A leader of the anti-gay organization Concerned Women for America has admitted her testimony to the Texas Senate over a bill that would shield clergy and churches from same-sex weddings was not true.
The Civil Rights Movement
by DAVID BADASH
Last week lawmakers on a Texas Senate committee heard testimony on SB 2065, a bill designed to shield clergy members and churches from performing same-sex weddings. While the First Amendment already provides this protection, this bill would allow clergy members who are employed by the state as justices of the peace or county clerks to refuse to marry same-sex couples. Texas lawmakers are engrossed in a battle against their LGBT constituents, and this month over two dozen anti-gay bills before them, including one that would literally defund same-sex marriage in the Lone Star State.
On Monday, May 4, Beverly Roberts, an Area Director for Concerned Women for America, delivered testimony before Texas Senators. Concerned Women for America (CWA) is a right wing religious anti-gay, anti-abortion activist group that opposes same-sex marriage, a woman's right to choose, the teaching of evolution in schools, feminism, pornography, stem cell research, and advocates for school prayer.
"The mission of CWA is to protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens — first through prayer, then education, and finally by influencing our society — thereby reversing the decline in moral values in our nation," its website states.
"I have a question for you," Roberts, in red in the photo above and video below, told the Texas Senators as she began her testimony. "Is it necessary for a couple to be married by a minister to be legally married?," she asked.
"If not, why are homosexual couples in states where same-sex marriage is legal, demanding that ministers perform their marriage ceremonies?"
"Should we not consider these to be hate crimes?," Roberts continued. "Are these not instances of targeted bigotry? Are these couples not engaging in the same bullying tactics they profess to deplore? Why are they attacking a minister when they don't even need him to perform their marriage? So again I ask you, who are the bullies, the bigots and the haters?"
The New Civil Rights Movement reached out to Roberts via email on Monday, asking her to point us to "the story or stories you testified about," as – to our knowledge – there are no actual instances in reputable news reports of same-sex couples demanding that ministers perform their marriage ceremonies.
In an email response received Monday night, Roberts effectively admitted that her testimony was false.
"My testimony did not relate to a specific instance," Roberts told NCRM in her email, adding it was "to put a law into place ahead of a possible Supreme Court Ruling requiring all states to perform same-sex 'marriages.'"
"We know that, given the tactics of the LGBT community, it would not be long before they started suing churches and ministers who decline to do their ceremonies," Roberts wrote. "They just move incrementally as they force their agenda on the rest of us and we have begun to fight back." ...
The new 'polyamory' dating site is increasing users by 100pc a week
Openminded.com, a new “ethical cheating” website, is on target to attract 250,000 members worldwide in its first year.
The start-up, which promises to “eliminate the monotony of monogamy”, claims it has tapped into the " growing trend towards polyamory ", the forming of intimate relationships with more than one person.
The company provides a platform for couples looking to meet like-minded individuals.
The dating site, headquartered in Los Angeles, launched last month and received 10,000 sign-ups on its first day from both singles and couples.
“Open relationships are an under-served market and we want to clean up the space and give people a safe place to meet,” said founder Brandon Wade.
He believes that polyamory could be the “hottest new niche” in a crowded online dating market. “Open relationships can be found among even the most 'vanilla’ couples,” he claimed. “Our numbers are growing exponentially, up 100pc in the first week.”
It is estimated that there are up to 10,000 dating sites worldwide but just a handful are dedicated to polyamory, including LoveMany and BeyondTwo. “The other people in this industry are all very vulgar and all about sex,” claimed Mr Wade. “We want to cater to those who actually want relationships. This is not a site for hook-ups.”
The number of polyamorous couples and individuals worldwide is unknown as people are not required to put this information on a census. In order to cater to the growing numbers of polyamorous individuals , the Polyamory Society was launched in 1996, offering courses in relationship management and jealousy mitigation.
Mr Wade claimed that by creating OpenMinded.com , he is making polyamory more socially acceptable, and helping couples to be more honest about their needs. “This is still a highly stigmatised and scrutinised population,” he said. “There are more people cheating on their spouses than there are people in open relationships and that’s what I am seeking to change.” ...
An Airbnb-like accommodation booking site serving the BDSM community with dungeons and prison cells for rent around the world recently has launched with about 40 listings.
Darren McKeeman, a co-founder of the San Francisco-based service, said Thursday that KinkBNB.com formally launched May 1, processing less than 100 bookings so far.
Travelers who practice BDSM, generally identified as sex play involving bondage, discipline, sadomasochism, sadism and masochism, sometimes don't have the option of vacationing long distances with the equipment they prefer, said McKeeman and fellow founder Ryan Galiotto.
That's a particular problem when air travel and the Transportation Security Administration are involved, said Galiotto, a practitioner.
"This is a tool to make it more acceptable and normal for us. Right now, traveling is kind of difficult. You can't really bring anything with you," he said.
One listing in Queensland, Australia is advertised as The Reformatory and offers amenities that include a dungeon, a playspace and toys, calling itself "orgy friendly," and "swinger friendly" for $180 per night.
