Edge NYC – Madonna Sued in Russia for Supporting Gays

Madonna Sued in Russia for Supporting Gays
Associated Press
Sunday Aug 19, 2012

MOSCOW (AP) – Some Russian activists have sued Madonna for millions of dollars, claiming they were offended by her support for gay rights during a recent concert in St. Petersburg.

Anti-gay sentiment is strong in Russia. In St. Petersburg, a law passed in February makes it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors, and the author of that law has pointed to the presence of children as young as 12 at Madonna’s concert on Aug. 9.

Russian news agencies quote Alexander Pochuyev, a lawyer representing the nine activists, as saying the suit was filed Friday against Madonna, the organizer of her concert, and the hall where it was held, asking for damages totaling 333 million rubles, or nearly $10.5 million.

Responding to criticism that the plaintiffs were stuck in the Middle Ages, the lawyer said they were using civilized, modern methods to defend their rights. “No one is burning anyone at the stake or carrying out an Inquisition,” Pochuyev was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. “Modern civilization requires tolerance and respect for different values.”

The complaint includes a video taken at the concert showing Madonna stomping on an Orthodox cross and asking fans to raise their hands to show the pink armbands in support of gays and lesbians that were distributed among the audience, the new agency reported.

Madonna also has angered conservative Russians with her support for Pussy Riot. Three members of the punk band were sentenced Friday to two years in prison for a protest inside Moscow’s main cathedral against Vladimir Putin and his cozy relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Madonna spoke out in support of the group during her concert in St. Petersburg and two days earlier in Moscow. After the verdict was issued, Madonna called on “all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment.”

Towleroad – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Backs Alderman’s Plan to Block Anti-Gay Chick-Fil-A from Opening Restaurant

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Backs Alderman’s Plan to Block Anti-Gay Chick-Fil-A from Opening Restaurant
Chicago Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno says he won’t allow Chick-Fil-A to open a restaurant in his Northwest Side ward because of the company’s anti-gay worldview, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is offering his support, the Chicago Tribune reports:

“If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward,” Moreno told the Tribune on Tuesday.

Moreno stated his position in strong terms, referring to Cathy’s “bigoted, homophobic comments” in a proposed opinion page piece that an aide also sent to Tribune reporters. “Because of this man’s ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward.”

The alderman has the ideological support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” the mayor said in a statement when asked about Moreno’s decision. “They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

The proposed restaurant, in the Logan Square neighborhood, would be the second to open in the Windy City.

Note: Michelangelo Signorile is having Moreno on his show at 4:30 pm ET.

Posted Jul. 25,2012 at 3:30 PM EST by Andy Towle in Chicago, Chick-fil-A, News, Rahm Emanuel | Permalink


Edge NY – 1st Gay Pride Celebrated in Ultra-Homophobic Uganda

1st Gay Pride Celebrated in Ultra-Homophobic Uganda
by Jason St. Amand
Web Producer / Staff Writer
Tuesday Aug 14, 2012

Uganda gay pride. (Source:David Robinson © 2012 c/o Melanie Nathan; All Rights Reserved. One time permission for use with this article given to EDGE.)
Last week Uganda’s LGBT community held the country’s first Gay Pride Parade, which took place in Entebbe, a major city in the center of the East African country, Global Voices reported.

Gay men and women from the central north African nation participated in a party, a beach parade and a film festival. Maurice Tomlinson, a LGBT activist from Jamaica, was the weeklong event’s honorary grand marshal.

Uganda has some of most anti-gay legislation in Africa. It does not recognize gay marriage and has outlawed same-sex activity. Additionally, under the influence of U.S. evangelical leaders, the country’s parliament has been debating a bill that would give the death penalty to anyone who participated in some homosexual acts, such as gay people with AIDS, Associated Press reported.

Legislator David Bahati reintroduced the bill earlier this year. Officials from Uganda’s government are backing away from the measure after important donor states such as the United Kingdom and the United States condemned it. Bahati first introduced the bill in 2009 and claimed that it would “protect” children from Western gay men and women who “lure them with money and other promises,” EDGE reported.

European and American politicians may not like a bill that many have compared to the Nazis’ anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws. But some Westerners support — and are very likely responsible for — it. Scott Lively, an American who has been involved in the “ex-gay” movement,” has been widely accused of actively courting legislators to pass the bill.

