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Opera Australia Replaces Homophobic Tamar Iveri Following ‘Unconscionable’ Facebook Post

Tamar iveri

Opera Australia has announced a replacement for Tamar Iveri, the Georgian singer who was dumped last week following comments on Facebook in which she compared homosexuals with "faecal masses".

Describing Iveri’s views as “unconscionable”, Opera Australia released her contract to perform the role of Desdemona in their production of Otello.

20140623-123328-45208391Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian will now replace Iveri in the production. Addressing concerns regarding Iveri’s other Opera Australia contracts, the company said they are following the “same due process” they underwent with her role in Otello.

In her Facebook post, which was presented as an open letter to Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili after Christian Orthodox groups violently assaulted members of a gay pride march in the capital of Tbilisi in May, Iveri wrote:

“I was quite proud of the fact how Georgian society spat at the parade … Often, in certain cases, it is necessary to break jaws in order to be appreciated as a nation in the future, and to be taken into account seriously. Please, stop vigorous attempts to bring the west’s ‘faecal masses’ in the mentality of the people by means of propaganda.”

Iveri later claimed that the post, which has since been deleted, had been written by her husband.  

However, in an interview made public by Georgian LGBTQIA,  Iveri states she wrote the original homophobic post and also makes further homophobic comments:

"On that day, as readers might have noticed I was very agitated and absolutely sincere in expressing my opinions. at the end of the status I even apologised to readers if they had found it impolite. My agitation was caused by the turmoil and accidental or deliberate promotion, propaganda, which in those days was passing through the media. My friends were calling and telling me that children were talking about gay parade all day long and that they could not take that anymore. When we do not tell them what that (gay parade) is exactly, they surf the internet and ask us to take there.”

Watch a report on the May 17 violence in Tbilisi, AFTER THE JUMP...

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U.S. Senate Hopeful Expresses Support for Suit Challenging Georgia's Gay Marriage Ban

Art Gardner, one of seven Republicans running for retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss's U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, announced his support for Lambda Legal's suit to overturn Georgia's ban on gay marriage, ComDig News reports:

Gardner“I support marriage equality and I call on liberty-minded Republicans to join me in supporting this suit,” Gardner wrote in a press release. “I also call on Attorney General Sam Olens, a fellow Republican, to not fight the suit, but to allow the plaintiffs to obtain a favorable judgment directly.”

So far, Olens seems to be ignoring such calls. His spokeswoman stated on Tuesday: “The Attorney General will fulfill his constitutional obligation to defend Georgia law.” Olens will defend the ban in federal court in his capacity as the state’s chief law enforcement officer.

Gardner’s robust support of marriage equality stretches back over twenty years, when he implemented policies in a local classic car club to allow gays to join freely.

ComDig adds:

The three congressmen vying for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat—Reps. Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey, and Paul Broun—business titan David Perdue, and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel have each professed their support for traditional family values in the marriage arena, playing on the strong Christian dynamic at work in the state electorate.

More on Lambda's case here.


Federal Lawsuit Filed Challenging Gay Marriage Ban in Georgia

Georgia

Lambda Legal has filed a federal lawsuit today challenging Georgia's ban on gay marriage on behalf of three same-sex couples and a widow, it announced at a press conference today:

The case was filed on behalf of Christopher Inniss and Shelton Stroman of Snellville (top left), Rayshawn Chandler and Avery Chandler of Jonesboro (top right), Michael Bishop and Shane Thomas of Atlanta (bottom right), and Jennifer Sisson of Decatur.

Joining Inniss and Stroman as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are: Rayshawn Chandler, 29, and Avery Chandler, 30, Atlanta Police Department police officers who have been together for almost three years; Michael Bishop, 50, and Shane Thomas, 44, together for seven years and the parents of two children; and Jennifer Sisson, 34, whose wife, Pamela Drenner, died on March 1 at age 49. Jennifer and Pam were married in New York in 2013. Despite being legally married, the State of Georgia has refused to list Jennifer as Pam's wife on Pam's death certificate.

