State Dept: Gay Couples Can Use Their “Married Names” on Their Passports

At least Hillary Clinton is in there doin’ her part. From the Associated Press:

Gay couples traveling overseas can now show passports that feature their married names, letting them take advantage of a little-noticed revision to State Department regulations that critics had feared would undermine the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The notice of the change says that it does not mean the State Department is recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages and civil unions, but that it was to comply with an amendment to the Code of Federal Regulations that took effect in February 2008.

The name-change revision took effect May 27 in an addition to the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual. It allows same-sex couples to obtain passports under the names recognized by their state through their marriages or civil unions.

Bring in the haters!

Still, groups opposed to gay marriage criticized the name-change provision, saying it erodes the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of any same-sex partnerships.

“It’s an exercise that the current administration is using to try to nibble away at the Defense of Marriage Act,” said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute.

“There’s no doubt that President Obama has made a strong commitment to repeal the DOMA … and it will take an act of Congress to do so,” Mineau said. “He cannot circumvent the law, but he attempts to do so not head-on, but in an oblique approach.”

We’re getting our equal rights one breadcrumb at a time.

Executions of GLBT Iraqis Expected To Begin This Week

Does anybody remember why we invaded Iraq in the first place?  Our dear President George W. Bush told the public that there were “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq.  The Republican Party justified our invasion because Saddam Hussein was a “bad man”  – “He killed masses of people in their sports arenas!” they said!  “We had to take Saddam out, the killing just has to stop.”

So, we invaded Iraq.  We killed Saddam and his two sons.  But that wasn’t good enough to leave the country.  President Bush insisted that we had to stay – “until the country could hold fair elections”.  And the rest is history – “we have to stay”, “we had to fight for freedom in that country”, blah blah blah…

How come it’s always easier to sell War than it is to sell Peace?

In September of last year, Gays Without Borders blogged a staggering list of gay and lesbian people who’ve been murdered in the streets and in barbershops (no less).   The religious leaders of Iraq have declared a holy fatwa on all of Iraq’s GLBT citizens including: killing of lesbians and gays in the “worst, most severe way possible.

To make matters worse, heterosexuals who have friends that are gay are being targeted and executed:

Heterosexual friends of gays are also executed. This happened to Majid Sahi, a 28-year-old civil engineer who was not gay but had been helping Iraqi LGBT members in Baghdad. Majid was abducted from his home by Badr Corps members, and his family was told he was kidnapped because of his “immoral behavior” in helping Iraqi gays. His body was found with bullet wounds to the back of his head on February 23, 2007.

According to Iraqi LGBT, a small non-profit group in London, UK, is sounding the alarm that over 128 Iraqi peole have been rounded up and the government has announced that executions – in groups of 20 – are expected to begin this week in Bagdad.

“Death penalty has been increasing at an alarming rate in Iraq since the new Iraqi regime reintroduced it in August 2004.  In 2008 at least 285 people were sentenced to death, and at least 34 executed. In 2007 at least 199 people were sentenced to death and 33 were executed, while in 2006 at least 65 people were put to death. The actual figures could be much higher as there are no official statistics for the number of prisoners facing execution,” he said.

fruitfly21Is this the “peace” and “freedom” that President Bush promised both the American and the Iraqi people?  This is his idea of “freedom”?

The United Nations has confirmed the killings in a report published in January ’09 by the United Nations Assistance Monitoring in Iraqi (UNAMI).

Iraqi LGBT posted this yesterday:

Urgent action is needed to halt the execution of 128 prisoners on death row in Iraq. Many of those awaiting execution were convicted for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality, according to IRAQI-LGBT, a UK based organisation of Iraqis supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Iraq.

According to Ali Hili of IRAQI-LGBT, the Iraqi authorities plan to start executing them in batches of 20 from this week.

If Saddam Houssein was so terrible… How is this getting any better?

David Grey, a film director, produced a short-film for the Village Film called “Queer Fear – Gay Life, Gay Death in Iraq“, you must click on it and watch.  It is 9:17 long.

Yesterday, the Obama administration responded to Iraqi LGBT’s news by noting on its “change.gov” website that the President is aware of it, he insists the Office of the President and Congress address this issue as quickly as possible.  The piece also noted that it was just a few weeks ago when US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said publicly:

Human rights is and always will be one of the pillars of our foreign policy. And in particular, the persecution and discrimination against gays and lesbians is something that we take very seriously. It is terribly unfortunate that right now in unfortunately many places in the world violence against gays and lesbians, certainly discrimination and prejudice are not just occurring but condoned and protected. And we would hope that over the next few years we could have some influence in trying to change those attitudes…

FruitFly 6Who is going to take a guess with me by saying it’ll be the first 20 gay people who are executed before anybody from any government does something to stop anymore executions.  They’re all going to sit on their hands until the first twenty are dangling at the end of their respective ropes before the US, the UK or the Canadians do anything to stop this atrocity.  Oh wait!  Who am I kidding?  285 gay Iraqis were killed last year alone!  Why should 120 additional executed GLBT Iraqis get any government to do anything?