Serbia LGBT Pride March Takes Place Undisturbed As Riot Police Stand Guard….

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Waving rainbow-colored flags, several hundred gay activists proceeded undisturbed through downtown Belgrade on Sunday thanks to the protection of thousands of riot police.

The march advanced for only several hundred meters through the empty Belgrade streets where shops were closed and public transport was stopped. Still, it was important symbolically as a rare public event staged by gays in this highly conservative Balkan country.

Skirmishes were reported between small groups of extremists and police during and after the march, with soccer hooligans attacking liberal B-92 radio and TV station with flares and smoke bombs. Two policemen were injured, the station said. Also, the hooligans set one public bus on fire with flares, police said.

Water cannons, armored vehicles and riot police blocked traffic on the route of the march amid threats of attacks from extreme nationalists, as Serbia tried to show it respects human rights of all of its citizens as it seeks European Union membership.

“This is a very positive and strong message,” Michael Davenport, head of the EU mission in Serbia, told the pride rally. “It is also a strong message to those using the hate language.”

Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali who joined the march together with several foreign diplomats, government members and Serbian party leaders, said it was a chance to show that Belgrade is a world capital “where all of its citizens are equal.”

Officials allowed Sunday’s event despite fears of a repeat of the violence in 2010 when right-wing groups attacked a pride march in Belgrade, triggering clashes with police that left more than 100 people injured. Authorities banned gay rights marches planned for the following three years, citing security reasons.

Later Sunday, thousands of far-right supporters marched through downtown Belgrade in what their leaders said was “spiritual cleansing” of the capital after the pride event.

Jovana Gec – Associated Press
Marko Drobnjakovic – Photo

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It’s Time For The Freedom to Marry….

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The Homophobia-Christianity Complex….

Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips
Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips noted homophobe

Since the dawn of recorded time, aggressors have shared one common trait: They believe – or would have others believe – that they are the aggrieved party.

The latest iteration of this guiding principle has consumed the airwaves, ether and pulpits among the Christian right: Practicing Christians have declared themselves a persecuted minority. These activists and commentators fail to add that we remain very much a nation far more devout than Western Europe and much of the rest of Christendom. Our pro athletes regularly have prayer circles before or after games. Out-and-proud believers populate the highest precincts of Wall Street (e.g., Mitt Romney), Hollywood (Tom Hanks, Tyler Perry, et al.), even the Devil’s music (U2, Jonas Brothers, Lenny Kravitz, and many more).

The Nazis, who were masters at this, found a convenient scapegoat in “the Jews,” who were blamed for everything from Germany’s loss in World War I to inflation, rampant communism, rampant capitalism and bad crop yields. For today’s Christian right, the blame falls squarely on the gays, widely known to them as “homofascists.” Among those leading the charge is Scott Lively, whose “scholarly work” got the ball rolling back in 1995 with his book The Pink Swastika, a work of historical revisionism that argued homosexuals were not only not persecuted by the Nazis, but remained the bulwark of its power base through the entire Third Reich.

Somewhere along the way, gay men morphed from limp-wristed, dyed-miniature-poodle-walking hairdressers into muscle-bound, jack-booted thugs, the Storm Troopers of the progressive elite. Lesbians in the collective Christian consciousness didn’t have nearly as far to go to fit the gross stereotype. Those who are transgender are still too busy invading restrooms to man the barricades.

Lively is typical of the way hard right-wing Christian activists have made a name for themselves – and a tidy income – by continually evoking the Homosexual Agenda, which, in its mystery, reach and power, apparently makes the Elders of Zion (a conspiracy of Jews invented by the czarist secret police) look like amateurs. The head of Abiding Truth Ministries, he was instrumental in nearly pushing through the Ugandan legislature a law that would have mandated the death penalty for practicing homosexuals. He is currently running as an independent candidate for governor of Massachusetts. Indeed, there’s a whole industry based on this meme. I call it, with apologies to Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex, the homophobia-Christianity complex.

The ultimate goal of this queer Fifth Column is no less than “redefining truth” and coming “to regard our conscience as an enemy,” David Kupelian explained on World Net Daily, aka the voice of the oppressed, in an article titled “Meet the New Fascists – And Their Victims.” In order to establish this Kingdom of the Damned, according to Jonathan Saenz, the head of Texas Values whose wife it was recently revealed left him for another woman, the homosexual militants intend to attack churches and jail pastors by the thousands.

Their list of grievances is long, but they boil down to four categories:
• Marginalizing those opposed to “the escalating gay tyranny” via the media, entertainment, sports figures and anyone else who happens to be around.
• Making the good bad, the bad good, until the good succumbs to the bad, as happened with the Boy Scouts and the Armed Forces.
• Silencing brave martyrs to the cause, such as the patriarch of cable reality show Duck Dynasty and Brandon Eich, the short-lived CEO of Mozilla.
• Turning the law on its head, such as the ongoing claim that antidiscrimination statutes mandate Christians turn their backs on their faith to stay in business and pervert the privacy of public restrooms.

