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2012: April-June

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Ukraine Follows Lead of St. Petersburg...

Ukraine looks set to debate a law against gay information


Link Here25th June 2012

The Ukrainian Parliament announced on June 19 that a draft law against the spreading of homosexual propaganda among minors had been submitted by deputies of the ruling Party of Regions.

In its current form, the legislation would impose fines of up to 11,900 hryvnyas, or around $1,500, for spreading homosexual propaganda to people under 18.

The move comes almost three months after a similar law was proposed in the State Duma lower house of parliament in neighboring Russia, and after lawmakers in the Russian city of St. Petersburg approved such a measure.

 

 

Erotic Award Winner 2012...

Event/Club: Club S.O.P


Link Here24th June 2012

Event/Club

Winner: Club S.O.P (UK)

Club Sop opened in London in 1999, originally using the name PIS. It's a non-dress-code club for gay men who enjoy water sports. It immediately became popular, and gained much attention --- so much so that it was closed down by the local council. After a short break, they opened again using the name S.O.P and, even though they have had to move venues continuously, they now regularly meet, twice a week, for friendly, splashy fun. Adam, the founder, is hoping to start a mixed night along the same lines, somewhere, sometime soon!

Runner Up: Burlesque (UK)

An erotic charity event committed to raising funds for The Albert Kennedy Trust, which helps homeless and unsupported LGBT teens. The show is put on by a collection of beautiful and clever volunteers who love having fun on stage and baring it all! Barelesque events are run by the driven team of Chantal Younis, Honey Schnapps, Alison Brumfitt and Ana Morphic --- whose idea was to move away from standard beauty conventions and instead get their kit off and produce something that is playful, intelligent, gender twisting and hot!

Runner Up: The Seeing Red Project (UK)

The Seeing Red Project is an ongoing, semi regular art project exploring menstruation, connection and sensuality. Started in April 2009 by Anna Gibson and Johanna Samuelson, they use intense and beautiful photos to arrest their readers and recently began performing their prococative work live at events. Debuting at Pulp Wotever for Wotever World, on stage they celebrate femininity, incorporate their favourite medium, photography, and they shock with play in sex and the intimacy of sharing, receiving and reveling in menstrual blood.

 

 

Egged On...

Religious inspired protestors throw eggs and plastic bottles at gay pride marchers


Link Here24th June 2012

Police say about 50 people threw eggs and plastic bottles of water at about 400 people holding a gay pride parade in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.

Police moved in to restrict the attackers but no injuries were reported.

In recent days, Anthimos, the senior Greek Orthodox cleric in Thessaloniki, had publicly criticized the planned gay pride parade. Anthimos, who only uses one name, is known for outspoken speeches on social and political issues.

 

 

Erotic Award Winner 2012...

Erotic Film Society Award: The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome DVD released by the BFI


Link Here23rd June 2012

Erotic Film Society Award

Presented by the Erotic Film Society in recognition of a significant contribution to the appreciation of the art and history of erotic cinema made during the past year.

The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome DVD produced and released by the British Film Institute

In the late 1960s, Peter de Rome started documenting his eternal search for the perfect prick on Super 8 film. What began as a personal record, won a prize at the 1971 Wet Dreams festival in Amsterdam - where it proved as popular with women as it was with gay men - leading to a feature-length compilation of his intimately explicit short films. This outstanding BFI DVD of his pioneering work includes not only that 1973 feature but also several extra shorts and a documentary which firmly establishes de Rome's place as a true artist in the annals of erotic cinema.

UK: Passed 18 uncut by the BBFC for strong real sex for:

 

 

Update: Confirming Uganda's National Culture of Repression...

38 gay groups banned and conference raided


Link Here 21st June 2012

Uganda has announced a ban on 38 non-governmental organisations it accuses of undermining the national culture by promoting homosexuality.

Religious nutter Simon Lokodo, the country's ethics and integrity minister, claimed the groups were receiving support from abroad for Uganda's homosexuals and recruiting young children into homosexuality:

I have established beyond reasonable doubt that the 38 NGOs, if not even more, exist not for humanitarian reasons but to destroy the traditions and culture of this country by promoting homosexuality,

Homosexuality is illegal, unacceptable and strange to our culture. It doesn't have any positive aspects at all. If homosexuality is promulgated and legitimised, that will be like having no future of society. There is no procreation between man and man or woman and woman. We condemn it very strongly.

On Monday he ordered the break-up of a gay rights workshop organised by the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project at a hotel just outside the capital, Kampala. Police wearing riot gear sealed off the venue for several hours.

 

 

Primitive Beliefs...

Bulgarian priest calls on church goers to stone a gay pride parade


Link Here21st June 2012

Organizers of a gay pride parade in Sofia, Bulgaria, are pleading with the church to stop calls for violence against marchers.

Father Evgeniy Yanakiev said stones should be thrown at participants during the event in the Bulgarian capital on 30 June.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has also condemned the pride parade, claiming it as immoral and calling homosexuality an unnatural passion that undoubtedly harms the personality, the family and the society .

The church also warned parents and teachers to stop children from taking part in the event, claiming it was a harmful demonstration that violates the rights of Orthodox Christians.

Update: Orderly Parade

2nd July 2012. See  article from  csmonitor.com

A Pride Parade in Bulgaria passed without religiously inspired threatened violence, but homosexuality remains a sensitive issue across the Balkans.

The pride parade was attended by 1,500 to 2,000 people, and drew several foreign ambassadors, including the US's James Warlick and Britain's representative Jonathan Allen.

The presence of 600 policemen may well have helped forestall clashes at the rally, though Markov says one participant had been attacked in the center of Sofia after the march, but was rescued by passers-by.

 

 

Not Overtly Sexual...

ASA dismiss whinges about gay kiss poster


Link Here17th June 2012

A poster for manhunt.net, an online dating service, seen in February 2012 showed two topless men, one with his arm around the other, who were about to kiss.

The ASA received 20 complaints.

  1. All the complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because they believed the image was overtly sexual.

  2. Fourteeen complainants challenged whether the ad was inappropriate for general display, where it could be seen by children.

Online Buddies said the ad was first displayed next to the oldest gay bar in London and was displayed at a second location several metres away from London's largest gay club. In selecting both locations, they took into account the proximity to gay clubs, where they believed the ads were most likely to be seen by their target audience and they ensured the ad was not within viewing distance of schools or businesses that provided children-based services.

