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New Zealand Gay Rights Proponents Angered By Heterosexual Pair's 'Gay Wedding'

ZackTravisNZ

New Zealanders Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick are jumping the broom and getting hitched this week. The "aww"-inducing announcement has been tampered, however, by the two friends' status as heterosexual pals out to win a trip.

The Edge radio station in New Zealand recently hosted a contest to see which bromance could make the ultimate cut. The prize? An all-expenses paid excursion to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. The catch? Travis and Matt have to get married. Since same-sex marriage was legalized in New Zealand just last year, many gay rights groups see the heterosexual union as a mockery of what they spent so long trying to achieve.

News.com.au reports:

LegaliseLove Aotearoa Wellington co-chairman Joseph Habgood told the Otago Daily Times that the competition attacked the legitimacy of same-sex marriages.

“The point of this competition is that men marrying each other is still something they think is worth having a laugh at ...

“Maybe on the day that statistics around mental health for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people are better, when high schools are safe places for LGBTI youth, we can look back on all this and laugh.

“But competitions like this don’t bring that day any closer.”

Though Zack and Travis likely support same-sex marriages, and are apparently quite confident in their heterosexuality, their statements about the ceremony are admittedly lacking in sympathy or nuance.

“We are not here to insult anyone. We are here to do our own thing and travel our own path,” McCormick told the Otago Daily Times.

McIntosh said the wedding was not mocking the institution of marriage.

“It’s just seeing how far two good mates would go to win a trip to the Rugby World Cup."

As one gay rights group commentator noted, the language of "how far" the pair are willing to go seems to suggest that same-sex marriage on the whole is "something outrageous that you'd never consider." Of course Zack and Travis's ceremony can also be chalked up to a lark and an occasion to celebrate their friendship.

What do you think of the wedding? Sound off in the comments below.


Human Rights Commission Condemns Attack On Gay Bar In New Zealand

Steven Mawhinney gay bar attack New Zealand

The Human Rights Commission has condemned an alleged violent attack on staff and patrons at a gay bar in Wellington, New Zealand on August 22nd, reports TVNZ One News.

Steven Mawhinney, a bar manager at the Ivy Bar, said a group of men came into the venue without realising "what sort of bar it was.”

Mawhinney initially made the men leave but they returned soon after, reportedly throwing cans of alcohol at patrons.

An argument then broke out and when Mr Mawhinney tried to intervene, he was set upon by the group.

Human Rights Commissioner Richard Tankersley said New Zealand's excellent human rights record is worthless if such blatant homophobia is still taking place.

"We value our freedom in New Zealand and that includes being able to live our lives free from fear. Respect for others is a founding principle of human rights - you don't pick and choose who deserves dignity and who doesn't."

According to Stuff.co.nz, police arrested a 23-year-old man on the night of the incident and charged him with two counts of common assault. The man was released on bail and was due to appear in the Wellington District Court last Friday.

Earlier this year, a 30-year-old Minneapolis gay man was beaten unconscious in a brutal attack after leaving a gay bar.


Teen Becomes Instagram Sensation Cross-Dressing As Celebrities - PHOTOS

Nailed_it

Seventeen-year-old Liam Martin (aka waverider_) has amassed over 1,559,656 Instagram followers over the last eight months and has appeared on the Today show and ABC News websites by posting low-fi recreations of celebrity photographs.

He has mimicked Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian and even Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games. Some of the celebrities have followed and complimented his work, and he uses his platform to discourage cyberbullying and encourage people to be more creative.

Yahoo shares more about the young mimic:

Make no mistake, a lot of time, energy — and money! — goes into each one of Martin's photos. He posts a new picture pretty much weekly and it takes that much time to execute his vision as far as coming up with a subject and buying the supplies. The teen estimates that he spends about $45 on props for each shoot, which take place at his family home "against one wall we use all the time."

The hardest one to recreate so far? "The Katy Perry photo from her 'Dark Horse' music video. It took me three hours" to get just right. The headpiece was made out of "M&Ms and string," he reveals. The shirt? It featured hand-cut pieces of paper attached to the nude-colored top. Fortunately, all his hard work paid off — the photo has 439,000 likes

"My mom and my nana were helping me with that one and it took hours," Martin recalls, adding that he often leans on them for assistance. "Most of the time my mom helps me get dressed up and she'll take the photo for me. If my [extended] family is over, my nana and my pops — my grandpa — will help me. The whole family loves it too. It's now become normal for them."

