National News Briefs

George Santos, not gone, will not return

The U. S. House of Representatives released its Ethics Committee Report on Republican New York Representative George Santo. Santos claims to be gay, though no one believes it, and had hoped this status might protect him from trouble. Do not look for his expulsion this Congress yet. Santos is part of a four-seat Republican majority, which gives them the speakership and committee chairs. After the report’s release, he announced he wouldn’t run for reelection, but who can believe a word out of his mouth? The ethics committee made a referral to the U. S. Department of Justice for actions the committee identified as criminal, including using campaign funds for personal purposes and filing false campaign reports. The committee found “a complex web of unlawful activity involving personal and business finances. Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

New U. S. House Speaker

The new Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives is being criticized for what is considered “anti-2SLGBTAIA activity” before his election to Congress. The Human Rights Campaign denounced the Speaker and those who voted for him. “The MAGA House majority has selected the most anti-equality Speaker in U.S. history by elevating Mike Johnson — this is a choice that will be a stain on the record of everyone who voted for him.” As an attorney for “pro-family groups,” he wrote editorials opposing eliminating legal restrictions on sodomy, were against marriage equality, and opined that “the homosexual lifestyle” was destructive to individuals, families, and society. In the Louisiana legislature, he introduced a “religious freedom” bill that was thought could legalize discrimination against married same-sex couples. In Congress, he introduced a version of the Florida law critics call “Don’t Say Gay.” In news interviews, he says marriage equality and non-discrimination are now the law of the land, and he has other priorities as House Speaker.

Time Wounds All Heels

The former Florida lawmaker who sponsored the controversial law critics call “Don’t Say Gay” has been sent to prison for six months for wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements in connection with COVID-19 relief fund misuse. He got $150,000 from the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program by making false statements and then using the money for personal expenses.

School book fairs

The Scholastic Book Fair’s good intentions to create a separate category for books with LGBTQ+ themes and information met opposition, but not from “book banners.” Scholastic provides educational material for public schools and runs book fairs where students may browse the offerings in person or online. The problem? PEN America, a free speech group and partner of Scholastic, believes the separate catalog accommodates the “nefarious laws and local pressures” and makes them “an accessory to government censorship.” More than 30 states have legislation aiming to restrict certain books in schools, specifically ones that include LGBTQ+ topics and racial diversity. Red Wine & Blue, a political group of “liberal moms,” also started a petition against the separate book selection.

Florida Drag Restriction Law Stop Appealed

A U.S. Supreme Court and the Circuit Court of Appeals have upheld a decision that Florida cannot enforce the law barring businesses from allowing children to view live entertainment deemed inappropriate for young eyes. circuit court judge ruled the law “creates an unnecessary risk of chilling free speech.” Florida wanted to enforce the law while they appealed the ruling, and the court said, “No.” The Supreme Court ruled that there was no “reasonable probability” that the Court would eventually grant certiorari on the case. Orlando’s Hamburger Mary’s, which runs a “Drag Brunch” that allows children to attend with parents or guardians, challenged the law’s constitutionality.

Queers for Palestine, no tit for tat

“Queers for Palestine” decry Israeli army activity in Gaza after the massacre by Hamas and the call for ‘decolonization” of Palestine. What do Palestinians think of the Queer support? Palestine ranks #190 out of 197 countries, according to HRC’s “LGBTQ+ Equality Index.” Homosexuality is punishable by death in Palestinian-controlled areas. Many gay Palestinians flee to Israel, which has quite liberal laws for a place, like Utah, established by adherents of a socially conservative religion. Islamic scholar Mohammed Saleem Ali said in a sermon at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that the Palestinian people will not allow a single homosexual to openly declare “his abomination,” and that they will not “allow a single homosexual on the land of Jerusalem and Palestine.”

Japan’s Baby Steps on Gender Change

Japan’s top court found that some of a law governing gender marker changes was unconstitutional. That portion required a person changing gender markers to be sterilized. This brings Japan into line with the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations. The Court sent a second provision of the law requiring the genitals of the person wanting to change the marker to correspond to the sex they claim back to a lower court for deliberation. No changes in the genitalia requirement will leave Japan in line with Iran and some other Mid-East, Eastern European, and African countries’ laws.

Barry’s out, who knew

Barry Manilow came out in 2017 in People Magazine. To reiterate that which everyone always knew, he chose another low visibility media vehicle, “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” which streams on Max. He told the former Fox News anchor, “The public was not ready for anybody to come out” as gay in the 1970s. “Back in the 70s, it would have killed a career.” With Wallace, he discusses his long-time partner, manager, and now spouse, Garry Kief. The couple met in 1978 and married quietly in 2014. Barry and Garry, how gay is that? Manilow was in an opposite-sex marriage until 1966. He started his musical career creating music for TV commercials (State Farm Insurance-“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there;” Band-Aid, “I am stuck on Band-Aid, ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me”; and McDonald’s “you deserve a break today”). He then started writing popular music and performing with Bette Midler at NYC’s Continental Baths. His hits include “Mandy,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Copacabana,” and 51 other Top 40 Popular Songs. He has recently returned to Las Vegas to perform and has written the music for the recent Broadway show, “Harmony.”

Bud Light goes toxic

So, the last time Bud Light was heard from, the brand had hired Tik-Tok transgender tyro Dylan Mulvaney to broaden the beer’s customer base. After a big drop in sales and stock value for the brand’s parent, Anheuser-Busch, and threats of suits from distributors, the marketing department was nuked. The new marketing department thinks it is going in a different direction to reestablish Bud’s identification with infantile men. Naturally, they have made a big sponsorship deal with toxic masculinity in the form of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. UFC is a company that stages gladiatorial performances by chemically altered men and women dressed provocatively and involved in extremely close body contact. From 30,000 feet, it appears not a lot has changed, except Dylan, so far, has not jumped on anyone from the corner turnbuckle.

S. Korea Military, No gay stuff

South Korea’s constitutional court, citing a possible risk to the military’s combat readiness, upheld a law banning same-sex relations within the country’s armed forces. South Korean military members can face up to two years in jail for getting out of line, sexually, with another member of the military of the same sex. The news reporting is unclear if members of the military face sanctions for fiddling with a non-military member in the general population. South Korea has one of the world’s largest active armies, with all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 28 required to keep their hands to themselves for 18 and 21 months.

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