Kentucky County Clerk Jailed

Well, the saga goes on in Kentucky where Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk has refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples is now in jail. Marriage licenses have been granted by subordinates under threat of jail and Davis says they aren’t valid.

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Four couples sued Kim Davis because as County Clerk she was refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. She said that it was against her religion. She also said she wouldn’t step down from her post. Since it is an elected post she can’t be terminated, only impeached and the legislature is out of session.

Judge Ruled, Supreme Court Upheld

Judge David Bunning ruled that she must issue the licenses and she still refused. She didn’t show up for work and her deputies also refused to issue the  licenses. Her lawyers asked the Supreme Court to negate Bunning’s ruling. They refused to get involved.

Jail Time

The judge then tried to reach some compromise and was considering a fine. But he realized there was an almost inexhaustible supply of money from evangelicals and therefore a fine would not be a hardship for Ms. Davis. He then took a step which surprised a lot of people and put her in jail for contempt of court.

Ms. Davis is now in jail, reading her bible, and equating herself with Martin Luther King for the time he spent in jail for what he believed in. Some people find this a stretch, others are supporting and applauding her. The judge says she is staying in jail until she changes her mind. It could be a while.

Legal License or Not?

The judge threatened her deputies with jail time if they didn’t grant marriage licenses to gay couples. Several have now been granted but without the County Clerk’s signature. Ms. Davis and her lawyers say the marriage licenses are not valid. The lawyers for the gay couples say that they are.

Interesting Davis Background

Ms. Davis is on her fourth husband. She has had children out of wedlock. Now this gets a bit confusing so hang on. She had twins five months after divorcing her first husband. But they weren’t his. She married her second husband and he adopted them. But they weren’t his either. The twins were the children of her third husband. During her fourth marriage Ms. Davis became born again which is the reason for her refusal now about the gay marriage licenses.

It will be interesting to see how long she stays in jail and how soon the issue fads from the news.

Gay Marriage and Health Benefits Problems and More

A friend who is a lobbyist in Annapolis for LGBT issues pointed out an article in NewsMax Finance. NewsMax Finance is a fairly conservative organization and their article was about Gay Marriage and some probable unintended negative consequences for both gay and straight couples of the Supreme Court ruling making gay marriage legal in all 50 states.

Lost Health Benefits?

Why would it be bad for health benefits. Gay spouses will now be able to visit in the hospital, and have access to benefits that were only available to straight couples before. However, up until now many large companies had health coverage for the domestic partners of unmarried workers. This was for both gay and straight.  Based on surveys of large companies, as many as one fifth of them may no longer cover coverage for unmarried domestic partners.

In the surveys, 93% covered health benefits for same sex partners but only 62% for opposite sex partners as well. This would indicate that 31% of the companies would be likely to drop health benefits for unmarried gay partners. In the survey, 22% of the companies responded that they would be likely to drop health benefits for unmarried partners, both gay and straight, if the Supreme Court came to the decision that they did.

That is for large nationwide companies, but what about smaller companies that are in a region or just a state? In certain areas of the country that are more conservative such as the South, some companies may decide not to offer health benefits at all to straight or gay just so they don’t have to provide benefits to gay couples. Sad but probably true.

International Work more Dangerous

In another offshoot of the Supreme Court decision, it could make working overseas much more dangerous. In countries with anti-gay policies, it will be much more difficult to obscure their status. It is illegal to engage in homosexual acts in 78 countries and that includes Singapore. Up until now some companies just listed gay partners as household staff so as not to bring attention to the relationship. With a marriage license in official records it will be more difficult in these countries. Also, processing health claims through local hospitals is going to be dicey.

US Still Has Issues to Resolve

There are 28 states in the US where you can fire someone over sexual orientation. In these states many people remain in the closet for fear of losing their jobs. Getting married would complicate remaining in the closet. Obviously, this court decision is a beginning, not an end.

