MANILA, PHILIPPINES — It was a joke that officials of a Catholic high school in Marikina City didn’t find funny.
About 600 kilometers from a Catholic learning institution in Cebu City where two graduating girls are embroiled in a “bikini photo” controversy, six senior high school boys from the Infant Jesus Academy in Marikina City might not be able to march on stage, too, and get their diplomas.
This after the teenage boys, still in school uniform, simulated a kiss in public on Monday and posted photos of their naughty prank on social networking site Facebook.
On Thursday, the boys accompanied by their parents went to Radyo Inquirer to seek the help of the AM station’s “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo” program.
They said that as a punitive action, the school will not let them join Friday’s commencement exercises. And even as they will be officially recognized as graduates, they cannot take their diplomas yet, one of the parents told INQUIRER.net.
The parent also quoted Infant Jesus Academy chancellor Peter Mallonga as saying the school diploma is “sacred.”
“For them, the school diploma is sacred. They will give it to the students as the punishment will not be for life. But it will take two years, three years, four years, even eight years,” she claimed.
“The officials said they (boys) are not deserving as of the moment to receive their diplomas,” she quoted school officials as saying.
The boys, aged between 16 and 17, will be given certification by the school, however, to allow them to enrol in universities, even without their diplomas.
School officials said the students have violated a guideline of the institution, banning “any conduct inside or outside the campus which brings the student, his/her family and the school in disrepute.”
The photos, for the officials, were “damaging” to the reputation of the Catholic institution.
But one of the students said it was only a camera trick and done for fun’s sake.
“We tried to explain that those were just camera tricks, but they did not listen to us,” one of the students said.
In Cebu City, two graduating girls had broken a school rule at Saint Theresa’s College,which bans posting Internet pictures that show “ample body exposure”, and barred the student from their graduation ceremony.
The girl’s family on Tuesday filed a civil suit at a Cebu Regional Trial Court, which on Friday reprimanded the school for the harsh punishment and ordered the Catholic institution to let the girls take their diplomas on stage.
The Philippines is about 80-percent Catholic and the church is hugely influential, regularly campaigning against divorce and birth control.
from Inquirer News
Archive for March, 2012
MANILA, PHILIPPINES — It was a joke that officials of a Catholic high school in Marikina City didn’t find funny.
President Barack Obama could be caught in an election-year bind on gay marriage, wedged between the pressure of supporters who want him to back same-sex marriage and the political perils of igniting an explosive social issue in the midst of the campaign.
Interviews with gay rights advocates and people close to Obama’s campaign suggest it is no longer a matter of if, but when the president publicly voices his support. But Obama backers are split over whether that will happen before the November elections.
Gay marriage is already a big issue in a handful of states that have it on their ballots in November, including Maine, where Obama was headlining two fundraisers Friday. The president also headlined fundraisers Friday in Vermont, one of six states, plus the District of Columbia, where gay marriage is legal.
But neither in Vermont nor in Maine did Obama touch on the issue during his public remarks.
Once an opponent of gay marriage, Obama declared in 2010 that his personal views on the subject were “evolving.” He has gone no further in public since then.
People familiar with the Obama campaign’s deliberations have tamped down expectations that the president might declare his support for gay marriage before the election. They say the campaign’s internal conversations on the issue focus instead on how to energize gay and lesbian voters in spite of Obama’s lack of clarity on the issue.
Public support for gay marriage is increasing in the U.S., including among the independent voters who are a key to general election success.
But regardless of whether Obama has made up his mind on the subject, it’s not the topic his campaign wants to be talking about heading into an election expected to be decided largely on economic issues. As White House and campaign officials learned all too well during the controversy over birth control access earlier this year, stepping into social issues – even those with Democratic support – can quickly throw the president’s message off course.
While Obama aides saw the contraception issue as an important appeal to women voters, there may be little election-year payoff for the president taking a stand on gay marriage.
Obama’s record on gay rights issues, including the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members and an order for the Justice Department not to enforce a provision that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, has already solidified the overwhelming backing of gay rights supporters. Obama often highlights the end of the Clinton-era “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gay military service, a surefire applause line with his supporters.
