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Take Back the Night

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The Crime Victim Center of Erie and an organization from Gannon University, Students Against Violence Everywhere, are holding a Take Back the Night Vigil on Monday, April 7 in the streets of Erie, PennsylvaniaPennsylvania map. Events like this are far too common across the US, and should not have to happen. We should be live in a society free of violence and abuse against one another. However, our newspapers and television news broadcasts tell tales of victims of violent crime every day. Whether murder, arson, burglary, or terrorism, we cannot escape a daily deluge of violent behavior across the US.

I decided to write this article after Dan Genarro, the Community Outreach Assistant brought to my attention that this event would happen. Representatives from ME4PA will be attending this event to remind others who are marching alongside us that Pennsylvania law lacks any sort of hate crime statute that protects lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or transgender people. Far too many hate crimes in Pennsylvania go unpunished under state law, because the law we used to have was ruled unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2008. Attempts to rewrite and pass a new law have not been fruitful. While other minorities are protected against hate crimes in Pennsylvania, the LGBT community lacks even basic protection.

No amount of violence is acceptable within a civilized society. Laws won’t change the hearts and minds of people when it comes to curbing violence. For that, we need to take back the night!


Haiti: Anti Gay Violence Escalates After Christian March

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Haiti - Apple Maps

from Apple Maps

In Haiti, a Christian march against homosexuality has left a surge of violence in its wake. Gay Star News reports:

Dozens of gay men were beaten by gangs with knives, machetes, cement blocks, sticks and iron bars in Haiti, GSN can reveal. Human rights campaigners in the Caribbean nation say they know of 47 assaults in just one week (17 to 24 July), though attacks have slowed in recent days following government intervention. Some have had their lives threatened or had their houses have been burned down or looted.

It’s always been dangerous to be gay in Haiti, but the violence seems to be ramping up in the wake of “Christian” attempts to stigmatize the LGBT community.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Russia: Duma Passes “Gay Propaganda” Bill Unanimously, Anti-Gay Violence Increases

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Red Square, RussiaRussia became a less hospitable place for its gay and lesbian citizens today as its lower house unanimously passed a bill that basically makes it a crime to talk about homosexuality. Towleroad reports:

A disgusting action was taken today by Russia’s lower parliament as it voted unanimously for a ban on “gay propaganda”, the AP reports: The lower house of Russia’s parliament has overwhelmingly passed a bill that stigmatises the gay community and bans the distribution of information about homosexuality to children. The State Duma voted 434-0 with one abstention to approve the Kremlin-backed legislation, which imposes hefty fines for holding gay pride rallies or providing information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors.

It’s disgusting that not one lawmaker was willing to stand up for Russia’s LGBT citizens.

In related news, the Washington Post reports that a number of gay-rights activists were detained in Moscow, after being attacked by opponents and physically assaulted:

Before the anti-gay vote, rights activists attempted to hold a “kissing rally” outside the State Duma, located across the street from Red Square in central Moscow, but they were attacked by hundreds of Orthodox Christian activists and members of pro-Kremlin youth groups. The mostly burly young men with closely cropped hair pelted the activists with eggs, shouting obscenities and homophobic slurs at them. Riot police moved in, detaining more than two dozen protesters, almost all of them gay rights activists. Some who were not detained were beaten by masked men on another central street.

Gay Web Source reports that one Russian official approach police detaining the protesters and suggested they “cut their balls off”:

Vocativ reports that at one point ‘an unidentified Duma official from the Communist Party approached and shook hands with a policeman, and reportedly said: “So are you guys ramping up the pressure on these faggots? Beat them up well! Cut their balls off!” ‘

So somehow in this twisted country, it’s perfectly fine for an elected official to call one of the citizens “faggots” and to call for them to be castrated, but it’s forbidden to say the word “gay”.

Russian photographer Ilya Varlamov has images of the protest, including some rather graphic images, here.

France: Anti-Marriage Equality Protests Once Again Turn Violent

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

you tube bigSadly, following the pattern established in previous marches, rallies in France on the day that the marriage equality bill was passed once again became violent. Towleroad reports:

Despite the requests of organizers that marchers disperse peacefully, a hard core group of around 500 refused to leave the Invalides.Their anger soon boiled over as bottles and firecrackers were hurled at the riot police, who had blocked off a street leading to the parliament. One officer was taken to hospital with a head wound after being hit by a brick. “The clashes were extremely violent,” one officer told French media. Police, who responded with tear gas, made 12 arrests. The protesters also turned their ire on journalists in the vicinity, shouting “scumbags” and “collaborators” at the members of the press. At one point a mob of masked protesters chased a group of journalists down the street and a photographer from AFP was sprayed with tear gas.

