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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Curing homosexuality with rape or religion

This post was suppose to be about corrective rape, but ended up being more of a summary of the struggle for gay-rights in the world in general and, the U.S. in particular, as well as a declairation of my opinions when it comes to fanatics who want to use religion to turn gay people straight. Their behaviour is severely damaging to the selfesteem of the victims and, in that sense they're no better than the rapists who use corrective rape for the same reasons. .

I find it so absurd, that convicted murderers, child molesters, known pedophiles, drug pushers, pimps, black market gun dealers, etc., are quite free to marry, and are doing so every day, without any outrage from the religious part of the public, but when a gay couple down the street wants to be able to get married, it is at best said that Marriage is not just about love and commitment, but about the stability of family, which is why same-sex relationships are threatening to crush one of the pillars of stable society. But you see that lack of outrage betrays their real motives. This is an anti-gay issue and not a pro marriage or child protection issue.

For much of world history, homosexuality has been a taboo subject. Often, it has been considered a crime in and of itself.
Did you know that in 1962, Illinois became the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private?
Or that it wasn't until 1973, that The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders?
Or that it took until 2003, before The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that sodomy laws in the U.S. were unconstitutional?

Discrimination

In 1982, Wisconsin became the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but it took until 1996 before the Supreme Court striked down Colorado's Amendment 2, In Romer v. Evans, which denied gay men and women protections against discrimination, calling them “special rights.” The U.S. would however have to wait until 2007, before the House of Representatives approved a bill ensuring equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals.

The U.S. military

In 1993, President Clinton's original intention to revoke the prohibition against gays in the military was met with stiff opposition and, resulted in a compromise also known as the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, permitting gays to serve in the military but banning homosexual activity. Something that has led to the discharge of thousands of men and women in the armed forces. It would take until December 18 2010 before Eight Republicans sided with the Democrats to strike down the ban and, the U.S. Senate voted 65 to 31 in favor of repealing the Clinton-era military policy. The ban will however not be lifted officially until President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agree that the military is ready to enact the change and that it won't affect military readiness. On December 18 2010, President Obama officially repealed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy.

European nations have led the way when it comes to Partnerships and same-sex marriages

Internationally, Denmark became the first country to legalize same-sex partnerships in 1989. Within two years, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and France followed suit. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country legalizing same-sex marriages; Belgium followed in 2003, and Spain in 2005. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia legalized same-sex marriage in 2003, numerous other provinces followed suit in 2004, and on June 29, 2005, the Canadian parliament passed a bill legalizing gay marriage throughout the country. On April 1, 2009, Sweden legalized same-sex marriage.
Countries that offer a legal status, sometimes known as registered partnership, that confers most or all spousal rights to same-sex couples are: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, and Norway.
Countries that offer a legal status, sometimes known as unregistered cohabitation, that confers certain spousal rights to same-sex couples are: Brazil, Canada, Croatia, France, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and, Switzerland.

Why is the right to civil unions and same-sex-marriages important?

As long as there's no recognition for life partners when it comes to gay men and women, they cannot make medical decisions for their partners in case of an emergency. Instead, the hospitals are usually forced by state laws to go to the families who may be estranged from them for decades, who are often hostile to them, and totally ignore their wishes for the treatment of their partners. If that same family wishes to exclude them from the hospital room, they may legally do so in nearly all cases. It is even not uncommon for families to make decisions based on their hostility -- with results actually intended to be inimical to the interests of the patient!

If their partners are arrested, they can be compelled to testify against them or provide evidence against them, which legally married couples are not forced to do.

In most cases, even carefully drafted wills and durable powers of attorney have proven to not be enough if a family wishes to challenge a will, overturn a custody decision, or exclude them from a funeral or deny them the right to visit a partner's grave. As survivors, they can even seize a real estate property that they may have been buying together for years, quickly sell it at a huge loss and stick them with the remaining debt on a property they no longer own. When these are presented to a homophobic probate judge, he will usually find some pretext to overturn them. Is this fair?

civil unions and gay-marriages in the U.S.

In 2000, Vermont became the first state in the U.S. to legally recognize civil unions between gay or lesbian couples. The law stated that these “couples would be entitled to the same benefits, privileges, and responsibilities as spouses.” It stopped short of referring to same-sex unions as marriage, which the state defined as heterosexual. Civil unions were legalized in Connecticut in October 2005, in New Jersey in December 2006 and,In February 2008, the state of Oregon passed a law that allowed same-sex couples to register as domestic partners allowing them some spousal rights of married couples. Around the same time, a New York State appeals court unanimously voted that valid same-sex marriages performed in other states must be recognized by employers in New York, granting same-sex couples the same rights as other couples.

