June is officially LGBT Pride Month in America, but Miami-Dade’s only local celebration — Miami Beach’s gay pride party — is held in April. So instead of showing you footage of parades or slide shows of revelers, we decided to take the opportunity to look back at one of the gayest things ever produced by the Florida state government — which conversely was also one of the most homophobic things ever published by the Florida government.
How gay? Well, this was the title page of the officially published state document:
The pamphlet, dubbed the “Purple Pamphlet” for its lavender-hued front cover, was the work of the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee. The committee was the brainchild of Charley Eugene Johns, a former governor who had taken office only after the death of his predecessor and was then promptly kicked out by voters and forced to return to the legislature. Because hunting for commies was all the rage in the late 1950s, Johns and his committee tried to do just that.
They searched everywhere — the NAACP, the historically black college Florida A&M University, anti-Castro groups, pro-Castro groups — OK, not everywhere, but you get the picture.
Turns out the committee wasn’t very good at rooting out communists in Florida, so in the ’60s, it turned its sights on homosexuals. As people are now generally aware, homosexuals, unlike organized communists, have existed everywhere throughout human history, so the committee was much more successful at finding them in the Sunshine State.
The committee first went searching Florida’s schools, causing the firing of 39 professors and deans from Florida universities for suspected homosexuality and the revoking of the licenses of 71 public schoolteachers. Several students were also expelled for being homosexual.
Emboldened, the committee members then took a look at homosexuality in Florida outside the world of academics — and, boy, did they find some things that excited them. The result of their work was the so-called Purple Pamphlet, whose introduction stresses that the document may be of use to “every individual concerned with the moral climate of the state.”
Take a look at page 6 of the pamphlet!
“Homosexuality is, and far too long has been, a skeleton in the closet of society,” the pamphlet begins, and then it’s just a bunch of homophobic garbage from there on.
But in between the anti-gay rants is a liberal sprinkling of softcore gay photos. How about some more of those pics?
There are more photos in the pamphlet, but they include images of little boys, so we won’t reproduce them here.
Aside from the photos, of particular note is the pamphlet’s extensive glossary, which painstakingly details gay slang. Some of the words are still in use today, and some are decidedly not.
It turns out the printing of this pamphlet did not go over too well. Some critics called it state-sponsored pornography, and fellow legislators voted to cut all funding for the committee in the next session.
Naturally, the pamphlet has gone on to achieve cult status in Florida.
Complete Article HERE!
The first two couples to become civil partners in the UK have won the right to have the same-sex marriage ban in Northern Ireland subjected to judicial review.
A Belfast high court judge ruled on Friday that Grainne Close and Shannon Sickles, and Charles and Henry Flanagan-Kane, should be granted the review, which is set for the autumn.
Both couples’ civil partnership ceremonies were held at Belfast city hall, just a short distance from the high court, 10 years ago.
The review is likely to be held in November, alongside several other legal challenges taken by gay couples in the region, and who are backed by the Rainbow Project, an LGBT rights organisation.
Neither couple was in court for Friday’s ruling but their barrister and senior counsel representing the Northern Ireland regional government were present to hear Mr Justice Treacy say that he had read the case papers and had already satisfied himself that the matter should proceed to judicial review. “The applicant has an arguable case,” he said.
Members of the Rainbow Project and Amnesty International were also in court. Others supporting the legal challenge included the former CEO of the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast Dawn Purvis and the actor Nuala McKeever.
Outside court, solicitor Mark O’Connor issued a statement on behalf of both couples: “We are delighted that we have been able to get over the first hurdle in relation to the judicial process and that the judge today has granted leave for us to bring this judicial review.
“We are thankful that the judge has made that decision today. We believe that religious policy and religious views shouldn’t be affecting public policy. Thankfully today the judge appears to have accepted that there is an arguable case to answer … and hopefully we will have success in the future in relation to this matter.”
Prior to the hearing Grainne Close had said: “This is not a religious issue, it is a human rights issue. That is why we are going to court.”
Close said she and her US partner had been inspired by Ireland’s overwhelming vote in favour of gay marriage last month and the joyous scenes that greeted the result of the referendum at Dublin castle.
The Rainbow Project’s director, John O’Doherty, welcomed Treacy’s ruling. “We are pleased that this case is progressing and that it will likely be heard alongside our client’s case challenging the failure of the Northern Ireland government to recognise their lawful marriage.
“The current illogical patchwork of marriage laws created by the Westminster government is placing LGBT people in Northern Ireland at an inexcusable disadvantage and we hope that the courts will agree and find that there must be a harmonisation of marriage laws across the UK.”
