Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during January, 2010
eHarmony, a popular online matchmaking service, has settled a lawsuit regarding their refusal to match same-sex couples. The California-based company was taken to court two years ago over its heterosexual-only policy, with the company steadfastly refusing to have any part in matching gay couples throughout most of the suit.
Neil Clark Warren, an evangelical Christian and eHarmony’s founder, said that the company was not discriminating against gays, but that their patented compatibility formulae were based exclusively on heterosexual married couples and therefore not applicable to same-sex partners. (Apparently, we gays prefer that our partners dislike all our goals, hobbies, and personal tastes; life’s more difficult that way!)
Despite the mysteriousness of us gay couples, the company ultimately agreed to open a second website, called Compatible Partners, which offers same-sex matchmaking. Under the terms of the settlement, the eHarmony website will now automatically direct gay singles to their separate, but equivalent site and state that it’s “brought to you by eHarmony.”
Well, that’s great news for everyone seeking a same-sex partner! Now you too can be begrudgingly accepted by a service that thinks your pursuit for love is so different from heterosexuals that they probably shouldn’t bother at all.
Alfred Baldasaro, a Republican State Representative for New Hampshire, went on a bizarre rant this week, starting with the accusation that the state government was selling children to gay couples for $10,000 a pop.
The statement was made in reference to same-sex adoption, which has been legal in New Hampshire since 1999. When asked to rescind the offensive remark, Baldasaro simply repeated it: “I wanted to make sure everyone understood here, that this legislature sold the rights of $10,000 per kid under title four, when they said that homosexual couples, not married, can adopt.”
This was only the start of the rant, mind you. Baldasaro then directly compared gay couples to incestuous ones, asking “aren’t we discriminating against all them?”
“What about the Muslims?”, he continued. “Everyone’s praising the Muslims. They’re killing us. What about them, they want three, four wives. We’re discriminating against them!”
Well, that was a masterpiece of crazy.
Baldasaro’s statements were made in support of a bill that would ban same-sex marriage in the state, demonstrating exactly the type of people that are typically behind those types of bills.
- New Hampshire GOPer: State is selling children to gay couples [Digital Journal]
The Kings Glory Fellowship, a Protestant church in Calgary, Alberta, has lost their tax exempt status because they spent too much time involved in political activities outside the church, including actively campaigning against gay rights.
Religious officials are pretty miffed, including Calgary’s Bishop Fred Henry, who said this incident was “clearly meant to muzzle religious leaders.”
Yes, I can see it now… Dusk falls at the offices of Canada Revenue Agency. The government’s tax regulators congregate in full accountant regalia, sworn brothers in a secret plot to locate Calgary’s religious leaders and attach leather jaw restraints while they sleep.
I’m actually a little disappointed that the truth is so much more boring.
Tax exemptions, you see, are only available for charitable causes, not political ones. If a church wishes to actively affect policy for those that have nothing to do with its religion or beliefs, it becomes part of the public sphere and must contribute to it with income and property taxes. Once they do, they’re free to go outside of their congregations to lecture, publish, organize, put on charming foil hats, bang on pots and pans for effect, terrorize minority groups with neon placards, and do all the other things that wacky, anti-gay lobby and activist groups do. No leather jaw restraints required.
If a church doesn’t want to contribute to the public realm with taxes, then they can abide by their own decision and limit their political influence to inside their private congregations. Well, at least 90% of their influence, anyway. They’re allowed 10% for some reason. See? Who said the CRA isn’t generous?
Two lesbians that wed in Canada last October will not be seen as married in their homeland. A Russian court threw out their case this week, saying that same-sex foreign marriages simply won’t be recognized. “I will have to uphold the decision made by the registry office in May,” said judge Boris Gerbekov, “foreign marriages accepted in Russia must involve a couple of opposite sex.”
This is the same couple that had tried to get a marriage license last May, but were rejected in early October. That prompted them to get a marriage license here in Canada, hoping it would be recognized. Now that their latest attempt has been turfed, they’ll appeal to the European Court of Human Rights where a decision could take up to five years.
Rights have to be fought with persistence. Best of luck, you two! It’ll pay off someday.
- Court rejects Russian lesbians’ Canada marriage [Reuters Canada]
Dr. Morgan Gerard, an anthropologist hired by Kraft Canada to do market research, has sent the company president to Ontario to personally observe a gay family.
Gee, I’m part of a more complex and interesting demographic than I thought. Only corporate-funded anthropology research can fully unlock the enigma surrounding how often we gay people buy Oreos.
- Kraft goes inside the kitchen of the Canadian family [Parent Central]
Anyone who requested a sexy underwear catalogue from Priape, Canada’s most well-known gay adult store, may be surprised to discover that their discreet, opaque packaging suddenly isn’t as discreet as it used to be. In fact, Priape reports that many have been prominently stamped with the words “adult material.”
The stamp was put there without Priape’s knowledge by Canada Post, our beloved mail carriers, in conformance with new policies on “non-mailable matter.” These policies, which came into effect just over a year ago, now mandate that all “sexually suggestive” admail—even commercial mail that is explicitly addressed to the recipient—be clearly labelled as adult material, thwarting all attempts at discretion. This includes all images “that are suggestive of sexual activity,” as well as text that “describes sexual acts in a way that is more than purely technical.” (Ooh, saucy!)