“Change is the fact that for the first time in history you don’t have to hide who you love in order to serve the country that you love,” he told a campaign crowd at Southern Maine Community College. “We ended `don’t ask, don’t tell.’”
His Republican rivals, including GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, not only oppose gay marriage, but also some other legal protections for gays and lesbians.
As for Obama, “the gay rights community is now enthusiastically in his corner in terms of the re-election, so the pressure to deliver before the election is off,” said Richard Socarides, a prominent gay rights advocate.
The risk in Obama publicly backing gay marriage before the election is that it could become a rallying cry for conservatives who have thus far been reluctant to get behind Romney.
Still, many Democrats and gay rights advocates believe Obama may end up being forced to take a position on the issue before November.
The most pressing effort comes from within Obama’s own party. Several high-profile Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and more than 20 Senate Democrats, want support for gay marriage added to the party’s election platform. The platform will be adopted at the Democratic National Convention in early September, where Obama will accept the presidential nomination.
So far, Obama advisers have sidestepped questions about whether he would support a gay marriage plank on the platform.
“We don’t even have a platform committee yet, much less a platform,” Obama senior adviser David Plouffe said in a television interview.
A person close to the Obama campaign said the president’s re-election team is wary of the platform effort and prefers to let the president move on the issue at his own pace.
People familiar with the campaign’s thinking requested anonymity in order to discuss internal strategy.
Gay rights advocates hope state ballot initiatives on gay marriage, like the one in Maine, could force Obama to weigh in, as he has on other state issues.
“He’s going to be in a lot of situations like this where the issue becomes unavoidable,” said Socarides, a former Clinton White House official. “Even though he might want to avoid this, I think he’s going to come up right against it in so many situations in the next couple of months.”
Obama’s reluctance to embrace gay marriage has increasingly put him at odds with a majority of Americans. A Washington Post/ABC News poll this month found that 52 percent felt it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married, while 43 percent said it should be illegal.
Support for gay marriage is highest among Democrats, with 64 percent supportive of the issue. Just over half of independents – 54 percent – back legalized gay marriage, according to the Post/ABC poll. Support among Republicans is the lowest, at 39 percent.
Gay rights advocates say those numbers – particularly the growing support among independents – suggest there would be little political risk for Obama in backing gay marriage. And they say taking a stand in an election year could help boost enthusiasm among gay voters and young people, two core Obama constituencies.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the president’s evolution on gay marriage will be personal, not political.
“The president and the president alone will come to a decision,” LaBolt said.
Maine’s state Legislature approved gay marriage in 2009, but voters rejected it 53 percent to 47 percent that November. Gay marriage supporters believe enough people have changed their minds that the outcome will be different this time around.
from The Associated Press
UNITED KINGDOM – JPMorgan Chase & Co. equity analyst Peter Lawrence won a U.K. appeal cutting to 1.37 million pounds ($2.19 million) a divorce payout to his ex-civil partner, former “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” star Donald Gallagher.
Lawrence must give Gallagher 33 percent of their assets accumulated during the 11-year relationship, rather than the 42 percent share awarded by a lower court, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday in London.
Under the decision, the banker will keep the London apartment he purchased before the coupling, even though the property increased in value from 650,000 pounds when the couple moved in together in 1997, to 2.4 million pounds. Gallagher got the pair’s second home, valued at nearly 900,000 pounds.
“If this were a heterosexual marriage, and he were the female partner married to a wealthy City trader, he would have walked away with a considerably greater sum,” Matt Baldwin, a spokesman for Gallagher’s law firm Boodle Hatfield, said in a phone interview referring to workers in London’s financial district.
The decision comes about a year-and-a-half after the U.K. Supreme Court took the country closer to U.S.-style divorces with a ruling on pre-nuptial agreements, which are often used by wealthy people marrying someone with less money. The October 2010 decision, on a settlement between a wealthy German heiress and a former investment banker for New York-based JPMorgan, said such accords can be given decisive weight in U.K. divorces.