A Sinn Féin motion on marriage equality was defeated in April, with 47 Northern Ireland assembly members voting in support, but 49 unionists against. Even if there had been a small majority in favour, the Democratic Unionist party would have exercised a special veto drawn up under devolution.
The petition of concern rule allows any party to veto legislation if it can argue the law would not have sufficient cross-community or Protestant/Catholic support.
Earlier this month, 20,000 trade unionists staged a rally in Belfast city centre to support gay marriage in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK where LGBT couples cannot be married.
Amnesty International said the ban has turned Northern Ireland into a “discriminatory backwater for the gay and lesbian community”.
Complete Article HERE!
By Philip Pullella
Homosexuals can attend a Catholic family congress in Philadelphia during Pope Francis’ U.S. visit this year but won’t be allowed to use it to attack Church teachings, the city’s archbishop said on Thursday.
“We don’t want to provide a platform at the meeting for people to lobby for positions contrary to the life of our Church,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput. The Catholic Church teaches homosexuality is not sinful but homosexual acts are.
“We are not providing that kind of lobbying opportunity,” he told a news conference presenting the September 22-27 congress known as the World Meeting of Families.
Gay Catholic groups and families headed by gay Catholics had asked for an official presence at the gathering to present their view that homosexuals should be fully welcomed in the Church.
The pope will attend the last two days of the Philadelphia meeting at the end of a trip that will take him to Cuba as well as New York and Washington.
About 15,000 people from around the world are expected to attend the family congress to hear lectures and take part in workshops on family issues before the pope arrives to close the gathering.
“We hope that everyone feels welcome and certainly people who have experienced same-sex attraction are welcome like everyone else,” Chaput said.
Bishop John McIntyre, also of Philadelphia, said the only event dedicated to gay issues at the congress will be one by Ron Belgau, a celibate gay Catholic and founder of the Spiritual Friendship Initiative.
Belgau blogs and lectures about how Catholic gays can live by the Church’s teaching.
McIntyre said Belgau “will talk about his own coming to terms with his sexual orientation and the manner in which he embraced the teachings of the Church” and his mother will also speak.
The program for an event Belgau addressed last year at the University of Notre Dame said he spoke of “a faithful and orthodox response to the challenge of homosexuality”.
Catholic gay couples have contested the Church’s ban on homosexual activity, saying it deprives them of the intimacy that is part of a loving relationship.
It will be the eighth World Meeting of Families since the event was started by the late Pope John Paul in 1994 to promote traditional family values. It is held every three years in a different city.
Organizers said they expect up to two million people to attend the final event, a Mass by the pope on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a boulevard that runs through they city.
While Nienstedt authorized the investigation in the hope of clearing his name, the results threatened to ruin it. Several of his top advisers gathered privately in April 2014, and read sworn statements gathered by the lawyers that accused Nienstedt of inappropriate behavior, including sexual advances toward priests. Each adviser agreed he should resign.
A few days later, Auxiliary Bishops Lee Piche and Andrew Cozzens traveled to Washington to tell the papal ambassador; MPR was unable to learn what transpired there. But soon after the bishops returned home, the investigation as originally conceived ended, with Piche limiting the probe to allegations of crimes and grave sins. A new law firm eventually took over.
The Vatican announced Nienstedt’s and Piche’s resignationsMonday. They stepped down amid an intensifying scandal over how the archdiocese handled cases of clerical sexual misconduct. The archdiocese sought bankruptcy protection in January as abuse claims rose, and prosecutors filed criminal child-endangerment charges against the archdiocese earlier this month for allegedly turning a blind eye to Curtis Wehmeyer, a now-imprisoned former priest convicted of molesting two boys.
MPR said its details of how Nienstedt tried to limit the investigation came from interviews with more than a dozen people with direct knowledge of the inquiry, including four people who provided affidavits to investigators, current and former archdiocese officials, and others who spoke with the investigators.
MPR could not reach Nienstedt for comment on the new allegations. In a 2014 interview, Nienstedt said, “I’ve done nothing criminally wrong ever, and nothing immoral” and that he hadn’t interfered with the investigation.
But attorneys at the Greene Espel law firm — the initial firm on the Nienstedt investigation — disputed the archbishop’s claim of noninterference as well as a recent similar statement from Piche.
“We strongly disagree with those statements. Greene Espel’s investigation and work will not be mischaracterized without a response by us,” attorneys Matt Forsgren and David Wallace-Jackson told MPR.
The attorneys had wanted to know whether Nienstedt had a personal relationship with Wehmeyer, and whether that influenced his decision to keep Wehmeyer in ministry despite knowing about his past misconduct. Nienstedt told MPR in 2014 he did not have a sexually inappropriate relationship with Wehmeyer.
