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Wiki Loves Pride Edit-A-Thons Improve LGBT Content On Wikipedia

Wikimedia lgbt

Last month, Wikipedia launched a series of Wiki Loves Pride edit-a-thons to improve LGBT-related content on various Wikimedia projects.

The edit-a-thons aim to increase “the number of people and perspectives contributing to LGBT information on the site, as well as encouraging institutions to add their authority information, research and images to the public domain.”

Edit-a-thons have already taken place in Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon.  Future edit-a-thons are planned for Atlanta and Houston and for Bangalore and Delhi, India.


Bakery Refuses Order For 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Ashers bakery norhern ireland refuses order for cake

A bakery in Northern Ireland could face legal action from The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland for refusing to take an order for a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage.”

Based in Newtownabbey, Ashers was named after a verse from the Bible, which refers to "Bread from Asher,” reports RTE.

LGBT activist Gareth Lee asked for the cake, ordered to help mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, to be decorated with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” a logo for QueerSpace, and an image of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

Speaking to RTE, Ashers general manager Daniel McArthur said:

"I would like the outcome of this to be that any Christians running a business could be allowed to follow their Christian beliefs and principles in the day-to-day running of the business and that they are allowed to make decisions based on that."

The Christian Institute, which is supporting Ashers because “the case proves the need for the law to reasonably accommodate family-run businesses with firmly held beliefs,” said:

“When the order came through to the head office, the manager and directors decided to decline the request on conscience grounds, and offered a full refund.”

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland says that refusing to make the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and has written to Ashers asking that it remedies the situation within seven days or be taken to court.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. where same-sex marriage remains illegal.

Last May, The Colorado Civil Rights Commission rejected a Denver-area bakery’s appeal of an earlier ruling that bakery owner Jack Phillips “unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake."

Watch a video released by Ashers in which they comment on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bakery Refuses Order For 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


Lesbian Journalist Julie Bindel Says Sexual Orientation Is a Choice

In her new book Straight Expectations, Julie Bindel argues that sexual orientation is a choice.  The journalist, campaigner, and feminist also says that people believe that they are born gay because of “internalised doctrine.”

BindelIn an interview in today’s Independent, Bindel also argues that there is no biological explanation for homosexuality and that there “has to be some kind of choice, as well as some deep-rooted, embedded responses that developed through different experiences in our childhood.”

Bindel, who with her partner co-founded Justice for Women which campaigns for female victims of domestic violence, says that her arguments regarding the causes of homosexuality have been “drowned out” by obsessed scientists and by those who use the gay gene argument to provoke sympathy.

Asked how and why people would choose to be gay in countries with oppressive anti-homosexuality laws, Bindel says:

“I don’t know.  All I know is I’ve never been convinced by a scientific argument, or seen any evidence that is compelling that there is something innate about our sexuality. What I’m suggesting is, there are people who could go one way or the other and happily choose to be lesbian or gay.”

However, writing in The Independent, Patrick Strudwick says that Bindel claims that she herself did not make that choice:

“Because I needed to leave home – there was nothing there for me in Darlington – and pursue my feminist possibilities, that meant starting a new life and all that was open to me. I fell in with a crowd [in Leeds] who spoke about lesbianism as part of women’s liberation. I never chose to be attracted to women.”

Strudwick also claims that what Bindel means by sexual preference being a choice is actually making a decision “to have a gay relationship, identify as gay, come out and lead a gay life (whatever that is).”

(image via twitter)


Clerk Files Petition with Supreme Court to Halt Same-Sex Marriages In Pennsylvania

Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the Schuylkill County clerk, has petitioned the Supreme Court to put a stop to same-sex marriages in Pennsylvania, reports SCOTUS Blog.

Theresa Santai-GaffneyIn May, U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones struck down Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage. Last month, Jones refused to allow the clerk to intervene so that she could appeal his decision.  On Thursday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals barred Santai-Gaffney from the case and dismissed her appeal.

Santai-Gaffney's Supreme Court application is based on the argument that the court’s January order putting on hold temporarily a federal judge’s decision striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in Utah "signaled to all lower federal courts" that they must act "to preserve the enforcement of man-woman marriage laws" until the Court rules on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage.

Santai-Gaffney’s petition can only continue if Justice Samuel A. Alito or a Supreme Court majority allows her to intervene . Alito can also seek a response from challengers of the Pennsylvania ban before acting on the clerk’s application.

Read the Third Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling on Santai-Gaffney's petition to appeal the decision striking down Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Clerk Files Petition with Supreme Court to Halt Same-Sex Marriages In Pennsylvania" »


60 Arrested In Raid On Gay Bar In Nairobi, Kenya

  Nairobi kenya

More than 60 people were arrested over the weekend during a raid on a gay bar in Nairobi, Kenya, reports Africa New Post.

Although there have been no moves to increase penalties for homosexuals in Kenya, the country’s penal code prescribes up to 14 years in prison for men who commit “acts of gross indecency” with other men or for any person who acts “against the order of nature.” A man was stoned to death in Nairobi in 2012 after he was discovered having sex with a co-worker.

According to Ghafla.co.ke, the arrests at Club Envy were made because of the bar patrons’ sexuality and not under Kenya’s Mututho law which restricts drinking hours and regulates the consumption of alcohol.

Speaking to Ghafla, Joji Baro, a well-known performer in the city, said:

“The arrests at Envy had nothing to do with Mututho law but just trying to suppress the visibility of gays and lesbians. So finally someone just realized gays and lesbians have money and they know where to spend it... Just a reminder of the little rights we enjoy."

The website reports that the arrests came after the government “sent their security apparatus to harass innocent homosexuals who were not even taking part in any buggery but rather enjoying their hard earned money.”

No information has been released regarding the charges faced by the detainees.


California Bill Aids Transgendered With Name Changes And Identity Documents

California’s Assembly Bill 1121, which makes the state’s name and gender change process the easiest in U.S., went into full effect July 1., reports The Advocate.

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac812cfd970d-800wiThe bill, authored by out Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and co-sponsored by Transgender Law Center and Equality California, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last year.

In August 2013, Brown signed into law a bill that will provide unprecedented protections for transgender students in California.

Atkins also authored the Respect After Death Act which would ensure death certificates correctly reflect the authentic gender identity of transgender Californians. The bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate.

Speaking to Equality California last year, Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center said:

“Having identity documents that accurately reflect who you are is vital in so many areas of everyday life — from applying for a job to exercising our rights at the ballot box. Many of us wouldn’t think twice when asked to show our ID, but this is a very serious issue for transgender people.”

Previously, transgendered Californians were required to obtain a court order in order to have their birth certificate reflect their correct name and gender.

However, under the new law applicants are now required to submit a form and a doctor's note directly to the state's Department of Public Health, indicating that they have taken appropriate steps to change their gender.

Additionally, those seeking a legal name change are no longer required to publish notice of intent in a local newspaper, a move which will save trans residents significant amounts of money and allow them to avoid the outing that comes with having a name change published.

Speaking to The Advocate, legal director for the Transgender Law Center Ilona Turner said:

“Today marks another step toward full equality for transgender Californians.  These simple administrative changes are going to make a huge difference for transgender people who continue to face unfair and burdensome barriers to being able to live authentically and free from discrimination.”


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