In yesterday’s ruling, on what lawyers called Britain’s highest-value civil-partnership divorce, the appeals court reduced a cash payout to Gallagher to 350,000 pounds and rejected his 90,000-pound share of Lawrence’s deferred bonuses. In the U.K., gay couples can’t marry and are the only ones eligible for civil partnerships.
Lawrence initially offered Gallagher 420,000 pounds to find new housing and a 183,000-pound share of his pension, according to the appeal ruling. According to the decision, a lower-court judge called the offer, “quite unrealistic.”
Under the appeal ruling, Gallagher will keep the couple’s home in the English countryside worth nearly 900,000 pounds, his “pride and joy,” and receive 200,000 pounds of Lawrence’s pension, the panel of judges said.
“This successful and affluent couple had enjoyed the use of two properties whilst they were happy together,” the appeals court said in its judgment. “Once they fell out, each needed a home of his own.”
Lawrence, 47, and Gallagher, 54, together for more than a decade, separated seven months after getting a civil partnership in December 2007.
Lawrence paid Gallagher 1,000 pounds a month for living expenses from November 2008 to March 2010, when the actor secured a lead role in “Priscilla.” The play, about a transsexual and two drag queens on a road trip in Australia, closed in London’s West End in December.
“Don has still come away with far more than Mr. Lawrence ever offered him and the outcome is much closer to Don’s original proposal,” James Ferguson, Gallagher’s lawyer, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
Lawrence initially sought to categorize their partnership as a “dual-career relationship” that would have helped divide their combined money based on how much they earned. The lower court and the appeals court rejected that idea.
“This couple clearly intermingled and combined their available capital and income to enjoy a high standard of living,” the appeals court said.
The civil partnership was treated as a marriage for the purpose of dividing assets, the appeals court said in the ruling. Britain is considering legalizing gay marriage after U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, who leads the Conservative party, said he backs such rights.
“The case was not in fact about the principles of civil partnership, which are the same as on divorce, but about how to divide assets which were largely brought into the relationship by one party,” Sarah Higgins, Lawrence’s lawyer with Charles Russell LLP in London, said in a statement.
The ruling demonstrates the importance of using asset- division agreements before marriages or civil partnerships, said Michael Gouriet, a lawyer with Withers LLP who wasn’t involved in the case.
“One person’s view of fairness is different from another,” Gouriet said in a phone interview. “If you want to mitigate against that uncertainty then have a pre-nup.”
from The San Francisco Chronicle
PHILADELPHIA – The jury in the Philadelphia Archdiocese pedophilia case on Wednesday got a look at the lurid lives of priests that were allegedly ignored by a top church official now on trial for child endangerment.
Testimony by a former altar boy who said he was abused and by a priest who stumbled upon his fellow clergy’s misdeeds came during the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the most senior church official to go to trial in the child sex abuse case rocking the Roman Catholic Church.
Lynn, 61, who served as secretary of the clergy under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy for covering up allegations against priests, many of whom were simply transferred to unsuspecting parishes.
Lynn, who was effectively the archdiocese’s personnel director, said he tried to expose suspect priests by giving a list of their names to Bevilacqua but his boss ordered the paperwork shredded.
One victim recalled being 15 years old in 1991 when he was stalked by a priest who saw him viewing gay pornography at a bookstore and, although they did not know one another, vowed to find him at a later date.
“I was scared, I just didn’t know what was going to happen,” said the former altar boy, now 36 years old.
He was wearing his school blazer and the priest, identified as Francis Trauger, later tracked him down at his Catholic high school in South Philadelphia, St. John Neumann, saying, “I told you I could find you.”
The priest told him that he lied to school officials about being the boy’s former teacher and convinced them to let him peruse school photos until he found the boy, the victim testified.
The priest took him into a small conference room in the school, where he locked the door. He started touching the teen’s thigh and then told him they should pray.
The youth got on his knees to do so. Trauger was behind him, and began unzipping the youth’s trousers and undoing his belt, he testified. But a knock on the door by a school staff member interrupted the incident, he said.
