Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during December, 2008

Anti-Gay Group Seeks To Revoke 18,000 Marriages

December 22nd, 2008

You're a mean one, Mr. Yes On 8

The sponsors of California’s Proposition 8 have filed a brief with the state’s Supreme Court, arguing that the over 18,000 same-sex marriages performed there must be nullified immediately.

This move is somewhat of contradiction to what the sponsors said would happen if Proposition 8 were to pass in November. In a statement recorded by the Associated Press, the Yes On 8 campaign said that they “will not seek to invalidate the marriages already performed and will leave any legal challanges to others.”

Pretty darn shameful, if you ask me.

Encouragingly, though, California’s Attorney General Jerry Brown has also changed positions on the constitutional amendment. The former opponent of equal marriage has studied the law carefully and is now fighting to have the constitutional amendment stricken. He argues that an amendment to the constitution cannot override the guarantees of liberty in prior clauses:

The right of same-sex couples to marry is protected by the liberty interests of the constitution. If a fundamental right can be taken away without any particular justification, then what kind of a right is it?

So, while some are still fighting for equal marriage rights for all, others have begun the process to cancel the marriages of over 18,000 loving couples on the eve of a spiritual holiday about love, giving, and kindness.

Sigh. Where are those Dickens ghosts when you need them?

Musical Pastor Penguins Marry Uruguanian Dogs

December 19th, 2008

Slap-tastic

In my web travels, I often collect stories that I intend to share, but then become distracted by newer, shinier stories—or feel too lazy to illustrate them individually. This is what becomes of those stories: a Pile o’ Slaps!

Montreal Simon has an excellent post about an anti-gay group that’s campaigning to have a Pride flag removed from the lobby of St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto. Now, removing the only symbol that indicates gay people won’t be treated differently at the hospital might sound petty, but at least they’re consistent and also support the removal of religious symbols from state build—oh, wait.

A gay penguin couple that had been expelled from a zoo in China for stealing heterosexual penguin’s eggs has been allowed back after protests from zoo visitors. Zookeepers will give the penguins an egg from an inexperienced mother to try and curb the thefts. Religious penguins are furious, calling gay penguinism unnatural and against the teachings of the penguin bible.

Rufus Wainwright, the popular gay folksinger, is in hot water after an interview in which he advocated for equal marriage rights by saying “if you want to marry a dog, why don’t you go ahead and marry a dog, I don’t care.” Well, that ought to convince the religious right to abandon their fight against equal marriage rights. Thanks, Rufus.

United States President-elect, Barack Obama, is being criticised by gay groups after selecting an anti-gay pastor to preside over his inauguration this January. It’s not the greatest choice, granted, but I suppose you’d rather have the previous guy as president?

Reuters is announcing, for reasons I don’t fully understand, that the recently-opened Shrek musical has a “gay pride element.” And a religious right boycott will start in 3… 2…

Uruguay’s senate has (snicker) supposedly paved the way for same-sex marriage after passing a (chortle) law that allows people to legally change their gender. Tee hee. U-ru-guay.

Finally, and surprisingly, the United States has refused to sign a UN declaration opposing the criminalization of homosexuality worldwide. Many U.S. officials had privately expressed concern that signing the declaration would contradict state laws that allow landlords and private employers to discriminate against gay people.  Yeah, why oppose unjust laws abroad if it means facing them at home?

Well, that’s it for today’s Pile o’ Slaps. Have a great weekend, kids!

Gays At Higher Risk Of Teen Pregnancy

December 17th, 2008

Hey, if Arnold Schwarzenegger can do it...

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have found that gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are at a significantly higher risk of becoming pregnant or causing pregnancy than their straight counterparts.

The study, which was published yesterday in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, suggests that the higher pregnancy rate among gay teens is largely due to overcompensation—an attempt to “camouflage” one’s homosexuality. Another proposed theory suggests that a higher number of gay teens living on the streets may also have contributed to the counter-intuitive results.

Either way, I have a new concern to lose sleep over. All those anti gay marriage people said I couldn’t reproduce—a horrible lie, apparently. I’m not ready to be pregnant, or a father!

U.S. Not Signing UN Gay Rights Declaration

December 15th, 2008

And she's French, too.

Fresh off the Vatican’s refusal to support a UN statement decrying the criminalization of homosexuality, the United States is stalling their signature approving the symbolic declaration.

While the United States has plenty of precedent to sign the statement, including a similar declaration before the 2006 Human Rights Council in Geneva, the delay is unusual—and the deadline is looming.

Over 50 countries worldwide have signed the declaration, including Canada. The U.S. might be a little slow, but that’s forgivable; they’re in the middle of a somewhat important transition, those cuties.

Moscow Keeps Ban On Gay Rights Marches

December 12th, 2008

No irony here.

Moscow’s mayor Yuri Luzhkov has vowed to continue bans on gay rights marches, calling homosexuality “satanic,” and blaming the gay rights movement for the spread of AIDS:

We have banned, and will ban, the propaganda of sexual minorities’ opinions because they can be one of the factors in the spread of HIV infection.

What a unique and simple strategy to help stop a worldwide AIDS epidemic: Ban opinions!

