Randy, Oral Roberts’ Gay Grandson, Says: ‘#ItGetsBetter…and It’s Complicated.’


Close-Up – by A. R. Ammons

Are all these stones


I said

and the mountain



but reluctant to

admit my praise could move it much


shook a little

and rained a windrow ring of stones

to show

that it was so


Stone felled I got

up addled with dust


and shook


without much consequence


Obviously I said it doesn’t pay

to get too

close up to



and the mountain friendless wept

and said

it couldn’t help


Re-Imagining Religion: “Falling In Love Will Not Send You to Hell.”

                          – Randy Roberts Potts

“All students are required to sign a pledge stating they will live according to the university’s honor code. Prohibited activities include lying, cursing, smoking, drinking, and a range of sexual acts including homosexual behavior and sex outside marriage.”

                                                                   – Excerpt, ORU Student Codes , Oral Roberts University

Wouldn’t you know it: every time the “gay agenda” is reexamined, the “master plan” appears to become more and more normal on the face of it. Because it is.

“The gay agenda” is “the human agenda:” we all want love. Hope. Home. Family. We all desire the same things.

Back in 2010, Oral Roberts’ out, gay grandson Randy Roberts Potts read a letter to his closeted gay Uncle Ronnie (Oral Roberts’ eldest son) and recorded a viral video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYa0wi4XzeI) to honor Ronnie’s life, as unfortunately, his uncle had already passed away when Randy was just a kid (in June of 1982).

Randy’s irrepressible spirit remains to alchemize life’s tests and turn them into life’s testimonies.

In the video, after 2:38 minutes of silence (during which time we see the handwritten letter for his uncle), Potts reads a revelatory poem entitled “Close-Up” written by A. R. Ammons. Then, Randy moves into his own compelling testimony about the strange magic behind growing up with a gay uncle (around whom Randy’s mom was most captivated), and how it affected Potts himself.

We witness Potts as he entreats Ronnie’s spirit (for healing? For explanations?), “When my mother spoke of you, a look of awe lit up her face. You were the one voice in her life that could inhabit multiple worlds at once…. You stood for everything she was afraid I would become: gay, intellectual, and godless. And yet nothing caused my mother’s face to light up like your memory. I was jealous, and I always hoped to be you.”

Randy recounts following in his uncle’s footsteps simply by following his heart, and reminisces about the tragedy of losing a loved one who took his own life because he felt he had no options. No hope. Because he felt that life would not and could not get better.

“I’ve seen pain and loss and sorrow,” Potts continues. “I would have held you in my arms had I been a man at the time…. but there’s no one holding you, because you’re holding on to no one. And now I’m here sharing the same destiny…. your path and mine are crossed. They intersect…in some ridiculous dance.”

With a tonality not unlike Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight,” Potts brings us into present day. Yes, he is angry, but we can somehow see the light at the end of the tunnel, the burning hot flames of passion for living forever aglow in Randy’s heart. We somehow feel his uncle lives in some kind of virtual second life, through Randy.

Another “Gay Agenda,” Another Pleasant Valley Sunday.

Oral Roberts was the first and one of the biggest of the televangelists. He brought the Pentecostal faith to mainstream America, he started a self-named university, and of course lived a rich life through his relentless please for money from his followers. His grandson Randy Roberts Potts grew up with him…steeped in that really sheltered, Far Right Christian world. Now he’s following a calling like his grandfather, but with an unexpected message.”

Reporter Page Hopkins for MSNBC

In sharing his story with MSNBC, Potts did indeed reveal he’d felt suicidal too—coming out was unthinkable to him. Having married a woman and raising three children with her, Potts’ coming out narrative is a common one that always feels mysterious and new during the discovery process. He told Hopkins, “Honestly, I thought I was just a really good christian that I just didn’t sexualize women.”

Though Potts’ closeted gay uncle passed away when Randy was just a boy, as he unfolded the discoveries about Ronnie’s life, they paralleled discoveries of his own.

It is now Randy’s life mission to reach back across the table and minister tolerance and inclusiveness to evangelicals themselves. Potts informed Page Hopkins that he’s doing so non-publicly, holding confidential meetings with religious leaders and consulting with them regarding family cohesion, suicide prevention and myriad other positive effects of practicing religious tolerance.

