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  • Courage in Kansas

    May 22, 2013
    Courage in Kansas © image provided by kansascity.com
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    Wichita has been without abortion services since the horrible murder of Dr. Tiller. But now, nearly four years later, Julie Burkhart and others step forward to fight the protesters to reopen the doors of the clinic and once again provide the constitutionally protected service.

    Julie Burkhart was tormented over the decision of whether or not to return to work. Julia Burkhart was not a mother considering whether or not it was too soon to leave her child however. She was not someone who hated their boss and daydreamed about them being fired. Julia Burkhart had a much different problem with her boss, namely that he was dead. Instead, Julia was a co-worker of Dr. George Tiller. For those who don’t know, Dr. Tiller was a doctor in Kansas who controversially provided late term abortions (it was one of three places in the nation to do so at the time). Unfortunately, it is not this controversial fact that has made Dr. Tiller’s name familiar. On May 31, 2009, George Tiller was murdered by a shotgun to the face at his local church by an anti-abortion activist who was later given the maximum sentence allowed under Kansas law.

    Since that terrible murder of Dr. Tiller, his clinic’s doors have remained shut. Having been the only abortion provider in the area, this has left the women of Wichita in a bad situation with no nearby abortion services. The women of Wichita have been forced to go on far (and often expensive) trips to surrounding areas. This has been shown to greatly impact low income women who cannot afford to take off work for a journey to get a constitutionally protected service.

    Recognizing the problem nearly four years after that horrible murder, the clinic is being reopened. The Trust Women Foundation decided that the building had the best layout for the needs of the practice, and set out to reopen the doors that once provided the necessary service to the women of Wichita. It was a difficult decision and one that the heavy implications of which are not lost on those involved.

    The road to opening the doors has not been easy. Anti-abortion activists filed complaints with building inspectors to delay renovations and tried (unsuccessfully) to get the planning commission to rezone the area to prevent any medical services being provided in the area.

    It wasn’t just the clinic that was hounded. For months, Julie Burkhart's home was picketed several times. The most frightening experience being one sign that read “Where’s your church?” This being an eery reference to the murder of Dr. Tiller, which was done at his own church. She eventually felt it necessary to get restraining orders filed against several of the more extreme protesters.

    Because of the history, the identity of the three doctors providing abortions has been kept under wraps. None of the doctors are from Kansas and will instead be commuting to the area from outside states. This is in combination due to a shortage of doctors willing to perform abortions and also due to a fear of retribution in areas such as Kansas in which the sentiment is still hostile. One of the doctors has already received harassing calls from an activist. Phone calls were recorded and posted on a website along with the doctor’s personal information.

    David Leach, a member of the activist group Army of God, recently called Scott Roeder (the man convicted of Dr. Tiller’s murder) and posted the conversation on YouTube. The chilling conversation includes references to how someone might go kill “Julia Darkheart” which is a derogatory nickname for Julia Burkhart.

    Yet, through all this, Julia Burkhart remains firm on her mission to open the clinic doors, now named South Wind Women’s Center, and keep them open in Kansas. “The frustrations and dangers are real, and sometimes it’s scary,” she says. “But just because we happen to be in a more conservative area in the Midwest doesn’t mean women don’t need good, safe, medical care.”

    This situation highlights the current struggle of abortion in America. A daunting struggle presented by right wing and religious zealots and the few people who put their life and well-being on the line to do what they feel is right. While abortion is currently still protected by the Constitution, the realities are much grimmer. The nation faces a shortage in doctors and those involved have constantly run into roadblocks and hurdles which are sometimes insurmountable. While abortion may not be made illegal, many states have done all that they could do to make it effectively impossible to receive one. In Kansas, the fight to provide this service continues on, and Julia Burkhart prepares herself for the long battle.

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  • Margaret Thatcher dies at 87

    April 08, 2013
    Margaret Thatcher dies at 87
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    Britain’s first and only female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, passed away today. What legacy did she leave for women in politics?

