#Politics

Costa Rica's Supreme Court Says Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional

Costa Rica’s Supreme Court voted to end the ban on same-sex marriage earlier this week.

According to Deutsche Welle, the Costa Rican Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday night that the laws banning same-sex marriage were discriminatory and must be immediately changed.

The Supreme Court made this decision after the historic Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling from January. While that original ruling was born from a Costa Rican case and acted as an example that marriage equality should be legal in 20 different nations, it did not directly affect Costa Rican law. But now, the Supreme Court has.

According to News Week, the Supreme Court has given Cosa Rican legislature 18 months to amend the law banning same-sex marriage. If they cannot change the law to unban same-sex marriage, it will officially become legal anyway after a year and a half.

Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado celebrated this victory on Twitter by saying:

“We continue to deploy actions that guarantee no person will face discrimination for their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that the state's protection be given to all families under equal conditions.”

But not everyone’s celebrating. In fact, several religious leaders and politicians are openly condemning this court decision.

Lawmaker Jonathan Prendas said the Supreme Court’s decision was like they  “put a gun to our head.”

In addition, Enrique Sanchez, who is the first openly gay politician in the country’s legislature, said lawmakers most likely won’t agree on a bill draft.

"What I see happening is that the norm [the gay-marriage ban] will simply be declared unconstitutional in 18 months' time," Sanchez said.

No matter what, same-sex marriage is coming to Costa Rica. Citizens might just have to wait a year and a half for it.

h/t: Deutsche Welle, News Week

Over 400 LGBTQ+ People Run for Public Office

This year shows an exciting change in politics for LGBTQ+ people that can set a precedent for future generations. According to The Victory Institute, although LGBTQ+ people are still largely underepresented in positions of power, more than 400 LGBTQ+ candidates are running for public office in 2018. This number shows a higher level of participation than ever before, marking history in our nation. Sean Meloy, the Victory Institute's political director, says, "It's a really exciting time."

The Victory Institute also reports that only .1 percent of all elected public officials currently serving are openly LGBTQ+ (meaning only 559 officials). In contrast, a major national poll suggests than an estimated 5 percent of U.S. citizens identify as LGBTQ+. The same poll also suggested that the figure could exceed 20 percent among young adults. Although .1 percent is nowhere near 5 percent or even 20 percent, the number of candidates this year shows an optimistic outlook for the future of LGBTQ+ people in politics.

Of the over 400 LGBTQ+ people running, the majority are democrats and are standing in November's midterm elections and range anywhere from congress to local government officials. Among them is a Democrat transgender woman, Alexandra Chandler, running for Congress in Massachusetts who argues that although she is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, that is only a part of her identity and people should see past that to understand what she can bring to the table.

 This month alone, a gay Native-American woman won the crowded Democratic primary in Kansas and a transgender woman from Vermont has a chance at being governor. These recent changes in politics show that the people are ready to elect LGBTQ+ candidates and that the time may be right for more of us to run for office. Now, the most important thing to do is show up to vote in November and show that we support these candidates. Only our votes will bring that .1 percent closer to a higher number.

h/t: voanews.com, alternet.com

Joe Biden Wants To Share LGBTQ Stories Of Acceptance To Fight Hostile Families

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has announced that his foundation wants to share stories of acceptance by families of LGBTQ people.

Biden’s plan is to combat hostile families and communities that reject LGBTQ youth by releasing personal stories, educational information, and more.

As Biden shares in the video below:

“I’m so proud to announce that the Biden Foundation has launched a family acceptance campaign. We’ll use our resources to highlight the harms of family rejection and lift up research, best practices, and personal stories to show the importance of family acceptance.”

This is no surprise for anyone who has followed Biden’s personal and political views when it comes to LGBTQ issues.

Back in 2012, Biden supported same-sex couples even before former President Barack Obama did. In an interview with CBS News, Biden shared that he was “absolutely comfortable with” the idea of same-sex unions. He then praised the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in 2015 by calling it as “consequential as Brown vs. the Board” of Education.

If you want to support Biden in this new endeavor, you can consider sending your own story (of acceptance or rejection) through the campaign’s official site.

They hope to collect stories from a wide range of people, backgrounds, and perspectives in order to “help educate the broader public about the critical importance of affirming, accepting, and supporting our LGBTQ young people.”

In addition, Joe Biden says that he’s still considering running for Presidential office in 2020. Right now, he’s considered a strong potential candidate by many political analysts and news sources.