A spokesperson for Canada Post told Xtra that this policy was all to protect the wee ones, explaining: “If you send it to a family and the children open the parcel, now that could be a problem.”
Yes, children opening nondescript envelopes that weren’t addressed to them would be a problem, wouldn’t it? It’s a good thing stamping “adult material” on the parcel will stop them; why, no curious kid would dare open a mysterious, forbidden envelope, labelled strictly for adults only. So thanks, Canada Post, for taking parenting responsibilities out of the hands of, well, parents, who are too burdened to ensure that their solicited, adult-ish materials stay out of their own children’s grasp.
Edmund Bro and Keith Scott, two gay, physically disabled, HIV-positive tenants in West Vancouver, have won their case with the Human Rights Tribunal over an abusive and homophobic landlord. Each tenant was awarded $15,000 to compensate for their year-and-a-half of relentless harassment from Michael John Moody and his son, Guy.
The Human Rights Code in British Columbia forbids, among other things, discrimination based on disability, sexual orientation, and source of income. Moody, being the sampling type it appears, decided to violate as many of these as possible. In addition to constant verbal harassment, he physically assaulted the two disabled men, demeaned their reliance on disability benefits, and even refused to conduct repairs on the property.
Bro and Scott moved out, of course, leaving Moody free to rebuild his property as a summer spot for anti-gay lobbyists.
- Gay tenants win B.C. Human Rights Tribunal complaint [Straight.com]
Pope Benedict, speaking to several diplomats in Vatican City last week, called gay men and women—and the laws that protect their human rights—a threat to no less than all of humankind.
“Creatures differ from one another,” he began, “and can be protected or endangered in different ways, as we know from daily experience. One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between sexes. I am thinking,” he continued, “of certain countries in Europe or North and South America.”
Ooh, a guessing game! Which countries and laws could he be referring to, I wonder…
OK, the pope’s argument isn’t well veiled. It’s also a tired one. It basically says that since gay couples can’t biologically reproduce with each other, enough gay people will spell the death of all humankind. Except that, you know, it wouldn’t.
I’m not sure what species the pope thinks gay people are, but even if all future generations, by an astronomical coincidence, were born gay, their reproductive bits would still function perfectly well. Gay men, for example, can and do donate their swimmy things to lesbian women, making the most adorable little people in the process. And everyone involved in the process is gay. Neat, huh?
It’s a bit of a hassle, mind you, and I suppose it’s for that reason that we can be at least a little bit thankful that we gay people aren’t even close to, or anywhere near likely to become, the majority of humankind. So maybe the pope could focus a little more on some of the real threats to humanity, like, oh… say, nuclear weapons, genocide, etcetera, etcetera.
Prince Edward Island finally updated their lawbooks over the holidays in recognition of same-sex couples for 29 pieces of legislation. While same-sex marriages have been legal in the province since federal law changed in 2006, spouses were still referred to as “husband and wife” and “man and woman” in provincial documents and laws until now.
There was no reason given for the nearly four year delay, but the change means that vital statistics, birth certificates, and other provincial documents and departments will now have accurate data.
Well, I’m glad to see you’ve joined the rest of the country, Island! (I can call you Island for short, right?)
The Calgary Stampede, Calgary’s annual carnival and rodeo, has launched a marketing research survey that asks respondents for opinions on blatantly sexist and homophobic statements. Gems include “The only acceptable definition of a family is a husband, wife and children,” and “Some jobs are best suited to men. Women should just accept this.”
Doug Fraser, a spokesperson for the Stampede, said that the statements don’t reflect the opinions of the Stampede, but are part of an standard research package to help develop a product that reflects a “rapidly changing community.”
Oh, I get it! They’re not being homophobic and sexist at all; they just want to tailor a unique Calgary Stampede experience to people that are. How thoughtful!
Yvonne Brouwers, president of the research firm that developed the statements, said that the questions have been used without incident for 15 years and are designed to identify divisive opinions to “get a better understanding of differences and similarities.”
Yep, those statements sound 15 years old alright. I wonder what ads and events they’ll help shape…
- Stampede accused of sexist, homophobic market research [Marketing Magazine]
I was saddened to learn that Canada has lost one of its most influential gay rights activists over the holiday.
Peter Corren died last week after a long battle with cancer. He fought several important court and human rights cases alongside his husband and longtime partner, Murray Corren. The court cases were often funded out of their own pocket and helped gay people all across Canada gain adoption rights, marriage rights, and anti-discrimination policies in schools.
Both of the Correns were often maligned by opponents of equal rights for gays and lesbians, particularly over exaggerations regarding a curriculum review to ensure anti-discrimination practices in British Columbia schools. Despite suffering through abusive calls and death threats, the Correns have helped shape Canada as a place where gay people can feel safer and be treated as equals.
Thank you Peter, for your courage and compassion, and my sincerest condolences to Murray and the rest of Peter’s family, who have lost much more than a hero.
Special thanks to Slap reader Nathanial for sharing this sad news with us.
- Gay rights trailblazer dies [CBC News]
- Same-sex rights advocate Peter Corren dies of cancer [Canada.com]
- Vancouver gay rights pioneer Peter Corren dies [Straight.com]