Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

World’s ‘biggest’ gay pride march shrinks dramatically: politicians abandon

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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June 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - With financial and moral support from the country’s highest authorities, Brazil’s “gay pride” marches have long been billed as the largest in the world, with the city of Sao Paulo boasting the number one spot. Generous estimates by the government’s Military Police offered the seemingly impossible figures of between 2.5 and four million participants at the annual event, a figure enthusiastically seconded by parade organizers and dutifully repeated by the international media.

However, this year’s parade offered a starkly different picture. Following a study commissioned by the Datafolha Institute by the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper in 2011, which exposed the wildly-inflated nature of last year’s attendance figures, the Military Police are refusing to give any estimate of the attendance for this year’s parade. The Datafolha Institute, however, says that the 2012 LGBT Pride Parade brought in only 270,000 people, a number that represents a small fraction of previous and current estimates by organizers.

But conflicting estimates aside, the Brazilian media and the Military Police are in agreement on one fact: this year’s parade was much smaller than last year’s. Although the “Gay Pride” organizers are ultimately claiming the physically impossible figure of 4.5 million attendees this year, after initially hesitating to give an estimate, the Military Police had a different view. “There were a lot fewer people than in 2011,” Colonel Marcelo Prado told Veja magazine.

“With less financing, better behaved, and highly monitored, the 16th LGBT Pride Parade shrank,” noted Veja. “For the first time in the history of the event, the organizers did not officially publicize the attendance on Paulista Avenue in the afternoon this Sunday. For the Military Police and the public that was present, the event attracted far fewer people than in previous years.”

The lower attendance was also reflected in the number of medical interventions for drunkenness and other causes. Although the licentiousness characteristic of homosexual demonstrations, including public sex acts, was still a problem, the number of medical cases dropped from 500 the year before to only 100 this year.

The parade has also seen a substantial cut in funds. Although it has been generously subsidized in years past by sympathetic government officials and businessmen, this year’s budget dropped the equivalent of USD 60,000, from $220,000 to $160,000.

Abandonment by politicians follows controversy

Notably absent from the march were politicians and candidates for office, who in previous years have been much more eager to associate themselves with the event. According to the news service Brazil 247, this year only two candidates for public office marched in the event, and only one sat on the stage with organizers: Fernando Haddad, a former Minister of Education whose claim to fame is the creation of “homophobia kits” for schools that included videos so obscene that President Rousseff was forced to publicly repudiate them and order a revamping of the program.

“The candidates who were not at the Parade or didn’t interest themselves in make contact and get to know us, are people who do not have a broad vision of politics, or don’t want to diminish discrimination and prejudice,” complained Fernando Quaresma, president of the Gay Pride Parade Association.

The sparse attendance of both the public and politicians at this year’s Gay Pride Parade reflects a growing opposition in Brazilian society to the homosexual movement, which has for years sought the passage of laws that would outlaw criticism of the homosexual lifestyle.

The 2011 march only served to accentuate the conflict between gay activists and the Catholic Church, which denomination the majority of Brazilians belong to. Marchers mocked images of Catholic saints openly, despite laws prohibiting disrespectful treatment of religious beliefs. When Protestant televangelist Silas Malafia denounced the desecrations, he was threatened with prosecution by officials of the regime of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, a member of the country’s ruling gay-friendly Worker’s Party.

Rousseff narrowly prevailed in the 2010 elections after dropping in the polls due to her pro-abortion, pro-gay advocacy. She eventually signed a declaration promising not to initiate legislation to legalize abortion, nor to prohibit criticism of the homosexual lifestyle.

Recent polls have indicated that, despite ongoing promotion of the homosexual agenda by the ruling Worker’s Party, a strong majority of Brazilians continue to oppose homosexual marriage and civil unions.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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