Great Baltimore Bachelorette Party

We were in Baltimore recently for a bachelorette party for our friends, Rachel and Sarah. What a great time, and they went all out. We were picked up by the most amazing limousine we have ever seen. If you ever need a limo in Baltimore, you need to give these people a call, Baltimore Limo ( It wasn’t just your normal town car. This thing was amazing. All 12 of us fit in comfortably. There was this amazing blue fiber optic lighting that looked like we were in some kind of futuristic movie. They had a bar area and we brought along several bottles to get the party started. Heck, it was so nice, we could have just stayed in the limo and partied all night.

We cranked up the music in the limo and headed for Club Hippo, a gay bar and one of the oldest night clubs in Baltimore. The drag show was fabulous, RuPaul, eat your heart out. It is too bad Club Hippo is closing down sometime by the end of the year and being turned into a CVS. I think people are partying harder now there, knowing it is going to close. We danced our asses off and had a blast.

We left Club Hippo (not quite to staggered out yet) and our lovely chauffeur helped us into the limo. Next we went to Club Orpheus and stayed a little while, but it was too Goth for us. So we all piled back in the limo again and went to Grand Central. We should have just walked there because it is around the corner from Club Hippo. Oh well. We had some more drinks, danced more, laughed a lot and got really silly. We just happened to hit their wet undies night. Some of the ladies were really hot. From the reaction, the guys were too, if you are into that kind of thing. We closed the place down.

But we weren’t ready to quit, so our driver took us over to Club 1722. We partied there until the early morning and finally stumbled out to be greeted by our very patient driver. Thank goodness we didn’t have to drive, we were in no condition. What an amazing night, but ours heads paid for it when we woke up in the afternoon.

Costa Rica gets Gay-marriage rights boosts after Carlos Alvarado’s win

The subject of gay marriages has always loomed in political campaigns. While most presidential aspirants try to evade the question of whether they stand for gay marriages or not, Carlos Alvarado made it known that he stands for gay marriages.

Gay-marriage rights

In a presidential contest that brought two bigwigs on opposite sides on matters gay marriage, the win by a pro-gay candidate hugely speaks of what Costa Ricans stand for.

Carlos Alvarado, who is a popular fiction writer among Costa Ricans and also a former minister won the presidential seat with a staggering 61% from 95% of the polling stations.

Quest to ensure a tolerant Costa Rica

Though he might have had other campaign agendas, Alvarado’s owes his huge win to the commitment to create a more tolerant Costa Rica. In his own words; “My commitment is to a government for everybody, in equality and liberty for a more prosperous future, There is much more that unites us than divides us”

His opponent, Alvarado Munoz, who forged a campaign portraying him as a strictly conservative faithful accepted the results and sent a congratulatory message to winner. The 43 year old former TV presenter promised to work together with Alvarado for the prosperity of Costa Rica.

Munoz is said to have lost his presidential bid by maintaining that he will prohibit gay marriages and stop women’s access to abortion to uphold the social values of the Costa Rican people.

What is in this win for the LGBT community?

The winner hasn’t really began working, and we can’t predict what he is going to do, but we can be sure that gays now have a better space than they would have if Munoz won. Costa Rica is growing more tolerant and the people are getting their freedom to choose their partners without cultural and social barriers.

A message to The World

This win by a pro-gay president sends the world a message that liberation and tolerance to people’s sexual inclinations is a key pointer in political campaigns. Now, Costa Rica is being seen as a more tolerant society than even USA where Donald Trump had earlier exhibited contempt for blacks and the LGBT community.

Also, other countries who are just about to have presidential elections have watched and learnt from the Costa Rican elections and may soon use it as a ground to gain following.

The most important effect is that leaders are finally realizing that the LGBT community have rights too, and form a big percentage of the population they seek votes from.

We can only sit and watch how this will affect elections in Latin America this year, but, it is now clear that societies are becoming more and more tolerant.

Gays-Beware Russia

Homosexuality is a controversial subject in most countries around the world. In Russia, the gay issue took a different turn with Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay legislation in 2013. This move has affected the LGBT rights in many aspects. Here are some of the things that every gay person in Russia should be aware of.