    Margaret Thatcher, one of the most notable British politicians of all time, had famously predicted: “There will never be a female prime minister in my lifetime.” Little did she know that just a few years later, she would be the one proving herself wrong.

    Britain has always been a culture comfortable with matriarchy. Victoria and both Elizabeths remain our most cherished monarchs, and The Iron Lady, as Margaret Thatcher came to be known, was regarded somewhat regally herself. Today, no politician polarizes debate more fiercely; but whether you loved her or hated her, nobody would forget or ignore her.

    Margaret Thatcher was infamously pragmatic when it came to her achievements in politics. She eschewed feminism and did nothing to actively help the careers of other women in politics. Yet in doing so, she perhaps did something of even greater importance; set an example for other women to look up to.

    Say what you want about Margaret Thatcher, but everything she achieved in politics she achieved herself; and that is the sort of woman who deserves success in politics.

    In our modern era, too many people complain about the lack of women in positions of political authority, but their short-sighted efforts to redress that balance undermine their position, rather than strengthen it.

    In Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair appointed female-only candidates during the election to get more women into parliament; but they were derided as “Blair’s babes” and mocked for having been given their positions due to their gender, rather than having earned them do to their skills and tenacity as politicians.

    In America, feminists decry successful female politicians like Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin; yet they managed to achieve notable things without relying on efforts to “balance” the system. In contrast, the most famous female Democrat, Hilary Clinton, built her entire political career off the back of sharing her last name with a popular former president.

    Margaret Thatcher asked for no special treatment, and got none. She rose from being a humble shop-keeper’s daughter to being the most infamous woman in modern political history without anybody giving her special opportunities because she was a woman.

    She swam in the waters of politics when it was even more fiercely a “man’s world” and didn't just survive, but thrive. She beat the men at their own game, on a level playing field, and that means her political legacy means more than any female politician who’s come since.

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  • Steubenville – the aftermath

    March 18, 2013
    Steubenville – the aftermath
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    The Steubenville rapists, Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond, were sentenced yesterday for violating an unconscious teenager at an alcohol-fueled party. But while the cycle of justice is over; many are asking if justice has really been done.

    It’s been a rocky road.

    In December of last year, SexIs joined the national media in covering the horrific Steubenville Rape trial; in which it was alleged that a 16-year-old girl was violated by members of the Ohio town’s football team while she was unconscious – being carried, naked, from party to party and being used like a piece of meat.

    What made the story even more disturbing was that every moment of this disgusting crime was documented; in photographs, Tweets and texts sent by dozens of witnesses who took the time to record the sexual assault – but didn’t step in to try and prevent it.

    And in the ultimate act of obscenity, when word of this rape came to light in the days following the party, the football-crazy people of Steubenville didn’t demand justice; instead they closed ranks to try and protect their football team from any possible repercussion of their despicable acts.

    And they might have succeeded, if it wasn’t for Alexandria Goddard; a blogger who originally hails from Steubenville and who took it upon herself to see that justice was done.

    After hearing word of the arrests in Steubenville, she scoured social media for evidence of what had happened; and found more of it than anybody would have expected. Photographs of the seemingly comatose girl being carried wrist-and-ankle by strangers, Tweets suggesting she’d been raped and sodomized, and even frequent references to her being “dead”.

    Goddard amassed this information into a blog post, which then received a deluge of traffic from Steubenville residents who had been trying to find out more information about the two teenagers who’d been arrested – and had been stonewalled by police and local sources.

    Some have suggested that the “powers that be” in Steubenville would have successfully swept the rape under the carpet if it wasn’t for Goddard’s efforts in turning a national spotlight on a small town secret.
    But now the secret is out… what about the aftermath?

    Following a disturbing trial, in which Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond were faced with a mountain of evidence indicating their culpability (not to mention their efforts to destroy the evidence and silence witnesses afterward) justice would appear to have been done… but has it?

    On the one hand, you can simply argue that they got the best result that could have been expected. Given the circumstances, it was very difficult to prove any of the alleged offenses. There was a mountain of evidence indicating that the victim, “Jane Doe”, had been at the mercy of these boys; but very little evidence of what actually happened.