There’s more, much more, but it’s the last that has been most in the news. New Mexico’s highest court ruled against a wedding photographer who refused to shoot a lesbian couple’s nuptials. B&B owners in Hawaii and Illinois were both told to accept a lesbian couple as guests. Bakers in Oregon, Indiana and Colorado were told to accommodate LGBT patrons who wanted a wedding cake or rainbow cookie.

The Christian media has been aflame with reports that a baker in suburban Denver was threatened with jail time, he would be forced to enter a “re-education camp” and that his employees would have to undergo grueling hours of antidiscrimination reminiscent of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. In truth, the owner of Masterpiece Cakes was never seriously at risk of going to jail. A perfunctory glance at the Colorado Civil Rights Division’s webpage reveals he and his employees will sit through a cursory half-hour session, much of which will be spent watching a video presentation.

As reported in EDGE, just last month a baker in another gay-friendly part of the world – Shuylkill, Pa., an hour’s drive from Philadelphia and the heavily gay town of New Hope – has refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple renewing their vows. The owner told one of the women that she “had talked to Jesus for two weeks and that because it was two females getting married, she couldn’t make our cake.”

Jesus may be a savvy businessman as well as the savior of the world. The Denver baker has found himself in a rather sweet spot. Although he may not have scored any points with potential LGBT customers, his business has been booming thanks to the custom of like-minded sympathizers – a far larger customer base than LGBT carb loaders, even in marijuana-addled Denver.

Although it’s easy – OK, really easy – to dismiss these self-styled activists as crackpots, they retain a powerful hold on a significant number of Americans. Powerful fellow travelers in the media like Fox News, where the “war on Christmas” is as regular an annual event as the Rockefeller Center tree-lighting ceremony, have given them a nationwide platform. And politicians are listening.

Progressives cheered when Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer made a last-minute veto of a bill that would have rolled back anti-LGBT discrimination statutes after corporations decried it and the NFL even threatened to move the Super Bowl. But I had to look long and hard to discover what happened to the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act after it sailed through Tennessee’s legislature. The bill, as per the ACLU, “crosses the line from protecting religious freedom into creating systematic imposition of some students’ personal religious viewpoints on other students” and will likely result in condoning – if not encouraging – bullying of students out or perceived to be gay.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslem, who had vetoed another bill that would have allowed teachers to “present” alternatives to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and global warming (i.e., humiliate students who disagree), is considered a relative moderate in the state. Nevertheless, he signed Religious Viewpoints into law.

Expect similar blowback in the months ahead. Meanwhile, hard right-wing Christian organizations, like the American Family Association and the Family Research Council, will continue to feel the heavy brunt of the gay homothugs.

Steve Weinstein – Edge: New England

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Three Surrender, Face Charges In Philadelphia Beating Of Gay Couple….

From left -  Philip Williams, Kathryn Knott and Kevin Harrigan.
From left: Philip Williams, Kathryn Knott and Kevin Harrigan

A week after online sleuths used social media to identify suspects in the beating of a gay couple, three suburban Philadelphia defendants surrendered to police Wednesday and were charged in what one defense lawyer called merely a “fist fight that got out of hand.”

Police said 24-year-old Philip Williams of Warminster; 24-year-old Kathryn Knott of Southampton, the daughter of a suburban police chief; and 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan of Warrington turned themselves in Wednesday morning. They were charged with criminal conspiracy and two counts each of aggravated and simple assault, and reckless endangerment.

The victims told police a group hurled gay slurs and beat them when the two parties passed on a Philadelphia street Sept. 11. One man suffered serious facial injuries, including an orbital fracture, and had his jaw wired.

Williams’ attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., said the suspects and other friends had been celebrating a friend’s birthday at a city restaurant before the encounter.

“In no way, shape or form was this incident related to anyone’s sexual orientation,” Perri said Wednesday outside the police station where his client surrendered. “This was a mutual confrontation that started because two individuals got into an argument out in the street.”

Perri said his client was not the aggressor. Police, though, have said the defendants made disparaging remarks as they approached the couple.

“The group then attacked the complainants, holding them while other members of the group punched them in the face, head and chest,” police said in a statement Wednesday.

Knott’s attorney, Louis Busico, also denied that the dispute was motivated by anti-gay bias or that his client hurled insults or threw any punches.

“Ms. Knott is absolutely not homophobic and she didn’t utter any slur to anyone, whatsoever,” Busico said. “We don’t deny that there was a gentleman who was assaulted. We don’t deny that this gentleman was injured. But I unequivocally deny that my client did anything to hurt this man; she wouldn’t hurt anybody.”

The nature of the charges led Lansdale Hospital to suspend Knott from her three-year job as an operating room technician. The hospital also said in a statement that it was looking into her Twitter account “for potential violations of patient privacy.”

