Kaitlyn Hunt, the 18-year old in legal trouble for her relationship with a 14-year-old girl, refused a plea deal that would have labeled her a sex offender and put her under house arrest for two years. Instead, she and her family will take their case to court.
The parents of Hunt’s girlfriend disapproved of their relationship, which began when Hunt was 17, and sent police to her home on her 18th birthday to arrest her. Her parents requested that the state of Florida reduce her felony charges to a misdemeanor because the relationship is consensual, but the state refused.
Hunt’s lawyer Julia Graves explained the decision to go to court in a statement: “This is a situation of two teenagers who happen to be of the same sex involved in a relationship. If this case involved a boy and girl, there would be no media attention to this case … If this incident occurred 108 days earlier when she was 17, we wouldn’t even be here.”
The case has generated considerable public attention, with many advocates arguing that anti-gay bias is fueling the charges. On Friday, Slate’s Emily Bazelon acknowledged why the parents of a 14-year-old would be wary of an 18-year-old partner while also recognizing the apparent role of homophobia in the case. She went on to note how Hunt’s ordeal raises additional legal and ethical questions about defining consent between high school students and the selective enforcement of statutory rape statutes more broadly.
The sad thing here is that she might not have a very strong case, depending on how lawyers interpret Florida’s age-of-consent laws. What is true, however, is that Kaitlyn was unfairly targeted because she’s in a relationship with another girl. Though the charges could be similar or identical if we were talking about a boy and a girl, the media attention around this supposed “scandal” would absolutely not be the same. I’m so sorry for the hell she must be going through.
Ukraine saw its first-ever gay rally on Saturday, in spite of an earlier decision by a court that attempted to block the event.
Police protected the 100 activists and arrested 13 people who tried to break up the march on Saturday. Activists walked along a street in the capital in spite of anti-gay protesters verbally harassing them nearby.
City authorities had argued that a gay march would clash with the annual Kiev Day festivities and could lead to violence. The authorities cited 500 complaints from the public to justify their court petition. A gay-rights event planned for last year in Kiev was called off at the last minute after a gathering of skinheads threatened participants.
A recent Amnesty International report said Ukraine’s gay community suffered widespread bias and abuse.
This will go down in history.
It started out as a deeply personal act, that of a father officiating at the wedding of his son.
But it was soon condemned as a public display of ecclesiastical disobedience, because the father, the Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree, is a minister in the United Methodist Church, which does not allow its clergy to perform same-sex weddings.
Dr. Ogletree, 79, is now facing a possible canonical trial for his action, accused by several New York United Methodist ministers of violating church rules. While he would not be the first United Methodist minister to face discipline for performing a same-sex wedding, he could well be the one with the highest profile. He is a retired dean of Yale Divinity School, a veteran of the nation’s civil rights struggles and a scholar of the very type of ethical issues he is now confronting.
“Sometimes, when what is officially the law is wrong, you try to get the law changed,” Dr. Ogletree, a native of Birmingham, Ala., said in a courtly Southern drawl over a recent lunch at Yale, where he remains an emeritus professor of theological ethics. “But if you can’t, you break it.”
For Dr. Ogletree, the issues are not just academic. He has fully accepted, he said, that two of his five children are gay. His daughter married her partner in Massachusetts, in a non-Methodist ceremony. So when his son asked him last year to officiate at the wedding, he said yes.
“I was inspired,” Dr. Ogletree said. “I actually wasn’t thinking of this as an act of civil disobedience or church disobedience. I was thinking of it as a response to my son.”
Wow, Dolan ended up taking his own analogy quite literally.
The House of Representatives in Puerto Rico today passed a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Puerto Rico’s Senate last week approved the bill, which applies to instances of discrimination in employment, housing, governmental services, public accommodations, and private entities. The governor has already said he’ll sign it.
“Today is a thrilling day in Puerto Rican history,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s and communications manager for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in a press release.“A decade ago, LGBT Puerto Ricans were criminals under the sodomy law, today we’re second-class citizens, and when this bill is signed into law, we will be closer to achieving the first-class citizenship that we deserve.” Decades of activism and the election of a more LGBT-friendly government in the U.S. territory last November made the advances possible, the NGLTF noted.
The House today also approved a bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity provisions to the territory’s domestic violence law. It now moves to the Senate.
Anti-gay Christian radio host Bryan Fischer has tweeted his distaste at the decision to allow gay members into the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), tweeting a bible reference suggesting drowning would be better than inclusion.
how Christian of him
Maybe we could try it with him. You know, see if it works!
A spokesperson for the White House said that the President welcomes the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to end the ban on gay members, but believes it should also welcome gay parents and leaders. We agree. Help us keep the pressure on: http://glaad.org/scouts
So there’s this: God Made Dad & Mom, by Amber Dee Parker, is a new children’s book meant to bash LGBT families in full color. “Endorsed by the American Family Association, God Made Dad & Mom tells the story of a young boy named Michael who prays for his classmate Jimmy and his two dads to learn ‘the truth’ about how God made them after a trip to the zoo where he’s told all animal families ‘consist of a male, a female, and their offspring.’” What a swell contribution to the realm of vitriolic children’s literature, Ms. Parker. (via The Advocate)