their feet as the defensive end, who came out as gay last week, returned to his alma mater for the first time since the announcement.
The Westboro Baptist Church came to picket the event.
Shirley Phelps-Roper cackled and spit to local station KRCG:
"They comforted Michael Sam in his sin this past week. Just absolutely went crazy when he announced - he announced! He told the world he was a filthy pervert and a rebel against God. And they fawned all over him!"
But the Phelps clan was completely owned by a massive human wall of Michael Sam supporters that formed a ring around the stadium to counterprotest the WBC.
Said one organizer of the protest: "We're both Christians. God is love. And what they're doing is hateful."
Watch videos of the counterprotest and Sam's standing O, AFTER THE JUMP...
Mitt Romney on 'Meet the Press': It's 'Fine' if Gay Couples Want to Live Together, But Not Marry — VIDEO
In a conversation with David Gregory on Meet the Press this morning, Mitt Romney was asked about the changing marriage landscape in the U.S. and if his views had changed.
Said Romney (my transcript)
"Well I think marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. And I think the ideal setting for raising a child is in a setting where there is a father and a mother. Now there are many other different settings that children are raised in and people have the right to live life as they want to. But I think that marriage should be defined in the way that it has been defined for several thousand years. And if gay couples want to live together then that's fine as well. That's their right."
Asked if he thinks it's going to have a negative impact on society that so many states are starting to allow gay marriage, Romney added:
"Oh I think it's going to take a long, long time to determine whether having gay marriage will make it less likely for kids to be raised in settings where there's a mom and a dad. That's not gonna happen overnight. It's something which happens over generations in fact and again, I think the ideal setting is where there's a mom and dad that can invest their time and their resources in supporting the development of a child."
Asked if he thinks Republicans are losing on the marriage issue, Romney said:
"I don't think you have to worry about who wins or who loses a particular fight. I think you stand for various principles. You communicate those to the American people and they either support those or not. Sometimes, if something is lost why then you move on to the next issue. You wish you'd have won that one. But you move on. I think that in this case it's an issue that people continue to find relevant and important and it's something that is being considered in various states around the country. I do believe that it's better decided by people than by the courts."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...