Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during August, 2010

Gay Couple Kicked Out Of Taxi After Kiss

August 30th, 2010

Taxi ceiling lights up, and the driver yells out 'Wrong answer' as gay couple in back kisses

A Haligonian couple says they won’t be dealing with the Casino taxi company in the future after they were kicked out onto the street for sharing a kiss.

Paul Laybolt says that he and his husband were well on their way home from a popular Halifax gay bar when he leaned over toward his husband, asked if he had a good night, and gave him a short peck on the lips. At this point, the cab driver pulled over to the side of the road, told the couple that he doesn’t go to their destination, and asked the two to get out of the cab. The couple walked the rest of the way home.

A manager for Casino, Brian Herman, apologised to the couple over the phone, but was unable to reprimand the driver because his cab number was unknown and the taxi was hailed from the street rather than being dispatched by telephone.

It’s crazy that this sort of thing still happens today—particularly in Halifax which, from my vacation experiences, is a wonderfully laid back city. Homophobia still lurks everywhere, though, and it’s great that Paul and his husband have reported it.

Thanks to Slap reader Kirk for the story!

Church Tries Minister For Performing Same-Sex Marriage

August 27th, 2010

A judge sits below Christian iconography, below the phrase 'Judge not lest ye be judged.'

A 67-year-old retired minister in San Francisco is facing a courtroom trial for having performed marriage ceremonies for 16 gay couples during the brief period that same-sex marriage was legal in California.

Rev. Jave Spahr has been accused by the Presbyterian church of “publicly, intentionally, and repeatedly violating church doctrine” in a regional church court.

Yes, church court. Not a real court, of course; Rev. Spahr didn’t do anything illegal.

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that church courts existed. I didn’t either until now. Actually, I’d find it kind of charming, if the charges weren’t so stupid. I mean, they’ve set up an entire pretend trial, complete with testimony, witnesses (including eleven of the couples married by Rev. Spahr), a judge—the whole shebang. Isn’t that precious?

This isn’t even the only time Rev. Spahr had been to church court; in 2007 she was tried for the same thing, but was later cleared by a church appeals court (adorable!) because the ceremonies “were not real marriages.”

Anyway, good luck to Rev. Spahr, who clearly has enough common sense to know that everyone—including same-sex couples—deserves love and respect. I can’t wait to read about the trial’s pretend sentence!

Toronto Church Prays Outside Gay Couple’s House

August 25th, 2010

Church group sings out of a book, We warn you of merry hellfire, we warn you of merry hellfire...

Residents of a neighbourhood on Toronto’s Leslieville Street found themselves defending the home of a local gay couple after members of a local Baptist church gathered outside it, shouting, praying, and waving bibles.

The incident, which was captured on camera and uploaded to YouTube, shows the parishioners from Toronto’s Highfield Road Gospel Hall quickly becoming defensive: “We have a right to be here,” said one woman. “We have the authority to preach the gospel.”

Anna MacKay, one of the neighbours, told the media that this was not an isolated incident. “They were talking about blood of the lamb flowing down the street, we’ll have to pay for our sins. Every time I’ve seen them, they’re standing outside that house right there.”

A spokesperson for the church, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the media that the whole incident was all a “major misunderstanding.” “Someone felt we were targeting a specific house, but we would never stoop—never stoop to target any group such as gay people.”

Personally, I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt on this point, since it appears they’ve been preaching on neighbourhood streets for quite some time. That said, preaching outside private homes is crossing a line whether they’re targeting specific houses or not, and the church doesn’t seem to understand that. “In the word of God,” one of the preachers declared, “next year, we’ll be here.”

The gay couple, who weren’t home at the time, haven’t commented on the incident, but will likely invest in an underground sprinkler system—just in case.

Campus Freaks Out Over Gay Kiss Photo

August 23rd, 2010

Gay men kiss: The earth explodes.