Said Inniss, a veterinarian and pet resort owner:

"Georgia is our home. Our family is here, our business is here, and our community here is a great support for us. Shelton and I have been together for 13 years. We own a home together, we own a business together, and we are raising our son, Jonathan, together. We have done everything we can to protect and take responsibility for our family but marriage is the only way to ensure that we are treated as the family that we are. We need the protection that marriage affords."

Said Tara Borelli, Senior Attorney in Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office based in Atlanta:

"Every day that same-sex couples in Georgia are denied the freedom to marry, the government sends a message that their families are not worthy of dignity and respect. Georgians believe in the Southern values of love, honor and family, but as long as the State of Georgia continues to bar same-sex couples from marriage, it devalues these families and reinforces unfairness and discrimination."

Read the full complaint HERE.

The Georgia Voice also has a few more interviews with all the plaintiffs.


Georgia Gas Station Owner Proudly Displays Anti-Gay Slur on Sign: VIDEO

Lagrange

A sign at a LaGrange, Georgia gas station is causing controversy, WSBTV reports:

The owner said he put it up because he was sick of customers coming in with saggy pants. The sign calls customers a gay slur if they choose to wear saggy pants.
 
“I came up with that sign, nobody else did,” said Anil Patel, who owns PCA Food Store on Hogansville Road. “Since that sign went up there, I don’t see no pants down in my store, because they read the sign and they decide what they want to be.”

...“It really offends me by them coming in, pants down. So it is not that I’m against them, gay people or anything like that, but just trying to prove a point. If you are going to come in my store, make sure you have your pants on,” Patel told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.
 
Late Thursday night, the owner’s father pulled the signs down but Patel, who is out of town,  plans to come back first thing Friday morning to put the sign back up.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Anti-Gay Chalkings At Georgia College

Sidewalk Chalking

Morehouse College and Spelman College of Georgia teamed up for Pride Week 2014 in order to bring awareness of the LGBT communities to students on their respective campuses. After the Monday night kickoff, students tweeted pictures of anti-gay sidewalk chalkings that had been scrawled in response, reading "Homo Sex is a Sin…” and “He loves YOU! He Hates Sin. Jesus Saves.”

This prompted Shane Windmeyer, the Executive Director of Campus Pride to call on the school President and administrators to step in to ensure the safety of campus students.

Religion-based bigotry of this kind is a harsh reminder of the hard work still to do on college campuses, especially at HBCUs [Historically black colleges and universities]. Campus Pride stands with the students at Spelman College and Morehouse College in working to change the campus climate — but, let’s be clear, it is not the responsibility of the students to accommodate their own inclusion and safety.  It is the job of the President and administrators to ensure a safe, welcoming learning environment for all its students.  Now is the time during SpelHouse Pride Week to step up.


Freedom to Marry Launching $1 million Campaign to Build Southern Support for Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.11.42 AM

At a press conference on Monday, Freedom to Marry is expected to announce a new $1 million television ad campaign in Southern states in the hopes of swaying public opinion and the judges who will decide the fate of state bans on gay unions. As it stands, there are about two dozen lawsuits challenging bans on gay marriage that are pending before state and federal courts in Southern states. The Washington Post reports:

“Freedom to Marry’s national strategy has always been to build a critical mass of states and support to create the climate for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution. We don’t have to win within every state, but we have to win enough states,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.13.09 AMAtlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will join the group at its Monday press conference. The group will also try to tie same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement, by featuring Rep. John Lewis [right], the longtime Georgia Democrat who ran the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, in a testimonial.

“I see the right to marriage as a civil rights issue. You cannot have rights for one segment of the population and one group of people and not for everybody,” Lewis says in the video.

Watch Lewis' video for the new campaign, AFTER THE JUMP...

Co-chairs of the new initiative will include Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), as well as Mark McKinnon, a former senior adviser to George W. Bush and Lance Bass, the ‘N Sync singer.

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