Another dungeon in Seattle offers 2,000 square feet and host of amenities for $400 a night, promising access to spanking benches, cages, an isolation cell and a custom-made, queen-size bondage bed — all with easy access to the city center.
Rentals guarantee a "formidable collection of tools, toys and other devices." Yes, there's a red room, ala "Fifty Shades of Grey." ...
I’m not quite sure how to say this, so I’ll just come right out with it: Washingtonians are kinky.
Based on a 2014 report, more than 11,000 residents in D.C., Maryland and Virginia participate in BDSM. Based on population size, this makes Washington, D.C., the kinkiest place in the nation.
California based pornography giant Kink.com recently published an article rating the 10 kinkiest cities in the U.S. It listed D.C. as number five based on porn consumption habits. I spoke with Mike Stabile, Kink.com’s communication director. He explained that Kink’s article used data on users of Kink.com combined with data from FetLife.
So is D.C. the capital of kink? And if so, what does that say about us? ...
A changed stance
For years, the American Psychiatric Association categorized people who participated in BDSM as mentally ill.
“It really had a chilling effect on everyone who was kinky," says Susan Wright, the founder of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. “It really kept us isolated. It keeps people from coming out because there is such a stigma.”
She created the coalition in 1997 to advocate for consenting adults with sexual interests outside the mainstream. And after more than a decade, her hard work paid off. In 2010, the psychiatric association changed its stance.
"They came right out and said kinky people are perfectly mentally healthy.”
In the D.C. region, there are more than 10,000 people who practice BDSM, according to a study last year examining social network use. So why is it so popular in the nation’s capital?
"I think that politics is about power and how you wield that power and in a lot of ways so is kinky sex. Its about the power exchange," Wright says. "So its really no wonder to me that people in D.C. are into BDSM."
For many, she says, the BDSM lifestyle is more like a sexual orientation than a choice: “People’s sexual desires are as individual as a fingerprint.”
Two dominatrix pornographers have become the first adult filmmakers to fall foul of strict new regulations governing online pornography.
In December hundreds of pornographers took part in a “face-sitting” demonstration outside of parliament to protest against new rules which brought niche internet porn in line with DVD sales in sex shops.
They said the rules effectively banned a range of sex acts on film, including face-sitting, strangulations, canning and spanking.
Now, a ruling from the television on demand regulator has found that videos from professional dominatrix Megara Furie and a Welsh dominatrix operating under the name Mistress R’eal were in breach of the new guidelines.
In the first ruling of its kind, the Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod) found that sites run by the two dominatrix filmmakers breached rules designed to prohibit scenes that range from detailed portrayals of violence to scenes of criminal activity.
According to Atvod “banned pornographic material” on the websites included “heavy whipping likely to cause lasting physical harm, the infliction of pain on a person who appears unable to withdraw consent, and repeated strong kicks to the genitals which appear to draw blood.”
Critics of the new rules have long argued online viewers of niche pornography are still able to access content banned in the UK by watching videos filmed abroad, and new rules amounts to “arbitrary censorship”, while Myles Jackman, a British obscenity lawyer said that the case showed regulators were “making up their interpretation” of obscenity laws “as they go along”.
A spokesperson for Backlash UK, which is campaigning to defend freedom of sexual expression, added: “Atvod have erected themselves - pun intended - as the UK's Pornfinder General…. The sole purpose of this new puritanism is mass control and surveillance, under the pretence of protection. “ ...
'Like the WWE...kids don't try this at home. I just want to be treated like every other extreme performer,' Santos told Dailymail.com
There is a fine line between what's acceptable and taboo in the practice of S&M in which partners consent to test one another's limits.
And now an anesthesiologist named Dr. Edwin Perez is defending his right to perform a controversial bloodletting practice at an event called Cirque De Plasir in New York, after an anonymous party attendee has demanded that he stop.
The party guest witnessed Edwin Perez engage in a practice called 'arterial tapping' at a recent event and it chilled her to the bone.
The S&M act is performed by the dominant party who hits his submissive partner's artery in such a way that he can control his or her blood flow.
'Some people just do blood play where they just get some kind of rush out of releasing blood from their arteries,' said the fetish party attendee to NBC.
She criticized the demonstration in which Santos, a name Perez uses when he is performing, splatters his submissive partners blood onto a canvas.
She said that because Perez is an anesthesiologist the act of bloodletting is disturbing.
'I think there’s definitely more of a shocking aspect that [he is] a doctor who took a Hippocratic Oath to help and heal,' she said.
'It just seems so contrary to his profession.'
DailyMail.com spoke with Dr. Perez who said his activities at parties have absolutely no place in his professional life. Perez is an anesthesiologist who practices in Newark, New Jersey.
Perez is active in the S&M community and says he and his submissive partner don't just do arterial tapping at parties but they do it at home as well.
Perez reiterated the fact that his partner enjoys the activity and that he would ever hurt any of his patients.
'Basically I present myself as Santos to the public and perform with others. I never present what I do for a living except to people that ask me privately,' said Perez of his sex party alter ego.
