An Italian mayor said this week that he finds kissing between people of the same-sex so “morally harmful” that he wants to ban it in his municipality.
“Kissing in public between homosexuals? No thanks,” Gianluca Buonanno, the mayor of the Italian municipality Borgosesia, told Italian newspaper La Repubblica, per a Huffington Post translation. “I don’t like two people of the same sex making public displays of affection. It’s a question of respect. And I’m convinced that it’s also morally harmful for children.”
La Repubblica reports that the mayor is proposing a new ordinance that would ban PDA between gay couples, who could be fined up to 500 euros for sharing a kiss on the streets of Borgosesia.
As Pink News notes, Buonanno — who also told La Repubblica that he intends on putting up a photograph of virulently anti-gay Russian President Vladimir Putin in his office — has a “reputation for inane stunts.”
Earlier this year, for instance, he was expelled from Parliament for pulling a sea bass from under his bench and waving it around. According to The Local Italy, the mayor had used the fish to protest a bill that called for the decriminalization of undocumented immigration.
Responding to Buonanno’s latest comments regarding PDA between same-sex couples, European Parliament member Daniele Viotti said the “new decree is just the latest, pathetic publicity stunt by a narrow-minded man who desperately wants to be in the spotlight.”
“Mr Buonanno is only able to give a voice to all the worst values that, unfortunately, are still circulating in Europe. As always, he is focusing his political frustrations on citizens who are more vulnerable to discrimination,” Viotti said, per Pink News.
Traditionally, Islam does not tolerate homosexuality. Of the estimated 4 million to 7 million Muslims living in the U.S., many are first-generation immigrants, who came from countries where same-sex relationships are stigmatized, criminalized or even punishable by death.
That cultural reality makes it difficult for the message of acceptance and equality, which is becoming mainstream in the U.S., to find an audience in more traditional Islamic circles.
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PHOENIX — Attorneys for the state of Arizona and a group of gay and lesbian couples who sued over the state’s ban on same-sex marriage want a federal judge to decide the case without a trial.
The attorneys told U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick on Monday they think he can instead rule based on arguments each side will file in the coming months.
The couples argue that the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses are violated by the state law barring them from being married.
The case will be heard after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears appeals from Idaho and Nevada in September on cases from those states.
A federal judge struck down Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage in May. Another federal judge upheld Nevada’s ban in 2012.
A Californian man has planted an LGBT flag at the top of the highest mountain in Uganda – and challenged President Museveni to remove it.
Businessman Neal Gottlieb carried the flag on a six-day climb up Mount Stanley, whose elevation is over 5,100m, before reaching the summit on April 16, reports Advocate.
He then posted a picture of the flag atop the mountain to Facebook earlier this week (April 23), along with an open letter to the Ugandan President. See the picture below.
In the open letter, Gottlieb wrote: ”Your country’s highest point is no longer its soil, its snow or a summit marker, but rather a gay pride flag waving brilliantly, shining down from above as a sign of protest and hope behalf of the many thousands of Ugandans that you seek to repress and the many more that understand the hideous nature of your repressive legislation.”
He continued: “If you had a son, daughter, niece or nephew that was homosexual, would you want her or him to be imprisoned for life? What if you have friends that are closeted homosexuals? Should they be locked up for the rest of their lives? If you were born gay, would you deserve to be imprisoned?”
To read the full letter, click here.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — In conservative Mississippi, some business owners who support equal treatment for gays and lesbians are pushing back against a new law that bans government from limiting the free practice of religion.
Critics fear the vaguely written law, which takes effect July 1, will prompt authorities to look away from anti-gay actions that are carried out in the name of religious beliefs — for example, photographers refusing to take pictures for same-sex couples because they believe homosexuality is a sin.
Hundreds of businesses, from hair salons to bakeries and art galleries, have started displaying round blue window stickers that declare: “We don’t discriminate. If you’re buying, we’re selling.”
The sticker campaign started this month in response to Republican Gov. Phil Bryant’s signing the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The law says government cannot put a substantial burden on religious practices, without a compelling reason. While it does not specifically mention gays or lesbians, “People are going to take it as permission, if you will, to discriminate against people they don’t necessarily agree with or like,” said Jackson hair salon owner Eddie Outlaw, 42, who went out of state to marry his husband.
