Category Archives: Politics

Lance Bass, Marriage Equality and Mississippi Travel

lance bass mississippi gays

Mississippi-born Lance Bass sure has been in the news lately. Two weeks ago he attacked Mississippi’s anti-gay religious “freedom to discriminate” bill. Yesterday the former ‘N Sync boy band singer met at the White House with President Obama to talk health care reform. Today, a video he recorded with his fiancé for Freedom To Marry’s new push to win marriage for same-sex couples in the Southern states launched.

Bass says he grew up in a town of just 2000 people, and “it felt great” to feel like his neighbors were part of his extended family.

“We were best friends for about a month,” Bass says of his now-fiancé Michael Turchin. “I didn’t know that he liked me, and he didn’t know that I liked him… We just related on so many things, and I just knew that he was going to be part of my life. And I’m just glad it’s going to be as a husband,” Bass says, with a boyish smirk.

“Marriage to me is a commitment that you make to the person you love that you want to spend the rest of your life with,” Bass says, and talks about how his parents role-modeled marriage for him.

Bass believes that “people really do support gay marriage,” and “there’s tons of support” in Mississippi. He urges the younger generation, whom he says is scared, to talk about marriage equality openly with their parents.

“There’s nothing to be scared of,” Turchin says.

Take a look at Freedom To Marry’s website, Southerners for the Freedom to Marry.

HOWEVER…….

GetEQUAL Mississippi — a statewide grassroots social justice organization working toward the full equality of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Mississippians — has issued a “travel alert” to any LGBT person planning travel to the the state. This alert has been issued based on the fact that Mississippi is on the cusp of passing Senate Bill 2681 — the so-called “Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act” — through the House, and then sending it to the governor for signature or veto.

GetEQUAL Mississippi alerts those traveling to the state of a continued risk of discrimination based upon sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The State of Mississippi does not currently protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (“LGBT”) people from being legally ejected from their hotel rooms or other places of public accommodation, and is on the cusp of passing legislation that would give business owners even more latitude to legally discriminate against minority groups.

Those who are required to travel to Mississippi are encouraged to take the following precautions:

– Avoid traveling alone in the state.

– Only book travel at hotels which have policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

– Visit only known LGBT-friendly establishments, including restaurants, bars and venues.

– Be aware of your surroundings and adopt other appropriate safety measures to protect yourself while traveling.

Obama Thanks Edie Windsor

edie windsor obama

What a wonderful time to be gay. (Except in Russia and Uganda).  We are seeing so many advances in our lifetime, it can’t help but make you feel proud!

President Obama met this week with Edie Windsor, the octogenarian lesbian whose landmark case at the U.S. Supreme Court stuck down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

In a post on the White House’s official blog today, the Obama administration thanked Edie Windsor for her role in advancing equality for LGBT Americans. And on Wednesday, President Barack Obama himself thanked the 84-year-old lesbian widow for taking her case to the U.S. Supreme Court and earning a landmark ruling that effectively gutted the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

“When the Court handed down its decision last June, President Obama called Edie from Air Force One to congratulate her on her victory,” wrote senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett on the White House blog today. “And earlier this week, the President invited Edie to the France State Dinner and the Oval Office to thank her in person. … The thanks expressed by the President that day have been echoed by millions of Americans, including thousands of legally married couples who can now live their lives with greater justice and dignity — thanks to heroes like Edie Windsor who have been willing to stand up and fight for equality under the law.”

Clay Aiken for….President?

 

Can a profile on Manhunt stop
 Clay Aiken from running for Congress?!

We will soon see!

Former “American Idol” finalist Clay Aiken, who lost the singing
competition’s second season to Ruben Studdard in 2003, is “actively
considering” a run for North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district in
the U.S. House, according to the Washington Blade.

Sources told the Blade the openly gay singer has been making phone
calls to gauge potential support as he works with Betsy Conti, a local
political strategist who has worked with Al Gore and former North
Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue.

It’s unclear when Aiken may announce his decision to run for the House seat, currently filled by Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C.

