Watch LIVE: White House Press Briefing with Sean Spicer
54 minutes ago
"Four days after the state Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, thousands of people organized by more than 100 organizations are coming together in a major event unlike any other in the post-Prop 8 era.Remarkably, Charlize has taken a vow not to marry until same-sex couples can have their relationships recognized. She has continued her outspoken support for marriage equality with her call for everyone to meet at Fresno City Hall this Saturday at 1pm to show support for not just the LGBT population, but equal rights for all.
"We know the people whose lives are on the line -- those who identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender -- will be there. But we need everyone there.
"Especially straight people.
It's called "Meet in the Middle for Equality" and it's going to be historic. This will be a moment you don't want to miss -- an unforgettable event in the history of the movement for equal rights."
Two gay men were killed in Baghdad's Sadr City slum, and police confirmed they found the bodies of four more men, all killed during a 10-day period after an unknown Shiite militia group urged a crackdown on homosexuals in the country.ABC continues to report that a previously unknown Shiite group called Asaieb al-Haq (the righteous leagues) is suspected of playing a role in these killings. The bodies of four gay men were found in Sadr City March 25, with "pervert" marked on their tortured bodies strung up on poles. Two of the bodies were wearing diapers and women's lingerie.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs believes as many as 30 people have been killed during the last three months because they were -- or were perceived to be -- gay.
In a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the human rights group Amnesty International called for "urgent and concerted action" to end the violence against the gay community, the group reported on its Web site.
Homosexuality is prohibited almost everywhere in the Middle East, but conditions have become especially dangerous in recent years for gays and lesbians, as religious militias have become more powerful since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
But an Iraqi military source claimed the recent killings were linked to tribal violence, not militias, and his characterization of the killings hints at how deep homophobia runs in Iraqi society.
"Two young men were killed Thursday. They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor," an Iraqi army member who did not want to give his name told ABC News.
"A gaggle of sign-waving protestors milled around outside The Beverly Hilton, the sprawling hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. They must have caught the president’s eye when he arrived at the hotel from an earlier stop in Las Vegas because he relayed one of their messages to the crowd.He didn't know which promises we were asking him to keep? Gee, maybe Obama should look at his own website for a refresher course. But wait, that might not be a good idea since THEY DELETE PROMISES!
"'One of them said, 'Obama keep your promise,’ ' the president said. 'I thought that’s fair. I don’t know which promise he was talking about.'
"The people in the audience – who paid $30,400 per couple to attend – laughed as they ate a dinner of roasted tenderloin, grilled organic chicken and sun choke rosemary mashed potatoes."
TAPPER: Okay. And just a separate question. Today in California, Ted Olson, former Solicitor General for President Bush, and David Boies, are introducing a lawsuit against the state of California, saying that by denying same-sex couples the right to marry, the ability to marry they are violating the Equal Protection Rights under the U.S. Constitution for same-sex couples. Why are they wrong?This isn't the first time Gibbs has been cornered on LGBT issues and the Obama's seemingly lack of involvement.
MR. GIBBS: I have not read the opinion or --
TAPPER: The President supports the idea that people should be able to -- same-sex couples should be able to enter in civil unions. Boies and Olson -- a very conservative lawyer -- are saying that is a violation --
MR. GIBBS: Olson. (Laughter.)
TAPPER: Not Boies, right -- Olson, a very conservative lawyer, saying that is a violation of the Constitution. It is also the position the President holds, that there should be civil unions, not same-sex marriage. Why is it not a violation of the Equal Protection clause?
MR. GIBBS: Jake, let me have somebody take a look at the pleading that they're going to make. I don't know what they're arguing --
TAPPER: Generally. Just forget the specific argument; I'm just talking about their general argument is that by having -- by not allowing same-sex couples to marry, it is a violation of equal protection.
MR. GIBBS: Right, well, again --
TAPPER: And that's the President's position, so --
MR. GIBBS: But let me -- well, the President's position, we're all aware of. I hesitate to be general about the legal underpinnings of an argument based on some portion of the Constitution. I think that they may be somewhat hard to generalize. So let me have somebody take a look at that and see if we have anything based on what Mr. Olson and Mr. Boies are doing.
TAPPER: But today's context includes the financial crisis there and the controversy over Proposition 8. The President, as far as we know, is not going to speak out on any of these issues while he's in California. Do you think that's appropriate?
MR. GIBBS: Well, let's try not to mix up the questions here and let me see if I can keep them straight. I think the notion that the President isn't concerned about the economic conditions of this country I don't think holds a lot of validity, given the actions that he's taken to get our economy moving again; to get the resources that California needs to invest in their infrastructure and to take care of their citizens; to ensure that kids have health care. I think he's taken steps to do that and I think most people in California are confident in that, as well.
LGBT Organizations Warn that Lawsuits Could Set Back Progress on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples:However, the American Federation Equal Rights held a press conference today stating their intentions to move forward.
New York, May 27, 2009 - In response to the California Supreme Court decision allowing Prop 8 to stand, four LGBT legal organizations and five other leading national LGBT groups are reminding the LGBT community that ill-timed lawsuits could set the fight for marriage back. The groups released a new publication, "Why the ballot box and not the courts should be the next step on marriage in California." This publication discourages people from bringing premature lawsuits based on the federal Constitution because, without more groundwork, the U.S. Supreme Court likely is not yet ready to rule that same-sex couples cannot be barred from marriage. The groups also revised "Make Change, Not Lawsuits," which was released after the California Supreme Court decision ending the ban on marriage for same-sex couples in California. This publication encourages couples who have legally married to ask friends, neighbors and institutions to honor their marriages, but discourages people from bringing lawsuits.