In one of the most romantic and courageous activism campaigns out there, Potts and his partner are now conducting what they call an ongoing “performance project designed for conservative towns with visuals of domestic gay life.” Potts is setting up storefronts from town to town , choosing to put his normal day-in day-out familial relationships on display, in a performance art piece called—what else…

“…The Gay Agenda.



Reach out to Randy @randyrpotts and connect with ORU Out, ORU LGBTQ alumni and ombudsmen) at http://oru-out.tumblr.com.

To watch Potts’ It Gets Better video in its entirety, please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYa0wi4XzeI

Have you got time to sit and pray a while? Check out Randy Roberts Potts – Re-Imagining Religion Series at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uYWf2WfPH8. During his ministerial speech in this video, Potts reveals that his brother is also gay and his family still ostracizes them both.


And for more information about suicide prevention and LGBTQIA resources and support, please visit the It Gets Better Project at http://www.itgetsbetter.org.






“Moscow Is Not Sodom:” Valeriya, Russia’s Madonna, Worries About Gay Propaganda

| “ RT @BBCNewsnight: Russian Singer Valeriya Perfilova says she worries about..influence of ‘gay propaganda’ on her children #newsnight ” |

Don’t Tell Me.” I Won’t Ask You.

Gay? Out? Don’t tell Valeriya about it. The living, thriving spirit of Pussy Riot continues to push the dialogue forward and keep LGBTQIA rights, allies’ rights and progressive activism in the planet’s consciousness.

In what’s being called a new gay holocaust, Russia’s resurgence of anti-gay sentiment (including myriad anti-gay/anti-ally/anti-activism laws) continues to change hands and to be bandied about by various talking heads. The revolving door of anti-gay rhetoric moves from the streets to the legislature to celebrity mouthpieces and back again.

One of the more prominent voices fearful of “gay propaganda” is Valeriya Perfilova, considered by many to be Russia’s version of Madonna. The singer directly benefits from (but does not publicly acknowledge) the love of her LGBTQ fans.


Using the Word “Propaganda” As Propaganda

Having sold over 100 million records worldwide, Perfilova is mainly known by her one-name moniker (see: Cher, Madonna) Valeriya. In her press materials, she appropriates much of Madonna’s heat, style and vibe—but somehow, she manages to kick the gay-friendly part of Madonnaisms to the curb. This is particularly unfortunate, as the singer’s a domestic abuse survivor and her body of work does much to buoy the spirits of female abuse survivors (all the while redirecting abusive behaviors toward another culture).

In a June 2013 broadcast with BBC Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman and Russian gay activist Anton Krasovsky, Valeriya championed a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell-esque” viewpoint, towing the party line that LGBTQ persons should not be seen or heard as such.

Regarding Russia’s anti-gay legislation, Valeriya began:

“It was funny to me, because it’s nothing to do with politics. Being the mother of three children, I approve this [anti-gay] bill… I don’t want to meddle with other people’s lives. I don’t care what they do behind their doors. But I do care about my children’s bringing up [i.e. upbringing]…. The vast majority of people in Russia, 88 percent of people, support the ban of homosexuality propaganda. That’s a fact. And this bill responds to people’s demand. That’s all.”


L.W.Q: Living While Queer & Beingness As Illegal

Here’s a bit of a backgrounder: in January of this year, former Russian TV journalist and presenter Anton Krasovsky came out on Russian television and was fired immediately thereafter.

Now, back to Newsnight—during the BBC television broadcast, Krasovsky brought forth the idea—and his lived experience—that essentially now in Russia, it’s illegal to be gay.

Holding back uncomfortable laughter, Krasovsky couldn’t hold back the irony of the situation:

“I’m glad that that situation is funny for Valeriya,” he responded. “But it’s not fun for me. I think it’s against me. Against my family. Against all gay people in Russia…. From today, I cannot say that I’m gay and I’m the same human being…like all of you. From today, I’ll have to pay for this. From a hundred to two-thousand pounds. Because these words could be taken as propaganda.”

The beingness of gay life, being LGBTQ, being a questioning soul, being LGBTQ and out, or even advocating for those who are—in Krasovsky’s experience and in his own words, now this is a crime in and of itself, no matter what one does or does not do. It’s about the beingness now. Beyond being a thought-crime, this is L.W.Q. “living while queer.”