Obama Pledges $100 Million to Help End AIDS

 President Obama announced on Monday he’s redirecting $100 million at
the National Institutes of Health for a new initiative to develop a cure
for HIV as part of his vision for an “AIDS-free generation.”

Obama made the announcement when speaking before a group of HIV/AIDS
advocates at a White House event observing World AIDS Day in the South
Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

“The United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries in
how to put HIV into long-term remission without requiting live-long
therapies, or better yet, eliminate it completely,” Obama said.

In a fact sheet published after the event, the White House clarified
the $100 million would be distributed over the course of three years and
would catalyze further research for new therapies to improve outcomes
for people with HIV.  

Read More  at  Washington Blade!

GAY NEWS – LGBT Russians – YOU ARE WONDERFUL says MISTER CHASE

MISTER CHASE is an EDM, rocktronic performer based in NY. He has a pulsing
party vibe, mixed with chill sugary pop tones and rock star edge. His
shows are super high energy, an extremely entertaining. He is a visual
performer, backed up by a troupe of sexy, talented dancers, appropriate
for any festival, casino, club, venue or event. Having toured US, UK and
Canada, his show turns every audience member into a believer. MISTER
CHASE is currently recording his second EP which is set to release later
this year.

FOR NOW – he has a message for the gay people of Russia…YOU ARE WONDERFUL!

Nikolai Alexeyev Has Final Meltdown

Russian gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev, who until now was considered
Russia’s top lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocate,
appears to have ended his political career tonight in a series of
anti-Semitic Facebook and Twitter posts that have even his most ardent
supporters calling out his ongoing anti-Semitism.

I’d reported earlier on Alexeyev’s anti-Semitic social media posts last week, and on his earlier run-in with charges of anti-Semitism.
 Last week, in an apparent fit of ire against a (Jewish) man who penned
an op ed in OUT magazine critical of him, Alexeyev retweeted comments calling the author a “jewish pig” and “israeli monkey,” and calling OUT magazine a “jewish slut magazine that supports jews and their filthy faggotry propaganda.”  Alexeyev then tweeted and posted on Facebook his own comments about Jewish vodka being made from sperm.   More  at  America Blog

FEDERAL Government WILL Recognize Same Sex Marriages

 The U.S. Department of Treasury has just made it official: legally
married same-sex couples will receive the same tax benefits as
opposite-sex married couples, regardless of where they reside.

In
a call earlier today, U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Jacob Lew told
leadership of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
(NGLCC) and other LGBT interest groups that effective immediately the
U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that
recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes.
The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a
jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that
does not recognize same-sex marriage.

“Today’s ruling provides
certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally
married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits,
responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all
Americans deserve,” said Secretary Lew. “This ruling also assures
legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout
the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

This
is a major victory for the entire equality movement, but especially for
married same-sex couples who own and operate businesses. LGBT people
who are legally married in one of the 13 states that grant same-sex
marriage, can now ensure their business is a “family” business and are
legally entitled to determine the legacy of their wealth.

The
NGLCC will continue to work with LGBT small business owners to ensure
they are equipped with all the pertinent knowledge and resources
throughout this transition. The organization will also advise dozens of
our more than 140 corporate partners who will be augmenting grossing-up
best practices as a result of this announcement.

Other key takeaways:

  • Joint filing beginning 2014 for couples married in 2013.
  • Retro-active filing for those married in the past three years.
  • Same tax treatment for items like income, gifts, and estate.

Secretary
Lew acknowledged there would be further refinements needed and that
both his department and the IRS are looking to the public to help
identify these needed refinements; for instance, child tax credit issues
surrounding same-sex parents where it is not legal at the state level
for a same-sex second parent to adopt.

Stoli Says They are Pro gay and Based in Luxemberg – not Russia

 Towleroad just ran portions of an interview with Stoli CEO  Val Mendeleev.  


