Rather than discussing US-Taiwan relations with King Pu-tsung, their representative to the US, Taiwanese lawmakers were more interested in asking him questions about rumors that he's gay and having an affair with President Ma Ying-jeou: "King said it was 'unfair' that people have claimed that his political progress has been spurred along through sexual relationships, adding that the insinuation was also insulting to homosexuals."
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is blaming GOP House Speaker John Boehner of running the House like a "dictatorship" and intentionally obstructing fiscal cliff negotiations. "Everyone knows that if they had brought up the Senate-passed bill, it would pass overwhelmingly. But the speaker says, no we can't do that," Reid said today. "It's [the House] being operated by a dictatorship of the speaker."
Lindsay Lohan got a bit of a break on the tax lien on her home.
Johnny Depp's 2012, a photo essay.
Presenting "The Fabulous Fags of the Steambath."
Don't you wish you would find British Olympic diver Tom Daley under your mistletoe?
Puppies in the snow.
A look back at 2012 in celebrity fashion.
Nick and Nate Montana show off their football bodies on the beach.
Following in Richard Hanna and Ileana Ros-Lehtinan, a third GOP congressman has come out against the anti-gay DOMA: "U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass, R-Peterborough, took a symbolic step this week by being the first Republican member of Congress from New England to sign on to an effort that would allow the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage."
Anti-gay conservative MP Tim Loughton: "[Marriage is] a gift of God in creation through which husband and wife may know the grace of God."
Men said to be Romanian Orthodox priests posed suggestively for a calendar being described as "homoerotic."
The Journal-News, a newspaper for New York's Westchester and Rockland Counties, is at the center of a privacy debate after publishing the names and addresses of gun-owning residents. "Turns out the stunt was so unpopular — with gun owners and privacy advocates alike — that a blogger named Christopher Fountain took it upon himself to dig up and organize the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the Journal-News staff, starting with editor Cyndee Royle."
Brian Schatz has been sworn in to replace late Hawaiian Sen. Daniel Inouye. "I am honored to serve in this capacity, and I can assure you that if given the opportunity, I will make Hawaii proud," he said. "I'm going to work very hard, and I understand the road ahead is going to be challenging for all of us, but it also is potentially a hopeful time to rebuild as a united congressional delegation."
Well aware that marriage equality is the wave of the future, Taiwan's government is enlisting academics to look into how to integrate same-sex nuptials or unions into the country's laws and traditions.
The initial research, organized by the Ministry of Justice, looked West to Germany, Canada and France, but activists demanded the government look closer to home, the Taipei Times reports.
[Chung Jui-lan, deputy director-general of the ministry’s Department of Legal Affairs] said the ministry decided to study Asian countries’ attitudes to same-sex marriage after critics of such unions questioned why the ministry had left Asian countries out of its May study, given that they are more similar to Taiwan than Western nations.
The study will also cover topics such as whether to revise the Civil Code if same-sex marriage if legalized or if passing a civil partnership act would be more viable than outright legalization, Chung said.
The report released by the ministry in May concluded that the Registered Same-Sex Partnership Regime adopted by Germany offers “a better common ground and a compromise solution between the marriage equality groups and those who are opposed to same-sex marriages.”
The system initially gave unequal rights to same-sex registered partners compared with married couples, but has improved the rights of the former through amendments to the law over the years.
As the Ministry of Justice launches this study, a court is considering whether gay couple Kao Chih-wei and Nelson Chen, whose 2006 wedding remains unrecognized, can go ahead with a lawsuit against the ban. If they win the suit, they'll be the first same-sex married couple in relatively liberal Taiwan, the paper notes.
What will reportedly be Taiwan's first gay Buddhist wedding shall be held in Taoyuan County next month, according to the Taipei Times:
“We are not only doing it for ourselves, but also for other gays and lesbians,” Fish Huang said in a telephone interview.
The 30-year-old ... said that marriage never crossed her mind until she saw a movie last year.
The film portrayed two lesbians whose ill-fated relationship concluded after one died and the other was left heartbroken over the denial of spousal benefits.
“It’s so sad,” Huang said, who plans to wed her partner of seven years on Aug. 11 at a Buddhist altar ...
There shall be blessings, chants, and lectures from Buddhist masters on marriage. The ceremony won't be legally binding.
Despite the profound Buddhist-ish-ness of the marriage ceremony, Fish Huang tells the Taipei Times that many of her Buddhist friends were initially wary of attending the event, worrying that doing so might conflict with their vows. She wrote to a Buddhist master, asking for the party line on homosexuality, and the master not only told her that Buddhism, as she knew it, was a-okay with lesbian weddings -- the master offered to perform Fish Huang's lesbian wedding. From the Taipei Times:
“It is meaningful to us that our wedding can give hope to other homosexuals and help heterosexuals understand how Buddhism views sexuality,” Huang said.
The Buddhist master Shih Chao-hwei (釋昭慧), who is also a professor at Hsuan Chuang University, said Buddhist teachings do not prohibit homosexual behavior.
... “It’s difficult enough to maintain a relationship ... how could you be so stingy as to begrudge a couple for wanting to get married, regardless of their sexual orientation,” she said in a telephone interview.
Shih Chao-hwei acknowledged that her views were not universally shared among her co-religionists.
In Taipei, according to WashPo:
Thousands of gay rights supporters have marched through Taiwan’s capital, calling for increased tolerance and the enactment of anti-discrimination legislation.
The Saturday event is the ninth annual gay rights parade in Taipei, which has one of Asia’s most vibrant gay communities.
The parade has attracted gays from around the world, with many marchers dressing up as prom queens, zombies or sumo wrestlers.
The AFP says as many as 50,000 marchers marched:
"We have an even bigger crowd this year particularly after a number of incidents showing that discrimination against the gay community is still serious," said organiser Hiro Liu.
Among them was a much-publicised medical dispute involving five patients receiving organs from an HIV positive donor, who was homosexual, due to a hospital's mistake.
The incident led to some suggestions that homosexuals should be banned from donating blood and organs, which drew heated criticism from gay rights groups.
Gay groups were also offended when a senior politician demanded opposition presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen to disclose her sexual orientation, as it will "affect her judgment call as a president," he said.
The female chair of the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen, who is running for the presidency in that country is garnering attention for her refusal to answer a question about her sexuality. AFP reports:
"I don't want to answer his question and I most certainly won't do it. If I answer him I will become an accomplice of sexual suppression," said Tsai Ing-Wen, chairwoman of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Tsai, who is 54 and single, had been asked about her sexuality by a former chairman of the party, Shih Ming-teh.
"There is nothing wrong with any sexual orientation or marital status and no one has the right to question others ... We need to work harder to defend the human rights of all sexual minority groups," she said in a statement.
Shih had drawn criticism from gay and women's rights groups for asking Tsai about her sexuality. "A presidential candidate has to talk about his or her sexual orientation, which will affect his or her judgement call as a president," Shih said in footage aired by local television. "If she really is a homosexual and she is willing to speak it aloud, Taiwan's international status will be higher," he said.
Polls show that Tsai is slightly behind her opponent in approval ratings.