Some of My Best Friends Are Gay…

Ironies continue to prevail. In 2008, Valeriya became a goodwill envoy for the Russian Federation on behalf of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an agency to combat human trafficking. She’s been bequeathed with honors and endorsement deals from Avon, from a custom perfumier, from MuzTV and MTV Russia. She was awarded the title of “Honoured Artiste of Russia” by Putin, and has been cited by Forbes magazine as one of the 50 most highly-paid people in movie, sport, literature and music.

All this to say her platform and audience is immense, and the Russian government is using her star power to their full advantage.

During Newsnight Valeriya continued, “I have a lot of friends who belong to gay society, and they do not support their unisexual marriages. They would never take part in gay parades. They’re just normal people. They do their business…. are still working on TV, the media. I don’t know why it happened to you [Anton].”

But of course, the “friends” are not out—or as Anton Krasovsky put it, they are not “open gays.”

To watch the full video, visit the YouTube link below.

BBC News – What gay ‘propaganda’ vote tells us about Russia Today:


Connect with Anton Krasovsky at @krasovkin and share your thoughts with BBC Newsnight @BBCNewsnight.


The Great Gay Migration – Suze Orman Urges Gay Couples to Move for Marriage Equality

Love Wins: Respect For Marriage Finds Federal Support – But Which States Are Most Supportive?Love Wins: Respect For Marriage Finds Federal Support – But Which States Are Most Supportive?

“People ask, ‘What’s the big deal about being married,?’ When it comes to insurance, estate benefits, pensions, it’s really important that this happens on the federal level, not just the state level.”

– Suze Orman

Financial consultant, author and CNBC TV personality Suze Orman recently told the press that gay couples should put their money where equality lives—so much so, that they should move to pro marriage equality states.

In March of this year, Orman voiced her opinions on the MSNBC program “Now With Alex Wagner.”She’s concerned about the livelihood of herself and partner Kathy Travis (Orman often affectionately calls her “KT”), and she wants to defend the rights of committed couples everywhere.

Sharing the platform with Congressman Sean Maloney (the first openly gay congressman from New York), Orman broached the topic earnestly, saying: “Here’s the thing…gay people understand very well that when they get married, that is a legal document. And when you get married, that means if you don’t want to stay together anymore, then you are going to have to go through a serious divorce.”

She continued, “I care about every single gay person out there. I care about every single straight person out there that knows somebody who’s gay.”

“Currently I am a resident of Florida … and I would be more than happy to go and move. I have substantial wealth.  I pay substantial taxes… I would be more than happy to move to New York or California if I could get married and be recognized on a federal level, because I want to live in a state that validates me, and I would validate them with my money.”

As a Fort Lauderdale, FL resident, Suze Orman made her comments before Section 3 of the  Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court (thereby no longer preventing the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples). Her words continue to reverberate in the community.

Federal and state agencies still have to be about the business of enforcing the overturned law, trying to standardize what it means in terms of state-to-state protections, and engendering the transition throughout the US in terms of granting benefits and myriad other legal rights for couples.

Activists continue to encourage LGBTQ people to vote with their dollars and embody their feelings through proactively standing a stand. Though Florida has no state income tax, Orman told the press a move could still save her millions of dollars, so she continues to ponder moving to a state that’s more supportive for gay couples, such as California.

“KT is not for that, just so you know,” Orman recently told The Huffington Post. “I really think that it is…important that all of us support states that support us.”

So what’s next for LGBTQ legally married folks? Do we stay in less progressive states and fight for our own benefits where we live, or move to places where we are afforded more legal protections?



Et Tu, LGBTQ? | Gays Don’t Want to Get Gay-Married

“Men have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the altar – whether they’re straight or gay. Marital data obtained by The Post show a stark, 3-to-2 ratio of lesbian marriages, compared to all-male unions. Can we finally stop pretending that gay men are interested in getting ‘married?’”

– Joe Carter, FirstThings.com

Psst… Opinions Come In All The Colors of the Rainbow

Feelgood marriage equality campaigns make front page news. When it comes to marriage equality, dissent and debate on the subject “doesn’t bleed, therefore it doesn’t lead.”

