Champions of LGBTQ life and culture in Rochester, NY since 1973.
Saturday December 20th 2014



Japanese Zen Buddhist temple is first to perform same sex weddings

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d0a3ac8b970c-500wiThe Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto, Japan has become the first Zen Buddhist temple offering to officiate symbolic same sex weddings within the country.

Japan’s views on homosexuality and gender nonconforming individuals is a complex one. Despite artistic cultural exports that sometimes Japan as being a socially progressive society in regards to gender and sexual expression, the country still struggles with broad legislation that would ensure LGBT equality.

A Pew poll conducted in 2013 found that Japanese citizens, while divided on the issue, were slightly more inclined to agree with the idea that homosexuality should be accepted by society. Nevertheless, change has been gradual.

“It’s not like we have to keep tradition the way it is,” Takafumi Kawakami, a priest at the Shunkoin Temple said in an interview with CNN. “We welcome every couple regardless of their faith or sexual orientation.”

Though there are a number of openly queer politicians in Japan, openly gay people run the risk of being evicted, fired, or denied access to Japan’s health care infrastructure.

“Japan still has no LGBT protection laws, lawmakers aren’t even talking about it,” said LGBT activist Maki Muraki. “If more people come out and get married, it’ll increase LGBT awareness, marriage equality, and workplace equality.”
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Chilean lawmakers to back marriage bill

ChileMapA multi-party coalition of Chilean lawmakers say they plan to introduce a same-sex marriage bill next week.

Via Gay Star News:

The MPs, from the Christian Democrats, Socialist Party, Party for Democracy and Amplitude movement, say they expect the bill to go to the Congress on Wednesday or Thursday and hope that the Government of Michelle Bachelet will back the reform. Bachelet said she supported same-sex couples being allowed to marry prior to her re-election in March of this year but her government is yet to address the issue – though a bill which would have created civil unions for gay couples was passed by the Senate this year. That bill has yet to be voted on by the Chamber of Deputies though, and Bachelet has been promising legal recognition for same-sex couples since before her first term as president in 2006. Christian Democrat deputy Gabriel Silber told MDZ Online that it was important that “equal feelings, must have equal rights – there is no reason to have first and second class citizens.”

Same-sex marriage is legal in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Civil unions are recognized in Colombia and Ecuador.

Scott Lively, on trial for crimes against humanity, says being gay is greatest crime

Scott Lively

Scott Lively

By Andrew Potts on

Photo by TWP

The US anti-gay activist who is being sued over his role in encouraging Ugandans to further criminalize homosexuality is not shutting up any time soon.

Abiding Truth Ministries president and author of The Pink Swastika, Scott Lively told Christian ‘news ministry’ TruNews earlier this week that he believes that homosexuality is worse than murder and the worst possible sin a person can commit.

‘When you look in the Bible, there are sins that you would think of as worse, you know, murder or mass murder, but what does it come down to?’ Lively told TruNews.

‘Leviticus 18 tells the Hebrews exactly what it is that God identifies as the most rebellious behavior, the behavior that causes the land to actually vomit out its inhabitants and every item on that list, except for child sacrifice, is sexual perversion, and child sacrifice is often a form of sexual perversion. So that’s where we are.

‘Homosexuality is not just another sin, it is the sin that defines rebellion against God, the outer edge of rebellion against God and it is the harbinger of God’s wrath, that’s why the Scripture gives the warning, “as in the days of Noah.”’

Lively’s comments come as the US First Circuit Court of Appeals denied his application to have the lawsuit against him over his role in the passage of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law dismissed.

Lively is being sued by the US Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a Uganda-based coalition of LGBTI rights and advocacy groups.

The groups’ lawsuit alleges that Lively’s actions over the past decade in Uganda contributed to depriving LGBTI Ugandans of their fundamental human rights based solely on their identity, which the lawsuits alleges falls under the definition of persecution under international law and is thus a crime against humanity.

If the lawsuit is successful it will be the first court victory of its kind.

The Anti-Homosexuality Law was passed by the Parliament of Uganda on 20 December 2013 with a death penalty proposal dropped in favor of life in prison.

The bill was signed into law by the President of Uganda on 24 February of this year but the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled the law invalid on 1 August.

Ugandan lawmakers have vowed to bring similar legislation before the parliament and have said they could do so before the year’s end.

A leaked draft of a new bill suggests it will attempt to ban any discussion or depiction of LGBTI issues and criminalize anybody who seeks to provide aid to LGBTI people or advocacy on their behalf.

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