BigGayNews from Minnesota:
Minnesota’s Gay Marriage Allies Are At Odds
The Star Tribune reports that the organization that led the charge to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota is now under fire for backing legislators who oppose abortion.
Sarah Jane Johnston, president of Minnesota National Organization for Women, has expressed her disappointment in Minnesota United for not standing with them in withdrawing support for legislators who do not support abortion rights, when Minnesota NOW helped Minnesota United with their political efforts regarding same-sex marriage rights.
Minnesota United is gearing up to defend legislators who supported the same-sex marriage bill and who could potentially lose their seats in upcoming elections, and Ann Kaner-Roth, co-chairwoman of the Minnesotans United PAC, says that they do not have plans to deviate from their plan.
BigGayNews from Pennsylvania:
Frank Schaefer, Pennsylvania Pastor Who Officiated Gay Son’s Wedding, Will Face Trial At Methodist Panel
The Huffington Post reports that a Pennsylvania pastor will reportedly be forced to stand trial in front of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding six years ago.
Schaefer officiated the 2006 wedding in Massachusetts, which legalized same-sex unions in 2004, but the law book of the United Methodist Church does not recognize or permit gay marriage.
While Schaefer knew of the possible ramifications of his actions, he stated: “The love for my son took over the fear of losing my job with the United Methodist Church. It was a tough decision in some sense, but I just knew I had to make it. I had to follow my heart.”
BigGayNews from New Hampshire:
Dartmouth Trustees Approve Residence Hall For Lesbian, Gay, Allied Students
The Concord Monitor reports that Dartmouth College plans to open a student residence hall for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and allied students by fall 2014.
The Board of Trustees for the college approved the construction of the building, to be called the Triangle House, at a proposed cost of $3.6 million. Funds will come from residential life program reserve funds as well as campus and alumni fundraising.
The residence hall will provide housing for 27 students, along with a small apartment for an advisor.
BigGayNews from Illinois:
Coffee Chain Apologizes For Erasing Gay-Straight Alliance Artwork
The Chicago Tribune reports that members of a high school gay-straight alliance in Northbrook expressed disappointment that their window decoration at a local Caribou Coffee was erased last week, but they said they hope something good can come from it.
The group from Glenbrook North High was among a number of school clubs who decorated windows of local businesses for the school’s homecoming week, but soon noticed that their display, which included a variety of rainbow colors along with male, female and transgender symbols, had been cleaned from the store’s window.
A statement issued by Caribou stated that the particular store did not follow company guidelines in regards to being “accepting of all individuals, regardless of age, gender, race or sexual orientation”, and the school group hopes that this will result in the local store reaching out to them.
BigGayNews from Italy:
Italian Pasta Baron’s Anti-Gay Comment Prompts Boycott Call
Reuters reports that Guido Barilla, chairman of the world’s leading pasta manufacturer, prompted calls for a consumer boycott on Thursday after telling Italian radio his company would never use a gay family in its advertising.
Barilla’s reasoning, stated in an interview, was not that they don’t respect the GLBT community, but that they don’t agree with them and feel that showing a gay couple undermines the family unit in which “the woman plays a fundamental role”.
The stand has resulted in outrage, both from gay rights groups as well as women’s groups, and Aurelio Mancuso, head of Equality Italia, called for a boycott of the company’s products.
BigGayNews from Pakistan:
Pakistan Blocks First Gay Website Queerpk, Deeming It “Un-Islamic”
The Huffington Post reports that Pakistan’s Internet watchdog has blocked the deeply conservative Muslim country’s first website aimed at gay people, saying it was “against Islam”.
The website was set up to assist members of the GLBT community in Pakistan, where homosexuality is illegal, to socialize, share experiences, and communicate with one another in a social media forum.
The moderator of the site, who requested anonymity, said that the ban will not be challenged in the court system for fear of negative reprisal.
BigGayNews from Russia:
Amid Putin’s Crackdown, Sochi Gay Scene Thrives
The Huffington Post reports that a man named Ravil catapults onto the dance floor and starts stomping out the lezginka, the arrogant rooster strut of the Chechen national dance—a spontaneous performance made even more unusual by the fact that he’s in one of the two gay clubs in Sochi, the southern Russian town that will host the Winter Olympics amid Vladimir Putin’s harsh crackdown on gays.
Andrei Tenichev, owner of the club Mayak, hopes that there will at least be tacit cooperation with the local government during the Winter Games, if for no other reason than to avoid scandal right before the event.
Tenichev feels that the gay community in Sochi has a better chance of withstanding Putin’s crackdown because the city is a bustling resort town that has more of a “What-happens-in-Sochi-stays-in-Sochi” appeal than many other parts of Russia.
BigGayNews from Serbia:
Serbia: UN Rights Office Urges Protection Of Gay Rights After Pride Parade Is Cancelled
The UN News Center reports that the United Nations human rights office today urged Serbian authorities to ensure the GLBT community can exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association, following the Government’s decision to cancel the pride parade in Belgrade last weekend for the third year in a row.
Authorities maintain that the decision is based on security concerns, in light of the 2010 event being marred by violence, attacks, and vandalism.
Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, disagrees, stating: “Responding to violent attacks against a vulnerable community, such as GLBT, by banning them from peacefully gathering and expressing themselves further violates their fundamental human rights, and rewards their attackers.”