Uganda’s National Motto: We Still Hate Gay People

They’re at it again: The Ugandan legislature is set to vote – again – on a piece of legislation known internationally as the “kill the gays” bill.

Since 2009, Ugandan parliamentary member David Bahati has been trying to amend current Ugandan law (up to 14 years imprisonment for being gay) to throw LGBT Ugandans in prison for life.  An LGBT Ugandan could earn this sentence for simply being in a relationship with someone he or she loves. His sick, twisted dream also includes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”  In Bahati-speak, aggravated homosexuality includes “serial offenders” (having sex with the same person multiple times) and those who have gay sex with a disabled person. Seriously.

Bahati claims that the most recent version of this disgusting violation of human rights does not contain the death penalty. We’ve seen this sort of thing for three years: the international community pressures the Ugandan legislature to abandon the bill and they eventually do or say it’s going to be amended. Then it dies…only to reanimate like the undead the next year.

Once the legislature passes it, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will either sign it into law or veto it, in which case it is expected the legislature will override his veto.

This is the same David Bahati who revealed it is his goal to use the government of Uganda “to kill every last gay person.”

Currently, members of the international LGBT community face life imprisonment and death in many nations. On the same planet where same-sex couples can wed in nearly a dozen countries (and nine U.S. states), a large but thankfully shrinking portion of the world still treats homosexuality as a sickness and crime to be punished and snuffed out.

What is perhaps most disturbing about this bill is the fact that it was inspired by the same ideas that many “family” groups use here in America.

Bahati is one of the Ugandan leaders of a powerful and secretive far-right evangelical organization known as “The Family.” Despite The Family’s claims that they are not responsible for the hate in Uganda, Jeff Sharlet of Harper’s Magazine and Rolling Stone points out:

“They didn’t pull the trigger [by writing such a bill]. But there’s a sense in which they built the gun, which was the institutional idea of government being decided by small groups of elite leaders like Bahati, getting together and trying to conform government to their idea of Biblical law…this is what their American benefactors wanted them to do.”

For four decades, so-called “pro-family” groups have been screaming bloody murder because the government and society at large have had the gall to grant gays and lesbians the same rights and protections that all citizens enjoy.

Gays and lesbians have been routinely called “perverts,” “degenerates,” “child molesters,” “sodomizers,” and “sick” by groups whose sole purpose it is to “protect” America from things like equality and equal pay. Be afraid, America!

One example is the influential Family Research Council, headed by former Louisiana lawmaker Tony Perkins. Last year it was classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its consistent dissemination of hate and lies against the LGBT community.

Not all “pro-family” groups are given the hate group certification. It’s when they start citing discredited studies and phony statistics to attack gays and lesbians as degenerates that the label is then rightfully applied.

Before he claimed he never supported the “kill the gays” bill, Perkins praised it as a way “to uphold moral conduct” and a tool that Bahati could use to lead “his nation in repentance.” It turns out hate and ignorance have consequences….like inspiring loons like Bahati.

Thankfully, this hate and ignorance of the LGBT community is continually decreasing. As the 21st century continues more and more people are realizing that gays and lesbians are just like everybody else (shocker, right?!). Nine, and possibly soon to be ten, states now recognize gays and lesbians as equal citizens. The number of nations that are legalizing marriage equality grows by the month as well.

At the same time, ideals from the 16th century are making one last stand before dying out like the infection on humanity they are. Uganda is sadly one of many nations where LGBT persons face intense persecution and possibly their lives for being who they are. The international community must continue to pressure and possibly sanction Uganda for its gross human rights violations.

Call me idealistic or American, but governments are supposed to treat and protect all citizens equally. It is absolutely unacceptable for any nation to treat its citizens the way Uganda currently does. It is vital to everyone that the medicine of truth and knowledge be administered, and soon.