Online Buddies said the image showed one of the men with his arm casually draped around the other's shoulder, that the men were about to kiss but also that their bodies were barely touching. Although they believed that the image was mildly sexually suggestive, they did not consider their body language was overtly sexual. They believed that the image used was the most appropriate way to convey their product, they were a company which served a gay male audience and therefore, the image was relevant. They did not believe that the ad was offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not Upheld

The ASA noted Online Buddies had booked locations which were close to gay clubs but which were also away from schools or businesses that offered children-based services and that they believed both the locations and image were relevant to the advertised product. We understood the ad was a large billboard and that all the complainants had seen it in its first location before it had been moved. We acknowledged Online Buddies' attempts to restrict the ad, both before it was displayed and after they became aware of complaints made to the ASA.

We recognised that the image in the ad was relevant to the advertised product. However, we noted that the couple were shown bare-chested and from the chest up only and it was therefore unclear whether they were naked or not. We noted that the eyes of one man were closed whilst the eyes of the other appeared to be seductively looking at him and that their lips were parted as if they were about to kiss. Although we considered the image could be seen as sexual and the ad's size could draw attention to the sexual nature of their embrace, we considered the image of the embracing couple who were about to kiss was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence), but did not find it in breach.

2. Not Upheld

We noted that both Online Buddies and Primesight had given the poster's location careful consideration so as to avoid schools and businesses that provided children-based services. We considered the ad was sexually suggestive, rather than overtly sexual. Because of that, we considered the ad was inappropriate for children to see and therefore, it warranted a placement restriction to prevent it from being displayed within 100 m of schools. We understood that such a restriction had already been applied and we therefore concluded that in this instance, the placement of the ad was not socially irresponsible.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility), but did not find it in breach.

 

 

No Fun in Kuwait...

Morality campaigns stepped up targeted at private parties and people having fun


Link Here17th June 2012

Kuwaiti media has been reporting a continuation of the morality campaigns which also target lesbian, gay and transgender people.

On the 8th of June 10 adolescents, ranging from 16 to 18 years old were entrapped during a raid and the police suspects they were conducting satanic rituals and incident acts . The Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai in addition claimed that they are also suspected of homosexuality . Kuwaiti police received complaints the group held nightly meetings in a disused building in  Kuwait city.

Later Al-Rai reported that 20 men and one woman were arrested in another raid for suspicious parties. The Kuwaiti Times alleged that some of the people were found to be intoxicated . Al-Rai claimed that some of the suspects were arrested in previous raids and were released after signing a document that they will not repeat their activities.

The daily Al-anba reports that other raids were targeted at illegal migrants some were found to be conducting immoral activities and running brothels .

A transgender Kuwaiti activist told Gay Star News:

These 'morality campaigns' that have greatly intensified this year are 'continuous and relentless'.

Many of the people arrested are just having private parties, but the police allege they were engaged in prostitution, drinking, and so called immoral activities.

Charges are often fabricated and thus this is essentially an assault and violation of people's right to dignity and a fair trial.

People who are arrested in such raids become social outcasts and pariahs, having no voice at all, as their most basic rights are being violated.

So many people in these raids are being thrown into prison without anyone listening to their plight. Some complained of abusive treatment and no human rights group here cares about this matter as they feel ashamed of handling such cases. Such organisations forget the forgetting that the right of any human being for dignity and fair trial regardless of their sex, nationality, race or sexuality.

I call for human rights defenders to intervene in these cases and help stop and prevent such abuses in Kuwait in the future.

According to the activist these ongoing moral campaigns are an attempt by the ruling royal family to appease MPs from the Islamist parties that now have a majority in Parliament with 34 out of 50 seats.

 

 

Update: ASA Exploited by Campaigners...

Archbishop Cranmer predictably cleared by the ASA over worthless whinges, probably politically motivated, that should have been dismissed at the first opportunity


Link Here13th June 2012

Four ads for the campaigning group Coalition for Marriage:

a. A press ad, seen in Country Life Magazine, featured photos of couples on their wedding day. The ad stated 'I do' 70% of people* say keep marriage as it is. We agree: politicians should not be meddling with one of our great national institutions. 190,000 people have signed our petition in favour of keeping the definition of marriage unchanged. Whilst fully recognising the rights and views of others, we're asking you to support us. If you want to keep the true meaning of marriage as it is, and has been for thousands of years, say 'I do' - by signing our petition at c4m.org.uk PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION visit c4m.org.uk today ... Coalition for Marriage . Small print stated (*Source: ComRes poll for Catholic Voices) .

b. The ad was the same as ad (a), and was seen in the Daily Telegraph.

c. An online ad, seen on the blog of Archbishop Cranmer , featured photos of couples on their wedding day on the first frame. The second frame stated I do . The third frame stated 70% of people* say keep marriage as it is ... (Source: ComRes poll for Catholic Voices) . The final frame stated Help us keep the true meaning of marriage. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION Click here ... Coalition for Marriage .

d. The ad was the same as ad (c), and was seen on blog of Guido Fawkes .

1. Twenty-four complainants challenged whether the claim 70% of people say keep marriage as it is in ads (a), (b), (c) and (d) was misleading and could be substantiated.

2. Eleven complainants objected that ads (a) and (c) were offensive.

3. Three complainants objected that ad (a) was misleading, as they did not believe it made clear that the aim of the online petition was to oppose same sex marriage.

1. Coalition for Marriage said the poll on which the claim was based was carried out by ComRes, who were a well-known and reputable polling company used by many sources. They said the poll asked whether marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman . They provided a link to the full poll results, and said they did not believe it was misleading to base the claim 70% of people say keep marriage as it is on the answer to this question. They pointed out that the question referred to continue and defined and said these meant the question related to whether the definition of marriage should be kept as it is, and not widened. They said the existence of other polls on the issue of gay marriage were not relevant, and that readers were free to make up their own mind about the opinions behind the polling figures. They pointed out that the ads stated clearly the source for the polling figure and that the poll was commissioned by Catholic Voices.

2. Coalition for Marriage did not believe the ads contained anything that was likely to cause offence. They said that pictures of happy couples on their wedding day appeared regularly in the media, and that the rest of the ad merely contained further information about their campaign. They said the aim of the ad, and their campaign, was to defend the definition of marriage enshrined in UK law as it had existed for hundreds of years. They believed those complaining were intolerant of opposing views. They believed the ads were an upbeat, warm-hearted presentation that simply endorsed the longstanding, globally accepted legal definition of marriage.

