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Russian Police Decide Balloons Are 'Gay Propaganda,' Arrest 17 LGBT Activists In Moscow

Russia

Seventeen gay rights activists were arrested in Moscow on Sunday at a rally to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHO). 

The activists had planned to release colorful balloons into the air during the flashmob demonstration, according to Reuters

Some 50 people assembled on a square outside a Moscow theater but crowd control police drove up a bus and started shoving the protesters inside before they managed to unfurl any banners or chant any slogans.

One of the organizers, Andrei Obolensky, said later that he and others were still detained at a police station, and only one of them had so far been released.

The LGBT community has come under increased pressure in Russia as President Vladimir Putin has charted a more conservative course since starting his third term in 2012.

The activists apparently were arrested under Russia's 2013 law banning so-called gay propaganda. However, a similar demonstration in St. Petersburg was allowed to go forward. The Moscow Times reports: 

Russia2The Sunday gathering at Field of Mars park in the center of the city had been approved by the authorities — despite Russia's law that bans gay "propaganda" in front of minors. Police were standing by to protect demonstrators from any opponents as well as to shield children who happened to pass by from the influence of "propaganda," Russian media reports said.

A little girl tried to approach the demonstration asking for a colorful balloon, only to be held back initially by both police officers, who warned against "propaganda," and rally organizers, who feared a "provocation," Open Russia news portal reported.

After a brief delay, however, she received a balloon, the report said.

Noticeably absent from the St. Petersburg demonstration was Valery Milonov, the anti-gay lawmaker who was the architect of the anti-gay law. Participants in the IDAHO demonstration reportedly handed out lollipops shaped like Milonov's head with notes that read, "Don't suck in St. Petersburg." 

Watch Reuters' video report on the IDAHO demonstrations in Russia here


Idaho House Committee Kills 'Add the Words' LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

Idaho committee
(twitter)

Idaho's House State Affairs Committee has voted 13-4 along party lines to defeat a bill that would have added "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the state's Human Rights Act. 

The Idaho Statesman reports:

"We have come a long way. I think this very hearing has brought us a long, long way," said Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, addressing supporters of the bill. "Do not despair. Your concerns are legitimate, very legitimate, and people in Idaho and in the Legislature have heard you and are hearing you."

But, he added, "We have to be very careful how we make those rules and today my feeling is that this is not the rule that addresses the whole picture."

Thursday's vote came after nearly 21 hours of public testimony Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

KBOI2 adds many supporters of the bill left the auditorium in tears, and lined the halls of the Statehouse with their hands over their mouths in silent protest. 

The Statesman, which came out in support of the bill in an editorial this week, had a sticky note on yesterday's front page reading "Add No Words: Stand Up to Bullying!"

Mike Jung, the paper's publisher, offered the following statement in regards to the front-page ad:

Idaho"It's unfortunate the advertising Post It note that appeared on the front page of the Statesman has created hurt and anger among some readers. That was not the intent.

"We welcome and encourage open discussion and dialogue among many topics, including the legislation to ban discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people, commonly referred to as Add the Words. In fact, if a company or individual wanted to communicate they were in favor of the legislation, we would have accepted their paid advertising. Our position is clear on the billas we strongly support its passing.

"Regarding the paper accepting the ad, we provide a platform for both sides of every issue. I would have accepted the same Post-It note if it had read, 'Add the Words, Stop the Bullying.' We offer the same advertising opportunities regardless of the opinion shared within the advertisement. That said, we reserve the right to refuse advertisements that include slanderous or defaming statements. Wednesday's ad was marked as 'Paid for by Lance Wells.' "

Wells, a Christian writer and musician, has called homosexuality "a perversion – a very serious sin – that its practitioners and defenders will invariably demand that others accept it, approve of it, and (to one degree or another) participate in it." 

He also thinks homosexuality should be re-criminalized:

I would prefer to see the United States reenact laws condemning these unhealthy and indecent lifestyles in the most certain of terms, implementing serious consequences for those found guilty of practicing them.  For such people are, quite literally, enemies of the state.  Their behavior spreads spiritual, mental, and physical disease and disorder.  It undermines the most important bastions of society:  the Church and the family.


