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04/19/2007


Desmond Tutu Denounces Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill

Last month, Desmond Tutu spoke to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urging him to not sign the heinous "kill the gays" bill. Tutu released a statement today wherein he expressed his disappointment regarding news that the leader is still considering signing the bill into law.

Said Tutu:

400px-Archbishop-Tutu-medium"When President Museveni and I spoke last month, he gave his word that he would not let the anti-homosexuality bill become law in Uganda. I was therefore very disheartened to hear last week that President Museveni was reconsidering his position....We must be entirely clear about this: the history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste, and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of God. There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts."

Tutu suggests Museveni focus not on homosexuality but instead actual crimes occurring in Uganda:

"To strengthen criminal sanctions against those who commit sexual acts with children, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. To strengthen criminal sanctions against all acts of rape and sexual violence, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. And, if needs be, to strengthen criminal sanctions against those involved in commercial sexual transactions – buyers and sellers – regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Tightening such areas of the law would surely provide children and families far more protection than criminalising acts of love between consenting adults."

Just last week, Museveni asked that Uganda work with the United States to gather more information about gays and lesbians.


Desmond Tutu: 'I Would Refuse To Go To A Homophobic Heaven'

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Anglican Archbishop and social rights activist Desmond Tutu made the declaration during the launch of the global public education campaign called "Free & Equal," which we told you about yesterday.

The BBC reports on his stance on equality:

"I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place," Archbishop Tutu said at the launch of the Free and Equal campaign in Cape Town. "I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this."

Archbishop Tutu said the campaign against homophobia was similar to the campaign waged against racism in South Africa. "I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level," he added.

Watch a South African Broadcast News segment about Tutu's support of the "Free & Equal" objective, in which he adds that "we should become a society where people are free to be who God made them to be," AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Desmond Tutu: 'I Would Refuse To Go To A Homophobic Heaven'" »


United Nations Launches Global Public Education Campaign For LGBT Rights: VIDEO

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On Friday, the United Nations officially unveiled a global public education campaign called 'Free & Equal,' with the goal of increasing support and awareness for LGBT rights around the world. The Washington Blade reports:

The year-long effort, which the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights unveiled during a press conference in Cape Town, South Africa, seeks to raise awareness of anti-LGBT violence and discrimination and encourage what it describes as 'greater respect for the rights of LGBT people.'

The "Free & Equal" campaign will stress what a press release described as the 'need for both legal reforms and public education to counter homophobia and transphobia.' The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights will also produce a number of videos that are similar to the one it released in May to mark the annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and gay South African Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron, who lives with HIV, joined U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay at the Cape Town press conference.

'Changing attitudes is never easy. But it has happened on other issues and it is happening already in many parts of the world on this one,' Pillay said. 'It begins with often difficult conversations. And that is what we want to do with this campaign. 'Free & Equal' will inspire millions of conversations among people around the world and across the ideological spectrum.'

'The [U.N.'s] Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises a world in which everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights - no exceptions, no one left behind,' Pillay said. 'Yet it's still a hollow promise for many millions of LGBT people forced to confront hatred, intolerance, violence and discrimination on a daily basis.'

Check out a powerful video about the new campaign's mission, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "United Nations Launches Global Public Education Campaign For LGBT Rights: VIDEO" »


Desmond Tutu Calls on Uganda to Drop Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke to reporters at a conference in Kenya today, calling on Uganda to drop its anti-homosexuality bill, RNS reports:

Tutu“I am opposed to discrimination, that is unfair discrimination, and would that I could persuade legislators in Uganda to drop their draft legislation, because I think it is totally unjust,” Tutu told reporters here on Tuesday at the All Africa Conference of Churches meeting...

...“My brothers and sisters, you stood with people who were oppressed because of their skin color. If you are going to be true to the Lord you worship, you are also going to be there for the people who are being oppressed for something they can do nothing about: their sexual orientation,” he said.

Tutu said people do not choose their sexual orientation, and would be crazy to choose homosexuality “when you expose yourself to so much hatred, even to the extent of being killed.”