Mendeleev described himself as an “ex-Russian” in the interview,
considering that he left the country 20 years ago. He used the same term
to describe SPI’s owner, Yuri Scheffler, and insisted that they both
oppose Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as the country’s
anti-gay policies. He maintained that SPI is “not a Russian company,”
highlighting the fact that the company is headquartered in Luxembourg,
and only operates one distillery in Russia. He did admit that the
company does use Russian ingredients, However, he said that the company
is looking into other sources, but that will unfortunately take time.
“We produce more than 100,000 bottles of Stoli every day…It’s not so
easy to shift production immediately.”


“We were forced to move our headquarters from Russia about 10 years ago.
And this is because we have ongoing litigation with the Russian
government about the ownership of the brand. So, we’re not a friend of
the Russian government. We are not a Russian company. Stoli is not even
allowed to be sold in Russia… [The Russian government] did manage to
grab up the Russian Stoli brand and they have been trying to grab up the
ownership of the global brand. But the international courts in London
and Switzerland understand that this commercial dispute with the Russian
government has political motives. Yuri Scheffler, in early 2000, when
this whole thing started, was supporting political opposition to the new
government that was installed there, and that basically started the
whole dispute.”
READ MORE  AT TOWLEROAD

Revolution for real Human Rights in Brazil Continues

 From our dear friend  Alex Bernardes at Via G (Revistaviag.com) Magazine in Brazil :  Our Brazilian constitution states that this is a local country, therefore, anyone who is elected by the people and takes a political
chair, is not allowed to use his religious concepts and beliefs to
conduct or change people’s behavior. Unfortunately, that is true only in
the books.


Recently, a pastor called Marco Feliciano (Minister of an
Evangelical Church Franchise in Brazil), was elected by his peers –
people weren’t able to interfere in that process because it was done
undercover –, and, once taking charge as the president of the Human
Rights ‘Deputy’ Chamber, he started to promote intolerance,
discrimination, segregation towards some specific groups of doomed and
unluckily borned people (his words, based in the Old Testament). 

He
mainly points to Negros and gays. Now, he wants to pass a bill which
allows the “cure for gays”, considering that “these people may want to
be healed and live a “normal” life”, and he threatens anyone who tries
to interfere or be in his way. Our state of freedom, equality and
fraternity is now going down the drain…

As you worldwide friends
may know, we are in the core of a revolution for real human rights in
Brazil, asking for more important things such as better public
educational, health and transportation systems. We really don’t need
this kind of people around us to blur people’s real interests. If you
are sympathetic to our manifestations, please “like” it and share. 

Let
the world know about this shame…

No More DOMA! NO MORE PROP 8!!!

The Supreme Court’s decisions on two same-sex marriage laws have begun.
The Defense of Marriage Act has been ruled unconstitutional. 
 The Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government
from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, is
unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday by a 5-4 vote.
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the
purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by
its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity
,” Justice
Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “By seeking to displace
this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less
respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth
Amendment.”
MORE NEWS!!

Here is the opinion finding no standing in the Prop 8 case, Hollingsworth v Perry, written by chief justice Roberts.

Held: Petitioners did not have standing to appeal the District Court’s order. […]

Petitioners have no role—special or otherwise—in its enforcement.
They therefore have no “personal stake” in defending its enforcement
that is distinguishable from the general interest of every California
citizen. 

Bill O’Reilly Gives Full Support to Gay Marriage

I was never a fan of Bill O’Reilly….until now.  His views were always too far right and I thought he was sort of a jerk!  He spent years railing against gay activists and belittling gay marriage.

He had previously said that  he  supports civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, but has said that nobody has the “right” to marry; he says
that marriage, like driving a car, is a privilege, not a right. He has
said that if the government felt marriage was a right, then it would not
stop polygamists and incestuous couples from marrying. O’Reilly further explained his position in his book Culture Warrior

“To this culture warrior, gay marriage is not a vital issue. I don’t
believe the republic will collapse if Larry marries Brendan. However, it
is clear that most Americans want heterosexual marriage to maintain its
special place in American society. And as long as gays are not
penalized in the civil arena, I think the folks should make the call at
the ballot box. Traditional marriage is widely seen as a social
stabilizer, and I believe that is true.”

