Can't say the same for the statehouses.
Today is National Coming Out Day, and President Joe Biden is a longtime supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. It's not a surprise that he'd release a kind, empathetic statement, but it's still appreciated.
BIDEN: Today, we celebrate National Coming Out Day and the courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self.
Today and every day, I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are – regardless of whether or not you've come out.
What a difference a few months can make! Donald Trump's anti-gay sock puppet Mike Pence is no longer in the administration, and the GOP has more or less “conceded defeat" on marriage equality. Yes, Republicans were at war on love. That's the kind of people we're dealing with here. But not everything's swell. Republicans are still targeting the LGBTQ+ community and have gone so far as to claim their very existence is divisive.
Schools in multiple states, when not banning "critical race theory" and facial coverings, are now banning pride flags or any LGBTQ+ symbol they fear is offensive to bigots. A Utah school district, which also banned Black Lives Matter flags, claims it just wants to remain “neutral" on the apparently controversial notion that LGBTQ+ and/or Black people matter as individuals. In Newberg, Oregon, where (now former) school employees show up in blackface, school board member Brian Shannon said, "We don't pay our teachers to push their political views on our students. That's not their place."
Bigots want to stuff queerness back in the closet. This isn't progress, and what's impressive about Biden's statement today is that he calls out this crap.
BIDEN: Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures. Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2021 is already the worst year for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in recent history. Republican-dominated state legislatures had passed an unprecedented 16 hate bills by this May. It's also the same old story as with vote suppression laws and the Texas abortion ban: Republicans can act at the state level with a bare majority while Senate Democrats are seemingly helpless to respond at the federal level because two of their members have a crush on the filibuster.
Biden called for passing the Equality Act, which the House sent to the Senate in February. Even without the filibuster, the Equality Act is unlikely to become law because Senator Joe Manchin isn't so sure “equality" applies to transgender Americans. Kyrsten Sinema, who's the first openly bisexual senator, hasn't mentioned the Equality Act since June. She was more visibly upset when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed a vote on her bipartisan infrastructure bill. She also hasn't released a statement yet acknowledging National Coming Out Day, but maybe that term has a more uncomfortable meaning for her given recent events.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that young queer kids used to do the Wonder Woman spin when they were… https://t.co/wwTrFUmFpE— Lynda Carter 🎃 (@Lynda Carter 🎃) 1633963357.0
Years ago, the late comedian Norm Macdonald claimed not to understand the fuss over gay “pride" because it wasn't “an achievement." However, this perhaps willfully ignores how difficult and brave it still is to come out as LGBTQ+ in a society that actively discriminates against you. When Senator Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin came out in college, she said she feared having to choose between a career in public service or living openly as herself. She's only 59, and that wasn't so long ago.
Freedoms recently gained are easily lost. Republicans will never stop trying, so we should never stop fighting.
BIDEN: To LGBTQ+ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming out: know that you are loved for who you are, you are admired for your courage, and you will have a community — and a nation — to welcome you.
Biden's expressing more than just homilies when he supports the LGBTQ+ community. He's making it easier for all Americans to exist.
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Here's one that's weird!
There is apparently a rightwing pastor in the Nashville area named Kent Christmas and yes that's apparently his real name and his son used to be gay but he's not gay anymore PRAISE JESUS because Kent Christmas and Kent Christmas's wife Candy Christmas — yep — prayed real hard for the boner ghosts to leave their son and the boner ghosts did leave and PRAISE JESUS and all of this is just a real story that happened.
So here's the story of how that happened:
Here's Pastor Kent Christmas claiming prayer "set my son free from homosexuality." Christmas adds that his son use… https://t.co/ctAHnKhrDt— Hemant Mehta (@Hemant Mehta) 1633538779.0
As you see in the video above, Kent Christmas's gay son was so gay he had a parking spot at the local gay dancing emporium. This is indeed how gayness is ranked, by whether or not you have a parking space at the local gay dance emporium, and how close it is to the door.
Hemant has the transcript, but apparently people are not allowed to copy/paste things from his website, so here it is in screengrab form:
Here, Dok ran that over to onlineocr.net:
My firstborn son, and his testimony is he was gay for years. And my wife and I would intercede and pray, and I kept hearing, "Well, nobody ever gets delivered from homosexuality?' Or I would hear from other believers, "Well, you know, that's just the way God made him. You just need to love him there." Or "No, he's never going to be changed." All I know was I dedicated him to the Lord for this day...
... It was quick for you, wasn't it, son? God just shows up in his house, calls me that night, he said, "Dad, you won't believe it!" He said "The Holy Ghost showed up in my house when I was getting dressed to go party at the gay club:' We had the largest gay night club, I think in several states, right downtown on Cowan Street, in the country. Josh had his own parking spot!
... And he said "The Holy Ghost showed up in my house, spoke to me, and said, 'Because of the prayers that have gone over you, I'm setting you free:" And instantly, God set my son free from homosexuality, and you saw the results today, by the power of God!
The important part, obviously, is that his son (who is apparently named Josh and, according to Hemant, has also told this very real story before) was getting ready for da club, but then the Holy Ghost busted in while he was getting dressed (that was not the Holy Ghost) and the Holy Ghost was like "YOU'RE FREE, GIRL!" and immediately Josh was not gay.
And the good reverend says the thing about his son having his own parking spot.
And the good reverend says something about how his congregants that very day were able to see the "results" of what the Holy Ghost home invader did that night while his son was getting dressed to go to da club, and no, we don't know what those "results" are, and neither does Hemant Mehta, because ain't nobody watching this whole church service to find out, so we'll all just assume there was some kind of demonstration of Joshua's super major heterosexuality and leave it at that.
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We'd say congratulations in Swiss, but turns out that's not a language.