Having Joe Biden as president would certainly work in LGBTQ people’s favor (and he wouldn’t have former White House officials passing around secret recordings either).

h/t: CBS News, 

Kathy Griffin's Laugh Your Head Off World Tour Is Not Just a Comedy Show

 

I’ll open this review by saying I was present for both of Kathy Griffin’s Los Angeles stops on her Laugh Your Head Off World Tour. Months ago, only one LA show was announced—July 19 at the Dolby Theater. Due to high demand, a second show was booked much later for the following night.

Griffin performed for 171 minutes on Thursday, pausing only a few times to sip water; I was so blown away that as soon as she finished her bows I got on my phone to round up a friend to join me for night two.

I’ve been a fan of Griffin’s ever since the nascence of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. Perhaps not coincidentally, the reality program—and her huge rise in pop culture as a Hollywood outsider on the inside—happened right around the time I was realizing I was gay, the mid-aughts. I read her memoir, Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, months after I moved to Los Angeles and started attending classes at the The Groundlings. I credit it with a chunk of the limited stability I had in my first year out here. It’s a dynamite memoir; I’m tempted to call it a must-read for anyone who makes the leap to L.A. to chase a dream.

Long before such a thing was trendy in the mainstream, Griffin’s relationship with her gay fans has felt symbiotic, genuine and unforced. At Friday’s show she expressed her displeasure at being called the more P.C. “Fruit Fly” over “Fag Hag” by younger audiences— to thunderous applause (“I’ve been fighting for your rights since before you were born! I’m a hag!”). She also had more than a little fun, calling us “gaymen” pronounced like Neil Gaiman’s last name, and the “LGBTQI12345 community.”


The Laugh Your Head Off Tour is, in no uncertain terms, a comeback. Just over a year ago, Griffin made international headlines for posing with a picture holding a Donald Trump mask covered in ketchup. TMZ posted it to their homepage, and then the firestorm commenced.

As the Grammy winner and two-time Emmy-winner explains in detail in her new act, nearly everyone turned their backs on her (even longtime pal Anderson Cooper). She lost all of her endorsements (even Squatty Potty!), and all of her U.S. tour dates were canceled.

One point Griffin brought hammered down on both nights: you’re entitled to think whatever you want about that photo, but she did not break the law.

An aside: Children are in cages now, guys. Are any of us still upset about Kathy Griffin's prop comedy?

Nevertheless, the federal government investigated her for two month, for conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. She was on the No Fly List and Interpol’s list—like terrorist. She also received death threats— along with her family, including her sister who was dying of cancer at the time. There’s even more to it.

 

She isn't sorry for the photo. The loose structure of the show is this: Griffin details the day that photo came out, then the astonishing, protracted fallout, and it all leads up to her account of the interrogation that could have ended with her being taken away in cuffs. 

Griffin was at the very top of her game on Thursday: full of energy, yet organized; she never once let her thoughts get ahead of her. By the time she got to the interrogation, about 160 minutes into her show, you could hear a pin drop in the 3,000-seat theater. This comedy show has hand-wringing suspense; I was ultimately exhilarated.

Friday’s show, though wonderful, wasn’t as pristine. The first night was sold out (on night two the theater was about two-thirds booked), and the audience was more respectful and enthusiastic. There was significant variation in material night-to-night and both nights Griffin lamented she’d only covered “one tenth” of her act (the Dolby Theater has a strict 11 pm curfew).


The Laugh Your Head Off is so good that I really don’t want to spoil much of what’s in it. Until the inevitable TV special comes to light, it just doesn’t seem fair. I will say that this is Griffin at her most “unhinged,” as she says herself. We’ve always loved her for her not giving a f*ck, but the world is different—the wool is being continuously yanked from our eyes— and boy does she really not give a f*ck. She named names, and not just the famous ones. Griffin gives out full names of publicists and even her neighbors as she rips them to shreds.

Weaved throughout the intense main narrative are some softer bits. She makes plenty of time for the celebrity juice she’s best known for. A bit about her Bel Air neighbor Kanye West having a nervous breakdown in his backyard that ranks among the funniest anecdotes she’s ever told. Howlingly, grab-the-person-next-to-you hilarious stuff.

Also, there’s this gold nugget:

“So, Roseanne Barr… I did Nazi that coming.

I did Nazi it coming.

Nazi.

Roseanne Barr is a Nazi.

They’re not all jokes, folks!”

