HuffPost Gay Voices – Florida Family Association Flies Anti-Gay Ad Over Lady Gaga Concert In Washington State

Florida Family Association Flies Anti-Gay Ad Over Lady Gaga Concert In Washington State
The Huffington Post | By Meredith Bennett-Smith
Posted: 01/16/2013 12:30 pm EST | Updated: 01/16/2013 3:54 pm EST

Lady Gaga kicked off the much anticipated North American leg of her Born This Way Ball tour last week, but the Florida Family Association welcomed the superstar by paying a small airplane to fly an anti-gay ad above her Tacoma, Wash., stop on Monday.

The banner, which read “Not Born This Way,” was flown over thousands of fans attending a pre-concert tailgate hosted by the pop superstar and LGBT advocate outside the Tacoma Dome, The News Tribune reports.

“It’s disheartening, but it’s their right,” said Brittney Blankenship, who had traveled from Idaho for the concert. “As much as we want to have this pride, they have the right to feel how they do too.”

The Florida Family Association is a largely anti-gay organization that has protested many events and programs they say promote a homosexual lifestyle, Think Progress notes.

Warning visitors that Lady Gaga was part of a “campaign to persuade kids to accept the homosexual lifestyle,” the FFA said it cost $1,900 to fly the banner for four hours.

From the group’s website:
Florida Family Association would like to fly more banners to counter Gaga’s hedonistic, Godless message at more concerts. You can click here to see the schedule Ladygaga.com… The goal is not to fly banners at every concert but at enough concerts to make a difference.
The overseas portion of Lady Gaga’s tour this spring was protested by several religious groups, especially during stops in Asia, but the small group of physical protesters picketing at the Tacoma Dome on Monday were largely ignored, according to Seattle Weekly.

“Incredibly, instead of discomfort, there was utter refusal to listen at all,” the paper’s Jeva Lange reported. “Consensus was, if Lady Gaga was the path to purgatory, then we were all going to have a hell of a time.”

The FFA seems to have a soft spot for airplane flyovers. In June, the group secured two planes in order to fly banners “warning” Disney World visitors of the amusement park’s annual gay pride day.

Huffington Post Gay Voices – The Marine Corps Push for Gay Rights — Who’s Next?

The Marine Corps Push for Gay Rights — Who’s Next?
Posted: 01/14/2013 12:17 pm

The Marine Corps became the latest group to join the movement for equality for same-sex couples. In a memo, the Marine commandant’s Staff Judge Advocate warned against discrimination based on sexual orientation, and said that if spouses clubs wish to continue operating, they must allow same-sex couples into the clubs. This comes on the heels of a controversial ruling last month, when a spouses club at the Army’s Fort Bragg denied access to the same-sex spouse of a female Army lieutenant.

A Marine Corps spokesman was quoted as saying, “”We do not want a story like Ft. Bragg developing in our backyard.” While it’s a smart PR move, it’s also the right thing to do. For years, the military kept gays from openly serving with the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. That rule was lifted in 2011, which laid the groundwork for a more progressive, forward-thinking U.S. military where men and women didn’t have to hide their sexual orientation if they were gay.

While last week’s announcement is great news for the Marine Corps and should be celebrated, we still have a lot of work to do throughout the military and our nation as a whole. Unfortunately, gays are still stigmatized by many in society as if their lifestyle is wrong, disgraceful or evil. It’s also having a dramatic impact on our youth, too. Suicide is the leading cause of death among gay and lesbian youth nationally, and 30 percent of gay youth attempt suicide near the age of 15, according to SPEAK (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids).

When it comes to the men and women who are overseas and fighting our enemies, does it really matter if they are attracted to people of the same sex or the opposite sex? It should make no difference whatsoever. Does it really matter if your doctor, mechanic or lawyer is gay? What matters is they are competent in what they do, and perform their jobs with integrity and to the best of their abilities. In the military, all that should matter is that you are devoted to your country and successfully pass required military training.

Homosexuality is neither a choice nor a disease, any more than being a heterosexual is. Homosexuality is a natural predisposition that exists throughout the animal kingdom. The pushback continues to come from religious leaders who claim that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. This is another far-right fabrication. The real reason they’re against gay marriage is because it would make gay couples equal to straight couples and remove the stigma that has been cast upon homosexuality.

If the issue was actually a technicality, could we not make the case that a two thousand year old mandate be updated? Furthermore, can the Bible really stand the test of technical accuracy? It’s fascinating how the religious community manipulates the masses with its interpretations of the Bible. First of all, how does anyone know what the authors of the Bible were thinking, much less God himself?

Even former President Jimmy Carter, a long time Sunday School teacher, claimed in an interview with The Huffington Post, that, “God inspired the Bible but didn’t write every word of the Bible.”

