Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Anti-Gay Activist Pastor Scott Lively Ordered to Stand Trial for Crimes Against Humanity

Scott Lively, now to be defendant in international crimes against humanity lawsuit case.

Scott Lively, American anti-gay extremist, now to be defendant in international crimes against humanity lawsuit case.

Springfield, Massachusetts – In a historic judicial ruling, a federal judge denied a motion filed on behalf of U.S. hate pastor Scott Lively asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing Lively of international crimes against humanity. This unprecedented decision by Judge Michael A. Ponsor, Senior Judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, effectively orders Lively to face charges that establish anti-gay persecution as a crime against humanity, according to Out.com.  In his ruling issued on Wednesday, August 14, U.S. District Judge Ponsor stated, “Widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms.”  Judge Ponsor, a Rhodes scholar and widely respected federal justice, went on to say,  The history and current existence of discrimination against LGBTI people is precisely what qualifies them as a distinct targeted group eligible for protection under international law. The fact that a group continues to be vulnerable to widespread, systematic persecution in some parts of the world simply cannot shield one who commits a crime against humanity from liability.”

 Lively, founder of Abiding Truth Ministries, Inc., and author of the virulently anti-gay book, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party (1995), has made a living by reviling LGBTQ people in the USA and around the world.   Notoriously, Lively is a central propagandist inciting homophobic lawmakers in the central African nation of Uganda to enact draconian laws such as the “Kill the Gays Bill” pending before parliament, making homosexuality illegal and in some cases punishable by death.  But Lively has not limited his vilification of LGBTQ people to Africa by any means, according to the Intelligence Files of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a watchdog organization monitoring all manner of hate crimes emanating from the U.S.  The SPLC details Lively’s hate-mongering throughout the USA through front organizations such as the Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA), the California branch of the American Family Association (AFA), Lively’s own spawn, Abiding Truth Ministries of Massachusetts, and, most recently, Watchmen on the Walls (WOTW), an extremist anti-gay organization with an international outreach that Lively co-launched in Riga, Latvia in 2007.  Lively’s religion-based bigotry and Holocaust revisionism, particularly his spurious claims that homosexuals dominated the German Nazi Party and instigated the immolation of millions of European Slavs and Jews during World War II, have incited suspicion, hatred, and violent persecution of countless LGBTQ people in Africa, Russia, and around the world.
 
Ugandan protestors outside London embassy [Voice of America photo].

Ugandan protestors outside London embassy [Voice of America photo].

Lively’s anti-gay activism in Uganda has finally caught up with him.  The SPLC reports: “[Lively’s]  work in Uganda led to a lawsuit against him under the Alien Tort Claims Act, filed March 14, 2012, by Sexual Minorities Uganda, an LGBT rights group in that country. The lawsuit alleges that Lively conspired with political and religious leaders in Uganda beginning in 2002 to incite anti-gay hysteria with warnings about the dangers of homosexuals to children and homosexuality to Ugandan culture.”  This lawsuit, Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), is the suit U.S. District Judge Ponsor allowed to proceed against Lively.  The suit alleges that Lively directly consulted and instigated with Ugandan religious and government authorities to deprive LGBTQI Ugandans of their basic human rights solely and deliberately as a result of their identities.  According to the statues of the International Criminal Court, such activities as enslavement, torture, murder and “persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds,” constitute “crimes against humanity.” Out.com indicates that the Alien Torte Statute allows foreign nationals to sue for violations of international rights in U.S. courts.  In the language of the SMUG lawsuit, Lively “through actions taken both within the United States and in Uganda has attempted to foment, and to a substantial degree has succeeding in fomenting, an atmosphere of harsh and frightening repression against LGBTI people in Uganda.”
 
U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor issued the historic ruling against Scott Lively on August 14, 2013.

U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor issued the historic ruling against Scott Lively on August 14, 2013.

While the court battle is hardly over, Wednesday’s ruling in U.S. District Court is a clear defeat of Lively’s heretofore unaccountable hate speech and advocacy against sexual and gender variant minorities, and a shot across the bow of any other individuals or organizations that seek to deny the rights of LGBTQI people throughout the world.  It is also a blow to the anti-gay Liberty Counsel, a rightwing legal consortium created by the arch heterosexist/homphobic evangelical ideologue, Rev. Jerry Falwell, which set out to defend Lively from the CCR/SMUG lawsuit.  The lead attorney for CCR, Pam Spees, responded to press requests for comment, saying, “We are gratified that the court recognized the persecution and the gravity of the danger faced by our clients as a result of Scott Lively’s actions. Lively’s single-minded campaign has worked to criminalize their very existence, strip away their fundamental rights and threaten their physical safety.” Frank Mugisha, Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, said to Gay Star News after the ruling was made public Wednesday, “Today’s ruling is a significant victory for human rights everywhere but most especially for LGBTI Ugandans who are seeking accountability from those orchestrating our persecution.”