On March 26, 2013, O’Reilly stated “I support civil unions, I always
have. The gay marriage thing, I don’t feel that strongly about it one
way or the other. I think the states should do it.” O’Reilly then said,
“The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals … ‘We’re
Americans, we just want to be treated like everybody else.‘ That’s a
compelling argument, and to deny that you’ve got to have a very strong
argument on the other side. And the other side hasn’t been able to do
anything but thump the Bible.”

The Hollywood Reporter quizzed
FOX News host Bill O’Reilly about his remarks during the Supreme Court
marriage hearings that the “compelling argument is on the side of
homosexuals” and that “Bible thumpers” are losing.

Asked if he stood by those remarks, O’Reilly said that marriage
should be left to the states. Asked if he supports DOMA repeal, O’Reilly
said Congress should do whatever they want.

United for Marriage’ SCOTUS Rallies and Marches Expected in 50 States

Next week,  the Supreme Court will hold historic hearings on
DOMA and Proposition 8.
These cases – which
challenge the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
and California’s Proposition 8 – are fundamentally about whether LGBT
Americans can enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as everyone
else.

March 26 and 27, there will be rallies happening around the US.
Find an event near you or create an event of your own on the United for Marriage ‘Light the Way to Justice’ page.

OBAMA urges Courts to END California Gay Marriage Ban!

The Obama administration is in the news AGAIN this week!

The Obama administration will throw its support behind a broad claim for
marriage equality, urging the Supreme Court to rule that voters in
California were not entitled to ban same-sex marriage
there, according
to an administration official.  
 The federal government is not a party to the case, Hollingsworth v.
Perry, No. 12-144, and was not required to take a position in it. But
the lawyers who filed the challenge, Theodore B. Olson and David Boies,
along with gay rights groups, lobbied hard for the brief, saying the
administration could not stay silent on the issue.      
The administration is expected to file the brief  sometime today!
read it all at New York Times        

UPDATE – more details of the brief have come out –

In essence, the position of the federal
government would simultaneously give some support to marriage equality
while showing some respect for the rights of states to regulate that
institution.  What the brief endorsed is what has been called the
“eight-state solution” — that is, if a state already recognizes for
same-sex couples all the privileges and benefits that married couples
have (as in the eight states that do so through “civil unions”) those
states must go the final step and allow those couples to get married. 
The argument is that it violates the Constitution’s guarantee of legal
equality when both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are entitled to the
same marital benefits, but only the opposite-sex couples can get
married.

The eight states that apparently would be
covered by such a decision are: California (whose Proposition 8, which
denies marriage to couples who already have all of the other marital
benefits, would fall), Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey,
Oregon, and Rhode Island!

PLUS Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement about the filing:

“In our filing today in Hollingsworth v.
Perry, the government seeks to vindicate the defining constitutional
ideal of equal treatment under the law.  Throughout history, we have
seen the unjust consequences of decisions and policies rooted in
discrimination. The issues before the Supreme Court in this case and the
Defense of Marriage Act case are not just important to the tens of
thousands Americans who are being denied equal benefits and rights under
our laws, but to our Nation as a whole.” 

THIS IS HISTORY IN THE MAKING PEOPLE!!!

Obama says “DOMA IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL” to Supreme Court!

These are truly amazing times we are witnessing right now! I never thought, in my lifetime, I would see such support for gay marriage/marriage equality! WOW!

Since his personal endorsement of gay marriage last spring, President
Barack Obama has kept up the public support, even making a historic mention of gay rights in his inaugural addresslast month.

Polls show that by weighing in, Obama and the White House are siding with the majority of Americans.

In the last decade — and especially in the last few years — Americans’ attitude toward gay marriage has shifted dramatically.


