Showing posts with label Discrimination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discrimination. Show all posts

March 10, 2017

11th Dist Court Rules Tittle VII Does Not Prohibit Discrimination

 Southern District Court

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of their sexual orientation. Many federal courts—in addition to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—have reached the opposition conclusion, finding that Title VII’s ban on “sex discrimination” encompasses anti-gay discrimination. But by a 2–1 decision, a panel for the 11th Circuit bucked this trend, reading Title VII as narrowly as possible and, in the process, ignoring at least one critical Supreme Court precedent.

Friday’s decision, Evans v Georgia Regional Hospital, involved the case of Jameka Evans, a lesbian who presents as traditionally masculine. She sued her employer, alleging that she endured hostility and harassment in the workplace in violation of Title VII. Although that statute does not explicitly outlaw anti-LGBTQ discrimination, it does bar “sex discrimination,” including sex stereotyping. Evans argued that this prohibition bars employers from discriminating on the basis of gender presentation and sexual orientation.

The court first found that Evans had not presented sufficient evidence to state a claim based on her gender presentation. It then turned to the meat of her lawsuit: the theory that a ban on sex discrimination, including sex stereotyping, necessarily encompasses sexual-orientation discrimination. Oddly, the court quickly dismissed this theory by citing a circuit court precedent from 1979, Blum v. Gulf Oil, which stated, without analysis, that “discharge for homosexuality is not prohibited by Title VII.” That decision, the court insisted, controlled the outcome of this case, requiring a dismissal of Evans’ claims. (As a nice bonus, the court described sexual orientation as “sexual preference.”)

In an extraordinarily strange concurrence, the odious Judge William Pryor wrote that the Evans’ theory of Title VII “relies on false stereotypes of gay individuals” by disregarding their “diversity of experiences.” Pryor asserted that Title VII protects lesbians with masculine characteristics and gay men with feminine characteristics, but not feminine lesbians or masculine gay men, since they comply with sex stereotypes. He continued:

Some gay individuals adopt what various commentators have referred to as the gay “social identity” but experience a variety of sexual desires. Like some heterosexuals, some gay individuals may choose not to marry or date at all or may choose a celibate lifestyle. And other gay individuals choose to enter mixed-orientation marriages.
To support these claims, Pryor cited Brandon Ambrosino’s declaration that he chose to be gay in addition to an anti-gay amicus brief filed “Same-Sex Attracted Men and Their Wives.” Let’s gave Pryor the benefit of the doubt and assume he was trying to atone for once ruling that Title VII protects transgender employees—an uncharacteristic moment of cogency that may have cost him a Supreme Court seat.

That left it up to Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum to explain, in dissent, all the ways that Pryor and the majority went terribly wrong. As Rosenbaum succinctly explained:

Plain and simple, when a woman alleges, as Evans has, that she has been discriminated against because she is a lesbian, she necessarily alleges that she has been discriminated against because she failed to conform to the employer’s image of what women should be—specifically, that women should be sexually attracted to men only. And it is utter fiction to suggest that she was not discriminated against for failing to comport with her employer’s stereotyped view of women. That is discrimination “because of … sex.”
Rosenbaum pointed out that the Supreme Court held in 1989’s Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins that sex discrimination encompasses sex stereotyping. This decision, she explained, clearly abrogated the 1979 decision relied upon by the majority. As the law stands today, employers are indisputably barred from mistreating workers on the basis of sex-based stereotypes. Anti-gay discrimination is motivated by precisely such a stereotype: the conviction that men and women must only be attracted to individuals of the opposite sex. Therefore, sexual orientation discrimination must fall under the scope of sex discrimination.

In a lengthy retort, Rosenbaum also took a satisfying swipe at Pryor’s “irrelevant journey through some of the different ways in which a gay person may express—or suppress—her sexual attraction.” And she rebutted the notion that because Title VII was not designed to protect gay people, it cannot be read to do so now. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected a similar argument in 1998’s Oncale v. Sundowner, when a discriminatory employer argued that the law wasn’t passed to stop male-on-male sexual harassment. This form of harassment, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority, was “assuredly not the principal evil Congress was concerned with when it enacted Title VII.” But, he noted:

Statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed.
Given this principle, Rosenbaum wrote, “the mere fact that we may believe that Congress may not have specifically intended the meaning of what a statute actually says is not a basis for failing to apply the textual language.” She then took a second swipe at Pryor, this time for failing to respond to her evisceration of his concurrence. “Of course,” she wrote, Pryor “is free to ignore my analysis rather than respond to it, but that doesn’t make it go away.”

