Thursday, March 27, 2008

Will Cuba Outshine US in Human Rights Arena?

"In the early years of the revolution much of the world was homophobic. It was the same here in Cuba and led to acts which I consider unjust. "

Mariela Castro

In recent years the US has been falling further and further behind in the Human Rights pack. And now it looks like Cuba is about to pass us by.

From the BBC:

Not the new president, Raul, although he has promised to push through "structural and conceptual" changes to this communist island in the Caribbean.
It is Raul's daughter, Mariela Castro.
She is currently attempting to get the Cuban National Assembly to adopt what would be among the most liberal gay and transsexual rights law in Latin America.

The proposed legislation would recognise same-sex unions, along with inheritance rights. It would also give transsexuals the right to free sex-change operations and allow them to switch the gender on their ID cards, with or without surgery.
"In Cuba marriage is not as important as the family and at least this way we can guarantee the personal and inheritance rights of homosexuals and transsexuals."

She says that her father is supportive of her work, although he advises her to move slowly.
"I've seen changes in my father since I was a child. I saw him as macho and homophobic. But as I have grown and changed as a person, so I have seen him change."

Mariela's mother, the late Vilma Espin, was an internationally recognised champion of women's rights.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bigoted Oklahoma state representative, Sally Kern, meets MCC pastor, Scott Jones.

See entire article on PageOneQ.

They met on an Oklahoma TV station, KFOR. Here are just a couple of her gems.

"I believe that the...homosexual agenda, and the lifestyle that it involves, is deadly to this nation. Now, I was not saying that Scott here is personally as dangerous as Osama bin Laden, but I was just making a comparison to prove my point."

"I wasn't saying that you guys were a cancer," the legislator says to Dr. Jones. "I was saying that the effect is the very same as a cancer.”

Here is the encounter in 2 parts.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Inhospitality and the Archbishop of Canterbury

Much has been written about what the term "inhospitality" meant during biblical times and why it became the "sin of Sodom." But what about the present day? How is inhospitality practiced today? Do we recognize it when it is practiced today by religious leaders?

From today's Guardian
Gay bishop's mission to unite

It is fitting that Bishop Gene Robinson spent much of his Easter enduring the wintry conditions of the Great North Woods of New Hampshire, performing his ministry to small but loyal congregations. For although he is one of the few bishops who could claim to be a household name across the world's Anglican communion, he has been all but frozen out by the head of his church, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

As the first bishop to speak openly about having a homosexual relationship, he has heard fellow Anglicans describe gays as "lower than beasts".

The Guardian spent the Easter weekend with Robinson as he battled the winds and blizzards on a 400-mile road trip around his US diocese. But the conditions were nothing compared with those he has encountered trying to make it to the Lambeth conference, the 10-yearly gathering of the world's Anglican bishops, which takes place in Canterbury, Kent, from July 16 to August 3.

Two weeks ago Robinson was told he would not be allowed to take part in the event - the only bishop out of 880 to be excluded. He will still go to Canterbury, but with no official status and the same access as a member of the public. Yet he will, inevitably, be one of its star attractions. Robinson will not go into detail, but says he has his own events planned, including one with award-winning actor and gay rights campaigner Sir Ian McKellen, who will perform a reading.

His official exclusion came as a blow to Robinson, who told a spring gathering of the US Episcopal church house of bishops that he felt abandoned by Williams. He wept during the address. "It was the hardest time I've had since my consecration," he said, driving along interstate 93. He suggested it was not his consecration or homosexuality that was tearing apart the Anglican communion, but a failure of the leadership.

"I don't know if it was Rowan's intention to divide the US house of bishops but he's done the very thing he was trying to avoid through his action or lack of action. It mystifies me that he has never commented on statements Akinola [the Archbishop of Nigeria] has made about homosexuality," he said.

Robinson has met Williams only once, although he has had three one-to-one encounters with the US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama. For two years after he was elected, Robinson tried to meet the archbishop, who finally relented but would not receive Robinson at his official residence. "He wanted to meet in a secret location and I was not told where until after I got on the plane from the US."

Both men agreed to keep the contents of the meeting private and Robinson would only describe the atmosphere as cordial. "I felt sad for him. He was caught in a difficult situation and didn't know how to lead the church through it. But I don't think we need an archbishop in a role of leadership. We need an archbishop to symbolise unity," he said.

Before the summer, Robinson has scheduled a series of interviews to coincide with publication of his book, In the Eye of the Storm, and he will also appear in the US edition of GQ magazine.
"I am probably the only bishop to feature in a 10,000-word article. I was expecting Armani and George Clooney but they wanted me to wear my robes."

Back in Concord, in his office, is a box containing purple badges bearing a red heart and the slogan "Gene is here".

"Some people found out I wasn't getting an official invitation [to the Lambeth conference] and they were outraged. So they had these made up. I figure if you can't have fun with this you might as well stay home."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Changing Attitudes Leader Ambushed at Funeral

The violent attack occurred at the funeral ceremony held yesterday for the sister of Davis Mac-Iyalla, attended by six members of the Port Harcourt group on Thursday 20 March 2008.

Attacked was the CAN Port Harcourt leader who is not being named.
“I am in total shock and living in fear while feeling the pains,” the victim said.

“I suffered in the hands of a mob group that attacked me at the Service of Songs for Davis’s late sister. While hymn singing was going on a muscular man walked up to me and asked me for a word outside the compound.

“The next thing I saw was a mob group who were there to attack me.

“They started slapping and punching me, kicked me on the ground and spat on me.

“I have never known fear like I knew when they were brutalizing me. I thought they were going to kill me there and then. While beating me they were shouting: ‘You notorious homosexual, you think can run away from us for your notorious group to cause more abomination in our land?’

