Apartheid

Sorry but The Guardian is too tricky for me to steal the video. Click the still and you’ll be taken to the Guardian article with the video.

The brutal legacy of South Africa’s history did not end with Apartheid, nor have all minorities found their basic human rights granted after the ANC took power. Stories are escaping the townships surrounding Johannesburg and Cape Town, horrible stories of corrective rape. The victims are targeted because they are lesbians, or at least this is the rationale given by perpetrators of these attacks. The men are raping these women because they are gay and by this savage act they say the women will become straight.

Women are the world’s minority, and poverty seems to inflame the abuse they encounter in their daily lives. It should be no surprise that women in the squalid townships of South Africa are victims of brutality, but these targeted attacks are particularly vicious. The women are often gang-raped, they are often tortured and beaten and, increasingly, they are being murdered. (more…)

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On March 5th the California Supreme Court met to hear arguments concerning the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a hateful ballot measure which was passed by a narrow majority of voters banning same-sex marriage. Opponents of the measure held a march and candlelight vigil the night before and I’m proud to say that I know the one person arrested during the speeches. The official version of the story has the detention as a drunk and disorderly but just because “we don’t march before cocktails”, doesn’t mean that storming the stage and screaming “bullshit” in a fit of rage is a drunken or disorderly act.

Many things have happened five years after San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom galvanized the bigots and last week’s court hearing is in many ways the rambling result of his unique sense of political activism. On February 12th, 2004, gay couples descended upon City Hall to take part in the National Freedom to Marry protest and were shocked to find city officials handing out legal certificates. The gears had been set in motion several days prior when Newsom announced he wanted the city to explore ways of allowing gay couples to be wed, possibly in response to Massachusetts overturning a state ban on gay marriage. Word spread that homophobic organizations were planning on appealing to the courts to block any attempts by the city to marry gays. The county clerk’s office prepared gender-neutral applications under the watchful gaze of attorneys while phone calls were made to a select few gay and lesbian rights groups. Just past eleven in the morning the city’s assessor-recorder Mabel Teng performed the first ceremony between Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon who had been together for fifty years.

Alleged Christians were sickened to see genuinely loving couples who had been long treated as second-class citizens exchanging vows but their crusading efforts to file an immediate injunction were blocked as the state courts were closed in observance of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Eventually lawsuits were filed against San Francisco to halt proceedings and Lambda Legal, The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the ACLU stepped in to represent the couples who had been, or simply wanted to be, married; meanwhile two couples in Los Angeles sued the city demanding their basic human rights be recognized. By August of that same year the courts invalidated nearly four thousand marriages stating that Newson, acting as mayor, had overstepped the boundaries of authority as marriage was governed by the state. (more…)