Arab Times is reporting that Kuwaiti police raided several restaurants, cafes and other establishments on New Year’s Eve and arrested several youth, both male and female and at least 22 gays.

Under instructions from the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior Lieutenant-General Ahmed Al-Rujaib and Assistant Undersecretary for Criminal Security Affairs Lieutenant Ghazi Al-Omar, the Criminal Investigation Department raided a number of restaurants on New Year’s eve and arrested several youngsters — male and female — for drinking alcohol and taking part in ‘wild’ parties. During the raid police also arrested 22 gays, reports Al-Anba daily.

The places targeted included cafés and restaurants inside commercial complexes in Salmiya.

Both homosexuality and cross-dressing are illegal in Kuwait, a Muslim nation; however, many anti-gay laws are rarely or severely enforced. No civil rights legislation exists to protect LGBT Kuwaitis. If convicted of homosexuality, LGBT people can face up to seven years imprisonment. If the acts involve anyone under 21, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.

Yesterday, a statement on the decriminalization of homosexuality and protection of LGBT human rights was presented to the United Nations. The statement called on countries to protect LGBT from discrimination in hiring and housing, as well as a most important call to repeal laws the criminalized homosexuality or put a death penalty on it.

Among the Western nations that didn’t sign it, one name sticks out: The United States of America.

A report from The AP by writer David Crary tells us why:

According to some of the declaration’s backers, U.S. officials expressed concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration might be problematic in committing the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction. In numerous states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military.

Oh, so it was a technicality. That makes me feel much better. On a day chock full of political B.S. — from Obama’s pick of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation to the news there’d be no openly gay cabinet posts — this story only adds to the frustration.

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No more, no less: Stop the competition

The following post was written Friday night. Not the best time to be read by most of my readers or the web, but I just had to get it out. To make sure it gets the attention it needs, I’ve promoted it back to the top today. There’s some good conversation over at the Pam’s House Blend cross post.

It seems as though, after Prop. 8, there’s been a whole lot of conversation on the intersections between race and sexuality.

I wonder if we’ve learned anything. Or, maybe we’ve all be foaming at the mouth with absolutely zero listening capacity.

In a recent Bilerico post, “No on ‘Gay is Black,’” I wasn’t surprised to see the conversation very quickly turn into a competition of which group has suffered the most. It’s as if civil rights should be doled out on the basis of the pain inflicted rather than on the basis of what is actually right and wrong inside the legal and moral framework of our Constitution and national ideals.

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Black in a white neighborhood

A man in rural Hollywood, S.C. – a town near Charleston – claims he and his family are being targeted for being black in a white neighborhood:

Clifford Washington asked his wife to stop taking walks down their country road after the day someone shouted the N-word at her.Soon after that incident two years ago, Washington started seeing bullet or pellet holes on his garage, the trucks parked in his yard and above his front door. He thinks he and his family are paying the price for being a black family in a white neighborhood.

“This is harassment and I think it’s a hate crime,” Washington said.

He called the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office 13 times in the first two months after the trouble began. Since then, Washington says he has lost count of how many times he has tried to get help. Deputies have responded to his calls but say they can do little without a lead or a suspect.

“I feel as if I am fighting a losing battle,” Washington said, adding that he does not think anyone is taking him seriously.

The rest of the article from The Charleston Post-Courier goes into some good detail, including the steps Washington has taken to speak to local law enforcement and a recent cross burning in his neighborhood (the local sheriff claims it was simple teen mischief.

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Why the free world hates Russia

Is Russia ever going to join us in the present? Or will they continue to live in their Soviet past?

This is why Russia is despised in the free, democratic world:

The Mayor of Moscow has used a Eurovision Song Contest ceremony to warn gay people visiting the city for the event next year that they are not welcome on the streets. Yuri Luzhkov was receiving a set of symbolic keys from the Mayor of Belgrade, Dragan Dilas, in recognition of Russia’s success at this year’s Eurovision in Serbia. The winning country usually hosts the contest the following year.

Speaking at a press conference after the ceremony the Mayor, who has banned every gay rights march in Moscow since 2005, gave some advice to gay people coming to the city for Eurovision: “Entertain yourself, no problem, but not on the streets, squares, marches and demonstrations. We never introduced any limitations in their respect except public actions. We do not allow gay parades.”

