OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with United States

Pastor Says To Kidnap Kids of Gay Parents

August 13th, 2012

Brian Fischer gets abducted by aliens as part of the just Skyward Railroad.

Bryan Fischer, a U.S. pastor, has called for an organized plan to kidnap children from same-sex parents and deliver them to opposite-sex households as part of a modern-day “underground railroad.”

When it was pointed out that this plan would be illegal, Fischer replied: “So was the underground railroad.”

Hmm… I don’t suppose there’s an underground neural-road available to surgically liberate brains from those who clearly have no use of them and deliver them to starving zombies? Because I think an underused brain has just revealed itself.

Statistics, incidentally, have shown that children of same-sex parents actually tend to fair better than those of opposite-parents. This isn’t because same-sex parents are inherently better at parenting than opposite-sex couples, of course. It’s just that gay parents don’t have unplanned children, eliminating a segment that skews toward troubled upbringings.

Perhaps discouraged by polls showing that opposition to equal rights for the GBLT community is falling rapidly, members of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church in Greensburg, Indiana, have resorted to this: Coaching four year olds to sing “Ain’t no homos gonna make it to heaven” to an applauding congregation. (And for those of you who need to clear your brain of the mind-bogglingly hateful idiocy demonstrated in that video, I offer this calming link as therapeutic support.)

California Moves To Ban Gay “Conversion” Therapy For Teens

May 14th, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Camel: Nonsensical Conversion Complete.

Encouraging news coming out of California this week! The state senate is quickly passing some new legislation that would ban the practice of applying the unscientific and discredited practice of gay “conversion therapy” on anyone under the age of 18. The bill would also make anyone over the age of 18 sign a waver acknowledging that the practice is ineffective and harmful before seeking such therapies.

Conservative groups are already up in arms, saying that the ban tramples the rights of parents to “seek appropriate psychological care for their children.” According to the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, however, there is no circumstances under which such therapy is ever considered appropriate. Both organisations have warned, in no uncertain terms, that sexual orientation is unchangeable, and any attempts to treat being gay as a disorder are likely to result in serious psychological harm.

Canada, incidentally, does not ban conversion therapy. In fact, it’s a registered charitable activity here. Here’s hoping that California’s proposed legislation is signed into law, and that Canada follows suit!

North Carolina conducted a statewide study yesterday to resolve the question once and for all: Are most North Carolinians narrow-minded bigots? The answer, of course, was yes.

An assistant principal at Fullerton Union High School in California interrupted and disqualified a student competing for the title of Mr. Fullerton (A silly contest the school has going on, apparently) because the student said he hopes that same-sex marriage will be legal in California so that he can get married one day. The student, who was answering a question about where he sees himself in ten years, was ushered off stage in front of hundreds of parents and other students. The assistant principal has since apologized to the student, and—I presume—all other gay people for having probably supported Proposition 8.

United States May Relax Customs Restrictions For Same-Sex Couples

April 2nd, 2012

Airport Security Check. Straights: No Aerosols, No Weapons. Gays: No Aerosols, No Weapons, No Wedding Rings.

The United States’ Department of Homeland Security has proposed finally lifting restrictions requiring same-sex couples to fill out separate customs declarations.

Currently, heterosexual families are allowed to fill out one customs declaration per household, while same-sex couples are treated as if they were strangers that happen to be on the same flight. This discrepancy is a direct result of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids any federal recognition of same-sex partnerships.

Treating same-sex families as, well, families is estimated to save two million dollars as the procedure is streamlined.

There’s no word yet on whether this new procedure will apply to foreign (i.e. Canadian) same-sex couples entering the United States, but if it does, we may be able to start using the phrase “land of the free” in relation to the U.S. without using air quotes and chuckling.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, kids! If you’re planning on heading out to a parade—specifically the world’s largest in New York City—you likely won’t be surprised that Irish gay groups are still banned from marching (yes, in 2012). Gee, I wonder if there are places where Irish gays celebrating their heritage wouldn’t be a problem… Like in, oh, say… Ireland. Personally, I don’t see what the New York organizers are worried about. I mean, the only consequence would be better floats.

The Utah state senate has voted in favour of a bill forbidding discussion of homosexuality in classrooms, even if a question was posed by a student. Other jurisdictions are now reportedly considering legislation forbidding discussion of Utah.

Even in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal, gay couples in the United States are paying a lot more in taxes because the federal marriage benefits available for straight couples aren’t available to gay ones. I guess that’s one strategy for paying down the debt—tax the gays instead of the 1%!