Right after the election in November, the Pew Research Center released a report on the
perception of gay marriage over the past decade. It found that opinion
has swung from staunch opposition in 2001 — 57 percent opposed gay
marriage, compared to 35 percent who were in favor — to solid support in
2012, when 48 percent polled supported gay marriage, compared to 43 percent who were opposed.

On Friday, President Obama’s administration filed an historic legal brief  that declares his belief to the US Supreme Court that DOMA is
unconstitutional.


NBC NEWS  SAID FRIDAY….The Obama administration urged the Supreme Court on
Friday to throw out a section of a 1996 federal law that prohibits
recognition of same-sex marriage. 

The brief was filed Friday in United States v. Windsor, a
case challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the
law that legally declares marriage to be only between a man and a woman.
That section allows state and federal authorities to deny benefits to
same-sex couples that are commonplace for heterosexual couples, like
insurance for government workers and Social Security survivors’
benefits.

This marks the first time a president has endorsed same-sex marriage rights in the nation’s highest court.  In effect, the U.S. is asking the court to change DOMA to set a
higher bar for courts to approve laws that discriminate against gay men
and lesbians, Lyle Denniston, a Supreme Court expert, wrote on the influential ScotusBlog.

President
Barack Obama announced in 2011 that the U.S. would no longer enforce
DOMA, but “this is the first time the federal government has proposed
that constitutional test in a gay rights case before the Supreme Court,”
Denniston writes. “The court itself has never specified just what
constitutional standard it will apply in such cases, but it may have to
settle that this term.”

HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!

ALLEGEDLY, Hillary WILL Run for 2016 Presidency

Angelo Tsakopoulos, a close friend and top political donor to the
Clintons as well as the Democratic Party, confirmed that Hillary Clinton
will be the Democratic candidate in the next Presidential election.

Tsakopoulos told Greek Reporter that the former Secretary of
State will run for President in 2016, putting an end to speculation
over whether Clinton will make a second bid for President that has been
circulating around the internet and international media.

“Hillary will be our next President and she will be a great one,”
Tsakopoulos said at a private gala in California this past weekend.

Asked if this was confirmed by Clinton or whether it’s his personal
view, he replied, “I talk to her husband, and he confirmed it. She will
run.”

READ MORE

Boys Scouts Could Soon End Gay Ban

 WOW!  Finally!  The Boy Scouts are finally caving to pressure, to change their ways!

As early as next week, the Boy Scouts of America may announce it will
allow gay Scouts and troop leaders, a spokesman for the group has told
USA TODAY.

The Boys Scouts  have been losing funding left and right over the last year. 

If this policy shift is approved by the national board meeting next
week, it will be a sharp reversal of the Scouts’ decades’ old national
policy banning homosexuals.

“The policy change under discussion
would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that
oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue,”
BSA spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement to USA TODAY.

The announcement comes after a campaign to change the policy that lasted
more than a year and garnered more than 1.2 million online signatures
at Chang.org, according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation (GLAAD), an advocacy group.
“The Girl Scouts, 4H Clubs and the U.S. military are fully inclusive,
and that’s what we need from the Boy Scouts of America,”  GLAAD said.
“Until then there will be young people out there who are harmed by
this.”

Facebooks Zuckerberg Hosts GOP fundraiser Chris Christie

How does Chris Hughes, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic
and Facebook Co-founder, feel about Mark Zuckerberg hosting a
fundraiser for Republican Governor Chris Christie? 
 

Hughes joined ABC
News in a web exclusive to discuss viewer questions from Facebook about
Christie, his career successes, The New Republic, and his contributions
to Facebook before the “This Week” roundtable on Sunday.

Anti Gay News from RUSSIA

Russis is not a fun place to be gay right now!

St Petersburg was just the beginning; The current legislation being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox
Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with
information that is defined as “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism,
bisexuality and transgenderism.” It includes a ban on holding public
events that promote gay rights. St. Petersburg and a number of other
Russian cities already have similar laws on their books.

The bill is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values as
opposed to Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and church see as
corrupting Russian youth and by extension contributing to a wave of
protest against President Vladimir Putin’s rule.