Considering that South Africa is now part of the same-sex marriage club, you’d think simply publishing a photo of a gay kiss in a university campus newspaper wouldn’t be particularly controversial. Yet, alas, editors of a student-run newspaper at Stellenbosch University, just about 50 kilometers east of Cape Town, have found themselves dealing with what they’re calling an overwhelming controversy.

The controversy started with a story about a kiss-a-thon happening in town. Editors had originally planned to illustrate the story with a photo of a straight, interracial couple, but decided to publish a photo of a gay couple instead. After publishing the photo, large numbers of the newspaper were found slashed, torn up, and on campus dart boards.

Roberto Millan, chairman of the school’s gay and lesbian society, had a pretty insightful comment about the roots of this unexpectedly harsh reaction: “I was thrilled by the decision to publish [the photo] because we want to start a debate—we’re not going away. There is too much homophobia across the continent which has been swept under the blanket, fueled by Western churches.”

Well said. I mean, what’s more crazy here: A harmless kiss, or a violent and angry reaction to a harmless kiss?

WND Calls Ann Coulter Too Liberal

August 20th, 2010

Ann Coulter giving a speech with bags of money in the corner.

Ann Coulter, a professional controversialist and media darling of the extreme right-wing in the U.S., has been dropped as the keynote speaker for an ultra socially conservative  website’s conference because organizers found her too “unconservative.”

This conclusion was reached after WorldNetDaily, the conference organizers, discovered that Coulter was also a paid speaker at Homocon, a different conference held by gay Republicans.

So, there you go. To WND, simply speaking to gay people—even if it’s for money—is enough to undo a career of intolerance and queer-slandering and forever define yourself as a Liberal.

Tories Snub Pride Parade Again

August 18th, 2010

Stephen Harper marches at a gay pride parade shirtless.

Last Sunday was Montréal’s 18th annual Pride parade, and it was fantastic! Organizations, businesses, churches, sports groups, hobby groups, and tons of other equal-rights supporters marched down a brand new parade route in view of over 100,000 spectators. The parade even included politicians from every party—except one.

As in previous years, politicians of all stripes were invited by Pride organizers to come and join in the celebrations, and—like the years before it—the Conservative invitees ignored it entirely. Their absence didn’t go unnoticed, either. Speaking to the media in French, author and television personality, Jasmin Roy, was particularly succinct: “I don’t think we could speak of this as indifference; it’s clear the Harper government doesn’t like gay people.”

Indeed, Stephen Harper’s Tories have fought against equal rights for gay people at every conceivable step, opposing everything from marriage equality (even after it had become law) and protection from hate crimes, to smaller offensive gestures like removing all references to homosexuality from their new immigrant guides.

Given their behavioural history, I never really expected to see Tory party representation in the parade. Actually, I would have been shocked to see it and probably would have joined in a chorus of boos—an appropriate gesture of no where near the level of disrespect and consequence that this government has already displayed toward us gays.

Still, this is a very public example of what our government doesn’t represent, and that’s all Canadians. Whether Tories like it or not, the government is here to represent everybody—not just those that voted for them. And while Harper’s Tories may have a profound lack of sensitivity and understanding toward gay people, we’re still a large and vibrant community whose contributions to the country should have been acknowledged with representation at our biggest and most important cultural event. Honte à vous, Monsieur ‘Arper!

Church Scolds Volunteer Over Pride Work

August 16th, 2010

Priest thinks to himself how super he is after driving away a young, enthusiastic, and faithful volunteer.

Tory Inglis, a 17-year old gay teen from B.C., has withdrawn from her position as a church youth leader after being punished for volunteering as a Pride organizer.

The young lesbian appeared in a photo for a local newspaper reporting on a gay pride event in June, only to be summoned to a meeting with officials for the First Presbyterian Church a month later. There, the officials called the teen a poor role model, scolding her until she cried, and requested that she stop her volunteer work with the Pride group immediately.

Churches have a special status in Canada which entitles them to violate our Charter of Rights and Freedoms with respect to services and employment, so the Presbyterian Church is allowed to do behave this way, as immoral as it seems. That said, it’s still an odd stance for this particular church. According to their own handbook on Social Action, the church says that it “does not limit the roles of its members on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

Tory, meanwhile, was left with a conflicting message. “They want me to leave the Pride organization,” she said, “even though it stands for all of the things they preach in church—which is acceptance of all people.”