In November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that barring gays and lesbians from marrying violated the state constitution. The Massachusetts Chief Justice concluded that to “deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage” to gay couples was unconstitutional because it denied “the dignity and equality of all individuals” and made them “second-class citizens.” On May 17 2004, same-sex marriages became legal in the state, but strong opposition followed.

It would take 4 years before California decided to follow their example. On May 15 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry and, by November 3rd, more than 18,000 same-sex couples had married.
On October 10 the Supreme Court of Connecticut ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry. This made Connecticut the third state, after Massachusetts and California to legalize civil marriage for same-sex couples. The court ruled that the state could not deny gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry under Connecticut's constitution, and that the state's civil union law did not provide same-sex couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.
On November 12 same-sex marriages began to be officially performed in the state.

Unfortunately 2008 brought a sad ending to equal rights in other places in the U.S, as On November 4 voters in California, Arizona, and Florida approved the passage of measures that ban same-sex marriage and, Arkansas passed a measure intended to bar gay men and lesbians from adopting children.

Yes, you read it right, California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage called Proposition 8 on November 4. The attorney general of California, Jerry Brown, asked the state's Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of Proposition 8. The ban threw into question the validity of the more than 18,000 marriages already performed, but Attorney General Brown reiterated in a news release that he believed the same-sex marriages performed in California before November 4 should remain valid, and the California Supreme Court, which upheld the ban in May 2009, agreed, allowing those couples married under the old law to remain that way.

On April 3 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously rejected the state law banning same-sex marriage. 21 days later, county recorders were required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

A few days later, on April 7, the Vermont Legislature voted to override Gov. Jim Douglas's veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry, legalizing same-sex marriage. It was the first state to legalize gay marriage through the legislature; the courts of the other states in which the marriage was legal at that point: Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa, all gave approval.
A month later, on May 6, the governor of Maine legalized same-sex marriage in that state, however, citizens voted to overturn that law when they went to the polls in November, and Maine would instead become the 31st state to ban the practice.

On June 3, New Hampshire governor John Lynch signed the legislation allowing same-sex marriage. The law stipulates that religious organizations and their employees will not be required to participate in the ceremonies. New Hampshire was the sixth state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.

On June 17, President Obama signed a referendum allowing the same-sex partners of federal employees to receive benefits. They would not be allowed full health coverage, however. This was Obama's first major initiative in his campaign promise to improve gay rights.

On March 3 2010: Congress approved a law signed in December 2009 that legalized same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia.
Later that year, on August 4 to be specific: Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker finally ruled that Proposition 8, the 2008 referendum that banned same-sex marriage in California, violates the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. "Proposition 8 singles out gays and lesbians and legitimates their unequal treatment," Vaughn wrote in his opinion. "Proposition 8 perpetuates the stereotype that gays and lesbians are incapable of forming long-term loving relationships and that gays and lesbians are not good parents."

Religion and tradition

In 21st century America, its shameful that gays and lesbians are denied the same basic rights as every other citizen.Being gay is still for many a constant struggle for the right to the only form of love and sexuality that can make them happy. The churtch and other Advocators of Religion and traditions of course being among their most condemning combatants, as according to the church, homosexual behavior and lust are primarily moral problems.

"Homosexual partnerships are not the moral equivalent of a heterosexual marriage. Christians should therefore flee homosexual behavior both with anonymous partners and with "covenantal" partners. The church should not encourage or support same-sex covenantal partnerships. Because the Bible is authoritative in the life of the Christian community and clearly condemns homosexual activity, the church is precluded from giving explicit or implicit approval to homosexual practices by offering church membership to those who persist in justifying their homosexual behavior. It, likewise, precludes ordaining or assigning a leadership position to those who engage in and/or justify homosexual acts. Congregations who justify homosexual acts preclude themselves from continued fellowship with other congregations in Lancaster Mennonite Conference."

There's nothing wrong with believing in God, that's entirely a privat matter and, if it consoles you to have a relationship with a higher power, I'm happy for you. Religion is the heart in a heartless world and, it can definitely be used in a good way. The problem is that it's often used by fanatics to control people, rather than to help them.