Twelve years later, in 2003, Trauger was forced from the priesthood after an archdiocese investigator determined that he had abused children.
In separate testimony, the Reverend Joseph Okonski, told the jury that he discovered a trove of gay and sadomasochistic pornography belonging to another priest, Michael Murtha, in their shared closet in a North Philadelphia rectory in 1995.
He also found a letter that Murtha allegedly wrote but never sent to a 7th grade parochial student describing the sex acts Murtha wanted to perform on the youth.
Years later, the archdiocese asked the Vatican to defrock Murtha.
Neither Murtha nor Trauger were charged with a crime.
Lynn is on trial with Reverend James Brennan, 49, who is charged with attempted rape of a teenage boy.
Three others indicted by the same grand jury include defrocked priest Edward Avery who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in church in 1999. The others are a priest and a former archdiocese school teacher accused of child sex abuse who will be tried at a later date.
Lynn, who has not been charged with abuse, faces up to 28 years if convicted on all counts.
The mother of one of the Flight 93 heroes wants Carson Daly to know … gay people ARE brave and tough … and her son was living proof.
TMZ broke the story … Daly joked on his L.A. radio show that gay people wouldn’t have been able to take down a crazed pilot who freaked out on a recent JetBlue flight … instead, they would have been more interested in going to a “floral convention.”
Now, Alice Hoagland … the mother of Mark Bingham … has a message for the radio host … saying, “Yes, my gay son was known in our family for bringing me flowers on my birthday and Mother’s Day. He also was known for careening down the rugby pitch, and, on the morning of September 11, 2001, for charging unarmed down the aisle of a doomed Boeing 757 to face knife-wielding Islamist thugs in a hijacked cockpit.”
She adds, “No one among his pick-up team of fellow passengers was asking ‘Are you straight? Are you gay?’ No one doubted that a guy who weighed 220 and stood 6’4” tall — who could run over a charging opponent on the field, and ran with the bulls in Pamplona earlier that summer — would be an asset to a desperate group trying to overcome a threat onboard an airliner.”
“The world has its share of strong, heroic gay men. Gay men in sports uniforms and military uniforms have been winning America’s games and fighting America’s battles for a long time: quietly, humbly, and in the face of vicious bigotry.”
“I hope you and I may have an opportunity to talk sometime. I prefer to believe you didn’t mean to offend. Good luck to you.”
Mother of Mark Bingham
California Golden Bears Rugby, University of California, Berkeley
San Francisco Fog Rugby Club
United Airlines Flight 93 Newark to San Francisco 9/11/2001
Carson Daly Apologizes For Gay Joke Regarding Jet Blue Pilot Meltdown
Despite vociferous protests from the film’s distributor, Harvey Weinstein, as well as powerful advocacy groups, the MPAA has refused to budge from its R rating on Bully, which is likely to go down among the organization’s more asinine decisions. Lee Hirsch’s affecting documentary offers personal evidence against a scourge that afflicts vulnerable children and youths across the globe. That makes this a potent social-outreach tool that deserves to be seen as widely as possible.
In discussions of the concrete action needed to educate against the bullying epidemic and protect its victims, the most common mitigating view is “kids will be kids,” which is heard from more than one authority figure interviewed here. But the truth is that kids will also talk like kids, and the MPAA’s rigidity about teens dropping a couple of F-bombs is ridiculous considering how much screen violence routinely gets a pass. The Weinstein Co. is right to point up the moral watchdog’s inconsistency by releasing the film unrated.
Hirsch — whose stirring chronicle of the role of music in the anti-apartheid struggle, Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony, was a Sundance audience award winner in 2002 — deliberately goes light on factoids and statistics, instead putting human faces on the issue. If Bully is somewhat haphazardly structured and repetitive, there’s no denying the impact of its message or of the distressing stories being told.
