Oh Canada!

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With the start of the Sochi Olympics yesterday, the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI) recently released a promotional video for the Canadian Luge team in support of Gay rights.

This fun little video has gone viral across YouTube, Facebook and so forth.  And it goes to show not only how supportive Canada is of both their athletes and gay rights, but also that they have a sense of humour too.

On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world, and the first country outside Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act which provided a gender-neutral marriage definition. (Source: Wikipedia)

Canadian Luge

This little video also makes me proud to be (partly) Canadian.  Sure I may not live there any more, but whenever I see something like this it makes my heart swell with pride of my heritage.

Oh and I saw this morning that Canada has it’s first medal at the Sochi Olympics – a Bronze in Snowboarding.  I’m personally not going to be watching the Games, but I always like to see how Canada (and the UK) are doing in the medal count.

Love is Love

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DOMAEarlier this evening, I saw this video making the rounds on Facebook .. and upon viewing, I just had to share it.

In the United States, gay and lesbian couples are denied around 1,100 rights that straight couples have.  One of the major rights that affects those from different countries (one from the US, the other from UK as an example), is that the person from outside the US can be denied a visa, and isn’t allowed to apply for a green card though straight married couples can.

The below video, as well as many others on The DOMA Project website (http://www.domaproject.org/), highlight how heartbreaking it is for these couples who’ve been legally married in the US, but are repeated forced apart by DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).

For those who are unaware of what it is:

DOMA is a United States federal law that restricts federal marriage benefits and required inter-state marriage recognition to only opposite-sex marriages in the United States. The law passed both houses of Congress by large majorities and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. Section 3 of DOMA codifies the non-recognition of same-sex marriages for all federal purposes, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns. (reference Wikipedia)

At the moment, the US Supreme Court have heard cases on repealing both California’s Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which the judges will be voting on soon. FE_DA_120730SameSexMarriage425x283

Please watch the below video, as well as the others on The DOMA Project website.. and share the videos, regardless of where you live.

No matter what country you live in, let’s support our American gay and lesbian brethren as they fight for equal rights.

Love is love, regardless of where you live.

Another Step Forward for Marriage Equality

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marriage bill passes

That’s right, ladies and gents.. the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill has passed it’s third reading today in the UK House of Commons.  The Bill will extend the legal form of marriage to lesbian, gay and bisexual people and permit religious denominations to celebrate such marriages should they wish.

here_1And it didn’t just pass by a narrow margin either – 366 for to 161 against.

A nice big, overwhelming majority.  Just like it should be.

Of course, it isn’t finished just yet.  Next the bill would have to pass through the committee and reading stages with the House of Lords.  If passed by them, then it goes to the Queen to give her Royal Assent on the bill.  Once she has signed it, it becomes law.

As far as I am aware, as long as it passes the House of Lords, there shouldn’t be any issue with her Majesty signing the bill.  Back in March, she signed a charter in support of gay rights and gender equality within the Commonwealth, which (to me at least) shows her willingness to protect the rights of all of her subjects, regardless of their situation, gender or who they love.

It’s also great to see an organisation such as Stonewall (http://www.stonewall.org.uk) at the forefront of the debate.. though it really isn’t surprising.  For those who’re unfamiliar with them, they are a gay, lesbian and bisexual charity.

Actually they are THE gay, lesbian and bisexuality charity in the UK, and are always leading the way for LGBT rights.  They also do a lot of work internationally by lobbying the UK government and European Union to use their influence through diplomacy and international aid programmes to support gay equality globally.

In fact, their ‘Some People Are Gay, Get Over It’ campaign spread around the world, spawning many imitations in multiple languages.

london buses

For more information about Stonewall’s campaign for equal marriage visit www.stonewall.org.uk/marriage

Stop The Hate, Free Kate

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Free KateI found this article on a friend’s Facebook wall this morning.. and I couldn’t be more shocked and disgusted by some of the actions taken against this 18 year old teenager, Kaitlyn Hunt.

Read the full article HERE.

From what I’ve read about this story, Kate (as she’s known to her friends) seems to be a good student – cheerleading, basketball, chorus, good grades, and was even voted ‘most school spirit’.

However instead of preparing for graduation and life beyond high school, she’s fighting a battle against expulsion and bigotry.  She’s been charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 – 16 years of age, and may go to jail instead of college.

Why?  All because she was dating a 15 year old girl she’d met on the basketball team.

According to the above article:

‘..the relationship caused waves at the school from the start. Kaitlyn was dropped from the basketball team because the coach feared a same-sex relationship would bring unwanted “drama.”

