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South Carolina House Votes to Financially Punish Colleges That Assigned Gay Books

The South Carolina House refused on Monday to restore book purchasing budget cuts assigned to College of Charleston and University of South Carolina Upstate after the two institutions of higher learning taught literature dealing with homosexual content. Totaling nearly $70,000, the cuts reflect the amount of money the institutions spent on buying texts for the freshman class this year. Some saw the cuts as censorial attempts to limit what can be taught in colleges, while the majority argued vehemently that teaching Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and a book about an LGBT radio station, Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio promoted "a lifestyle" that they do not agree with.

Gildacobb-hunterAssociated Press reports:

When it comes to public colleges, legislators should be debating funding and building construction, not "pushing our own moral agenda on these institutions of higher learning," said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (right), D-Orangeburg.

"Are we saying we don't trust the college students enough to expose them to something they may not have seen before? We can't let you read anything other than what we believe?" she asked. "What about the notion of freedom to have different views? Isn't this what we go all over the globe fighting for?"

Some thought, however, that making the books mandatory reading took it all a step too far.

GarrysmithRep. Garry Smith (right), whose subcommittee made the reductions, said he wanted to make a point after college officials declined to give students an option to read something else. He said he wouldn't oppose the books if they were part of an elective course. He called it promotion of a lifestyle.

"Freedom comes with responsibility. These universities did not act responsibly," said Smith, R-Simpsonville.

Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville, said opponents of the cuts argue for a diversity of ideas but don't want to consider conservatives' viewpoint. After House Speaker Bobby Harrell rejected Smith's suggestions to project illustrations from "Fun Home" on the House screen, Nanney said, "It's not appropriate to even put up in this room but we're giving it to 18-year-old kids?"

Sadly, it might just be that Representatives Smith and Nanney are less mature than the "18-year-old kids" who read the texts.

College of Charleston President George Benson said the university is committed to academic freedom, and any university education must include the opportunity for students to engage controversial ideas...

"Our students are adults, and we will treat them as such," Benson said. "Faculty, not politicians, ultimately must decide what textbooks are selected and how those materials are taught."


Openly Gay Footballer Anton Hysen Signs with U.S. Team

Hysen

Anton Hysen, the Swedish footballer who came out of the closet in 2011, has signed with the fourth division team Myrtle Beach Mutiny, he reported on Instagram.

Writes Outsports:

So an openly gay professional soccer player will be playing in South Carolina. Their division features teams across the Southeast. Not only is it supposed to be "impossible" for a professional male athlete to be openly gay, but it's "100% definitely impossible" to do it in South Carolina, Tennessee, George and the like. Yet Myrtle Beach is doing it. Not so impossible, I guess.

Said Hysen: "I am excited to be joining the Mutiny this season. This is a great opportunity for me on a personal and professional level. I hope I can help take the team to the top of the NPSL."


South Carolina Republicans Slash State School Budgets as Punishment for Assigning Gay Books

South Carolina Republican lawmakers voted to slash funding to the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg because the schools gave freshmen assignments with gay themes, CNN reports:

SmithLast summer, the College of Charleston provided incoming freshmen with a memoir, "Fun Home," in which the author deals with coming out as a lesbian. The University of South Carolina Upstate, meanwhile, assigned "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio," which features an account of South Carolina's first gay and lesbian radio show.

Rep. Garry Smith (pictured), a Republican from Simpsonville, proposed the cuts in the House Ways and Means committee and says they were prompted by a complaint from a constituent whose teen daughter was going to one of the schools. They would strip the College of Charleston of $52,000 and the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg of $17,162 for making the assignments.

The budget is to be considered by the full House this week.

Said Smith:

"I think the university has to be reasonable and sensible to the feelings and beliefs of their students. That was totally ignored here. I was trying to hold the university accountable. Their stance is 'Even if you don't want to read it, we'll shove it down your throat.' It's not academic freedom -- it's academic totalitarianism."

The College of Charleston meanwhile, says the book is not required reading.