Country Life said their magazine covered a diverse range of subjects and they were not afraid to put forward a point of view or encourage debate. They said they accepted ad (a) because, in their opinion, it was simply an organisation's point of view and in theory no different to any other campaigning ad, about which there would always be differing opinions. They said they had received a small number of complaints from people who felt the ad was offensive but did not believe all had been from people who were actually readers. They said it was not their intention to cause offence and they welcomed all readers, whatever their point of view.

Archbishop Cranmer did not believe that ad (c) would be seen as offensive or homophobic. He pointed out that it merely featured pictures of photos of couples on their wedding day and a quotation from the marriage liturgy, and did not believe any rational or reasonable person would find this offensive.

3. Coalition for Marriage did not believe the ad was likely to mislead readers as to the purpose of the petition. They believed that asking people to sign to show their support for the current legal definition of marriage explicitly signalled objection to same sex marriage. They believed anyone signing the petition would be aware of the current political debate around marriage. They also pointed out that the ads directed people to their website to sign the petition, and that more information about their campaign and the current political debate about same sex marriage was available there.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not Upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that Coalition for Marriage based the claim 70% of people say keep marriage as it is on a poll carried out by ComRes for Catholic Voices, and this was clearly stated in the ads. The question asked in the poll was whether respondents agreed with the statement Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman and 70% said they did. The poll related to an online panel of 2004 people, and the data had been weighted to be representative of the general population. Although some complainants believed the claim made in the ads was misleading because it did not reflect the results of other polls on the issue of same sex marriage, we considered the claim accurately represented the responses received to the poll conducted by ComRes and that the source for the claim was sufficiently prominent to ensure that those viewing the ad would be aware that it referred to the results of that poll only. Most people would expect polls relating to matters of opinion to lead to differing results depending on the exact wording of the question and the context in which it was asked. Also, the ad stated on which poll the claim was based and who had commissioned it. Finally, the poll was publically available on the ComRes website. We concluded that the claim was not misleading,

On this point we investigated ads (a), (b), (c) and (d) under CAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation) but did not find them in breach.

2. Not upheld

We noted the complainants believed that ads (a) and (c) were offensive as they considered them to be homophobic. However, the ads focused on the current legal definition of marriage and its history. We considered that, although some people might disagree with the advertisers' opinions on the matter of same sex marriage, the ads in themselves did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point we investigated ads (a) and (c) under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.

3. Not upheld

The ad appeared in the context of a high-profile public debate around the issue of same sex marriage. We considered that readers seeing the ad would infer from the references to keeping marriage as it is that Coalition for Marriage were opposed to same sex marriage and that this was the purpose of the petition. The petition was on Coalition for Marriage's own website, which contained further information about their campaign. Therefore, we concluded the ad was unlikely to mislead readers about the aim of the online petition.

On this point we investigated ad (a) under CAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) but did not find it in breach.

 

 

Update: One Hundred Years Behind the Times...

Moscow imposes a 100 year ban on gay pride parades


Link Here13th June 2012
Full story: Gay in Russia...Russia bans gay parades and legislates against gay rights

Human Rights First condemns the Tverskoy District Court ruling to uphold the decision of Moscow authorities to ban gay pride parades in the city until May 2112. The Moscow City Hall has banned such events for seven consecutive years, citing numerous letters from public officials, religious organizations, and private citizens urging the authorities to prohibit a demonstration. The European Court of Human Rights pronounced these bans illegal in October 2010.

Human Rights First's Innokenty Grekov said:

This unprecedented ban is not entirely surprising, but Russia's society is evolving at a pace not even Vladimir Putin can control. More people are becoming accepting and tolerant to LGBTI persons. The 100-year ban, along with the discriminatory laws prohibiting promotion of homosexuality that are spreading through local legislatures, show that the Russian government remains behind the times.

It is regrettable that the new city government, led by Mayor Sobyanin, is repeating the mistakes of the disgruntled former mayor Luzhkov, whose vehemently antigay rhetoric and actions are well-known.

 

 

Feverish Incitement...

Muslim radio station censured for inciting violence against gays


Link Here12th June 2012

Sister Ruby Ramadan Special 2011
Radio Asian Fever (Leeds), 17 August 2011, 12:00 and 18 August 2011, 11:00

Radio Asian Fever (Leeds) is a community radio station that serves the South Asian communities of Leeds.

Two listeners alerted Ofcom to the two programmes above, each approximately fifty minutes in duration and broadcast in Urdu, complaining that the programmes contained homophobic material. Having obtained an independent translation of the content, we noted that each of the two programmes consisted of a sermon delivered by a female presenter, Rubina Nasir ( Sister Ruby ).

In the broadcast on 17 August 2011, the presenter commenced with a Qur'anic verse (Sura Al-Nisa, verse 16) and gave her interpretation of that verse as being highly critical of homosexuality. The presenter also discussed various historical events portrayed in the Qur'an in the context of her main theme of homosexuality.

In the broadcast on 18 August 2011, the presenter focused her discussion on another Qur'anic verse (Sura Al-Baqra, verse 221) and gave her interpretation of that verse as being critical of mixed-faith marriages.

Ofcom obtained an independent translation of the two programmes from the original Urdu into English. We first noted the following two statements made by the presenter in the programme broadcast on 17 August 2011:

What should be done if they do it [practise homosexuality] If there are two such persons among you, that do this evil, the shameful act, what do you have to do? Torture them; punish them; beat them and give them mental torture.

Allah states, „If they do such a deed [i.e. homosexuality], punish them, both physically and mentally.? Mental punishment means rebuke them, beat them, humiliate them, admonish and curse them, and beat them up. This command was sent in the beginning because capital punishment had not yet been sent down.

In the programme broadcast on 18 August 2011 the sermon dealt with the issue of mixed-faith marriages, and we noted the presenter made the following statements: [Mushrak is taken to mean a follower of another religion and shirk is the sin of following another religion].

What happens when a Muslim man or woman get married to a Mushrak Listeners! Marriage of a Muslim man or woman with a Mushrak is the straight path to hellfire;

Have my sisters and brothers, who live with people of bad religions or alien religions, ever thought about what would become of the children they have had with them – and the coming generation?;

Where the filth of shirk is present, where the dirt of shirk is present, where the heart is impure, how can you remove apparent filth. How many arrangements will you make to remove the apparent filth?;

We are saying that Mushraks have no concept of cleanliness and un- cleanliness;

Ofcom considered

Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context. Such material may include... discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of... religion... and sexual orientation) ....