'I also perform with my personal partners. The girls that I date or have dated. We do these things in our personal life as well,' he added.
Santos says that the blood splatter painting from the party has been hanging in his date's room since the event.
He also says that he warns other against doing what he does, especially if people do not know what they are doing.
'Like the WWE...kids don't try this at home. I just want to be treated like every other extreme performer. It just turns out that I have a day job.' ...
MADISON, Tenn. (RNS) Goodpasture Christian School sits on a sprawling, bucolic campus seven miles north of downtown Nashville, where 900 students ready themselves for adult lives of college, career and loving the Lord.
Right next door sits the United Fellowship Center, a planned church where adults will ready themselves to have sex with each other after enjoying a little BYOB togetherness.
It’s the newest incarnation of The Social Club, a whispered-about swingers club in downtown Nashville that left for the suburbs when a building boom took its parking lot. The community went bonkers after zoning hearings revealed the club’s plans to relocate in a former medical office building in Madison — adjacent to Goodpasture and within a mile of an Assemblies of God megachurch.
After months of debate, an emergency city zoning amendment and a state law designed to stop the relocation, the club’s attorney made an announcement: The Social Club would open in its new location as a church.
Protection via the First Amendment effectively silenced zoning complaints — for now. But it sparked conversations about what it means for a secular organization suddenly to label itself a church, and religious scholars seem no more ready to plunge into that debate than American courts have proved to be.
“When I see this case, I do roll my eyes, but I also know Protestant Christians in America don’t own ‘church,'” said Kutter Callaway, assistant professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.
“What is a church, what’s the point of it, and why have we as a society said religious groups are exempt from things other groups aren’t? Those are really core questions. We don’t get to them, because we founder upon the rocks of politics and legalese.”
The church’s attorney, Larry Roberts, makes clear that United Fellowship won’t seek nonprofit status — removing its exposure to a 14-point list that the Internal Revenue Service uses to determine whether an enterprise is religious. Members will pay about $150 a year to belong, plus a per-visit fee, he said.
When The Social Club first announced its plan to move to Madison, remodeling plans for the new space submitted to Metro Nashville’s zoning department labeled two rooms as dungeons. Now, as United Fellowship, those same rooms are labeled “choir” and “handbells.”
Roberts said members can bring their own alcohol, and if they show up and want to have sex, they’ll have to take it off campus. United Fellowship Center doesn’t align itself with any world religion, and its belief system is brief: “Do not steal, do not lie, do not cheat, do not take the life of another, do not commit adultery — without the knowledge and consent of your spouse,” Roberts said.
The debate gives churches the opportunity for some introspection, said Craig Detweiler, a communication professor at Churches of Christ-affiliated Pepperdine University. For example, he asks, when buildings house coffee shops, bookstores or gyms, are those part of the church — or are they not another form of social club?
“The swingers club may be gathering to worship the body,” Detweiler said. “But what does it mean to be the Body of Christ? Maybe we need to redefine why we gather. … Perhaps this is a post-Christendom moment that we’re in.”
After all, he noted, the Apostle Paul advised the Corinthians on how their church should stand out from temples where patrons had sex with prostitutes to get closer to God. ...
Natalie Bennett has told PinkNews her party is open to polyamorous marriages and civil partnerships - how would that work in practice?
By Anna Leach , Federica Cocco
It took decades but eventually gay marriage was legalised here in the UK.
So what's next? How about three-way unions?
The leader of the Green Party was asked if the party would do anything to further the rights of people in three-way relationships, specifically allowing them to marry. And Natalie Bennett said the Greens would be up for legalising three-way marriages.
In fact allowing three way marriages would solve several of Britain’s big social problems
1) Housing has become increasingly expensive. Mortgages would be a lot cheaper if you could share them three ways.
2) Your children’s university fees. The price of higher ed has rocketed up. Getting three earners to contribute could help fund many extra kids through uni
3) In-work poverty – add one extra income and you’ll lift thousands out of poverty.
But it might be a bureaucratic and legal challenge, if the Greens ever manage to get it passed.
Challenge #1: It's expensive because marriage couples enjoy state benefits
Polyamorous unions are illegal in our country unless you are domiciled in a country where polygamous marriage is permitted.
So if you come from one of the countries in blue, you move to the country with your spouse and your second spouse also moves here with, say, an employment or a student visa than congratulations! You're a legally recognised polyamorous household.
This means when you claim Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit and Housing Benefit as a three-way married partnership.
HOWEVER you don't get as much money:
"For income-replacement benefits such as income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance and income-related employment and support allowance, the husband and first wife claim as a couple. Subsequent wives receive an additional sum which is less than the single person rate. These benefits are only payable for wives residing in Great Britain."
That's what Chris Grayling - then Conservative Minister for Employment - told Parliament in 2011.
And there are more exceptions: a wife in a polygamous marriage currently doesn't have the right to a state pension on the basis of her spouse’s contributions; while tax credits also recognise polygamous unions, mainstream tax doesn't; once fully rolled out Universal Credit rules will not recognise additional partners in polygamous relationships. ...