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Gays and the Political Psychology of Disgust

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

disgustWhen Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend on television to celebrate his successful draft into the NFL, some viewers were disgusted. The charged comments that followed demonstrated that when it comes to public displays of gay affection, some people have a gut reaction to recoil. But why? The answer to that question is not fully known, but scientists are beginning to establish an understanding of how biology and the environment may interact to form such reactions.

First, it’s important to understand that disgust in humans can be good. We should recoil from the truly gross things that can harm us–festering wounds, rancid meat, and feces, to name a few examples, are dangerous incubators of infection. “Disgust is apart of what is referred to as the behavioral immune system, which protects us from dealing with items and individuals that might make us sick, that might kill us,” says Patrick Stewart, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas (and not of X-Men, Star Trek fame).

But it’s not adaptive when healthy groups of people are reacted to in the exact same way as if they were pathogens. Here’s the state of the science of disgust right now.

Authored By Brian Resnick – See the Full Story at the National Journal

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The Things We Share: A Catholic’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Gay Wedding - RingsThere’s this guy I know in Manhattan. Call him Jim. Jim Watson. We’re friends, I guess. We used to be friends, anyway–grabbing a hamburger together near Gramercy Park, from time to time, or meeting out on the Stuyvesant Town Oval on a summer afternoon to play some folk and bluegrass with the guitar strummers, mandolin pickers, autoharpers, and amateur banjo players who’d drift by. None of us any good, but fun, you know? Old-timey Americana like “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Pretty Saro,” and “The Orphan Girl.” A version of “Shady Grove,” I remember, was one of his specialties: When I was just a little boy, / all I wanted was a Barlow knife. / But now I am a great big boy, / I’m lookin’ for a wife.

A few years ago, his friendship began to cool, bit by bit. You understand how it is: a little here, a little there, and last time I was through New York he didn’t even bother to answer my note suggesting we put together one of our low-rent urban hootenannies. The problem, our conversations had made pretty clear along the way, was that I am a Catholic, and Jim is gay.

Well, actually, gay isn’t the word he would use. I have what might be the worst ability to recognize sexual orientation on the planet, but no one needed sensitivity to guess Jim’s views. Not that he was campy or anything when I knew him, but he was always vocal about his sexuality, naming himself loudly to anyone nearby with words that polite society allows only in ironic use by gay men themselves.

Authored By Joseph Bottom – See the Full Story at Commonweal Magazine

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USA: Conservative PAC Pushes Conservatives to Support Marriage Equality

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

American Unity PACA conservative political action commmittee is trying to convince more republicans to support marriage equality. On Top Magazine reports:

American Unity PAC launched last year with an initial $1 million donation from hedge fund manager Paul Singer. The Super PAC’s mission is to encourage Republican candidates to support marriage equality by lending financial support. Its new lobbying organization, American Unity Fund, has already spent more than $250,000 in Minnesota, where a marriage bill has cleared House and Senate panels and awaits floor action in both chambers.

The marriage equality movement continues to grow on the right…

A Conservative Rabbi Makes the Case for Marriage Equality

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Jewish Star of DavidI’m a rabbi, so I support marriage equality.

My support of marriage equality is an expression of my faith. It arises from fundamental principles found in the Hebrew Bible and the rabbinic tradition, among them, that each human being is made in the divine image, that affording full dignity to every person is a religious obligation, and that we are commanded to pursue social justice. It arises from the Biblical injunction that it is “not good” for a person to be alone, and that the opportunity to create a family is an essential aspect of our humanity, and of our obligation to express, as fully as possible, the image of God reflected within.

Of course, not everything we do reflects the divine, and not every relationship should be sanctified as a marriage. Where a relationship is abusive, unhealthy or demeaning – or where love and trust are absent – it would be a travesty to sanctify that relationship in the name of God. But where two people love each other, support and nurture each other’s growth and well-being, and seek through marriage to publicly acknowledge and sanctify their mutual commitment and the presence of God within their relationship – to my mind it is a travesty to withhold that acknowledgment and sanctification. Gender simply has nothing to do with it.

