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Ireland Marriage Equality Referendum Round-Up: VIDEO

Stephen Fry

John watersWith two days to go - and a moratorium kicking in tomorrow - the anti-gay rhetoric from the "No" side is ramping up another gear and with that the friendly face of ‘concern for children’ is slipping to reveal the truth - while many people choosing to vote No are possibly not homophobic, those actively campaigning against equality clearly are.

Earlier this week, journalist, former Irish Times columnist, anti-gay activist and one of the biggest mistakes in Sinead O’Connor’s life, John Waters got close to how he really feels at a Mothers and Fathers Matter speech in County Kerry.

Waters was one of those who took offense to being labeled a homophobe by Rory O’Neill and subsequently sued state broadcaster RTE, winning an out-of-court settlement. Therefore, please note that whatever comes next, John Waters is without any doubt not homophobic. In a non-judgmental, loving, Christian way he just thinks that if the referendum is passed it could mean that sex between two men or two women will be seen as “just as natural as the sexuality of a heterosexual couple.”

As ever with Iona Institute / Iona front videos, comments are disabled because they don’t like to be either bullied or silenced. 


Stephen Fry meanwhile is not so surprisingly calling for a Yes vote.


Read more on the battle for equality in Ireland, AFTER THE JUMP...

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California Cleaner Labels Man 'Buggerer', 'SODOMITE' After Losing Compensation Case: VIDEO


A California man locked in a battle for compensation with a local dry cleaner following damage to throw pillows says he has been on the receiving end of homophobic slurs and abusive language, reports Huffington Post.

Bugger_2When Byron Batista returned to North Hollywood's Rosali Cleaners last January to collect the pillows, he noticed one of them had been badly torn.

The owner - who identified herself as Rosali - refused to give Batista a refund and allegedly began screaming obscenities and slurs at him.

According to Batista, the woman “started saying, 'Fuck you, fuck you, fag’. That's when she took her middle finger and mimicked putting it up her butt."

He says he took the cleaners to court not for the $75 dollars refund but because he didn't want a homophobe to win.

CleanersHowever, he was shocked to discover that the compensation check was made out to Byron "the buggerer" Batista. When he complained to the judge, the cleaners wrote “SODOMITE” next to his name on a follow-up payment.

Batista said that he must now approach the judge again for help.  In the meantime, he wants to ensure that nobody else has to deal with the bigoted cleaners.  

"I don’t mind being targeted. I want the community to know that if they want leather cleaned, this is not the place to go."

Watch a Young Turks report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...


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Belfast Bakery Guilty Of Discrimination For Refusing Marriage Equality Cake Order: VIDEO


Ashers Baking Company in Northern Ireland has been found guilty of discrimination after refusing an order for a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage”, reports RTE.

The Northern Ireland Equality Commission brought the case against Ashers on behalf of Queer Space activist Gareth Lee who had requested a cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia.

CakeIn a ruling at Belfast County Court yesterday, district judge Isobel Brownlie said:

"The defendants have unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff on grounds of sexual discrimination. This is direct discrimination for which there can be no justification."

Ashers was ordered to pay agreed damages of £500 ($780) plus court costs. General manager Daniel McArthur said:

"We've said from the start that our issue was with the message on the cake, not the customer and we didn't know what the sexual orientation of Mr Lee was, and it wasn't relevant either.

“We've always been happy to serve any customers that come into our shops. The ruling suggests that all business owners will have to be willing to promote any cause or campaign no matter how much they disagree with it. Or as the Equality Commission has suggested, they should perhaps just close down, and that can't be right.

"But we won't be closing down, we certainly don't think we've done anything wrong and we will be taking legal advice to consider our options for appeal.”

However, Brownlie said that the McArthur family “must have known or had the perception that the plaintiff was gay...supported gay marriage or associated with others who supported gay marriage."

A statement issued on behalf of 100 evangelical church leaders said:

"It will sadden all those who value freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. This decision represents a serious blow for free speech and plunges the law into confusion. It opens up a Pandora's box of legal cases".

Last month, Northern Ireland health minister and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Assembly member Jim Wells resigned after saying that children of gay parents are "more likely" to be abused or neglected

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...


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Kyrgyzstan LGBT Activists Attacked On International Day Against Homophobia: VIDEO


Members of a Kyrgyzstan LGBT group were attacked, threatened and insulted by anti-gay activists and abused by police on May 17th during commemorations for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, reports Transgender Europe (TGEU).

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6f55abf970b-250wiFollowing the attack, members of LGBT NGO Labrys were taken to a police station where they spent more than five hours without access to medical aid, bathrooms, water or food. The group was also denied access to legal representation and police demanded that several participants reveal their genitals in a search for trans people.

TGEU representative Richard Köhler said:

“Not even a month ago Labrys’ office was damaged in an arson attack, signalling the rapidly shrinking space for LGBT civil society.

"The debate of a homo- and transphobic law in the formerly liberal Central-Asian state is the breeding ground for hate and puts trans and LGBTIQ people’s lives at risk. The law proposal needs to be withdrawn immediately and Kyrgyz authorities need to assure credibly that homo- and transphobia has no space in Kyrgyz society.”

TGEU co-chair Alecs Recher added:

“The attack is an unacceptable attack on the freedom to expression and peaceful assembly, the right to life and dignity, which all persons are entitled to. The behaviour by the police, siding with the aggressors, and denying the victims their basic rights is scandalous. Kyrgyz authorities and European institutions need to swiftly condemn the attack. The perpetrators amongst the attackers and law enforcement have to be brought to justice.”

Earlier this year, MP Narynbek Maldobaev called for the extermination of all gay people.

Watch a report on LGBTI rights in Kyrgyzstan, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Illinois House Votes To Block 'Ex-Gay' Conversion Therapy For Minors: VIDEO

A bipartisan Illinois House majority yesterday approved House Bill 217 which aims to protect LGBT youth from “ex-gay” therapy, reports Equality Illinois.

Illinois_House_of_RepresentativesThe bill - which was passed 68-43, with support from 61 Democrats and seven Republicans - prohibits licensed mental health care providers from engaging in “reparative therapy” with anyone under the age of 18.

Equality Illinois (EI) has now called on the state Senate to approve the Illinois Youth Mental Health Protection Act before the scheduled May 31 adjournment of the General Assembly.

EI CEO Bernard Cherkasov said:

"Ending conversion therapy is our top priority in the legislature right now. Trying to change the unchangeable, our innate sexual orientation and gender identity, should not be attempted because it risks the health of LGBT youth.”

However, although every major Illinois mental health organization supports the bill - including the Illinois Psychological Association, Illinois Psychiatric Society, American Psychoanalytic Association, Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics - the legislation does not apply to religious leaders and would not impact the ability of clergy to practice their religion.

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu introduced a federal bill that would explicitly prohibit therapy to change people's gender identity.

Watch law student Scott Blair pick apart a counselor's attempt to cure him of his homosexuality, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ireland Marriage Equality Referendum Round-Up: VIDEO


If Ireland passes the same-sex marriage referendum on Friday, it will be an emotional day for the country’s LGBT community and friends, perhaps especially for those who remember the fight for gay rights and the legalization of homosexuality in 1993. If the result on Saturday is a resounding Yes, it could become the gayest day in history if Ireland wins the Eurovision (but it's a big 'if').

In an interview with GayStarNews, 2013 hopeful Ryan Dolan - who came out last year - talks about Eurovision and marriage equality.



YesEquality’s latest video features 90 year old great grandmother Madeline Connolly, who believes that God made us all equal and that everyone should have the opportunity to get married.

Read more, AFTER THE JUMP...

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