Harrigan’s lawyer, Josh Scarpello, declined to discuss specifics of the criminal case, but said his client played a minor role and planned to plead not guilty. Scarpello said the group did not set out to attack the couple and described the ordeal as a “fist fight that got out of hand.”

The case gained attention when police posted a video of the suspects, and online followers used social media sites to help identify them. One man in the group has since stepped down as a part-time basketball coach at Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster. He was not among those charged.

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which last week banned the coach from working at any archdiocesan school, declined further comment Wednesday on the personnel matter.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, in announcing the charges Tuesday, said that “an assault on people because of their sexual orientation has no place in Philadelphia.”

Pennsylvania’s hate-crimes law does not cover crimes motivated by a person’s sexual orientation. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, along with openly gay state Rep. Brian Sims of Philadelphia and others, has said the case demonstrates the need for the law to change.

Sean Carlin – Associated Press

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Census Finds More Than A Half Million LGBT Weddings This Decade….

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More than a half a million LGBT Americans have married their same-sex partner since marriage equality first allowed them to marry, reports the United States Census Bureau this week.

Gay Star News reports that while the Census Bureau estimated only 182,000 married gay couples in 2012, revised estimates from the bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey raised that figure to almost 252,000 — not including those couples who had divorced.

Until this May, the Census Bureau lumped those in same-sex marriages with unmarried couples living together, making it harder to determine exactly how many LGBT Americans have tied the knot since Massachusetts became the first state to allow it, in May 2004.

Overall, they found that marriage in general was down, with only about 50 percent of people over 18 years old in married relationships in 2013, as opposed to more than 72 percent in 1960, an all-time high.

The Charlotte Observer noted that there is now a total of 56 million married couples in the U.S. Unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples who live together are both counted as “unmarried partners.”

The Census Department reveals that between 2007-2008, the Bureau made improvements in how they collect data, and how that data is edited and processed. They also made it more difficult to accidentally mark both male and female, given the Bureau a more accurate estimate of same-sex couple households.

They also noted that 16 percent of these couples had a child in 2011, with 10 percent of male/male couples and 22 percent of female/female couples having kids.

Moving forward, the Census Bureau plans in 2020 to test a new relationship question that better defines who these ‘domestic partners’ are, with options including “same-sex husband/wife/spouse” and “same-sex unmarried partner” among the choices.

Winnie McCroy – Edge: New England

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Transgender Teen Crowned Homecoming King At Texas high School….

Homecoming King Mel Gonzales (right) with Queen Mercedes Mackay (left).
Homecoming King Mel Gonzales (right) with Queen Mercedes Mackay (left)

A Houston-area high school is the latest to crown a transgender teen as homecoming royalty.

Mel Gonzales, a transgender student at at Stephen F. Austin High School in Sugar Land, Texas, was crowned Homecoming King last week.

Gonzales tells Project Q Houston that winning the crown proves that acceptance is growing for people who identify “outside of the gender binary.”

Days before the announcement of his win, Gonzales had written a message for his classmates on social media. It read:

“I never wanted to make it as (homecoming king) a popularity contest. Rather, I wanted to prove that an openly transgender male could make court. I don’t want to be just your homecoming king — I want to be your female-to-male homecoming king.

“It make not be a big deal to you, but this is for my LGBT community, for my Gay-Straight Alliance, and for my underdogs who don’t get enough representation. You are capable, so always keep at it.”

Read an interview with Mel at Project Q →

Also last weekend, Scarlett Lenh, a transgender student at Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., was crowned homecoming princess after receiving the majority of the votes from her junior class, besting three other girls for the honor.

Earlier this year, Blake Brockington, a 17-year-old senior at East Meck High School in North Carolina became his state’s first transgender teen to be crowned Homecoming King.

LGBTQ Nation

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Boys Wear Skirts To Class in Protest After School Fines Trans Girl For Wearing Skirt….

Students in Brazil — boys and girls — came to school wearing skirts in support of a fellow trans student who was reprimanded by school officials for wearing a skirt.

Nine days after transgender student Maria Muniz was fined by school officials for wearing a skirt, a group of her Colégio Pedro II classmates decided to stage a protest: both male and female students would all wear skirts on the same day.

Soon after their demonstration an ecstatic Muniz learned that the school’s decision was overturned, reports the UK’s Orange News. Pedro II’s principal told Brazil’s Globo that the school will consider relaxing their dress code.

After the protest, school officials posted a picture of their male and female students wearing wearing skirts to social media, where it became widely shared. Supporters have been writing their support to Muniz using the hashtag #VouDeSaia.

“For me, wearing a skirt was about expressing my freedom over who I am inside and not how society sees me,” Muniz told Orange News.

“I am really happy about the way my classmates supported me and hope it serves as an example to others to feel encouraged to do the right thing,” she added. “I was always taught at school to accept who you are. I am only trying to live that.”

Mitch Kellaway – The Advocate

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