Being Gay is not illegal in Russia but…Gays-Beware Russia

In 1993, homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia. Recently, the Strasbourg judges ruled that the 2013 legislation that prohibited promotion of homosexuality among persons under 18 was discriminative. These legal provisions do not mean that gay people are free in Russia. Homosexuality is seen as ‘unnatural’ in the country and prejudice is rife.

More people are fleeing Russia

The number of Russian nationals seeking asylum in Canada went up by 50% between 2014 and 2015. The statistics are higher in European countries and the United States. Some cite harassment from the police and members of the public while others simply fear for their lives. There are reports filed by the LGBT Network claiming that their members have been tortured, sometimes to death.

The LGBTQ struggle is weak is Russia

In countries where gay movements have achieved social progress, there is unity among the members. In the United States, laws prohibiting same-sex activities have been abolished since the 20th century. In the case of Russia, two groups of the LGBTQ movement conflict. There are those that support Putin’s actions against same-sex marches while others organize gay parades in Moscow. These internal divisions render the campaigns ineffective. Another weakening aspect is the lack of cohesion between gay rights and the opposition movement.

In consideration of the current atmosphere in Russia, any gay person ought to take great caution. For instance, the upcoming 2018 world cup event has already elicited some heat around homosexuality. Gay fans have been warned against displaying affection in public. In a recent interview with the Guardian, Piara Power urged the minority groups to attend the World Cup but exercise caution. The Football Against Racism in Europe’s (Fare) executive director advised gay people to use a guide to help them stay safe.

Although homosexuality is not illegal, it is common for gay people to face harassment and death in Russia. While the struggle against homophobia continues, LGBT members should exercise caution. Fare has already developed a guide and is in talks with the Russian government to protect the minority group during the 2018 World Cup.

Trump and Gays

Donald Trump taking a new turn towards embracing the gays?

Donald Trump gave to the LGBT community a historic shout-out, while the Republican National Convention was taken by surprise. Recently, nearly 49 Americans were murdered in Orlando, Florida by terrorists and in an acceptance speech Trump said, ‘As your president, I will protect LGBTQ citizens when in my power’.  This was unexpected and took to shock the conservative delegates who habitually heard their representative opposing equality in marriage and more, embracing the gays. However, the crowd cheered in approval and Trump said he was pleased to hear them cheer for that he said.

Right from last week, the gay Republicans viewed Trump as the LGBT candidate and the anti-LGBT platforms are holding off their endorsement to ever nominate by conservatives.  However, in the past, a strategic change is made with respect to LGBT issues. Three different RNC speakers spoke in their speeches about LGBT equality. To highlight this Eric Trump Foundation vice president, Lynne Patton, shocked delegates with just three short words ‘LGBTQ lives matter’.

The complete scenario was changed when Ted Cruz, who upset his delegates by not endorsing Trump in his speech, literally took people by surprise as he gave LGBT a shout out and said ‘Freedom means freedom to all, regardless of whether you are a Christian, Muslim or Jew, atheist, straight or gay’.

Likewise, Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, who is short-listed for VP by Trump, made an appeal saying to LGBT people, as in the Islamic State and Iran, the gays, the transgender citizens and lesbians will be put to death, if the enemies had their way.

Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder and a gay billionaire openly spoke for the first time at the Republican National Convention and at the Cleveland gathering, he was the only gay speaker. He said, he was proud to be a gay and also to be a Republican and very proud to be an American.

With these RNC speeches, there was a reason for the gay conservatives to smile, while the others are hesitant to understand this transformation with respect to LGBT community.

Donald Trump has been a strong opponent of marriage equality and has now shocked people by embracing the anti-LGBTQ law. Trump said he will sign the FADA, the First Amendment Defense Act that will enable discrimination in Kim Davis-style across the country. In fact, to utter dismay, Donald Trump has denied offering support to the Equality Act. Time will tell as to what his true motives and actions will be. Let us just say we are dubious.

Reagan and Gays

Nancy Reagan just died. Many people loved her but she was lampooned for the “Just Say No” to drugs campaign. She was a strong supporter for her husband and his policies, Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan as Homophobe

Ronald Reagan is remembered less than fondly by the LGBT community who were living and survived during the Reagan presidency when AIDS first started spreading and turned into a crisis. Reagan remained mute on the topic for years while thousands died. Because of his attitude and lack of leadership, The Advocate named him the Homophobe of the Year in 1985 and made the list many times. He did not mention AIDS in a speech until 1987.