“We have a long and well-documented history of discrimination in this state,” Outlaw said. “To think there won’t be any discrimination is laughable.”
Outlaw is among the leaders of the “We don’t discriminate” campaign, and he displays one of the stickers in the window of his salon in Jackson’s eclectic Fondren neighborhood. Organizers say the first 500 decals were distributed in about two weeks to businesses from the Tennessee state line in the north down to the Gulf Coast. Another 1,000 stickers were on order.
Bryant won praise from national conservative groups, including the Family Research Council, by signing the legislation that was backed by the state’s Pentecostals and Southern Baptists. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who traveled from Washington to Jackson for a private bill signing ceremony April 3, is among Bryant’s backers.
“Those who understand the importance and cherish the historic understanding of religious freedom are grateful for leaders who respond to fact and not fictitious claims of those who are trying to quarantine faith within the walls of our churches or homes,” he said.
Bryant said the Mississippi act mirrors a federal law President Bill Clinton signed in 1993 and that 18 other states have enacted since the mid-1990s. The governor also said he does not believe Mississippi’s law, which also adds “In God We Trust” to the state seal, will lead to anti-gay discrimination.
“I would hope that people will realize that the law has no element in it that the federal law does not have in it,” Bryant told The Associated Press in his Capitol office. “It is the same discussion of not burdening someone’s religious freedom — that the government, government should not burden someone’s religious freedom without a compelling interest.”
In 2004, 86 percent of Mississippi voters approved a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The state has a hate-crimes law, but it does not cover acts committed against gays and lesbians.
Mitchell Moore owns Campbell’s Bakery, which is just up a hill from Outlaw’s salon. Moore helped create the “We don’t discriminate” sticker campaign, though he jokingly calls himself an “interloper” because he’s not gay. Moore, a Republican, said he’s angry because he believes Bryant and legislators are presuming to speak for the business community, and he said emphatically that they’re not.
“I am a straight, white, Southern, Christian conservative male,” Moore said. “I don’t understand why Christians consider one sin worse than another sin.”
Joce (pronounced JO-see, short for Jocelyn) Pritchett, 46, grew up in north Mississippi’s Webster County and lives and works in the Jackson area. She displays one of the “We don’t discriminate” stickers in the window of the civil-engineering business she owns.
Pritchett and her wife wed in 2013 in Maine, which legalized same-sex marriage, and they have two young children. She said she’s tired of hearing religious people say, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” while speaking of gays and lesbians.
“We don’t consider it a sin,” Pritchett said. “They pat you on the head and say, ‘I love you, honey. I’ll love you all the way to hell.'”
She said when the Mississippi House and Senate passed the bill on April 1, she heard from a friend who told her: “‘Oh, my God. We’re going to be Arizona.'”
Arizona is among the states that has had its own Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the books for years. It drew national attention earlier this year with a bill that would have altered the existing law by allowing businesses to refuse service to gays. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill after companies said it would hurt the state.
An early version of the Mississippi bill was similar to the one vetoed in Arizona. The final version, however, had been changed to only specify that government could not put a burden on religious practices, without a compelling reason. Portions that would’ve allowed private businesses to refuse service were removed.
While the Mississippi law angers him, Outlaw said he sees it as backlash from religious conservatives who are resisting equal treatment for gays and lesbians, including the right to marry. “The rational part of me realizes this is just the death rattle of the old way of life.”
Estonians may be able to enter into civil partnerships as soon as July if a coalition of Estonian lawmakers get their way.
A working group including MPs from all four parties in the Estonian Parliament is working on a bill to allow both straight and gay couples to enter into civil partnerships and three of the parties in the parliament support the idea.
Supporters hope to fast track the bill through the parliament so that it can become law as soon as July at which point couples, regardless of gender, would be able to formalize their relationships without marrying and have their property rights recognized.
You don’t get to chose. If you’re business is open to the public then it is open to the public.