Yesterday, a house committee in Oklahoma rejected a horrendously anti-gay bill that would have made it legal to fire state municipal employees just for being gay. The bill was introduced by lawmaker Mike Reynolds, who is now officially so homophobic that even Oklahoma thinks he has gone to far.

You’re on a roll, United States! The Maryland senate passed, yesterday afternoon, a bill granting equal marriage rights to all state residents. The governor said he will sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk. For celebratory measure, he’ll also change the state name to Marryland, why not?

A US federal court has ruled that the country’s Defense of Marriage Act—a law forbidding any federal recognition of same-sex relationships—is unconstitutional. Judge Jeffrey White, a Bush appointee, issued the ruling today on the basis that DOMA violates the constitution’s guarantees of equality. Congratulations, Americans: Your backwards prejudices are shedding faster than a traumatized mutt in July! (January in the southern hemisphere.)

It looks like Rhode Island legislators are prepared to introduce three equal rights bills today, including one that proposes full marriage equality in the state. Well, there you go! Just because a state is small doesn’t mean its minds are too.

Equal rights are sweeping through the States like a tsunami of gay! The Washington state House passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage today, following last week’s passage by the state senate. All that’s left now is for the governor to sign the bill into law, which he is expected to do as early as next week. Wow! At this rate, you guys will have entered this century in no time!

Great news for all our friends in the States! The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling today declaring that California’s Proposition 8 (which banned same-sex marriage in the state) is unconstitutional! I wonder if opponents of marriage equality will now finally give up and admit they’re on the wrong side of history, or if they’ll carry onward and magnify their already-secured historical humiliation. (Actually, somehow I already know the answer.) At any rate, congratulations to all my friends to the south on this important win!

Great news for our friends in Washington, today! A bill legalizing same-sex marriage was passed by the state Senate this morning. The bill, which was voted in 28 to 21 against now heads to the House, where it is expected to pass.

While legislators in New Hampshire consider a bill that would make it legal for business owners in the public sector to deny services to any gay person getting married, an owner of an upscale bistro in Tennessee is doing almost the opposite—refusing service to homophobic lawmakers. (Ah, the sting of their own discrimination… Think it’ll change any minds?)

Washington May Be Next State To Get Equal Marriage Rights

January 9th, 2012

How can you ask for equal rights during a time of such economic turmoil?

Chris Gregoire, the governor of Washington, has announced her support of full, equal marriage rights in the state.

Already opponents are mobilizing to prevent the equal recognition of same-sex relationships. State senator Dan Swecker, a Republican, implied that any such legislation would be irresponsible. “It’s too bad we’d try to deal with this issue, that tends to be very divisive, in a year when we have these other major financial issues facing us,” he said.

Gee, Mr. Swecker must be pretty awful at multitasking.

Also, who says this has to be some kind of tiresome debate that needs to be “dealt with” as if it’s any kind of interruption to business as usual? Frankly, from the perspective of a Canadian, it seems outright silly that this still a major, divisive issue in the “land of the free.” The issue has been debated to death multiple times over across the globe. The trend toward equality among developed nations is not only clear and inevitable, but also demonstrably lacking in any undesirable consequences that people like Mr. Swecker insist upon. Just give gay couples their deserved, equal rights and move on already.

So, thank you Madame Gregoire. It’s about time!

Legal Same-Sex Marriage Improves Health

December 21st, 2011

A doctor proposes to his boyfriend, by holding out a pair of engagement rings:

As if common sense weren’t enough reason to give full, equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, a study out of Columbia University has provided some extra support.

Legal same-sex marriage, according to researchers, reduces the number of medical visits among gay and bisexual men by 13 percent, further reducing health care costs by 14 percent.

Mark Hatzenbuehler, the lead researcher on the study, said that legal equality likely results in health benefits due to a reduction of stress-related issues, both mental and physical. (Living in a committed relationship where someone you love is keeping an eye on your health and safety probably doesn’t hurt either.)

So, if I understand how medical statistical methodology works, allow me to summarize: Since we can marry, gay men in Canada are 13 percent more likely to survive after licking a subway seat. And that’s good to know.

The study was published last week in the American Journal of Public Health, and tracked over 1,200 patients in a Massachusetts health care clinic.

Conservative Mayor Outed Over Gay Adult Store Purchases

December 19th, 2011

Greg Davis stands with a rather large phallic item inside a coffee mug: "It's just a coffee stirrer, see? I... Oh, forget it. I'll just come out."

Greg Davis, a socially-conservative Mississippi mayor, has come out to the press after an audit into city spending discovered that he spent $67 at Priape, a Montreal-owned gay adult store. The audit was part of a larger investigation into over $170,000 of misused city funds that Davis is alleged to have been spent on personal purchases.