‘Then the family was shocked and devastated when police came to their home in February to arrest Kaitlyn. She was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 – 16 years of age.

‘Kaitlyn was 18 and her 15-year-old girlfriend’s parents pressed charges.’

That’s right, boys and girls.  Instead of dealing with the fact that their 15 year old daughter was dating another girl, they instead lashed out and are trying to ruin Kate’s life.  All because they’re too closed minded to realise that their daughter likes another girl.

Initially the other family petitioned the school and got Kate expelled weeks before graduation, but a judge agreed she could return as long as she didn’t have contact with the other girl.

However she is still facing these charges, though was offered a plea-bargain – house arrest for two years, plus a year of probation.  Meaning, if she’d accept it, she’d have to hold off entering the next stage of her life, and the charges would stay on her permanent adult record.

holding handsThis is completely and utterly wrong on many different levels.  Regardless if Kate is 18 years old or not, she’s still a kid in high school.  How could it possibly be wrong for her to fall for someone on her basketball team.. and only 3 years younger.  That may seem like a lot in high school, but in the real world, 3 years is nothing.

But it’s also the fact that the other family and the school were willing to place the ‘blame’ entirely on Kate’s shoulders, as if she ‘forced’ the other girl into the relationship.  But as well, the school hasn’t done anything to stop the homophobic slurs written about Kate in the school lavatories (that her younger sister has had to see).

It still shocks me, in this day and age, how some people can still be so close minded about something like sexuality.  We all know (most) kids experiment at some point in their adolescence, be in high school or perhaps as late as college, because it’s a natural thing to question who you are and try to figure it out for yourself.

Admittedly dating and experimenting are different things, but I’ve know people who’ve ‘experimented’ with their sexuality by dating people of different genders to see which felt right.  And that’s ok, because in the end that’s what life should be about, finding out what works for you.

There was no harm in these two girls dating each other.  They weren’t hurting anyone, nor were they hurting each other.

change-org

The excellent human rights website Change.org has started a petition to the Indian River County State Attorney’s Office to stop the persecution of Kaitlyn for being in a consensual same-sex relationship (the other girl has openly stated this, despite her parent’s position).

If you agree she shouldn’t be prosecuted for loving another girl, please click through the link to sign the petition.

Click here to sign the petition

 

Humour: 10 Reasons to Oppose Marriage Equality

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Found this today on one of my favorite blogs – Single Dad Laughing – and thought it be worth sharing as the US Supreme Court enter day 2 of their Marriage Equality hearings.  Total they’re evaluating the merits of DOMA – Defense of Marriage Act.

Anyway.. pokes fun at all the purported reasons for opposing Marriage Equality.

Enjoy 😉

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Westboro Equality House

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WESTBORO-EQUALITY-HOUSE-large570

What a brilliant idea and good on Aaron Jackson of Planting Peace for coming up with it.

It’s been far overdue for someone to take a direct stand against the Westboro Baptist Church regarding their anti-gay antics and protests.

Westboro Equality House: Aaron Jackson Paints Rainbow Home Across From Anti-Gay Church.

According to Aaron himself:

“I read a story about Josef Miles, a 10-year-old kid who counter-protested the Westboro Baptist Church by holding the sign that says ‘God Hates No One,'” Jackson told The Huffington Post.

“I didn’t know anything about the church or where they were located, but that story kept popping up. And one night I wondered, Where is this church? I got on Google Earth, and I was ‘walking down the road,’ and I did a 360 view. And I saw a ‘For Sale’ sign sitting in the front yard of a house. Right away it hit me, Oh my gosh, I could buy a house in front of the WBC! And immediately I thought: And I’m going to paint that thing the color of the pride flag.

I think we definitely need more people in the world like him, doing the sort of things he is doing.. not just for the gay community, but for the world itself.

Every little bit makes the world a better place for everyone.

Russian Coach Claims Gay Conspiracy over Olympic Wrestling

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So I recently saw this article on PinkNews.co.uk, regarding the vote by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to cut wrestling from the list of sports confirmed for the 2020 Olympic Games.  The sport will have to compete for a spot in those games alongside seven other sports.Tarik+Belmadani+Olympics+Day+10+Wrestling+NmQ4JQ5FDVLl

According to the article, the reasons behind this decisions weren’t given despite it being one of the oldest Olympic sports, however it was speculated that it was due to low television ratings.

Anyway, that’s not really the point of the article.  The main point is over the comments made by Russian coach Vladimir Urumagov, who speculated the sports demotion was due to a ‘gay conspiracy‘.  Mr Uruimagov, who coached London 2012 champion Alan Khugaev and Athens 2004 champion Khasan Baroev, called the decision “a blow to masculine origins.”