    One witness Tweeted “you don’t sleep through a wang in the butthole”, suggesting that the victim had been anally raped – but hearsay from a possible witness is not enough to convict anybody. In the texts following the arrest of Mays and Ma’Lik, there were rumors that they’d raped the victim, but they themselves denied it.

    In the end, the only thing that the prosecution could prove to any degree was that Mays and Ma’Lik had penetrated the victim with their fingers while she was unconscious – a technical definition of rape, but a largely underwhelming one according to many keeping track of the trial. Trent Mays was also convicted of circulating photographs of the girl; adding an extra year to his sentence.

    Some argued with the mechanics of the trail itself – how (because the two boys were being charged as minors) there was no jury; only a judge to reach a verdict and decide on sentencing. Others argued that the sentencing was far less than the boys deserved; again a result of the two accused young men being minors; and how the only provable sexual assault was, by some vocal supporters of the two boys, barely deserving of the term “rape.”

    But as far as due process and the rule of law goes, the prosecution got as good a result as they could have expected; especially in light of how many in the town continued to support the boys throughout the trial (victim blaming was in full effect; with many arguing the victim brought what happened upon herself by drinking and flirting before she fell unconscious.)

    But more pointed criticism has been lauded against the media; who some have accused of “taking sides” during the trial; and even trying to mitigate the accusations made against Mays and Ma’Lik.

    Thinkprogress.org argued that CNN, in particular, had tried to paint the boys as overly sympathetic “promising students” whose lives would forever be colored by being forced to register as sex offenders, something that would “haunt them for the rest of their lives.”

    They also targeted the Associated Press and USA Today for focusing too much on how the victim was intoxicated; arguing that describing her as a “drunken 16-year-old” somehow implied that she was partially responsible for what happened to her.

    TheLesbian Mafia.com was not so nuanced in their response. In their attack against the media, they spat:

    “What we hated more than anything was how the media keeps talking about the TRAGEDY that happened today in court. The TRAGEDY was not today nor did it happen in court. The TRAGEDY already HAPPENED and it was when these two raped that lil girl, dragged her around like a sack of meat, left her naked and violated, then posted pics of all the fun they had. Today was a piss poor version of JUSTICE. Two perpetrators were prevented from graduating high school and going to college and creating MORE rape victims. Today more TRAGEDY was PREVENTED. These rapists are getting locked up for half a minute so they won’t be able to create more RAPE TRAGEDY!”

    What do you think? Did the boys get the punishment they deserved? Or should they have been tried as adults (and received, as the judge even admitted during sentencing, “many years in prison.”)?

    And what of the media coverage? Fair and balanced? Or where the criticisms leveled at how the press handled the trial justified?

    We’d love to know your thoughts. Please comment below and let us know what you think!

    Continue Reading "Steubenville – the aftermath"

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  • To the Anti-Porn Brigade; it's Always 1984

    March 15, 2013
    To the Anti-Porn Brigade; it's Always 1984 © copyright: Chrissie Bentley
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    The specter of porn legislation has raised its head again in Europe, and this time they mean it

    It isn’t often that historians and social commentators can look at 1984, George Orwell’s still startling vision of a totalitarian future, and say “well, he really got that bit wrong.” Over and over again, particularly in the years since 1984 itself, we are introduced to new laws, regulations and technology that could have stepped straight out of the pages of that book, so much so that the English language even has a word for the most egregious of them. “Orwellian.”

    Closed circuit television cameras on every street. Wars that drag on for no apparent reason, other than to rouse the populace into periodic fits of patriotism. Electronic devices installed in every home, feeding your personal habits and information back to whomsoever requires it. Orwell even visualized a Ministry of Information, devoted to ensuring that the populace only hears the news that their overlords feel they should be told, and I think we can all name at least one news channel that falls into that category.

    But yes, there is one thing he got wrong. Or, if a piece of legislation that has just been introduced in European has its way, he soon will.