Ninth Circuit Denies Idaho Governor's Petition for En Banc Review of Gay Marriage Case

Otter

The Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals has denied Idaho Governor Butch Otter’s petition for an en banc review of the court’s decision to strike down Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban. Otter made good on his litigious efforts earlier this month after promising that he would continue to fight against marriage equality in Idaho until he was left with no other options.

“The Ninth Circuit correctly recognized that there is no need to reconsider the panel’s decision that Idaho’s marriage ban violates basic constitutional guarantees of equal protection,” said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“The Ninth Circuit’s decision striking down the Idaho marriage ban is consistent with the rulings of three other federal appeals courts, which have rightly concluded that our Constitution cannot tolerate the profound harm that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry inflicts those couples and their children.”


Idaho Governor And Attorney General File File Petitions to Supreme Court Hoping to Stop Gay Marriages

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Idaho Governor Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden have both submitted petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of challenging same-sex marriage’s legality in the state. Though the petitions were filed separately, both argue that gay marriage in Idaho could have far reaching consequences that affect other states.

In the past Governor Otter has made clear his intentions to continuously fight against Idaho’s steady progress towards equality, even if it means wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Otter’s petition, which was filed earlier this week, argues that Idaho’s situation is unique from those of other states because of the couples responsible for initially challenging the state’s ban on gay marriage.

Two of the four lesbians involved in the challenge, Otter points out, were married out of state and seeking to have their marriage recognized. Otter’s petition also falls back on the widely discredited idea that children thrive better under the care of opposite-sex parents.

"It is important that at least one of the cases this court considers on the merits be a case in which the traditional definition of marriage has been defended with the most robust defense available," wrote Gene Schaerr, one of Utah’s lead legal advisors in its fight against gay marriage. "This is that case."

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Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s petition fell back upon the idea that the reversal of Idaho’s ban was a governmental incursion against state’s rights.

"This case presents the Court with the opportunity to resolve a divisive split on a question of nationwide importance,” he explained in the petition. “Whether the United States Constitution now prohibits states from maintaining the traditional definition of civil marriage, i.e., between one man and one woman.”


Idaho Republican Party Toe-Taps Larry Craig to Serve as Finance Chair: VIDEO

CraigThe Idaho Republican Party has hired former U.S. Senator Larry Craig as its financial chair of its executive committee, the Associated Press reports.

The news is somewhat surprising, considering Craig was ordered last month to pay the U.S. treasury almost $250,000 for improper use of campaign funds defending his infamous 2007 Minneapolis airport restroom cruising. 

No word yet on whether the job offer was communicated to Craig via a game of bathroom footsie. 

Check out the The Washington Post's recreation of the stall incident, filmed at the actual scene of the "crime", AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Idaho Republican Party Toe-Taps Larry Craig to Serve as Finance Chair: VIDEO" »


Idaho State Senator Steve Vick Proposes Banning All Marriage Licenses Now That Gays Can Marry - LISTEN

Following the 9th Circuit’s decision striking down Idaho’s constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, Idaho state Senator Steve Vick (R) is proposing a solution to what he sees is a gross governmental overreach, Right Wing Watch reports

Vick“If we’re not allowed to determine the standards for a marriage license, then maybe we should just not issue them.”  he explained to WorldNetDaily. “Another potential avenue that I’m exploring is just eliminating marriage licenses in Idaho.”

Vick went on to elaborate on his relatively extreme proposition, saying while he was only in the early stages of discussing it, he had found much interest at a number of local town halls.

Though Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced that he will comply with the 9th Circuit’s ruling earlier this month, he has made a point of stating that his office remains dedicated to the idea of traditional marriage. He has also filed a petitionn for the full 9th Circuit to re-hear the case challenging the state's gay marriage ban. 

“I continue to believe that the federal courts are mistaken in abandoning the sanctity of traditional marriage and in undermining the will of Idaho voters and each state’s right to define marriage,” he said in a statement. “We have done all we can through the courts for now to defend traditional marriage in Idaho.”

Sen. Vick echoed the Governor’s sentiment, but admitted that “these rulings will probably stand,” referring to the court’s refusal to hear appeals from other states in which judges dismissed constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions.

Listen to a clip of Idaho state senator Steve Vick’s interview with WorldNetDaily AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Idaho State Senator Steve Vick Proposes Banning All Marriage Licenses Now That Gays Can Marry - LISTEN" »


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