 
The case has now been referred to U.S. District Magistrate Judge Kenneth P. Neiman to be scheduled for a pretrial conference at a future date.  The full Memorandum and Order issued by U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor is available here.

August 15, 2013 Posted by | "Kill the Gays Bill", Abiding Truth Ministries, Africa, Anti-Gay Hate Groups, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Crimes against humanity, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Liberty Counsel, Massachusetts, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Russia, Scott Lively, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Social Justice Advocacy, Southern Poverty Law Center, The Pink Swastika, Uganda, Watchmen on the Walls | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gay Law Student Office Vandalized at Boston College

Crude sex slurs and homophobic hate scrawled in Boston College LGBTQ Center Office.

Crude sex slurs and homophobic hate scrawled in Boston College LGBTQ Center Office.

Boston, Massachusetts – Gay students and Law School officials were stunned to discover homophobic slurs scrawled on the walls of the Lambda Students Association the day following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  When LGBTQ students arrived at the Boston College Law School LGBT Center, they found the door unlocked and scads of epithets demeaning queer folk covering the office walls.

Demeaning slurs such as “cum shot,” “muff diver,” “felching,” “cock gobbler,” “gay bukkake,” and the like competed with a few racial ethic epithets that seem to have been thrown in for good measure.  Some sources opined that LGBTQ people were not singled out for humiliation, since Blacks were also targeted by the vandals.  Sexual minority students, however, are not buying such denial.  They feel the crosshairs of hate aimed directly at them.  The Boston College Police Department and the Newton Police Department are investigating the incident.

Robert Trescan, Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League of New England, said to Boston.com that while hate speech incidents occur on many campuses, this one has a more sinister character to it.  “This is a targeted message at a particular place that is important to students, specifically designed to send a message,” he said. “From the police and school’s perspective we want this to be treated as a priority, and all indications is that they are treating this as a priority.”

EDGE Boston reports that the Dean of the Law School was notified in a meeting of the hate graffiti, and rushed to the LGBT Center immediately to see the damage himself.   Dean Vincent Rougeau wrote an open letter to the college community, a portion of which says,“The administration of Boston College Law School condemns this reprehensible action and will not tolerate hateful or threatening speech of any kind. This behavior is the antithesis of all we stand for as an institution, and is an assault on our shared values of a welcoming, loving, and inclusive community.”

Joe Triplett, co-chairperson of Above the Law, a student group, said that the entire Boston College community has been concerned and supportive, according to Huffington Post.  Triplett also related that a student suggested that the hatefulness of the incident could be diffused and channeled to energize the pro-LGBTQ effort on the Jesuit school’s campus.  Inspired by President Obama’s Inaugural endorsement of LGBTQ rights and marriage equality, the unnamed student said that the vandalism should serve as a “backdrop for a dedication to the gay rights movement… posting articles, pictures, and quotes on top of them that show our fight for equal rights from Stonewall to the President’s historic inclusion of gay rights in his inauguration speech yesterday… to show where we have come from and yet how far we still have to go.”

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Anti-Defamation League of New England, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Boston College Law School, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Massachusetts, Slurs and epithets, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, vandalism | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gay Law Student Office Vandalized at Boston College

Gay Hate Bashings by Young Attackers Alarm Citizens of Massachusetts

Police sketch of assailants in gay bashing on the campus of Bridgewater State University.

Bridgewater and Boston, Massachusetts – Two recent attacks–one against a gay man on a Boston Transit train, and the other against a university journalist for writing a gay-supportive column in the Bridgewater State University Comment–suggest that young females are now attacking gay and gay-friendly allies with greater frequency and boldness than in the recent past.  The Patriot Ledger reported that a student journalist was attacked who wrote a supportive article on same-sex marriage after the California federal court ruling on Prop 8.  Destinie Mogg-Barkalow, who wrote the article entitled “Prop 8 Generates More Hate” told campus police that she was confronted by a young man with close-cropped hair and a red-haired young woman in a campus parking lot Thursday evening, February 16 who asked her if she wrote the pro-gay piece.  When Mogg-Barkalow said “yes,” the woman struck her in the face, bruising her badly.  She stumbled back to the offices of the Comment where staffers called for help. Mogg-Barkalow, who is a lesbian, has described her assailants, and the investigation is ongoing.  The university police, president, and campus community have rallied in Mogg-Barkalow’s support.  Bridgewater is south of the Boston metro area.

