Moscow’s most powerful court has ruled to uphold a ban on LGBT pride parades in the Russian capital for 100 years, according to the BBC. The ruling places a major Russian city athwart the directives of the European Court of Human Rights for a second time with regards to LGBT rights in suits brought by that country’s most prominent LGBT activist, Nikolay Alexeyev.
Moscow officials insist that LGBT pride parades would pose a risk to public safety and that the majority of the the city’s population are against equal rights for LGBT people. Alexeyev has successfully sued the city of St. Petersburg for arresting him under a law which banned all discussion of LGBT equality on the grounds that it constitutes “homosexual propaganda.” The European Court ruled against the city and ordered Russia to pay damages to Alexeyev.
In the face of Friday’s ruling, Alexeyev vowed to go back before the Court in Strasbourg to have the capital city’s ban on parades branded unjust. In September, Europe’s main human rights oversight agency, The Council of Europe will rule on Russia’s handling of a previous LGBT rights citation.
In fact, Ryan has a voting record to reflectevery anti-LGBT position that Romney has taken. Here’s a recap:
- Banning state-level same-sex marriage. Just as Romney opposed same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Ryan supported the 2006 banon same-sex marriage in Wisconsin.
- Supporting a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Romney has promised to campaign on a federal marriage amendment, but Ryan has already voted for one — twice, in 2004 and in 2006.
- Defending discrimination against same-sex couples. President Obama announced last year he would no longer defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, a decision Romney has characterized as an “assault on religion.” Ryan voted to limit funding to the Justice Department that might be used to oppose DOMA by the Obama administration.
- Opposing federal non-discrimination protections. Romney believes that states should get to decide whether LGBT people are protected from employment discrimination, and similarly, Ryan voted to kill the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007, though heultimately voted for it. His refusal to include sexual orientation and gender identity in his Congressional office’s nondiscrimination policy demonstrates where he stands.
- Opposing repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Though Romney has said he would not reinstate the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, he did oppose repealing it until “conflict was over” (i.e. the never-ending “War on Terror“). In 2010, Ryan voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
- Opposing hate crimes protections. Just as Romney vetoed a bill funding hate crimes prevention in Massachusetts in 2003, Ryan voted against expanding the federal hate crimes law to protect the LGBT community.
Ryan is perhaps best known for his budget, and that too would devastate LGBT families by eliminating many of the public services they depend upon because of the economic inequities they face.
Despite efforts by Mitt Romney and his campaign to put to bed the controversy over their roles in the resignation — which occurred under pressure from right-wing groups — of openly gay foreign policy spokesman Richard Grenell, the flap continues.
Yesterday, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Michael Guest, an openly gay diplomat who was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Romania by Republican President George W. Bush. Guest laments in the piece that the Republican Party’s leadership allows “principles of fairness and equality” to be “hollowed out.” While he dismisses the idea that Romney himself is to blame for the way Grenell we treated, he writes:
Romney’s slowness to comment amid the noise since Grenell’s resignation raises questions about his principles, as well as the quality and depth of his leadership. That’s what should concern us most in this sad affair. We should expect Romney to go further in making clear that issues of sexual orientation will have no bearing on any personnel decisions he makes, whether in his campaign or, should he be elected, in the administration he would lead.
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud — a group more focused on encouraging LGBT voters to back Republicans than on encouraging Republicans to back LGBT equality — echoed these criticisms. In a break from the group’s usual GOP unity message, he told the Post’s Greg Sargent on Thursday:
The Romney campaign should have spoken up publicly in defense of Rick against the attacks over the past two weeks… This was an opportunity to send an important message that Mitt Romney wants everybody to get behind him and to support his campaign. They let that opportunity pass.
