The glamorous Conchita Wurst, Austrian winner of 2014's Eurovision Song Contest, is returning to the song contest in a different capacity reports Pink News. Wurst is returning for the May 2015 contest as a presenter, and will also host the Green Room segment of the show, interviewing the current acts. Mirjam Weichselbraun, Alice Tumler and Arabella Kiesbauer are taking up the main hosting roles during the event.
Wurst is also set to perform 2014's winning song "Rise Like A Phoenix," during the 2015's Contest Grand Final. The 2015 Contest is set to take place in Vienna. Wurst also performed in October at the European Parliament in Brussels and in the same month performed in front of the United Nations where she met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Several conservative countries were irked, including Russia, when Wurst won the 2014 Contest; Russia went so far as to revive a Soviet era Eurovision rival as a 'family friendly' alternative, but the notion was quietly scrapped this Summer.
In a one page order released Friday afternoon, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's request for an emergency stay on Judge Robert Hinkle's August ruling overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
The order indicates that Justices Scalia and Thomas would have granted the stay request.
Earlier this month, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to extend Judge Hinkle's temporary stay on his ruling. With the Supreme Court now choosing not intervene in Florida, gay couples in the state are expected to be able to wed at the end of the day on January 5.
Bondi has released a statement saying:
“Tonight, the United States Supreme Court denied the State’s request for a stay in the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Regardless of the ruling it has always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on January 5.”
Chris Johnson with the Washington Bladewrites on the importance of SCOTUS denying the stay request:
The refusal from the Supreme Court to stay same-sex marriages in Florida is noteworthy because although justices have denied similar requests to halt same-sex marriages in Alaska, Idaho, South Carolina and Kansas, they’ve never done so before in a state where a federal appeals court has yet to rule on the issue. The decision with regard to Florida could be a sign the Supreme Court is ready to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality no matter what the federal appeals courts decide in the interim.
A bisexual Montana teen found a gay slur spray painted on his trailer door after spending the night at a friend's house reports Billings Gazette. 18-year-old Cain Stacy arrived home in the early hours of the morning to find the slur "fag," still wet, painted on the front door of his trailer. Stacy is not so much upset about being called the slur, but is moreso upset that someone had the nerve to deface his family's property with it.
Stacy's mother, Hiedi Hanna, lives next door and owns both properties. Hanna and Stacy reported the incident with police, but both are disappointed with how the case is being handled. Stacy informed the police of a potential suspect, but Billings Police Department Lt. Kevin Iffland said the suspect denied any involvement and consented to a search that yielded no evidence of their involvement. Iffland said the crime is classified as a criminal mischief with a bias motivation noted against bisexuals; the case is currently closed because police ran out of leads in the case however, should the department receive tips or other news about the case, then they will reopen it.
Until then, Stacy is stuck with the slur on his door; it's currently too cold to apply a fresh coat of paint to the door because it won't stick. For the time being Stacy is covering the slur with a plastic bag. "I just want it off my damn door," Stacy said.
The Montana Board of Crime Control finds that overall hate crimes are decreasing over the last few years although there are occasional spikes; in the year of 2006, Montana saw a high of 154 reported hate crimes, while the last two years have only seen between 40-50 reported hate crimes. Out of 49 reported hate crimes in 2012, only 12 of them involved sexual orientation biases.
Ugandan parliamentary member Latif Ssebaggala’s attempt at pushing through a revised version of the country’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill has stalled after running into significant political hurdles, Buzzfeed reports.
Earlier this year Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni first signed into law an earlier version of the bill that mandated heavy jail time and fines for Ugandan citizens found engaging in homosexual acts. In August, the law was repealed due to a parliamentary technicality that invalidated its initial passing. Ssebaggala spearheaded the effort to reintroduce a revised version of the bill almost immediately.
"The draft is ready and we have strengthened the law, especially in areas of promotion and luring children,” he told Reuters in November. “Next week we expect to meet the speaker to fix a date for the re-tabling to parliament."
The roadblocks facing the revised bill are complex and larger than Uganda’s social views on homosexuality. In August, facing economic backlash from countries that provide aid to Uganda, President Museveni endeavored his cabinet to reconsider their positions on the bill. A revised version, it was suggested, should focus more on the protection of children and the disabled, rather than expressly criminalizing homosexuality.
In February, after the initial passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, foreign aid from the U.S. and the World Bank were suspended and drastically cut, severely wounding Uganda’s governmental finances. Museveni, who has been Uganda’s president for the past three decades, is up for election once again in 2016.
Historically Museveni has always poured massive amounts of Western money into projects meant to please voters in the months leading up to elections. In short, he can’t afford to lose Western aid in the near future for fear of risking his position, and wholeheartedly backing a new Anti-Homosexuality bill would do just that.