Rundown, Queer 411: Amazon Anti-Gay Calendar Confusion, LGBT Inclusive Display Vandalized, Gays Pay More Taxes + Gay Marriage in Cancun

An LGBT activist’s view of entertainment and world news.

As an LGBT activist, the promotion of queer rights is #1 on my homosexual agenda. This weekly column serves as a forum for me to comment on issues and causes currently affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. My “rundown” of these topics is from the perspective of an LGBT activist; it is my goal that by keeping our community informed, we can all help contribute to the battle for equality.

Amazon Anti-Gay Calendar Confusion
Barnes & Noble has pulled a calendar called “I’m Not Gay, I’m Just a Sissy: 12 Months of Sexual Confusion,” from its website, pushing another major retailer to make the same decision. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is asking to pull the calendar from its virtual shelves as well. GLAAD, along with bloggers at Towleroad and Pam’s House Blend, is asking people to sign this petition demanding pull the calendar from its available items.  Barnes & Noble representatives said the item never sold in stores, and will not be available online to customers. The illustrated calendar, by self-proclaimed “Christian Cartoonist” Joe King, shows stereotypical images of LGBT people, specifically gay men and transgender women, according to GLAAD. The calendar also mocks people living with HIV and AIDS.

LGBT Inclusive Display Vandalized
A gay-inclusive Christmas display at a Claremont, Calif., church was vandalized during the holiday and police are calling the incident a hate crime. The display at Claremont United Methodist Church, located in a college town east of Los Angeles, featured silhouettes of three couples holding hands; one male couple, one female couple, and one male-female couple. Someone knocked over the figures of the gay couples sometime early Christmas morning, TV station KTLA reports. The vandalism has been classified as a hate crime “because of the content of the artwork that was damaged and the fact that it was on a place of worship or at a church,” Claremont police lieutenant Mike Ciszek told the station.  The United Methodist Church, as a denomination, does not endorse same-sex marriage, but some churches, including the Claremont congregation, have joined the Reconciling Ministries Network, fighting for LGBT equality within United Methodism.

Gays Pay More Taxes
CNN Money has reported that the federal government’s anti-marriage equality stance, which forces legally married gay couples to file separately on their federal returns, results in as much as $6,000 per year in additional taxes. Not only are these couples losing out because they can’t take advantage of the lower tax rates that come from combining incomes and deductions, says to the article, it’s “also harder for them to qualify for certain tax breaks because the credits phase out sooner for single filers.” CNN Money based its findings on a series of same-sex versus opposite-sex tax scenarios it presented to H&R Block. A seemingly equal household with one working parent earning $100,000 per year and one stay-at-home parent earning nothing produced radically different results when toggled between opposite-sex and same-sex situations.  While heterosexual couples can file jointly and divide their assets, the homosexual couples must file separately, the breadwinning spouse as “head of household” and the non-earning spouse as “qualifying relative.

Gay Marriage in Cancun
Mexico City legalized gay marriage in 2010 and remains the lone municipality in Mexico where such marriages are officially allowed but Cancun and other resort areas on the Mexican Caribbean will have a new attraction for gay and lesbian couples from the US, Canada, and Europe. Thanks to a quirk in the local civil code, the resort areas will now be able to allow gay and lesbian couples to legalize their unions. Activist Patricia Novelo announced that in January the first same-sex group wedding will be performed in the resort area as part of local support for the human rights of the gay community. Gay travel groups are preparing to market the state as a destination for gay couples to marry and will promote a mass wedding of gay couples sometime in January.  The gay groups say that travel agencies on average receive about 200 requests per month from gay tourists wishing to marry in the Mexican Caribbean.

That’s all folks and I hope you tune in next week!

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