No worries, Tory. Anyone who volunteers so much of their time to such worthwhile causes is a super role model. Keep standing up for what’s right, and you’ll do just fine!

Judge Throws Out Gay-Basher’s “Gay Panic” Defense

August 13th, 2010

The old gay panic is put through the rounds by swapping the scenario. A gay guy punches a girl who was hitting on him.

Shawn Woodward, a 37 year old man from Vancouver, was found guilty of aggravated assault this week after sucker-punching a 62-year-old gay man. Richard Dowrey, the victim, was left with permanent brain damage and will now require assistance for the rest of his life.

Woodward, who is straight, claimed that the punch was made in self-defense because Dowrey had made “unwanted sexual advances.” Now, that’s a pretty crazy argument on its own, but it’s extra absurd in this case. The assault happened inside the Fountainhead Pub, a gay bar in the middle of Vancouver’s gay district.

After examining witness testimony, the judge found that Woodward’s evidence was not credible, that no sexual assault took place, and that Woodward merely became offended and violent after being hit on by a gay guy.

Sentencing happens in September, where it will be decided if the assault was also a hate crime.

Homophobic Baseball Manager Gets The Boot

August 11th, 2010

Umpire says he outed himself once, and can out others too

Gay people put up with a lot of abuse. Umpires, too. I imagine, then, it’s not easy being a gay umpire. Just ask Billy Van Raaphorst.

On July 31st, after two Edmonton players were tossed out for misbehaving at a minor league game, Van Raaphorst found himself enduring a spectacular assault by the team’s manager, Brent Bowers. The homophobic tirade, complete with slurs, obscenities, threats, and gestures involving grabbed ankles, shocked onlookers.

The scene was reportedly so offensive that other umpires refused to officiate games for the entire Golden Baseball League until Bowers was punished—which he was, late last week. Originally given an unsatisfactory two-day suspension, the league eventually decided upon a $5000 fine along with a suspension for the rest of the year. Bowers has since resigned.

Probably for the best, too. His team lost all three games that weekend, 3–2, 6–2, and 2–1. Ouch!

Proposition 8 Was Discriminatory Nonsense

August 9th, 2010

Warning: Extreme pressure may build up in closed minds

On Wednesday, just days after my wedding, a federal judge declared that California’s Proposition 8—a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage—violated the constitutional rights guaranteed to all U.S. citizens.

I couldn’t be happier. Canada got its first taste of equal marriage rights in 2003, and eventually recognized it nationwide in 2005. Knowing that so many people south of the border will soon share the same joy and freedoms that we have up here makes me giddy with anticipation.

Californians still have to wait a little while before enjoying their full legal equality, mind you. Anti-gay lobbyists have already appealed the decision and a temporary stay has been put into effect, possibly until a decision is reached there. I don’t know enough about the U.S. justice system to offer a prediction of the outcome, but I do think that the anti-equality side simply hasn’t demonstrated arguments that can hold up to court scrutiny. After all, according to them, Canada should be a smoking crater by now. Of course, in reality, nothing bad has come of it by any demonstrable standard.

California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Attorney General, Jerry Brown, has both filed formal motions to lift California’s stay, which would reintroduce full equality immediately. Until then, congratulations to California for your important step toward the full equality that your constitution guarantees!

I’m Gay Married

August 4th, 2010

Well, I’m officially gay married! (Please accept my apologies for any earthquakes or natural disasters that may have occurred on Sunday as a result of my wedding.)

Thanks to everyone who sent me their best wishes! Things went really, amazingly well. I’m now taking a short break to relax, so there won’t be any site updates until Monday. In the meantime, please feel free to visit and interact on Slap’s exciting Facebook page and Twitter feed. For today’s topic of interaction, please select one of: a) The effects of postmodernist expression on contemporary authorship; or, b) Gay stuff.