I prefer bars not run by douchehats

Edit: This story has made the ODT.

UniQ Otago is hitting out at the owner of The Southern Break bar in Dunedin after he posted homophobic comments on his Facebook wall. After some kind of altercation at a competing bar, the owner went home to say that they can “suck a dick” immediately followed by calling them “fucking faggots”, later saying the bar was run on “liquidation letters and aids.”

UniQ Otago is not happy:

“Those comments are disgusting and should not be tolerated in our society.

“Running an establishment full of people under the influence of alcohol, they must provide an environment that is safe for all their patrons. We do not believe this is truly possible if the owners are being outwardly homophobic.”

I’ve read the comments myself, though I shan’t publish them in full here, and another person further down the comments said “Loving the banter.. feed the fagot [sic] fire!!!”

UniQ Otago is right to be incensed and outraged. I’m incensed and outraged. Once again, we see an example of people turning to homophobia as an attack. He may well have had a bad experience at the other establishment, but that does not excuse him of shouting “faggots”, not at all!

Furthermore, as a bar owner, he has a duty to the community. If he is unable to show that he is an upstanding member of the public, then he’s ineligible to have his liquor licence renewed. This is precisely the sort of thing that shows that his standing is not up.

Homophobia is still rife in this country, and it’s shit like this that keeps knocking us down. Homophobia and intolerance like this is something up with which we should not put.

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You can marry your cousin, so long as he isn’t gay

North Carolina. Once again proving the adage that democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.

The state, where it’s legal to marry your cousin, recently went to the polls to vote on a constitutional amendment prohibiting not only same-sex marriage, but also civil marriage and domestic partnerships.

Last time the state made an amendment to their constitution about marriage, it said this:

All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the third generation inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited.

While we have all the legal trappings that civil unions grant in New Zealand, we still don’t have the dignity conveyed by marriage or the respect it has in society, and we also still cannot adopt.  We’re forced to compromise with a “good enough” alternative.

North Carolina, however, seems to believe that teh gayz don’t deserve any recognition of their relationships and should forever be relegated to being second class citizens. Once again, they’ve used the cry of “religious freedom” as a cudgel against the rights and freedoms of others.

Hopefully it won’t be long before they realise the folly of their ways and look back at Amendment 1 as an embarrassing blight upon the history of their state.

Oh John Banks, you so silly…

I’m not usually one to mock celebrities or politicians for their sexualities when they’re insecure or closeted. Being insecure in your sexuality or living a public life in the closet is not in anyway fun. I’ve chided friends for mocking Christopher Finlayson and I don’t engage in jocular questioning of MPs sexualities unless hypocrisy is in the air.

I’m not, however, going to be so nice to John Banks and his insecurities. I don’t believe he’s a closeted gay, but he seems to have allowed his sexual insecurity to distend into paranoia. I’m not nice to him because I do not believe he deserves it.

I’m speaking (or “writing” — how does voice work when it’s written? I’ll consult a linguist tomorrow) about his recent interview on Radio Live.

He’s found himself in a spot of bother over donations to his 2010 mayoral campaign fund. He’s accused of requesting Kim Dotcom to give him two smaller donations, rather than one large one, and declaring them anonymous, then mysteriously forgetting the whole thing.

Radio Live’s reporter Frances Cook asked what his relationship with Dotcom was. His reply?

“What’s your relationship? This is offensive! He’s a married man! What are you talking about? … Sorry look.. I.. I don’t wanna go down… I’ve had no relationship with Dotcom — he’s got a wife.”

Cook laughs and tries to explain she meant a business relationship, but he hung up.

As I said, I’m not one to mock people for their insecurities, but this is the man who stood up in parliament and said homosexuals “should not be put in charge of vulnerable young people…”, that prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation would lead to New Zealand becoming a paedophile tourist location, and said “I refuse to be part of the bid in this House to give a rubber stamp of approval for what I believe is wrong—socially wrong, morally wrong, and wrong before God.”

At the mere suggestion that he had a “relationship” with another man, even though context implied that the meaning was purely platonic and business related, he jumps into panic mode to defend his straightness, and the straightness of Dotcom. What does that say about him?

This man is in our parliament again, and he’s showing himself to be paranoid and reactionary whenever human rights, specifically those relating to sexuality, are brought up. If we’re going to advance politically, he needs to go.

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.

“Tolerance is a two-way street”

The New Jersey Legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill, which Governor Chris Christie swiftly vetoed, renewing his push for it to go to a referendum. Because apparently, minority rights are supposed to come at the explicit approval of the majority .

But onto Alaska. Proposition 5 is going before the Anchorage voters which would add “sexual orientation” and “transgender identity” to the list of protected classes.

Of course, this has a few people frothing at the mouth.

The Alaska Patriarchy Family Council has a cry. They’ve posted a list of 10 reasons to oppose the proposition [pdf]. Most of them are banal hand waiving—claiming it’s poorly worded or not needed. But there are a couple that I’d like to address, because the same arguments pop up here as well.

Prop. 5 forces our city government to take sides in the “culture wars”

That’s the government’s job. When it comes to human rights, the government has to take sides—and they must side with liberty. Should they have not taken sides, there’d probably still be slavery, and segregation.

Religious institutions are not adequately protected

Translation: “It’s a breach of my human rights to prevent me from breaching other people’s human rights!”

*cry*

This one pops up a lot. In New Zealand, the Human Rights Act 1993 has a provision exempting organised religion from being subject to the legislation. This is indefensible. You don’t get to claim your religion exempts you from not being allowed to discriminate against other humans, without forfeiting your own protections.

No matter what your religion tells you to do, you cannot discriminate against people. That’s the law. If you want to live in a free society, you have to make concessions. You can believe whatever you like in your head, but you cannot discriminate.

This brings me to their last point:

Tolerance must be a two-way street

Right back at you.

I’ve been yelled at, I’ve been called names. I’ve had straight men look at me as if they’re worried I’m going to rape them. I’ve had friendly, jovial conversations suddenly turn to painful silence, getting looks across the table as if he would have stabbed me if he had a knife. I’ve feared for my safety. I’ve feared for my life.

Mostly from people who were previously pious—people who preached compassion and love, now revealing their bottomless pits of hate.

And when I try to defend myself, when I try to call them on it, I’m the bigot.

The first thing they demand is that I respect their beliefs. Their beliefs that I’m evil, that I’m a sinner, that I should die.

Simply by being open, I’m intolerant. Simply by existing I’m breaching their freedom.

Tolerance is a two-way street? I wouldn’t know, because people like the Alaska Family Council are taking up both lanes, and have set up roadblocks.

It’s the whole privilege thing, and it needs to end.

As Rachel Maddow says in the video I linked to above, you don’t vote on human rights. That’s why they’re called “rights.”