Emotional appeals, petitions and yummy flash mobs are changing the tides, and they do bring with them a healthy amount of influence. Recent and continued marriage equality victories around the world (http://gayagenda.com/?s=marriage) are a testament to the fact that people are paying attention and spreading the word about freedom for everyone to marry. This translates to success in legislative arenas.

With each new court victory, aftershocks move from one blogger, activist and journalist to another—from one dissenting voice in this or that bar, library, or LGBT center and back again. It sounds like this: “We’re pressured to be good little gays or assimilationist queers, and to fit in. I don’t give a toss about fitting in. You can take your marriage rights and shove ’em!”

You don’t have to go too far to find all any “hell-no’ers.” Just turn your head to the side, away from the press, and voila!

Is it just men who don’t want to hook up…with one person…legally…for life?

Anecdotal evidence could tell you otherwise—check in with your women friends and have a good, long listen. Let’s not talk about the “sanctity of hetero marriage” viewpoint today. But since those dissenters exist (and hold political power), many LGBTQ folks who are politically active or vehemently anti-marriage will align with them—even if those fellow dissenters are anti-gay—so long as they’re against gay marriage in particular. (See” Gay Marriage Agenda” arguments at http://queerkidssaynomarriage.wordpress.com.)

When you think about the concept of “gay marriage,” it can feel confusing. We don’t say “hetero marriage” or “wo/man marriage.” The words “gay marriage” channel utterances of otherness between the syllables. (Like, “Look at this cute kitty marriage on YouTube!” ”Look Honey, it’s the Gays and the Gay Marriage thing on TV!”)

Too, the phrase by nature excludes LBTQ…and IA from the discussion (and other more inclusive acronyms and letters as they evolve, deserving upgraded legal protections as well). Allies are often though not always queer and questioning, and not just straight-identified. Queer culture is fluid like that. The words “gay marriage” can sound like something that needs to be tracked for stats’ sake. The phrase sounds “like an issue: gay marriage, teen pregnancy, drug addiction.”

Here’s the thing—gay marriage is still an issue. When holding hands in public or private space means risking your life, safety or livelihood, that’s a serious issue. When access into hospital rooms to see a hubby or wifey of 10 years (or a month, a year) is denied, what would that be, if not an issue?

The wording is telling: politically in terms of entitlement, agency, money, class (and other bonuses,), it is said that “gay men get the goodies first,” and the rest trickles on over to the other letters in the LGBTQI alphabet. Why, for instance, isn’t marriage equality called “queer marriage” or “LGBTQIA marriage?” “Trans marriage equality” as another concept that’s a tangential, cut-and-paste amalgam of legal and relational ideas still being hammered out.

As for getting goodies first, enjoying the first bits of crumbs when the expectation and norm is the whole damned pie, it’s a “faux privileged” state of affairs, anyhow. This isn’t the space for vilifying gay men by any means, even if they have no interest in sharing spectral space and rights.

The word gay is often interchangeably used in the place of LGBTQIA when we discuss everything from culturality to entertainment, still, the shortcut seems to add “suffer it to be so now” elements to activism work that can’t make good progress if it’s mired in gradualism.

Complicated, no doubt.

The pomp and romance wedding circumstance is something we need to love up on and appreciate. What’s life without love? Weddings are a gorgeous metaphor. Queer folks deserve that option. When the legal equality honeymoon ends and ends again state-by-state, we need to continue to do the work of commitment and marriage to the entire community.

These LGBTQ folks aren’t so keen on everybody getting “gay-married up.” Here are 11 different ways to think about things. Folks are saying:

1) No wedding, thanks: “We just wanna f*ck.” – http://www.vice.com/read/dont-celebrate-the-gay-marriage-victory-with-a-wedding-of-your-own

2) “Just because I’m not married doesn’t mean I have to be gay. Or that I should get married. Even if I am gay. Or…lesbian. Whatever. None of your business. Shut up!” (Anonymous anecdotal pull quote)

3) “Why can’t they take the opportunity to add trans rights into the experience? If I’m transitioning and not the supposed correct legal gender, or if I choose to marry a woman or a man, I should have legal protection for that.” (Anonymous anecdotal pull quote)

4) Poly people can be queer and committed too. Duh! (Anonymous anecdotal pull quote)

5) I just “don’t want to get gay married.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liz-wallace/why-i-dont-want-to-get-gay-married_b_1544781.html

6) “Hi, I live in Europe.” Non, merci: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/most-homosexuals-dont-want-to-marry-or-adopt-french-homosexual-leader-admit/

7) “Marriage is dumb. They just want your LGBT money, Honey.” https://creatingclare.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/silly-gay-people-dont-you-know-marriage-is-for-dummies.