Here’s a video showing some of the clashes:

Towleroad also reports on violence at the march in Lyon, France:

Police reported that 44 people were arrested in the eastern city of Lyon, France following yesterday’s passage of marriage equality.

And Think Progress reports that the National Organization For Marriage is finally acknowledging the violence at the rallies, even though they try to make it sound like both sides are responsible for it:

We urge all French citizens to contact lawmakers to express their strong opposition to this policy. We also call on all citizens to conduct themselves honorably and peacefully. Even though the same-sex marriage policy being foisted on an unwilling public is profoundly unwise and anti-family, no citizen should ever express their disapproval through violent means. We condemn in the strongest possible terms violence by anyone on either side of this debate.

Nice try, Mr. Brown, but the violence has been squarely on the side of the anti-gay marriage protesters.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in France.

Macedonia: Gay-Rights Activists Attacked

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Macedonia – Google maps

from Google maps

A group of gay-rights activists marching through the city of Bitola were brutally attacked on Saturday. Gay Star News reports:

The assault happened on Saturday (20 April) and came shortly after members of the groups marched through Sirok Sokak Street carrying banners and posting posters displaying messages about the human rights of LGBT people as well a rainbow flag. When the groups left the street right in front of Hostel Diamond, activists were attacked by four people while three other later arrived to assist them in the assault. During the assault three activists were verbally abused, shoved and spat on while their banners and posters were ripped out of their hands only to be used as weapons to hit them on their head and faces.

Macedonia is not a very gay friendly place – as recent as 2010, there was a push to ban gay marriage in the country’s constitution. We applaud these brave protesters for standing up for their rights even in the face of violence.

France: Dueling Rallies In Paris, As Anti-Gay Violence Continues

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

ParisAs the French assembly gets ready for its final vote on marriage equality tomorrow, activist for and against gay marriage held rallies in Paris on Sunday. Pink News reports:

The marchers, estimated at 50,000, walked through Montparnasse, while thousands of counter-protesters showed their support for marriage equality legislation at a smaller gathering in Bastille Square. Among the anti-equality protesters were the head of the Christian Democratic Party, Christine Boutin, and far-right leader Gilbert Collard, who marched together behind a banner. Camille, a 32-year-old mother, told the AFP: “We’ve been to all the protests. We’re here for children’s rights. We don’t want the state to be complicit in a child being deprived of a father or a mother.”

Joe.My.God reports on the counter protesters – those in favor of marriage equality:

Thousands gathered on Sunday at the Plac de la Bastille in Paris to show their support for a new bill to legalise gay marriage. The gathering took place at the same time as opponents of the legislation marched towards the National Assembly. France’s LGBT community accuse those who oppose the law of being homophobic. They say a nation such as France, whose national motto is “liberty, equality and fraternity,” should not question the need for such a law.

Zach Ford at Think Progress reports on the escalating violence by the anti-gay forces:

As the French National Assembly prepares to vote on final approval of marriage equality, anti-gay violence has severely escalated. Multiple guerrilla rallies by opponents of the law have taken place over the past few days, resulting in vandalized cars, assaulted journalists, and even death threats to lawmakers. A 24-year-old gay man was brutally beaten Saturday night after leaving a club with his boyfriend in the latest example of how the opposition is directly targeting gay people.Police have already made over 100 arrests over the past week.

Now, the president of the National Assembly has received a death threat: Claude Bartolone, the Socialist president of France’s Assemblee Nationale (lower house of parliament) on Monday received a threatening letter containing gunpowder and demanding he defer a parliamentary vote, expected to definitively legalize gay marriage on Tuesday. The one-page letter, signed by “an intermediary of law enforcement,” warns Bartolone that “our methods are more radical and more swift than protests”, according to French magazine L’Express. The document concludes with the statement “You wanted war, and you’ve got it.”

The anti-gay marriage folks only tarnish their cause with such tactics. Over at On Top Magazine, they report that more than 100 activists were arrested during yesterday’s protest

Police have arrested more than 100 people as activists damaged cars and public property and attacked police officers and two journalists, The Local reported. On Sunday, tens of thousands joined a demonstration in Paris. Organizers said they expected between 30,000 and 50,000 people to join the march.

