Gay Rights Hub




GOP Congressman Says U.S. Foreign Policy 'Obsessed' With LGBT Rights

SmithRepublican Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey recently told anti-gay hate monger Tony Perkins that American foreign policy puts too much emphasis on the “LGBT agenda” and abortion rights, alleging that the U.S. tries to use its economic and political influence to force other nations around the world to protect the rights of LGBT persons and women. Smith fails to explain why this is a bad thing. From BuzzFeed: 

"I do think that unfortunately there's been an obsession by some within the administration, and that goes for the president himself, to promote the abortion agenda and the LGBT agenda in our foreign policy.” […] 

"These issues are what drives this administration on much of our foreign policy, particularly in Africa. And many of these countries deeply resent it because they are profoundly pro-marriage and profoundly pro-life. But when your foreign aid is being limited or conditioned on those two issues, there are some, but thankfully not many, in these governments who begin to weaken," he added.

He also said of the post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda that "reproductive rights is put in there and the U.S. pushed very hard for it ... it could become very, very dangerous to the lives of babies and to the lives, and to marriage.”


Billings, Montana Mayor Casts Deciding Vote To Kill LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance

HanelJust after 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, Billings, Montana Mayor Tom Hanel cast the deciding vote against a proposed non-discrimination ordinance (NDO) that would have protected Billings residents from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The Billings Gazette reports on how the 6-5 city council vote went down:

Hanel said he applied a standard from Rotary International to help him reach his decision: “I needed to ask myself, is this fair to everyone, beneficial to everyone? Will it build goodwill and friendships? I can’t say for sure,” he said of the NDO.

Shaun Brown, another council member who opposed the NDO, specifically opposed a provision in the ordinance “that would have prohibited discrimination in public accommodations — namely, restrooms and locker rooms” and “alternates that would have allowed for monetary damages to people successfully arguing they were discriminated against.”

The debate on the NDO seemed to drive a wedge between many in the Montana community. Denis Pitman, another “no” vote on the NDO commented that he was disappointed “how much this issue has divided the council and the community.”

Supporters of the NDO meanwhile were disheartened by the measure’s defeat. Said Shauna Goubeaux, who along with her wife Nicole have challenged Montana’s same-sex marriage ban

“My wife and I own our own home, and we’re employed by companies that are open and embracing” of their marriage, which occurred in another state, she said. “Our lives aren’t as impacted, but the lives of our friends are impacted by this vote.”

Bill Cromley, one of the five council members to vote in favor of the ordinance, told the council before Hanel cast the deciding vote, “There is a gay agenda. They want to be treated as real human beings.”

Cromley’s remarks did nothing to sway Hanel’s opinion that Billings is not ready for an NDO that would protect its LGBT citizenry. Hanel’s final advice to the crowd as the 8 1/2 hour meeting drew to a close was to “walk out of here as professionals”:

“We were all created equal,” he said. “If you can’t sit by someone who disagrees with you, shame on you.”


Fredia Hurdle, Plaintiff In Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Case, Dies At 50 Having Never Married Her Partner

Lynn&FrediaFredia Hurdle (on the left) fought a long, tough battle to achieve marriage equality in Pennsylvania, the state she and partner Lynn Hurdle called home. Nearly three months ago they won, and Pennsylvania was yet another domino of inequality struck down by the courts. However, in a tragic turn, Fredia passed away last week after suffering a stroke, never having married her partner of 24 years. She was only fifty years old. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:

Maybe they could get officially married in July, Lynn Hurdle thought, to mark the fifth anniversary of their original wedding ceremony. But her daughter planned to marry in October, and Fredia Hurdle said they should wait until after her wedding. It was her year, her “moment in the sun,” she told the woman she had long considered her wife.

“It's legal. We have time,” she said.

Fredia Hurdle had long been a bus driver, first for Greyhound Lines (where she met Lynn, one of her many passengers, in 1990) and later for the Pittsburgh newspaper. She and Lynn raised children together, including Lynn’s daughter Ashley Wise and several of Fredia’s nieces and nephews. They were, in short, a caring, loving couple whose story resonated with Pennsylvanians and other Americans alike.