Somebody wrote a song about –wanna hear it? Here it comes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQh5G8mOiSA

8) “Congratulations, you’re boring now:” http://nogaymarriage.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/congratulations-new-york

9) “Equality” isn’t enough. “Gay marriage apes hetero privilege.” http://www.againstequality.org/about/marriage

10) “We’re going to be rejected anyway, no matter what we do, so what’s the use of fighting for it?” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/02/26/gays-who-dont-want-gay-marriage.html

11) You can “find your way,” and stay committed – it doesn’t have to be “conventional.” http://jezebel.com/5328896/nro-valentino-proves-people-dont-want-gay-marriage

Marry Gay? N-F-Way.

If you want to surf the #MarryGayNFWay train, you’ll find many bloggers out there to help you make that happen– many of whom bring to light salient points, and stats upon stats of support. Begin your journey at Gays Against Gay Marriage.(http://nogaymarriage.wordpress.com). Wear protective gear.

This writer believes in love. You can call it what you want, but you’d better get it while the getting is good.

And you? Do you get it?

Just Say YES to Kermit the Frog’s Gay Rainbow Connection Video

Let’s just get this out of the way: clicking on most of the videos below is reserved for adults only, NSFW, and utterly hilarious. All clear? All righty, then.

It’s true: “Same Love” (http://gayagenda.com/same-love-success) is gorgeous, beautiful, lyrical and incredible. Sometimes, it’s good to know we can joke together about marriage equality, too.

Hot on the strappy, red high heels of bawdy, silly or NSFW gay parody video zingers from IT GETS BETTERISH, Jonny McGovern the Gay Pimp (“Lookin’ Cute Feelin’ Cute”) CmaddoxBiitch‎ (Drag Tyra “smizing,”) ANY of Willam’s or Margaret Cho’s gay-themed clips, Sassy Gay Friend, and RuPaul’s “Peanut Butter” (you get the idea…)

…comes a Muppets-esque sing-a-long that’s less kid-friendly, more gay-friendly, and extremely ridiculous.

This “Kermie-inspired” creation by Raging Artist TV is a cleverly veiled spoof of “The Rainbow Connection” song and Muppets movie clip. A Kermit the Frog(ish), sweetly-voiced impersonator sings about marriage equality, divorce’s inevitability, and somehow works in kiddie rants about gay sex in North Korea, as well as controversy surrounding the Pope.

Sounds Ridiculous? It is. Get the idea?

Choice (and less racy)  lyric highlights include:

“Weddings are nightmares/People want them/so who cares/If it’s two girls or two guys?”


“Someday we’ll all get/The Rainbow Connection/And all get divorced, probably” (Then Kermit adds, “Just saying, statistically speaking, it doesn’t look good.”)

The Kermit parody video’s creator Hersh Rephun said he was inspired by his frustration: “My comedy comes from the things that make me cry,”  Rephun said. “If I could write sad and beautiful music, this would be a much more serious video about marriage equality and finally being on the right side of history. Instead, it has Muppets getting divorced.”

We couldn’t find video of Kermit twerking,” he continued. “But I hope the kids and the dirty old men watch anyway.”

With all this snarky, crunchy goodness sung to the tune of the Rainbow Connection, once you take a listen and have a look, you’ll never feel the same about that song again. If you’re looking for a politically correct, feelgood singalong, you’d better keep on looking.

The (of course not officially affiliated) folks at The Jim Henson Company and at Disney have yet to make a statement about it, but the video’s making a strong enough statement of its own.