Huffington Post reports this week that Boston Transit Police are investigating an assault on a gay man by at least three teenage women who shouted slurs at him for his race and sexual orientation.  The victim, who remains unnamed, had his face badly cut, and his nose bloodied.  His backpack was stolen along with its contents: an iPod and a digital camera. A passenger on the T who witnessed the attack, Priscilla Ballou, told WHDH Channel 7 News“[The victim] was on the receiving end of two kinds of violence: one, the physical violence against his body, and the other, the hate violence against his spirit.”  Metro Boston Transit Authority spokesman, Deputy Chief Joseph O’Connor, said, “Some statements were made relative to his sexual orientation and we have conferred with the district attorney and the attorney general who have advised us to pursue that avenue.”  An 18-year-old suspect from Dorchester has been questioned so far.  The attackers, when apprehended, will be charged with assault and battery, and unarmed robbery, as well as a hate crime.

Bay State citizens, especially LGBTQ people, are deeply concerned about what this means for the safety and security of queer folk in a supposed liberal bastion of the nation.  Conventional wisdom holds that young people are more tolerant of LGBTQ people, and that females are seldom involved in gay bashings.  In both instances, younger women are alleged to have carried out physical attacks against gays and lesbians.  Though the majority of violent attacks on gay, lesbian, and transgender people are carried out by young Caucasian men, the disturbing evidence of female anti-gay violence seems to be mounting.  As hate crimes like this begin to pile up around New England and the nation, the conventional wisdom will have to be reconsidered.

February 24, 2012 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Massachusetts, Slurs and epithets, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gay Hate Bashings by Young Attackers Alarm Citizens of Massachusetts

Poison Pen Pal Scott Lively Writes Gay People: “I Love You, But You Deserve Hell”

Anti-LGBTQ Activist Scott Lively

Springfield, Massachusetts – In an example of the worst religion-based bigotry of this generation, a longtime promoter of violent rhetoric against the LGBTQ community published an open letter claiming to love gay people with a message of hate.  Scott Lively, founder of Abiding Truth Ministries in Springfield, Massachusetts, has targeted gays and lesbians for criminalization on three continents, and is on the Montgomery, Alabama Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of Hate Groups.  The SPLC in its “Hatewatch: Keeping an Eye on the Radical Right” bulletin reports that Lively posted an RSVP letter to “LGBTs” on his DefendtheFamily.com website on Monday. Lively says he “loves” gays, but they are all bound for hell, and need help.

As the SPLC notes, Lively has worked feverishly for three decades to defame and outlaw gays and lesbians in his speaking and publishing.  His only work of note is The Pink Swastika, a thoroughly discredited screed in which Lively contends that the Nazi movement was a homosexual plot.  By implication, Lively accuses LGBTQ people of instigating World War II and the execution of untold millions. While no reputable historian credits a thing he says, right wing Slavic Christian extremists have promoted the book throughout the old Soviet Bloc and beyond.  Lively has been influential in the Watchmen On the Walls ministries, which has calls gays and lesbians a disease that requires an “divine penicillin” and expressions of “muscular Christianity” to cure.  He is one of the prime advocates of reparative therapy in sub-Saharan Africa.  In Uganda, Lively testified before lawmakers as the infamous “Kill the Gays” bill was making its way through Parliament.  Now that the Ugandan government is reconsidering the stalled bill, which makes homosexual activity punishable by death, Lively’s pseudo-science and religious distortions will come into play again, urging state-sanctioned violence and oppression against LGBTQ people.

In this country, Lively excused the hate crime murder of gay immigrant Satendar Singh by Slavic Christian fundamentalists in Sacramento.  Singh’s murder heightened tensions between the LGBTQ community and Russian and Slavic fundamentalist churches, as reported at chapter length in the recent book by Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, Unfinished LivesIn effect, Lively has declared war on the LGBTQ community  time and time again. In a letter to the Washington Times on June 23, 2003, Lively wrote: “No clear-thinking person believes that the homosexual sexual ethic and that of the family-based society can peacefully coexist. …One must prevail at the expense of the other.”  At a Russian conference in Novosibirsk in August 2007, Lively’s violent metaphors came out in the open: “There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals.”