Did Nancy Push Ronald Reagan?

Some have given Nancy Reagan credit for pushing her husband to be more active about AIDS. He did finally support some research on AIDS. Some have said that the death of Rock Hudson was a turning point.

Rock Hudson Story

Hudson wanted President Reagan to help him with the French government. The reason was that he was in a French hospital and wanted a new treatment but couldn’t get it because he wasn’t a French citizen. He asked the Reagans to intercede on his behalf. Nancy sent a telegram saying that they could do nothing because it would be showing favoritism. But she did let the press know that Ronald had called Rock Hudson.

Twisted Stories

Gahl Burt who was the White House social secretary today said that Nancy Reagan had called Elizabeth Taylor and asked her to become involved with AIDS advocacy. However, in 1992, Vanity Fair had an article saying that Taylor had to repeatedly approach the Reagans about AIDS. In fact, it said that Nancy’s first response was very frosty. So even at this late date, the Reagan White House is still doing spin on the news. In fact, it said that when President Reagan spoke to Rock Hudson he wouldn’t even use the word AIDS, calling it hepatitis which was the original cover story when Hudson first got sick.

A historian, Allida Black says that Nancy should be given credit for pushing Ronald and the Secretary of Health about AIDS after the death of Rock Hudson and another friend of theirs. However, she pointed out that if it had been white children dying, there would have been action much sooner.

In an interview, her son Ron Reagan said that since the first people to get AIDS were gays and IV drug users, neither of which were typically Republican constituents, it wasn’t taken seriously. It was something the other party was making a big deal about. How sad.

Mormon Church Bans Gay Marriage

Well, the Mormon Church definitely does not agree with the Supreme Court. Although Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are probably in agreement with the Mormons on this. The Mormon church has just come out that gay marriage is a form of apostasy. Tough news for gay Mormons who are married.

Apostasy is an act or repudiation of the beliefs of a religion. There are variations on the meaning but that is the basic idea.

Rule Update Saying No to Gay Marriage

This became known through an update of what is known as Handbook #1. It is the administrative guide used in the church and is only given to LDS bishops and stake presidents. (What is a stake? The smallest group which is like a congregation is called a ward or branch. A stake is typically made up of 5 to 12 wards.)

It says that anyone in a gay marriage is an apostate and subject to church discipline and in fact the leaders should seek these people out and discipline them. This probably means end the marriage or you are expelled from the church, excommunicated, whatever the right term is.

But Be Nice to Gays

Earlier this year, the church put out an announcement about gay marriage, probably in response to the Supreme Court ruling. It said that church facilities and ministers could not take part in any gay marriage ceremonies, receptions, etc. However it said that anyone in a gay marriage was to be treated with respect. They said Jesus taught us to be kind and friendly to all people whether we agree with them or not.

Kids Banned Too!

They went even further by going after the children. It said that any child living in a house with a co-habiting same sex couple, whether married or not, could not receive a name from the church or be blessed or baptized. It also doesn’t matter whether the child is natural or adopted.

Ellen Page & Ted Cruz

Ellen Page cam out as a lesbian in the last year. She recently made a visit to the Iowa State Fair where Ted Cruz was grilling pork chops as part of a campaign swing.

The two of them went back and forth for five minutes and it was captured by the national media. However, it probably makes no difference one way or the other. Conservative media portrayed it as a victorious put down of Ellen Page and liberal media portrayed it as showing how out of touch Cruz is.

It was like the two of them were from different planets and were talking different languages. Page saw it as a discussion of gay rights and Cruz saw it as a discussion on religious persecution and freedom. Neither one seemed to hear the other.

Page started by asking Cruz what he felt about LGBT people being fired because they were gay or trans. Cruz came back with how horrible it was that God fearing Christians were being persecuted for their beliefs. Page said no, they are being persecuted for their discrimination. Cruz said no, they were being persecuted for living based on their faith.