Log Cabin Republican Executive Director R. Clarke Duncan and former Bush adviser Mark McKinnon have also called out the Romney campaign for not standing up for Grenell and have encouraged the apparent GOP nominee to take steps to stop employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In 1994, Moderate Mitt Romney promised to co-sponsor a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act — and claimed he’d be a better advocate for gay and lesbian citizens than Sen. Ted Kennedy. But by 2007, Severe Conservative Mitt Romney etch a sketched his position and no longer saw a need for a federal employment non-discrimination law.
Now, Guest, LaSalvia, Duncan, and McKinnon are left lamenting that 2012 General Election Mitt Romney and his campaign’s cowardly handling of the Grenell situation is much more 2007 Mitt than 1994 Mitt.
Dear Equality Supporters;
Let me get right to the point. We are asking you to continue taking action against House Bill 2051, which we are calling the “Don’t Say Gay” bill because it attempts to remove discussion of sexual orientation from public schools. (I realize this is not a title inclusive of the entire community, but it reflects the language of the bill, cuts to the heart of the issue, and gets things across to the media.)
If you have not done so already, we ask you to sign the petition opposing the bill now and forward it to all of your friends. Many people have asked about writing the bill sponsors; however, these bill sponsors are among the most reactionary members of the House and are not likely to be swayed by a series of emails. Just a few weeks ago during the Rush Limbaugh bust debacle, the Missouri House email system went down for a period of time due to the high volume, yet it did not sway the Limbaugh-nistas.
Our goal with the petition is two-fold: first, to add your names and your friends’ names to the list of supporters who want to see better, stronger protections for youth; and second, to get this issue out into the mainstream press. Right now you have most likely heard about “Don’t Say Gay” only through social media or blogs. We need the mainstream media to start picking up this story to shine a light on the bigotry behind this mean-spirited bill.
Instead of letters or emails, we want to put a face to the issue — your face — and it needs to be visual and emotional. That’s why we have partnered with Progress Missouri to launch a micro-site called www.OktoSayGay.org where you can keep up to date on the bill and upload a video with your personal response to and feelings about this awful bill. Go to www.OkToSayGay.org for details on how to upload your video. If you can’t do your own video, we are working to set up locations and times around the state where you can record a video. Watch for emails from your regional PROMO organizer for further updates.
In short, we couldn’t do this work without your support — whether by signing the petition to add your statement, making a video of your response to this bill, or making a donation.
Thank you, and with your help I look forward to a swift resolution on this matter in favor of justice.
Executive Director, PROMO
The Missouri legislature is up to its usual business this week—creating oppressive legislation to silence and devalue minority groups. On Wednesday, April 18th, HB2051 was presented by Representative Cookson (R) from District 153. The bill is set to go to the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, of which six of the bill’s sponsors and co-sponsors are members. It reads:
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school.
One sentence, that will silence thousands of LGBT and ally students across the state. No high school Gay-Straight Alliances, no LGBT bullying education, nothing. If you’d like to see the official government page for the bill, you can view it here.
THIS IS NOT JUST TENNESSEE ANYMORE. And this kind of legislation will continue to spread among red states—unless we make it clear that we don’t want this for our country!! Sign the petition today! If you live in Missouri, make sure that your representative is not co-sponsoring the bill, and if they are, give them a piece of your mind!
“So I live in a very conservative school district, and our school board has made a rule that says we can’t promote the day of silence at school. It’s even threatening to “cancel” the day. So we’ve created a petition against the school board. I’d really appreciate if everyone could sign it, because this seriously is illegal and violates first amendment rights. Thanks!”
Thanks for the submission!
(Last week) President Obama’s re-election campaign came out in opposition to Amendment One, which would ban all same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships in North Carolina. According to Cameron French, Obama’s North Carolina spokesman:
FRENCH: While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples. That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the President does not support it.
(HT: AMERICAblog Gay.)
Watch the Video: Shocking Footage of Classroom Beating
For Zachary, it started in the 3rd grade. First they said he looked and talked like a girl. Then they called him a “fag.”
Finally, when he reached 8th grade, the bullying turned cruelly violent — and school administrators did nothing. Stories like Zach’s are far from rare.
