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SC Senate Candidate Lee Bright Wants Congress To Impeach Pro-Equality Federal Judges: LISTEN

LeebrightIt looks like South Carolina's got a terrifying candidate on the books for 2014's senatorial elections, and his name is Lee Bright. The Republican, who will be challenging Senator Lindsey Graham (long rumored to be gay), gave a disheartening and disturbing response to a Tea Party group in Utah regarding the state's pro-marriage equality federal ruling. Bright would like one of these pro-equality federal judges to be impeached by Congress as a means to encourage others to "do the right thing."

Right Wing Watch reports:

Bright told Tea Party Express, “Congress ought to stand up and do its job and impeach one of these federal judges. And I think when you do that, being a federal judge is a pretty good gig, and I think if you’ll impeach just one, the rest of them will do the right thing. And they’ll do it out of necessity, because self-preservation is an instinct that so many folks have.”

The Constitution grants lifetime appointments to federal judges “during good behavior.” In the nation’s history, only eight federal judges have been impeached and removed from office by Congress –most for committing crimes or severely neglecting their duties.

Bright also spoke about his desire for looser gun control laws, inaccurately utilizing Israel as a comparison point for the United States:

"You look over at Israel, and that’s an armed group of folks over there,” he said. “I mean, they are teachers with machine guns on playgrounds, because you got terrorists over there that would choose to harm children and whose teachers are there to protect them. When you’ve got folks that are armed and able to defend themselves, the threat of terrorism goes down drastically.”

Let us know your thoughts on Bright in the comments below. 

And listen to his rants, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Lesbian Penguins Discovered At Israeli Zoo

Zookeepers at Israel's Ramat Gan Zoological Center have discovered that two of their young female South African Jackass penguins — Suki and Chupchikoni — are in fact a lesbian couple.

JackassZookeepers originally thought that Suki (the smaller one) was female and that Chupchikoni was a small-sized male. However, a blood test revealed that both are female. And though they have reportedly not yet built a nesting burrow together, they have set up a scrape for storing nesting materials.

The two females have also chosen to pair together despite having plenty of other single young males in their area to choose from.

Gay penguins have become a common occurence at zoos around the world, including New York's famous gay Chinstrap penguin couple Roy and Silo as well as pairs in Germany and Canada.

Though Roy and Silo eventually became the subject of the oft-banned children's book And Tango Makes Three, they actually split up after Silo paired off with a female named Scrappy. Meanwhile, their daughter Tango grew up and got into a lesbian relationship with a female penguin named Tanuzi.


Israel President Shimon Peres Expresses Support for Gay Rights, Unions

Israel's President Shimon Peres came out for same-sex marriage today, Ynet reports:

PeresIn an interview with Ynet on Sunday while in Mexico's Guadalajara, Peres said that "even a person who is a homosexual is a human being, and he has rights. We have no power to take away (their) rights."

Peres added: "We cannot take away someone's rights because they are different. We cannot take away their right to breathe, right to eat or right to start a family. We must allow everyone to live as is natural to them."

Peres' comments came in response to a new bill being promoted by the Justice Ministry called 'Living together' which attempts to regulate some form of a civil partnership between same-sex couples.

Ynet adds:

An additional bill, being promoted by MK Stav Shaffir (Labor) and which attempt to secure equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, failed to make it through the committee a few weeks ago. Yesh Atid filed a party-supported initiative to regulate same-sex as well as civil (as opposed to religiously ordained) marriage in Israel. The gist of the bill was an attempt to form a civilian version of the rabbinate which would offer state-sanctioned civilian marriage services.


Newly Reelected Israeli Mayor Thanks God There are No Gay Residents in His City

AbutbulAn Israeli mayor is apparently taking a page out of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's playbook with his recent assertion that there are no homosexuals in his city. The Times of Israel reports that Moshe Abutbul, the newly reelected haredi Orthodox mayor of Beit Shemesh, made the claim in an Israeli talk show interview:

In a Friday interview on Channel 10, Abutbul, when asked about the presence of homosexuals in the city, said that "we have no such things...Thank God this city is holy and pure." The mayor said that he "was not involved" in the issue, and it was up to the Health Ministry and the police to "take care of them."

Unsurprisingly, the comment set off a firestorm among current and former Beit Shemesh residents:

"There are hundreds of gay men and women in Beit Shemesh and it saddens me that he thinks we should be treated by the Health Ministry and the police," said Segev Israel Afriat, a resident of the city. [...]