Sadly, all attempts at gay rights rallies in Moscow have been met with violence, with no police protection afforded for the marchers. While Canada’s rallies are, thankfully, far more peaceful, Yuri’s sentiment is still very close to home. Plans for a small parade in Abbotsford, British Columbia, was met with wild criticism and had to be changed to something smaller.

Shaw Responds to CRTC Ruling

December 10th, 2008

Shaw Cablesystems has responded to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission after the commission found that the cable provider had tried to hide OutTV, a gay and lesbian television station.

Shaw, which was obligated to carry and promote OutTV alongside other channels of the same category, had excluded the station from its free preview week, moved the channel into a block of pornographic offerings without notifying the station or subscribers, omitted it from promotional pamphlets and their “all in” package, and made it the only by-request-only channel of its category, effectively requiring interested parties to out themselves to the cable behemoth if they wanted to tune in.

Shaw has now agreed to move OutTV out of the pornographic section, but has pretty much ignored all other aspects of the original complaint. In particular, they still refuse to offer OutTV during its free preview week—unless the small station forfeits its subscriber fees—and will still make the station available by special request only.

Coming out to my massive telecommunications corporation was one of the hardest things that I, like all gay people, have had to go through. But it’s a necessary step if you want to move on with your Lifetime Network.

Anti-Gay Lobbyists Warn Canada Not To Sign UN Initiative

December 8th, 2008

David Quist, the executive director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada lobby group, has said that Ottawa should reject a UN declaration opposing the criminalization of homosexuality.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada was, of course, a furious opponent of same-sex marriage in Canada, as well as an opponent of adding sexual orientation to the list of identifiable minorities protected from hate crimes. But don’t go thinking their opposition to the UN measure is motivated by anti-gay sentiment; oh my no. David Quist explains their real motivation:

The UN shouldn’t be unilaterally attempting to change the laws of a sovereign country. […] Any laws that Canadians change should be debated by Canadians.

Aw, how nice. They just don’t want to meddle with other countries’ laws.

Of course, over 85 countries jail or fine people just for being gay, and several even impose the death penalty, but that’s really none of the world’s business, is it?

And, of course, the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada would never, ever influence, condemn, or support another nation’s laws. I’m sure the front page of their website would never contain two articles written by Andrea Mrozek, the Institute’s manager of communications, decrying New Zealand’s decriminalization of prostitution, as well as an article supporting the banning of same-sex marriage via constitutional amendment in three U.S. states, and another lamenting the passing of Washington’s Death with Dignity Act.

Why that would make them a… what’s the word again?

Vatican Fights To Keep Homosexuality Criminalized

December 5th, 2008

The Vatican is opposing a French-led U.N. resolution that calls on worldwide governments to abolish laws that criminalize homosexuality. Many developing countries around the world still imprison gay people just for being gay, and several even go as far to enforce a death penalty.

Celestino Migliore, a Vatican spokesperson, justified the church’s support for persecuting gay people by saying that de-criminalization would “create new and implacable discriminations.” “For example,”  he said, “states which do not recognize same-sex unions as matrimony will be pilloried and made an object of pressure.”

Franco Grillini, leader of Italy’s largest gay rights group, was astonished by the Vatican’s reasoning, calling it “madness”:

The Vatican’s reasoning smacks of total idiocy and madness. The French resolution, which is supported by all 27 members of the European Union, has nothing to do with gay marriage. It is about stopping jail and the death penalty for homosexuals.

After making their statement, Vatican officials retreated back into the hall of the most amazingly homoerotic artwork ever.

Gay Man Attacked For Singing Christmas Carols

December 3rd, 2008

A young man has been arrested in Vancouver after punching a gay man in the face for singing Christmas carols.

The victim, who did not wish to identify himself to the media, was walking past St. Paul’s hospital with a friend when he became inspired by the Christmas lights display and burst into carols. The attacker, 21 year old Christopher Clifford Mercier, suddenly became enraged and punched the singer in the face while shouting anti-gay slurs.

While the victim was not seriously injured, these attacks are serious. This is Vancouver’s second, reported, spontaneous anti-gay attack this autumn. Jordan Smith, another Vancouver gay man, suffered a broken jaw after being assaulted in late September.

The Vancouver police are investigating the attack as a hate crime, a move which I applaud. Minorities are often at a greater risk of assault for no reason other than simply being a minority; this is why hate crime laws are in place. Gay bashing is not a sport and it is vital that the police send out a message that this will not be tolerated.

New Brunswick Finally Recognizes Same-Sex Common Law Partners

December 1st, 2008

Nearly a decade after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that same-sex common law partners must be given the same rights and priveleges as opposite-sex partners, New Brunswick has introduced a bill called the modernization of benefits and obligations act. If passed, the act will update more than 30 other acts and regulations to extend equal status to same-sex common law relationships.

While same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada for some time now, unmarried, same-sex, common-law partners are still, formally, on unequal ground compared to their heterosexual counterparts in New Brunswick.

Bizarrely enough, even though New Brunswick’s bill is the result of a 1999 Supreme Court ruling, the provincial Conservatives have not indicated that they will support it. Conservative leader David Alward said that the hundred-page document is “very large” and they need time to review it carefully before committing to a “yes” vote.

You take your time there, David. Stuff like this only comes around once a decade.