There are tons of other snicker-inducing marriage equality videos out there, like:

Dustin Lance Black’s Prop 8 The Musical – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug3YkVhkemg

Louis CK on Gay Marriage – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPvVnrV1tow

Pt. 1. Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-YCdcnf_P8

Pt. 2.  Gay Women Will Marry Your Boyfriends – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0Be8LnuG3U

Todrick Halls’ celebrity-packed video, “Cinderfella” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9ZA7bn5ujk

Smurfs For Marriage Equality  – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE_EawP3-h4

(George Takei, Jane Lynch, Alicia Silverstone and more in) Funny or Die’s A Gaythering Storm –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnsG008ntYY

The Lonely Island – Spring Break Gay Anthem – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUw4Qh9uFK8

The Gay “Marry Me” – Eurovision 2013 Parody – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNUN_GLaIjY

And a gaggle of magical Marriage Equality memes for good measure. – http://politicalhumor.about.com/b/2013/03/28/funniest-redesigns-of-the-marriage-equality-sign-on-facebook.htm

So let’s go: let’s laugh our way to the LGBT right to marry (even if you think weddings suck!) and keep fighting the good fight.

Hot or Not? Funny…or just dumb? Do you think Kermit’s gay-friendly Rainbow Connection video gets the message across, or what? Tell us what’s on your mind, Darlings…



California Allows Gay Marriage, but School Doesn’t

Rally and Online Petition for Fired Gay Teacher

A popular English teacher at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora, California has been fired not for incompetence, but because news of his same-sex wedding went public.  The teacher, Ken Bencomo, 45, married his partner of 10 years, Christoper Persky, on July 1 in a civil ceremony at San Bernandino City Hall of Records.  They were among the first gay couples to wed after the Supreme Court struck down Proposition 8 in California.

The pictures of the wedding, accompanied an article about marriage equality, were in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on July 1st and created quite a stir with the Catholic private high school’s administration which employed Bencomo.  Just days after the newspaper photos appeared, this head of the English Department, a Rancho Cucamongo resident, was fired because “his marriage violated the Catholic church’s teachings based on Roman Catholic tradition. Gay marriage goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Bencomo vs. St. Lucy’s Priory High School

Bencomo was told on July 12 by the school that his teaching contract for the fall would not be renewed.  Bencomo’s lawyer Patrick McGarrigle contends that the school knew Bencomo was gay for at least ten of the seventeen years he taught as he brought his partner to school functions.  Bencomo may sue the school.

Although the school purports that “it does not discriminate against teachers or other school employees based on their private lifestyle choices, public displays of behavior that are directly contrary to church teachings are inconsistent with these values.”  The Catholic Church does not consider homosexuality a sin per se, but only if you act on it.

Rally Planned for August 4 to Reinstate Teacher

Former St. Lucy’s student Brittany Littleton, describes Bencomo as a “beloved mentor, confidant, and educator.” Littleton, now 23, launched a petition that has garnered 45,000 signatures.  She will deliver the petition at a press conference on August 8th at the school where former and current students as well as faculty will gather to show support for Bencomo in a peaceful rally.


Gay Marriage in French Prison Is Actually Anti-Gay Marriage

As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Trying to beat them by joining them is one of the newest anti-gay marriage protests in France.

Last week, news outlets were buzzing as two male inmates, both serving long sentences for murder, were married in a civil ceremony.

Germain Gaiffe and Alfredo Stranieri had their “wedding ceremony” in a high-security prison at Poissy, near Paris. Gaiffe received a 30-yar sentence for beheading and chopping up a shopkeeper into pieces, and Stranieri gained the nickname the “small ads killer,” since he targeted his victims through classified advertisements, and was given a life sentence for killing four people and burying them in his garden. Both were sentenced in 2003.

As if the story needed more momentum, the two witnesses for the couple had a sort of celebrity status as well, in as distasteful of a light as those wed. Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a controversial comedian who is vocally anti-gay marriage and anti-Semitic, and Iich Ramírez Sánchez, internationally known terrorist and better known as “Carlos the Jackal,” was transferred to the prison for the ceremony. He is serving two life sentences for a raid in Vienna on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) headquarters in 1975, killing three people (though by his count he’s killed many more), and multiple bomb plots in Paris in the 1980s.

Does it all seem a bit too over-the-top? Others have thought so as well. The penitentiary union UFAP-Unsa Justice at the prison said that the wedding came from “just a desire to make some buzz,” and was altogether a “non-event.”