Rule 2.4: Programmes must not include material (whether in individual programmes or in programmes taken together) which, taking into account the context, condones or glamorises violent, dangerous or seriously antisocial behaviour and is likely to encourage others to copy such behaviour.

Rule 3.1: Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.

Rule 4.1: Broadcasters must exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes.

Ofcom unsurprisingly concluded that the broadcasts breached rules 2.3, 2.4, 3.1 and 4.1.

Ofcom regards the breaches in this case as serious breaches of the Code. In particular, in relation to Rule 3.1, Ofcom views any incident where a licensee has allowed content to be broadcast that is likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder as a significant contravention of the Code. Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

 

Update: Indonesia's Once Reputed Tolerance is a Thing of the Past...

City seeks to criminalise homosexuality and introduce sharia law enforced by religious police


Link Here 10th June 2012
Full story: Sharia in Aceh...Inhuman sharia punishments in Aceh

The Indonesian city of Tasikmalaya in West Java is seeking to implement Sharia based laws which would make it compulsory for all Muslim women in the city to wear headscarfs and criminalise homosexuality. The law also outlaws adultery, pornography and the consumption of alcohol within the municipality's borders.

Homosexuality is not an offence under Indonesia's national laws. However many local government areas within the country have sought to ban it by including it in local public morality laws.

The Tasikmalaya law was originally passed by councillors from Islamic parties in 2009 but city officials have taken until now to develop the regulations needed to implement it.

Tasikmalaya city secretary Tio Indra Setiadi told OnIslam.net that the city would set up a squad of Sharia police to enforce the law like those already operating in Indonesia's province of Aceh. He said: people intending to report violations of the bylaw will face difficulties if we don't have an apparatus to enforce it.

The Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has the power to throw out the law within 30 days if he believes it conflicts with constitutional human rights protections, or it can be challenged in the Supreme Court of Indonesia. Recent reports suggest that Indonesia's Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi may also be prepared to act to block the law or require the watering down of some components of it.

 

23rd May   

Extract: ASA Concedes Lord Smith's Conflict of Interest...

Archbishop Cranmer makes the Telegraph over his call for Chris Smith to resign from the ASA
Link Here

Thanks to John Bingham, the brilliant Social Affairs Editor of The Telegraph, the demands of this blog for the Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority to step down over his manifest conflict of interest have entered the mainstream media. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

The issue really is quite straightforward, and His Grace is at a loss to understand why others cannot see it. Lord Smith is actively campaigning for same-sex marriage while chairing an organisation that is investigating a perfectly reasonable and inoffensive advertisement promoting traditional marriage for alleged homophobia . The complaint is malicious and vexatious and ought to have been dismissed; the investigation is harassing, bullying and intimidating. Lord Smith's position is untenable.

Yet the intrepid Mr Bingham has established that the ASA itself believes that their Chairman has a conflict of interest in this matter. A spokesman said: Our chairman ordinarily does not vote, we have got 13 members of the council and the decisions are taken by them and our chairman does not ordinarily vote unless it is split. There is a conflict of interest here so even should the decision have been split he would not vote.

Well, thank God for that.

So much for Dr Webster's insistence that the ASA Chairman is operationally distinct : it is apparent that he chairs all Council meetings (how many limited companies have a council?) which take the decision to investigate potential breaches of the advertising code. This being the case, it is simply not sufficient for Lord Smith to lose his vote. He would have been (and will be) present at all discussions and party to all decisions: it is absurd to assert that his status and influence as Chairman have no bearing at all upon the decisions of other ASA Council members. It is very difficult indeed to support an advertisement in favour of heterosexual marriage in the presence of someone who believes it to be homophobic .

...Read the full article

Update: ASA and Lord Smith's (shifting) declarations of interests

26th May 2012. See  article from  archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk

The ASA have kindly acknowledged His Grace lengthy contribution to their investigation, which they summarised thus:

Archbishop Cranmer did not believe that ad (c) would be seen as offensive or homophobic. He pointed out that it merely featured pictures of photos of couples on their wedding day and a quotation from the marriage liturgy, and did not believe any rational or reasonable person would find this offensive.

And he has been given until 10.00am on 30th May to send them any comments on the factual accuracy of this.

...Read the full article

 

22nd May   

Extract: ASA v. Coalition for Marriage Ltd (2012)...

Archbishop Cranmer responds to the ASA demands for justification of the totally inoffensive anti-gay marriage advert
Link Here

And finally Archbishop Cranmer wrote to the ASA to answer their original questions:

By sending out complaint papers which demand responses with such phrases as We require you to respond... and we will need to see robust documentary evidence to back the claims and a clear explanation from you of its relevance ; and by doing so with demands to answer your questions by a certain deadline with threats of punitive action for non-compliance, you fraudulently convey an excess of power and claim an authority which you do not, in law, possess. You impress upon the recipient that you are the superior moral agent, and that submission and obeisance are the only appropriate response. Authority which is exerted without right is an illegitimate use of power; illegitimate authority is tyranny; and tyranny leads to injustice, which can have no authority at all. By abusing your self-certified power and self-authenticated authority for the perpetuation of an image of your self-integrity, you deny all authority. You ought to rename yourselves the Political Substandard Tyranny.

Your treatment of His Grace has been mendacious, oppressive, and partisan. This has only become apparent as he refused to comply with your demand to keep all correspondence confidential. How many others have been intimidated, harassed and bullied into submission by you as they suffered in silence, fearful of the consequences of disclosure?

...Read the full article

ASA's Chris Smith comes Out4Marriage

See  article from  archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com

Archbishop Cranmer also questions whether Chris Smith's campaigning in favour of gay marriage is appropriate to for the head of an organisation that is seemingly harassing political opponents.

With impeccable ('interesting') timing, Lord Smith of Finsbury has come out in favour of the campaign for same-sex marriage.

For all the reasons previously observed, Lord Smith must now resign his position as Chairman of the ASA, who have aggressively and deceptively made demands of His Grace (and others) in relation to a Coalition for Marriage advertisement which merely sought to uphold the traditional view of marriage and English law as it presently stands.

...Read the full article

 

 

The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom...