    If you’ve not read 1984, or if you have, but don’t remember it so well, here's a little background. Orwell wrote it in 1948 and intended it as a satire of life in England at that time, with World War II only recently ended, and everyday life a gray routine of mindless drudgery and increasingly heavy-handed government; it was only later that people realized it was also a work of remarkable prophesy. In his world, government itself is split up into various ministries - the Ministry of Love, which controls law and order. The Ministry of Plenty, which is in charge of food distribution. The Ministry of Peace, which handles war. And the Ministry of Information, which deals with everything from the news to the arts and, deep within which, we discover, there are machines that churn out ream after ream of pornography “for distribution among the proles” [the proletariat - which, in our world, equates to everybody who is not somehow employed in government].

    The Pornography section - Pornosec in the jargon of the novel (yes, he even predicted our modern obsession with that) “produce[s] booklets in sealed packets with titles like Spanking Stories or One Night In A Girls School... they openly have six plots, but they swap them round a bit.”

    Which also sounds awfully familiar today.

    So that’s pornography in 1984 - a legitimate, if tawdry, form of entertainment that may have its critics, but overall is regarded as both a healthy and a safe outlet for proletarian urges. The ruling party itself disapproves of its consumption, but as Orwell’s hero Winston observes, the ruling party isn’t that keen on sex itself, and would far prefer if all breeding was done by artificial insemination. There is even a youth movement, "The Junior Anti-Sex League", that campaigns loudly and vociferously against ... well, against sex. Something else which sounds awfully familiar today.

    Outside of those circles, though, the only real question regarding pornography would probably be the same one that our society has wrestled with for the past century - where do art, literature and sociology end, and pornography begin?

    This is not the place to even begin discussing that, because everybody has their own definition of what is and isn’t acceptable. A few outer limits are defined by the laws of the land, and that is as it should be. Otherwise, anything goes.

    Except, it seems, in the minds of the European Union legislators who are campaigning not simply to change, or even fossilize, the definitions of porn, but to outlaw it altogether. Initially on the Internet, but like so many other modern prohibitions, you know it won’t end there. An English friend recently told me of the outcry aroused when smoking was banned on public transport back in the 1980s. Thirty years on, there’s talk of outlawing it in private homes as well. She’s outraged and she’s never even smoked.

    A porn ban, doubtless, will work in the same way. It will begin by filtering the most egregious examples - again, those that are forbidden by existing law, or which could be construed as violent, dangerous or (and this is the key one, because it is so impossibly vague) “demeaning to women.”

    Construed by whom? The first time I watched the movie Deep Throat, I thought Linda Lovelace was going to choke and die, and the first time I tried it, I thought I might as well. Does that make it dangerous? Yes. Violent? It looks it. Demeaning? Well, having cum pour out of your nostrils isn’t the most uplifting image of the modern woman, is it? Ban blowjob movies.

    Japanese Hentai movies. There have already been cases of apparently innocent purchasers being investigated for offenses under various child porn statutes - because somebody looked at the wide-eyed and often flat-chested heroines of these animated sex cartoons and saw an under-age girl.

    BDSM. Fifty Shades of Grey, maybe one of the best-selling books in history, but if you read it with red pen in hand, and highlight all the passages that could be construed as violent.... Bye-bye.

    Sex toys. We think they’re fun. But most medical workers can tell you tales of how the most minor misuse can cause all manner of problems, mostly painful, sometimes debilitating. Maybe even fatal. Texas law once prohibited the private ownership of more than half a dozen dildos. A fully extended porn ban would go further. It would prohibit their sale.

    Sexis magazine. We who read and contribute to it may think we are providing a public service, an informational forum, a place where we can exchange ideas. But look at some of the topics that are broached here. All of the above and more. Shut it down.

    And so on. As so often with the law (and even if you disagree with every example I have given here and think I’m just an alarmist paranoiac, I wager you can think of at least one example), if the legislators are given an inch, they will eventually take a mile. There was a time when legal definitions, if not firm, were at least stable enough to survive a few generations. Now we are lucky if they outlast a single administration.

