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Obama Makes Surprise Video Appearance at Gay Games Opening Ceremony: WATCH

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The Gay Games 9 kicked off in Cleveland last night with thousands of people from all over the country and world gathering to take part in the LGBT-inclusive sporting event. 

The opening ceremony featured appearances by former Olympian Greg Louganis and singer Lance Bass - as well as a surprise message from President Obama via video.

Said Obama, in part:

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 7.19.39 AM"Even since 2006, when the Games were last held in the United States, in my hometown of Chicago, we've come a long way in our commitment to the equal rights of LGBT people here and around the world...I know some of you have come from places where it requires courage, even defiance, to come out - sometimes at great personal risk. You should know that the United States stands with you and for your human rights, just as our athletes stand with you in these Games."  

Check out Obama's full speech and video footage of the opening ceremony, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Gay Games will run until August 16. 

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Obama Welcomes Ugandan President to the White House

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President Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama welcomed Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to the White House on Tuesday as part of the U.S.-Africa leaders summit this week.

Despite announcements in June from the State Department that it would "take measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals" the man responsible for signing Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act (which this week was struck down by that nation's high court on a technicality) into law was not blocked from attending the summit in the nation's capital.

Human and gay rights activists have called on Obama to discuss anti-LGBT discrimination at this week's summit.

Ugandan media reports:

The business forum is part of an unprecedented three-day summit underway in Washington, with nearly 50 African heads of state in attendance including President Yoweri Museveni. Obama was hosting the leaders at a White House dinner Tuesday night.
 
At the meeting, U.S. companies announced $14 billion in investments for Africa. Among them: a $5 billion investment from Coca-Cola to fund manufacturing lines and production equipment; $2 billion investment from GE by 2018; $200 million in investments across Africa by Marriott, and a $66 million commitment by IBM to provide technology services to Ghana’s Fidelity Bank.
 
Obama said with the new financial commitments, he was boosting that goal to 60 million homes and businesses.
 
He also announced $7 billion in new government financing to promote U.S. exports to and investments in Africa. That includes $3 billion in financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank aimed at supporting American exports to Africa over the next two years.


Rick Scarborough: U.S. Should Be Obliterated Because Of Gay Ambassadors - VIDEO

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Rick Scarborough, the homophobic Vision America founder and pastor whom even the Tea Party has had to distance itself from, has said that it is a miracle that god has not destroyed the U.S. since President Barack Obama started appointing gay ambassadors, reports Right Wing Watch.

In the newly released video, wingnut Scarborough says that it would be “perfectly just” for god to destroy the U.S. “because we have squandered our grace in this country.”

Agreeing with Islamic fundamentalists who call the U.S. the “Great Satan,” the homophobic pastor demonstrates just how dreadful the U.S. has become by pointing out that foreign U.S. embassies celebrate Pride as well as the appointment of several gay ambassadors by President Obama.

In lighter, related news: last weekend, Daniel Baer, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, married his partner Brian Walsh in Vienna.

Watch Scarborough spew his hate, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ugandan President Says Foreign Pressure Had 'Nothing To Do' With Striking Down Of Anti-Gay Law

MuseveniPresident Yoweri Museveni has denied that the recent court decision to scrap Uganda’s draconian anti-gay law had anything to do with the U.S.-Africa Summit taking place this week, reports the Mail & Guardian.

In the lead-up to this week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, human rights groups had urged President Obama to discuss anti-gay discrimination in Uganda and other African countries. Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act last February, which penalizes same-sex relations with life imprisonment.

Museveni has said that the decision by Uganda’s constitutional court to overturn the country’s anti-gay legislation last Friday had “nothing to do” with the summit or with the sanctions placed on the country by the U.S.

However, saying he intends to take the issue to the country's Supreme Court, Christian evangelical pastor Martin Ssempa, who has campaigned to “kick sodomy out of Uganda”, described the court’s decision as a “judicial abortion” designed to polish Uganda’s reputation before the summit.

Under earlier legislation which is expected to return following the court’s decision, homosexuality in Uganda remains illegal and punishable by jail sentences.

 


House Votes 225-201 to Grant John Boehner Authority to Sue Obama

John Boehner

Earlier today, the House of Representatives voted to authorize Speaker John Boehner to move ahead with his asinine attempt to sue the President on the grounds that Obama overstepped his legal authority on the Affordable Care Act.

The vote was 225-201 with five Republicans joining all Democrats in voting no.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Mr. Boehner, speaking just before the vote, said Congress needed to assert its authority under the Constitution to combat executive overreach. "This isn't about Republicans and Democrats. It's about defending the Constitution we swore an oath to uphold," he said.

Mr. Obama, speaking to a friendly crowd in Kansas City ahead of the vote, said that suing him wasn't a productive thing to do.

"Everybody recognizes this is a political stunt," he said of the lawsuit. "But it's worse than that, because every vote they're taking like that means a vote they're not taking to actually help you."


Barack Obama Must Raise LGBT Discrimination At U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: READ

Human and gay rights activists are urging Barack Obama to discuss anti-gay discrimination at next week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit with 50 African leaders, reports ABC News.

2_obamaThe Human Rights Campaign and Human Rights First issued a statement saying that the summit, with the theme “Investing in the Next Generation,” is a "once-in-a-generation moment" to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Africans.

According to the two advocacy groups, 37 African countries have laws criminalizing LGBT relationships. Leaders of 32 of those countries - including Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, who signed harsh anti-gay laws earlier this year - have been invited to the summit.

In response to anti-gay laws, the U.S.government last month announced sanctions against Uganda including loss of funding and a ban on Ugandan citizens involved in human rights abuses entering the United States.

Shawn Gaylord, Human Rights First's advocacy counsel for LGBT rights said:

"We believe the U.S. can do more in both Nigeria and Uganda to ensure that U.S. funding is not being given to any institution or group that is abusing human rights, including actively discriminating against the LGBT community. We recognize that this is a difficult process with competing interests, made more difficult by the rhetoric espoused by some leaders that the movement for the rights of LGBT people is something invented in the West and being imposed upon African societies. "

Indicating that gay rights will be raised at the summit, Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said:

"The Obama Administration has long spoken out — including with our African partners — in support of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. We expect the summit will provide an opportunity to continue these conversations."

Read Human Rights Campaign's report The State Of Human Rights For LGBT People In Africa, AFTER THE JUMP...

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