Malaysian minister for religious affairs attempts to ban book launch party


Link Here21st May 2012

A Canadian Muslim gay activist launched her controversial new book in Malaysia despite a government minister's attempts to shut down the event.

Irshad Manji launched Allah, Liberty and Love at a hastily arranged event in the capital Kuala Lumpur after two other venues pulled out of hosting her, according to local publisher ZI Publications.

Jamil Khir Baharom, minister in charge of Islamic affairs, had said Islamic officials and the Home Ministry would not allow the author's roadshow in the country following complaints. He was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying that the book was offensive to Muslims as was Manji's ideology and openly gay lifestyle, which was deemed to be against Islam.

According to Manji's website, the book, now available in the local Malay language:

Shows all of us how to reconcile faith and freedom in a world seething with repressive dogmas... This book is the ultimate guide to becoming a gutsy global citizen.

The book has not been officially banned in Malaysia, thou Manji's previous internationally acclaimed book, The Trouble with Islam Today , is banned.

Manji also faced problems while touring Indonesia before coming to Malaysia. Police shut down several events after the Islamic Defenders Front group held violent protests condemning her liberal views on Islam and her homosexuality.

 

19th May   

Extract: An Admission of Error...

ASA write again to Archbishop Cranmer
Link Here

The ASA finally wrote to Archbishop Cranmer without the previous patronising Foboffish:

We're sorry for any confusion or upset we've caused. We do accept that our first email didn't state that you were not compelled to respond to us, though we did clarify that explicitly in our second email to you. We do try to work with -- rather than against -- advertisers, agencies and publishers to resolve complaints that are raised with us. We also strive to make sure that our communications are clear, so we will certainly take on board the issues you've raised for future investigations.

Our website statement clarifies that publishers are not compelled to respond in these cases and was published after our second email to you.

Given that our investigation is ongoing and that you are not the subject of that investigation, I will not be addressing the wider queries you have raised or corresponding further on those points. That's because your questions go beyond your involvement in this case.

See the full article

 

18th May   

Extract: The ASA Responds to His Grace...

The Archbishop is somewhat unimpressed by an ASA response written in Foboffish
Link Here

The ASA has kindly responded to His Grace (within the 48hr deadline requested), and they appear to have opted for Discursive Deflection Letter No.17b, which incorporates expressions of absolute vacuity patronisingly written in sentences of monosyllabic nothingness as though the recipient were a moron. It answers none of the eight questions asked, and merits a jolly good fisking:

RE: ASA Complaint Investigation - 192907/JT

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email. I am writing to provide some further explanation as to why we contacted you about this ad, and how our process works.

His Grace thanks you for that, but he has no questions about how your process works. He simply asked why you chose to escalate this matter immediately to the level of formal investigation , and why you chose His Grace alone from the blogosphere to justify his decision to publish/distribute it. You answer neither question. And His Grace doesn't like the tone of I am writing to provide some explanation as to... how our process works : he is neither five years old nor mentally deficient.

See the full article

 

17th May   

Update: ASA Deny Bullying...

But Archbishop Cranmer demonstrates that they are speaking bollox
Link Here

Presumably due to the Daily Mail picking up the story of Archbishop Cranmer's battle with the ASA who say that they are investigating offence and homophobia attributed to a totally innocuous advert calling for people to sign an anti-gay marriage petitition

 ASA have now made a statement on their website at  asa.org.uk . This includes:

One of the bloggers on whose blog the ads appeared has raised concerns about us contacting him as part of our investigation. We have long found it useful to ask, in confidence, publishers of ads subject to offence complaints for their views, because they can give us a valuable insight into whether or not their readers are likely to be offended. They are not the subject of our investigation, as we have made clear to them in this case, and they are not compelled to respond.

But Archbishop Cranmer takes particular notice of the claim: "they are not compelled to respond". He has published correspondence between himself and the ASA and demonstrates that the ASA bullies are speaking bollox:

See  Archbishop Cramer's response: ASA semantics and lies from  archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk

 

16th May   

Update: ASA Persecuting His Grace Now in the Public Gaze...

Daily Mail reports on the ASA and republishes the supposedly offensive advert
Link Here

The well known and respected blog archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk is being put under pressure by the politically correct advertising police of the ASA.

An innocuous 'advert' calling for reader to sign a petition opposing gay marriage resulted in 24 complainants, including the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group.

The call to sign the petition simply consists of

1. Photos of couples on their wedding day on the first frame.

2. The second frame stated I do .

3. The third frame stated 70% of people* say keep marriage as it is ...(Source:ComRes poll for Catholic Voices) .

4. The final frame stated Help us keep the true meaning of marriage. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION Click here ...Coalition for Marriage .

The ASA demanded that Archbishop Cranmer justifies the advert and how he answers the ludicrous claim that it is somehow offensive and homophobic,

The story has now being picked up by the Daily Mail who gave the ASA to explain their requests of Archbishop Cranmer. The Daily Mail wrote:

The ASA today stressed it would not necessarily uphold the complaints, which would lead to the ad being banned.

It said in a statement: The right of advertisers responsibly to express their views will undoubtedly be an important factor in our assessment of whether the ads are likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We are also looking at whether the ads are misleading.

The authority also responded to Archbishop Cranmer's outrage over the threatening way in which it approached him, explaining that: We have long found it useful to ask, in confidence, publishers of ads subject to 'offence complaints for their views, because they can give us a valuable insight into whether or not their readers are likely to be offended'.

Note the conciliatory tone used by ASA when being exposed in the press. Note the reasonable sounding:

We have long found it useful to ask, in confidence, publishers of ads subject to 'offence complaints for their views, because they can give us a valuable insight into whether or not their readers are likely to be offended'.

Then compare it with the bullying tones used by the ASA in an adjudication published today re a Facebook advert for Manhattan Bar. The ASA then wrote about 'asking' for advertiser input:

[Advertiser] Response

Manhattan Bar did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.

Assessment Upheld

The ASA was concerned by Manhattan Bar's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.

Meanwhile the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group have published a statement about complaints attributed to the group. The group shouted on their website somewhat unconvincingly that it wasn't a call for censorship:

JGLG HAS NOT CALLED FOR CENSORSHIP OF ANYTHING. ONE OF OUR MEMBERS ASKED THE ASA FOR AN INVESTIGATION INTO AN ADVERT SEEN IN A MAGAZINE BECAUSE HE BELIEVED IT TO BE UNLAWFUL. HE WAS NOT ACTING ON BEHALF OF JGLG. WE WOULD LIKE TO STATE THAT CALLING FOR AN INVESTIGATION ISN'T THE SAME THING AS CALLING FOR CENSORSHIP.