In Lively’s RSVP letter to the LGBT community, though he changes his tone, there is no reason to believe he has moderated any of his virulent, anti-gay intentions for outlawing and criminalizing people based on their sexual orientation and gender variant identity.  He claims that God gave him a “Word” in March to speak directly to the gay community.  He writes to LGBTQ people: “I am appealing to you to begin to agree with God about homosexual sin, and to turn away from the seductive lie that God approves of homosexuality and wants you to embrace a homosexual identity . . . You must repent to be saved.”  Lively particularly singles out Open and Affirming Churches, which welcome LGBTQ people and celebrate their lives and loves, and reduces Christian faith to a condemnation of anyone who deviates from Lively’s norms.  Lively also condemns any attempt from the gay and lesbian community to do theology at odds with his own: “’Gay theology’ turns the logic of the Bible on its head, and tries to make the sinner “good enough” to earn heaven . . . This is a dangerous lie that leads straight to hell.”  The solution for LGBTQ people is to rush to Exodus International for anti-gay aversion brainwashing.

In an astonishing attempt to prey upon LGBTQ people who suffer from internalized homophobia, he finishes his letter with a simpering self-justification: “In publishing this letter I know that I will be subjecting myself to ridicule, abuse and hatred. You know very well how nasty some of your peers can be. Yet I am doing it anyway, because in Jesus I love you and I want you to be saved . . . Frankly, as I sit here at my computer, I wonder whether my entire career against your political and social agenda, and all of the notoriety I have achieve in your community might all have occurred so that I would be a person whose letter you would read today.”

Scott Lively is an example of the worst religious bigotry active in America today.  SPLC’s Ryan Lenz writes that Lively began his career in bigotry in 1992 seeking to classify homosexuality on a par with pedophilia and sadomasochism.  He has not changed, nor are his motives ever to be trusted.  Ask Satendar Singh’s family. 

October 27, 2011 Posted by | "Kill the Gays Bill", Alabama, Anglo Americans, Anti-Gay Hate Groups, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, bi-phobia, Bisexual persons, California, gay men, gender identity/expression, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Homosexuality and the Bible, Internalized homophobia, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Massachusetts, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Russia, Russian Federation, Scott Lively, Social Justice Advocacy, Southern Poverty Law Center, transgender persons, transphobia, Uganda | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Urine Attack at Harvard a Hoax? Piss Off!

Judge Judy says, "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!"

Cambridge, Massachusetts – A Harvard dean is now claiming that the reported dousing of LGBT books in the Harvard University Lamont Library was an “accident” done by library staff who happened to have a bottle of urine in the stacks right where the LGBT and same-sex marriage books were shelved. The Advocate is covering the story for the LGBT press, and carried the “explanation” of the dean, Evelyn Hammonds.  Dean Hammonds, who had initially reported the serious nature of the situation, and stressed to the Harvard Crimson that the university takes anti-gay expressions with the utmost gravity, now says that an investigation has uncovered that a library worker (unnamed) discovered a bottle of what appeared to be urine on the shelf, and spilled it on the books accidentally. Officials are at pains to repeat that this was not a hate crime.  Harvard’s Marco Chan, co-chair of the campus Queer Students and Allies, has asked what is in our opinion the crucial question: what was a bottle of pee doing in the Lamont Library anyway?  To that question, we pose another: why did it take officials two weeks to determine that the staining of better than thirty books with urine, worth thousands of dollars, was simply an accident?  Further, how was it that the bottle of urine was strategically placed in the LGBT and same-sex marriage section of the library, when there were so many other places it could have been? Will the dean and the university authorities now claim that the location of the spillage was all an unfortunate coincidence?  And, further than that, what sort of shenanigans were going on with a bottle of pee that got it dumped on library shelves to begin with?  Who was the responsible party? Has someone come forward, and what have they told investigators that has made them “about face” on the hate crimes investigation after two whole weeks?  While admittedly the truth is often stranger than fiction, the details of this “accident” or hate crime have not been told in such a way as to make the claim of accidental urine spillage in the Lamont Library credible.  Harvard University has, like all bastions of higher education in the United States, a long history of heterosexism and homophobia, even persecution of gays and lesbians on campus, as books such as Harvard’s Secret Court by William Wright (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006) and The Crimson Letter: Harvard, Homosexuality, and the Shaping of American Culture by Douglass Shand-Tucci (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2004) have shown. Rev. Dr. Peter Gomes has related the oppression of gay and lesbian students on campus at Harvard in more recent years in his gripping account of his own public coming out story in his best-seller The Good Book (HarperOne, 2002).  The current presence of bias-driven anti-LGBTQ elements on the Ivy League campus is clear to the Harvard University administration, and in covenant with their present student body, and given their culture-setting status in this country, it seems to us that more is owed to the American public and to the LGBTQ community than a lame claim that vandalizing queer books in an historic library was no more than an unfortunate accident.  As television personality Judge Judy Sheindlin says to incredible witnesses in her courtroom, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!”  It is past time for Harvard officials to quit pissing around and tell the truth about this crime.