Shot by Hirsch over the course of one school year, the film examines how five families have been exposed to bullying. Kelby is a 16-year-old small-town Oklahoma girl ostracized by both students and teachers since coming out as a lesbian. Ja’Meya, a 14-year-old honor student and talented basketball player planning to enlist in the Navy to help out her mother, snapped after the relentless torment of other kids on bus rides to and from her Mississippi school. After taking her mother’s handgun to scare them off, she faces multiple felony counts in a juvenile detention center.
Perhaps the largest chunk of screen time goes to 12-year-old Alex, an awkward, sweet-natured seventh-grader in Sioux City, Iowa, nicknamed Fish Face. He seems determined to downplay the taunting and physical abuse of his schoolmates, misguidedly considering their attention to be the closest he can get to friendship. But the violence-breeds-violence dictum is heartbreakingly conveyed when Alex says through tears, “They push me so far that I want to become the bully.”
While capturing his daily ordeal during unsupervised bus rides — his aggressors appear uninhibited by the presence of a camera, though some faces are blurred — the filmmakers become concerned for his safety. They show the footage to Alex’s parents, who take it to school officials. Their well-meaning but ineffectual response hints at the obstacles to finding real solutions.
These three central stories are framed by interviews with two sets of parents from Bible Belt towns, whose sons took their own lives at ages 17 and 11 as a result of being victimized by their peers. All have channeled their grief and anger into impassioned activism, running anti-bullying campaigns and holding rallies and vigils to raise awareness.
Through the work of these bereaved families, the Internet is demonstrated as playing a vital role in the educational side of the debate. Kirsch and his co-writer/producer Cynthia Lowen might have benefited from investigating how social network sites, webcams and texting have extended the reach of bullies far beyond school halls, playgrounds and buses, resulting in some of the more high-profile national cases.
However, in concentrating its focus on Southern and Middle American towns, where life generally revolves around the game on Fridays and church on Sundays, and where any deviation from the social norm is not tolerated, Bully builds a case that’s both moving and distressing. Stories like these seem harder to ignore when they come not from tough urban centers but from the heartland.
The film’s ideal destination ultimately will be television, but institutional showings also seem an obvious route, making it required viewing for parents and educators, but primarily for kids, whether they be victims or perpetrators of bullying or simply bystanders who need to be encouraged to speak out. In the meantime, someone should go beat some sense into the MPAA.
from The Hollywood Reporter
Legal Action Threatened Over MPAA’s ‘Bully’ Rating
Teens Plead to Change ‘Bully’s’ R Rating
INDIA – Delhi-based photo-artist Sunil Gupta’s latest exhibition, themed on homosexuality, has been closed down soon after it kicked off in the Capital.
Titled Sun City & Other Stories, the photography show, which is a fictional narrative inspired by French film La Jetée, was to remain open till April 15, but was called off just a day after its preview at Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Française.
A guest who was present at the preview told us that cops stormed into to the venue during the preview and started enquiring about the artist.
When we contacted the Tughlaq Road police station, an official said, “A man named Hargobind Arora called up that the show has adult and nude photos on display. That’s when we sent a squad.”
Gupta, a veteran who has showcased in many parts of the world earlier, says, “I’m not in a position to say anything … calling off the exhibition was Alliance Française’s decision.”
The director of the centre remained unavailable for comment.
from The Hindustan Times
Carson Daly’s pilot joke sure crashed and burned.
The Voice host has apologized for an ill-conceived crack he made on his morning radio show today about what went down Tuesday on Jet Blue Flight 191, when a group of passengers subdued a pilot who was having a midair meltdown.
“This morning on my radio show I attempted to make fun of myself & offended others by mistake. I sincerely apologize,” Daly tweeted.
So, what was the big attempt at self-deprecation?
“Most of the people were on their way to some sort of security conference in Las Vegas,” he said, referring to the passengers on the flight from New York to Las Vegas. “It was like a bunch of dudes, and well-trained dudes, thank God.”
And why is that?
“With my luck,” Daly continued, mimicking an in-flight announcement, “it would be like, ‘This is the flight going to [the gay pride parade] in San Francisco.’ I mean, that would be my colleagues.”