 

15th May   

Updated: Advertising Standards Authority Persecutes His Grace...

ASA harangues well known blogger over polite call to sign a petition against gay marriage
Link Here

The well known and respected blog archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk is being put under pressure by the politically correct advertising police of the ASA. As Archbishop Cranmer explains:

Apparently there have been a number of complaints about one of the advertisements His Grace carried on behalf of the Coalition for Marriage. He has been sent all manner of official papers, formal documentation and threatening notices which demand answers to sundry questions by a certain deadline. He is instructed by the Investigations Executive of this inquisition to keep all this confidential.

Since His Grace does not dwell in Iran, North Korea, Soviet Russia, Communist China or Nazi Germany, but occupies a place in the cyber-ether suspended somewhere between purgatory and paradise, he is minded to ignore that request. Who do these people think they are?

The call to sign the petition simply consists of

1. Photos of couples on their wedding day on the first frame.

2. The second frame stated I do .

3. The third frame stated 70% of people* say keep marriage as it is ...(Source:ComRes poll for Catholic Voices) .

4. The final frame stated Help us keep the true meaning of marriage. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION Click here ...Coalition for Marriage .

Apparently 24 complainants, including the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group challenged whether the claim '70% of people say keep marriage as it is' However, His Grace is not required to respond to that point, since he did not conduct the research. But it transpires that 10 of these 24 complainants objected that the petition call is somehow offensive and homophobic, and he is requested to respond to these allegations.

...Read the full article

Update: Illiberal Conspiracy

14th May 2012. See  article from  liberalconspiracy.org

An interesting post at liberalconspiracy.org suggested that it is correct that the ASA should follow up the complaints and demand a response from the blogger:

They are, of course, people who are tasked simply with doing a job which entails investigating complaints about advertising lodged by members of the general public, and all they've done so far is contact Cranmer and offer him the chance to give his side of the story.

...

As regards the allegation that the advert is, itself, offensive and homophobic well. let's be honest, we're hardly in God Hates Fags territory here are we? And, in any case, this is essentially a single issue political campaign and should, therefore , attract a greater degree of protection under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights than would be the case for purely commercial advertising.

In short, it should take no more than 10-15 minutes to compose a suitable response which addresses and roundly dismisses the complaint.

Why is it that the British authorities always seem to start from the default position that a complainant is right?

The 'advert' in question is clearly not threatening, or inciting in anyway whatsoever, it is not even mildly insulting. It is just a call to support a stance that is actually the status quo and is currently the law of the land.

The PC police at the ASA should not be allowing political campaigners to make complaints that end up hassling those merely exercising their right to free speech. It is not free speech if people are harassed and bullied into justifying their stance. The ASA should tell the complainants to sling their hooks and not support bullying.

Update: His Grace Responds with support from diverse organisations

15th May 2012.

Christian Concern are unimpressed by ASA bullying. From an article on  christianconcern.com :

The investigation was launched after anonymous complaints were received against the blog for featuring the online advert which urged members of the public to sign the Coalition for Marriage petition.

The complainants, including the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group, have described the advert as offensive and homophobic . The anonymous writer has now been given until 21 May to respond to the allegations.

The writer behind the blog, which was ranked as the 24th most influential blog in the UK, commented:

This is nothing short of censorship. Nothing in the advert is factually incorrect or offensive. It is an advert to campaign to simply keep the law as it is. It is outrageous to suggest it is homophobic and the fact that the ASA are even considering such an allegation is ludicrous and displays evidence of a lack of even basic research by them before making the demand of Cranmer that they have done.

Critics have noted that the Chairman of the ASA is Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, who is Vice President of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and a leading supporter of same-sex marriage. He has previously been named by Pink News as being in the top 30 of the most powerful homosexual people in British politics.

Meanwhile the National Secular Society are also unimpressed. From an  article on  secularism.org.uk

The rather eccentric Christian blogger Archbishop Cranmer is under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority after he reproduced an advertisement from the group Coalition for Marriage which is seeking to thwart the Government's plans to legalise same-sex marriage.

The ASA has said that it has received ten complaints that the advertisement is offensive and homophobic . It demands that the Archbishop explain himself before he is once more sent to the stake.

Needless to say his wit and style is more than a match for the rather authoritarian tendencies at the Advertising Standards Authority, and he has turned the tables on them quite deliciously.

The NSS wants to announce its support for the Archbishop Cranmer blog. Although it disagrees with this blogger profoundly on so many issues, it agrees with him entirely that the Advertising Standards Authority is overstepping the mark and posing a rather sinister threat to freedom of expression.

But Archbishop Cranmer is enjoying confronting the ASA bullies. He has written a fine response.

He asks some pertinent questions of the ASA:

[Re] the complaint concerns the Coalition for Marriage advertisement, it must be observed that the same advertisement appeared on numerous blogs ('Internet [display]'), including Guido Fawkes (which you acknowledge) and ConservativeHome. You appear not to have troubled ConservativeHome at all in the pursuit of your enquiries, and your letter states that you have copied in Guido Fawkes for information only. Ergo you appear to have singled out His Grace alone in the blogosphere ('Internet [display]') and made demands only of him to respond to Point 2 of the complaint, i.e., that the advertisement was homophobic and offensive . Why are you harassing His Grace alone in the blogosphere? Why are all blogs which displayed this advertisement not being treated equally?

You state that 10 of the 25 complaints received deem the advertisement to be offensive and homophobic . His Grace understands the plainest meaning and definition of the term offensive . But, since homosexuals and homosexuality are nowhere mentioned in the advertisement, could you please clarify how the term homophobic is being used in this context?

See the full response from  archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com

 

27th April   

Updated: Christian Voice Recommend...

North Wales Mardi Gras 2012
Link Here

  Stephen Green Recommends...
North Wales Mardi Gras 2012

North Wales Mardi Gras 2012
27-29th April
Beaumaris Centre, Anglesey

An offensive and extreme leaflet attacking homosexuality has drawn criticism and complaints to the police. in an Anglesey town.