“If they expel wrestling now, that means that gays will soon run the whole world.”  He continued: “It turns out this committee [the IOC] is headed by representative of these minorities,” and clarified he meant “sexual minorities”.

“It is necessary for millions around the world who understand that this is a man’s sport and who understand the need to continue the human race to go out and explain their position to the Olympic Committee,” he said. “We should prove and explain that in any other case there is no future.”

Ummmm… what?!?

Anyone else lost as to his reasoning and how the removal of wrestling equates to a gay conspiracy?  In fact, I’d think it be the opposite.. that gays would WANT wrestling in the Olympics so they can watch hot, fit men grabble in tight-fitting lycra.

Or maybe that’s just me. LOLstretch

Now I’ve heard of many things being blamed on us poofs over the years, and this one definitely ranks up there with the most silliest.

The following, according to someone somewhere, were all gay people’s fault (as noted in THIS Guardian article):

Are us gay boys and girls really that scary that they need to make up stories about us, to vilify us as if we’re all the boogy-man?

These so-called religious and political leaders are just using our community as a scapegoat, as a harbinger for a perceived ‘evil’ that isn’t there.  In fact, one US pastor has even been quoted as saying “God is systematically destroying America,” because of the gays.

Well.. I think if this ‘God’ is actually destroying the supposed ‘land of the free’, then I really don’t think it’s because of the gays.  If anything, I’d think (and yes, this is my opinion) it’s because of all the religious fanatics who are trying to keep the US in the stone ages and from progressing in Human Rights .. and it’s telling them to catch up with the rest of the free world.

Or maybe, just maybe, all these things happened because they happened, because of our society’s misuse of the planet (weather disasters) or because some people are just bad inside (paedophiles, shootings, etc).  Or maybe sometimes shit just happens, shocking as it may be.

It’s not because us gays just want to live our lives the same as everyone else, with the same rights and freedoms.

We are all equal.  Get over it.

Marriage Equality: MP’s Back Gay Marriage Bill

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To follow up on yesterday’s posting (Click Here), we now all know that MP’s held their vote last night after a full day’s debate over the proposed Gay marriage voteMarriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Anyone who’s been watching the news will know the results, but I’ll post them anyway: the bill has been passed by a vote of by 400 to 175 (a majority of 225).  According to the BBC Website:

Their decision to back the bill at second reading signifies that they approve of it in principle. The legislation will now receive more detailed parliamentary scrutiny.

If it becomes law, the bill will enable same-sex couples, who are currently able to engage in civil partnerships, to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies – the latter only with the consent of religious institutions.

Of course, whenever anyone brings up same-sex marriage there’s always talk about the churches and their ‘rights’.  I personally think the 20081113_protest_560x375churches have way too much say in all this, especially when I don’t believe most gay people will suddenly want their weddings in a church that doesn’t accept them.

However this bill has specifically stated that churches will not be ‘forced’ to perform same-sex marriages, and there have been stipulations put in place in this bill to safeguard them.

The ‘quadruple lock’ as promised by Culture Secretary Maria Miller for religious groups who oppose gay marriage involve:

  • No religious organisation or individual minister being compelled to marry same-sex couples or to permit this to happen on their premises
  • Making it unlawful for religious organisations or their ministers to marry same-sex couples unless their organisation’s governing body has expressly opted in to provisions for doing so
  • Amending the 2010 Equality Act to ensure no discrimination claim can be brought against religious organisations or individual ministers for refusing to marry a same-sex couple
  • The legislation explicitly stating that it will be illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry same-sex couples

Meaning, if the big guys upstairs haven’t said yes, the little minister around the corner who thinks everyone is equal can’t perform the marriage.

You know, I can kind of understand that these religious organisations need this kind of pandering to try and make them feel better about the whole issue (it hasn’t, they continue to lobby against the bill anyway..).  But it makes me think ‘What are they truly threesomeafraid of?’.

It’s not like we’re planning to take over their churches, synagogues, or mosques (yes, it’s not just the Catholics or Anglicans..), or force them to perform some unspeakable act during a marriage ceremony.

All the gay community is looking for is to be treated equal to their straight counterparts.  And let’s be honest, a ‘civil partnership’ is not the same thing and perpetuates the notion that same-sex relationships are not as valid as heterosexual ones, and the legal rights are still not exactly the same as those conferred by marriage.

Home Secretary Theresa May and Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone say:

“Put simply, it’s not right that a couple who love each other and want to formalise a commitment to each other should be denied the right to marry.”

It’s great to see common sense is finally paving the way towards proper equality.