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05/25/2015

Nine More States Comply With Federal Prison Rape Law, But DOJ Rejects Texas Governor's Letter

Abbott

For a brief instant, it was starting to appear as though a wave of sanity had swept over the Texas GOP. 

First, Rep. Sarah Davis became the first Republican state lawmaker in history to publicly back same-sex marriage.   

Then, it was widely reported that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott had agreed to comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act — unlike his predecessor, Rick Perry. 

Alas, though, it was apparently too good to be true, at least with regard to Abbott. The New York Times reports that the Justice Department has rejected the governor's assurance of compliance with PREA: 

Mr. Abbott, who took office in January, was under some pressure in the week before the deadline, during which an article in The New York Times highlighted the sexual abuse problem in Texas’ prisons, an editorial in The Dallas Morning News urged the governor to “enact the federal reforms now,” and protesters in Austin called on him to take action against prison rape.

“I can assure you that we will fully implement D.O.J.’s PREA standards wherever feasible,” he wrote to the attorney general. ... 

Mr. Abbott did not, however, provide the required written assurance that Texas would spend at least 5 percent of certain federal grants to achieve full compliance with the anti-rape standards.

“The letter we received from Texas makes no such representation and, therefore, it cannot be considered to be an assurance under PREA,” said Dena W. Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department.

All told, nine more states certified compliance with PREA this year, brining the total to 11. Texas was one of six states that had rejected the federal standards outright, foregoing federal funds rather than striving to meet them. Two of those states, Florida and Indiana, have since said they're working to comply with PREA. It was unclear whether whether the other three, Arizona, Idaho and Utah, had done so, The NYT reports. 

According to Just Detention International, which works to eliminate sexual abuse in detention facilities, LGBT inmates are 15 times more likely to be victims of prison rape than non-LGBT inmates. And Texas is home to five of the 10 facilities in the nation with the highest rates of sexual assault. 

Jael Humphrey of Lambda Legal, which is suing Texas on behalf of transgender inmate Passion Star, who's been repeatedly raped in assaulted in the state's prisons, issued this statement: 

“We are profoundly disappointed that Governor Abbott has neglected to make a meaningful commitment to meet the PREA standards set by the DOJ, and we applaud the Justice Department for demanding real commitment from Texas to use grant funds to actually enforce these standards. Governor Abbott cannot coast by paying lip service to PREA, while Passion Star and other incarcerated people remain at risk of continued sexual violence. Lambda Legal will continue to press Governor Abbott to take the necessary steps to end prison rape in his written statements and to turn his words into action.”

Posted May. 25,2015 at 9:00 AM EST by in Gay Rights, Greg Abbott, LGBT Rights, Texas, Transgender | Permalink | Comments (0)


Meanwhile, In Westeros: 'Game Of Thrones' 05x07 [Recap] - SPOILERS

Lancelsparrow

Tonight’s episode of Game of Thones, "The Gift," felt a bit like a whirlwind tour of Westeros and Essos, making several stops along the way in a very dense hour. However, the blistering pace was worth it, because there were some big happenings that should send us barreling into a full-throttle final few episodes of the season.

Worlds collide and crowns crumble, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Meanwhile, In Westeros: 'Game Of Thrones' 05x07 [Recap] - SPOILERS"

Posted May. 25,2015 at 8:29 AM EST by in Game of Thrones, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)


05/24/2015

Gay Catholic: 'I Still Want to Have a Family. It’s Just Going to Look Different' - VIDEO

Carlo

When Carlo, a gay Catholic from Sydney, Australia, told his aunt he was gay, she began sobbing uncontrollably. 

When she finally calmed down, she explained that she needed to grieve the loss of the image she built up for him of having a wife and children. 

"I said to her, 'I get that, but I want to make sure you understand: I still want that,'" Carlo recalls. "'I still want to have a family, but it's just going to look different. It's going to be with a man as opposed to a woman.'" 

Carlo tells his coming out story as part of Nathan Manske's "I'm From Driftwood" project. He says he didn't come out until 25, largely because of his Catholic upbringing, including his image of the perfect family as a father, mother and children. 

Finally, he began telling his friends he was gay, but he knew he hadn't really come out until he told his parents. He did it as they were driving to church for a Catholic mass. 

"I said to them, 'Mom, dad, I'm attracted to men," he recalls. "There was a bit of silence for a moment, but Dad was the first person to chime up and say 'Carlo, as long as you're happy, we're happy,'" Carlo says. "And mom soon thereafter said: 'You can't change who you are. This is you, and we want you to be you.' So I was actually surprised that they didn't have any more questions." 