To discredit the couple further of supporting same-sex marriage in general, in 2011 they claimed to have fathered the child of a former French Politician, Rachida Dati, and courts added three months to each inmate’s time because of the defaming nature of the comments on Dati.

After same-sex marriage was legalized back in May there have been several protests by those in favor of “traditional” marriage and who have spoken out against lgbt rights.

Because of those in attendance, and the altogether high-profile nature of the ceremony, some are seeing past the shocking headlines and are realizing the absurdity of the situation. While anti-lgbt activists will likely use this prison wedding as ammunition against queer rights movements, possibly worldwide, more are coming to see it as less reality and more farce.

#ProudToLove: Rainbow-Hearted Reflections on YouTube’s First LGBT Pride Celebration

Loving Equality: Making Summer of Love More #ProudToLove

England’s marriage equality law becomes official in a matter of days.  Marriage Equality and DOMA decisions in the United States continue to send a positive beacon of hope to LGBTQ folks everywhere.

“Set those precedents,” the Litigating Angels seem to be telling us, blowing their glittery faery dust around the world.

Okay, sure…“faery dust” is a bit much—but c’mon: this is the queer “Interwebs” we’re talkin’ about!

With the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court (lifting the same-sex marriage ban) and California following suit, the launch of YouTube’s official LGBTQ-themed #ProudToLove channel rides the waves of change that continue to ripple worldwide.

Continuing its yearly site-wide support of gay rights, parent company Google Inc. created YouTube’s #ProudToLove channel http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbpi6ZahtOH6Ep59vnHOZ0KBngOp-XiUP) and video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDm0zsw9vjY) on June 27.

In like fashion, Google relaunched its customary Rainbow Colored search results just in time for the summer of pride.  This yearly Easter Egg that revealed itself when visitors typed  LGBTQ-focused keywords like “gay,” “lesbian,” “transgender,” “marriage equality,” LGBT” or “bisexual”  (Google’s rainbow search results have been a tradition since 2008—or eons, in Internet years).

Graced with the soundtrack of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love,” YouTube’s #ProudToLove video featured military “coming out” confessionals, Ellen DeGeneres, teenaged hero Jonah Mowry, Davey Wavey, Latrice Royale, Chaz Bono & Cher, Dan Savage, George Takei, Barack Obama at the White House LGBT Pride Month Reception, Willam Belli, and several uber-romantic LGBTQ-themed marriage proposals, all culminating in emphatic yeses.

Prominent and renowned LGBTQ advocacy organizations–if they weren’t already

partnered with the campaign–quickly posted #ProudToLove content in solidarity, chiming in with words, images, videos and sentiments of their own.

Other #ProudToLove ripple effects and highlights include:

Detractors have tried to troll this hashtag and idea, finding little success so far.  Such is the beauty of hashtags: creating instantaneous solidarity and community-building becomes easy-to-understand and propagate.

Pride Month’s really happening all summer long.  Isn’t that always the way?  Kudos to all for making Pride newsworthy every single day.

Being #ProudToLove is an international thing—how do you show your pride?  Who or what are you #ProudToLove? Share your thoughts, videos and tweets with us.  Make sure to include the hashtag, so your peeps can find you!


Gay Marriage Opponents in France More Violent and More Pink

If you’ve been worried about protesters arguing against gay marriage in the United States, you should hear about what’s been going on in France. Gay marriage in the country has been legal since May 18 of this year, and had a huge pride parade to celebrate a month later, but ever since its passage the country has had protesters demanding a change in some odd and scary ways.

After the ruling of the constitutionality of same-sex marriages, Paris saw protests flare up in its streets, some of which had to be broken apart by police forces.

The most violent anti-same-sex marriage group in France calls themselves “Hommen,” and they have been up to many things to protest within the country. Their main goals include “No to gay marriage” “Women and children first,” and “Protect kids.” The group’s main strategy for spreading their message has been to recruit young, good-looking men, put them in white masks, take away their shirts, and have them run around popular events in order to say that homosexuality is wrong. The color for the anti-same-sex marriage groups was chosen as bright pink and it is proudly displayed in the country as anti-gay. American news outlets have been happy to point out how against their own cause these groups seem to be.

Hommen is mirroring the appearance of Ukraine’s feminist group Femin which champions women’s rights worldwide. Their demonstrations involve going topless with political messages in public places, much like what Hommen has been doing. Except that is where the two groups diverge.