 The move has been met mostly with either indifference
or open enthusiasm by average Russians. Levada polls conducted last year
show that almost two thirds of Russians find homosexuality “morally
unacceptable and worth condemning.” About half are against gay rallies
and same-sex marriage; almost a third think homosexuality is the result
of “a sickness or a psychological trauma,” the Levada surveys show.

Russia’s widespread hostility to homosexuality is shared by the political and religious elite.

read more at ABC NEWS

Gay Marriage Made Anti Gay Don Dwyer DRINK AND DRIVE

The gays are blamed for everything! Hurricanes, flooding, shootings…But this is a new one! 

A Maryland lawmaker charged with operating a boat under the influence of
alcohol, and crashed,  says that he began drinking more after separating from his wife
and feeling “betrayed” by longtime colleagues who voted for gay
marriage.

From the Capital Gazette:

Dwyer
says he felt sold out when Dels. Tiffany Alston, Wade Kach and Bob
Costa voted for same-sex marriage, an issue he spent years crusading
against. Dwyer told reporters one day before the vote that he had enough
support to block the bill.

Kach, a Republican from Baltimore County, and Alston, a former Democrat
from Prince George’s County, voted against the bill in committee. But
Kach changed his vote after hearing testimony from gay couples. Alston
shifted her vote after her amendment was adopted.

Kach and Costa,
of Deale, were the only two House Republicans to vote for the bill. It
passed the House by two votes in February.

“I had no time to do anything,” Dwyer said. “Had I known earlier, I could have taken some action.”

“That betrayal really affected me,” he said. “I was physically ill. You
pour your heart into an issue like that and it’s devastating.”

Scott Lively to go On Trial For Crimes Against Humanity

This is really remarkable!!

Abiding Truth Ministries founder Scott Lively sparked international
outrage when he worked with anti-gay forces in Uganda to foster
legislation that would impose the death penalty for homosexual activity. Lively author, attorney and activist, noted for his opposition to LGBT rights and his involvement in the ex-gay movement.
Why would an American citizen, stir up this crap for gays in another country?

The New York Times reported:

The lawsuit alleges that beginning in 2002, Mr. Lively
conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up
anti-gay hysteria with warnings that homosexuals would sodomize African
children and corrupt their culture. The Ugandan legislature considered a
bill in 2009, proposed by one of Mr. Lively’s Ugandan contacts, that
would have imposed the death sentence for homosexual behavior. That bill
was at first withdrawn after an outcry from the United States and
European nations that are among major aid donors to Uganda, but a
revised bill was reintroduced last month.

Mr. Lively is being sued by the organization Sexual
Minorities Uganda under the alien tort statute, which allows foreigners
to sue in American courts in situations alleging the violation of
international law. The suit claims that Mr. Lively’s actions resulted in
the persecution, arrest, torture and murder of homosexuals in Uganda.

While the future of that bill is still up in the air, a Ugandan LGBT
group is suing Lively for crimes against humanity in Massachusetts
federal court.

Scheduled to begin Monday,  the case is believed to be the first use of the Alien Tort Statute—which
gives American courts the right to hear human-rights cases brought by
foreign citizens for conduct committed outside the US—involving sexual
orientation. This is really amazing!!

Straight Christian Timothy Kurek Walks in Gay Shoes for 1 Year

Timothy Kurek’s motivation to spend a year pretending to be gay can be boiled down to a simple conviction: it takes drastic change to alter deeply held religious beliefs. 

The experiment began after a lesbian friend opened up to Kurek about being excommunicated by her family. 
All Kurek, an avowed evangelical Christian, could think about, he says, “was trying to convert her.”
He was quickly disgusted by his own feelings, more pious than humane.

In fact, Kurek was so disgusted by his response to his friend that he
decided to do something drastic. Living in Nashville, Tennessee, he
would pretend to be gay for a year. The experiment began on the first
day of 2009; Kurek came out to his family, got a job as a barista at a
gay café and enlisted the help of a friend to act as his boyfriend in
public.