Perhaps the spiciest, most exotic tea that was spilled at Griffin’s L.A. show was when she went after Ellen DeGeneres, on Thursday. She started by stating that in person, DeGeneres is—gasp—nothing like the impossibly, unflappably upbeat non-human she plays on her daytime TV show. Griffin detailed a heated fight she had with DeGeneres over the phone after Joan Rivers passed away (Griffin wanted DeGeneres to do a tribute to Rivers, but the daytime host didn’t want to be associated with Rivers’ “mean” humor). Griffin also called DeGeneres an "untalented hack.”

Post-Weinstein, non-disclosure agreements mean a whole lot less. We’re going to start hearing all kinds of shocking things about everybody. Face it: Griffin’s style of humor suits the times we’re living in. She can, and should, go after everybody.


That’s all I’m going to spoil, though. I want you to fully experience this thing the way I did.

The Laugh Your Head Off Tour is the most exhaustingly funny and satisfying comedy show I have ever seen. And it is so much more than a comedy show. What she’s doing here is unlike anything she—or any comedian for that matter—has ever even attempted.

In 2005, Kathy Griffin was a Hollywood outsider on the inside, spraying us with tea about, say, Sharon Stone’s bizarre antics at an amfAR fundraiser, or drunk people at Brooke Shields’ wedding. In 2018, as the foundation of our democracy is being rocked and our rights are at risk, this comedian who specializes in dick and pussy jokes has terrifying, sobering and mordantly funny insider scoop about our corrupt, bullying government, all the way to the top.

The world is changing. Kathy Griffin is telling the truth.

Tour Dates: KathyGriffin

We're Proud of This 18-Year-Old Gay Athlete Who's Running For Office Against a Gross Homophobe in Trump Country

If you could use an inspiring pick-me-up to power through the rest of the week, look no further than Ohio’s Garrett Baldwin. Openly gay, he’s only 18 years old, and he’s already set his sights on taking a chunk out of the Republican foundation of the Ohio House of Representatives.

A big part of Baldwin’s motivation is his dismay in the words and actions of homophobic incumbent Republican Nino Vitale, the current representative of the 85th district, including his sponsorship of a bill designed to undermine marriage equality. 

Baldwin is running against Vitale, in deep Trump country no less. About 70% of the district went for Trump in the 2016 election.

“Around here a lot of people that voted for Trump are fed up with the system,” says Baldwin. “We have an entrenched Republican representative, and that’s what people are fed up with.”

“Vitale believes strictly in one man and one woman having children, that that’s his idea of a family,” Bennett said. “We have multiple LGBT families in the district, and it’s scary that we have a representative furthering those ideas in the statehouse.”

Vitale, 47, wrote House Bill 36, dubbed the Ohio Pastor Protection Act, a discrimination bill permitting religious leaders to refuse performing marriages based on beliefs.

Vitale also, of course, still calls gay people “homosexuals.” Only the ragey-est raging homophobes still do that. Gross.

Baldwin came out at 14. He says in his hometown of 1,500 it was a hot topic back then, but it’s not a big deal anymore.

“They know I’m gay and it’s just not a conversation we have anymore because people know who I am,” he says.

Baldwin is actually something of a moderate. He isn’t for banning assault weapons, and he believes in limitations to abortion rights. This should help his chances in the district, surely.

“When they hear I’m a gay candidate I don’t get a lot of feedback on that because it’s not important,” he says. “They want to know what I stand for and how I’m going to move the district in the direction way they want it to go.”

Baldwin has been a cheerleader for years, and this year he swam on his school’s swimming team. He tells

According to Outsports, he’s wanted to join the military for years, and he’s already joined the Ohio National Guard.

Here’s to Baldwin’s fighting spirit.

h/t: Outsports

Dixon, California Vice Mayor Ted Hickman Wrote a Bizarre Column Demanding "Straight Pride" Recognition

It’s hard to say if this is more offensive or just freakishly bizarre. Maybe it’s an equal amount of both.

A column written by Dixon, CA Vice Mayor Ted Hickman calling for July to be recognized as “Straight Pride American Month” (SPAM) has caused an understandable amount of outrage.

In the column, Hickman shows at least a hint of self-awareness by saying he’s not sure if he can get away with making the proclamation, “but what the heck.”

“Now hundreds of millions of the rest of us can celebrate our month, peaking on July 4th as healthy, heterosexual, fairly monogamous, keep our kinky stuff to ourselves, Americans,” Hickman wrote. “We do it with our parades in every state and county in this country with families celebrating together.

“We honor our country and our veterans who have made all of this possible (including for the tinker bells) and we can do it with actual real pride, not some put on show just to help our inferior complex ‘show we are different’ type of (crap).”

