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Michigan Conservatives Pushing Bills To Block LGBT Couples From Adopting

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The Michigan House of Representatives will soon consider House Bills 4188, 4189, and 4190, three pieces of legislation that would empower publicly-funded adoption organizations to turn away LGBT parents interested in adopting a child. On Wednesday the block of bills was approved in a 5-3 vote within Michigan’s Families, Children, and Seniors Committee.

By citing their own religious or moral convictions, the laws explain, adoption agencies would have the ability to intercede into any and all potential child placements should the potential parents be deemed unfit. State and local officials would also be technically barred from trying to challenge any public adoption agency’s decision to refuse service to queer people.

Laws similar to these three were first proposed during the Michigan House’s last legislative session, but were ultimately dismissed after dying in the state senate. This time around, however, advocates of the bill are pushing for a swift advancement to the Senate floor, something LGBT rights groups are urging Michiganders to fight.

"This legislation is making things harder for the over 3,000 foster care children currently awaiting homes,” said Equality Michigan’s political advocacy director Sommer Foster. “Our leaders are wasting precious time and our money to harm children in need.”

According to Equality Michigan there are some 14,000 children caught up in the state’s foster care system, many of whom are stuck in a legal limbo linked to the sexual orientations and gender identities of their prospective, adoptive parents. What’s more, the House Bills themselves make explicit reference to the fact that their restrictions could, in fact cause outcomes not “in the best interests of the adoptee."


What It's Like To Come Out To Your Mother As A Gay, Poly Purveyor of Adult Entertainment: VIDEO

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Coming out to your family can be a daunting challenge no matter who you are, how you identify, or how personally secure you are with your sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. That being said coming out is easier for some than others. Coming out as gay is one thing, but imagine coming out as the gay, poly creative director of one of the adult entertainment industry’s most valuable production houses?

“I’d been seeing various therapists prior to [coming out to my mother,]” Cockyboys co-owner Benny Morecock recounts in an interview with I’m From Driftwood. “And I knew that she kept telling the therapists to tell me to come out to her, but I just wasn’t buying it.”

Morecock continues:

“So one time we were having this huge fight--yelling at each other from across the apartment, and at one point she just screams at me ‘are you gay?’ And then I’m like ‘yeah, I’m gay.’

And then all of a sudden the conversation takes a complete 360 and she starts telling me that she’s completely fine with it and then goes into stories about her experimenting with lesbian relationships in college which...you know. Going from one moment where we’re screaming at each other to the next moment where I’m getting way too much information about my mom’s experimenting with sexuality, you know, was very unexpected.”

Morecock goes on to share how he eventually revisited the coming out process with his mother two other times (for owning Cockyboys and being in a polyamorous relationship).

Listen to his coming out story in full AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "What It's Like To Come Out To Your Mother As A Gay, Poly Purveyor of Adult Entertainment: VIDEO" »


Dalai Lama, President Obama to Attend National Prayer Breakfast Sponsored by Anti-gay Group 'The Family'

The-Dalai-LamaThe Dalai Lama is scheduled to attend this year's National Prayer Breakfast on February 5 alongside President Obama - an event hosted by The Fellowship Foundation, a conservative Christian organization more widely known as "The Family." TIME reports this is the first time the two will make a joint public appearance. 

As we've reported previously, "The Family" has strong ties to anti-gay African leaders, specifically Ugandan Parliamentarian David Bahati, sponsor of the infamous so-called "kill the gays" bill.

In the past, LGBT activist group GetEQUAL has protested outside the event. No word yet on if they plan on protesting this year. 

The Dalai Lama, considered in Tibetan Buddhism to be the 14th incarnation of Avalokiteśvara, a being who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas, said last year he was okay with the idea of gay marriage


President Obama Attends National Prayer Breakfast Sponsored by Anti-Gay Group 'The Family'

President Obama and other Congressional leaders this morning attended the National Prayer Breakfast, hosted by The Fellowship Foundation, a conservative Christian organization more widely known as "The Family."

Thefamily"The Family" has strong ties to anti-gay African leaders, specifically Ugandan Parliamentarian David Bahati, sponsor of the infamous so-called "kill the gays" bill.

LGBT activist group GetEQUAL, which has protested outside the past two National Prayer Breakfasts did not do so this year because the organizer of the previous 'Breakfast Without Bigotry' protests, Michael Dixon, died last week.

