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5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: International Homophobia

5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: International Homophobia

5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: International Homophobia

In Russia, Australia, and India, it just got worse for LGBT people. We didn't do much better stateside.


Welcome to our weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days. We'll be providing a retrospective on the most heinous, crazy-making bits of anti-LGBT news that came across our radar last week. Our hope in doing this isn't only to darken the skies, but also to sound the alarm about the kind of idiocy that passes for "legitimate commentary" these days. Expect a healthy dose of snark in the following paragraphs — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day.

5. GOP Senators Introduce 'License to Discriminate' Bill

A new bill sponsored by 11 Republican senators aims to protect the tax-exempt status of churches and religious nonprofits that oppose marriage equality… Even though there's exactly zero evidence that such religious freedom faces any substantial threat. But don't tell that to the bill's primary sponsor. 

"What I would like to do is make sure that we go out of our way to protect churches from adverse action that could be taken against them as a result of their doctrinal views of the definition of marriage," Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, told the Washington Examiner last Tuesday. "We need not just statements, but we need legislation to protect religious liberty from this kind of potential threat."

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would prohibit federal agencies from rescinding the tax-exempt status of churches and nonprofit groups, according to the Examiner. Similar legislation was introduced in the House in September. 

But here's the rub: The "threat" to which Lee refers to isn't just "potential" at this point in time, it's entirely hypothetical.

President Obama has promised to respect the rights of churches and religious-based nonprofits to deny service or refuse to recognize marriages that go against their religious doctrine. Every state that has enacted marriage equality legislation has done so with strong religious exemptions protecting the rights of faith-based institutions to do the same. And this tiny, totally unimportant document known as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution features a fundamental and oft-reaffirmed protection of religious liberty in its restriction that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." 

But please, continue with your hysterics, right-wingers. 

4. Don't Shun Your Lesbian Friend, But Don't Let Her Recruit Your Children

In yet another shining example of so-called Christian love, televangelist and living dinosaur Pat Robertson told a concerned viewer that she shouldn't necessarily excommunicate her lesbian friend, but she definitely shouldn't let that dirty homosexual near her children, lest she turn the kids gay. (Because that's totally how it works, right?)

Robertson made the remark on Thursday’s edition of The 700 Club, after cohost Terry Meeuwsen read him a letter from a mother who had recently reunited with an old friend. "I invited her to meet my children. She said yes — and asked if she could bring her 'partner,'"the mom wrote. She added, "I don’t want her to think I am okay with her ways. And I don’t feel comfortable having her around my children. Should I keep this friendship?"

(Because, God forbid this old friend think that her long-lost buddy had gained some sense of tolerance in the years that had passed.)

Robertson advised the woman not to shun her friend and instead to show love, but noted, "You don’t want your children to grow up as lesbians, that’s what you’re talking about, you don’t want to show them that that’s an acceptable lifestyle for your family."  He recommended that the writer tell her friend, “I have my lifestyle, it’s Christian and you have yours, it’s not; I’m sorry we can’t indulge in certain things together.”

Well, when you put it that way, Pat, it sounds like you're expecting the two (former) friends to engage in something nowhere near as G-rated as having cookies with the kids. 

Watch the old cook below, courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

Find more outrageous news on the following pages...

3. Australia's High Court Unmarried Two Dozen Gay Couples

In what will almost certainly go down as one of the clearest indications that some powerful judges are just overgrown mean girls, Australia's High Court invalidated the Capital Territory's marriage equality law Wednesday — four days after it took effect. 

The Australian Capital Territory legislature passed a marriage equality bill in October, making it the first Australian territory to embrace same-sex marriage, despite a federal law enacted in 2004 that declares marriages can only occur between one man and one woman, according to a report from the Australian Broadcasting Corp. The federal government of the commonwealth immediately filed suit in the nation's High Court, contending the ACT law was unconstitutional and in violation of the Federal Marriage Act.

Now, despite the fact that the court heard the case earlier this year, one week before it announced this latest ruling, the High Court declined to issue a decision in the case, acknowledging that that meant same-sex couples would begin marrying in the ACT, which includes the capital city of Canberra. And in case you thought this was an issue of the Court not having yet decided, it's worth noting that the latest decision was announced without publishing the full ruling, but to offer clarity to those hoping to take advantage of the law. No one within the High Court thought maybe, perhaps, it might be nice to offer that "guidance" before committed, loving couples exchanged vows in front of friends, family, and lawmakers? 

And just to really rub in the injury and insult, the High Court also clarified that the each of the 27 same-sex couples who had already tied the knot on Wednesday would all have their marriages annulled. Congrats, newlyweds! Or is that, newlywasn'ts?

2. Russian Sitcom Star Says Gays Should Be Burned Alive, Audience Applauds

The star of a popular Russian sitcom said that gay people in his country should be burned alive in ovens — and the audience apparently agreed, cheering his homophobic comments.
Ivan Okhlobystin, star of a Russian show loosely based on the American medical comedy Scrubs, used gay slurs, and ranted about gay fascism in front of a crowd of fans during a spiritual event in Novosibirsk.
"I'd put them all alive in the oven…it's a living danger to my children," state-owned news agency Ria Novosti reports him saying. His additional comments that gay people are a danger to his six children, and should be stripped of their rights to vote garnered overwhelming applause, according to Buzzfeed.
Okhlobystin previously served as an Orthodox Christian priest until his priesthood was suspended in 2010. He also made a bid for the presidency in 2011.
After news of his statements grew, Okhlobystin tweeted that he received death threats from "sodomites," according to Buzzfeed.

Still think those comparisons between modern Russia and Nazi Germany are inappropriate? 

Discover the most outrageous news story from the last week on the next page...

1. India Reinstates Sodomy Ban and Colonial Homophobia

India's Supreme Court Wednesday reversed a landmark 2009 ruling that decriminalized gay sex, reinstating a colonial law that prohibits "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman, or animal," reports The New York Times. In the wake of the decision, same-sex sexual conduct will once again be punishable by up to 10 years in prison in India. And, in a less publicized but no less real implication of the law, anything outside of procreative, penis-in-vagina sex is now technically illegal in India. Sorry, folks, that means no more oral sex, anal sex, or really much of any of the fun stuff that consenting adults — gay, straight, and in between — have been enjoying for decades now. 

The nation's highest court declared that the 2009 decision, which deemed Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional, was an overreach by the court. The Supreme Court determined that only Parliament had the power to repeal the antisodomy law, which was enacted by the British in 1861 when India was a colony of the United Kingdom. 

On Sunday, activists around the globe demonstrated in a worldwide "Day of Rage,"  demanding legislative action to change the laws and stop the recriminalization of love. Carrying signs that demonstrated solidarity and pointed out the hypocrisy inherent in the law. Check out a few of our favorite protest signs from demonstrators in India below:

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Sunnivie Brydum

<p>Sunnivie is an award-winning journalist and the managing editor at&nbsp;<em>The Advocate</em>. A proud spouse and puppy-parent, Sunnivie strives to queer up the world of reporting while covering the politics of equality daily.</p>

<p>Sunnivie is an award-winning journalist and the managing editor at&nbsp;<em>The Advocate</em>. A proud spouse and puppy-parent, Sunnivie strives to queer up the world of reporting while covering the politics of equality daily.</p>