BigGayNews from the United States:
U.S. Military Extends Many Benefits To Same-Sex Partners
Reuters reports that the Pentagon announced on Monday it would extend more of the benefits offered to spouses of heterosexual troops to those of gay personnel but acknowledged some key benefits, like housing, would still be off-limits, at least for now.
The decision, which came 17 months after the Pentagon ended its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on openly gay service members, and will positively affect the day-to-day lives of their spouses in many aspects.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated: “While it will not change during my tenure as secretary of defense, I foresee a time when the law will allow the department to grant full benefits to service members and their dependents, irrespective of sexual orientation.”
BigGayNews from Minnesota:
Dayton Defends Budget, Endorses Gay Marriage In State Of The State Address
TwinCities.com reports that Governor Mark Dayton says Minnesota is better off now than when he took office two years ago but state leaders still have much more work to do.
On the subject of gay marriage, Dayton stated emphatically: “I believe that every Minnesotan should have the freedom to marry legally the person she or he loves, whether of the same or other sex,” which resulted in a standing ovation from DFL lawmakers while Republicans remained conspicuously silent.
Dayton has supported same-sex marriage for years, but his statement in the address came as somewhat of a surprise as he had earlier stated that he wanted to put the marriage issue on the back burner while he and lawmakers dealt with the state’s budget issues.
BigGayNews from New York:
Students Fight Westboro Baptist Church Haters With $40,000 For Gay Charity
Gay Star News reports that students from Vassar College in New York have pledged $100 for every minute the Westboro Baptist Church plans to protest on campus.
Members of the church planned to protest at the pro-GLBT university earlier this month, which prompted the students’ countermeasure.
All money raised will be donated to the Trevor Project, which provides suicide prevention and crisis intervention for GLBT youth.
BigGayNews from Denver:
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets Star, Becomes First NBA Player To Join Gay Rights Sports Group
The Huffington Post reports that Denver Nuggets star Kenneth Faried has become the first NBA player to join an organization devoted to fighting homophobia in sports, and said he hopes his involvement will raise awareness of gay rights in professional basketball.
Faried was raised by two mothers, and said: “Becoming an Athlete Ally gives me the opportunity to spread a message of inclusiveness throughout the NBA and our country. I have two moms and I love them both very much. I respect, honor and support them in every way. The bond I have with them has made me realize that I want all members of the GLBT community — whether they are parents, players, coaches or fans — to feel welcome in the NBA and in all of our communities.”
BigGayNews from Indiana:
Teacher Says Gays Have No Purpose: Promotes Prom That Excludes Gay Students
The Inquisitr reports that a special education teacher from Indiana has stated that gays have no purpose and is promoting a prom that will exclude gay students.
Diana Medley, who is employed by North Central High School in Sullivan County, joined with several high school students and their parents to plan a prom that will ban gay students since Sullivan High School officials have refused to ban GLBT students from the official school prom.
Medley states that she is not opposed to counseling students who are gay, but they must understand that she is morally opposed to their behavior and lifestyle choices. When asked by a reporter if she believes that gays have a purpose in life, Medley said: “No I honestly don’t. Sorry, but I don’t. I don’t understand it.”
BigGayNews from France:
French Assembly Passes Gay Marriage, Adoption Bill
USA Today reports that France’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday approved a sweeping bill to legalize gay marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt children, handing a major legislative victory to President Francois Hollande’s Socialists on a divisive social issue.
The measure, which passed by a 329 to 229 vote, could bring France in line with nearly a dozen other European countries that allow gay marriage. Most polls show that a majority of the French citizens support legalizing gay marriage, although the gap narrows considerably in the question of gay couples adopting or conceiving children.
BigGayNews from Great Britain:
Gay Men’s Body Image: Near 50 Percent Would Sacrifice 1 Year Of Their Lives For The Perfect Body, Survey Finds
The Huffington Post reports that a new British poll has now revealed a slightly more disturbing fact about that population’s fractured relationship with body image.
The study, commissioned by the Central YMCA, the Succeed Foundation and the University of the West of England’s Centre for Appearance Research, found that a full 48% of men interviewed would sacrifice a year or more of their lives for the perfect body, with 10% of those men saying that they would agree to die more than 11 years earlier in exchange for the perfect body right now.
Rosi Prescott, CEO of Central YMCA, stated: “Today gay men are under enormous pressure about their bodies, and we believe that a lack of body diversity in the media, including the gay press, and a relentless focus which values people based on appearance, may in part explain why gay men are particularly susceptible to this issue.”
BigGayNews from Russia:
Sochi Olympics Will Test Gay Rights
USA Today reports that New Zealand speedskater Blake Skjellerup is focused on making his second Olympic team, but is also concerned about the anti-gay legislation working its way through the Russian parliament.
Skjellerup, who came out after the 2010 Vancouver Games, stated: “I don’t want to have to tone myself down about who I am. That wasn’t very fun and there’s no way I’m going back in the closet. I just want to be myself and I hate to think that being myself would get me in trouble.”
However, given the growing homophobia, openly gay Olympic athletes and others hoping to attend the Games have reason for concern in a culture that is vastly different from that in the last two Olympic Games, in Vancouver and in London.