News items affecting gays, lesbians, bisexuals & transsexuals
2011-December: Accelerating steps toward
equality etc., after DOMA decision in early 2011
We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
We use the acronym "LGBT" to refer to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
See also the previous essay describing events during the second half of 2011-NOV
The Obama administration announced on 2011-FEB-23 that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. They cited an earlier decision in a Massachusetts federal court that found multiple reasons why the federal DOMA legislation violates the U.S. Constitution and is thus invalid.
Some commentators predicted that this decision will generate a tipping point that will lead to a more rapid decline in discrimination against sexual minorities in the U.S.
This prediction may be coming true. We have noticed an increase in events -- some important, some minor, some merely symbolic -- that indicate a gradual evaporation of animosity and homophobia against sexual minorities.
Developments toward marital equality and a lessening of discrimination against sexual minorities:
2011-DEC-06: President Obama issues memorandum on LGBT rights worldwide:
"Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal."
He has asked federal government agencies that work in foreign countries to:
- Combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad.
- Protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers.
- Leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination.
- Ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad.
Engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination. 1,2
The complete text.
2011-DEC-06: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about LGBT rights.
She delivered a speech in Geneva in advance of Human Rights Day which falls on DEC-10. In response to recent efforts by the governments of Uganda and Nigeria to criminalize same-gender sexual behavior and to the six predominately Muslim countries that consider such behavior to be a capital offense, she said:
"Today I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose Human Rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or too often even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm. I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual and trance gender people. Human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity who have a right to claim that which is now one of the remaining Human Rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country's record on Human Rights for gay people is far from perfect until 2003 it was still a crime in parts of our country. ..."
"It should never be a crime to be gay."
"Gay rights are Human Rights, and Human Rights are gay rights." 1,2
The complete text and video.
2011-DEC-06: Rick Perry and Rick Santorum attack Obama's LGBT initiative:
Governor Rick Perry released a statement saying that:
"This administration's war on traditional American values must stop. ... Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America's interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers' money. ... [The president's move was] the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country."
Rick Santorum said:
"I would suggest that we give out humanitarian aid based on humanitarian need, not based on whether people are promoting their particular agenda. Obviously the administration is promoting their particular agenda in this country, and now they feel its their obligation to promote those values not just in the military, not just in our society, but now around the world with taxpayer dollars." 3
2011-DEC-15: MA: BBC reports on study linking SSM with health of gay men:
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found a 13% decrease in healthcare visits during the 12 months following the legalization of SSM in Massachusetts when compared to the 12 months preceding the change.
Lead scientist, Dr Mark Hatzenbuehler, said:
"Our results suggest that removing these barriers improves the health of gay and bisexual men. Marriage equality may produce broad public health benefits by reducing the occurrence of stress-related health conditions."
A spokesperson for the Terrence Higgins Trust, a UK-based sexual health and HIV charity, said:
"There is a known link between health and happiness. It's no surprise that people who are treated as second class citizens tend to have low self esteem, which in turn makes them more likely to take risks. Whether this is drugs, alcohol abuse, or unsafe sex, treating gay men unequally has lasting repercussions for their health." 4 More details.
2011-DEC-29: CA: New season of The Batchelor includes bisexual batchelorete:
The 16th season starts on 2012-JAN-02 with Ben Flajnik who almost won the 7th season of the Batchelorette. He will meet 26 women one of whom is a Monica Spannbauer, a 33-year-old dental consultant from Yuba City, CA who is bisexual. In Touch Weekly> magazine says that she will: "... make waves when she makes a move on one of the other women." 5
2011-DEC-30: IL: Call for Catholic Cardinal Francis George to resign over KKK comment:
The pro-equality group Truth Wins Out has taken out a full page ad in The Chicago Tribune asking Cardinal George to resign. The headline reads: "Hey Cardinal Francis George, Gay is NOT like the KKK."
Cardinal George is the head of the Catholic Conference of Illinois and is the Archbishop of Chicago. During an interview on Fox Chicago he said that the parade route for a Gay Pride parade should be rerouted to avoid passing in front of Our Lady of Mount Carmel's front doors. He said:
"I go with the pastor. He's telling us that he won't be able to have services on Sunday if that's the case. You don't want the gay liberation movement morph into something like the Klu Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism."
After the Fox host called his comment: "a little strong," Cardinal George said:
"It is, but you take a look at the rhetoric. The rhetoric of the Klu Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people. Who is the enemy? Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church."
There is no indication in the media that Cardial George is aware that:
- The KKK is an anti-black and anti-Catholic group motivated by hatred, and seeking racial and religious inequality, whereas
The LGBT movement is a civil rights group reacting to being attacked as inrinsically disordered by the Catholic Church and seeking equality for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Later, on ABC 7, Cardinal George said:
"Obviously, it's absurd to say the gay and lesbian community are the Ku Klux Klan. But if you organize a parade that looks like parades that we've had in our past because it stops us from worshiping God, well then that's the comparison. But it's not with people and people – it's parade-parade."
Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out responded by issuing a statement:
"We felt compelled to place this ad after Cardinal George compounded his initial smear with further insults disguised as an apology. It seems the sin of pride is keeping George from saying he is sorry. At this point, the only road to redemption is his resignation." 6
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Ken Williams, "Obama issues presidential memo establishing global LGBT rights strategy," San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, 2011-DEC-06, at: http://sdgln.com/
Andrew Harmon, "Obama Administration Makes Case for World LGBT Rights," The Advocate magazine, 2011-DEC-06, at: http://www.advocate.com/
Kevin Liptak, "Candidates quick to pan Obama foreign aid decision," CNN, 2011-DEC-06, at: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com
"Gay marriage 'improves health'," BBC News, 2011-DEC-15, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/
" 'The Bachelor' To Feature Bisexual Bachelorette Monica Spannbauer," On Top Magazine, 2011-DEC-29, at: http://www.ontopmag.com/
"Cardinal Francis George Called To Resign Over KKK-Gay Pride Comment In Full Page Ad," On Top Magazine, 2011-DEC-30, at: http://www.ontopmag.com/
How you got here:
Copyright © 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-DEC-30
Author: B.A. Robinson