Wither Utah, indeed…

The Governor of Utah has had a brain, and vetoed the bill I mentioned the other day, after a huge amount of public pressure opposing the legislation.

“What’s been striking about the correspondence that we’ve been receiving is that it’s not template or spam content. It’s individually and uniquely crafted and often very heartfelt, from parents, from educators, from those who care about Utah’s kids and public policy,” [Allyson] Isom [the governor’s spokesperson] said in an interview with KUER.

Already, some of the fanatics on the right are crying BAWWW, but this is an all around good thing, and is an example of the governor doing the job of his office—standing in the way of legislation that would be harmful to his people, and in conflict of their rights.

The bill was mostly one of sex education in the state schools, and would have made Utah the first state to mandate abstinence-only sex ed across the board (using abstinence-only sex ed to prevent pregnancies and the transmission of STIs, is the equivalent of preventing heart attacks by not letting people know anything about diet, smoking or first-aid).

But the bill had a more sinister undercurrent, for it also prohibited schools from discussing homosexuality in a positive manner. This is abhorrent, and such policy has already directly lead to the deaths of students across the US and the world.

It is all around a good thing to see this kind of legislation vetoed, but it makes me worried about what else the Legislature has brewing…

Whither Utah?

The Utah Legislature have recently passed a bill that prohibits the discussion of homosexuality in schools, and if the governor signs the bill into law, the state will become the first in the US to prohibit teachers from telling students about contraception.

“… we as a society should not be teaching or advocating homosexuality or sex outside marriage or different forms of contraceptives for premarital sex.”

So saith Sen. John Valentine.

This kind of legislation has been used over and over again to deny LGBT rights. We’re seeing it now in Russia—ironic how the US is passing laws more expected from their historic enemies.

LGBT teenagers are facing a wave of bullying and violence in American schools, and states from Utah to Tennessee, as well as school districts, are responding by further grinding the bullied students into the dirt. The Anoka school district, for example, blames pro-equality activists for driving gay students to suicide.

Hillary Clinton warned the world not to be on the wrong side of history, but many parts of her country find themselves precisely there.

Johnny Galecki doing it right

A lot of celebrities have to field rumours spread in the gossip rags about them being gay or lesbian. It’s seen as some kind of dark secret that they should be ashamed of, which makes for juicy reading while you’re waiting in line at the checkout.

Johnny Galecki is one such celebrity, and he’s responded thus:

I've never really addressed those rumours, cause I always figured, why defend yourself against something that isn't offensive.

(I found this on Reddit. Apparently that was taken from The View or something)

Hit the nail on the head.

Another video…

Here’s a beautiful video from Italy:

While homosexuality has been legal in Italy since 1887, they don’t currently recognise same-sex marriage. I believe that extending to everyone the right to marry whom they love, is one of the hallmarks of a decent society.

The description on the YouTube video finishes with

“Gli affetti non hanno sesso,
non ha senso discriminare amore.”

I plugged that into Google Translate to see what it says. I thought about getting a better translation, but I prefer the idiosyncrasies of the computer translation, which lend it a sort of cute je ne sais quoi:

“The affects are not having sex,
Love does not make sense to discriminate.”

Love cannot be censored

Valentines Day is over for us, but it’s still finishing it’s chocolate and Hallmarked rampage over the US.

Here’s a video someone in Seattle posted to his valentine. It’s both adorable and poignant:

It’s important to remember that in many places, we still don’t have rights. Fighting for those rights, doesn’t just mean getting us marriage and adoption in New Zealand. It means fighting for the equal rights of all human beings, wherever they happen to live.

And if a bullet should enter my brain…

It’s been 33 years since Harvey Milk was assassinated.

The first openly gay man elected to public office in California, Milk went on to push through a strong gay rights ordinance and successfully campaigned against the infamous Briggs Initiative, which would have made firing homosexual teachers, and those who support them, mandatory.

The world is a better place because Harvey Milk was in it. He campaigned tirelessly for our right to simply exist in a world that was full of incredible hostility, receiving increasingly violent death threats. He put up with a lot, and fought incredibly hard.

I wasn’t around during that time; Milk was killed six years before I was born, and it would be a further two before we would be legalised here. I don’t remember the Briggs Initiative, or Milk’s campaign. I don’t remember our own Homosexual Law Reform and the Salvation Army’s campaign of hate. I don’t even remember John Banks standing up in the house telling us why he was opposing all human rights because it would mean that the gays would get some too — I had just turned 9 when he did that.

All I have to go off is the film Milk, and the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, upon which the former is based. But they are powerful films, and bring me to tears every time I watch them. Because a lot of what they fought against is still real. I do remember Proposition 8, and I do remember Destiny’s marching, fists in the air, upon parliament to oppose civil unions.

Milk was right: “You’ve got to elect gay people.” Labour and Greens are doing this well, but a look at National and their coalition shows them to be conspicuously absent.