Ex-seminarian James Heathcott, who lives in Oregon, told MPR he enrolled at a Detroit seminary in 1987 when he was 18. Nienstedt became rector a year later, and the seminary’s tone immediately changed, he said.
According to the affidavit, Nienstedt asked Heathcott: “Have you explored your sexuality?” and “Do you think you have homosexual tendencies?”
Heathcott also said Nienstedt later invited him on a ski trip at a “private chalet.” Heathcott said he declined and told Nienstedt that the invitation appeared to contradict his own statements to seminarians about the importance of boundaries. He said Nienstedt told him a few days later to pack his belongings and leave.
“I consider Nienstedt’s interactions with me to be a kind of grooming … I believe he denied me the chance to continue exploring my calling to the priesthood to its fruition,” he said in the affidavit.
The archdiocese, which filed for bankruptcy in January, hasn’t said what it paid Greene Espel. MPR, citing people with direct knowledge, put the cost at several hundred thousand dollars. The firm wouldn’t comment either. The archdiocese paid the second firm, Wold Morrison, nearly $139,000 between October and January, but the filing didn’t say if it made any payments to either firm earlier.
Complete Article HERE!
By Kieran Tapsell
As the Holy See told the Irish foreign minister in 2011, bishops are the governors of their own diocese, and so far as the church is concerned, the only restraint on them is canon law. Bishops can only be put on trial before this new tribunal for breaching canon law. A bishop who fails to report credible allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is in breach of canon law because that obligation is set out in the decree Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela.
Likewise, canon law in the United States since 2002, and for the rest of the world since 2010, requires bishops to comply with domestic civil reporting laws. A failure to do so constitutes a breach of canon law. The recently resigned bishops — Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché of St. Paul-Minneapolis and Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., who was convicted by a Missouri court of failing to report a priest’s possession of child pornography — could be brought before the new tribunal for failing to comply with civil laws on reporting as required by the norms approved in December 2002 by the Holy See for the United States.
Very few jurisdictions in the world have comprehensive reporting laws. Most have reporting laws for children at risk, that is, where they are under the age of 18, but very few have reporting laws that apply to historical abuse, that is, where the abused person is now an adult. In the United States, half the states have such laws and half do not. The United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Canada do not have them. In 2014 and 2015, the Italian and Polish Catholic bishops’ conferences announced that they would not be reporting child sex abuse offenses by clergy to the police because their civil laws did not require it. Their stance is consistent with canon law.
In Australia, only two out of the eight states and territories require the reporting of historical abuse. Figures produced at the Victorian parliamentary inquiry in Australia suggest that historical abuse amounts to more than 99 percent of all complaints. The same inquiry found that of the 611 complaints of child sexual abuse in the four Victorian dioceses between 1996 and 2012, not one of them had been reported by the church to the civil authorities.
This was understandable because prior to 2014, there was no requirement under Victorian law to report any abuse, whether of children at risk or historical abuse. And the bishops on ordination had sworn an oath to obey all ecclesiastical laws, which in this case meant not reporting these crimes to the police in accordance with the pontifical secret imposed by Pope Paul VI’s Secreta Continere and Pope John Paul II’s Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela.
In those jurisdictions without such reporting laws, unless a bishop walks into a priest’s bedroom and finds him in flagrante delicto with a minor, the pontifical secret prevents him from reporting any knowledge of or allegations about such crimes to the police. If he reports the matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he has complied with canon law and cannot be charged with “abuse of office,” despite the fact that he has covered up these crimes by not reporting them to the police.
On two occasions now, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee against Torture demanded that the Holy See abolish the pontifical secret for child sexual abuse and order mandatory reporting under canon law, irrespective of whether there are civil reporting laws or not. On Sept. 26, 2014, the Holy See rejected the request.
Many media reports describe the setting up of this tribunal as a breakthrough. There is no breakthrough. The announcement does not do away with the pontifical secret and does not extend reporting requirements to the civil authorities. In many cases of cover-up by bishops, there will be no abuse of office because the cover-up has been required by canon law, as the announcements by the Italian and Polish bishops attest.
The pope has always had jurisdiction to dismiss or punish bishops like Nienstedt, Piché and Finn, who have breached canon law. He even has jurisdiction to dismiss them even where they have not breached canon law, as the case of the Australian Bishop William Morris shows.
This announcement is being dressed up as a measure to protect children when all it is doing is setting up a tribunal that would ensure that bishops accused of breaching canon law have the right to be heard. It is another example of clericalism creating smoke and mirrors to give the impression that better protections are being provided for children when the people being looked after are the bishops. The real breakthrough will happen when the Holy See complies with the demands of the United Nations.
Complete Article HERE!