Check out more of his photos AFTER THE JUMP...

Nailed_it_2

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Rugby Player Voted Out Of His Club For Being Gay: VIDEO

Bingham cup 2014

A rugby club in New Zealand has denied claims that a former gay player was voted out because of his sexuality, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

ClaydonNow based in Sydney, Australia, Jay Claydon says that when his teammates found out that he was gay, they held a vote behind his back to remove him from the club.

Both clubs that Claydon played for at senior level in 2006 and 2007 have refuted the player's claims.  Sources close to Claydon’s family have also backed up one of the club’s assertions and Don Fisher, a former coach at Claydon’s second club, said that there were no issues with the player who was ”a valued member of our club."

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Claydon said he discovered when he moved to Australia in 2008 that homophobic slurs were an accepted part of sporting culture and that he felt compelled to keep his sexuality secret for fear of being ostracised.

"It's such a stereotype, but at most clubs they see a gay guy and think you can't be sporty or masculine. They think that you're weak or you're not as tough as them. Even when they didn't know I was gay I'd hear the word 'faggot' all the time."

The Fairfax Media article also cited a new study, Out On The Fields, which was commissioned by organisers of the Bingham Cup, the gay rugby World Cup, which will be held in Sydney in August.

The reports revealed that 85% of gay athletes had experienced or witnessed homophobic abuse.

Last year, Claydon joined the Sydney Convicts, Australia's first gay rugby union club.

Watch the official Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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British Distance Swimmer Protected From Shark By Pod of Dolphins - VIDEO

Swimmer

A two-meter shark closely followed British distance swimmer Adam Walker during his 8 hour, 36 minute swim through the Cook Strait separating New Zealand’s north and south islands this week.

Luckily, a pod of nearby swimming dolphins surrounded him, and the shark took off, says Walker. The dolphins even swam close enough to Walker for them to brush up against his body.

Said Walker on land: "I’d like to think they were protecting me and guiding me home.  This swim will stay with me forever."

Walker is planning to be the first British swimmer to swim seven oceans. He is doing it to raise money for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.  In the past Walker has also successfully swum across the English Channel, the Molokai Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Catalina Channel, and the Tsugaru Channel.

Watch video of the dolphin pod AFTER THE JUMP…

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Prince George Meets Child Of Gay Parents For Playdate: VIDEO

Couplesroyal

As part of their official royal tour of New Zealand, their royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took time for a play date with a group of first time parents whose children are all around the same age as their son, Prince George.

GeorgeThe play date was put on by The Royal New Zealand Plunket Society (a.k.a. Plunket) which provides free parental support services to more than nine in ten babies. The 10 couples invited to the play date included a gay couple and their daughter Isabella. Jared Mullen, originally from Oregon, and husband Ryan Tunstall, originally from Australia, were chosen to “represent the growing numbers of same-sex couples in New Zealand who use Plunket’s parental support services,” as The Telegraph reports:

Tristine Clark, New Zealand president of Plunket, said: “The parents are a spread of all the communities in New Zealand, including Maoris, Samoans, people of Chinese descent and gay couples. This is a very multi-cultural country and we wanted the Duke and Duchess to meet people from all backgrounds.”

Mrs Clark said the Duke and Duchess did not specifically ask to meet a gay couple, leaving the choice of parents entirely down to Plunket.

Mullen and Tunstall spoke of their experience meeting the Cambridges shortly after the play date. From Wales Online: 

Mr Mullen said: "Isabella and George had a little play together, they were chums.

"In a way all we did was talk about babies.

"The Duke and Duchess were lovely, they were both very relaxed and we chatted about our experiences as first-time parents.

"He is a lovely little boy, very intrepid. The whole thing has been a huge privilege.

"It was lovely to meet the Duke and Duchess and share our beautiful children with them. They are both very lovely and loving parents."

You can watch a video of Prince George’s play date, AFTER THE JUMP…

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