Then, putting a stereotypical lilt in his voice, Carson said, “‘Uh, we’re headed down to Vegas for the floral convention.’”
Daly also released a statement, saying,”We live in a time where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals find courage every day to overcome adversity, stand up to bullying and find equality. I’m truly saddened that my words today suggested otherwise.
I’ve long been a supporter of Gay and Lesbian rights, and I’m saddened that my comments, however unintentional, offended anyone, specifically members of the LGBT community. The fact that I have hurt anyone is devastating. I’m not that guy. I’m proud to be an ally of the LGBT community and will continue to fight with them.”
Meanwhile, the accused pilot, Clayton Osbon, has been suspended from duty and charged with interfering with a flight crew—a federal crime. And all of the passengers on the disrupted flight are free to go wherever they want with the refunds and ticket vouchers they received from Jet Blue in exchange for their troubles.
“The pilot of a Jet Blue flight was tackled by passengers after an in-flight tirade,” tweeted Joan Rivers. “Apparently he couldn’t get a blanket or pillow either.”
Colin Clark will miss the Houston Dynamo’s next three matches for using “unacceptable and offensive language.” The Dynamo winger used a gay slur directed at a ball boy in a nationally televised match on Friday night and most expected MLS to make a strong statement, which they did. In addition to the three-match ban, Clark was fined an undisclosed amount and is required to attend sensitivity training.
While suspended, Clark will be allowed to train with the team and use the team’s facilities. Because of the Dynamo’s light schedule in April, he will not return to the field until May 9, when Houston takes on New York.
Fans watching the match on Friday heard the gay slur because it was picked up by the on-field microphones and immediately took to Twitter to express their outrage. Clark was on his own Twitter account that night to issue what appeared to be a sincere apology and on Wednesday, he took his punishment in stride.
“I am sorry about what happened during the Seattle match,” Clark said in a statement. “I have personally apologized to the ball boy, and I want to take this chance to say I’m sorry to everyone that I’ve offended. I intend to never use those words again in any context. There is no excuse for them. What I said does not properly represent who I am or what I believe. I made a mistake that I truly regret. I accept the punishment that has been handed down by MLS, and I want to learn from this incident and move forward.”
While the gay slur, especially directed at a ball boy, was awful, the ensuing actions of both Clark and the league are encouraging. After the incident, Clark never made an excuse for what he did and issued a legitimate apology. MLS then handed down a harsh, but fair punishment in an effort to stamp out something that has no place in the game or society and Clark has accepted it. If nothing else, the post-incident actions have been encouraging.
Leagues around the United States have seen the fight against homophobia become more high profile in recent years, but this might be the first time that a gay slur resulted in a suspension. Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah were both caught using gay slurs during games, but both were handed hefty fines and not suspensions.
from SB Nation
Soccer Player Calls Ball Boy A Faggot
SANTIAGO, CHILE – Prosecutors in Chile asked for murder charges Wednesday in the death of a young gay man whose attackers brutally beat him and carved swastikas into his body.
Daniel Zamudio died Tuesday night, 25 days after he was attacked. The case has prompted a national debate in Chile over hate crimes, with President Sebastian Pinera saying from Asia that his government won’t rest until a proposed anti-discrimination law is passed.
Four suspects have been jailed on attempted murder charges, some of whom already have criminal records for attacks on gays.
Hours after Zamudio’s death, prosecutor Ernesto Vazquez formally requested that the charges be changed to premeditated murder, carrying maximum life sentences if convicted. He said the attack was clearly motivated by homophobia.
Gay activists weren’t satisfied. The leader of Chile’s Gay Liberation and Integration Movement, Rolando Jimenez, said the suspects should be charged with torture as well.
Zamudio, a clothing store salesman, was attacked in a park in Santiago on March 3. The suspects allegedly beat him for an hour, burning him with cigarettes and carving Nazi symbols into his body.
The second of four brothers, he had hoped to study theater, his brother Diego said. “He was very loving, an excellent person and that’s why it’s so hard to believe that they attacked him with such hate,” he told reporters.