In the end, I suspect that Rosenbaum’s logic will carry the day. The 11th Circuit leans liberal, and its judges will now have an opportunity to vacate Friday’s panel decision and re-evaluate the case. They will likely do so—and decide that Title VII means what it says: All sex discrimination, including anti-gay abuse rooted in sex stereotypes, is forbidden in the American workplace. That conclusion is not some dramatic revision of Title VII. It is simply common sense.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate
He covers the law and LGBTQ issues.

September 14, 2015

Man on Grindr - 'Oh you have HIV... I'm not ready for that kind of complication in my life'.

Tom Knight, a 28-year-old events manager and producer from London, has been HIV positive since 2013.
NullPicture: Facebook
He was chatting to a man on Grindr, the dating app, last week and revealed he was HIV positive.
Here's how their conversation went down:
His response raises an important point. 
In no way are flared jeans acceptable in this day and age.
HIV positive
(Photos: Getty)
No seriously, while the anonymous man was well within his rights to state his concerns, his response is symptomatic of the routine rejection HIV positive people face on the basis of their condition.
Knight told Buzzfeed:
It’s a kick in the teeth. Every time it’s a kick in the teeth. It’s not easy telling people I’m positive. You worry about what they’re thinking about you.
Nowadays, treatment is also far more effective than it used to be - HIV is more likely to get passed on if the HIV positive partner has what’s called ‘a high viral load’, which treatment can lower, reducing the risk of passing on HIV.
As Knight added:
People like him don’t have any knowledge about HIV and don’t know what 'undetectable' means [an undetectable viral load occurs when medication suppresses the virus to such low levels it doesn’t show up on lab tests], and don’t realise that it means you can’t pass the virus on.
HIV is spread through contact with blood (including menstrual blood and any blood in saliva, urine, and feces), semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, and fluids around the brain, spinal cord, joints and a developing fetus.
HIV is not spread through contact with sweat, tears, saliva, feces or urine.
You cannot get HIV by touching or hugging someone who is HIV positive or by kissing someone living with HIV.
Every sexual act with someone who is HIV positive, oral, anal or vaginal, has an element of risk of transmission of HIV, but condoms remain the most effective barrier, as well as dental dams and latex gloves.
In addition, if a condom splits or you forget to use one – a HIV negative partner can take PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), which helps prevent transmission of HIV. It needs to be taken within 3 days, but better within 24 hours.
For more information visit the NHS website.
(H/T Buzzfeed)

February 9, 2015

Pope Francis is Criticized by his own New-Commission on Sex abuse


A member of Pope Francis’ newly-established sex abuse commission has sharply rebuked a remark made by the pontiff, which seemed to encourage smacking children, as long as their dignity is respected. 
Commission member Peter Saunders was sexually abused by a priest as a teen. He said:
“He’s (Pope Francis) never had to raise children and he doesn’t know much about that. And again I think it’s a perfect illustration of why he’s asked the commission, which is a mixed bag of people – some of us parents, some of us not – to advice him on these matters.”
“I think that we need to talk to the pope about this issue, because there are millions of children around the world who are physically beaten on a daily basis. And, you know, it might start off as a light tap, (but) actually the whole idea of hitting children is about inflicting pain. That’s what it is about, and there is no place in this day and age for having physical punishment, inflicting pain in terms of how you discipline your children.”                        

He added:
“Discipline comes from the word ‘disciple’ which means to follow… Children don’t need to be hit. We need to talk about positive parenting.”
As a result, the 17-member group says it will make recommendations to the pope on protecting children from corporal punishment.