The experience – which stopped short of Kurek getting physically
intimate with other men – is documented in Kurek’s recent book “The Cross in the Closet
which has received international attention, landed
him on ABC’s “The View” and elicited some biting criticism.

BRAINWASHING OUR CHILDREN – 

For years, Kurek says, the only life he had was “his church life.” Being an evangelical Christian was his identity.

He was home-schooled until seventh grade, almost all of his friends
were from church and his social life was a nightly string of faith-based
events, from church sports to a Christian Cub Scout troop. “It was the
only thing I was used to doing,” said Kurek, who attended Liberty
University, the largest evangelical university in the world, before
dropping out after freshman year.

Kurek grew up in an “independent Baptist church.” “We were
evangelical,” he said, “but we were more conservative than evangelical,
too.”

His churchy lifestyle led to some deeply held views about
homosexuality. Most evangelical churches condemn homosexuality as
sinful. Many rail against certain gay rights, like gay marriage.

It’s no surprise that the “The Cross in the Closet,” has spurred strong reaction, especially from the LGBT community.

“I feel for the gay community of Nashville, and for every person who
trusted Kurek enough to flirt with him, hang out with him, and confide
in him about their lives,” wrote Amy Lieberman on the blog Feministing. “If I were in that community, I would feel so betrayed right now.”

In a Huffington Post blog post titled “Pretending To Be Gay Isn’t The Answer,”
Emily Timbol, a religion blogger, expressed a similar opinion: “What’s
sad is that every interaction Timothy had during his year pretending was
fake.”

But we are missing the bigger picture here!  Kurek says that that was not his aim. “This isn’t a book about
being gay, I could not write that book, I am not qualified,” he writes.
“What this is about is the label of gay and how that label affected me
personally.”

Throughout the book, Kurek emphasizes that distinction. While much of
“The Cross in the Closet” is about the struggle to understand the gay
community, which he tries to address by enlisting a friend to act as his
boyfriend, much of it addresses how his former church’s community – and
family – reacted to his new lifestyle.

As for his original goal, to radically change who he was, Kurek says
mission accomplished. He says he has conquered his prejudices of the
LGBT community and is happy with the person he has become.

“If anybody had told me back then who I would be or what I would
believe now,” Kurek said, “I would have thought they were completely
insane.”

For example, Kurek now thinks homosexuality is completely acceptable.

BUY THE BOOK    The Cross in the Closet

LGBT Advocates Push Obama for Executive Order on Discrimination

 LGBT Advocates Push Obama
for Executive Order on
Discrimination
By Shaun Knittel
Best Gay News Magazine Staff Writer
 
Gay-rights advocates, buoyed by
the approval of same-sex marriage in several states on Election Day, plan to
push President
Obama
to go big on their agenda in his second term. According to thehill.com, the gay groups plan to prod the
president to sign an executive order that would ban discrimination by federal
contractors against gay and transgendered people.
The advocates argue that if Obama
signs the order it could encourage Capitol Hill to pass broader legislation
that would extend a similar ban to employers.
 
According to thehill.com, The
White House shelved the executive order earlier this year, but it remains a top
priority for gay-rights supporters want to see movement from the president
soon.
 
“The push is to have them do
it sooner instead of later,” Allison Herwitt , legislative director for
the Human Rights Campaign, said, “I do think
it helps pave the way for a fully inclusive [Employment Non-Discrimination
Act]. … It is the way that the government puts its imprimatur on what’s
important and makes a difference in people’s lives. The president would be
saying it’s important not to discriminate.”
 
If passed by Congress, the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act
would extend federal protections against
discrimination in the workplace to gay and transgendered people. Lobbyists
working on the bill admit it has a tough road to passage with Republicans still
in control of the House.
 
Obama has earned praise from
gay-rights advocates for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and for endorsing
same-sex marriage. Further, his administration has said expressed support for
the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the past. An executive order could move
much faster, though, because it would only require a stroke of the president’s
pen.
 

Read the full story at thehill.com