Authored By Jan Urbach – See the Full Story at The Washington Post

Colorado USA: GOP Representative Votes for Civil Unions – And Here’s Why

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Colorado Representative Carole MurrayGOP Rep. Carole Murray voted for the civil unions bill, surprising many of her constituents. The Huffington Post reports:

It’s more important to me that over the next 20 years … I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror and be proud of my public service, knowing that I’ve been true to my upbringing by my mom and dad of love and acceptance of my fellow man. Not to mention my Conservative belief — my Republican belief — in personal liberty, equality, and individual responsibility for each and every one of our citizens.

Can I get an Amen? (and yes, we’re watching RuPaul’s Drag Race while I post this…)

Australia: Intersex Included in Anti Discrimination Bill; Conservative Does About-Face on Marriage Equality

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Sydney, Australia Opera HouseA couple great new stories from Australia on LGBT rights. First-off, a draft anti-discrimination bill will include intersex citizens as a protected identity, Gay Star News reports:

‘The committee recognizes that intersex individuals are often the subject of discrimination in public life, and that as such there is a need for protection on the basis of intersex status in Commonwealth anti-discrimination law,’ said the report published today. The report said the committee agreed with campaigners that ‘intersex is a matter of biology rather than gender identity,’ so protection from discrimination was not covered by the definition of gender identity in the draft bill.

And Gay Star News also reports that a prominent conservative has done an about-face on gay marriage:

Lawyer John Heard writes that the separation between religious marriage and civil marriage in Australia means that ‘traditional’ marriage is not as risk from proposals to allow same-sex marriage. ‘It just clicked,’ Heard wrote. ‘What I actually meant when I described marriage was Catholic marriage: a sacrament. That will not change with careful reform of the Marriage Act to allow for same-sex civil marriage.’

If only more conservatives would have this particular lightbulb go off above their heads…

England, UK: Student Appeals Change Conservative MP’s Mind on Marriage Equality

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

UK: Student Appeals Change Conservative MP's Mind on Marriage EqualityAfter receiving a letter of appeal written by presidents of 38 university common room, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, Nicola Blackwood, has now said she is no longer against marriage equality.

Ms Blackwood, whose constituency contains eight Oxford colleges, received a letter from the junior common room (JCR) and middle common room (MCR) presidents, said she changed her stance on equal marriage, citing the “quadruple lock”, intended to preserve religious freedom, reported

Same-sex couples in England and Wales are set to be allowed to marry, under plans announced by Culture Secretary Maria Miller in the House of Commons, earlier this month.

Authored By Joseph Patrick McCormick – See the Full Story at Pink News

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USA: Conservative Columnist Says Opposition to Marriage Equality Dying Off, Literally

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

USA: Conservative Columnist Says Opposition to Marriage Equality Dying Off, LiterallyWhile Supreme Court watchers ponder how justices will come down in the debate over gay marriage, ABC’s George Will said Sunday on ABC News “This Week” it’s clear where public opinion is headed.

“There is something like an emerging consensus,” Will said, noting voters in three states recently endorsed same-sex marriage initiatives. “Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It’s old people.”

Democratic strategist James Carville agreed the 2012 election marked a “profound” shift on the controversial issue.

See the Full Story at ABC News

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USA: Conservative Columnist George Will Predicts Marriage Equality Win at Supreme Court

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

US Supreme CourtConservative commentator George Will predicts that if the Supreme Court must decide on the legality of same-sex marriage, then it will side with equality.

The influential commentator and columnist was asked during ABC’s This Week about the future legacy of the John Roberts court, which upheld President Obama’s health care law last week. Roberts sided with the traditionally liberal justices while Justice Anthony Kennedy who is usually the swing vote sided with the conservatives.

“What about gay marriage?” host George Stephanopoulos asked Will. “I wonder if Justice Kennedy sticking with the conservatives this time around on health care means that he will free himself up to approve gay marriage.”

Full Story from The Advocate

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United Kingdom: Conservative Treasurer Joins Marriage Equality Opposition

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

United Kingdom and Marriage EqualityMichael Farmer, a committed Christian who has given nearly #4million to the Conservative Party in the past four years, has signed a petition by the Coalition for Marriage, a group of politicians, academics, lawyers and other groups campaigning against same-sex weddings.

The revelation is a further blow to the Prime Minister, who wants to allow homosexuals to marry in registry offices before the 2015 General Election.

Those backing a change in the law argue it will give true equality to gay couples, but opponents say that it would undermine the institution of marriage.

Full Story from The Telegraph

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