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03 Jan 2012 10:30


U.S.: 2012 in gay rights: Hawaii, Delaware legalize civil unions, couples cheer

  • aloha “We really don’t want to wait any longer because we have been together for 33 years waiting for the opportunity and our rights and everything that goes with it,” said Donna Gedge. She and her wife Monica were one of four couples to receive civil unions in Hawaii as the new year rang in Sunday.
  • not alone Now 11 states (plus D.C.) recognize same-sex civil unions or gay marriage. Hawaii and Delaware just joined the ranks of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa (as a good friend of ours reminded everyone last night), Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island. source

06 Dec 2011 22:22


U.S.: Sec. Of State Clinton calls for international LGBT rights

  • Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. It is a violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look, or behave… To LGBT men and women worldwide, let me say this: wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support, or feel isolated, and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone. People around the globe are working hard to support you, and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face. That is certainly true for my country. And you have an ally in the United States of America. And you have millions of friends among the American people.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton • Giving vocal support to the plight of oppressed LGBT persons worldwide, at a meeting of diplomats in Geneva. Clinton’s speech is being hailed as a landmark event in terms of U.S. foreign policy towards LGBT rights, and dovetails with the Obama administration’s memo earlier today pledging foreign aid support for the same cause. After her speech, she received a standing ovation. This could well be worth marking down on your calendar for future reference, everyone; this could be a big, big deal, whether Rick Perry likes it or not. source

06 Dec 2011 15:41


Politics: Rick Perry attacks Obama over support for LGBT human rights

  • Just when you thought Barack Obama couldn’t get any more out of touch with America’s values, AP reports his administration wants to make foreign aid decisions based on gay rights. …This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop.
  • A statement by Rick Perry • Criticizing President Obama over a memorandum he issued today, which stated broad support for advancing LGBT rights and protecting them from violence. It explicitly mentions the efforts of foreign governments to criminalize LGBT persons (the state of affairs in Uganda the last few years being one such galling example), and states that foreign aid will be directed to promote LGBT human rights. Rick Perry (clearly attempting to spark some momentum for his flat-lined bid for the GOP presidential nomination), decided to pounce, saying further: “Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong. President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake.” source

06 Nov 2011 21:21


World: Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, stuck with huge tax bill, gets huge donations

  • $2.4M the size of the fine China gave to firebrand artist Ai Weiwei — to be paid in just 15 days
  • 20k number of people who have offered Weiwei donations to help pay this insane tax bill
  • $550k amount of money these people have given the artist in just five days; impressive source
  • » This on top of a long arrest earlier this year: Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in jail on tax evasion charges, but claims all authorities wanted to talk about was his pro-democracy record. The fine Ai has been forced to pay is more than three times the size of his tax bill — and he needs help paying. The surprising part is that he actually got said help. “It’s surprising; it has really changed my perspective on people,” he said, noting that people traveled long distances to give him financial help — in person. Ai prefers to think of the payments as loans, and turned down a $157,000 payment from a businessman, saying he preferred smaller loans.

07 Jul 2011 02:02


World: Over one-third of human beings aren’t free

  • The tree-hugging hippies over at Freedom House have released their “Worst of the Worst” report, detailing the world’s most egregious violators of human rights, political expression, and other basic freedoms. The usual suspects are all there: North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, Uzbekistan, Libya, Burma (Myanmar), and Tibet top the list, with China, Cuba, and several others not far behind. The organization concluded that 35% of the world’s population lives in “Not Free” states, while 45% of countries can be considered “Free,” a 14% increase from thirty years ago. The full report is well-worth the read. source

26 Jun 2011 10:57


World: Chinese dissident Hu Jia freed after three-year jail term

The Chinese dissident, shown with his wife Zeng Jinyan, has remained quiet since his release … much like fellow freed dissident Ai Weiwei, who refuses to answer questions. source

11 May 2011 17:56


World: Uganda’s anti-gay bill may be moving forward soon

  • Uganda’s anti-gay bill still exists, everyone: The legislation, authored by MP David Bahati, originally imposed the death penalty for people found guilty of “serial” homosexuality (it’s been reported that this penalty has now been removed from the bill), as well as prison sentences for first-time offenders, and heterosexuals who know of a gay person but don’t report it (presumably still in full swing). It’s self-evidently vile, evil, and has no place whatsoever in a civil society. There were reports last night that officials would vote on the bill today, but it’s not on the docket; the AP is reporting that the bill may come up for debate on Friday. source
  • The political connection David Bahati is a member of “The Family,” (though he was dis-invited from their last National Prayer Breakfast, a D.C. staple) a secretive religious brotherhood which counts many U.S. politicians as members — Republican Senators Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, for a few high-profile examples.
  • Living in Bahati’s world David Bahati had claimed that he would remove the death penalty from the bill, and it’s been alleged that’s happened. Don’t presume a change of heart, though. Journalist Jeff Sharlet, who authored two exceptional books about “The Family,” claims Bahati told him his true ideal very plainly: “to kill every last gay person.”
  • The climate in Uganda Uganda is a pretty harrowing place for gays. Homophobia is rampant throughout Uganda, often hinged on wild, sinister claims about homosexuals stealing away children. It was in this climate that Uganda’s only prominent gay activist, David Kato, was brutally murdered with a hammer in his home, earlier this year. source

10 Apr 2011 12:17


World: Human Rights Watch: Both sides commit abuses in Ivory Coast

  • The group wants Alassane Ouattara to investigate. With incredibly high stakes at play, the situation in the Ivory Coast certainly had the potential to get very bad very quickly, and that’s exactly what Human Rights Watch claims has happened. “While the international community has been focused on the political stalemate in Abidjan over the presidency,” said Human Rights Watch Africa director Daniel Bekele, “forces on both sides have committed numerous atrocities against civilians, their leaders showing little interest in reining them in.” On Alassane Ouattara’s side, the group claims supporters “summarily executed and raped perceived Gbagbo supporters in their homes.” On Laurent Gbagbo’s side, supporters reportedly retaliated by killing more than 100 civilians. In case you haven’t been watching this story, now might be the time to use your non-blind eye. source

05 Apr 2011 13:50


World: Ai Weiwei’s arrest may signal dire sea change in China

  • Western capitals are failing to understand the magnitude of what is happening now. The Chinese authorities are actively seeking to try to redefine the boundaries of which opinions are tolerable, and which are not.
  • Nicholas Bequelin, researcher for Human Rights Watch in China • Speaking on the grim state of Chinese affairs, in the wake of the arrest of famed artist and dissident Ai Weiwei. He argues that the Chinese’s tightening grip over the citizenry indicates a meaningful shift towards more abject totalitarianism. Bequelin added: “We know for certain that there are lawyers who haven’t been arrested, but have been clearly threatened. They’ve been told ‘the gloves are off, we can do anything we like now’. One was informed that ‘the party has special ways to deal with people like you’.” source

07 Mar 2011 15:38


World: Exactly what aim does Hugo Chavez have for Libyan negotiations?

  • Not to belabor the point: In a story that we’ve mentioned in days past, Hugo Chavez has been making noise about wanting to function as a peace negotiator in Libya. Setting aside for a moment arguments about the merits or lack thereof of the way Chavez runs Venezuela, you know what doesn’t bode well for this endeavor? Having your big time negotiator, who was a recipient of the self-evidently ridiculous “al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights,” call reports of Gaddafi’s forces firing on citizens “a great lie.” Also, saying that “Gaddafi is not going anywhere, I’m sure. Gaddafi is among those men who die fighting.” So, that said, what exactly does Hugo hope to achieve for the people of Libya? source