#GayRIghts

South Korean Constitutional Court Nominee Lee Seok-tae Expressed Support of Same-Sex Marriage

While the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh is going terribly in terms of LGBTQ rights, a high court confirmation hearing in South Korea is having much better luck.

According to local Korean news source Media Today, lawmaker Lee Seok-tae, who’s currently in a hearing for a position on South Korea’s Constitutional Court, expressed support of gay marriage.

“We should not look at the matter in terms of for and against, but basic rights,” he said while on the topic of same-sex marriage.

“It won’t be easy in the short run, but we have to understand and face it,” he then added.

 

Unfortunately, the other side of this hearing wasn’t so accepting and LGBTQ-inclusive.

The lawmakers questioning Lee then became hostile and asked him several hard ball questions. One even directly asked Lee if he was gay himself.

While homosexuality is legal in South Korea, there is still a toxic atmosphere around being openly gay (largely due to Christian rhetoric).

For instance, July saw the Seoul Queer Parade being bothered by 20,000 or more anti-gay protestors (mostly Christian based groups). These protestors held signs like “We will wait. We love you. Come back to us” or "Homosexuality is a sin" while yelling anti-gay chants.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hate #서울퀴어퍼레이드

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In addition, there are no legal protections for LGBTQ people against discrimination. This has led to the allowance of a gay witch hunt in the South Korean military. Several gay men have been arrested for serving while being gay. This is especially unfortunate as the country’s draft means all men in Korea are mandated to serve at least 3 years.

That said, there is change coming to South Korea with the existence of queer parades, a few openly gay musicians, LGBTQ support from their arguably most internationally famous boy band, and now a Constitutional Court nominee who supports LGTBQ rights.

While being expressively supportive of same-sex marriage has certainly put a bigger target on Lee Seok-tae’s back, it has also made him a clear ally for LGBTQ people to look up to.

Here’s hoping he not only makes it out of the hearing alive but with a seat at the court.

Brett Kavanaugh Won't Answer Questions About Gay Rights At His Confirmation Hearing

The hearing for U.S. Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh is underway, and it’s already looking back for LGBTQ people.

According to Towleroad, Kavanaugh made a point to not discuss his opinions on LGBTQ issues.

Democratic Senator Kamala Harris from California asked Kavanaugh his opinion on gay marriage and the historic Obergefell case that brought it to reality in the US. Kavanaugh then decided to respond by commenting on the recent religious freedom case involving wedding cakes.

“In Masterpiece Cakeshop, and this is I think relevant to your question, Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito and Justice Gorsuch and Justice Breyer and Justice Kagan, ‘The days of discriminating against gay and lesbian Americans or treating gay and lesbian Americans as inferior in dignity and worth are over-‘”

Harris then asked, “Are over. Do you agree with that statement?”

Kavanaugh then tried to pivot away from the topic again, which led Harris to interject more assertively.

“Sir, I’m asking your opinion,” she said. “You’re the nominee right now and so it is probative of your ability to serve on the highest court in our land so I asking you a very specific question. Either you’re willing to answer it or not and if you’re not willing to answer it we can move on. Do you believe Obergefell was correctly decided?”

Kavanaugh responded by saying, “Each of the justices have declined as a matter of judicial independence, each of them, to answer questions in that line of cases. Following the precedent set by those eight justice, they’ve all declined.”

The Human Rights Campaign released a statement in response to Kavanaugh’s refusal to give a clear and concise answer to Harris’s question.

“Brett Kavanaugh’s refusal to answer very basic, very direct questions about the Supreme Court’s historic ruling bringing marriage equality nationwide is alarming and completely unacceptable,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The Obergefell decision is settled law. If this nominee cannot so much as affirm that or the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people and our families, he should not and must not be granted a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it as Kavanaugh chose not to comment on gay rights and anti-discrimination.

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) asked if Kavanaugh was going to give his opinion on discriminating against gay people because of their same-sex marriage.

“In a majority of American states, you can fire somebody because they’re gay. And, I guess you’re not willing to tell me whether you personally, morally think that’s right or wrong,” said Booker.

Kavanaugh responded by saying, “I’m a judge and therefore with the cases that you’re well aware of pending about the scope of the civil rights laws, the employment discrimination laws…”

Booker interjected here and said:

 “That’s what I want to get to the point. That you won’t give me a moral answer because of the pending cases….so maybe I can ask you about your concern when you were in the Bush White House. Did you have any involvement in Bush’s effort to support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage?”

The two then continued to speak over each other as Booker continued to ask for Kavanaugh’s opinions on gay rights and Kavanaugh kept responding by saying that he just follows the laws set before him.

Honestly, we could plot it all out for you all in, but it’s better if you just hear the mess in the video below.

While it seems like Kavanaugh is reaching for plausible deniability with his lack of response, it also seems that his silence is speaking volumes.

h/t: Towleroad

LGBTQ Israelis Scream Hypocrisy After The Homophobic Country Participated At Berlin Pride

Earlier today, a human rights advocacy group called out Israel’s Foreign Ministry for opening a kiosk at Berlin Pride less than a week after large LGBTQ rights protests.

According to the Time of Israel, the Foreign Ministry set up an Israeli advocacy stand at the Pride event this past weekend. This stand passed out Israeli flags with rainbow colors on them and tried to entice gay tourists to the visit the country.