December 14, 2010 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, book desecration, Harvard University, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Massachusetts, Social Justice Advocacy, Special Comments, Uncategorized, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, vandalism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Harvard Gay Books Soaked in Urine: Police Investigate Hate Crime

Cambridge, Massachusetts – Harvard University Police are investigating a urine-stained attack against the LGBT book collection held in the Harvard Lamont Library. Forty (40) books were found “doused in urine” the week of November 24, according to the New York Daily News.  The report became public on this past Friday. The books were all dealing with LGBT issues and same-sex marriage.  Because of the nature of the subject matter in the books, the Harvard Police Department (HUPD) is investigating the attack as a bias-related hate crime. HUPD spokesperson, Steven G. Catalano, told the Harvard Crimson, “The HUPD has zero tolerance for any bias-related incidents or crimes.” Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds also decried the crime to the Crimson, saying, “Harvard College will not tolerate acts of vandalism, especially those that appear to be motivated by hate or bias. [As] a community, we will continue to affirm our shared values of dignity and respect for everyone in our community.” According to sources at Harvard University, the books were worth thousands of dollars, and are damaged beyond repair.  Beth S. Brainerd, Harvard Library spokesperson, told the press that the books would have to be discarded. “Once the urine is poured, they can’t really fix [the books],” she said in a Crimson interview. Library staff reportedly found a bottle beside the ruined books on Level B of the historic Lamont Library, once filled with what appeared to urine. They threw the bottle and its contents away, believing it to be a health hazard. Harvard University LGBT leadership was quick to respond to the news of the desecration of the books. Senior at Harvard, Marco Chan, co-chair of Harvard College Queer Students and Allies, said to the Crimson, “I am very outraged. It is hard to conceive this as a coincidence when there are 40 books on the same subject. The message that this incident sent to me is that we need more resources not only for the LGBT community but also targeted towards other people.” The Lamont Library at Harvard was the first in the United States designed specifically for use by undergraduate students. Opened in 1949, the Lamont is a popular venue for study and research on the campus. The strike against the LGBT book collection is a serious incident in the struggle for human rights. Hate crimes against book collections in Germany presaged an intensification of violent Anti-Semitism, for example. Outrage by bias groups often targets books first, and then people. No reported leads exist as the Harvard University Police Department continues to investigate the book desecration.

December 14, 2010 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, book desecration, Harvard University, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Social Justice Advocacy, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, vandalism | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anti-Gay Church Smears Students and Teachers at “Fag-Infested” Boston School