My Two Cents On New York’s Legalization Of Marriage Equality

On Friday, June 24, 2011, New York joined five other U.S. states by legalizing same-sex marriage. The bill passed in both the Assembly and Senate and was immediately signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Equality won in New York. However, gay couples in 44 other states are still treated as second-class citizens.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Washington D.C. and now New York are the only areas of the country where gay couples are seen as equal in the eyes of the law. Civil unions (rights nearly identical – but not equal to – marriage) are legal in five U.S. states, including New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Delaware and Rhode Island. Domestic Partnerships (rights very similar to – but definitely not equal to – marriage) are legal in eight U.S. states, including California (where they are essentially civil unions), Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. A total of 30 states have discrimination etched into their constitutions…despite the 14th Amendment.

Times are changing. For the first time in U.S. history, a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, according to a Gallup poll released earlier this year. Gallup found that 53 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, including a whopping 70 percent of young people (18-34).

Here in California, Prop 8 is most likely on its deathbed. The Ninth Circuit Court is continuing to review Judge Walker’s monumental 2010 decision that overturned Prop 8. I predict his decision will be upheld (thanks to his brilliant review) and that same-sex marriage will once again be legal in The Golden State before 2012. If not, gay activists and supporters have vowed to push for a ballot initiative in the 2012 election that would overturn Prop 8 and legalize same-sex marriage (what a sad statement on the justice system in this country if it comes to that…). If public opinion and changing attitudes are any indication, it would have no trouble passing.

When will the federal government of the United States treat all of its citizens equally? It is the 21st century and our knowledge of what it means to be human has progressed and evolved. Love transcends gender. Most people see their gay friends and family as deserving of all the rights they receive. 10 nations around the world have passed marriage equality. Isn’t the United States supposed to be a beacon of liberty and an example for the rest of the world to follow? One can only hope that the United States legal system doesn’t continue to drag its feet, trampling over the rights of an entire group of people.

A Manhattan crowd reacts to the passage of marriage equality in New York. Photo credit: Associated Press 2011

Surprising Report About Tulare County

I was born and raised in Tulare County California…Ya know, the REALLY conservative, agricultural center of the world. Here is one thing I nor anyone else would have ever guessed about my home-county: Tulare County has the highest percentage of same-sex couples raising children. Tulare county was also the county with the highest percentage of voters supporting Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, back in 2008 (75.1% support).

According to the U.S. census, 46 percent of same-sex couples in Tulare County are raising children. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on this amazing story. The best line from the article is a quote from lesbian mother Robin Martorano:

“The Central Valley is going to get blown away in the next generation. The kids who are growing up here will never put up with the discrimination that goes on here today.”

Times are changing.

Whacked Out Preacher, Meet Teen Psychological Abuse

The following video makes my blood boil.

Aside from the brainwashing and psychological abuse this ignorant whack job is inflicting on his audience of teenagers, the very look and style of his “ministry” is troubling. We see “hip” clothes and modern hairstyles…masking an old-time, fire-and-brimestone, ignorant, anti-science, extremist sect of Christianity.

In this view of world, it doesn’t matter what the facts of life are. “Science? Why that’s just ‘code’ for ‘liberal brainwashing!’ Psychology? Those doctors do Satan’s bidding!”

This is the very reason why so many gay youth are taking their own lives; They’re told that they are disgusting and sinful and that they have to hate who they are. This is child abuse, plain and simple.

As the world advances and progresses further into the 21st century, lunatics like the man in the video are dead-set on dragging the young and vulnerable into the Stone Age.

Judge Walker’s Ruling Stands

Today, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware ruled that Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision (declaring Proposition 8 “unconstitutional”) is still valid even though Judge Walker is gay.

Proponents of Prop 8 motioned to have Walker’s monumental decision vacated because the judge was a gay man ruling to allow same-sex marriage in the state of California (for the second time).

The short ‘n sweet summary of this latest ruling: Who cares if he’s gay or not?! His ruling is judicially sound.

 

Below is a section of Judge Ware’s ruling:

After considering the Oppositions to the Motion and the governing law, as  discussed below, the Court finds that neither recusal nor disqualification was  required based on the asserted grounds. The sole fact that a federal judge  shares the same circumstances or personal characteristics with other members of  the general public, and that the judge could be affected by the outcome of a  proceeding in the same way that other members of the general public would be  affected, is not a basis for either recusal or disqualification under Section  455(b)(4). Further, under Section 455(a), it is not reasonable to presume that a  judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality  of a law, solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the  proceedings. Accordingly, the Motion to Vacate Judgment on the sole ground of  Judge Walker’s same-sex relationship is DENIED.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is still considering whether Walker’s ruling is constitutional. My two cents: same-sex marriage will be legal in California (again) before 2012.