The Aguda Rights Organization questioned the government for this action after what happened less than a week before that. Recently, the legislature changed surrogacy laws to allow single women the right to surrogacy but not gay men and women. This then caused large protests and riots in Tel Aviv.

 

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“There is no limit to the hypocrisy,” said Ohed Hizki, director of Aguda, in a statement. “With one hand, the government takes away from the LGBT community the basic right to a family and parenthood, and with the other hand markets the country to LGBT tourism from around the world.

“Instead of trying to create equal rights for the LGBT citizens of Israel, they are chasing after the friends of the community abroad,” he continued. “It is about time to put into practice in Hebrew what the country says so well in English, German, and French.”

Yair Hochner, the recent director of Tel Aviv’s LGBT film festival, spoke to Haaretz about the issue.

“It irks me so much to see how the week after the mass protest in Rabin Square, the Foreign Ministry is promoting the next parade in Tel Aviv on huge screens on the center stage. They’re simply taking advantage of us to promote an economic tourism agenda and false propaganda as if everything’s great for the LGBT community in Israel,” he said.

Hochner now says he will no longer organize Israeli LGBTQ film programs for festivals abroad that are funded by the Foreign Ministry.

h/t: The Times of Israel, Haaretz

The Trump Representative Says The U.S. Won't Fight For LGBTQ Rights In Africa

A representative of the Trump administration said that the U.S. government will stop advocating for LGBTQ rights in Africa.

According to Daily Nation, Mick Mulvaney, who’s the director of the Office of Management and Budget, spoke at religious freedom conference on July 24.

While speaking to the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, Mulvaney shared that the U.S. government will no longer fight against the discrimination of LGBTQ people in African nations. He says to do so would be a form of “religious persecution.”

“Our US taxpayer dollars are used to discourage Christian values in other democratic countries,” Mulvaney argued.

He then continued:

“It was stunning to me that my government under a previous administration would go to folks in sub-Saharan Africa and say, ‘We know that you have a law against abortion, but if you enforce that law, you’re not going to get any of our money. We know you have a law against gay marriage, but if you enforce that law, we’re not going to give you any money.’”

"That is a different type of religious persecution that I never expected to see,” Mulvaney worried. “I never expected to see that as an American Christian.”

“There are a lot of people in this government who just want to see things done differently,” he said.

This stance by the Trump Administration will probably be welcomed by Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta, who has previously shared his disinterest in LGBTQ rights and distaste at the U.S.'s involvement in it.

When former-President Barack Obama declared that governments should not discriminate against people based on sexual orientation while in Nairobi in 2016, Kenyatta responded, “For Kenyans today, the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue.”

Keep in mind that the U.S.'s four goals in distributing foreign aid to Kenya are:

  1.  Strengthen democratic institutions
  2. Spur economic growth, trade and investment
  3. Advance peace and security
  4. Promote opportunity and development.

As such, encouraging the end of discrimination in the country would align with those goals. 

This is just another instance of the Trump administration showing that it will not support LGBTQ people and will instead favor “religious freedom.”

h/t: Daily Nation

Ghanaian LGBTQ People Want A Public Vote For Gay Rights

LGBTQ people in Ghana are calling for Parliament to open a referendum and have a public vote on gay rights.

This all started when the US. Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, talked on the GhanaWeb’s 21 minutes with KKB.

While being interviewed, Jackson shared that Ghana should work towards legalizing gay rights. Currently in Ghana, LGBTQ people can be arrested and put through torture, like medical abuse, because they are LGBTQ.

Jackson believes that Ghana should walk towards ending that.

“This is a long process and it was a long process in my country. Homosexual marriage has only become law in recent years and prior to that when I was growing up, nobody talked about homosexuality. Everyone who was gay suffered enormous discrimination and that has changed in the United States because people have a better understanding of the science and issues. I think that as Ghanaians gain a greater understanding of the science and issues, they’ll also be very tolerant because this is a very tolerant country and this is one area where Ghana’s tolerance seems very limited.”

That said, Robert P. Jackson is an ambassador to Ghana and not a politician from the country. Unfortunately, Ghanaian politicians have yet to make moves towards legalizing homosexuality. In fact, some are openly opposing the idea.

Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Oquaye made a statement last month that Ghana would not and should not legalize homosexuality.

“If you tell me that a man must sleep with a man so as to show his human rights for Ghana, I can assure you that our Parliament is a real micropause of the rule of Ghana. Ghanaians do not support gay rights and nobody is going to make any law that will support this kind of thing.”

Gay rights activist Philcollins Agbedanu Kröger (photographed in the featured image) later contacted news source GhanaWeb to speak out against Oquaye.

“… he’s not being fair to the gay and lesbian community in Ghana because when it comes to human rights, one person does not speak for the whole nation," he said in the audio found below, "Gay and lesbian rights legalization is not an individual issue… he can bring it on board for them to discuss it in Parliament, he can also call for a referendum and then people will vote."

Now, Philcollins Agbedanu Kröger and his associates are asking parliament to heed the words of Jackson and not Oquaye. They wish for LGBTQ rights to become a focus in Ghanaian politics.

But even if Parliament allowed a referendum and a public vote, would straight Ghanaian citizens support their LGBTQ brothers and sisters?

h/t: GhanaWeb