This is a common manipulation tactic designed to empower clergy to embrace the good parts of the Bible as inspired by God while distancing themselves from the bad. Carter’s church accepts gay members on an equal basis, but will not allow them to marry. Is this not akin to allowing blacks to attend school with whites but insisting they drink from separate water fountains? I guess we can call it partial bigotry.

The delusional thinking on gay rights and marriage is that it’s about protecting the integrity of what’s written in the Bible. This is one of the most ridiculous claims ever made, since the Bible is full of evil acts and suggestions we choose to ignore.

We’re starting to see more acceptance for gay rights. Most recently, voters in Washington and Maryland decided to allow same-sex marriage. And now, the Marine Corps took a tough stance and stood up for equality of gay couples. The Marine Corps should be commended for this broadminded and liberal step forward. The only question remaining: when will other military branches do the same? It’s time for the Army, Navy and Air Force to set a similar precedent; it’s time for religious leaders and every other American to welcome gays into our society as equals.

Huffington Post – Gay Voices – Saba Legalizes Gay Marriage, Popularity Of Caribbean Island Soars

Saba Legalizes Gay Marriage, Popularity Of Caribbean Island Soars
By DILMA ARENDS GEERMAN and DANICA COTO 12/14/12 01:51 PM ET EST

ORANJESTAD, Aruba — A speck of an island in the Dutch Caribbean has become increasingly popular with gay couples after legislators legalized same-sex marriages in a region still openly hostile to gays and lesbians.

Two men were recently married in Saba, marking the first ceremony of its kind in the region and setting off a frenzy of calls from gay couples in other Dutch Caribbean islands seeking to marry, said Julietta Woods with Saba’s Civil Registry office.”People keep calling me every second,” she said by telephone this week.

As part of the Netherlands Kingdom, the islands of Saba, Bonaire and St. Eustatius have to recognize same-sex marriages. While Bonaire and St. Eustatius have balked at the idea of legalizing such unions, the idea has been embraced in Saba, long considered a gay-friendly destination.

“We’ve seen it as a human rights issue,” said Saba council member Carl Buncamper, who is openly gay. “It is important to give the partners equal rights when it comes to inheritance and other benefits.”

Dozens of gay couples cheered Saba’s unprecedented step, noting that gays often face taunts, threats and even death elsewhere in the Caribbean, with many islands enforcing so-called buggery laws implemented in colonial times. Some islands also have tried to amend their constitution to establish that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

While Saba currently stands alone in approving same-sex marriages, Bonaire and St. Eustatius are expected to follow.

The Netherlands, which in 2001 became the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriages, is giving those islands more time to adopt the same law amid local opposition. The Netherlands has said local governments should use the time to help communities get used to the idea of gay marriage.

The other Dutch Caribbean islands of St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba have to recognize same-sex marriages but don’t have to legalize them because they have a more autonomous relationship with the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the nearby French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe are expected to soon debate the issue as France prepares to vote early next year on whether to legalize same-sex marriages.

Huffington Post Gay Voices – Obama Boy Scouts Statement: President Opposes Group’s Gay Ban

Obama Boy Scouts Statement: President Opposes Group’s Gay Ban
The Huffington Post | By Paige Lavender
Posted: 08/08/2012 4:55 pm Updated: 08/08/2012 5:07 pm

President Barack Obama shakes hands with supporters as he arrives at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo, Wednesday, Aug, 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

President Barack Obama expressed his opposition to the Boy Scouts of America’s reaffirmation of its policy of excluding gays on Wednesday.

The president called the rule, which was renewed in July after a two-year review, “discrimination” in a statement to the Washington Blade.

“The President believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century,” White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said. “He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation.”

The ban has been faced with opposition by some former scouts, several of whom returned their badges in protest of the rule. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney also expressed opposition to the ban, saying “all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Despite the opposition, the Boy Scouts’ chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, said most Scout families support the policy, which applies to both adult leaders and Scouts.

The AP reported earlier:

The Scouts cited support from parents as a key reason for keeping the policy and expressed hope that the prolonged debate over it might now subside. Bitter reactions from gay-rights activists suggested that result was unlikely.
The Scouts’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press that an 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, came to the conclusion that the exclusion policy “is absolutely the best policy” for the 102-year-old organization.

Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion – preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.

This isn’t the first time Obama has expressed his support for the LGBT community. In May 2012, he became the first sitting president to announce his support for same-sex marriage, and in June he held a Gay Pride Month reception at the White House.

UPDATE: The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) decried the Boy Scouts’ “outdated policy” in a press release:

“Our nation’s leaders from across religions and political persuasions have joined hundreds of thousands of Americans in speaking out against the blatant discrimination that the Boy Scouts of America teaches young adults today,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “It’s clear that this outdated policy will be changing in the future. How long will the Boy Scouts continue to bully young gay Americans into hiding who they are and hurt children of gay parents by denying their parents an opportunity to participate in their children’s lives?”