It’s time for this to stop. Tell Congress to protect our students from harassment and discrimination today.
#StandUpforEllen and Thank J.C. Penney for Making The Right Choice
Last week, retail giant J.C. Penney announced a new partnership with America’s favorite talk-show host, Ellen DeGeneres.
“We share the same fundamental values as Ellen,” noted the company’s President, Michael Francis. “At jcpenney, we couldn’t think of a better partner to help us put the fun back into the retail experience.”
Now, however, the anti-gay group “One Million Moms” – a project of the designated hate group, American Family Association– has launched a campaign demanding that the retailer fire Ellen simply because she’s gay.
From the Daily Mail:
‘Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families,’ reads a statement on the (AFA) site, which claims more sales will be lost than gained by the move.
‘Degeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there.’
But GLAAD has come out fighting to support DeGeneres against the bigots
The American Family Association – an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a “hate group” — is spreading anti-gay attitudes and bias by asking its supporters to contact J.C. Penney and tell the company to fire Ellen simply because of who she is.
First, add your name to the list of supporters for J.C. Penney’s decision: Add your name now!
Second, call J.C. Penney now to remind America’s favorite retailer that hate should not be for sale in America’s stores.
J.C. Penney, Customer Service – (972) 431-8200
J.C. Penney, Corporate Headquarters – (972) 431-1000
Third, share this action on Twitter:
RT @glaad: Will you #StandUpForEllen? Support @TheEllenShow & thank @jcpenney for making the right choice http://glaad.org/ellen #LGBT
Should Gays Leave The South?
Their post said, “a lot of comments on these stories place blame on gay Southerners for choosing to live in such an intolerant place. How do you respond to people who believe its “your fault” for being discriminated against in a region we consider our home?”
Such comments regarding LGBT people in the South are not an anomaly, for I have also noticed, on both LGBT and non-LGBT blogs and news articles, comments that have the same tone.
To these commentators, many of whom live in more progressive states like New York and California, it is incomprehensible that LGBT people would willingly subject themselves to the overt discrimination that exists in the states of the South.
They can’t understand why we won’t pick up and move to places where we won’t be fired because of our sexual orientation or gender identity; and they can’t understand why we stay in states where religious leaders and politicians are able to spew vitriol, lies, and hatred openly about our community.
Though I am not from the South originally (I hail from Illinois), I consider Tennessee more of my home state than where I grew up, and thus, it is quite discouraging for me to read many of these anti-Southern comments.
Yes, it is known that the South has a long way to go when it comes to equality for its LGBT citizens, but is “retreat” the answer to the hatred that we face?
Should we allow the people and the states of the South to continue in their persecution of LGBT children and adults, yet offer no rebuttal or fight? Does that not make us cowards and undeserving of equality, when we won’t even fight against our oppressors and instead capitulate to their hatred by leaving for greener pastures?
The attitude that LGBT people should just leave states that are not welcoming, whether they are in the South or not, also fails to recognize that LGBT adults are not the only ones who live in these states.
Many times, LGBT children are not given the option, or even have the resources, to pick up and leave these oppressive environments. Are we to sacrifice their well-being so that we adults might feel more equal? If all the LGBT adults are gone, who will be there to fight for anti-bullying legislation? Who will be there to offer support and guidance to these children when they experience discrimination and persecution in their lives?
Yes, there will be straight allies, and God knows I love them, but these children need role models who have experienced the same persecution, yet have overcome it.
Those who say to us, “come to the welcoming states, why would you want to live in the South” want us to take the easy way out.
Though they might not realize it, by asking why any LGBT person would want to live in a bigoted society, what they are truly saying is that such societies are too far gone to be of any use to our community.
I reject this notion, for I see the South as having the potential to be a haven for LGBT people, and I am thankful that are people in my life who have stuck it out, fought the good fight against the constant barrage of hatred and discrimination, and who strive to make an impact for our community each and every day.