They did, however, send out a statement objecting to Obama's participation.

Said Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEQUAL and a seminary graduate:

"For another year, President Obama has chosen to set aside his stated values of inclusion in order to attend the National Prayer Breakfast -- an event rooted in hatred of LGBT people and covered up by pastries and coffee. There are so many communities of faith that fully embrace LGBT people and that are rooted in social justice -- we really don't understand why President Obama continues to give his permission for 'The Family' to support killing LGBT folks abroad. If the president is looking for ways to publicly demonstrate that he's a man of faith, he needs to find ways to do so without simultaneously putting the lives of LGBT people in jeopardy. The 'Kill the Gays' bill has been moving through the Ugandan Parliament at the very same time that President Obama was speaking to the group supporting it -- this practice has got to stop, and the president needs to understand the role he is playing in supporting the execution of LGBT people around the world."

The group added, in its press release:

At a previous National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama said "We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are -- whether it's here in the United States or ... more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda."

Despite this assertion of the rights of LGBT Ugandans to live in peace, President Obama continues to attend and, therefore, support this event. Given the fact that President Obama has recently come out in favor of LGBT equality -- including references in his inaugural speech and in an interview just days ago on Super Bowl Sunday -- we are deeply saddened that the president continues to support this event.


Minor-on-Minor Sex Abuse

Picture 18The AP has an excellent feetch this weekend on minor-on-minor sex abuse in America. It's an ugly problem, and a big one: more than a third of child sex abuse cases in America involve perps who are under 18. From the article:

For many of the therapists and attorneys who deal with them, these juvenile offenders pose a profoundly complicated challenge for the child-protection and criminal justice systems. It's a diverse group that defies stereotypes, encompassing a minority of youths who represent a threat of long-term danger to others and a majority who are responsive to treatment and unlikely to reoffend.

... While some youths commit violent, premeditated acts of sexual assault and rape, others get in trouble for behavior arising from curiosity, naivete, peer pressure, momentary irresponsibility, misinterpretation of what they believed was mutual interest, and a host of other reasons.

But there's no mechanism with which to deal with this relatively inoffensive majority, and a lot of kids are unfairly penalized, or subject to traumatic experiences. The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, signed by President Bush in 2006, demands that some sex offenders as young as 14 be listed in public registries. Some states find this too lenient, and have even tougher registry laws: In the article, the AP reports that "Delaware recently had a 9-year-old on its registry." Nancy Arnolt, who works for a victim-services agency in New York called Safe Horizons, recalls investigations of seven-year-olds, and the arrest of an eight-year-old.

This overzealousness has caused much misery. Jay Deppeler, who runs a treatment center for offending male youths in Pennsylvania, has been in the field long enough to witness it firsthand:

Deppeler recalled one autistic young man who came through Edison Court as an outpatient. He had committed a sex offense as a 14-year-old and later - after turning 18 - committed a property-related offense that sent him to the adult criminal justice system. As a result, the young man became obligated to apprise prospective employers of his full record, including the juvenile sex offense - making him "virtually unemployable."

"Long term, I fear his prospects are quite bleak," Deppeler said. "What do we end up doing with a guy like that?"


Ugandan President: Don't Tie Our Aid Money To LGBT Rights

President-Museveni4In Uganda, where legislators have spent much of the last two years wondering whether to execute gay people, President Yoweri Museveni is worried about money.

At a speech on Friday, President Museveni sent a message to the Western, pro-gay nations who've historically given Uganda monetary aid, warning them that any economic sanctions against Uganda would backfire on their beloved LGBTs. "Before anyone gives me a lecture on homosexual rights," he said, according to News24, "first talk about railways ... Homosexuals also need electricity. Homosexuals also need roads. Homosexuals also need railways." These remarks were greeted with applause.

It appears Museveni is speaking out in response to recent high profile utterances from Hillary Clinton and British PM David Cameron both of whom asserted that "LGBT rights are human rights," and pledged to work to ensure the legal protection of LGBTs around the world. It's worth noting that Museveni quietly supported proposed legislation in 2009 that would guarantee the death penalty for "serial" sodomites, and has deep ties to The Fellowship -- the United States organization of Protestant fundamentalists who attempt to export Christian morality to developing nations.


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