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Gay Advocacy Group Equality Michigan Receives $3 Million Donation From Co-founder's Estate

Equality michigan

LGBT advocacy group Equality Michigan has received a $3 million donation from co-founder Dr. Henry Messer, reports Lansing State Journal.

Messer, a neurosurgeon, gay rights activist and co-founder of Triangle Foundation, which merged with Michigan Equality to form Equality Michigan in 2010, died in February at the age of 86.

With his partner of more than 60 years Carl House, Messer was a lifelong LGBTQ activist who got involved in the movement after being discharged from the military during World War II.

 

Equality Michigan announced that more than $1 million was given directly to the statewide anti-violence and political advocacy organization to support policy and victim services work, while another $2 million went to the organization’s endowment.

In a statement, Joy Geng, vice chair of the Equality Michigan board of trustees, said:

Messer"Henry [pictured far right with partner Carl House] was one of the most amazing people I have ever met, and one of my dearest friends. He dedicated his life to helping those most in need and did not just dream of a future where all LGBT people could live safely and openly, but committed his time, talent, and resources to making that dream a reality.

“Out of the tragedy that he did not live to see his dream fulfilled comes an historic opportunity for Equality Michigan to finish the work he started and make that dream come true for future generations. I am confident that our team will not let him down, and that his legacy will live on through the organization he loved so much for decades to come."


Nigerian Court Dismisses Challenge to Powerful Anti-Gay Law

Nigeria

On Wednesday, Nigeria's federal court dismissed a challenge to the nation's powerful anti-gay law, the Anti-Same Sex Marriage act, signed into law January 2014 by President Goodluck Jonathan.

As David Mixner wrote earlier this year, "Not only does the law ban marriage equality but also any LGBT relationship. If discovered, gay couples will be sentenced to fourteen years in jail. That is bad enough. However, it also provides for ten years in jail for forming any LGBT organization or supporting the formation of one. The law criminalizes even meetings between homosexuals."

AlimiThe court tossed the case out because they said the person who brought the case could not prove he was effected by it — the man in question does not live in Nigeria and is married to a woman with wife and children. His name is Teriah Joseph Ebah, 42, and he's lived the last 14 years in the UK. Said Ebah to Buzzfeed News: “I decided I wasn’t going to accept a Nigeria that was discriminatory.” His official complaint cites a violation of human rights protections of Nigerian Law.

On the bright side, Buzzfeed reports, this may not be such a setback for Nigerian LGBT activists as you might expect. They say Ebah brought the case independent of them without consulting them. Buzzfeed quotes Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi (pictured), who says the dismissal “opens a better door for us to challenge the law."

[photo via Facebook]


Rick Santorum: Young People Support LGBT Rights Because the Gay Community Has 'Silenced the Church' - VIDEO

Santorum

Former senator and likely presidential candidate Rick Santorum has said the only reason young people support gay rights is because they have never heard any arguments to the contrary, reports Right Wing Watch.

Speaking yesterday during an interview with Tony Perkins, president of listed hate group Family Research Council, Santorum said that the anti-gay lobby is losing in the battle for LGBT rights because “[LGBT activists] have effectively silenced the church on a lot of those issues and young people don’t even know what the opposing view is on these issues.”

PerkinsOn the issue of pastors in Houston suing the city for rejecting their petitions to repeal a non-discrimination ordinance, Santorum said:

“I really believe in this subject matter at hand with the gay community that a Judeo-Christian worldview cannot survive with a worldview that is as rabidly secular as this movement is.

“One is going to battle the other and I can tell you that the statists, these secular statists, do not want the competition that comes from the church and so they are going to do everything they can to marginalize them, to force them out of the public square to be quiet.

“They’re going to use, as they have, the Johnson amendment, try to use the IRS and the tax code to do so, they’re going to use every lever of power the government has to keep this competition of ideas silent so they can win the argument.”

Listen to the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Last year, Santorum claimed that same-sex marriage would "discourage" straight couples from marrying.

