Putin Introduces Fines for Gay ‘Propaganda’ Aimed at Children – Businessweek

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law fining people who “propagate” homosexuality to children, a day after dozens of people were detained following a gay-pride parade in St. Petersburg.

The law introduces fines of 4,000 rubles ($122) to 5,000 rubles for individuals and 10 times those figures for public officials found guilty, according to a copy of the legislation posted to a government website yesterday. Fines for individuals who use mass media or the Internet to propagate homosexuality to minors rise to as much as 100,000 rubles.

Putin, who returned to the Kremlin for a third term as president last year, said in April that same-sex marriages don’t produce children and that Russia and Europe face demographic challenges from lower birth rates, though it’s his duty to protect the rights of people with “non-traditional” sexual orientations. The decision comes days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that denied benefits to same-sex couples and removed obstacles for gay weddings to resume in California.

Putin violated Russia’s international obligations by signing the law, which will be challenged at Russia’s Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights, Nikolai Alexeyev, a Russian gay-rights activist, wrote in a statement on GayRussia.eu.

‘Under-educated Electorate’

“By signing the law banning gay propaganda, President Putin may have won a local battle for the votes of his under-educated electorate,” Alexeyev wrote. “He lost the historical battle. History will prove that he committed a mistake that future generations won’t likely forgive.”

Opinion polls have shown limited tolerance among Russians for homosexuality. Last year, Moscow City Court upheld the city’s decision to ban gay-pride parades for the next 100 years.

The federal bill follows a similar ban on “propaganda” instituted last year in St. Petersburg, which was used two days ago in Russia’s second-largest city. The 58 people detained in St. Petersburg included eight who were opponents of same-sex marriages, the local Fontanka.ru news portal reported, citing city police. A leader of the event, Yury Gavrikov, was held overnight and will face administrative charges on July 4, the news service said.

The St. Petersburg law drew international outrage. American singer Madonna faced a 333 million-ruble fine earlier this year, later thrown out by a city court, after saying at a concert last year that gays and lesbians should be treated with dignity and tolerance.

Defended Record

Putin has defended Russia’s record on gay rights amid criticism from European countries. The bill Putin signed yesterday stigmatizes homosexuals and breaches the spirit of Russia’s commitments, including to the European Convention on Human Rights, Steffen Seibert, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief spokesman, told reporters in Berlin last month.

“I want everyone to understand that in Russia there are no infringements on sexual minorities’ rights,” Putin said in Amsterdam in April. “They’re people, just like everyone else, and they enjoy full rights and freedoms.”

The federal amendments expanded on a law that protects children from pornography and other “harmful information.” The bill prohibits the distribution of information intended to promote or spread “non-traditional sexual orientations’” among minors, or a “distorted conception of the equivalence between traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships.”

The bill also prohibits the “obtrusive spreading of information about non-traditional sexual relationships that may arouse interest in such relationships.”

Russian ‘Mood’

Foreign citizens charged under the law face administrative arrests for as long as 15 days and deportation from Russia.

The federal government wasn’t behind regional initiatives to ban material promoting homosexuality, Putin said in April. They “reflect the mood of Russian society,” he said.

Some 48 percent of Russians believe the government should “definitely” prevent public displays or justifications of homosexuality, the independent Levada Center said May 17, citing a poll of 1,601 people conducted in April. The Moscow-based polling firm found 25 percent said the state should “probably” do so.

The same survey found 13 percent of people think homosexuals should face prosecution, while 38 percent said they should be “treated” for their homosexuality. Some 31 percent said gays and lesbians should be left alone.

via Putin Introduces Fines for Gay ‘Propaganda’ Aimed at Children – Businessweek.

NOM sees one-third decline in contributions for 2011 – LGBTQ Nation

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) saw a steep decline in the amount of money it raised in 2011 – dropping to $6.2 million from the $9.1 million it raised the previous year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Just two donors were responsible for funding 75 percent of the anti-gay group – the organization reported two donations of approximately $2.4 million each. The information is available in NOM’s 2011 990, which NOM made available this evening after HRC requested the documents in-person at their Washington, D.C. office earlier this morning.

“The National Organization for Marriage continues to push the notion that there is some sort of grassroots support for their discriminatory anti-gay agenda,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz.

via NOM sees one-third decline in contributions for 2011 – LGBTQ Nation.

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Anti-gay-marriage campaign: Launched with a false story – seattlepi.com

“Religious groups such as Catholic Charities, in Boston and Washington, D.C., have had to choose between fulfilling their social mission — based on their religious beliefs — or accepting this new definition of marriage. As a result, they had to close their adoption program.”

The message: The placing of children for adoption was threatened and curtailed by adoption of marriage equality in Massachusetts.

The truth is quite different. The man who, in 2005, was chairman of the board of directors for Catholic Charities of Boston, Peter Meade, has set out, in his words, to “set the record straight.” Meade writes:

“Opponents of the freedom to marry ignore the truth and distort history when they talk about Catholic Charities of Boston and its decision to shut down its adoption services. I’m shocked and amazed that so many years later, they are making the false claim that Catholic Charities’ decision had anything to do with allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry.”

