03/04/2015

Ben Carson: Homosexuality Is a Choice Because People Come Out of Prison and They're Gay — VIDEO

Carson

Republican presidential hopeful and anti-gay extremist Ben Carson sat down with CNN's Chris Cuomo this morning for a discussion about same-sex marriage and explained why he believes homosexuality is a choice:

"Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight -- and when they come out, they're gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question."

Cuomo: "Most gay people never go to prison and you know there's a whole theory of dominance."

Carson: "I said a lot of people who go in, come out...are you denying that that's true?"

Cuomo: "I'm not denying that that's true but I am denying that that's the basis of understanding homosexuality."

Carson: "If that is the case then it obviously thwarts what you just said."

Watch the rest of the conversation, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ben Carson: Homosexuality Is a Choice Because People Come Out of Prison and They're Gay — VIDEO"

Posted Mar. 4,2015 at 9:08 AM EST by in 2016 Election, Ben Carson, Chris Cuomo, Gay Marriage, News | Permalink | Comments (45)


Alabama Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage In 'Defiant' Ruling

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d0d6636f970c-300wiIn an opinion issued Tuesday night, the Alabama State Supreme Court upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage and in so doing contravened a ruling from a U.S. district court judge who down the marriage ban.

The court was unconvinced by and unconcerned with the streak of rulings (nearly 60 to date) from both federal and state courts which have found bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, arguing, “state courts may interpret the United States Constitution independently from, and even contrary to, federal courts." The court stated it would not heed any order from any federal court contradicting its own save for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Remarkably, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore recused himself from the case.

The Washington Post reports:

The Alabama justices were defiant. “As it has done for approximately two centuries,” the court said, “Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman.” Alabama judges have a duty “not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”

The resistance in Alabama, where states’ rights has always been sacred writ and state supreme court justices are elected rather than appointed, has been compared by many to that state’s resistance to school desegregation orders in the 1963, when Gov. George Wallace (D) stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to prevent the court-ordered enrollment of black students.

Indeed, the court entrenched itself in its "choice" to uphold a "traditional" definition of marriage:

[The court] accused other courts of employing “sleight of hand” to confer “fundamental-rights status on a concept of marriage divorced from its traditional understanding.”

“Throughout the entirety of its history, Alabama has chosen the traditional definition of marriage,” the court said in a per curiam opinion, issued in the name of the court rather than a specific justice. “… That fact does not change simply because the new definition of marriage has gained ascendancy in certain quarters of the country, even if one of those quarters is the federal judiciary.”

“Marriage has always been between members of the opposite sex,” it said. “The obvious reason for this immutable characteristic is nature. Men and women complement each other biologically and socially. Perhaps even more obvious, the sexual union between men and women (often) produces children. … In short, government has an obvious interest in offspring and the consequences that flow from the creation.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) called the ruling bizarre, rambling and outrageous."The Alabama state Supreme Court does not have the authority to interfere with a federal court order," said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. "This order is outrageous and baffling, and no amount of legalese can hide the bare animus that forms the foundation of this extralegal ruling."

The case is likely to be appealed to the federal courts. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is still slated to hear arguments this spring on challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. 

Read the ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Alabama Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage In 'Defiant' Ruling"

Posted Mar. 4,2015 at 8:56 AM EST by in Alabama, Gay Marriage, News, Roy Moore | Permalink | Comments (20)


Egyptian Police Force Continues Crackdown On LGBT Population With Seven New Arrests - VIDEO

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Seven people accused of organizing a “network for practicing debauchery” were arrested late last week as a part of a coordinated effort by the Egyptian police authorities to crack down on LGBT activity in Cairo, the nation’s capitol.

Speaking to popular Egyptian tabloid Al-Youm el-Saba head of Cairo’s Morality Police Major General Magdy Moussa said that the people taken into custody were thought to have been meeting other men in a private gathering to have sex. Using false profiles on gay dating websites, Moussa explained, Cairo police targeted these people and gleaned information that led them to a nightclub where they promptly made their arrests.

In many ways these arrests echo the Egyptian police’s recent televised harassment of gay men caught patronizing a bathhouse located in Cairo. Though the 26 men who were arrested after the bathhouse raid have since been acquitted, their detainment and that of these seven men reflect a broader atmosphere of persecution that is plaguing queer Egyptians.

Though social networks like Grindr have urged caution amongst their users, police forces in countries like Egypt with active campaigns against LGBT people are becoming increasingly savvy and using those same platforms to ensnare gays looking to meet inconspicuously.

More distressing, as J. Lester Feder points out for BuzzFeed, is the seeming coordination between the Egyptian police and the local media. By leaking hyperbolic accounts of the circumstances leading up to arrests, the police feed into the country’s already hostile climate in regards to queer people. Interestingly enough, however, there are those within the country that are interpreting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s crackdown on gays as a gross overextension of power.

“Some of us hoped the acquittal of victims in Mona Iraqi’s bathhouse raid would resonate longer than a few days or weeks; maybe prosecutors and police, humiliated by the implosion of a showpiece case, would back off from their pursuit of illusory ‘perversion,’” wrote Scott Long, director of the Human Rights Watch’s LGBT division. “But that would be unlike this government. General Sisi, dizzy with his own powers, takes each failure as an opportunity to fail better.”

Watch Al-Youm el-Saba’s coverage of the arrests AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Egyptian Police Force Continues Crackdown On LGBT Population With Seven New Arrests - VIDEO"

Posted Mar. 4,2015 at 8:26 AM EST by in Cairo, Discrimination, Egypt, News | Permalink | Comments (0)


03/03/2015

One Of Nation's Few Homeless Shelters For LGBT Youth Opens Doors In San Antonio, Texas

Homeless

One of the nation's few homeless shelters specifically for LGBTQ youth has opened its doors in San Antonio. 