    Which means, if this (or similar) legislation makes it into European law... at which point, you know other countries would begin to consider it as well... it won’t matter whether you get your kicks from watching gay guys getting sodomized by dolphins, reading erotic poetry on text-only websites, or lying in the tub with your favorite vibrator.

    Big Brother won’t only be watching you. He’ll be fucking up your life as well.

    Oh, and one final point? The proposed legislation is part of a package intended to foster gender equality throughout Europe, so if it should pass... if the scourge of porn should be swept into the dustbin of unenlightened history... just think of all the other great things that will happen hand in hand.

    Women will start earning as much as men for doing the same job.

    Guys will be able to take maternity leave.

    Right wing politicians will stop talking bullshit about rape.

    And the next Pope will be named Bridget or Vanessa.

    See? They can ban porn, but they'll not stop us fantasizing.

    Continue Reading "To the Anti-Porn Brigade; it's Always 1984"

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  • War on Abortion Opens New Front Line in North Dakota

    February 19, 2013
    War on Abortion Opens New Front Line in North Dakota
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    In North Dakota, Senate bill 2303 recognizes fertilized eggs as having full legal rights.

    The right to have an abortion seems to be constantly under attack in America, and they’ve just won another victory in North Dakota.

    Senate Bill 2303, which recognized that fertilized eggs had “full legal rights”, wriggled through the house by the narrowest of margins – one vote.

    The bill will now be sent to the predominantly pro-life state representatives for a vote, and then presumably passed to Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota’s Governor, for his signature. As a Republican, it’s doubtful that he’d veto it.

    What does this mean to the people of North Dakota? That performing or receiving an abortion of any kind – even taking the Morning After Pill or having an IUD fitted – could potentially be classed as a felony. The bill specifically defines a person as “a human being at all stages” which would also mean destroying fertilized eggs during fertility treatment could, likewise, be classified as murder.

    Inevitably, any new law restricting access to abortion will face legal challenges, and the landmark ruling of Roe vs. Wade will likely stand and force the courts to overturn this law. But in the mean-time, it further limits a woman’s access to safe and legal abortion in North Dakota, and is likely to encourage even more aggressive attempts by pro-life lawmakers throughout the states to end abortion.

    Making matters worse, the North Dakota senate also passed a seemingly redundant bill making it a crime to perform abortions later than 20 weeks (far shorter than the existing limit of 25 weeks). The logic behind passing a bill to merely limit abortion while you simultaneously pass a bill to criminalize it outright might be lost on me, but it’s a powerful one-two punch to the pro-choice movement.

    What impact do you think these bills will have on the abortion debate?

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  • Domestic Violence the same for the LGB community.

    February 09, 2013
    Domestic Violence the same for the LGB community. © http://www.helpguide.org/
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    A new report shows domestic violence occurs at the same rate for those in the LGB community in their lifetime as they do for heterosexuals.

    A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that domestic violence occurs at the same rate for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals over their lifetime as they do for heterosexuals, thus dispelling the myth that gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships are at lower risk for violent and abusive behavior. Stereotypes of promiscuity and inability to maintain monogamous relationship in LGB relationships help propel the myth that they are at lower risk of violence and abuse by their intimate partners.

    Domestic abuse was once known as spousal abuse, thus making it only possible between the relationship of a man and woman. As we emerge from the dark ages of sexual ignorance, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves and protect ourselves, no matter how ugly domestic violence is. Something that some might want to turn a blind eye to. It's easier to ignore that domestic violence affects both heterosexual and LGB couples than to acknowledge it exists, because acknowledging it means that domestic violence exists, making it preventable. By becoming aware and promoting non-violent relationships regardless of sexual orientation, we can we help prevent and stop violence within relationships.

    It isn't always easy to know if you're in an abusive relationship, even when it is physical. Denial and love are powerful emotions that can blindside anyone. Emotional verbal abuse or stalking may be harder to detect. It is important to know the signs so that you can recognize them in yourself and those around you.