The bill could be debated and voted on at any time.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Put Blair And Bush On Trial

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the anti-apartheid warrior, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and general mensch, this weekend published an editorial in The Observer explaining his decision to pull out of a scheduled appearance at last week's Discovery Invest Leadership Summit, in Johannesburg. His reason: Tony Blair would be there. Tony Blair, according to Tutu, shouldn't be onstage in Johannesburg. He should be on trial at The Hague. George W. Bush, too. Probably some others.

Archbishop Tutu's editorial begins with a sentence that is neither grammatical nor historical:

The immorality of the United States and Great Britain's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history.

Surely Archbishop Tutu means to say it was the conflict itself, and not its immorality, that did the "destabilising"? (And didn't the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war against Serbia in July, 1914, cause at least as much trouble?) Archbishop Tutu calms down a few paragraphs later, writing:

On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers' circuit, bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush's chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?

The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its by-all-accounts despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.

There are no satisfactory answers to Archbishop Tutu's questions, as a tired-sounding Tony Blair seems to acknowledge in his rebuttal:

I have a great respect for Archbishop Tutu's fight against apartheid – where we were on the same side of the argument – but to repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown.

And to say that the fact that Saddam massacred hundreds of thousands of his citizens is irrelevant to the morality of removing him is bizarre ... his slaughter of his political opponents, the treatment of the Marsh Arabs and the systematic torture of his people make the case for removing him morally strong. But the basis of action was as stated at the time.

In short, this is the same argument we have had many times with nothing new to say. But surely in a healthy democracy people can agree to disagree.


News: Elton John, South Korea, Desmond Tutu, Call Bear

 roadNut arrested for death threats against Elton John. Threat video.

 roadAIDS clinic, gay leader targeted in Kenya: "The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) clinic had been threatened with attack on Christian radio station Baraka FM with a closure deadline of today, 12 March. Their broadcasts said: 'homosexuals are not human beings and should be treated as such'."

Tutu  roadArchbishop Desmond Tutu in the Washington Post: "Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity -- or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds."

 roadWay better than the Twilight: Eclipse trailer.

 roadRoverta Boen, opened first gay bar in northeast Florida, dies.

 roadFormer Marilyn Musgrave staffer now a gay rights supporter.

 roadConfessions of a Las Vegas Call Bear: "So, yes: I'm a Las Vegas call bear. But don't be fooled into assuming that all my clients come from the world of the bears. Far from it. The men who hire me run the gamut from 18-year-olds who want their first male-male experience to be with a man who knows what he's doing to men in their 80s who just want to be held by a lumberjack type for an hour. They might be fat, they might be average, or they might have bodies so perfectly sculpted they should be underwear models."

Satc2  road New promo photos for Sex and the City 2.

 roadHeeeeere's Johnny: Best cuckoo clock ever.

 roadDisney refuses to add "ex-gays" to its anti-discrimination policies: "Greg Quinlan, director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), presented the resolution at the recent annual shareholders meeting in San Antonio. But he explains that Disney board chairman John E. Pepper 'responded in saying that the current policies were very inclusive and were very broad and that they could not lift every possible nuance to come.'"

 roadThe Absolut Hunk is now the Charisma Bath Towels Hunk.

 road'Shades of Yellow': The first Hmong LGBT support group in the world.

 roadTracy Young coy about relationship with Kim Zolciak: "I’m not at liberty to say all the personal details, but we have a lot of similarities and a very strong connection. She’s a great friend and I adore her, but it’s kind of complicated."

Msross  roadShe's coming out: Diana Ross announces North American concert tour dates.

 roadGay servicemembers have a hang-out in South Korea: "This cluster of trendy bars, with names like 'Queen' and 'Always Homme,' is a 10-minute walk from Yongsan Garrison, the U.S. military’s flagship base in South Korea. The Hill is one of the few places gay and lesbian U.S. servicemembers can be somewhat open about their sexuality while stationed in the country."

 roadAdam Lambert to release make-up line?

 roadGLAAD President Jarrett Barrios speaks out against cancellation of gay storyline on One Life to Live: “Last summer, One Life to Live brought a ground-breaking relationship into the homes of millions with Kyle and Fish’s story, one that built acceptance and understanding of gay people,. While we understand that the close of storylines is a frequent occurrence on daytime dramas, canceling this story just as it gains momentum is a step backward in ABC Daytime’s representation of the lives of gay Americans.”


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