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04/19/2007


Archbishop Of Cyprus Wants More Condemnation of Homosexuals

ChrysostomosAt a gathering of Orthodox leaders last weekend, Archbishop Chrysostomos (right) of Cyprus commented took a stand against the "weakening moral integrity" of Christian churches around the world who have accepted and encouraged equal rights for LGBT persons. He proceeded to claim that religious leaders should do research and utilize "scientific findings" in order to condemn homosexuals further. He has, in effect, set off a firestorm of protest from Cyprus LGBT rights organizations. 

Cyprus Mail reports:

“We should, in my opinion, position ourselves on issues of relaxation of morals increasingly promoted by secular, mostly Christian governments in what is considered the advanced world, and to which the Church’s reaction has been meagre thus far,” [Chrysostomos] told a meeting of hierarchs of the autocephalous Orthodox churches convened by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul. “When, for example, governments legalise not only plain civil partnership but ‘homosexual marriage’, the Church must be unequivocal in condemning homosexuality.”

...

His comments prompted a storm of protests on social media sites and condemnation from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) rights activist group ACCEPT-LGBT.

The group said that by adopting such positions the Church continued to “alienate itself further” from the real world, and warned that the Church’s position unwittingly encourages the marginalisation of vulnerable groups.

CyprusrainbowACCEPT-LGBT cited Pope Francis's comments regarding his inability to judge homosexuals as evidence that the Archbishop's orthodox views are becoming outdated and out of sync with the modern world. They also noted that Cyprus has taken great strides in LGBT rights in recent years, including hosting their first ever gay pride parade coming up this May.

Savvides noted that significant steps have been made in ensuring rights equality, and that the government policy is to proceed with enacting the civil partnership bill, planned to be submitted to the House for discussion in April.

ACCEPT-LGBT’s statement argues that significant progress has been observed in societal attitudes towards LGBTs, citing research conducted in February 2014 suggesting that “53.3 per cent of Cypriot citizens accept civil partnership legislation.”

“The Church’s position against homosexuality is an old one. We need to move forward, we can’t look back”, said Savvides.

Archbishop photo via Cyprus Mail.


21-Year-Old Gay 'Conservative Republican' Runs For Idaho State Legislature: VIDEO

GelsominoIdaho's District 18 has a first on its hands. Dom Gelsomino, a Republican candidate for the district's state legislature seat, also happens to be openly gay. However, he hopes that if elected, people will recognize that as a self-described "conservative Republican" he is in the legislature to do a job and to vote, not to tout his personal life.

ABC 6 reports:

With gay rights as one of the hottest issues at the Idaho Statehouse many have viewed the issue as partisan - that “adding the words” went down party lines. Gelsomino says not if he's elected.

“I would support 'Add The Words' where religious institutions, organizations and businesses would be exempt, as would be the federal and state-owned businesses, buildings or organizations," he says.

His opponent, Democrat Representative Phylis King is the co-sponsor of the current 'Add The Words' bill and she tells On Your Side she's not concerned with Gelsomino's sexual orientation.

“I think that's his business,” says King. “What I want him to do if he wins is to be a really good legislator and to work as hard as I do."

...

"Despite my personal life, it's how I will vote that's going to matter," he says.

What do you think about Gelsomino's ambitions? 

Check out news coverage (autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "21-Year-Old Gay 'Conservative Republican' Runs For Idaho State Legislature: VIDEO" »


South Carolina House Votes to Financially Punish Colleges That Assigned Gay Books

The South Carolina House refused on Monday to restore book purchasing budget cuts assigned to College of Charleston and University of South Carolina Upstate after the two institutions of higher learning taught literature dealing with homosexual content. Totaling nearly $70,000, the cuts reflect the amount of money the institutions spent on buying texts for the freshman class this year. Some saw the cuts as censorial attempts to limit what can be taught in colleges, while the majority argued vehemently that teaching Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and a book about an LGBT radio station, Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio promoted "a lifestyle" that they do not agree with.

Gildacobb-hunterAssociated Press reports:

When it comes to public colleges, legislators should be debating funding and building construction, not "pushing our own moral agenda on these institutions of higher learning," said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (right), D-Orangeburg.

"Are we saying we don't trust the college students enough to expose them to something they may not have seen before? We can't let you read anything other than what we believe?" she asked. "What about the notion of freedom to have different views? Isn't this what we go all over the globe fighting for?"

Some thought, however, that making the books mandatory reading took it all a step too far.

GarrysmithRep. Garry Smith (right), whose subcommittee made the reductions, said he wanted to make a point after college officials declined to give students an option to read something else. He said he wouldn't oppose the books if they were part of an elective course. He called it promotion of a lifestyle.

"Freedom comes with responsibility. These universities did not act responsibly," said Smith, R-Simpsonville.

Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville, said opponents of the cuts argue for a diversity of ideas but don't want to consider conservatives' viewpoint. After House Speaker Bobby Harrell rejected Smith's suggestions to project illustrations from "Fun Home" on the House screen, Nanney said, "It's not appropriate to even put up in this room but we're giving it to 18-year-old kids?"

Sadly, it might just be that Representatives Smith and Nanney are less mature than the "18-year-old kids" who read the texts.

College of Charleston President George Benson said the university is committed to academic freedom, and any university education must include the opportunity for students to engage controversial ideas...

"Our students are adults, and we will treat them as such," Benson said. "Faculty, not politicians, ultimately must decide what textbooks are selected and how those materials are taught."


Growing Up Queer, Latino and Undocumented In The South: VIDEO

Convo

A video from Public Interest Projects recorded at least year’s Southeast Immigrant Rights Network conference in Little Rock, AR highlights the struggles faced by young gay men who are undocumented latinos living in the South.  

“Growing up as an undocumented wasn’t easy. I always thought that I was, you know, going to have to either work in construction or be a cashier at a Mexican store where they don’t ask for papers so obviously I was going to have to be the cashier. I really didn't feel that I had a future because of my legal status. I had to find the jobs on the down low and stuff you know. I was embarrassed of being undocumented but that’s because of how society made me think of myself. Me and another friend in school we both were undocumented and we wanted a better future….What Im trying to do right here is to get everyone out of the shadows, get everyone out of the closet, let them know that being undocumented and being unafraid and unashamed is one of the most beautiful things in the world because you love yourself for who you are.”

Check out the candid conversation, AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Growing Up Queer, Latino and Undocumented In The South: VIDEO" »


Virginia Repeals Unconstitutional Sodomy Ban

House

Virginia’s House of Delegates on Thursday unanimously passed in a 100 to 0 vote a bill that would eliminate the state’s unconstitutional ban on sodomy that criminalized oral and anal sex since 1950, ThinkProgress reports. Previously approved by the Virginia state senate in a similar unanimous vote, the bill now awaits Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe’s signature or veto. 

The statute in question, Virginia’s Crimes Against Nature law, technically should have been made defunct after the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas which found that the state could not infringe on the rights of adult individuals to have consensual sex. However, many Republican legislators in Virginia, including former gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, fought to keep it in place. The sodomy ban was battered in the courts and the Supreme Court made sure to keep clear of the case. Court rulings have also caused additional complications for those backing the law:

Last year, the federal courts overturned the conviction of a man charged, under Virginia’s Crimes Against Nature law, of soliciting a 17-year-old female for oral sex — a felony under the statute. Because that law — first enacted in 1950 to prohibit oral and anal sex, as well as bestiality — had not been updated, the court ruled it was unenforceable, putting the convictions of other sexual offenders and child predators at risk.

In response, Sen. Thomas A. Garrett (R) filed a bill in December that would have eliminated the ban on adult consensual sodomy, but would have made oral sex between 17-year-olds a felony, even if they were legally married. After ThinkProgress reported on this possibly unintended consequence, Garrett and the Senate Courts of Justice Committee agreed on a substitute version that generally treats all sex equally.

More than a decade after the Lawrence decision, several other states still have sodomy bans on the books, including Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.


Stephen Fry Set To Narrate Gay Musical TV Wedding For Channel 4

Gayweddingmusical

Stephen Fry is set to narrate a special for the UK's Channel 4 called, "Our Gay Wedding: The Musical." With music and lyrics written by the couple, composer Benjamin Till and actor Nathan Taylor, and group numbers to be performed by the couples' guests (and a couple of special appearances, yet to be announced), the special is looking to be a hit and to bring awareness to the issue of gay rights around the world.

The Independent reports:

“We’ve been together for nearly 12 years and never thought we’d get the chance to get married, for real,” the couple said. “Doing what we both do for a living has meant that we’ve spent our entire lives expressing emotion through song, so getting married in a musical, particularly one that we’re writing ourselves, felt like the most natural thing in the world.”

In a nod to the struggle for gay rights, there will be tributes to other gay and lesbian couples getting married and reminders of the hardships faced by gay people in countries where homosexuality is still a crime. 

“We are proud to be marking a huge milestone for gay rights - a cause that has long been close to Channel 4’s heart,” said John Hay, Channel 4’s commissioning editor for arts.

Fry, who is openly gay, has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights in Britain and globally. He was particularly vehement in his attacks on Russia and urged Britain to boycott the Sochi Olympics.

Fry likened the Sochi Games to those hold in Berlin under Nazi Germany. "I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler's anti-Semitism. I for one, weep at seeing history repeat itself," he wrote in a letter to Downing Street.

Channel 4 has not yet set a date for the musical wedding extravaganza. England and Wales' same-sex marriage legislation will go into effect on March 29th, though, so expect to see Benjamin and Nathan tie the knot soon after. 

Photo via The Independent.


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