I am hopefully for my home state of Pennsylvania. Below is more info
Last week’s decision overturning Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, the first of its kind in a southern state but one of a growing number of similar court rulings, left an attorney for the plaintiffs challenging Pennsylvania’s ban on such unions feeling uplifted and confident.
“It’s not so surprising,” said John S. Stapleton, who represents the 10 couples — including one from the Downingtown area — who want the state’s law defining marriage as a union between a woman and a man thrown out. “It’s exciting.”
U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen’s decision on Thursday echoes recent rulings elsewhere in the U.S., Stapleton said, and is the strongest foothold yet in the South for the gay-marriage movement. On Wednesday, another judge declared that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, but didn’t rule on the constitutionality of whether such marriages can be performed in the state.
“It is exciting to see state after state coming around to recognize marriage for all couples,” said Stapleton, of the Philadelphia law firm of Hangley, Aronchick, Segal, Pudin & Schiller, which is working alongside the ACLU of Pennsylvania in challenging the state’s 1996 law.
“I think that we are seeing, not just in Virginia, but in Kentucky, and in Nevada, and in Utah, and other cases, courts viewing these laws as failing to put forward any interest of the state in passing these discriminatory laws,” he said in a telephone interview Friday.
“You are seeing great movement, in both the public forum and the courts, that the time has come to (overturn) these laws,” he said. “Gays and lesbians get married for the same reasons that everyone else does, and that they should be entitled to express those rights.”
The Pennsylvania lawsuit, filed in July, is scheduled to go to trial before U.S. District Judge John E. Jones in Harrisburg later this spring.
Although Stapleton said the Virginia decision would have no precedential impact on the Pennsylvania case, he nevertheless said he saw no real distinction between the two states’ statutes. “We do not see a basis for distinguishing the Pennsylvania law from other laws (that have been found wanting),” he said. “We are looking forward to taking our case to trial in June and establishing that Pennsylvania does not have a constitutional basis for these discriminatory laws.”
Joel Frank, an attorney for the West Chester law firm of Lamb McErlane, which is representing the state in defending the law, declined comment on the Virginia decision Friday.
State Attorney General Kathleen has said her office will not defend the law, a position similar to that of Mark Herring, the newly elected Virginia attorney general.
Herring took the unusual step of not defending the law because it believes the ban violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
In her ruling, the judge agreed.
Wright Allen struck down the three key arguments offered for denying gay marriages. “Government interests in perpetuating traditions, shielding state matters from federal interference, and favoring one model of parenting over others must yield to this country’s cherished protections that ensure the exercise of the private choices of the individual citizen regarding love and family,” Wright Allen wrote.
The judge also wrote: “Gay and lesbian individuals share the same capacity as heterosexual individuals to form, preserve and celebrate loving, intimate and lasting relationships.”
Opponents of the Virginia ban say the issue resonates in Virginia in particular because of a landmark 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a Virginia couple and interracial marriage.
Mildred and Richard Loving were married in Washington, D.C., and lived in Virginia when police raided their home in 1958 and charged them with violating the state’s Racial Integrity law. They were convicted but prevailed before the Supreme Court.
During verbal arguments in the gay marriage case, Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael said that ban is legally indistinguishable from the one on interracial marriage. He said the arguments used to defend the ban now are the same ones used back then, including that marriage between two people of the same sex has never been historically allowed. Wright Allen concurred with that assessment in her ruling.
The Pennsylvania plaintiffs include Heather and Kath Poehler of East Brandywine, who were legally married in Massachusetts in 2005, but whose status as spouses is not recognized here because of the state ban.
Pennsylvania would become the 14th state to legalize gay marriage if the lawsuit is successful. It also would force the state to recognize the legal marriages of all same-sex couples in other jurisdictions.
The 1996 Pennsylvania law defines marriage as a civil contract in which a man and a woman take each other as husband and wife, and it says same-sex marriages, even if entered legally elsewhere, are void in Pennsylvania. State law does not allow civil unions.
In Pennsylvania, recent polls show a majority is in favor of gay marriage. The U.S. Census reports that there were 744 same-sex couples in Chester County in 2011.