As the Boston Globe has documented, Catholic Charities placed 13 children with gay couples BEFORE the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The children were largely from difficult backgrounds and among those “harder to place,” in Meade’s words.

Taking up Meade’s narrative:

“We placed these children according to their needs and according to the love and stability they would receive in their adoptive homes. Most children — more than 700 — were, in fact, adopted by straight couples, but 13 over 17 years were placed in loving homes headed by gay or lesbian couples.”

Action by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, in legalizing same-sex marriage, did NOT force a halt to such adoptions. The orders came from above — and from across the Atlantic.

“In 2005, tragically and out of the blue, the Vatican ordered our diocese to cease using the single criteria of ‘best interest of the children,'” writes Meade. “They ordered us to stop facilitating adoptions to qualified gay and lesbian households.

“I objected strenuously for two reasons. First and foremost, the Church hierarchy was telling us to violate the best interests of the children who were in our care. It was an arbitrary edict that, to many of us, had nothing to do with what was best for these kids and undermined our moral priority of helping vulnerable children find loving homes.”

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/connelly/article/Anti-gay-marriage-campaign-gets-launched-with-a-3944449.php#ixzz29I40qEzh

via Anti-gay-marriage campaign: Launched with a false story – seattlepi.com.

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5 Lies Maryland’s New Anti-Gay Marriage Ad Uses | Care2 Causes

1) “Marriage, the union of a man and a woman…” – Unless you live in one of America’s six states or the District of Columbia, or one of the several nations, that has legalized marriage equality. It’s about denying reality, folks.

2) “Marriage is more than what adults want for themselves, it’s also about the next generation.” – This pretends that marriage is what makes babies happen. Out-of-wedlock teen mothers bedevil this. Also, we know the “marriage is for procreation” line doesn’t hold water because we do not deny the elderly or the infertile a right to marry.

3) “Marriage provides children with the best chance of being raised by a mother and a father.” – Well, yes it would do if you only let straight people marry and then tie adoption rights to heterosexuals-only marriage, as has happened in some states.

4) “Children do best when raised by their married mom and dad.” — The implication of this non sequitur is that children need a mother and father in order to flourish. No peer reviewed, consensus-backed study has shown that the gender of a child’s parents matters, and there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that same-sex parents provide kids with just as nurturing an upbringing as their straight counterparts.

5) “Nobody is entitled to redefine marriage.” — Really, because we’ve been doing it for quite a while now. From contracting for land, to trading women for cattle, to allowing multiple partner marriages, and, yes, allowing same-sex marriage; marriage has been redefined countless times throughout the ages. Furthermore, we as a society do have the right to change what we consider a civil marriage, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to define away gay marriage rights, and therein also have a right to end the inequality same-sex couples face in tax laws, state level recognition and federal benefits, all of which are tied to marriage.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/5-lies-marylands-new-anti-gay-marriage-ad-uses.html#ixzz29HwYlpms

via 5 Lies Maryland’s New Anti-Gay Marriage Ad Uses | Care2 Causes.

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Wayne Besen: Gay Bashing by Churches Is Why a New Pew Poll Shows America Losing Its Religion

A new poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals that a record number of Americans (19.3 percent) have abandoned faith and now consider themselves unaffiliated with any particular religion. According to USA Today:

If you want to understand the reasons behind this trend, take a moment to read a disturbing letter that Twin Cities Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt sent to the mother of a gay son. In it, the holy man told the mother that her “eternal salvation” might depend on whether or not she embraced the anti-gay teachings of the Catholic Church, thus rejecting her own child. Talk about family values!

Such a callous admonition might have worked in the past, when people had little education. It might have resonated in bygone eras, when gays and lesbians were invisible and easy to demonize as the “other.” It might have held sway had the Catholic Church’s credibility not been left in tatters after the church spent more than $2.5 billion to clean up the wreckage wrought by pedophile priests and their enablers.

via Wayne Besen: Gay Bashing by Churches Is Why a New Pew Poll Shows America Losing Its Religion.

Paul Ryan On DOMA: ‘Mitt And I’ Promise To ‘Protect Traditional Marriage’ In Court | The New Civil Rights Movement

Paul Ryan told Focus on the Family president Jim Daly that he and Mitt Romney will defend DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, in the courts, and attacked President Obama for not. Ryan promised Daly that he and the Romney administration will work hard to oppose any LGBT equality measures.

Just a week ago, while speaking to supporters at a town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, Paul Ryan said that preventing same-sex marriage was part of America’s “universal human values.”

via Paul Ryan On DOMA: ‘Mitt And I’ Promise To ‘Protect Traditional Marriage’ In Court | The New Civil Rights Movement.

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Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy Assures Mike Huckabee That Nothing Has Changed | Advocate.com

Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy spoke with Mike Huckabee on Friday to assure him that nothing has changed about his restaurant chain’s antigay ways.