Here in America, we are so used to Europe being so extremely far ahead of us socially and economically that we sometimes forget that not every country is ideal in all areas. For instance! Ireland like, just legalized abortion a few years ago, and Switzerland is now just getting around to legalizing same sex-marriage.
Although the country has had "civil unions" since 2007, they did not confer all of the same rights as "marriage." Specifically, they did not allow couples to adopt, allow lesbians access to sperm banks, and will make it just as easy for their partners to become Swiss citizens as it is for heterosexual couples.
The government actually approved legislation to make same-sex marriage legal last year, but anti-LGBTQ bigots collected enough signatures to push for a voter referendum. Alas, they failed — 64 percent of voters voted in favor of legalization. It's not a great percentage, but it's a majority. It's also likely to improve, once weirdos realize that their own marriages don't suddenly feel less special. We've hit 70 percent approval this year, which is an all time high for us.
Via New York Times:
"It is clearly discrimination based on sexual orientation," said Maria von Känel, who is a president of the committee leading the "yes" campaign and is herself in a same-sex partnership with two children.
"Everyone should be treated equally," she said. [...]
Despite the changes to the marriage law, Ms. von Känel said there were still a few important points that it did not take into account, such as if both parents would be entitled to parental leave, including in situations where couples undergo reproductive assistance or fertility treatment abroad.
She noted that there was also a lot of work to be done to increase the rights and social acceptance of L.G.B.T.Q. people in Switzerland. This includes creating safe learning environments for L.G.B.T.Q. youth and banning conversion therapy, Ms. von Känel said.
Now there is only one country in Europe that has only civil unions ... and that's Italy. I find this embarrassing, but not surprising, because Catholicism and machismo.
Switzerland has traditionally been a little behind the times, socially, compared to the rest of Europe. The New York Times notes that they "did not grant women the right to vote until 1971 and until 1985 required wives to get permission from their husbands to work outside the home." And of course there was that whole thing with the Nazi bank accounts, which was not great. Far-right extremism has become a pretty serious problem as well.
One article describing Switzerland as not particularly liberal notes that new parents have only 14 weeks of maternity leave. Of course, in the US we have zero weeks of parental leave, so I guess we don't get to judge that.
Still, this is a great day for same-sex couples in Switzerland. Let us celebrate with yodeling
Melanie Oesch - The Queen Of Yodeling www.youtube.com
And more yodeling!
Yodelling - Franzl Lang www.youtube.com
And also this scene from Heidi!
Shirley Temple In Our Little Wooden Shoes From Heidi 1937 www.youtube.com
Now go eat some chocolate!
You may now open thread until Stephen and I come back with our wonderful live weekend show!
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Lorie Smith does not want to make websites for gay people.
Since the very dawn of anti-discrimination laws (which, unfortunately, was not all that long ago), bigots have been trying to figure out ways to skirt the law so they can continue to discriminate. In some cases — private clubs, colleges willing to forego any federal funding, etc. — they were able to do this. In other cases — chicken restaurants, florists, bakers — it hasn't gone so well. And yet, they don't give up.
The anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom is petitioning SCOTUS to hear the case of Colorado web designer Lorie Smith who has been repeatedly told by the court system that she, like all of the other bigots, does not get a special dispensation to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people because of how very holy she is.
Via The ADF:
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a website designer have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit which concluded that the state of Colorado can force her to design and publish websites promoting messages that violate her religious beliefs. The panel majority also said that Colorado can prohibit the designer, Lorie Smith of 303 Creative, from even explaining on her company's website which websites she can create consistent with her religious beliefs.
Yes, and she probably can't put up an "Irish Need Not Apply" sign either. Imagine that!
The 10th Circuit issued an unprecedented decision in the case, 303 Creative v. Elenis, holding that Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act both forced Lorie "to create websites—and thus, speech—that [she] would otherwise refuse," and also created a "substantial risk" of removing "certain ideas or viewpoints from the public dialogue," including Lorie's beliefs about marriage. Despite that, the 10th Circuit said it's fine for the law to compel Lorie to speak messages with which she disagrees because she created "custom and unique" expression.
Unlike Masterpiece Cakeshop, Arlene's Flowers and other companies that have fought for (and lost) the right to discriminate against customers due to their very special religious beliefs, no one has actually asked Lorie Smith to make a website for them. And if you look at her own site, it is not hard to see why — it's really quite janky. and I am actually not just saying that to be mean. Every time I did a Google image search on one of the pictures in her "portfolio," I'd go back to the site and it would be frozen and I'd have to refresh to get it to scroll again.
Still, the ADF filed a lawsuit because Smith says she wants to add wedding sites to her repertoire but can't do that because then godforbid a gay couple might ask her to design their wedding site for them and doing that would violate her religion. And if she refused, she could be sued.
It is, of course, not possible for there to be a religious exemption for anti-discrimination laws, for the very simple reason that anyone can say that literally anything is against their religion, which would then render all anti-discrimination laws meaningless.
When arguing the case before the 10th Circuit, Smith said "I will not be able to create websites for same-sex marriages or any other marriage that is not between one man and one woman [...] Doing that would compromise my Christian witness and tell a story about marriage that contradicts God's true story of marriage."
There is a very simple solution to that problem, and that is for Smith to keep doing what she is doing now and making all kinds of other sites (allegedly) but not doing wedding websites. Yes, that is an inconvenience for her, but being a bigot is inconvenient at times and she will simply have to live with that should she decide to continue on living this way. It would also be inconvenient for LGBTQ+ people or any other group of people to have to check every time they want to do something to see if they can't use a particular service because the owner is a bigot who won't serve them. It is only fair that the person who wants to discriminate is the one who gets inconvenienced.
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