Joshua Alameda Franklin, a 31-year-old gay dad in Hilo, Hawaii posted a video this week to Facebook which is going viral on the social network. In the clip, Franklin talks to his 10- and 9-year-old sons Alae'a Stevens-Alameda and Joshua Poha Stevens-Alameda about the bullying, harassment, and physical assaults they endure at school because their dad is gay.
Says Alae'a: "People would ask me about my father if he was gay and I would say, 'Yeah, there's nothing wrong with that.' I tried to walk away from this kid; he jumped on me and he slammed my face to a pole and gave me a black eye...They would call me gay, they would call me stupid, retard..."
Franklin's younger son Josh later tells a horrifying story of his own:
"I was walking up the stairs and someone called me gay and then I was trying to walk away, but they kept on talking and then I turned around and I said, 'Why are you calling me gay?' I knew he was going to cause a fight, so I was trying to walk away and he choked my neck and slammed me to the ground."
Franklin says he has witnessed the kids being called "faggot" and other names while teachers and supervisors stood by and do nothing. He says they have already had to change schools because of the harassment and inaction by administrators.
Franklin told KITV4: "The school is telling the perpetrators that are doing this to my children that they need to tolerate us, and they're using the word tolerance or tolerate in a way where it's very exclusive. So, basically what's being stated is that they're not willing to tell the kids that are doing this to my children, 'Hey, you know what, there's nothing wrong with being gay.'"
The news station adds: "A phone call to Hilo Union Elementary School Principal Erin Williams was not returned Thursday, but Department of Education communications director Donalyn Dela Cruz said the alleged bullying is being looked at."
Franklin said he's ready to start homeschooling his children, and made the video to make people aware of the issue.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Gossip lead singer Beth Ditto revealed on Facebook earlier this week that she legally married her fiancé Kristin Ogata in Oregon on New Year's Eve reports Winnipeg Free Press. The singer originally had a non-legally binding ceremony in Maui with Ogata in July 2013, but with the Oregon ceremony the couple are officially married according to state law. Ditto took time to thank those who fought for gay marriage throughout the U.S. in the last year with a post on Facebook.
"Legally married finally, a year later!
"Thanks everyone who fought to make gay marriage legal in Oregon! In 2015, the whole U.S.!"
Full details of the Oregon ceremony are still under wraps however, in Ditto's 2013 Maui ceremony she wore a Jean Paul Gaultier gown with a low-cut bodice, tulle skirt and a veil to walk down the aisle. Ditto chose not to wear shoes during the ceremony, walking down the aisle barefoot. Ogata wore a three-piece suit jacket, shirt and shorts for the occasion. Ogata worked as Ditto's assistant during the production of the group's album "Standing in the Way of Control." At the time Ditto developed strong feelings for Ogata, but she was still in a nine-year relationship with Freddie Fagula; Ditto ended the relationship in January 2010 and explained the breakup and her relationship with Ogata.
"It was something that I kept hidden deep inside of me. But everyone knew. Even people at parties and clubs would be like, 'When are they going to get together?' There was always a little guilt inside of me because I felt I was cheating, but I never cheated. We never did anything ... I dated Freddie for nine years, and I was always worried it was going to end. With Kristen I never worry about it ending, I just feel completely full and whole."
Ditto has yet to post any photos from the Oregon ceremony except one of the couple together with a caption announcing their marriage on Facebook.
Hawaii's highest court will hear an appeal by state Rep. Bob McDermott, seeking to undo the state's gay marriage law.
You may remember McDermott from presiding over what Joe. My. God. calls "the most vicious anti-gay marriage hearings we've seen" — an anti-gay "citizen's filibuster" in the Hawaiian House of Representatives.
Over a year ago, the Hawaiian senate passed the Marriage Equality Bill in a vote 20-4, legalizing gay marriage in the state. McDermott's argument says this ruling was invalid. He claims that on a 1998 initiative, Hawaiian voters misunderstood their ballots and intended to vote for a marriage ban rather than leaving the issue up to legislators.
This is not Rep. McDermott's first attempt to challenge the bill. He tried it in January of this year and failed.
A soft-spoken attorney representing Idaho started his state's anti-marriage equality argument by suggesting that allowing gays to marry violates the "bonding right" of children that they will be raised by their biological mothers and fathers. It took Judge Marsha Berzon just 15 seconds to ask her first question: "What is that word you're using before 'right'"? Judge Berzon can hear just fine; it's just that she had never heard anyone make such a ridiculous claim before today. The rest of the hearing followed similarly.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter-appointee and liberal leader of the appellate courts, was joined by Judge Berzon, a sharp-minded progressive appointed by President Clinton, and Judge Robert Gould, another Clinton appointee, in a nearly two-hour long interrogation of attorneys from Idaho and Nevada that may not have been as bombastic as Judge Posner's treatment of attorneys from Wisconsin and Indiana in the Seventh Circuit, a hearing which resulted in a marvelous unanimous victory ("Go figure!"), but was every bit as damaging to the forces opposed to marriage equality.
It also brought marriage equality full circle. Judge Reinhardt was the judge that wrote the first decision from a federal appellate court on marriage equality, affirming District Judge Vaughn Walker's pioneering rejection of California's Prop 8. We all know how that case turned out.
And we know what's happened since: a Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and a long streak of pro-marriage equality decisions from the lower federal courts, including several appellate courts.
Yesterday's hearing reminded us how far we have really come. Some of the arguments and much of the tone were different this time around. The judges' questioning was direct and they expressed a similar, though less visible, frustration with the misdirection and misleading statements from the anti-equality attorneys as Judge Posner. The tone of the hearing suggested that marriage equality supporters are finally out of the closet, following a tidal wave of an emerging consensus of the legitimacy and morality of marriage freedom for all.
A summary and analysis follows AFTER THE JUMP...
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the Hawaii, Idaho and Nevada gay marriage cases today and will be live streaming the arguments from the courtroom in San Francisco.
The feeds will begin shortly before 1pm PT, with Idaho getting 30 minutes per side, Nevada getting 20 minutes, and Hawaii 10.
Watch the feeds AFTER THE JUMP...
Last week, we reported on the three judge panel that will hear the gay marriage cases - with Equality on Trial pointing out that the trio are considered "some of the most liberal appeals court judges in the country."
MSNBC reports that sexual orientation also has "heightened scrutiny" in the Ninth Circuit, which bodes well for a pro-equality victory:
With heightened scrutiny, defendants (such as state officials arguing on behalf of same-sex marriage bans) would have to show how a law that treats gay and lesbian people differently serves an important or compelling state interest, not just a legitimate one. Heightened scrutiny essentially shifts the burden of proof off of the plaintiffs, and makes laws that discriminate against same-sex couples more difficult to defend.