Huckabee is the organizer of the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” that supposedly set a sales record for the fast-food company. The Fox News host and failed presidential candidate rallied thousands to defend a series of comments Cathy made, in which he called same-sex marriage “twisted” and seemed to cop to his company foundation’s history of more than $5 million in donations to antigay groups by declaring cavalierly “guilty as charged.”

Then a Chicago alderman named Proco “Joe” Moreno claimed he was finally going to relent and allow Chick-fil-A to expand to his ward because company officials had agreed to end donations to antigay groups and drafted an anti-discrimination statement that was sent to local operators. That statement, titled “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are,” was posted on the company’s website this week and set off backlash from those hordes of “Appreciation Day” believers. Now Cathy wants to clarify that, no, the company doesn’t have any such agreement.

via Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy Assures Mike Huckabee That Nothing Has Changed | Advocate.com.

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EXCLUSIVE: Undercover At NOM’s Anti-Gay Student Conference | Blog | Media Matters for America

Every summer for the past four years, the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) Ruth Institute has invited college students from across the country to participate in its weekend-long “It Takes A Family To Raise A Village” (ITAF) conference in San Diego, CA. According to NOM, the conference is meant to prepare college students to defend “natural marriage” on their campuses by introducing them to a number of prominent anti-gay speakers and activists.

This year, NOM expanded its ITAF conference to include recent college graduates in their early twenties. Being a 24-year-old gay blogger who has spent the better part of the past two years tracking NOM’s anti-gay extremism, I wasn’t expecting much when I applied to ITAF’s “Emerging Leaders” program in mid-June. I’d spent most of the month publishing blog post after blog post about ITAF’s anti-gay “suggested reading” list, its roster of extreme anti-gay speakers, and its ties to a megachurch linked to the “ex-gay” movement. The application didn’t require me to disclose my place of employment, but a quick Google search of my name would plainly reveal that I was no friend of NOM. Jennifer Morse, the president of NOM’s Ruth Institute, had even specifically responded to a post I’d published about her. I saw my application as more of a joke than anything else.

So when I got a “Congratulations” email at the end of July informing me that I’d been accepted into ITAF, I wasn’t sure how to react.

Honestly, part of me was terrified at the idea of having to spend a whole weekend stuck at a NOM event with a group of anti-gay student activists. What if I was discovered? What if someone from NOM recognized me? If I attended, I ran the risk of being exposed – all alone – as an undercover “homosexualist” in a room full of the very people I’d been writing about for months

via EXCLUSIVE: Undercover At NOM’s Anti-Gay Student Conference | Blog | Media Matters for America.

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Same-sex marriage: Scotland urged to resist Catholic church campaign | Society | guardian.co.uk

The Scottish government has been urged to stand firm over its plans to legalise same-sex marriage and not be derailed by an “anti-gay agenda” as the Catholic church in Scotland launched a campaign to maintain “the universally accepted definition of marriage” as a union between a man and a woman.

In a letter read out in all 500 of the church’s parishes, Scotland’s Catholic bishops expressed their “deep disappointment” that Alex Salmond’s administration has vowed to pass legislation that could see the first gay marriage ceremonies by 2015. The letter called on worshippers to pray for their political leaders so that they may preserve the traditional nature of marriage “for the good of Scotland and of our society”.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the country’s Catholic church who last weekend broke off direct talks with the Scottish government on gay marriage, said: “The church’s teaching on marriage is unequivocal, it is uniquely, the union of a man and a woman and it is wrong that governments, politicians or parliaments should seek to alter or destroy that reality.”

He added: “While we pray that our elected leaders will sustain rather than subvert marriage, we promise to continue to do everything we can to convince them that redefining marriage would be wrong for society.”

Gay rights activists condemned the move. “It is increasingly clear that the church has an anti-gay agenda that it wants to impose on the rest of society,” said Tom French, policy co-ordinator of the Equality Network. “We urge the Scottish government to stand firm on plans to introduce equal marriage and not give in to demands that would discriminate against LGBT people.”

via Same-sex marriage: Scotland urged to resist Catholic church campaign | Society | guardian.co.uk.

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Marriage equality activist takes cause to Duluth’s Depot | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota

NOH8 Campaign photo shoot at the Duluth Depot

Celebrity photographer and NOH8 co-founder Adam Bouska was at the Duluth Depot on Sunday to support marriage equality.

Bouska and partner Jeff Parshaley created NOH8 as a photographic silent protest after California voters passed Proposition 8 in 2008, amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

The campaign’s subjects have their pictures taken with duct tape over their mouths to symbolize their voices being silenced by Proposition 8 and similar legislation elsewhere. The campaign charges subjects to have their pictures taken, with the money going to promote marriage equality and anti-discrimination.

The campaign will have a photo shoot Sept. 20 in St. Paul, but the Delligers wanted to take part before Amber gives birth to the couple’s second child.

via Marriage equality activist takes cause to Duluth’s Depot | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota.

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