Copyright © 2015 euronews 

June 27, 2014

Recommendation that Diseases with a Homosexuality Referencing be dropped


A working group helping to develop the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) has recommended that all diagnostic codes referencing homosexuality be dropped, echoing policies of the leading U.S. psychiatry and psychology societies.
"It is not justifiable from a clinical, public health, or research perspective for a diagnostic classification to be based on sexual orientation," Susan D. Cochran, PhD, of the University of California Los Angeles, and other members of the working group wrote in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.
Earlier this month, the American Psychological Association wrote to the WHO with a similar recommendation. The American Psychiatric Association’s fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, r eleased in May 2013, did away with all associations of sexual orientation with mental illness.
Five diagnostic codes pertaining to sexual orientation appear in ICD-10, which is tentatively slated for adoption in the U.S. late next year after long delays.
All carry the designation F66. They include "sexual maturation disorder" (F66.0), described as anxiety or depression due to uncertainty over one's sexual orientation or gender identity, and "ego-dystonic sexual orientation" (F66.1) for individuals who express unhappiness with their sexual preference and wish it were different.
The ICD-10 codes also include F66.2, "sexual relationship disorder," to describe "difficulties in forming or maintaining a relationship with a sexual partner" because of the person's gender identity or sexual orientation.
In a statement, Cochran said this last category could be used to apply a medical diagnosis to a married man who realizes that he is homosexual and, as a result, finds that this causes difficulties with his wife.
Dropping the codes would mean "that gay people can feel free to seek care, to share their concerns, and not fear that they will diagnosed with a mental illness simply because the content is about homosexuality or gender atypicality," Cochran said. "It would mean an end to the medicalization of homosexuality."
She and the other working group members argued that genuine psychiatric problems experienced by gay people, even those connected to their sexual orientation, can be diagnosed and treated without resorting to diagnostic codes devised specially for them.
Such special treatment doesn't make sense, Cochran said. "If a person were short and wished they weren't, that is not a disorder. Or if someone was a lousy singer and wished they weren't, that is not a disorder. In other words, the ICD takes content that is sexual orientation-related and attaches a diagnosis to it in ways that it does not do for other aspects of people."
The group's findings emerged from a review of literature published in recent decades that, in general, has indicated that sexual preferences are formed very early in life and that, while nonheterosexuals tend to report greater distress, it results from "greater experiences of social rejection and discrimination."
Cochran and colleagues acknowledged that the F66 codes "may improve diagnostic accuracy because they can be used for individuals who present with concerns about sexual orientation or gender identity." (As MedPage Today has indicated in a long-running series, ICD-10 is rife with sometimes comically narrow diagnostic categories, such as injuries sustained in a spaceship crash.)
But, they argued, "the existence of these categories may be harmful because they draw attention to content (e.g. to a relationship breakup with a same-sex as opposed to different-sex partner) or individual characteristics that are not clinically meaningful or that pathologize normative reactions."
In addition, the group wrote, “retention of these categories may also be construed as supporting ineffective and unethical treatment that aims to encourage people with a same-sex orientation to adopt a heterosexual orientation or heterosexual behavior."

March 3, 2014

Disney Runs Out of Patience with Scouts Over Gay Discrimination


The Walt Disney Company has given notice to the Boy Scouts of America that it will pull all funding to the group starting in 2015 because of a BSA membership policy that bans gay leaders, the entertainment company said Friday.

Disney does not give money directly to the national organization or local BSA councils. However, through its VoluntEARS program, Disney allows employees to do volunteer work in exchange for cash donations to the charities of their choice.
Employees taking part in the VoluntEARS program will no longer be able to submit the funds to the Boy Scouts, the organization said. The new policy will not affect Walt Disney employees who volunteer with the Scouts, the company said.

"We believe every child deserves the opportunity to be a part of the Scouting experience, and we are disappointed in this decision because it will impact our ability to serve kids," BSA spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement. “America’s youth need Scouting, and by continuing to focus on the goals that unite us, we continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve."

And they said, “I do” and lived happily ever after. The End.

Though the Boy Scouts voted last year to allow gay youths to join its ranks, the group maintains a ban on gay Scout leaders.
 Obese kids banned from Boy Scout outing Pastors differ on Boy Scouts' decision Scouts defy leaders at gay pride parade Alabama church asks Boy Scouts to leave
According to Disney’s charitable giving guidelines, groups become ineligible to receive Disney funding if they "discriminate in the provision of services unlawfully or in a manner inconsistent with Disney's policies on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation."

Disney would not divulge its formula for converting volunteer hours to dollars, but a chart on Disney's corporate website shows that in 2010, employees raised $4.8 million via 548,000 volunteer hours, which works out to $8.79 an hour.
Among the events for which employees volunteered were a triathlon for Children's Hospital Los Angeles, the Revlon Run-Walk for cancer, Children's Hospital of Orange County Walk at Disneyland Resort and the Champion 5K at ESPN for the V Foundation, according to Disney.
Deena Fidas, the director of workplace equality for the Human Rights Campaign, said Disney's decision "carries a unique weight. When you think about brands that exemplify childhood, you think of Disney, and with them dissociating with BSA, it speaks volumes of where we are with the views we want to send to young people.”