Hundreds of people had been holding vigil outside the hospital where Zamudio lay brain-dead, building a shrine on the sidewalk. Many whistled and booed when Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, the acting president while Sebastian Pinera is traveling in Asia, arrived to share condolences Tuesday night. The commotion ended only when Zamudio’s father appealed for them to maintain respect.
“We are going to work tirelessly in our Congress to pass our anti-discrimination law as quickly as possible,” Hinzpeter said to reporters outside the hospital after visiting the family Tuesday night.
An ample Senate majority passed the law in November, but seven years after it was first proposed, it has yet to come to a vote in the lower house. Lobbyists for evangelical churches said it would be a first step toward gay marriage, which Chile forbids and which is not explicitly included in the measure.
It would describe as illegal discrimination “any distinction, exclusion or restriction that lacks reasonable justification, committed by agents of the state or individuals, and that causes the deprivation, disturbance or threatens the legitimate exercise of fundamental rights established by the constitution or in international human rights treaties ratified by Chile.”
Attorney Gabriel Zaliasnik told the Cooperativa radio station Wednesday that if the law had been passed, the attack on Zamudio might have been avoided.
Pinera tweeted from South Korea that the “brutal and cowardly attack of Daniel Zamudio wounds not only his family but all people of good will.”
“His death will not remain unpunished, and reinforces the complete commitment of the government against all arbitrary discrimination and for a more tolerant country.”
The jailed suspects are Raul Alfonso Lopez, 25; Alejandro Axel Angulo Tapia, 26; Patricio Ahumada Garay, 25; and Fabian Mora Mora, 19. They remain in preventive detention after blaming others in the group for the attack.
Lopez allegedly told police that he saw Angulo and Ahumada carve three swastikas into Zamudio with a broken pisco sour bottle. Ahumada’s public defender, Nestor Perez, said his client wasn’t involved in the attack and isn’t a neo-Nazi.
from The Associated Press
The leading national organization opposing same-sex marriage has sought to split the Democratic Party base by pitting African-Americans and Hispanics against gay-rights groups, according to confidential strategy memos made public by court officials in Maine.
“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two key Democratic constituencies,” says one of the memos. It also suggests “interrupting” the process of cultural assimilation for Hispanics in hopes of curtailing support for same-sex marriage.
The documents, dating from 2009, were written by the National Organization for Marriage and had been kept from the public until Monday, when they were unsealed by court officials in Maine.
They were part of a two-pronged legal challenge of Maine’s financial disclosure laws. Still unresolved is whether the NOM will have to release the names of donors to its successful 2009 campaign to ban same-sex marriage in Maine.
The Human Rights Campaign, a major gay-rights organization, first circulated the documents Monday night, and its president, Joe Solmonese, assailed the strategies that they detailed.
“With the veil lifted, Americans everywhere can now see the ugly politics that the National Organization for Marriage traffics in every day,” Solmonese said. “While loving gay and lesbian couples seek to make lifelong commitments, NOM plays racial politics, tries to hide donors and makes up lies about people of faith.”
Through the Human Rights Campaign, veteran civil rights leader Julian Bond also condemned the NOM strategy.
“NOM’s underhanded attempts to divide will not succeed if Black Americans remember their own history of discrimination,” said the statement from Bond, a former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “Pitting bigotry’s victims against other victims is reprehensible; the defenders of justice must stand together.”
NOM’s president, Brian Brown, was unapologetic, issuing a brief statement hailing his organization’s collaboration with other black and Hispanic leaders, including Bishop Harry Jackson, a Maryland church pastor, and New York state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.
“Gay marriage advocates have attempted to portray same-sex marriage as a civil right, but the voices of these and many other leaders have provided powerful witness that this claim is patently false,” Brown said.
“Gay marriage is not a civil right, and we will continue to point this out in written materials such as those released in Maine,” Brown added. “We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage.”
The NOM documents depicted Democratic Party leaders as “increasingly inclined to privilege the concerns of gay rights groups over the values of African-Americans.”
“Find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots,” one memo said.