One more day until the final vote.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in France.

France: Violence Against Gays Increases As Marriage Equality Bill’s Passage Nears

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

ParisApparently French citizens opposed to marriage equality are listening to the Catholic Archbishop’s and the movement leader’s calls for violence. Four people were arrested yesterday in an attack on a gay bar in Paris, just the latest incident against gay organizations and individuals. The Washington Post reports:

Four people have been detained on suspicion of carrying out an attack at a Lille gay bar, the Interior Ministry said Thursday, amid nationwide tensions over a bill that would legalize gay marriage. Several other people were detained in Paris late Wednesday after a protest against gay marriage that ended with some demonstrators fighting police and damaging cars along the Champs-Elysees avenue.

Which side is looking unreasonable now? Turning to violence when you don’t get your way – who does that? Children.

French president Francois Hollande condemned the violence. Pink News reports:

“Homophobic acts, violent acts have been committed. The right to protest is recognised by our constitution and accepted by the French. But no protest must degenerate,” President Hollande said on Thursday. He was speaking after France’s Interior Ministry confirmed that four people had been detained on suspicion of carrying out an attack at a gay bar in Lille. The owner linked the incident to “tensions” over the country’s proposed same-sex marriage bill, which is close to final approval.

France’s prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, also called for column. Pink News reports:

The French Prime Minister has called for calm as violent protests marred the start of the National Assembly’s fast tracked final debate on the marriage equality bill… On Wednesday thousands of protesters swarmed in Paris to voice their opposition to the bill, with some attacking cars and public property, and lashing out at police and journalists, reports France24. 11 people from the protest were detained for questioning, while 24 pro-equal marriage counter-protesters were arrested, according to police.

Violence should have no part in the political process.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in France.

France: Anti-Gay Activists Threaten Violence If Marriage Equality Bill Becomes Law

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

ParisFrigide Barjot, French comic and head of the anti-gay marriage movement in France, has threatened violence if the socialist government makes marriage equality law of the land. LGBTQ Nation reports:

“This is a disgrace. The French people don’t want this law, and what do they do? They speed up its passage. (French President Francois) Hollande wants blood, and he will get it,” Barjot was quoted as saying by France’s TF1, adding “We live in a dictatorship. The President of the Republic has guillotined us.”

Centre-right UMP deputy Christian Jacob joined the fray, saying in a statement that by accelerating the bill’s now almost certain passage into law, “the President of the Republic is risking a violent confrontation with the French people.”

Fellow UMP deputy Hervé Mariton denounced the move as “an incitement to civil war.”

Anyone else remember Sharon Angle and her “Second Amendment remedies” here in the US?

Find more articles and gay wedding resourcesinf in France.

India: New Report Calls for Protection for All Sexual Identities

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

India Taj MahalPink News is reporting that a committee formed to look into violence against women in the subcontinent has come up with some surprising (and welcome) recommendations:

Their decision to include recommendations to protect LGBT people was praised by activists in India and abroad.

The report declares that all sexual identities are deserving of protection: “If human rights of freedom mean anything, India cannot deny the citizens the right to be different. The state must not use oppressive and repressive labelling of despised sexuality. Thus, the right to sexual orientation is a human right guaranteed by the fundamental principles of equality.”

The committee specifically included transgender communities in its recommendations:

“We must add that transgender communities are also entitled to an affirmation of gender autonomy. Our cultural prejudices must yield to Constitutional principles of equality, empathy and respect.”

This is a welcome development in a country that just last week barred gay couples from using its surrogacy services.

Maine, USA: Opponent Claims Marriage Equality Would Lead to Violence

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Maine, USA: Opponent Claims Marriage Equality Would Lead to ViolenceMichael Heath is really taking the new conservative meme — equality activists are violent like Floyd Corkins — to the next level. Heath, the outspoken anti-gay stalwart who called same-sex marriage “monstrous insaneness,” released a statement today in which he says allowing marriage equality in Maine would lead to the “sort of violence” seen at Family Research Council’s HQ this week.

“If Maine doesn’t end this decades long conflict over the evil of sodomy with an overwhelming NO vote in November we can expect to see this sort of violence in Maine in the near future,” said Heath, referring to the referendum that could legalize marriage equality.

“Homosexuality can lead to the most horrific and violent consequences in individuals and society. The twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of it.”

Authored By Andrew Belonsky – See the Full Story at

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Maine.

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