A pamphlet by the extremist Christian Voice organisation opposing the town's planned Mardi Gras was circulated in Beaumaris. Entitled Say No to Beaumaris Mardi Gras , the leaflet claims that gay pride events are intimidating and that gay people can be released from homosexual desires .

Town clerk Trevor Ashenden said the leaflet was one of several items of correspondence which the town council had received from Christian organisations opposed to the event, which is set to take place from April 27 to April 29.

Following complaints from residents and businesses in the town, the council has released a statement which states:

The legality of some of the statements in the leaflet and other correspondence received has been questioned, and this matter has been referred to the police.

Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said:

The town council would be better off objecting to the display of depravity which is the Mardi Gras. That's where they should be directing their ire.

He said representatives of Christian Voice would attend the event and that the complaints made to the police would go absolutely nowhere .

Update: Thanks for the recommendation

27th April 2012. See  article from  pinknews.co.uk

Opposition from homophobic Christian Voice leader Stephen Green has reportedly boosted ticket sales for North Wales' Mardi Gras this weekend. 

Media attention regularly attracted by Green has led to five hundred ticket sales for the Saturday festival. Alan Jones, of North Wales Mardi Gras, told Wales' Daily Post:

The publicity that has been generated by Christian Voice and their extreme opposition to the event has helped ensure this will be a sell-out. People from further afield who may not have known about the event have heard through this.

Stephen Green himself said:

We had to make a stand, we had to stand for right. We will be at the event with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will be talking to people and handing out leaflets.

 

25th April   

Torchwood: Miracle Day...

BBC Trust dismisses appeal in support of whinge about gay sex scene in Torchwood
Link Here

Torchwood – Miracle Day,
BBC One, 25 August 2011

A complainant said that a sex scene in episode seven of the BBC One drama series Torchwood was inappropriate for its target audience (which the complainant considered to be children under 16 years of age). The complainant said that, although the programme was shown after the watershed, it would attract 13-15 year olds who watch Doctor Who. The complainant also complained about the existence of a link between the Doctor Who and Torchwood websites.

The Committee concluded:

  • that the sexual content was appropriately handled taking into account the lead-up to the scene and that the development of the scene gave no doubt as to the ultimate outcome.

  • that the scene itself was not prurient or exploitative and was not sexually explicit.

  • that most viewers are aware of the 9pm watershed and, given the nature of the drama and its scheduling, the scene did not exceed audience expectations.

  • that, given the ultimate outcome of the scene was clear for some time, carers and parents were able to decide to switch off if they wished.

  • that, while specific content advice regarding the sex scene would have been useful, the development of the scene and the established context of the programme meant that viewers would have had sufficient information to decide whether they wished to view the programme.

  • that, taking into account the information provided online about any challenging content, and the scheduling of the series, the Committee did not consider that a link between the Doctor Who and Torchwood websites was of sufficient concern in encouraging children to watch this post-watershed drama.

The complaint was not upheld

 

19th April   

Updated: Censor and Proud...

London mayor bans anti-gay bus adverts
Link Here

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, intervened to prevent a Christian advertising campaign from promoting the idea that gay people can be converted to heterosexuality.

The advert was due to say: Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!

A few days before the ads were due to appear on buses Johnson ordered his transport chiefs to pull the adverts booked by two Anglican groups following 'outrage' among gay campaigners and politicians saying that they were homophobic. Johnson said:

London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.

The adverts were booked on behalf of the Core Issues Trust whose leader, Mike Davidson, claims homoerotic behaviour is sinful . His charity funds reparative therapy for gay Christians, which it claims can develop their heterosexual potential . The campaign was also backed by Anglican Mainstream , a worldwide Anglican group.

The Christian groups insisted the advert had been cleared with Transport for London (TfL). Davidson said:

I didn't realise censorship was in place. We went through the correct channels and we were encouraged by the bus company to go through their procedures. They okayed it and now it has been pulled.

CBS Outdoor, the media company that sells the bus advertising sites, said the ad had been passed for display by the Committee of Advertising Practice.

The campaign was an explicit attempt to hit back at the gay rights group Stonewall, which as part of its lobbying for the extension of marriage to gay couples is running its own bus adverts saying: Some people are gay. Get over it. The Christian groups used the same black, red and white colour scheme as Stonewall and in a statement announcing the campaign accused it of promoting the false idea that there is indisputable scientific evidence that people are born gay .

Update: Asserting the right of freedom of expression to badmouth gays

14th April 2012.  Via article from  bbc.co.uk

A Christian group which had its advertisement pulled from London buses after it was described as anti-gay has said it is considering legal action.

TfL had said the advert was not consistent with its commitment to a tolerant city.

Anglican Mainstream has instructed a law firm to look at whether Transport for London (TfL) acted illegally when it scrapped the adverts. It said it wanted to know what happened to its contract with TfL for the ads, which implied people could be ex-gay .

Tom Ellis from legal firm Aughton Ainsworth said he was going to examine whether the ban was a breach of contract and the group's right to freedom of expression.

Update: Don’t ban it. Get over it!

18th April 2012. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Luke Samuel

The banning of silly Christian bus adverts reveals the contempt in which the mayor holds ordinary Londoners.

Last week, Boris Johnson, the perennially silly mayor of London, announced that he would ban a planned series of posters on London buses which shouted: NOT GAY! EX-GAY, POST-GAY AND PROUD. GET OVER IT! The message was penned by the Christian campaign group, the Core Issues Trust, which believes that homosexuality is curable through therapy and religious teaching.

...Read the full article

Update: Boris Johnson explains that his advert censorship was all about the politics of avoiding offence and backlashes

It seems that he thought he was doing both sides a favour, preventing gays from being easily offended, and preventing the religious nutters from making an arsehole of themselves.

18th April 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

Boris Johnson has said that he feared that there would have been an intense backlash if he had allowed a Christian advertising campaign promoting the idea that gay people can be converted to heterosexuality to be plastered on London's buses.

He talked about his decision to censor the posters as he took part in a mayoral debate jointly organised by London Church Leaders, Faith to Engage, and the Evangelical Alliance.

He said that he made his decision not only because he thought an advert which suggested that gay people could be cured was likely to cause great offence , but also because of the possible reverberations for London's Christian community. Hesaid:

The job of mayor is to unite, the job is to stop prejudice, and actually the backlash would be so intense it would not have been in the interest of Christian people in this city.

Ken Livingstone told the audience that the advert would only have served to reinforce prejudice:

In my view Boris was right to pull them.