The memos stressed the pivotal political role of Latinos as a swing constituency.
“Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values?” one NOM memo asked. “We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity … a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”
The NOM strategy also called for portraying President Barack Obama as a “social radical” and seeking to cast same-sex marriage in a negative light by linking it to other issues, such as pornography and sexualizing of children.
Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, a national advocacy group supporting same-sex marriage, said the memos suggest the NOM “will stop at nothing to push its agenda, pitting American against American, minority against minority, family members against family members.”
“These smoking-gun documents show how NOM has sought, in the most cynical ways imaginable, to bait the gay community in hopes of provoking a hurt response that would further divide,” he said.
The NOM is playing an active role this year as battles over same-sex marriage unfold in several states.
In Maryland and Washington, the organization and its allies are gathering signatures to place measures on the Nov. 6 ballot that would overturn recently passed same-sex marriage laws.
In Maine, it will be seeking defeat of a measure already placed on the November ballot that would legalize same-sex marriage. In North Carolina and Minnesota, the NOM is supporting ballot measures that would amend the state constitutions to define marriage as only between a man and woman.
The unsealed court documents illustrated that the NOM sometimes falls short of its goals. The memos said a priority for 2010 was to repeal gay-marriage laws in New Hampshire, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. But same-sex marriage remains in effect in those three jurisdictions along with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and New York.
The memos contained extensive details about NOM’s finances, but they do not identify individual donors, including three who had given more than $1 million apiece as of late 2009.
In Maine, the group leading the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage – Mainers United for Marriage – announced the appointment of Matt McTighe as campaign manager. He had been the state public education director for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, a Boston-based gay-rights law firm.
McTighe said he was reviewing the NOM documents Tuesday, but was troubled by what he saw on first take.
“We try to focus on telling the positive stories on why marriage matters to all committed loving couples in Maine, and here they are trying to use fear and scare tactics to turn people off,” he said.
from The Associated Press
LANSING, MICHIGAN – A state hearing officer has upheld the 2010 firing of an assistant attorney general who was accused of harassing the gay student government president at the University of Michigan.
William Hutchens of the Michigan Civil Service Commission says Andrew Shirvell was justly dismissed. He says the attorney engaged in “hate speech” on a blog and “physical and mental harassment.”
Shirvell was fired by then-Attorney General Mike Cox in November 2010. He appealed, saying his conduct toward Christopher Armstrong was protected by the First Amendment. But the hearing officer says Shirvell’s actions, even in his off hours, put his office in a bad light and could have discouraged people from working there.
Hutchens’ decision is dated March 21. Shirvell’s lawyer says the decision will be appealed.
from The Associated Press
BELGRADE, SERBIA — A far-right Serbian leader was convicted and sentenced Tuesday to 10 months in prison for making death threats that led to the cancellation of Belgrade’s 2009 gay pride march.
Belgrade’s district court ruled that Mladen Obradovic, the leader of the extremist group Obraz, or Honor, made the threats ahead of the planned march. His group incited discrimination with graffiti that read “Death to gays” and “Blood will flow, there will be no gay parade.”
Lazar Pavlovic, a leader of a Serbian gay-rights group, said he is not satisfied with the length of the sentence because such charges should carry prison terms of up to three years in prison.
“We expect that the prosecution will lodge an appeal and we will continue to follow this case,” he said.
Obradovic has been sentenced in a separate case to two years in jail on charges that his group incited violence during a gay pride march in 2010 that left scores of people injured. He is currently a free man while appealing the verdicts.
Serbia has pledged to protect gay rights as it seeks to join the European Union. But the gay community still faces threats and attacks, especially as it tries to organize pride marches.
Serbia’s constitutional court has been deliberating over whether to ban Obradovic’s far-right group, one of many that have mushroomed in the Balkan state after the wars in the region in the 1990s.
Obradovic said upon leaving the courtroom on Tuesday that he doesn’t care whether Obraz would be officially banned because it could continue acting illegally.
“Let them prosecute and rule, but they cannot stop us,” Obradovic said.
from The Washington Post