Elinor Sidi, director of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, and former Beit Shemesh resident, added: "As one who was born and raised in Beit Shemesh, I can only lament the transformation the city has undergone in the past couple of years. Xenophobia, ignorance, homophobia and racism have replaced the warming of hearts which once characterized Beit Shemesh."

"I studied at a religious school in a tolerant atmosphere which embraced the other instead of rejecting him. Abutbul's Judaism is not the Judaism I learned as a child. Beit Shemesh had gay residents long before Abutbul."

 The Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgendered in Israel has also filed a complaint against Abutbul, with the association's chairman, Shai Doitsh, saying the mayor's comment "constitutes incitement, urging attacks on and a show of contempt for the LGBT community." 


Gay Man Runs for Mayor of Tel Aviv, Hopes for Historic First in Middle East

Just yesterday, Towleroad posted about Sheka and Teka, sexually ambiguous puppets who set off a firestorm of excitement when a baby was brought into their lives. Are they gay? Should they "come out" in order to raise awareness for LGBT families? Well, Israelis will not have to second guess one of Tel Aviv's mayoral candidates, Nitzan Horowitz who, if elected, would become the first openly gay mayor in the Middle East.

It is an exciting prospect, but one that is unlikely to happen. Horowitz's bid though, much like the puppets, reveals much about gay life and culture in the socially diverse country of Israel.

Horowitz_NitzanReuters reports:

The left-wing legislator is not predicted to defeat the incumbent, the well-established ex-fighter pilot Ron Huldai, in an October 22 municipal vote.

But the 48-year-old remains upbeat, pointing to an opinion poll his dovish Meretz party commissioned last month that gave Huldai only a five-point lead.

...

"I'm going to be not only the first gay mayor here in Israel, but the first gay mayor of the entire Middle East. This is very exciting," Horowitz told Reuters.

Horowitz's prominence in Tel Aviv is not altogether surprising. In a region better known for its religious and social conservatism, it is dubbed the "city that never sleeps".

With a population of 410,000, it was also ranked in a poll by Gaycities.com last year as a top gay destination.

Huldai, Horowitz's opponent, has done much for the gay population of Tel Aviv. The city hosts an annual pride parade and LGBT film festival, as well as a cultural center accessible to older and younger citizens alike. However, Horowitz hopes that this lofty public position could end some of the lingering homophobia in Tel Aviv and the larger Middle East. 

The task of improving policy toward gays in the Jewish state is "very challenging, because this is a country, a region with a lot of problems concerning the gay community, discrimination, even violence," the candidate said.

...

Gay marriage - and civil ceremonies in general - that take place in Israel are not recognized by the authorities. Horowitz, who has lived with his partner for more than a decade, wants that to change.

"I hope once I'm elected this will contribute to tolerance and understanding, not just in Israel, but in the entire region," Horowitz said.

Good luck to Horowitz in the coming election! 


Israeli 'Bert And Ernie' Reignite Gay Debate After Introducing Baby In New Ad

Shekateka2

In a new commercial from Israel Electric Corp, the characters Sheka and Teka, a dynamic duo since 2002, introduced a baby into their ambiguous relationship. There have been rumors about the puppet pair's sexuality for over a decade, particularly given that other commercials have found the two sharing a bedroom (albeit in separate beds), lounging on the couch in PJ's, and paddling on a boat in the Dead Sea. The addition of a baby without a mother figure has rekindled the speculation surrouding Sheka and Teka's feelings for each other.

Ynet News reports:

The ads highlight a striking paradox of the Holy Land: Although religion holds great sway and there is no civil marriage, gays have gained a widespread acceptance that is increasingly noted around the world. Gay activists demand the ad characters, who have a close but ambiguous relationship, officially come out of the closet.

...

"This should weigh on the conscience of everyone who worked on this campaign, who will come home and ask themselves whether they would want to raise a child in a country where the electric company says: 'Hide, don't be proud,'" wrote Dvir Bar in nightlife magazine City Mouse.

Although the puppets are fictional characters and have little to do with reality, they do have a prominent pop cultural position from which they could spread a message of acceptance and honesty. However, they are representatives of a state which, while progressive in many regards (e.g. hospital visitation rights and open military service), still maintains a high degree of religious conservatism that limits civil marriages. All of these reports are dependent on whether or not Sheka and Teka could even be considered gay, though, and Israel Electric Corp. has made a statement refuting the claims.

"They represent the concerned Israeli, who is really worried about the air quality he is breathing and the environment he lives in. The baby that was born now represents the next generation," said Oren Helman, a senior vice president who is behind the commercial. "There are no hints or ambiguities here."


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