In a recent report, HRC cited numerous victories in its quest to ensure workplace equality and applauded the majority of Fortune 500 companies that now offer sexual-orientation and gender-identity protections to their employees.
Despite that, “we know that over 50% of (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) employees remain closeted on the job," the report said.

On Thursday, Scouts for Equality, which says it works to end discrimination within the BSA, praised Walt Disney World for ending local support for the BSA's Central Florida Council.
"We're never happy to see Scouting suffer as a result of the BSA's anti-gay policy, but Disney made the right decision to withhold support until Scouting is fully inclusive," Eagle Scout and Scouts for Equality co-founder Zach Wahls said in a statement.
Scouts for Equality says Disney joins Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel and UPS as companies who have ended partnerships with the Scouts because of its policy. Fidas said Alcoa and AT&T are also on that list.

By Devon M. Sayers, CNN

February 19, 2014

Turn Away the Gays in Tennessee is Dead on Water


Turn Away the Gays bill in Tennessee is dead for now as it seems to be in other states in the south. If it happens to show it’s ugly head again Im sure the courts will snip snip it away.

 The notion that there would be a law to discriminate and allow a business to go around anti discrimination laws is not getting traction. Even if it passed somewhere it is certain that it would be turned on appeal.  It simply makes no sense to have anti discrimination laws and then laws to allow discrimination because is a church running a business or a homophobe that decides that he/ she is not going to sell a cake that anybody else could buy but not a gay couple because they don’t like gay people for whatever reason they can come up with under the universe. 

The two most famous cases have been in England in the bed and breakfast and in the United States on the wedding cake issue. All these cases have been turn down on appeal and then the business’s have been sued in civil court and have been penalized with the best answer to discrimination which is money; Mightier than any religious believes or hatred feelings. 

It’s a real easy case to make before a court that if you have public business you don’t get to choose who your customers might be and you don’t get to be the judge of the lives that those individual’s might have. I don’t recall of a candy store not selling candy to pedophiles yet some people encouraged by churches and money from thinkers alike for legal fees, thought that they had a shoe in for discrimination. As time goes on and the fight continues on the common sense and fairness side that discrimination does not have any other name. For the good of society in the western world and because people can not be trusted to do the right thing all the time, there are laws based on common sense which say if you are in business to get money from people for a service the only thing that should matter to you is that you get paid. 

 The bill shielding people and businessesfrom lawsuits for refusing service to same-sex couples was shelved Tuesday by its new sponsor, who said current Tennessee law is adequate.
The bill generated controversy across the state two weeks ago when it was filed by state Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown. Less than a week after issuing a news release touting his sponsorship of the bill, he withdrew his name from the measure last Thursday and transferred sponsorship to Sen. Mike Bell, R-Athens. Opponents labeled it the "Turn Away the Gays" bill.
The bill was to be heard Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee but at the start of the meeting, Kelsey and Bell read from prepared statements saying the bill was being sent to the committee’s “general subcommittee.” That means Senate Bill 2566 is alive, can be called up anytime but its sponsor indicates he will not try to pass it this year.
The two gave possibly conflicting views about who the bill was intended to protect.
Kelsey, who declined to say last week why he withdrew, said the bill that he called the Religious Freedom Act “never allowed a restaurant or a hospital to refuse service to anyone. I would never introduce legislation that attempts to limit the civil rights of any Tennessean, whether straight or gay. The bill was defined to protect a pastor, a rabbi or a singer from being sued and forced to participate in a same-sex ceremony against their will.”
Bell said several times that it was to protect business owners.
“I took on this bill with the idea of protecting the religious freedom of our state’s business owners.” He cited a “baker in Colorado, a photographer in New Mexico and a venue owner in New Jersey” all sued for refusing to provide services to same-sex couples seeking to marry.
Bell said that after consulting three judges and a lawyer over the weekend, “I’m convinced that current Tennessee law protects our business owners from the type of lawsuit harassment we’ve seen in other states ... It’s my belief that current Tennessee law does allow business owners to choose to provide or refuse services based on consumer conduct.”
The original text of the bill filed by Kelsey defined the entities that it shielded from lawsuits as “any natural person, partnership, trust, estate, corporation, association, joint venture, joint stock company, or other organization excluding employees of this state or local government,” and “religious or denominational organizations, regardless of non-profit or for-profit status, and regardless of whether its activities are deemed wholly or partly religious, that is a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society; an entity operated, supervised, controlled by, or connected to” such religious or denominational organizations, “or a privately held business operating consistently with its sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Adam Gonzalez, Publisher
Source for the Tenn case:

November 7, 2013

Conductor Valery Gerviev is Shame for Discrimination Vs. Gays


Pro-Kremlin star conductor Valery Gergiev (pictured) who has also performed in Hong Kong, denied discriminating against gays after several of his concerts were disrupted by protestors accusing him of backing controversial new anti-gay legislation in Russia.
Gergiev, artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg and also chief conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), issued a statement denying he had ever supported anti-gay laws.
The conductor is a strong public backer of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whose support he opened a brand new opera house for the Mariinsky in Saint Petersburg earlier this year, AFP reports.
Putin in June signed a law banning the dissemination of gay propaganda to minors in Russia, which activists have denounced as being brazenly homophobic and which prompted calls for a boycott of the February 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“I have said before that I do not discriminate against anyone, gay or otherwise, and never have done, and as head of the Mariinsky Theatre this is our policy,'' Gergiev said in a highly unusual statement on his official Facebook page.
“It is wrong to suggest that I have ever supported anti-gay legislation and in all my work I have upheld equal rights for all people,'' he said, without specifically referring to the new Russian law.
Gergiev reportedly backed the law in an interview with a Dutch newspaper in September.
He was targeted earlier in the autumn season during appearances in the United States by gay rights activists who at one point heckled him while conducting.
His most recent concert with the LSO in London was overshadowed by a stunt by gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell who strode onto the stage in a tuxedo to denounce the conductor's stance on gay rights.
But Gergiev said: “I am an artist and have for over three decades worked with tens of thousands of people in dozens of countries from all walks of life and many of them are indeed my friends.''
Tatchell is planning a new protest to picket Gergiev ahead of his next concert in London tonight.
“Gergiev endorses Putin, despite this shameful repression. That's why we need to protest,'' Tatchell said in a statement.
The musician is widely respected for restoring the artistic qualities of the Mariinsky Theater over the last years but critics accuse him of blind loyalty to the Kremlin and megalomania.

(The Standard-Hong Kong)

April 2, 2013

Michelle Shocked Says About her Anti-Gay Rant “I Admit I made a Mistake”

You would think that by now, Michelle Shocked knows how to choose her words. 
In an attempt to clear her name after stirring up controversy from an anti-gay rant she gave during a concert in San Francisco, the folk singer appeared on Piers Morgan Live for her first national interview since the incident to give her side of the story. 
But it didn't really help her cause.
"I admit I made a mistake, Piers," she began, which was a good start. And this happened...
Michelle Shocked"If I had the chance to go back and do it again, I don't think I would've taken the audience up on their choice. I had presented an entire performance and I framed it as truth and then I came back out for an encore and they requested reality, and what has consequently taken place ever since then is my manifestation of how little I think of reality."
Shocked continued, "I know that its a stock and trade for a lot of the media to just present things like that's how it really is, but I don't think the audience was ready for the consequences of that and I surely have not been happy with it."
Um, what? Where's that duct tape when you need it?
The singer got into hot water after she told the crowd in March, "Once Prop 8 gets instated and once preachers are held at gunpoint and forced to marry the homosexuals, I'm pretty sure that that will be the signal for Jesus to come on back."
"You said you wanted reality," she continued. "If someone would be so gracious as to tweet out that Michelle Shocked just said from stage, ‘God hates f----ts.' Would you do it now?"
Afterward, Shocked's touring schedule was greatly reduced with multiple venues canceling her shows. "Many of you have reached out already following an ugly rant given by Michelle Shocked at her show in San Francisco last night," read a statement from the venue Evanston SPACE.
"After speaking with the promoter of that show about the nature of the remarks, it's clear that this is no longer a show we're willing to put our name on. The May 5th performance at SPACE has been cancelled and refunds will be issued at point of purchase."