Presumably, “tinker bell” is used here to describe anyone who isn’t straight.

It gets worse:

“We ARE different from them … We work, have families (and babies we make) enjoy and love the company (and marriage) of the opposite sex and don’t flaunt our differences dressing up like faries (sic) and prancing by the thousands in a parade in nearby San Francisco to be televised all over the world…”

Perhaps the zenith of absurdity is when he references J.M. Barrie:

“So, right now, if you don’t want any faries [sic] to expire, you can clap your hands. See, I do have a heart, I just can’t type and clap at the same time… so I had to make a hard choice didn’t I?”

A “Recall Ted Hickman” Facebook page was created Saturday afternoon.

“We believe bigotry has no place in public office in the State of California. We will see you soon, and many times, Hickman. We look forward to filing the petition for your recall,” reads a post on the page.

Needless to say, many of Dixon’s California constituents are furious.

“Ted’s opinion is absolutely allowed for in this free country, but his use of his title of vice mayor in such an obvious homophobic tirade is nothing short of disgusting,” wrote Allison Hietbrink, according to the Mercury News.

“Knowing that this kind of offensive, blatantly hateful rhetoric is willingly and openly shared among city officials makes me quite weary of our decision,” says Hietbrink, who just moved to Dixon from Vacaville with her family. “We are all entitled to our opinions, but when those opinions are publicly shared and peppered with such offensive, uneducated stereotypes of a certain community of people, our opinions become more than just thoughts and words: they become hurtful and dangerous. Ted’s opinion piece in a local paper was not meant to promote pride in straight people; it was meant to demean and ostracize LGBTQ people.”

“He does not need to pretend to change his opinions: he needs to apologize for writing a piece with such shameful, hurtful examples of a misrepresented group of people,” she wrote.

You can read Hickman’s entire column (or not) at tedhickman.com

Recall Ted Hickman Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Recall-Ted-Hickman-Vice-Mayor-of-Dixon-CA-353277151869181/

h/t: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/07/02/northern-california-vice-mayors-call-for-straight-pride-american-month-sparks-recall-efforts/

Gay Afro-Latino Gabriel Acevero Won The Primary for A Maryland House of Delegates Seat

A gay Afro-Latino man won the primary on his journey to becoming a Maryland delegate.

The results of the primary for the Maryland House of Delegates happened this past Tuesday (June 26), and Gabriel Acevero came out victorious.

Acevero is an openly gay Afro-Latino man who won second place in the Democratic primary for House District 39 with 20.2 percent. In Maryland, a multi-member system is used per district, so winning second place still counts as winning.

That said, Acevero still has a second election coming up in November if he wants to make it to the General Assembly.

While Acevero won his election, there were a few other LGBTQ people who ran and lost. Openly bisexual Mila Johns, for instance, ran for House District 18, but sadly came in sixth. In addition, openly gay Kevin Mack, who’s also living with HIV, ran for House District 15, but came in fifth.

“A year ago I decided to plunge into a world I never thought I would enter and run for public office,” wrote Johns on her campaign’s Facebook page. “Tonight that amazing journey has concluded for now. I would like to thank the thousands of friends, neighbors, and supporters who voted for me, and the many wonderful organizations who endorsed me and my candidacy for delegate.”

It seems all of their hopes will now move on with Gabriel Acevero.

Bill Clinton Defends Sarah Huckabee Sanders In Interview With Trevor Noah

Trump’s press secretary has a surprise new defender— and it’s none other than the 42nd President of the United States.

Bill Clinton stopped by The Daily Show With Trevor Noah to promote his new book, The President Is Missing. Things took a turn for the unexpected when Clinton offered his take on the headline-making “86”-ing of Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the Red Hen in Virginia last Friday.

Red Hen co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson told The Washington Post that she booted Sanders because she disapproves of the “inhumane and unethical” policies of the Trump Administration. Clinton says he thinks Wilkinson went too far in asking Sanders to leave.

"That's a decision for the restaurant owner to make," Clinton admitted. "But what I'd like to point out is, would it be better if that didn't happen? I think it would.”

Clinton ultimately said he had respect for Wilkinson’s actions, and that he had “a lot of respect” for how Sanders handled the situation—by politely leaving and offering to pay. He blames the lack of polite discourse in general on the 2016 election cycle.

"A lot of poison has been poured down America’s throat since that 2016 campaign," he said. "It started off [with] calling Mexicans rapists and murderers. So it's hard to pour poison down other people's throat and not have some of it come back up and bubble up.”