The WaPo adds:

Several state senators have also complained that public universities are not following a nearly century-old law requiring schools to teach the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Harris Pastides, the president of the University of South Carolina, said the law would pose constitutional challenges: It also requires students swear a loyalty oath to the United States before receiving a college degree.


Freedom to Marry Launching $1 million Campaign to Build Southern Support for Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.11.42 AM

At a press conference on Monday, Freedom to Marry is expected to announce a new $1 million television ad campaign in Southern states in the hopes of swaying public opinion and the judges who will decide the fate of state bans on gay unions. As it stands, there are about two dozen lawsuits challenging bans on gay marriage that are pending before state and federal courts in Southern states. The Washington Post reports:

“Freedom to Marry’s national strategy has always been to build a critical mass of states and support to create the climate for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution. We don’t have to win within every state, but we have to win enough states,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.13.09 AMAtlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will join the group at its Monday press conference. The group will also try to tie same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement, by featuring Rep. John Lewis [right], the longtime Georgia Democrat who ran the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, in a testimonial.

“I see the right to marriage as a civil rights issue. You cannot have rights for one segment of the population and one group of people and not for everybody,” Lewis says in the video.

Watch Lewis' video for the new campaign, AFTER THE JUMP...

Co-chairs of the new initiative will include Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), as well as Mark McKinnon, a former senior adviser to George W. Bush and Lance Bass, the ‘N Sync singer.

Continue reading "Freedom to Marry Launching $1 million Campaign to Build Southern Support for Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


Lesbian Parents Not Recognized As Married, Son Denied Social Security Benefits: VIDEO

Lisa and Melody Rawson and son

Lisa and Melody Rawson of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina have an adopted son who suffers from multiple medical conditions, including spina bifida. When they were living in New York they received a monthly $600 social security check to cover the cost of his medical expenses. However, the New York winters were too harsh for him so this past September they moved to South Carolina, at which point they promptly stopped receiving any benefits at all.

The reason? South Carolina's state computer system won't allow Lisa and Melody to both be listed as his parents. As a result the paperwork cannot be processed, so their son's medical benefits are denied by default. The Rawsons have tried contacting Social Security, the Justice Department, and Congress but allege being given the runaround.

You can see a video interview with the Rawsons AFTER THE JUMP...

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SC Senate Candidate Lee Bright Wants Congress To Impeach Pro-Equality Federal Judges: LISTEN

LeebrightIt looks like South Carolina's got a terrifying candidate on the books for 2014's senatorial elections, and his name is Lee Bright. The Republican, who will be challenging Senator Lindsey Graham (long rumored to be gay), gave a disheartening and disturbing response to a Tea Party group in Utah regarding the state's pro-marriage equality federal ruling. Bright would like one of these pro-equality federal judges to be impeached by Congress as a means to encourage others to "do the right thing."

Right Wing Watch reports:

Bright told Tea Party Express, “Congress ought to stand up and do its job and impeach one of these federal judges. And I think when you do that, being a federal judge is a pretty good gig, and I think if you’ll impeach just one, the rest of them will do the right thing. And they’ll do it out of necessity, because self-preservation is an instinct that so many folks have.”

The Constitution grants lifetime appointments to federal judges “during good behavior.” In the nation’s history, only eight federal judges have been impeached and removed from office by Congress –most for committing crimes or severely neglecting their duties.

Bright also spoke about his desire for looser gun control laws, inaccurately utilizing Israel as a comparison point for the United States:

"You look over at Israel, and that’s an armed group of folks over there,” he said. “I mean, they are teachers with machine guns on playgrounds, because you got terrorists over there that would choose to harm children and whose teachers are there to protect them. When you’ve got folks that are armed and able to defend themselves, the threat of terrorism goes down drastically.”

Let us know your thoughts on Bright in the comments below. 

And listen to his rants, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "SC Senate Candidate Lee Bright Wants Congress To Impeach Pro-Equality Federal Judges: LISTEN" »


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