White House objects to NDAA ‘conscience’ language
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House on June 11 threatened to veto a defense spending bill that includes so-called “conscience protections” that critics say would allow service members to promote anti-gay beliefs without fear of discipline.
The language was inserted as an amendment to the House version of the fiscal 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by Rep. John Fleming (R-La.)
The amendment adding language protecting “actions and speech.” Opponents say that, as written, the amendment extends the current protections, resulting in situations where service members could go much further in promoting their anti-gay beliefs without fear of discipline.
In a lengthy policy statement, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said the language would undermine a commander’s authority to maintain discipline in his unit.
“The Administration strongly objects to section 530, which would require the Armed Forces to accommodate, except in cases of military necessity, ‘actions and speech’ reflecting the ‘conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the member,’” the statement read. “By limiting the discretion of commanders to address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units, this provision would have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.”
Action on the NDAA was expected as this edition of the newspaper was heading to print. Get the most up-to-date news at lgbtqnation.com.
— Brody Levesque, LGBTQ Nation
Pope: Vatican has ‘gay lobby’
VATICAN CITY — Speaking to a group of Latin American and Caribbean priests and nuns on June 6, Pope Francis acknowledged the existence of what he described as a secret “gay lobby” inside the church hierarchy. The pope’s alleged comments were recorded in a summary of the group’s audience with the religious leader.
“The ‘gay lobby’ is mentioned, and it is true, it is there,” the pope is quoted as saying. “We need to see what we can do.”
Previous reports indicated that Benedict XVI, who served as pope before stepping down, had been investigating several leaks, including a supposed “network of gay priests inside the Vatican who used blackmail to gain influence and trade in state secrets,” The New York Times reported.
— Matt Comer
Concerns for LGBT Olympic athletes
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is voicing concerns over recent anti-gay legislation in Russia and its potential negative effects on openly LGBT athletes at next year’s 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Russia’s State Duma passed a law on June 11 making it a crime to advocate or promote homosexuality. The law could extend to public displays of affection, of which openly LGBT athletes will need to be aware.
“The IOC would like to reiterate our long commitment to non-discrimination against those taking part in the Olympic Games,” a spokesperson told Gay Star News in London. “The IOC is an open organization and athletes of all orientations will be welcome at the Games.”
Russia’s anti-”homosexual propaganda” law would suspend all LGBT rights organizations. If they continue to exist, they could be fined up to one million rubles ($30,800). Individuals in violation of the law could be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($166).
Openly gay American figure skater Johnny Weir said last February that Russia was not friendly toward LGBT people.
“My advice would be: Watch what you do when you leave the Village, don’t be aggressive, don’t wear a big rainbow flag fur coat. If you don’t call attention to yourself, attention won’t come to you,” Weir told USA Today.
According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund’s Gay Politics.com, Russian Olympic officials have rejected an application to host an LGBT Pride House at the Sochi Olympic village.
— Matt Comer
— On openly gay British soldier is praising Prince Harry for preventing a gay bashing. The story appears in a memoir, “Out in the Army,” by British Lance Corporal James Wharton.
— U.S. Air Force Reserve Major General Patricia Rose has become the U.S. military’s highest ranking openly gay officer.
— Gay man claims he was attacked and called gay slurs by New York City police. Two friends were with him and also arrested. One took video of the incident.
— French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has directed members of his government to immediately take steps to dissolve a far-right extremist group believed to have neo-Nazi ties and linked to the beating death of 18-year-old gay rights activist Clement Meric, who died in Paris on June 5.
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