Westboro Baptist Church children protesting a military funeral

Boston, MA – Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church has issued a press release saying that a protest will take place June 7 at Boston Latin School.  What sets this protest action apart from many others the church has mounted is the virulence of the verbal attacks on the “violent, freakish, worthless, brute-beast children,” who attend the school, and the “perverts” who run it, according to Baywindows.com.  On the church’s online picket schedule, the stated purpose of the protest is “to remind this nation that God is cursing Doomed america [sic] because parents raise their children for the devil and teachers teach them the twin lies that ‘God loves everyone’ and ‘it’s OK to be gay!'”  WBC’s contention that Boston Latin School is “fag-infested” is a theme the Phelps clan has ridden to international attention many times before.  The Topeka, Kansas church gained infamy by picketing the funeral of Matthew Shepard in Casper, WY, and then attempting to build a monument in a public park there declaring Shepard’s murder date to be the day he “entered hell.”  Shepard died in October 1998, the victim of the most widely publicized anti-LGBT murder in U.S. history.  The Casper City Council denied WBC the right to erect the offensive monument, a decision upheld by the courts.  Finding it difficult to gin up enough support from gay-bashing tactics in recent years, WBC has switched its attention to private funerals of fallen U.S. servicemembers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The “logic” seems to be that the U.S. government, which according to WBC pronouncements is “fag-enabling,” has sent women and men to die in foreign wars only to consign them to the nether regions thanks to the “pro-homo” policies of the government.  In what may be a landmark freedom of speech case, WBC and Phelps are counting on the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold their defense this Fall in the celebrated suit of Matthew Snyder’s family, according to the Washington Post.  The Snyders took action against the church for “invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and civil conspiracy” at their son’s 2006 funeral.  Snyder, a Marine Lance Corporal, was killed in the line of duty in Iraq.  The Snyder family suit contends that statements on the WBC website, his actions, and those of members of WBC including some of Phelps’ own family who comprise a large percentage of the Topeka church membership are not protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The Phelps led church has also turned its attention against Jewish schools, synagogues, and temples. Supporters of Boston Latin School are preparing for the Phelps protest with the aid of an organization named “Phelps-a-thon,” founded by Chris Mason to counter WBC’s homophobic presence by raising money for LGBT causes in a unique way.  For every minute the WBC protest demonstration takes place at the school, Phelps-a-thon will raise donations for the Boston Latin School’s Gay-Straight Alliance.  Since the protest is scheduled to occur for a full 30 minutes, the amount should be considerable, undercutting the hateful purpose of the anti-gay picket. After every Phelps-a-thon money raiser, Mason sends a Thank You card to Fred Phelps informing him of the total donated during the protest for LGBT human rights causes.  As the subversive website says, “We can turn these hateful words into positive change.”  Boston Latin School is the oldest school in the United States, founded in 1635 by the town of Boston, a full year before Harvard University was founded.

June 2, 2010 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Anti-Semitism, Boston Latin School, Fred Phelps, funerals, gay men, Gay-Straight Alliances, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Kansas, Law and Order, Massachusetts, Matthew Shepard, Monuments and markers, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Phelps-a-thon, Protests and Demonstrations, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, U.S. Supreme Court | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Anti-Gay Church Smears Students and Teachers at “Fag-Infested” Boston School

Ted Kennedy, Tireless LGBT Advocate, Dies at Age 77

Ted KennedySenator Edward M. Kennedy, legendary liberal Lion of the United States Senate, has died of brain cancer at age 77 in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  The Kennedy family has issued this statement to the public: “Edward M. Kennedy – the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply – died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port.  We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”  Kennedy was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in May 2008.  The LGBT community has lost a great champion for human rights.  A true ally of sexual minorities, Kennedy lobbied for rights and protections for all Americans.  As recently as July 13, 2009, he made these remarks in favor of the Senate passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, of which he was a sponsor: “Violent attacks based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability deserve to be criminalized by federal law. Our nation must show that it will not permit these communities to be terrorized – one victim at a time. Over 10 years have passed since the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act was first introduced in the Senate. Over 10 years have passed since Matthew Shepard was robbed, pistol whipped, tortured, tied to a fence, and left to die because he was gay. I commend Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, for her years of inspiring advocacy that have brought us to this moment. Now is the time for the Senate to vote and show that we will not allow domestic terrorism to tear apart the fabric of our nation and take the lives of innocent Americans. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to follow their hearts and minds and vote in favor of this legislation.” Perhaps Kennedy will be best remembered for his unstinting advocacy for universal healthcare, “the cause of his life,” that was on his mind as he fought a losing battle with cancer.  He took responsibility for his personal appetites and flaws, showing the nation he loved that he deserved our respect and affection because imperfect people can do magnificent things.  He was born to privilege, but instead chose to serve, becoming one of the few greats in the history of the Senate.  When Webster, Clay, Calhoun and Taft are honored in years to come, Kennedy will be remembered among them.  Teddy Kennedy, the passionate defender of women, LGBT people, the poor, and the infirm, fought the good fight.  It would be only fitting to note on his epitaph that among his posthumous legislative achievements were the Matthew Shepard Act and the Universal Healthcare Act.  To inscribe them there must now be our labor of love and respect for Teddy, the People’s Lion.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Condolences, Legislation, Massachusetts, Matthew Shepard Act, Politics, Remembrances, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ted Kennedy, Tireless LGBT Advocate, Dies at Age 77

   

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