    Remember, no means no in casual or serious relationships. If your partner has a temper, frequently makes threats, or makes you feel like you might be in danger, that is abuse. A partner that threatens suicide or self harm as a means for control is an abusive partner. If you feel anxious, hopeless, or even numb towards your partner, that could be a sign of abuse. Friends that have bruises or attempt to hide injuries may be a friend in danger. A good friend that suddenly has to seek permission to speak to you or visit might be in an abusive relationship. When they become extremely isolated, meek, or shy, they may be a friend in need. Knowing and looking for these signs can save a person.

    Awareness and vigilance are the first steps toward prevention. But understanding that domestic violence is not just limited by race, gender, or sexual orientation is a vital first step in recognizing and understanding domestic abuse.

    This first time national study shows that gay, lesbian and bisexual people are just as vulnerable to domestic violence as heterosexuals. Acts of rape, violence, and stalking do not discriminate based on sexual orientation. Bisexual women are at higher risk (61.1%) than either lesbians (43.8%) or straight women (35%). Despite sexual orientation, women are more commonly assaulted by males in almost all cases. However, lesbians are most commonly abused by women, bisexual women are most commonly abused by males, and gay men are most often abused by other gay men. While one in seven men are likely to be victimized, nearly one in four women are.

    Continue Reading "Domestic Violence the same for the LGB community."

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  • Will Gay Marriage Become a Reality in the UK?

    February 05, 2013
    Will Gay Marriage Become a Reality in the UK?
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    Marriage Equality advocates in Britain are finally looking to make gay marriage legal – but will they succeed?

    Today, the Members of Parliament in Britain are going to vote on the issue of gay marriage.

    For years now, same-sex couples have been allowed to have “civil unions” in the UK, which ostensibly offer all the same rights and benefits of “real” marriage. However, there has been increasing dissatisfaction with this arrangement, as many view it as a broken compromise.

    My friend Emma explained the problem with Civil Unions perfectly on Facebook today:

    Nothing will take away from the commitment I made in my civil partnership, and it was every bit the perfect wedding, but the very fact that some people are holding on to this vestige of traditionalism and deciding to vote against the bill shows that in others' eyes, there still is some distinction between marriage and civil partnership - if it was already considered equal, this would be a non-issue.

    “For each time I've had to tick 'civilly-partnered' over 'married' on a form, for the time the doctor said 'civil partnership - is that real? is that legal?', for each time I've had to explain that 'yes, it's like marriage, but not called marriage', I hope the ministers vote YES today.


    That, to me, explains why it’s so important that this bill passes – because the current compromise is poisonous to any notion of true “equality.”

    A few years ago, when civil unions were first made legal in the UK, we Brits were incredibly self-satisfied about how we’d “solved” the problem of gay marriage; and finally found a solution for same-sex couples who wanted to make a commitment to each other.

    But the fact that there was always a clear distinction between the definition of “marriage” and the definition of “civil unions” meant that they were never truly equal. In fact, the whole arrangement reminded me of all the segregation laws in the American deep south, which had promised to keep blacks and whites “separate, but equal” yet never lived up to the “equal” part of that promise.

    The proposal to bring true marriage equality to Britain is being driven by the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government, headed by Prime Minister David Cameron and backed by some of the country’s most respect politicians.

    In a letter appealing to other MPs to support the measure, MPs William Hague, George Osborne and Theresa May argued: “It’s no longer acceptable to exclude people from marriage simply because they love someone of the same sex,” and insisted that supporting the bill was “the right thing to do at the right time.”

    But passage of the same-sex marriage bill is far from guaranteed – and, ironically, opposition to the bill comes not from David Cameron’s political opponents, but from within the ranks of his own government.

    More than half of the 305 Conservative MPs in Parliament have threatened to vote against the bill; threatening its passage, and hinting at a deep division within the government.

