05/26/2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Resists Push for Referendum on Gay Marriage

Tony Abbott

Ireland equality scored a major victory with their referendum to legalize same-sex marriage on Saturday with the populace voting 2:1 in favor of legalization. On the other side of the globe, Australia has even more support for the legalization of same-sex marriage with 72% of the population being in favor according to one major poll. One would think that with a parliamentary government that represents the will of the people that a referendum would be in the works. Sadly, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is not about to allow something like that to happen.

Abbott, who is a bit of an anti-gay ass, passed the buck to parliament when asked if Australia should hold a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage:

It really is a matter for the parliament.

Referendums are held in this country where there's a proposal to change the constitution. I don't think anyone's suggesting that the constitution needs to be changed in this respect.

Under the constitution, questions of marriage are the preserve of the Commonwealth parliament.

Except that anyone - a great many anyones; over 70% of Australia's anyones - are suggesting that the constitution needs to be changed in this respect in order to overturn the 2004 revision of the national Marriage Act to explicitly ban same-sex marriages from being recognized by national law. But as too often seems to be the case with socially conservative politicians, facts are optional little accoutrements that can be disregarded on a whim.

Posted May. 26,2015 at 8:56 AM EST by in Australia, Gay Marriage, Tony Abbott | Permalink | Comments (8)


Google Doodle Celebrates America's First Female Astronaut Sally Ride: VIDEO

Google

Google is celebrating the 64th birthday of America's first female astronaut and first woman in space, Sally Ride, with a series of five animated doodles on its homepage. The doodles are meant to show some of Ride's many accomplishments with bright colors and a playful approach that typified Ride's own perspective on her travels to space, according to animator Olivia Huynh. Ride ventured into space on June 18th, 1983. She came out posthumously in her obituary in 2012 which stated that she was survived by her partner Tam O’Shaugnessy. Ride died after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Said O'Shaugnessy of Ride's efforts in the field of education: 

"Studies show that the reason kids turn away from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is not that they don’t like it or aren’t good at it," writes Ride's partner Tam O’Shaughnessy in a blog post for Google. "Instead, young people get turned off because society sends false messages about who scientists are, what they do, and how they work. So Sally decided to use her high profile to motivate young people to stick with their interest in science and to consider pursuing STEM careers." 

Watch a video taking you behind the scenes of today's Google doodle and into the life of Sally Ride, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Google Doodle Celebrates America's First Female Astronaut Sally Ride: VIDEO"

Posted May. 26,2015 at 8:35 AM EST by in Google, Sally Ride | Permalink | Comments (2)


05/25/2015

What To Watch This Week On TV: Bear's Back; Marilyn's 'Secret Life'

Americas-got-talent-judges

Check out our weekly guide to make sure you're catching the big premieres, crucial episodes and the stuff you won't admit you watch when no one's looking.

— Nine seasons of America’s Got Talent down, and, to be honest, we’re still not convinced. The tenth season premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern NBC with returning judges Mel B., Heidi Klum, Howard Stern and Howie Mandell. 

Prancing Elites, a blonde bombshell and more TV this week, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "What To Watch This Week On TV: Bear's Back; Marilyn's 'Secret Life'"

Posted May. 25,2015 at 7:00 PM EST by in Bear Grylls, Marilyn Monroe, Television, The Prancing Elites | Permalink | Comments (2)


Honoring All Who Have Given Their Lives Serving Our Country

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The Towleroad staff wishes you a safe, relaxing, and reflective Memorial Day weekend.

Posted May. 25,2015 at 2:00 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (4)


Korean Men Tie the Knot In Heartwarming 'My Fair Wedding' Documentary: VIDEO

My Fair Wedding

South Korea, like many places in the world and in too much of the U.S., bans gay marriage. South Korean gays, like in many places in the world and in increasingly more places in the U.S., are reaching the point of not caring what the bans are and are getting married anyways, governmental recognition be damned. Such is the case with Kim Jho Gwang-soo and Kim Seung-hwan, a South Korean gay couple whose marriage became the subject of a documentary by Jang Hee-sun entitled My Fair Wedding. 

The documentary follows the couple along their journey to wedded bliss, from the planning stages to the challenges of telling their families to the ceremony itself in downtown Seoul. Despite the pushback they received from anti-gay protesters, the two felt that this was necessary in order to raise awareness of sexual minorities in South Korea. Said Kim Jho,

Through this film, we would like to show that we are not different from heterosexuals.

Hopefully this will facilitate legislation in South Korea that, like many places in the world and in most of the U.S., legally recognizes same-sex marriage. The film will be released in South Korea on June 6, 2015, and you can watch the trailer AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Korean Men Tie the Knot In Heartwarming 'My Fair Wedding' Documentary: VIDEO"

Posted May. 25,2015 at 11:00 AM EST by in Film, Gay Marriage, Korea, South Korea, Video | Permalink | Comments (6)


Nine More States Comply With Federal Prison Rape Law, But DOJ Rejects Texas Governor's Letter

Abbott

For a brief instant, it was starting to appear as though a wave of sanity had swept over the Texas GOP. 

First, Rep. Sarah Davis became the first Republican state lawmaker in history to publicly back same-sex marriage.   

Then, it was widely reported that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott had agreed to comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act — unlike his predecessor, Rick Perry. 

Alas, though, it was apparently too good to be true, at least with regard to Abbott. The New York Times reports that the Justice Department has rejected the governor's assurance of compliance with PREA: 

Mr. Abbott, who took office in January, was under some pressure in the week before the deadline, during which an article in The New York Times highlighted the sexual abuse problem in Texas’ prisons, an editorial in The Dallas Morning News urged the governor to “enact the federal reforms now,” and protesters in Austin called on him to take action against prison rape.

“I can assure you that we will fully implement D.O.J.’s PREA standards wherever feasible,” he wrote to the attorney general. ... 

Mr. Abbott did not, however, provide the required written assurance that Texas would spend at least 5 percent of certain federal grants to achieve full compliance with the anti-rape standards.

“The letter we received from Texas makes no such representation and, therefore, it cannot be considered to be an assurance under PREA,” said Dena W. Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department.

All told, nine more states certified compliance with PREA this year, brining the total to 11. Texas was one of six states that had rejected the federal standards outright, foregoing federal funds rather than striving to meet them. Two of those states, Florida and Indiana, have since said they're working to comply with PREA. It was unclear whether whether the other three, Arizona, Idaho and Utah, had done so, The NYT reports. 

According to Just Detention International, which works to eliminate sexual abuse in detention facilities, LGBT inmates are 15 times more likely to be victims of prison rape than non-LGBT inmates. And Texas is home to five of the 10 facilities in the nation with the highest rates of sexual assault. 

Jael Humphrey of Lambda Legal, which is suing Texas on behalf of transgender inmate Passion Star, who's been repeatedly raped in assaulted in the state's prisons, issued this statement: 

“We are profoundly disappointed that Governor Abbott has neglected to make a meaningful commitment to meet the PREA standards set by the DOJ, and we applaud the Justice Department for demanding real commitment from Texas to use grant funds to actually enforce these standards. Governor Abbott cannot coast by paying lip service to PREA, while Passion Star and other incarcerated people remain at risk of continued sexual violence. Lambda Legal will continue to press Governor Abbott to take the necessary steps to end prison rape in his written statements and to turn his words into action.”

Posted May. 25,2015 at 9:00 AM EST by in Gay Rights, Greg Abbott, LGBT Rights, Texas, Transgender | Permalink | Comments (3)


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