Wednesday, November 12, 2008

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

West Virgina Southern Baptists press for gay marriage ban
(Charleston, West Virginia) The West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists has joined a socially conservative political action group in calling for an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The Convention, which represents about 200 Southern Baptist churches in West Virginia, has unanimously passed a resolution calling on the legislature to take up a proposed amendment. The resolution also calls on other denominations in the state to join it in its call to action. Last month, the Family Policy Council of West Virginia demanded Gov. Joe Manchin convene a special legislative session to put the amendment on the ballot. Manchin ignored the pressure, saying the state already has a law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. READ MORE

Brian Paddick to appear in UK reality show "I'm A Celebrity"

Former senior police officer Brian Paddick is to appear on ITV1 show I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. The show starts on Sunday. Mr Paddick, 50, a former Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner, was Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London in May's election. He lost to Tory Boris Johnson. In September he announced in an article for the Mail On Sunday that he and his Norwegian boyfriend Petter Belsvik intend to get married early next year. He was enthusiastic about a Norwegian wedding. A change in the law there means that from January both gay and straight couples can get married. Mr Paddick was the country's most senior out gay officer until he retired in 2007.

Gay Prop 8 lawsuits challenged by conservative law group
(San Francisco, California) A legal group with ties to Liberty University, the college founded by the late evangelist Jerry Falwell, is seeking standing before the California Supreme Court in a challenge to Proposition 8 - the amendment to the state constitution barring same-sex marriage. In a brief filed Monday with the Supreme Court the Virginia-based Liberty Counsel says the challenges to Prop 8 have no basis in law. A day after voters agreed to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage, three separate briefs were filed with the high court, arguing the proposition was illegal because it conflicted with existing portions of the constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court on Wednesday, a preliminary move to a suit. They were the lead groups that successfully argued the original marriage case before the court. READ MORE

  • Mormons began plotting against gay marriage for decade!
  • Gay weddings begin in Connecticut today!
  • Does it matter if black plus white equals black?
  • Homophobic coaches suspended (again!)
  • 'Newly found' Caravaggios on show for first time
  • Pelosi calls for US auto bail-out
  • Equality Ohio to Prop 8 protestors: DROP DEAD
  • New Zealand adds new gay MPs to it's Parliament
  • No charges for ex-NY governor in prostitution case
  • US military to abandon Iraqi cities
  • Cleveland mulls the creation of a domestic partner registry
  • Obama to remove abstinence requirement for HIV funding
  • Former high school athletes deny charges they sexually assaulted younger teammates during a hazing incident

  • How did the Moon evolve? Signs of volcanism found

    Volcanic activity on the far side of the moon may have lasted longer than previously thought, recent images from a Japanese lunar satellite suggest. The finding, detailed in the Nov. 7 issue of the journal Science, could help shed light on the moon's formation and evolution. Scientists think that the moon formed when a rogue planet about the size of Mars crashed into Earth and ripped out a chunk of the planet's molten mantle. Some of the material from that chunk began to orbit Earth, gradually cooling over millions of years to form the moon. The lunar surface is dead now, but over the millions of intervening years since it formed, it experienced bouts of volcanic activity.

    "I don't want your faggot money," claims US rapper Trick Trick

    A rapper who is best-known for his work with Eminem has warned gay and lesbian people that his new album contains extreme homophobic lyrics. In an interview with All Hip Hop, performer Trick Trick said: “I’ma go on the record right now with this. Homosexuals are probably not gonna like this album. “I don’t want your faggot money any goddamn way. I don’t like it. Carry that shit somewhere else.” His latest album, The Villain, was produced by Eminem. In it he refers to lesbian stars Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O'Donnell as "dyke bitches." "Every time that you turn on the TV, that sissy shit is on," said Trick Trick. "And they act like its f**king okay. “The world is changing for the worst when shit like that happens. And I address that issue. I address it hard as hell.”

    40% of Brits oppose gay men as adoptive parents!