Continue reading "Rick Santorum: Young People Support LGBT Rights Because the Gay Community Has 'Silenced the Church' - VIDEO" »


ACLU Sues San Bernardino Sheriff's Department Over Anti-LGBT Discrimination

San bernadinoLGBT inmates at the West Valley Detention Center, both current and former, have filed suit against the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department for discrimination and abuse faced behind bars. The prison system often separates LGBT inmates for their own safety, but that discrepancy should not reinforce and legitimize the difficulties they have faced according to the suit, from name calling to longer jail sentences. 

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The suit cites several cases in which gay inmates were allegedly denied equal access to drug rehabilitation and educational programs. Gay inmates were allowed less time out of their cells and were unable to participate in work programs that would reduce their sentences, the suit claims.

"In the United States, we punish people because of the crime they commit, not because of who they are," said Melissa Goodman, an ACLU attorney who filed the suit along with the law firm Kaye, McLane, Bednarski & Litt, LLP.

The 'Althernative Lifestyle Tank' where LGBT inmates are kept became a personal hell for the fifteen people filing suit alongside the ACLU, including Peter Guzman who claims he was kept in his cell for up to 23 hours each day.  

Guzman, who spent seven months in West Valley awaiting trial in a fraudulent check-writing case, said that from his cellblock he could see that straight inmates were often out of their cells. Sometimes, violent offenders who were straight served food to the gay inmates as part of a work program that gay inmates were denied access to, Guzman said...

 
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's office, along with deputies and sheriff John McMahon, are being named in the suit, and for good reason: they either enforced or committed the in-jail discriminatory behavior.

Mckibben[Former Indiana sheriff deputy and West Valley inmate Dan] McKibben (pictured far right with partner Sean), 51, said he once saw deputies beating a gay inmate. Deputies, he said, regularly used gay slurs when addressing inmates.

McKibben, who spent about two months in the gay cellblock, said he was appalled at the behavior of those who'd taken an oath to uphold the law.

"When you're sworn, you're sworn. And I took that oath," he said. "These guys, every other minute, were violating that."


Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) Explains Why Same-Sex 'Massages' Make Gays Unfit for Military Service - VIDEO

Gohmert

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, who has found ways to oppose gun control because...same-sex marriage (?), was quite vocal recently about Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Of course he opposed the repeal of the discriminatory policy, but who knew his reasoning could be this far-fetched.

When the ancient Greeks and man-on-man massages play into your law-making, you can't exactly claim you "know your history," as Gohmert does. 

Right Wing Watch reports on his statement:

"I've had people say, 'Hey, you know, there's nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks,'" he said. "Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it's a different kind of fighting, it's a different kind of war and if you're sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you're not going to last very long. It's guerrilla fighting. You are going to be ultimately vulnerable to terrorism and if that's what you start doing in the military like the Greeks did ... as people have said, 'Louie, you have got to understand, you don't even know your history.' Oh yes I do. I know exactly. It's not a good idea." 

Right, because gay servicemembers, given the chance to enter combat, will resort to the ancient Greek philosophy: massages before fighting, what could go wrong?

Someone please keep history from repeating itself and do not reelect Gohmert.

Watch the historical crash-and-burn, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) Explains Why Same-Sex 'Massages' Make Gays Unfit for Military Service - VIDEO" »


Gay Briton Speaks About His Prison Sentence In Morocco: VIDEO

Ray Cole released from Morocco

About two weeks ago we told you about Ray Cole, a 69-year-old Briton from Kent, who had gone missing in Marrakesh, Morocco, only for his family to discover that he and his partner, Jamal Jam Wad Nass, had been imprisoned on charges of homosexuality, which is illegal in the country. Though sentenced to four months, Cole has been released after 19 days and compared the experience to being in a concentration camp, calling it "hell on earth" and was genuinely frightened that he would "disappear into the system."

In a new video at The Guardian, Cole expands further on his experience:

The stench from the toilet, you would not believe; it will live with me forever[...]There's screaming and banging on the bars and banging on the doors. There's no peace there whatsoever 24-hours a day[...]I was worried that they'd hurt Jamal. I was fairly confident they wouldn't hurt me as a European, but I really was worried about him because they don't have any compunction about beating up their own.

Predictably, the plainclothes officers that arrested Ray and Jamal used their religion as justification for the arrest and their hateful actions. Jamal remains in prison, and Ray is working to get asylum for his partner and bring him to the UK.

The unembeddable video can be seen at The Guardian.


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