Sexual Minorities Uganda, a gay rights group, filed a federal lawsuit against Lively for violating international law, EDGE noted. Additionally, AP points out that conservative U.S. Christians, including evangelical leaders Pat Robertson and Rick Warren, have also been attempting to promote the legislation.

“Definitely there is a link between conservative Christians in America and conservative Christian leaders in Uganda,” Joseph Okia, nephew of the president of Uganda, said.

In June, EDGE reported that Uganda officials announced that 38 non-governmental organizations would be cut because they claim the groups were promoting homosexuality and recruiting children.

“The NGOs are channels through which monies are channeled to (homosexuals) to recruit,” Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s ethics minister, told Reuters.

According to the New Yorker, however, nearly a hundred people came out to celebrate Uganda’s first Gay Pride. Attendees were covered in glitter, paint and waved rainbow flags as they marched through the streets of Entebbe.

But the publication also reports that police showed up hours after the parade ended because they got wind that a gay wedding was taking place. Authorities arrested three participants, a photographer and requested statements from others. The individuals arrested were later released.

Participation was especially brave considering that a Ugandan national newspaper published the names and many photographs of LGBT citizens and advocated that mobs go after them and kill them.

Liberia is another country that offers very little protection for its LGBT citizens. The country’s former first lady who is now a senator, Jewel Howard Taylor, introduced a bill that would also subject homosexuals to the death penalty.

“No two persons of the same sex shall have sexual relations. A violation of this prohibition will be considered a first degree felony,” the measure reads.

In July, the Liberian senate voted unanimously a measure that prohibited gay marriage.

The prevailing sentiment in the West African nation is unusual insofar as Liberia has close historical ties to the United States. it was founded as a place for the repatriation of freed black slaves. The capital, Monrovia, is named after an American president, James Monroe.

Their descendants traditionally constituted the country’s elite until a devastating civil war engulfed the small coastal country in the 1980s — leading, among other things, to Naomi Campbell’s dramatic spat with actress Mia Farrow at a Hague War Crimes tribunal after the supermodel accepted a gift of uncut diamonds from notorious warlord Charles Taylor.

Related Topics: gay African Americans | anti-gay laws | African nations


Pink News – Judge agrees to hear case for overturning Nevada’s equal marriage ban

Judge agrees to hear case for overturning Nevada’s equal marriage ban

by Christopher Brocklebank
13 August 2012, 4:18pm

Same-sex marriage was banned in Nevada in 2002

A federal Nevada judge said last Friday in Reno that he’ll listen to the arguments of a national gay rights advocacy group who wish to challenge the state’s ban on marriage equality. The hearing is set for 26 November.

District Chief Judge Robert Jones referred to other equal marriage challenges that are currently being appealed against in California and in other state and in federal courts. He said he wished to settle the lawsuit filed by the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund against Governor Brian Sandoval and other state officials.

The lawsuit, Sevcik v. Sandoval, focuses on the differences between the rights of the Nevada Legislature, granted with a domestic partnership law in 2009, and a ban on same-sex marriage that was made part of the state constitution by voters in 2002.

Lead plaintiffs Beverly Sevcik and Mary Baranovich emerged from the courtroom in Las Vegas on Friday, stating that the proceedings were the beginning of a long process.

Lambda Legal attorney Tara Borelli said although the state allows domestic partners to register their legal status, it was an inadequate trade-off and less respected than marriage: “By not allowing them to marry, the state brands these loving couples and their children as second-class citizens”, she said in a statement.

The Nevada lawsuit, filed in April on behalf of eight Nevada couples, is the first by Lambda Legal to make a direct state marriage equality claim in a federal court. It alleges the 2002 constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage equality violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution, and that same-sex couples in Nevada are denied rights, dignity and security, which other married couples can enjoy.

The legal battle in California over the Proposition 8 ban on marriage equality – which has been ongoing since 2008 – recently led to a call by religious conservative groups for a decision by the US Supreme Court. Earlier this year the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the California ballot measure as unconstitutional.

The essential difference between the California and Nevada cases; however, is that the California ballot initiative was intended to make invalid a law that had been enacted to recognise marriage equality, while the Nevada Legislature did not extend to same-sex couples the same level of legal protection.