January 11, 2013

Russian Fans Want Only non Gay “Whites" on their Footballers Team

2002: Nikoloz Tskitishvili, 5th Overall, Denver Nuggets

Georgian seven-footer Nikoloz Tskitishvili was drafted sixth overall despite averaging only 6.6 points per game in the Italian league the year before the draft — not exactly a sign of future NBA greatness. Sure enough, the guy shot 30% from the field for his career. (Reminder: HE'S SEVEN FEET TALL.) That would be a terrible number for a volume-shooting guard; for a center, it's abysmal.

Fans of two-time defending Russian champion Zenit St. Petersburg are
299562-portugal-soccerZenit St Petersburg's striker Hulk was one of the first black players to play for the club.calling for non-white and gay players to be excluded from the team, another sign of the racism that is plaguing the country that will host the World Cup in 2018.

Landscrona, the largest Zenit supporters' club, released a manifesto demanding the club field an all-white, heterosexual team. It added that "dark-skinned players are all but forced down Zenit's throat now, which only brings out a negative reaction" and said gay players were "unworthy of our great city."
The club quickly sought to distance itself from the fans. Without directly referring to their manifesto, Zenit's Italian head coach, Luciano Spalletti, said on the club's website that "tolerance for me is most of all the ability to understand and accept differences."
"Furthermore, being tolerant means that you fight against any kind of stupidity," he added.
The club, which is owned by state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom, also told the R-Sport news agency it picked players on ability alone, insisting that "the team's policy is aimed at development and integration into the world soccer community, and holds no archaic views."
Zenit was the only top-flight Russian team without a black player until this summer, when it acquired Brazilian striker Hulk and Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel for 80 million euros ($105 million). French midfielder Yann M'Vila declined a move to the club in August after receiving death threats.
"I can personally assure you that I will do everything I can to help those who seek to explain to people what tolerance is, and the need to respect other cultures and traditions," Spalletti said. "I think that Zenit has proven through its work that the club understands what tolerance is, and what it means to have tolerant behavior. The team has gathered players from different countries and ethnic groups who work together to achieve a common goal, and work well."
Fans insisted that "we are not racists and for us the absence of black Zenit players is just an important tradition that underlines the team's identity and nothing more."
Russia has struggled to deal with racism and violence at its stadiums as it prepares to host the 2018 World Cup. Black players are frequently the targets of monkey chants and some, including Anzhi Makhachkala's Robert Carlos and Christopher Samba, have had bananas thrown at them by fans.
Officials have at times shown little enthusiasm for targeting racism. When Lokomotiv Moscow fans held up a banner in 2010 thanking an English team for signing their black striker Peter Odemwingie with a picture of a banana, the head of Russia's World Cup bid awkwardly claimed they were referencing a quaint, little-used Russian expression meaning "to fail an exam."
Zenit's fans have long been the country's most problematic. Dick Advocaat, the team's former Dutch manager, once admitted that "the fans don't like black players" and that it would be "impossible" for Zenit to sign one.
Several black players have also singled out Zenit's fans as particularly racist. Former Russian top scorer Vagner Love told a Brazilian newspaper in April that Zenit was "the most racist team in Russia" and the only one whose fans had abused him in his seven years playing for CSKA Moscow.
Five years earlier, Krylya Sovetov Samara's former Cameroon international Serge Branco told a local newspaper that Zenit's management were "the real racists" for not combatting the problem, adding that "in a civilized country they'd smack them down to the third division for their fans' behavior."
Zenit's fans have also come under the spotlight recently after one of them threw a firecracker that injured Dinamo Moscow's goalkeeper during a match in November. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, himself a Zenit fan, called for violent spectators to be banned for life from attending matches. Parliament has drafted a bill that would ban hooligans for a year.
Russian footballers Alexander Kokorin and Pavel Mamayev are being accused of being gay after pictures emerged of them enjoying their holiday in Miami.