Thrive Youth Center is a 13-bed, 1,400-square-foot facility — including five individual rooms for transgender youth. 

The center, which will serve LGBTQ youth ages 18-25, was initially scheduled to open last year at a downtown church, but that plan was nixed due to zoning issues. The shelter finally opened last week through a partnership with Haven for Hope, a larger facility serving the general homeless population. 

Texas Public Radio reports: 

WhitleyThrive Executive Director Sandra Whitley (right) said Haven has changed its intake process since Thrive came on board, asking new applicants if they required LGBT services. “And if they check yes, then they call one of us over at our office and we come over and talk to the person and see if they’ll be a fit for our program.” ...

Thrive’s initial mission —getting people back on their feet — is being upheld through Haven’s programs. “The services that we were going to offer, the GED program; the career counseling; the job placement, all those things are now located 25 feet from our door,” said Whitley.

Scott Ackerson, a Vice President for Haven for Hope, said they also found space for certain individuals who did not meet Thrive’s 18-25 age group criteria. “We’ve got the capacity to serve an additional 10 LGBT individuals that don’t necessarily fit within Thrive’s target population,” said Ackerson.

According to Thrive Youth Center's website, 50 percent of homeless youth in San Antonio are LGBTQ, mostly as a result of family rejection. And homeless LGBTQ youth on the street are more than twice as likely to commit suicide as other youth on the street.

Meanwhile, nearly nearly one in three transgender men and women report being turned away from homeless shelters because they are transgender, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. 

Before opening Thrive Youth, Whitley and other founders visited the Ali Forney Center in New York City and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center in Los Angeles — two of the only other homeless shelters in the nation for LGBTQ youth. Whitley, whose parents once sent her to a mental hospital because she was gay, sold her business last year so she could run the shelter. 

For more information on the Thrive Youth Center or to make a donation, go here. And to listen to the stories of some of the youth who'll be served by the facility, go here

With any luck, Thrive Youth Center can serve as a model for shelters serving homeless LGBTQ youth across Texas and in other red states — where the facilities are often most needed due to high levels of family rejection.

Watch a video report from last year about plans for the Thrive Youth Center, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "One Of Nation's Few Homeless Shelters For LGBT Youth Opens Doors In San Antonio, Texas"

Posted Mar. 3,2015 at 8:21 PM EST by in Gay Youth, Homeless, San Antonio, Texas | Permalink | Comments (8)


Disney Is Bringing The World of 'Avatar' To Life - VIDEO

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When “Avatar” first hit theaters back in 2009 the film was lauded for the technical innovation used to create a uniquely immersive experience. James Cameron brought Pandora, the home planet of the alien Na’Vi people, to life in a way that invited viewers to lose themselves in the vibrant world.

Though we’re still more than two years out from the first of three Avatar sequels, Disney’s team of Imagineers are hard at work building a real-life analogue to Pandora for Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Florida.

When plans for the Avatar theme-park were first announced, Cameron and his team described a multi-sensory journey that would transport people to the fictional planet that captured their imaginations. Everything from the sprawling landscapes to the lush, bioluminescent forests would be recreated to the T, offering park-goers the chance to experience the most fantastic aspect of the planet from a first-person perspective.

A new video from the park’s production team gives us our first look at what Cameron described, and from the looks of it there’s a good chance you’ll be going to Pandora long before you see the next Avatar film.

Check out some early footage of the real world Pandora AFTER THE JUMP...

Screenshot 2015-03-03 15.57.16

Continue reading "Disney Is Bringing The World of 'Avatar' To Life - VIDEO"

Posted Mar. 3,2015 at 6:40 PM EST by in Disney, James Cameron | Permalink | Comments (5)


Ohio-Based LGBT Activist Adam Hoover Fakes His Own Kidnapping

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At the age of 17 Ohio-based activist Adam Hoover made a name for himself by being one of Ohio’s youngest agitators for LGBT equality and founding Marriage Equality Ohio. More recently Hoover has made his way back into the news under slightly less auspicious circumstances. Earlier this week Hoover took to Facebook in a panicked message claiming that he had been kidnapped and was trapped in a trunk:

“Please help me I'm in the trunk of my ford escort red 2000 gbh 2812. They said they are going to kill my family please call 911 I don't want them to hear me. Please please call. I don't want to die.”

His kidnappers, Hoover explained, warned him that they would kill him if he attempted to call for help. He posted his mother’s phone number and address, imploring anyone reading to reach out to her to help him. Hoover’s post was quickly brought to the attention of local police who soon found his car empty in nearby Miami Township. Hoover himself was found not long after, completely unharmed.

"Once we get him and determine he's okay, the investigation is able to proceed from there, including interviews, things like that. We start backtracking,” explained Green Township police Lieutenant Jim Vetter.  “After a little while we started getting indications that maybe this did not happen as he said it happened and then after the investigation was concluded, determined it was in fact, fabricated.”

Hoover left the local sheriff's office early this morning after being charged with making false alarms, a misdemeanor in the first degree. Hoover has yet to comment on why he made false claims of being kidnapped but his mother took to Facebook seeking to assuage the concerns of friends and family.

"This is Adams mom Anna. Thank you for your support and prayers,” she wrote. “I have a special request. Social media is powerful. Could every[one] please remove posts and tags and give us some time to figure this all out. Adam has helped so many please help me help him."

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article misidentified a YouTuber with the same name as the Adam Hoover written about above. The header image has been updated to properly identify Hoover.

Posted Mar. 3,2015 at 6:20 PM EST by in News, Ohio | Permalink | Comments (28)


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