“I was looking for the next 25 or 50 years together,” Lynn Hurdle said. “It's been shell shock.”

Though their commitment to one another was never officially recognized by the state of Pennsylvania, Lynn and Fredia were married in a July 2009 ceremony, and one would be hard pressed to deny their deep-seeded affection. Still, it is a tragic occurrence and one which will surely not go unnoticed in the fight for marriage equality nationwide.

Our thoughts are with Lynn, the children the couple raised, and the rest of Fredia’s family. 

Photo via ACLU.


Former Ex-Gay Leader Tim Rymel Releases ‘Going Gay,’ Memoir About His Life-Long Struggles With Homosexuality, Religion

TimRymelAs the former Outreach Director for ex-gay group Love in Action, Tim Rymel was convinced that the years he had spent praying for a heterosexual life had come to a fruitful end. He married a woman, had two children, and appeared on national talk shows assuring gays and lesbians that they too could change. After a bad divorce, though, Rymel went on an arduous journey to come to terms with his homosexuality. Now he has released a book, Going Gay: My Journey from Evangelical Christian Minister to Self-acceptance, Love, Life, and Meaning, telling his story from start to finish. 

From the press release:

Going Gay not only recounts Rymel’s journey but provides a starting point for dialogue about LGBT inclusion in the church.

“I want the conservative church to see the painful reality that many of their own believers go through to come to terms with their inborn homosexuality,” Rymel said. “I wrote the book ‘as one of their own’ to create dialogue and cause them to rethink what they believe and what the Bible says about homosexuality.”

...

Going Gay is a heartbreaking, thought-provoking account of one man’s journey to accept and understand himself,” said Justin Lee, founder and Executive Director of Gay Christian Network. “In a culture where faith and sexuality seem often to be at war, the stories of those caught in the crossfire are critically important. Readers may not agree with all of Rymel’s views, but this is a story worth telling and a story worth understanding.”

A Q&A with Rymel reveals a self-loving, accepting human being. “Being LGBT does not send you to hell,” he says, and “God loves you exactly the way you are.” These are certainly words to live by for many struggling LGBT folks around the country.

Congrats to Rymel for not only persevering through numerous difficult years, but for sharing an important story. His book is available in paperback, hardcover, and as an e-book.


Indian Government Moves to Axe Adoption Rights for Same-Sex Couples

India's Cabinet has decided to bar same-sex couples in the country from adopting children, Live Mint reports:

IndiaThe cabinet took the decision on Wednesday while considering amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, a government official said. However, the draft Bill, which also covers rehabilitation and adoption of children, does not mention disallowing same-sex couples from adopting.

The current law allows unmarried men and women above the age of 30 to adopt. Single LGBT Indians are not specifically barred from adopting, but whether the cabinet decision will change this will become clear whenever the Bill is tabled in Parliament.

The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) guidelines prevent foreigners in same-sex relationships from adopting children in India.

Last year, India's Supreme Court reinstated a colonial-era ban on homosexuality with the Indian government saying last month they have no plans to amend or change the law until it is reviewed again by the high court.  


Ugandan Lawyer Who Challenged Anti-gay Law Speaks Out About Whats Next for LGBT Progress

Nicholas Opiyo, the lawyer who led the court challenge of Uganda's anti-gay law, has spoken to TIME about LGBT rights in the wake of last week's decision overturning the country's anti-gay law. 

Nicholas OpiyoSaid Opiyo:

Nothing has changed much. The deep sense of homophobia in Uganda remains unchanged. In any case, it’s only been made worse by this ruling, because the debate has been reopened in a more bitter and fierce manner than we’ve seen before. To be positive, certain incidental things that are good will happen because of the ruling. First, individuals and organizations that have been facing arrest, intimidation or investigation will now have all those cases against them dropped, because the very foundation for these cases has now been declared unlawful.

Opiyo also spoke about the growing influence of American evangelical ideology on Ugandan politics and the "moralization of the legislation process"

When asked when LGBT Ugandans will be completely safe, Opiyo responded "It's a long, long way to go"

The full interview is well worth a read HERE


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