Page said the arguments being used to discriminate against LGBT were the same that had been used to discriminate against minorities which is now illegal. Cruz came up with a story about an Iowa couple who wouldn’t hold a same sex wedding at their business. Cruz then came up with an odd hypothetical story about a gay florist refusing to sell flowers to  two evangelicals who were going to get married. Page said the gay florist should sell them the flowers.

The conversation then got stranger. Cruz asked where gays were being persecuted. Page said all over the world. Cruz said they are being killed by ISIS and Iran and there is no outcry and the Obama administration is sending millions of dollars to the country. Page said that was not true and that gays were being persecuted worldwide, including Jamaica. Cruz said Jamaica is not killing gays. Why isn’t Obama raising the issue? Page said she would love to talk to President Obama. Cruz then says, “Then we agree.” Page said not at all and to stop twisting her words.

Pretty much that was then end of the conversation. Basically red meat for both bases with little accomplished.

Christians Not Being Christian

Well, the US has gay marriage not but many advocates say there are still issues that need to be resolved before equality can be achieved and LGBT people don’t have to live in fear of prejudice and reprisals and losing their job. In many states it is legal to fire someone for their sexual preference.

BUT, If you think it is bad here, you are wrong. It is actually pretty good and getting better all the time. Especially when you compare the US with many Mid East and African countries.

The frustrating thing is that the antigay sentiment is being fueled by missionaries from the US who don’t like the trend in acceptance of gays in the United States. It is also being fueled by money from right wing Christian zealots in the US. Some people are wondering if they could be held liable for the deaths in Africa of gays killed by the hatred that these “Christians” from the US have stirred up.

The odd thing is that in different African tribes there was a place for a third sexuality which was essentially gay men. They were accepted and played an role in the functioning of the tribe. But with the teachings of the missionaries, antigay sentiment seems to be spreading and becoming more virulent. In some countries there is even the death penalty for homosexual acts.

It was refreshing to hear President Obama speak out on his recent trip to Africa. He managed to walk a very fine line of pushing for change and not insulting the leaders he was speaking to, or coming off as a heavy handed American trying to dictate to them. It definitely didn’t hurt that he is African American and his father was Kenyan. It gave him a vantage point and credibility to speak to these African leaders that no prior American President has ever had. He pushed for tolerance for gays and the need for women’s rights. It would be nice if the African leaders listened and turned down the heat some on the gay community.

Supreme Court Approves Gay Marriage

Who says the Supreme Court is not a political body. They proved it once again with the vote on gay marriage. Roberts was against it but some feel he was secretly glad that it was approved. His objections seemed to be more on technical legal grounds. Scalia is a different story. He was apoplectic and is probably convinced that this is the end of America. He also complained about an activist court. That is ballsy considering the number of activist decisions he has been involved in from deciding a Presidential race to considering a corporation to be a person and allowing unlimited money into political campaigns.

On the other hand, the usual swing vote, Justice Kennedy, wrote the majority opinion and compared the decision to allowing whites and blacks to marry. If Scalia had been a justice for that decision, we know where he would have come down on that one  as well.

Battle Isn’t Over

But, the battle isn’t over. In many states there are still no workplace protection for gays. It is still entirely possible that if they get married, they can be fired for being gay. That is allowed by the law in over half the states. Naturally the Catholic church was against this decision as well as conservative Christian groups and the Mormon church. One judge in rural Alabama decided that in order not to marry gays and at the same time to not go against the Supreme Court, he wasn’t going to issue any marriage certificates at all.

The decision made sense in that it didn’t force the decision down the throats of various religions and require them to perform religious ceremonies marrying gays. Each church/religion can make their own choice about how they want to handle gay marriage. But gays can no longer be denied marriage and can get married in a civil ceremony or in a denomination that allows it.

Gay and lesbian couples will get marital rights now in all states, although straightening out the paperwork might take a little while. One area where there might be problems is with parental rights. States have no problem with biological parents but in a lesbian couple, only one is the biological parent and for gay couples most likely neither is the biological father although it is possible one could be. In Utah, there is a legal case where the state has been sued to have both lesbian parents names on the birth certificate.