A new book from "a star columnist" at a Moscow tabloid is making headlines in Russia, Spiegel reports. The book, by Stanislav Belkovsky, suggests, among other things, that Vladimir Putin is gay.
Western intelligence agencies, diplomats and experts on Russia are interested in two parts of Belkovsky's theories in particular: Putin's supposed fabulous wealth and his sex life. According to Belkovsky, Putin's alleged affair with beautiful former gymnast and Olympic champion Alina Kabaeva was nothing more than an invention of his PR advisors. They painted a picture of Putin as "macho and (a) sex bomb" in order to conceal, as Belkovsky speculates, that for him "sex and a sex life are alien" or even that he is "latently gay."
A 2007 photo shot at which Putin's reputation as a "gay icon" was apparently established supposedly serves as evidence for this gay speculation, as it was a "truly erotic photo session in which Putin and Prince Albert of Monaco posed topless with their fishing rods in their hands." Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov flatly rejected this accusation, just like the speculation over his alleged wealth or the forgery of his birth date. "Belkovsky's remarks are lacking any basis, or as we say it in Russia: They are total rubbish," Peskov said.
Belkovsky himself seems to be aware he is skating on thin ice with his speculation over the Kremlin chief's possible homosexual proclivities, he writes, "for the lawyers among my readers," it should be noted that "a cult figure among homosexuals is not automatically a homosexual himself."
Cue the pillow screaming! Paul Rudd is hosting SNL with One Direction this Saturday.
Watch his promo videos, AFTER THE JUMP...
Televangelist Pat Robertson answered a viewer today on whether she should pray for her gay nephew, Right Wing Watch reports:
Said Robertson: "A few years ago psychiatrists and psychologists used to say that homosexuality was a mental illness, now the Supreme Court has said that it is a protected right. So what’s he going to pray about? Is he going to say something is wrong unless he’s unhappy? And if he’s unhappy and realizes he is doing something that makes him miserable, you might help him."
Robertson added that that the viewer should "pray that the Lord will show him his love and his truth and out of that he will find an acceptance of where God has for him.”
Robertson also suggested that abuse as a child is the root cause of homosexuality.
He also momentarily veered off to the topic of transgender people. Last July, he surprised people with his tolerance on the topic, and today defended gender reassignment surgery, noting that "I understand people that need a sex change operation - in other words a woman trapped in a man's body or a man trapped in a woman's body...and they really need some hormones and surgery to get the thing lined up."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Former Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) announced his intention to get his old job back and challenge Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Think Progess reports.
TP writes up his anti-gay history:
As a Senator, Smith opposed LGBT equality at every opportunity — voting to keep anti-gay employment discrimination legal, opposing hate crimes protections, and refusing to even institute a non-discrimination policy for his own employees. Worse, he joined with Helms to oppose any federal funding for schools that “encourage homosexuality,” by teaching about LGBT families in an inclusive way. Calling such messages “trash,” he asked his colleagues in 1994 why federal tax dollars would be spent to “advocate and encourage the homosexual lifestyle in the curriculae of public schools in this country?” He proposed that “if a public school decides and the parents in that school district decide that this is appropriate in their school system–I cannot imagine why they would–but if they did or they do, fine. You just do not get any federal dollars.”
He also joined with Helms to propose special protections for the Boy Scouts of America’s right to discriminate, warning “Rome died from a lot less than this. When you dilute your moral code to this extent, and if this keeps up, the obituary for America is going to be written.” He opposed confirmation of openly LGBT nominees, saying that sending Ambassador James Hormel to Luxembourg was “like sending Louis Farrakhan to Israel,” and that confirming Roberta Achtenberg as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could lead to America becoming “a society cast off from our moral underpinnings and set adrift.”Sphere: Related Content
Louisiana will fall in line with orders from the Pentagon to provide spousal benefits to married partners of gay servicemembers, the Washington Blade reports.
The state had previously refused to comply, citing state laws banning same-sex marriage.
"Federal personnel will enroll all dependants of same-sex marriages, in benefits programs. This solution ensures that no Louisiana National Guard Personnel will be asked to violate the Louisiana Constitution," said Lt. Col. Michael Kazmierzak, a spokesperson for the National Guard."
The Blade adds:
Kazmierzak later clarified the policy change means Louisiana will follow the same plan as Texas, which last week announced it has come to an agreement with the Pentagon to process same-sex benefits. The Texas plan involves enrolling the spouses of gay troops into the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System through federal dollars and resources – even at state-run installations.
Louisiana was prior to its announcement one of three states that had yet to comply with a Pentagon directive to provide spousal benefit applications to gay troops in the wake of the Supreme Court decision against the Defense of Marriage Act. With Louisiana in compliance, the remaining states are Georgia and Mississippi.
The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) released a statement in response to Louisiana's decision:
“Officials from the Louisiana National Guard have finally made the right decision and we are satisfied with the outcome," said Stephen Peters, president of AMPA. "However, this situation only highlights the bigger issue that still needs to be addressed. There are still major conflicts between state and federal laws where states have codified discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans into state laws and constitutions. This is yet another stark reminder of how far we have yet to go to achieve our nation's promise of 'liberty and justice for all.'"Sphere: Related Content
When Tom Daley posted his 'coming out' video, I wrote that he had come out as bisexual, a reflexive action most likely applied in haste of getting my post up, but inaccurate, I'll admit, as Daley said he still may "fancy girls", but didn't label himself gay or bisexual, or anything.
Michelangelo Signorile sees a new trend in Daley's coming out moment, and actress Maria Bello's, which didn't garner nearly as much attention but was similar in its lack of labeling:
Make no mistake: They did come out -- contrary to those who've claimed otherwise -- but simply as being in same-sex relationships right now, and as having attractions to, or having been involved with, people of the opposite gender.
This was very new, and very different from the "I don't like labels" attitude of some celebrities of yesteryear, like Michael Stipe or Morrissey in the '80s, or TV stars like Sean Hayes in the '90s, who were often just trying to keep the press at bay at a time when they believed that coming out would have alienated fans. Not only did they reject any term to describe themselves, but they never talked of same-sex relations ever, keeping it in the realm of the private. In most of these cases, particularly in the cases of actors and musicians, the individuals in question were concerned for their careers. And yet, many didn't want to lie outright, like Hollywood celebrities who are closeted and often mocked. "I don't like to define myself" was convenient, even utopian and cool.
But Daley and Bello aren't even saying that much, perhaps because, in the end, that was always a defensive stand (wrapped up in hipness), and both of them are far from defensive.
Also, vlogger John Scholl (pictured, above) has something to say about it,
AFTER THE JUMP...