On Dec 30 as 2012 was coming to a close adamfoxie*blog posted the following story about gay russian footballers:

November 11, 2012

Groups Are Pushing for Executive Order Banning Gay Discrimination

 Gay rights advocates plan to push President Obama to go big on their agenda in his second term.
Buoyed by the approval of same-sex marriage in several states on Election Day, lobbyists for gay rights groups plan to prod the president to sign an executive order that would ban discrimination by federal contractors against gay and transgendered people.
The White House shelved the executive order earlier this year, but it remains a top priority for gay rights groups. They argue that if Obama signs the order it could encourage Capitol Hill to pass broader legislation that would extend a similar ban to employers.
Allison Herwitt, legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, said gay rights supporters want to see movement from the president soon. "The push is to have them do it sooner instead of later," Herwitt said. "I do think it helps pave the way for a fully inclusive [Employment Non-Discrimination Act]. ... It is the way that the government puts its imprimatur on what's important and makes a difference in people's lives. The president would be saying it's important not to discriminate."
 If passed by Congress, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would extend federal protections against discrimination in the workplace to gay and transgendered people. Lobbyists working on the bill admit it has a tough road to passage with Republicans still in control of the House.
Obama has earned praise from gay rights advocates for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and for endorsing same-sex marriage. Further, his administration has said expressed support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the past. An executive order could move much faster, though, because it would only require a stroke of the president’s pen.
“I think it's important for us to move forward and show some momentum that there's protections for LGBT workers. … This would be huge. You have to understand the enormity of the impact it would have for so many people in our community,” said Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, about Obama signing such an executive order.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act's main sponsor is Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who will not return next Congress because he is retiring. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) will pick up the mantle and be the main sponsor of the bill next Congress, according to a Polis aide.
Gay rights groups also plan to lobby for more openly gay officials in the Obama administration.
On the state level, gay rights groups are aiming to build on victories in Maine, Maryland and Washington, where ballot initiatives legalizing same-sex marriage were approved. In Minnesota, voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
With nine states and the District of Columbia having now legalized same-sex marriage, gay rights advocates believe they can build support in Congress by reminding lawmakers about the views of their constituents.
“Many of their constituents will start to bump up against [the Defense of Marriage Act]. That's the impact we will use when go back to those offices. That's different from [Election Day]. They are going to hear it from their constituents now,” said Jo Deutsch, federal director for Freedom to Marry.
The Defense of Marriage Act bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, denying gay couples several protections granted to straight couples. Some courts have ruled the law unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court will decide later this month whether or not to review several cases challenging it.
Same-sex marriage could pop up in other debates next year, including the push for tax reform. Gay rights lobbyists want parity between how straight couples’ and domestic partners’ health benefits are taxed.
“As Congress hopefully tackles tax reform next year, we are going to try to get our fix as part of the conversation and make it into the final bill,” Herwitt said.
Further, groups like OutServe-SLDN will be pushing the Defense Department to provide the same benefits to all spouses of military service members.
“OutServe-SLDN will be aggressively seeking action from the Pentagon to take steps without further delay to extend benefits and support to gay and lesbian military families under its current legal authority,” said Zeke Stokes, a spokesman for the group.
While election results on Tuesday were seen as a resounding victory for gay rights, there was a downside — several GOP candidates who have been supportive of gay rights were defeated.
Three of the five Republican co-sponsors of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the House will not return to Congress next year. Reps. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y) lost their reelection bids, while Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.) is retiring.
American Unity PAC, a pro-GOP, pro-gay rights super-PAC, saw six out of its eight endorsed candidates lose this election cycle after spending more than $2.2 million on online and television ads.
Jeff Cook, a senior adviser to American Unity PAC, said the group is proud of its campaign spending and is here to stay.
“Over the next two years, American Unity is more committed now more than ever to help our party modernize so it can appeal to the broader cross-section of voters that we need to win elections in competitive districts in the midst of our country's new demographic reality,” Cook said.
Nevertheless, the election results have given new impetus to lobbyists to push to expand gay rights in Washington.
“It's so remarkable from the president being reelected and all of these successes in the states, that it really shows that the American people are with us. We are not going back now and we expect that the president and his administration will continue to move us forward,” Nipper said.
By Kevin Bogardus 

October 21, 2012

Boy Scouts Do We Still Need Them or Want Them?