Judicially and even in modern-day American society, legal prohibitions against same-sex marriage are unsound, discriminatory and rely on faulty/discredited studies claiming homosexuals “hurt” children or somehow “destroy the fabric of society.” It’s 2011. It’s time to move forward. The constitution gives EVERYONE equal protection under the law.

Crazy In The Name of God & Country – “American Family Association” Edition

In 21st America, one would expect ignorance and bigotry to be nearly extinct. Sadly, this is not the case; Bigotry, ignorance, hate and hypocrisy are still alive and kicking from “purple mountains majesty” to “the fruited plains.”

Don’t misunderstand me: America is exceptional. Our constitution enshrines freedom, liberty and equality and our people have always overcome adversity and pushed through to better ways of life. We have the freedom to choose our own destinies and express our views publicly.

Freedom of Speech is one of the greatest American values. However, like anything, this value is abused. People and groups use their constitutionally protected freedom to spread hate, lies and venomous insults to other people and groups. This is the definition of “hate group.”

According to the FBI, a hate group is defined as any group whose “primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin which differs from that of the members of the organization.” The American Family Association (AFA) fits this definition like hand in glove.

Don’t be fooled by the words “American” and “Family.” The AFA has made it their goal to stigmatize and bully homosexuals, feminists, Muslims, the irreligious, and essentially anyone else who isn’t a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, all in the name of God and Country. Their vitriol and hate is only outdone by the lunatics of Westboro Baptist Church.

I could put down in words some of their craziest, hateful statements. However, in the Age of the Internet, I think it would be much more productive and beneficial for you, the reader, to see and hear what the AFA has said.

 

The AFA thinks Muslims are stupid, inbred morons….

 

Last year (2010) during the controversy surrounding the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” misinformation ran rampant after a Muslim group wanted to open a Muslim community center blocks away from Ground Zero in New York. Many said that it was all a part of a conspiratorial plot by Muslims to destroy America…..seriously. The AFA had plenty to say…

 

The AFA’s hatred of Muslims goes furthur…they don’t want any Muslims in the military OR coming in to the country…

 

The AFA thinks homosexuals are Nazis…

 

The AFA thinks that gays are responsible for the Holocaust (even though he says that’s not what he thinks). Just follow his warped logic and outright lies…

 

The AFA says that liberal gays and Muslims have joined together in a plot to take down Western Civilization…

 

You can’t make this garbage up.

 

American Family Association logo

 

It’s A Non-Issue

Gallup now reports that 70 percent of young people (18-34) and a majority (53 percent) of Americans in general support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. However, only 39 percent of people aged 55 and older are in support.

Most young people personally know or are friends with gays and lesbians. As opposed to the older generation, we see who “the homosexual” really is: a doctor, lawyer, parent, sibling, writer, elected official, police officer, business owner or artist.

Even young Evangelicals increasingly consider same-sex marriage a non-issue, according to a 2008 study  conducted by the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

Just because someone accepts the legality of an issue or law does not necessarily mean they approve/affirm that issue or law on moral grounds. That’s the beauty of Separation of Church and State.

Rather than seeing negative stereotypes or misconceptions (perverts, mentally ill, etc.), young people understand that gays and lesbians are every bit as human as their straight counterparts.

Modern stereotypes of gays and lesbians are rather complimentary, in my opinion; Gay men are clean-cut, artistic Apple computer owners and lesbians are eclectic, charismatic coffee shop owners (the stereotype appears to be confirmed in independent coffee shops with gay men on their on MacBooks or iPhones…).

It is only a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legal throughout the nation. The only obstacle to equal rights is dogmatic adherence to outdated, discriminatory values (only 28% of self-identified conservatives support legal same-sex marriage).

Young people get it. When will Capitol Hill and 45 state legislatures?

Gallup results by age group