    A new survey conducted for National Adoption Week has found that a significant minority of British people opposed adoptions by gay people and single people. 43% think that single men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt and two in five people, 40%, think that male gay couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt. 36% thought that female gay couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt, according to a survey of more than 1000 adults released by children’s charity, Action for Children. In 2005 a change in the law allowed unmarried couples, gay and straight, to jointly adopt. The Sexual Orientation Regulations 2007 outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods, facilities and services, including adoption. The Times reports that 3,200 children were adopted in England in the year to March 2008 and of these, 90 were with gay couples. READ MORE

    Baz Luhrmann's epic film, Australia, 'unfinished' ?
    Director Baz Luhrmann says he has yet to finish his $130m epic film Australia, despite the fact it is due to have its world premiere next week. Luhrmann is to fly back to Sydney with just a day to spare to complete the film, which stars Nicole Kidman. "We're right up against it, I literally have to on Friday night push that button," he told news agency Reuters. The director was speaking after being honoured at The Museum of Modern Art's Film Benefit in New York on Monday. The 46-year-old, who has spent the last four years working on the film, said he was "going back to the mixing desk to finish it in 24 hours". "This is really dangerous, I hope there's no problem with the plane going back," he added. Luhrmann said a rough cut of the film, which also stars Hugh Jackman, had so far only been shown to US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, her audience, and Good Morning America host Diane Sawyer. Kidman and Jackman appeared on Winfrey's show on Monday, where the host praised their work, saying: "I have not been this excited about a movie since I don't know when." The film tells the tale of an English aristocrat (Kidman) who inherits a sprawling Outback property and falls in love with a cowboy (Jackman) only to find themselves caught in the Japanese wartime bombing of Darwin. The director brushed off media reports that Twentieth Century Fox had forced him to change the ending of the movie. "You really think that on my films people tell me what to do? I don't think so - on my films I decide," he said. "I wrote six endings and I shot three," said Luhrmann, adding that the climax of the film would be a "surprise".

    Transgender woman, Duanna Johnson, victim of a police beating earlier this year, found murdered

    Memphis police identified the body of transgender woman Duanna Johnson lying in the street near Hollywood and Staten Avenue early this morning. Police believe Johnson was shot some time before midnight on Sunday. No suspects are in custody at this time. Johnson was the victim of a Memphis police brutality case this summer when a video of former officer Bridges McRae beating her in a jail holding area was released to the media. The video led to the eventual firing of McRae and Officer James Swain. It also led to the formation of a Stop Police Brutality Memphis, a coalition of human rights activists who lobbied the city council for more sensitivity training for Memphis Police officers. A statement from the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center: "Duanna bravely confronted the Memphis Police Department officers who brutalized her while she was in police custody. At great personal cost, Duanna was the public face of our community's campaign against racism, homophobia, and transphobia. There was no justice for Duanna Johnson in life. The Mid-South Peace & Justice Center calls for justice in the investigation and prosecution of Duanna's murder."

    Gay man's home deliberately torched say investigators
    Melvin Whistlehunt was at work when he got a call from his mother at 2:30 a.m. Friday that his home was engulfed in flames. As firefighters began hosing down the house at 1275 Buffalo Shoals Road, it became clear the home was set on fire intentionally. What they found launched an immediate hate crime investigation. The fire was intense, but it didn’t keep Jason Drum, chief of the Bandys Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department, from noticing graffiti written across the back of the brick home within five minutes of arrival. Someone used white spray paint to write a derogatory message referring to sexual orientation and race. Drum asked Whistlehunt’s mother, who lives next door, if the graffiti had been there. She told him it was new. Whistlehunt said everyone who knows him is aware he’s gay, but few people have outwardly criticized him for it. “I don’t know of anybody who would go this far,” he said. The State Bureau of Investigation arson unit and the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office are also involved in the investigation. “It is considered a hate crime,” said Karyn Yaussy, Catawba County emergency management coordinator. “I’ve been in the fire service 10 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Drum said. READ MORE