 

13th April   

Update: Repression is Normal...

Russians jailed for public display of placards saying 'Homosexuality is Normal'
Link Here
Full story: Gay in Russia...Russia bans gay parades and legislates against gay rights

Two Russian men have been arrested for illegally engaging in pro-gay propaganda, in the first-ever enforcement of a homophobic new law that bans making statements supporting homosexuality in public.

Police in St Petersburg arrested the pair as they were standing in a central district of Russia's second-largest city and holding up placards reading Homosexuality is normal. i

This St Petersburg law banning favourable comments about homosexuality is a shame. This law is absolutely discriminatory and it takes away the right to freedom of expression and assembly from citizens of non-traditional orientations, said Tatyana Lokshina, spokeswoman for the NGO Human Rights Watch.

Update: Fined

10th May 2012. See  article from  indexoncensorship.org

Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseyev has been fined 5,000 roubles (104 GBP) under a St. Petersburg law for spreading gay propaganda among minors. The fine was imposed after the court ruled that Alekseyev had spread propaganda about homosexual relations among minors when he held a sign in a public place last month that stated homosexuality was not a perversion. Alekseyev has pledged to appeal the ruling

 

8th April   

Updated: Against the Norms of an Intolerant Society...

Malaysia bans all gay characters from state TV
Link Here
Full story: Gay Rights in Malaysia...Campaigning for gay rights

Malaysia has issued a directive to state-owned TV stations ordering them to ban and remove LGBT characters, and says it will expand the order to privately owned stations,

The Information Department has banned shows featuring gay characters, Deputy Information, Communications and Homophobic Culture Minister Datuk Maglin Dennis D'Cruz confirmed. He said the ban was effective immediately but would only start with state-owned TV and radio stations.

If it means cancelling some of the shows, so be it, he told The Star, adding that the decision was to curb the influence of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.

He also said the decision will be expanded to cover privately-owned stations as well as satellite TV providers. As for foreign productions, he said the Censorship Board will remove episodes from running TV shows and bar movies with gay characters from being screened locally.

The directive appeared on the Information Department Facebook page:

Effective immediately, radio and TV stations are asked to stop screening shows which feature gay, effeminate men as well as characters that go against the norm of a religious society because this encourages and promotes LGBT now.

Update: Blather

8th April 2012. See  article from  gaystarnews.com

In the face of justified criticism of Malaysia's homophobic ban an gays on TV, officials have been blathering about the ban, simultaneously both denying and confirming it.

Malaysia has no plan to ban state media programmes featuring LGBT characters ...BUT... retains the right to select suitable content for the public, officials have 'clarified'.

With the message stirring up a hot debate online, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yaim and his deputy sought to explain the official stance only to cause much more confusion.

There is no ban on any artistic performance by any segment of society, including those acronymed as soft men, Rais wrote on Twitter. The ministry ...HOWEVER... reserves the right to select contents suitable to the general public since the country is a multi-racial, religious and cultural one, he added.

Rais's deputy Maglin Dennis D'Cruz added to the contradictory government bollox. Whilst onfirming the ban as a mistake, he noted there is indeed a directive and a guideline will be produced to avoid putting LGBT characters on screen or the air waves.

 

8th April   

Update: Islington Clears Gay Bar of Needing Sex Entertainment Licence...

Confirming the intricate web of PC bollox that adult entertainment is fine for gay guys but abhorrent for straight guys
Link Here
Full story: Lap Dancing in London...Predictable nutter outrage throughout London

A pioneering gay bar and the last gay venue left in the borough of Islington was set for a 14,000 licensing tax bill. Central Station in Wharfdale Road appealed against the ruling that it needs a sex establishment licence at a Town Hall hearing.

Owner Duncan Irvine says it has been caught up in the government's crackdown on pole dancing and lap dancing clubs and that while there is sexual contact at some of its club nights, this is not the same as striptease entertainment, which it no longer provides.

The bar hosts club nights iincluding fetish clubs such as bondage nights, a club for naked men and a club for foot fetishists. I don't deny that there is sexual contact at some of these clubs, but it is not in the same order as paid-for entertainment, he claimed. He added that the club nights are run by outside organisations who are independent of the bar.

And Islington's licensing committee duly decided that the bar didn't need a licence after all.

Irvine said:

It's a huge weight off my mind because it's something we have been really worried about. It's a lot of money to pay for nothing extra.

We wouldn't have had to close if forced to pay for a licence -- desperate times call for desperate measures and we would have found a way.

 

6th April   

Mass Protest...

Nutters have initiated a letter writing campaign against gay elements in the game Mass Effect 3
Link Here

Florida nutters have been writing masses of letters protesting at LGBT elements in the video games Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

It is suspected that the Florida Family Association is directing the campaign aimed at Entertainment Arts (EA) because of the same-sex relationship content.

The Family Research Council, led by Tony Perkins, is also involved. In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists! said Perkins.

EA is standing up for same sex relationships in games despite the nutter 'outrage'.

Every one of EA's games includes ESRB content descriptors so it's hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content. This isn't about protecting children, it's about political harassment, Jeff Brown, VP of corporate communications told gamesindustry.biz .

The letters have been directed to EA's top brass. Many of them threaten to boycott EA's titles if the publisher refuses to remove same-sex relationship content. The letters also infer that the LGBT content is somehow forced upon children, exposing them to LGBT themes.

However the M (17) rated games are not for children, nor do they force LGBT content on a player - it's merely an option for gamers who wish to replicate their real-life sexual orientation.

 

1st April   

Update: Religions Taking Pride in Intolerance...

Religions line up to have a knock at a gay pride parade in Albania
Link Here
Full story: Gay Pride...No pride in protesting against gay pride
Albanian religious leaders have had ab whinge at a planned gay pride parade, with a spokesman for the Muslim community claiming it would pose a danger to society. Agron Hoxha spouted:

Such public demonstration is an abuse of human rights and freedoms and presents a danger for the morals and tradition of the Albanian family,

The Catholic Church also opposes the planned parade in Tirana on May 17, said spokesman Gjergj Meta, spouting that:

homosexuality is opposed to the natural order and the morals of society.

The Royalist party, part of Albania's ruling coalition, also opposes the planned parade, which will be a first in the country, spouting:

Homosexuality is a sexual deviation, a vice, a misfortune or a curse that cannot be tolerated, the party said in a statement.



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