    Conservative backbencher Nadine Dorries argued that the bill undermined “traditional” families, claiming: “The evidence to prove that the traditional family structure, of mum, dad and children is the one which works best for a strong society is overwhelming.” She makes this assertion despite the fact that she, herself, is a single mother to three daughters, who abandoned her husband to pursue her political career.

    There is also considerable opposition to the bill outside of the halls of Parliament; especially from within the Church of England, where performing same-sex marriage will be illegal and lobbyists like Roger Scruton and Phillip Blond, of think tank ResPublica, claim that same-sex marriage “will erode and ultimately destroy the meaning of marriage.”

    Even pro-gay advocates have their own criticism of the bill, with blogger Stayvers arguing that the proposal was a pointless and cynical gesture by conservatives, because, “It doesn’t make any structural changes to the existing social order, rewards gay couples for behaving in a way which society deems palatable, and manages to appear progressive. It’s a win all round for the powerful.”

    But ultimately, my ears are deaf to all this criticism. I have yet to hear a cohesive argument against allowing same-sex marriage that isn’t mired in appeals to “tradition” or religious bigotry. But my friend Emma sums up the issue far better than I ever could:

    As far as I'm concerned, the biggest threat to marriage isn't more marriage. It's divorce. We got over that one about 500 years ago. Love makes up the majority of my DNA, I'm pretty sure of it. Love has to win today.

    Hopefully, love will. You can track the events in parliament as they happen here, on the Politics.co.uk live feed hosted by Parliamentary journalist Ian Dunt.

    Continue Reading "Will Gay Marriage Become a Reality in the UK?"

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  • Preschool Closes Amidst Sex Scandal Between Students

    February 04, 2013
    Preschool Closes Amidst Sex Scandal Between Students
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    A California Lutheran preschool is in hot water due to allegations of sex between its young students. Unanswered questions still exist about where students learned of these sexual acts in the first place and what the long-term consequences will be.

    A California Lutheran preschool is closing its doors under allegations that its 4 and 5 year old students committed sex acts on each other during school hours. First Lutheran Church of Carson School is facing a lawsuit from parents of several children after learning of the sexual activities. According to reports, the acts took place during nap time, in an outside bathroom, and on the school's playground.

    So far, two boys and one girl are known to have been directly involved, though it is expected that others may come forward as well. "Their lives will be ruined in many ways," said attorney Greg Owen, "And we know there are many more." Investigators visited the home of the little girl involved but did not find any evidence of child abuse. According to her mother, when asked about where she learned this concerning behavior, she stated that she had seen another little girl at school do it at nap time. The little girl also said that sexual acts, including touching and exposing themselves, were a very common occurrence at her school.

    Owen, who is an attorney representing several parents of the California school's students, states, "It all boils down to a lack of supervision. There were times when teachers would let aides in the room for hours at a time to watch the kids. During nap time, the aides would be sleeping, and the children would have been molesting each other during this time."

    The California Department of Social Services has cited First Lutheran Church of Carson School with "at least one sexual incident that involved young students." Other reported charges include "overall lack of supervision and an improper teacher-child ratio."

    The school, however, states that it is closing amid the resignation of its director, who alleges that the closing has to do with personal issues rather than the accusations of wrongdoing.

    Parents of the children who attended the school are struggling with the long term consequences of what occurred at the preschool and grappling with what to do with their children after the school closes. According to the father of one of the two boys, "There's no way I can just take him to another school and be that parent that just lets a predator loose. How else do you explain it?" He states that his son has become troubled since the acts occurred, unable to fully understand what has happened due to his young age.

    The concerns are not limited just to the three children involved, either. The exposure of the other children to these acts worries parents of some of the other children as well. “There were many children lying there, and they watched these acts. In our business and in psychological terms, that's sexualizing a child at a young age,” says one parent.

    What do you think? Are school officials entirely to blame in this incident? Do parents play any role in this strange and disturbing incident? Do you think further investigation needs to occur into whether sexual abuse was going on in the homes of the children involved?

    Continue Reading "Preschool Closes Amidst Sex Scandal Between Students"

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