Davis focused his political career on a conservative, “family values” platform—which, historically speaking, should have been enough to out him as gay. And, while misusing thousands and thousands of tax dollars on personal expenses is certainly not very befitting of a mayor, I do give him a tiny bit of credit over other outed conservatives for not following the usual convention of concocting some outlandish explanatory story in a transparent attempt to cover up his gayness.

No word on what David actually bought at Priape while in Canada, but I’m guessing it wasn’t a snappy new belt from their fashion line.

Lobbyist Says GLBT People Don’t Exist

September 21st, 2011

A man in the pose of The Thinker ponders to himself: "I *think* I think..."

Linda Harvey, an anti-gay activist and lobbyist on behalf of Mission America, has announced that “there is no proof that there’s ever anything like a gay, lesbian, or bisexual or transgendered child, or teen, or human.”

“There are no such humans,” she added.

Well, that’s certainly surprise to me, a gay man. If I don’t exist, then logically, how is it that I’m typing right n—*poof*

Lesbian Couple Forced to “Unmarry” Before Entering The States

August 31st, 2011

Two lesbians discuss entering the United States: "Just think of it as taking a trip back into the distant past."

A married lesbian couple has complained to the media after being forced to declare themselves as non-family members in order to enter the United States for a vacation.

Karen-Mary Perry and Andrina Perry were married back in 2008, and typically fill out a single US customs form whenever they travel. The forms indicate that “only one written declaration per family is required.” This time, however, they were forced to fill out the forms separately.

A spokesperson for US Customs and Border Protection said that they’re legally prohibited to recognize any same-sex marriages on official government forms due to the bizarrely titled Defense of Marriage Act, which passed in 1996. Canadian customs forms indicate that up to four people who live at the same address can share a form.

Personally, I find travelling to the states is a little like visiting a slightly slow relative. It’s generally nice to see them, even if they’re kind of backwards and a bit crazy. You just need to make a few concessions here and there because they’re genuinely catching on, albeit at a, uh, relaxed pace. (The latest statistics show slight majority support for equal marriage rights down there, and the number of states that recognize same-sex marriage is growing.)

Still, until they’re fully caught up, just add separate customs forms to the long list of other inconveniences you have to take care of when entering the US—like having to purchase temporary health insurance; opting for physical pat-downs or being bombarded by X-ray scanners upon entry; and just tolerating the overall atmosphere of paranoia.

Think of it as living like a local, or—if you prefer—travelling backwards in time. Also, considering we sent them Celine Dion once upon a time, it’s probably not that bad of a price to pay, right?

United States Inches Toward Real Freedom

July 25th, 2011

La Liberté éclairant les États-Unis après une période d'hibernation

Well, I’m back from my vacation abroad, so let’s start up again with some short, but welcome news! New York officially started issuing same-sex marriage licenses yesterday, just days after President Barack Obama certified the end of the military’s silly “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that banned openly gay citizens from serving in the country.

Hundreds of New Yorkers lined up patiently to get their marriage certificates on Sunday, many of whom had waited for decades. The first couple to get their certificate was Phyllis Siegel, 77, and Connie Kopelov, 85, who have spent the last 23 years of their life together. The total number of marriage licenses issued the first day totaled 659, a new record for the state. A great day for the institution of marriage!

The official repeal of the ban on openly gay people in the army will happen on September 20th.

Congratulations to everyone who helped fight for both of these important steps in getting full equality. Keep it up, and soon everyone in the States will get the freedom they were promised!

U.S. Military Begins Gay Acceptance Training

April 29th, 2011

Military report: How to Treat Gay Colleagues in the Marines. Page Two: Just like everyone else.

The United States Marine Corps has produced some new training material in anticipation of the official revocation of the country’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy later this year.

Parts of the documents are spot on. It’s a good idea, for example, to prepare authority figures within the military on how to put an end to homophobic harassment and remind recruits that it’s not appropriate to discriminate against or berate their colleagues.

Amusingly, though, the training documents also include expected responses to some hypothetical situations. This includes what should be done if you discover two men from your battalion kissing in a shopping mall, or if you see a fellow Marine marching in a Pride parade on TV.

While the document’s suggested responses are exactly right, (i.e. act like it’s none of your business), I find the situations amusingly alarmist—as if all gay Marines will instantly start making out and flying banners on television. Better prepare the troops so they know exactly what to do if—nay, when—it happens!

At least this is all a little less silly than all those surveys asking how military personnel would feel about showering alongside gay colleagues. Not by much, mind you.