“Those who attacked me were well informed about us so I suspect an insider or one of the leaders of our Anglican church have hands in this attack,” he added.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Gay Roosters Find a Home

Julius and Big Daddy, the roosters who chose each other as companions, have found a forever home on a farm in Alabama, reports foster mom Brenda Lee in Los Angeles.

The roosters came to L.A.'s A Dog's Life Rescue organization last year as a couple, and continued to eschew "normative chicken social conventions," Lee's partner, Jayna, wrote.
Big Daddy, who is much larger, "is Julius' protector, and at night he roosts over Julius like a mama hen sitting on a brood of chicks," Jayna wrote.

The women agreed to foster the fowl until a place could be found with rooster-friendly zoning codes. It took eight months, Lee said.

Their suburban San Fernando Valley neighborhood technically forbids roosters for noise-abatement reasons ("The rescue group did some talking," Lee says), as does New York City, where the roosters made quite a splash on gay blogs.

"We only got two calls. And one person wanted to split them up, which was out of the question," Lee said.

But this week, the foster moms fielded a call from an Alabama farmer, and Julius and Big Daddy were flown Thursday to their new home.

FRC Representative: "I Would Prefer To Export Gays ..."

From the good folks at Right Wing Watch

FRC’s Sprigg Wants to Export Gays
Medill News Service, a project run by Northwestern University graduate journalism students, recently
ran a story about the Uniting American Families Act, legislation that “would allow same-sex partners to be united legally through the U.S. immigration process. The bill would correct the bias in the [Immigration and Nationality Act] by adding the term ‘permanent partner’ to the law’s definition of family members; therefore, same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents would be eligible for green cards and immigrant visas available to spouses and other family members.”

The piece profiles a couple, Tim Miller and Alistair McCartney, who have been together for fourteen years who may be forced to separate or leave the country altogether when McCartney, an Australian citizen, sees his work Visa expire next year.

Reporter Sirena Rubinoff then interviewed Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council who explained his organization’s opposition to the legislation:

"We oppose this bill because it is, although it may be at the margins, part of an assault on the definition of family ... I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society. "

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Hero Awaits His Answer

I remember the day when I phoned my sister, Anne, just about every hour as she and her long-time partner stood in line waiting for their turn to marry. It was incredibly exciting. They kept me informed of each and every development as it occurred and about all the amazing things they were seeing. And then they were married .... for awhile ... until the wingnuts decided to get the courts to nullify approximately 4,000 marriages.

(Check out the earlier post about the way Barack Obama shunned Gavin Newson at a fundraiser Newsom organized for Obama at Obama's request.)

Gavin Newsom awaits his answer (

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom rushes into the room across from his office, apologizing for being late. He explains that he?d been walking down Market Street, talking to panhandlers about what it would take to get them off the streets. Fiery idealism like that has come to define Gavin Newsom. Although he is a bona fide policy wonk, his political passion is what captured the attention of the nation four years ago, when -- less than a month into his first term -- Newsom decided to permit same-sex couples to marry in San Francisco. As we sit down, the political fallout from that decision continues.


Newsom seems genuinely surprised when asked whether he believes the California Supreme Court's ruling might affect the presidential race. "I've been waiting for years for this case," he says, "but I didn't think of it in this context. Of course, the issue could come right back to the fore.' But, he says, that only serves to underscore the conundrum he mulled over four years ago: "When is the right time? There never is a right time. Mid-term congressional election? Not the right time -- we have a chance to take back the House. The next presidential election? Not the right time -- we have a chance to possibly win. It's never the right time. We need to get over these stale arguments. If you believe in something, do it. And do it with conviction. And if you screw up, learn from it, admit your mistakes and failures, and move forward in a more thoughtful way."


Among gay leaders, there appears to be a genuine consensus that the question of marriage equality would not be in the California courts right now, and that polling in the state would not show a dead heat between those for and against the rights of gays to marry, were it not for the political risks Newsom took, the public conversation that ensued, and the educational opportunities that unfolded. There are also few who doubt that gays will continue to hail Newsom as a hero; he has an indelible place in our history. And as someone who truly seems to believe that politicians are supposed to do what they believe in, not just what polls well, it's a position he's proud to hold. The marriages, Newsom says, are "the most glorious reflection I have in my life, outside of personal experiences with family . . . it has given me courage for everything else that I've done, and a sense of purpose beyond the issue. I know what it is to be privileged to be in a position to do something, even if people don't like it."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Obama on Christian Gay Bashing

I find it interesting that while the press has picked on on John McCain's gay-bashing buddy, the utterly repulsive John Hagee, they have generally ignored something that happened in an Obama rally last Thursday, 02/28.

Ben Smith of describes it to us.

Obama's rally in Beaumont today was the highest-energy of this Texas swing, with a crowd that was about three-quarters black cheering at almost every turn.

An interesting moment came when he was asked a question about LGBT rights and delivered an answer that seemed to suit the questioner, listing the various attributes — race, gender, etc. — that shouldn't trigger discrimination, to successive cheers. When he came to saying that gays and lesbians deserve equality, though, the crowd fell silent.

So he took a different tack: "Now I’m a Christian, and I praise Jesus every Sunday," he said, to a sudden wave of noisy applause and cheers. "I hear people saying things that I don’t think are very Christian with respect to people who are gay and lesbian," he said, and the crowd seemed to come along with him this time.

The moment reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a senior figure in the national gay rights movement, who noted that Obama's deference to some black Christian discomfort with homosexuality — his refusal to dump the "ex-gay" gospel singer Donnie McClurkin from a tour — angered some gays and lesbians; but conversely, that his ability to sell gay rights in the black church is unique and appealing.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


It took me awhile to figure out the Beef Stroganov, but the rest of it was easier to see.