Biggest Bigot, Homophobe

To put it mildly, Scouting is going through a rough patch.
 In July, the BSA national headquarters clarified its ban on gays and lesbians -- leaving it in place and triggering a national movement by hundreds of former Eagle Scouts to renounce their rank and return their treasured medals.
And then this week, the so-called "perversion files" were publicly released, naming more than 1,000 suspected child sex abusers since the mid-1960s with links to Scouting.
All this has people asking questions: What's going on here? Is Scouting in trouble? Is it even relevant anymore?
Although membership has remained steady at 2.7 million youths, many parents are taking a hard look at the organization -- especially its ban on gays, lesbians, atheists and agnostics, says former Eagle Scout Burke Stansbury, an online activist.
"Some of the aspects of Scouting morality I find is sort of old school -- like they're stuck in the 1950s."
It's become more acceptable, he says, for people to be atheist and agnostic and still be considered moral in our society. Also, "attitudes around homosexuality have changed a lot in the last few decades, and the Boy Scouts' moral code hasn't kept up with those changes."
Here's how mainstream the idea of gay and lesbian Scouts has become: both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney support it. Obama, in fact, serves as honorary BSA president, a tradition held by every commander in chief since the group was founded.
Eventually, the Boy Scouts will have to change, Stansbury says, or else the organization will become socially irrelevant.
The group is standing at a key moment in its survival, says Stansbury. If it fails to "get with the modern times" within the next decade, "alternative youth organizations will appear that are more inclusive and based on equality."
The majority of Scouts agree with the policy, the BSA said in July. But "no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."
Scouting offers to teach members skills in "character building" and making good "moral choices," says BSA spokesman Deron Smith. But he also says it's important to separate "the discussion of larger societal issues" from the operation of Scouting. "The state of Scouting is very strong."
'Living your values'
The idea is sometimes referred to as "living your values" -- in other words, interacting only with organizations and businesses that match your morals and ethics.
"People with young kids are trying to live their lives more in accordance with their beliefs and their values," says Stansbury. It's hard, he says, to participate in something like the Boy Scouts and everyday question your own integrity.
In protest, Stansbury sent his Eagle medal back to Scout headquarters a few months ago, along with hundreds of other ex-Scouts. Boy Scout policies and procedures evolve over time, says Smith. For example, the child sex abuse concerns decades ago spurred the BSA to implement strict screening, education and prevention policies that continue today and represent a "gold standard" for protecting kids, Smith says.
Boy Scout Zach Plante of Menlo Park, California, doesn't like the ban on atheists or gays and lesbians. But he loves Scouting.
So the 16-year-old basically looks the other way, he says, along with the rest of Troop 222. "In my troop I don't know of any particular Scouts that are gay or atheist, but I know that our troop wouldn't necessarily kick a Scout out of the troop for being gay or atheist."
Zach's dad, psychology professor Tom Plante, doesn't see any conflict between his support for Scouting and his opposition to the bans. Plante says he does his best to live his values and to make changes where he can. "But at the end of the day we're not going to agree 100% with all the policies and procedures of every organization that we're a part of -- whether it's Scouts or the United States government or churches or companies."
Ryan Andreson's troop wasn't so understanding. When Andreson, who lives in Moraga, California, was denied his Eagle rank because he's gay, he mounted a campaign that gained national attention. Part of that campaign included collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures on a petition for local Scout officials. So far, Andreson is still waiting to get his Eagle.
What if Scouting disappeared? You'd likely see more than $206,000,000 worth of yearly services and charity fundraising provided by Scout groups disappear, according to BSA.
Religious ties
Many critics who accuse the Scouts of failing to change with the times blame BSA's deep connections to organized religion. Approximately 70% of Scout troops are affiliated with some kind of church or religious group, says Smith.

Among the biggest backers are the Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to BSA. In 2011, Mormon-backed Cub Scout and Boy Scout units accounted for more than 420,000 of all Scouts nationwide, while more than 200,000 other scouts were members of units affiliated with the Catholic Church.
Links with religious groups are "definitely part of our longstanding tradition," says Smith. "Our policies and procedures and everything that we are is definitely reflected by our membership and our charter organization partners."
Those affiliations over the years have resulted in a complicated political maze that's difficult to navigate when it comes to change, Stansbury suggests. "Oh yeah -- the Catholic and Mormon churches have a lot of influence on the Boy Scouts, especially the leadership of the Boy Scouts," he says. "I certainly believe that's a big part of why the Boy Scouts have stubbornly held onto this policy
 "It would be a much better organization, not having those people involved. But it's not going to go away immediately."
There's also dissent among leaders inside Scouting -- although many keep a low profile. One Scout leader, who asked to remain anonymous because he fears losing his position, posted comments on a private online message board for Eagle alums.
If the U.S. military can accept openly gay and lesbian troops, he asked, why can't the Boy Scouts of America? "Every day I question my personal integrity for choosing to stay involved with a discriminatory organization."

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