The Netherlands Hub
It's too bad this is news, and not standard policy everywhere: The Dutch government, recognizing that to be an out gay person in Iraq is to abide in mortal danger, has elected to grant blanket asylum to all illegal LGBT Iraqi immigrants.
Koen van Dijk of the Dutch gay rights organisation COC described the announcement as an important victory for Iraqis who had fled the country because of their sexual orientation. According to van Dijk, Iraq is the most dangerous country in the world for gay people: “Research has shown that 750 people have been murdered for this reason since 2003. There are systematic campaigns. Organised militias publicly declare that they’re hunting down people who exhibit ‘deviant’ behaviour and should be killed according to Islamic law.”
LGBT Iraqis will have to somehow "prove" that they're L, G, B, or T to remain in the Netherlands, which van Djik frankly admits will be a tricky business. Other countries have royally screwed up attempts to make similar determinations. The Dutch being the Dutch, it's reasonable to hope they will endeavor to err on the side of mercy and sanity.
The Dutch-built PAL-V One, or Personal Air and Land Vehicle, has taken its maiden flight. Just don't get your rotors tangled up in anyone else's.
Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...
Failed Russian Mars probe plunges into Pacific Ocean.
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Dorian Awards announced: "Andrew Haigh’s Weekend, a British film about the relationship that develops between two men during the course of a brief hook-up, has been named both best film of the year and best LGBT film of the year by the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association."
VIDEO: "Donkey punch" on Jeopardy.
Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke receives PFLAG Ally Award: “I’m honoured, greatly honoured” Burke said in a short, dramatic address. He said he had a longer speech prepared, but abandoned it.
Michael Fassbender sexes up Interview and GQ UK.
Dutch insurers pay for "ex-gay" therapy: "Health insurance companies are obligated to pay for the therapy because the organisation providing it, Different, is an officially recognised institution for mental health care."
Why gay parents may be the best parents.
Daniel Radcliffe: You can do anything!
Andrew Sullivan on how Obama's long game will outsmart his critics. Sarah Palin isn't impressed.
New Jersey Assemblyman apologizes for gay slur in Facebook update: "While bragging about the Giants, Assemblyman Charles Mainor, who is also an officer with the Jersey City Police Department, wrote 'Who the hell do you think we are the DALLAS COWGIRLS OR THOSE GAYBIRDS FROM PHILLY....NO WE ARE THE NEW YORK GIANTS.'"
Effie Trinket in another crazy outfit in new Hunger Games image.
The Senator: Fire destroys 3,500-year-old tree in Florida. "It was one of Central Florida's leading attractions before the arrival of the region's theme parks, and though the park is in neither city, advertising associated it with Sanford and Longwood. A billboard on U.S. Highway 17-92 boasted of the tree's age and pointed motorists toward Big Tree Road — now General Hutchinson Parkway."
German football chief says gay players should come out of the closet: "Theo Zwanziger called on gay players 'to have the courage to declare themselves,' although he conceded it was surely difficult to acknowledge one’s homosexuality within a team."
Casting Calvin Klein's Milan Men's show.
Dolphins and whales play together.
Sean Hayes heading to Parks and Recreation. "ayes will play a revered TV journalist who the locals refer to affectionately as 'the Matt Lauer of Indianapolis.' His character lands a big interview with Leslie, potentially boosting her election prospects."
Justin Timberlake takes the wheel in new Givenchy Play ads.
Elmhurst College, the first in the nation to ask applicants about sexual orientation, says there have been no issues surrounding the question: "Few applicants have skipped the optional question asking whether they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, Rold said, and it doesn’t appear straight students are cheating the system to receive the diversity 'enrichment scholarship' that’s worth one-third of Elmhurst’s $29,994 tuition. When Elmhurst announced its policy, skeptics predicted many students would be uncomfortable, or that straight applicants would declare themselves gay to get the scholarship money."
Dutch anti-bullying ads have really high production values, and really creepy sound mixing. Watch one here.
Michael Stipe explains it all in his first in-depth interview since REM's disbandment.
For a limited time only, you can get the cross-spangled banner for less than $50!
The Cross Spangled Banner Combines the World’s Two Most Powerful Symbols to Reawaken the Virtue America has Forgotten ... Well remembered for his “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech, Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.” ... The Cross Spangled Banner reminds people, both Americans and those abroad, of the Virtue that this Great Nation was founded on.
The Cross Spangled Banner measures 5.7' × 3' and is made of high quality nylon used for weathering the elements and holding its color.
At CNN.com, Paul Root Wolpe really doesn't want the government reading his mind:
The musings of my mind and heart are the most precious and private possessions that I have, the one thing no one can take away from me ... Let them search my house, if they must, or take some blood, if that will help solve a case. But allowing the state to probe our minds ends even the illusion of individual liberty, and gives government power that is far too easy to abuse.
Catholic bishops gather in Baltimore to worry about their religious exemptions:
Among the bishops’ top concerns are religious exemptions in states that legalize same-sex marriage. In Illinois, government officials stopped working with Catholic Charities on adoptions and foster-care placements after 40 years because the agency refused to recognize a new civil union law. Illinois bishops are suing the state. In New York, the bishops, along with Orthodox Jewish leaders and others, have complained that the religious exception in this year’s law allowing gay marriage is too weak to be effective.
On health care, the bishops have been pressing the Health and Human Services Department during its public comment period for a broader religious exception to the provision in Obama’s health care overhaul that mandates private insurers pay for contraception. Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, which broke with the bishops to support the administration’s health care plan, said a proposed exemption is so narrowly written it would only apply to “the parish housekeeper.”
Andrew Sullivan talks about God. Very, very slowly.
Our statecraft, our learning/Delivered them bound to the pit and alive to the burning.
Zynga to employees: Return unvested stock or you're fired.
DARPA wants to revolutionize computer sercurity.
Thanks to Phil Plait for finding this. This is Earth, in time-lapse, at night, shot from the International Space Station. Our home is very beautiful, and very strange. Make sure to watch it in full screen AFTER THE JUMP ...
Apple employees' "It Gets Better" video disappears and then reappears on Youtube.
A shirtless Kellan Lutz just might be the best thing about the upcoming movie Love Marriage Wedding.
Ben Cohen on his icon status in the gay community: I don't really see myself as a gay icon but I realize I have this huge following and it's growing every day."
Katy Perry hits up Coachella.
Gays in Myanmar seek Thai-like acceptance: "'It's not like Iran where they are killed, but gays are a strange story in this country.' Traditionally, the only area where non-heterosexuality has been openly embraced is the realm of "nat" or spirit worship, a form of animism that is intertwined with Myanmar's Buddhist beliefs."
Donald Trump tells Albany radio station: "I have a great relationship with the blacks. I've always had a great relationship with the blacks."
Andy Cohen was Grand Marshal at this year’s Miami Beach Gay pride parade.
Ten years after the introduction of marriage equality to the Netherlands: "A decade later, of the nearly 75,000 civil marriages that take place in the Netherlands each year, about 1,400 involve same-sex couples. Heterosexual couples did not turn away from the institution of marriage, nor did the world isolate my country. Civilization as we know it did not end. And, as far as I can tell, God did not punish the Netherlands."
Update on the controversy surrounding sheriff in Illinois who made "fag Jew boy" comment on Facebook: "The Schuyler County Board voted unanimously to mandate diversity training for all County department heads, employees and all members of the board."
Conservative politician and Queensland LNP leader Campbell Newman on marriage equality: "My personal views on [gay marriage] are I am for it but I don’t see myself changing the law, I won’t be pushing for that."
Fans boo Cee Lo for showing up late to a show at Coachella.