On June 9 members of the group protested at the French Open championship: two standing up and showing a banner that accused France of trampling on children’s rights, one lighting a flare and running onto the court, and ten others earlier in the day by trying to disrupt other matches. The protesters were turned over to and questioned by the police.

The group has recently been protesting the arrest of one of their members, Nicolas Bernard-Brusse, after he was caught by police after a protest in Paris. He was arrested along with 20 others by police after refusing to disperse from a demonstration, but he fled the scene, gave a false identity, and refused to submit to fingerprinting. Bernard-Brusse was the only one sentenced, with two months in prison with two months of suspension, the severity due to his challenging attitude toward magistrates as well as an earlier offense—for doing the same thing a month earlier. Hommen calls him a “political prisoner” and call for President François Hollande to release him from the “socialist dictatorship.” The group has also been calling for the removal of President Hollande, and actively demonstrates against him.

Unrelated to the group but kin to the movement, one man committed suicide in front of hundreds of tourists and worshippers at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris as a protest against both immigration and the dissolution of the “traditional family.” Dominique Venner, 78 and a leader of the modern extreme right in France, left behind a note where he explained that, “I think I need to sacrifice myself to break the lethargy that overwhelms us… I give myself to death… I protest against fate,” “poisons of the soul,” and “individual pervasive desires that destroy our family identities and anchors.

Most recently, during this month’s Tour de France, right-wing groups have been protesting at the bicycle race all across France. Calling themselves the “Tour of France for All,” families with banners of pink and blue have posted demonstrations on the sidelines throughout the country, showing pictures of a nuclear family—a mother, father, son, and daughter, all holding hands. The group has also scrawled messages on the roads in front of races. While they have threatened to disrupt the race with other means, thus far they’ve resorted to only demonstrating.

Setting the record straight on which side it is on, Paris on July 14 lit up the Eiffel Tower in rainbow colors to celebrate the passage of same-sex marriage during Bastille Day, France’s day of independence.

The problem with the protests is that over 60% of French people are in favor of gay marriage, according to a Guardian opinion poll, with numbers on the rise. The French far-right won’t be gaining any popularity by protesting at such beloved and national events, especially if they resort to violence and disrupt them. Hopefully French protesters can take a leaf out of those in the U.S. and just tweet or Facebook angry things about gay marriage like civilized people.

Protest Marriage in Indiana? Don’t Even Think About It

Part of the strategy to get same-sex marriages recognized nationwide has been to apply for marriage applications and ignore the fact that the state didn’t recognize the union. Indiana’s tired of it and doing so could get you, your partner, and everyone involved some jail time and a fine.

A 1997 law in Indiana that makes supplying false information on a marriage license or application a class D felony has been recently updated. Beginning July 1, 2014 any same-sex couples applying for marriage licenses will automatically fall under this statute and be liable for prosecution. The penalty for breaking the law? Because it is a Level 6 penalty, couples could be punished with up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The law also is applicable to those who conduct any gay marriages: any city clerk, clergyman, judge, mayor, or town clerk-treasurer who performs a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, facing up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.

While the law’s updated status drops the jail time down from three years it had before, the change comes at a poignant time with federal decisions on gay marriage and campaigns starting up in the new gay marriage “battleground states.”

The state’s position on same-sex marriage seems evident when combined with a decision needed for the coming January-March 2014 legislative session: whether or not to send a constitutional amendment to Indiana citizens to prevent civil unions or gay marriage within the state. The legislature is largely Republican-controlled and the amendment has great support from Governor Mike Pence. Would the decision pass the legislature, Indiana constituents would be able to vote on the question during the November 4, 2014 general election.

This form of civil disobedience—showing how certain people are second-class citizens because of what they are denied, is popular with campaigns like “WE DO” from the Campaign for Southern Equality, among others. If this applied across the country, protests around the country would be punishable, including celebratory marriages like the one held across the street from Westboro Baptist Church along with similar protests all across the country in recent years.

While parts of the country are opening up to same-sex marriage and preparing for equality in other areas (job discrimination anyone?), others are tightening their grip on traditional marriage amendments and a two-tiered system. Attitudes are changing, but it is still going to be long fight all across the nation.