My issue with it occurs when people start thinking that their religion makes them better than everybody around them. I'm offended by all religious people who want to smear their sticky religion on everything and everyone else, like its their right just because they fell for the biggest fairytail ever. The ones who speak of loving their neighbour when all they do is condemn and curse people out if they don't fit the picture. I've got one word for that: HIPPOCRACY!!!

Even if one accepts the presumption of the United States as a bible-believing, Christian nation as an acceptable legal doctrine, as many conservative Christians insist, and the bible should be the basis for the sacred institution of marriage, perhaps those Christians should get out their bibles and actually read them for a change. Including all the inconvenient passages that not only permit but can even require polygamy, involuntary marriage and the like.

How about Deuteronomy 25:5-10, for example:
"When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband's brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage and performing the duty of a husband's brother to her, and the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed to the name of the deceased brother, so that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man has no desire to marry his brother's widow, then his brother's widow shall go up to the elders at the gate and say 'My husband's brother refuses to perpetuate his brother's name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband's brother to me. Then the elders of his town shall summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying 'I have no desire to marry her,' then his brother’s wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, pull his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and declare 'This is what is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house. Throughout Israel his family will be known as 'the house of him whose sandal was pulled off.'"

If the Bible is sacred and inviolate when it comes to the institution of marriage, then the above passage and all the other inconvenient ones require reverence too, do they not? If the Christian is going to say, well, that's old, quaint and should no longer be expected to apply, well, then, that's exactly the point! The institution of marriage as it is practiced in the real world is a culturally defined institution, not biblically defined, as a reading of the above quotation should make quite clear, and it is high time we recognize and face up to the cold reality that cultural values have changed since the bible was written, and the institution of marriage has changed along with it. Gay marriage is simply part of that evolutionary process of social progress.

But if gay people really want to get married, all they have to do is to become straight and marry someone of the opposite sex, right?
Sexual orientation is not a choice. But it is a lie that's been promoted so endlessly by bigoted religious leaders that it has become accepted as fact by society as a whole. The reality is that a half century of social research on this subject, consisting of thousands of studies, beginning with the Kinsey and Minnesota Twin studies of the 1950's and continuing to the present, has shown conclusively - beyond any reasonable doubt - that among males, sexual orientation is only very slightly flexible, and among females, it is only modestly more so. That homosexuality is, among males at least, congenital, inborn, and has a genetic component of about 50% and somewhat less among females. In other words, if you're gay, you're gay and there is little that you do about it.

Yet the christian community keeps believeing that gay-relationships are merely about a sexual pervertion that doesn't have anything to do with love and affection and, that any gay, male of female, could be turned straight if they had the wish. It would seem to me that with that kind of logic, the church would get along well with the south african men who by tradition are using so called "corrective rape" to turn a lesbian woman straight, which finally brings me to the purpose of this post.

corrective rape

A recent Change.org campaign has led to overwhelming international press coverage of the heinous scourge, taking corrective rape from an unspoken epidemic to a prominent international issue. In the last two weeks alone, the campaign against corrective rape has been covered by Time Magazine, the Washington Post, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Seattle Times, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, Fox News, MSNBC, Dan Rather, Forbes, Yahoo! News, Salon, and dozens of global outlets from Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, Canada, Spain, and even a Finnish tabloid.

Every 17 seconds a woman is raped in South Africa, and it is estimated that a woman born in the country has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read. There are an estimated 500,000 rapes a year and, studies have found one in three South African women say they were raped in the past year. Other surveys have found more than a quarter of South African men admit to raping someone. Those figures go up in South African cities, and the overall situation is getting worse, not better.

A small group of lesbian activists from the poverty-stricken townships of Cape Town walked into South African parliament on Monday and convinced their government to finally start fighting the country’s decades-old scourge of "corrective rape"

Late last year, these activists called on the world to help them pressure their leaders to take action on corrective rape. Change.org answered their call, and more than 170,000 members from 163 countries joined with them, making this the largest campaign of all time on the site.

Three and a half months later, they succeeded. Teaming up with 23 major South African organizations, they got some of the most powerful officials in the country to agree to bring together various government arms and civil society groups to develop and implement a national action plan to combat corrective rape.

Thankfully, on March 14 the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development agreed to sustained, long term engagement on the intersecting issues of gender-based violence, anti-LGBTI violence and hate crimes.

The government will be making a series of urgent decisions on sexual violence legislation in the next few weeks, and South African activists need your help in pressuring them to follow up their words with tangible action:

Please lend your voice to help them!

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