Monday, March 4, 2013

Saint John New Brunswick’s Sole Gay Bar Closing, Leader Of Poland’s Palikot’s Movement Responds To Lech Walesa’s Anti-Gay Tirade By Placing Gay And Transgender Lawmakers In Front Row Of Parliament, Reports That Judge Could Rule This Week On Challenge To Michigan Amendment Prohibiting Same Sex Marriage, Residents Of Everman Texas Turn Out To Help Victims Of Anti-Gay Graffiti, Philadelphia Union Soccer Fans Calling Themselves Sons Of Ben Honor Out Former Player Robbie Rogers With Minute Of Silence, New England Patriots Punter Shows Off Assets In A Speedo While Two Chihuahuas Look On

In New Brunswick, the only gay nightclub in the city of Saint John will close at the end of March, in part because members of the younger generation don't feel limited to gay bars, says its co-owners. The scene is changing, said Jenny Gillingham, one of the Pump Nightclub owners. Younger people are comfortable in most clubs and their peers are more accepting of them. The CBC News reports that she said the nightclub, which was open for three years, wasn't getting the support it needed from the younger crowd. It had been losing money for the last year. Co-owner Troy Morehouse said he feels badly for older members of the gay community who have been regulars at the club. "The younger crowd has it a bit easier than the older crowd does, feeling comfortable at a different venue," he said. "Growing up where you couldn't be out publically, you couldn't be out at a bar with your other half, whereas the younger crowd today has it a little bit easier because people tend to be more accepting." Gillingham said she hopes her older customers will also be able to find a club where they feel accepted. "I think things are changing, but I think there's still needs to be some sort of a bar — maybe not to label it as anything — just have a bar and make it that it's gay friendly and make those people very comfortable in that bar but it doesn't necessarily have to be called a gay bar," said Gillingham. Pump Nightclub's final night will be March 30.

In Poland, the country's first gay and transgender lawmakers will sit on the front bench in Parliament this week in reaction to hostile remarks by former president Lech Walesa. Polish democracy icon and Nobel peace prize winner Walesa sparked outrage last week by saying that as a minority, gays have no right to a prominent role in politics, need to "adjust to smaller things" and should sit on the back benches, or even outside the chamber. On Monday, he refused to apologize and said he has been misunderstood. According to the Associated Press, Janusz Palikot, the leader of progressive party Palikot's Movement, reacted by promoting the party's gay lawmaker, Robert Biedron, and transgender lawmaker, Anna Grodzka, to the front row for a three-day session starting Wednesday. In Poland's Parliament, the front row, which is closest to the Speaker and gets the most TV attention, is generally for party leaders and senior lawmakers. The Cabinet sits in a separate section. Palikot said he will also seek a resolution asking Walesa to "change his manner of speaking." Walesa has declined an invitation to meet with Biedron. Walesa's son said he was shocked by his father's words, which "should not have been said,” Jaroslaw, who is a European Parliament lawmaker, adding, "Gays, lesbians, the homosexuals, have the right to have a representation and should be" in Parliament. In the 1980s Walesa led the Solidarity freedom movement that peacefully toppled communism in Poland.

In Michigan, two southeastern residents are challenging the state's ban on same sex marriage. April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are challenging Michigan's constitutional ban on same sex marriage, as well as its adoption code that prohibits them from adopting their children together. WNEM reports that the couple, who have been in a relationship for more than a decade, has three special-needs children. DeBoer, a neo-natal intensive care nurse, and Rowse, an emergency room nurse, became licensed as a couple to be foster parents. Within a year and a half, they welcomed three newborns who had been abandoned or surrendered at birth. The children faced long-term physical and mental impairments because of prematurity, little or no prenatal care, maternal drug use and other complications. DeBoer and Rowse's desire to jointly adopt all three children would establish each parent's legal claim and relationship to their children. Currently one has adopted two of the children and the other has adopted one. April and Jayne asserted that the Michigan Adoption Code, which prohibits joint adoption for their kids and thousands of other children in households like theirs across the state, violates their right to equal protection under the United States Constitution. "Jayne and I love our children as deeply as any other parent loves their kids," said DeBoer. "We just want our children to have the same protections all other children have, so that our kids know they can never be taken from either of us." Attorneys Dana Nessel and Carole Stanyar filed a complaint on behalf of DeBoer, Rowse and their children against the State of Michigan in January of 2012. At the behest of Judge Bernard Friedman, the pleadings were amended to challenge the same-sex marriage ban, significantly expanding the scope of the case. Michigan's Marriage Amendment, approved by 58.6-percent of voters in 2004, prohibits same sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. "The children of gays and lesbians in Michigan are forbidden from having two parents," said attorney Carole Stanyar. "Michigan is one of only a handful of states left in the country that allows no mechanism for the legal recognition of two parents of the same sex, meaning that whether same-sex couples adopt or one of the partners conceives a child biologically, only one partner can ever have a legally recognized relationship with that child." Friedman could rule on the case Thursday, March. 7.

In Everman, Texas, neighbors pitched in Sunday to help a Tarrant County couple who became the apparent victims of a hate crime. Friends and volunteers spent the weekend re-painting the fence at the home of Ben Allen and Justin Hudgins, a gay couple whose property was vandalized on February 26; one week after WFAA reported they were refused from renting a catering wedding reception hall because of their sexual orientation. On Sunday, the graffiti that read “Burn FAG” was rewrote to read Born FABulous, but then the wood fence was painted white. The police chief and the fire chief and his wife also stopped by to show their support, the police chief assuring the couple that the department is keeping an eye on the house. About 20 friends and neighbors helped with the painting. Hudgins said additional people who were walking or biking stopped when they saw the group painting, with some having a hot dog and a drink and painting for five or 10 minutes. Hudgins said he doesn’t think the graffiti was connected to the catering hall incident. “That’s more scary to think of someone tracking me down,” he said. Among the people who helped paint was Fairness Fort Worth Treasurer David Mack Henderson. “These guys are amazing at turning something sour into something sweet,” said Henderson. Henderson said a straight couple from Plano came with their son to teach him a lesson in standing up for people and doing the right thing.

A great story from Philadelphia: Former United States men's national team and MLS player Robbie Rogers publicly announced he was gay and walked away from the game of soccer in an emotional blog post February 15. Rogers, who played for the Columbus Crew for five seasons, had most recently played in England with League One team Stevenage, but wrote that he was "afraid to show whom I really was because of fear." The Philadelphia Union kicked off the 2013 MLS season on Saturday against Sporting Kansas City, and a Union fan group called the "Sons of Ben" showed their support of Rogers with a touching display. In the 18th minute, fans held up "RR" signs and remained silent to honor the former No. 18.

New England Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko tweeted February 27, “Would it be weird if I posted a pic of myself, poolside, in a speedo, holding two Chihuahuas??? Thinking about it ...” Soon thereafter, the sexy Zoltan did just that!

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