Carlo later explained to his parents that he didn't plan to follow the church's teaching that you can be gay as long as you're celibate, which was slightly harder for them to understand. A few weeks later, he was making cake decorations with his aunt. 

"My auntie jokingly said, 'Maybe you could make some of these pink rose cake decorations for your girlfriend,'" Carlo recalls. "I said, 'Well, that will never happen, because I'm actually gay.'" 

Once his aunt stopped crying, she said she was grateful that he told her because it would allow them to have a deeper relationship. 

"What I've learned is that I can be gay and I can be Catholic and the two can actually build on each other, and strengthen both parts of my identity," Carlo says.  

Watch Carlo tell his coming out story, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Gay Catholic: 'I Still Want to Have a Family. It’s Just Going to Look Different' - VIDEO"

Posted May. 24,2015 at 5:00 PM EST by in Australia, Gay Rights, Gay Stories, LGBT Rights, Nathan Manske | Permalink | Comments (33)


Irish Priest Who Bravely Came Out as Gay in January Thanks Parishioners for Accepting Him

Father Martin Dolan, the parish priest at the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra in Dublin city center who received a standing ovation from his congregation when he came out of the closet during mass in January, is speaking out again in the wake of Ireland's successful marriage equality referendum, the Irish Times reports:

DolanDolan...told his congregation on Saturday evening that the Irish public had heard the “pleas of desperation of a minority” from the LGBT community and had made the LGBT cause “as important as their own”.

He said he was proud to be Irish and thanked his parishioners for accepting him as a gay man. Fr Dolan first came out as a gay man in January when he urged his congregation to vote Yes in the marriage equality referendum.

Dolan responded to the Archbishop of Dublin's recent comments that the Catholic Church needed a new language when dealing with youth by saying that "With great respect, it is not a new language that we need but a new way of being and living."

RELATED POST: 'Brave Irish Priest Comes Out During Mass, Calls for Marriage Equality

Added Dolan:

“Jesus was always reaching out to people on the edges of society. His whole way of being was to draw people in and to include them rather than exclude them. God’s spirit was given to us so we can be a power and force in the world. The opportunity for new beginnings begin every day of our lives. It comes every time we draw breath. We have a choice - we can build bridges for people or we can build stone walls. We have to become people of love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control."

Posted May. 24,2015 at 4:00 PM EST by in Dublin, Gay Marriage, Ireland, News | Permalink | Comments (6)


Fox News Host Chris Wallace Grills Mike Huckabee on If He'd Ignore SCOTUS on Desegregation Too: VIDEO

Huckabee

During his 2016 presidential campaign announcement earlier this month, you may recall Mike Huckabee taking a thinly veiled shot at the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on same-sex marriage, saying:

“Many of our politicians have surrendered to the false god of judicial supremacy which would allow black robed and unelected judges the power to make law as well as enforce it.”

On Fox News Sunday earlier today, host Chris Wallace decided to give the evangelical favorite a refresher on Marbury v. Madison as well as history lesson on a fellow, former Arkansas governor who thought he didn’t have to follow the Supreme Court either.

Can’t blame the Huckster for not knowing these things though, he was probably busy reading his Bible in class as a kid instead of the textbook.

Watch Wallace ask whether Huckabee would have followed a Supreme Court order on desegregation, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Fox News Host Chris Wallace Grills Mike Huckabee on If He'd Ignore SCOTUS on Desegregation Too: VIDEO"

Posted May. 24,2015 at 3:00 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (25)


Bono Dedicates ‘Pride (In The Name of Love)’ to Ireland’s Marriage Equality Victory at Phoenix Concert: VIDEO

Bono

U2 frontman Bono celebrated Ireland’s s strong vote in favor of marriage equality with a heartfelt nod to his homeland while performing “Pride (In the Name of Love)” at a concert in Phoenix over the weekend.

"It's a moment for us to thank the people who brought peace to our country, who had the courage to compromise in Ireland,” said Bono. “Now we turn this into prayer...no greater love. Dr. King we need you now more than ever.”

Ahead of the marriage referendum vote, Bono told the Irish Times "Marriage is now an idea that transcends religion... It is owned by the people. They can decide. It's not a religious institution." The band also sent posted the below photo on its Instagram page:

U2

Watch U2‘s heartfelt performance of “Pirde (In the Name of Love)”,  AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bono Dedicates ‘Pride (In The Name of Love)’ to Ireland’s Marriage Equality Victory at Phoenix Concert: VIDEO"

Posted May. 24,2015 at 2:00 PM EST by in Bono, Gay Marriage, Ireland, U2 | Permalink | Comments (11)


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