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SCORE! Powell on DADT: Review it now

Colin Powell on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on CNN:

That second guy: “This has been vetted… it works.” What sh*t has he been smoking? Either that, or he’s been hiding in that undisclosed bunker with no TV, radio and internet for the past five years.

The Rev. Richard Cizik, the former Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, spoke out on a Dec. 2 National Public Radio show to support civil unions for gay couples:

“I’m shifting, I have to admit. In other words, I would willingly say I believe in civil unions. I don’t officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don’t think.”

Richard Cizik

Richard Cizik

For his controversial stands — including those on preserving the environment and supporting Democratic President-elect Barack Obama — Cizik (was probably forced to) resigned from his position with the NAE.

But as a colleague said, this proves we can’t always paint with a broad brush. Not all Evangelicals belong to the Radical Right, and not all those in the Radical Right are Evangelicals.

Frankly, I’m shocked someone at the NAE actually spoke out on our behalf. Cizik deserves congratulations, for taking a stand so contrary to the beliefs of his colleagues and for risking his job.

Cross-posted from Bilerico.com

Did anybody else catch Mike Huckabee on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show last night? The fabulous (and fellow North Carolinian) Pam Spaulding has a partial transcript and video.

Lots of great items to discuss, and as Pam says, “Jon Stewart asked serious questions any hard-hitting progressive journalist or political commentator with a talk show is perfectly capable of asking. He made Huckabee explain his positions on LGBT rights and connects it to the messages in his new book about the merits of social conservatism that he’s hawking. That’s on-point and newsworthy journalism — and Stewart certainly found and made the topic interesting.”

The one thing that seemed to stick out to me was this exchange:

Stewart: …Why? It would just be redefining a word. It feels like semantics is cold comfort when it comes to humanity…

Huckabee: Words do matter. Definitions matter. We have to be very thoughtful and careful…

Honestly, I find it deplorable that any person would defend the “value” of a word over the value of human equality and dignity. Stewart gets it. He knows this “issue” is really about taking care of our families and stepping up as responsible citizens who eagerly want to be a part of this nation and contribute to its greatness. It seems so un-conservative to deny equal playing field to people who really want to make America a better place.

Other great moments from Stewart:

“I think it’s a travesty that people have forced someone who is gay to have to ‘make their case’ that they deserve the same basic rights.”

…”I’ll tell you this: Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality. And the protections that we have for religion? We protect religion — and talk about a lifestyle choice — that is absolutely a choice. Gay people don’t choose to be gay. At what age did you choose not to be gay?”

I’ve thought a lot about marriage equality in the past few days, especially after a great panel discussion up at the National LGBT Blogger Initiative in D.C. last weekend. Thoughts are a-brewin’ and something will be coming down the line sooner or later. Among my first suggestions: National Movement. That’s something we don’t have, but it is something we need. I guarantee you our opponents have one. But more on all that later.

Jon Stewart, thanks. Huckabee, let’s help you find something better than a “word” to defend on national TV.

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No day off of work for me

Greg Hambrick, who covers the gay beat at the Charleston City Paper, says:

My partner suggested a few weeks ago that we take off Dec. 10, but I’m pretty sure I’m coming to work. The reason is that my coworkers, the people who know me and know my husband, aren’t the ones who could use a lesson about what it’s like not to have me around the office.

It’s about as fruitless (pun intended) as marching at the gay bar for the gay pride parade — it’s the people who don’t see us everyday who need the educating.

I’m right there with him. Someone will have to be at work to gather info on any protests. And, like Hambrick, staying away from work at a gay business really won’t accomplish a thing.

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In bed with terrorists

France’s UN declaration on the universal decriminalization of homosexuality is being considered this week. If passed, the resolution would call on all nations of the world to stop penalizing homosexuality, which is illegal in 86 countries. In at least seven of those, death is the sentence.

According to Peter Tatchell, it is going to be presented tomorrow, on the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

In the meantime, the Vatican and the Organization of Islamic States are teaming up to lead the fight against the resolution. While the Holy See teams up with Islamic fundamentalists (many of whom have supported muderous terrorists), the U.S. sits idly by while watching the rest of the civilized world speed past them on a path to recognizing the right to human dignity and life, regardless of sexual orientation.

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