Later he added:

“Maybe what I’d like to see is that this be the beginning of something where it would be better if we started talking to each other again. Sooner or later, people have to stop tearing each other down and go to work. But I think you can’t foment as much hatred as has been fomented by the administration without having a blowback. So if they want to have civility, they have to stop the name-calling and take the lead.”  

In the sort-of-recent and very recent past, Sanders has been all too quick to trash Hillary Clinton in press conferences at the White House, frequently to distract from lines of questioning about Trump.

Near the end of the extended 23-minute Daily Show interview, Trevor Noah brought up the #MeToo movement, and asked Clinton, “Has it been hard to reprogram your brain?”

After a few awkward moments discussing the Monica Lewinsky scandal, something he says he “regrets very much” Clinton was quick to pivot to Starbucks’ recent racial bias training, aaand then that was the end of the interview.

The President Is Missing co-author James Patterson looked uncomfortable sitting next to Clinton throughout all this. He didn’t say much.

This Clinton-Patterson book tour has been a hot disaster, with some squirmy entertainment value as the lone draw.  An interview with Craig Melvin on The Today Show turned downright hostile when Clinton raised his voice and said he “did the right” thing by Lewinsky, despite admitted he’s never personally apologized to her.

Clinton and Patterson then appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to halfheartedly clean up the mess. Clinton said the Today interview wasn’t his “finest hour”—and he also blamed the way it was edited for making him look bad.

h/t: https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/06/27/bill-clinton-sarah-sanders-restaurant-orig-js.cnn

Openly Gay Jared Polis Wins Democratic Nomination for Governor of Colorado

Jared Polis might become the first openly gay governor in the history of the United States.

At 7:45 p.m. local time, the 43-year-old Boulder native was declared the winner of the Democratic nomination for governor of Colorado, by a comfortable margin.

Polis currently represents Colorado in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in November he faces off against Republican Walker Stapleton, Colorado’s state treasurer. Stapleton also won his nomination by some margin.

Stapleton, second cousin of George W. Bush, has frequently expressed support for the Trump administration.

A Princeton graduate, Polis is one of the wealthiest members of Congress and is widely known for donating to liberal causes.

Polis has a long-term partner, Marlon Reis. In 2011, Polis became the first openly gay parent in Congress when they welcomed a son, Caspian. They also have a daughter, Cora.

In a recent interview The Advocate, Polis bluntly stated that he wants to fight Trump’s agenda:

“With Trump moving us backward on so many issues, we really need bold leadership at the state level,” he said. “I feel I can make more progress back home in Colorado.”

The first-ever openly gay gubernatorial candidate (not one that was outed while in office—because that’s definitely happened, too) was Maine Dem Mike Michaud. In 2014, he lost to a  anti-LGBT Republican —in a very tight race.

So, let this be the first of many reminders —get out and vote in November, everyone! It’s impossible to overstate how important it is.

h/t: https://www.vox.com/2018/6/26/17492536/2018-midterms-jared-polis-colorado-first-openly-gay-elected-governor

h/t: https://www.advocate.com/election/2018/6/26/out-candidate-jared-polis-wins-colorados-democratic-governors-nom

Eric Holguin Could Become America's First Openly Gay Latino Congressman

Last month, we introduced you to Malcolm Kenyatta who may become the first openly gay black man to hold office in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. Now, we’re happy to introduce to you a man who has a shot at becoming the first openly gay Latino in the US House of Representatives.

Eric Holguin in currently running for an open Congressional set for the state of Texas.

When Holguin entered the March 6 primary for Texas’ 27th Congressional district, he was considered a lost cause. While he made it to the runoff with 23.31% of the vote, his opponent for the Democratic candidacy had 41.22% of the vote.

That said, there was an upset later in May’s primary when Holguin ended up winning by 60%. This officially made him the Democratic nominee bidding for the seat former Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold, who resigned in April after news of sexual harassment and abuse broke.

Unfortunately, Holguin is still the underdog as the 13th district is typically run by Republicans. That said, he’s hoping that Democratic voters can help push him along to another surprise win.

If he does win, he’ll become the first openly gay Latino congressman in US history. Even better, he wouldn’t be the only LGBTQ politician in office as 50 LGBTQ candidates are running for positions in Texas in this coming November.

If you want to check out Eric Holguin more and his stance on political issues like engaging young voters, the #MeToo movement, and more, you can check out his official website.

h/t: Millennial Politics

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