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feminist news round-up 13.05.12

barack obama says same-sex couples should marry

In a mammoth political move, US President Barack Obama has declared his personal support for gay marriage.  He said:

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

The audio of his incredible statement was aired on Melbourne breakfast radio this week and when I heard it, I teared up. Not only because I agree with him, but because it is incredibly rare for political leaders to voice their own opinions and speak from the heart on ‘controversial’ issues. (Just consider Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s refusal to back marriage equality.) The endorsement follows the passing of North Carolina’s constitutional amendment that says ‘marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state’, a decision that has ‘disappointed’ the President.

However some commentators are cynical about the timing of Obama’s declaration, with one in particular suggesting that the media, and the world, just got “played’. What do you think?

top 30 places in the world to be a mum

The conditions mothers raise their children in vary globally. As part of the 2012 State of the World’s Mothers report, Save the Children has released their 13th annual Mothers’ Index. In general, the top ten countries attained very high scores for mother and child health, educational attainment and economic status. It should come as no surprise to learn that Norway, Iceland and Sweden came out on top. So, where does Australia rank? Lucky 7th.  This is ahead of the United States, which places 25th this year. Of the ten bottom-ranked countries, eight are from sub-Saharan Africa. You can view the full report here. And if you’re an Aussie mum, happy mother’s day!

catholic church says women are too picky

Remember the saying, ‘There are plenty of fish in the sea’? Well according to the Catholic Church, we’re wrong! Ladies, when it comes to finding a mate, you’re just too picky! Just find a man—any will do, so long as he’s breathing and full of sperm—marry him and have his babies. And do it now while you’re still young lest you end up an unmarried old maid. There’s a shortage of eligible men, you see. Statistics claim there are just 86,000 potential suitors for 1.3 million women aged between 25 and 34. Included in the list of ‘ineligible’ bachelors are single parents and men who earn less than $60,000 per year, but since when are either of these things deal breakers? In any case, methinks you shouldn’t waste anymore time here. All any woman wants for her life is to find Mr Right and live happily ever after, right? Well off you go!

‘punch your effeminate sons’, says North Carolina pastor

There’s something about overzealous religious preachers that gets my goat. It could be their drinking wine before noon, their propensity to offer unwelcome relationship advice (ahem) or their petulant, unnecessary BELLOWING. Or it could be because, when sermonising on marriage, they say incredibly tolerant and intelligent things. Like this little gem:

‘Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.

And this one:

‘And when your daughter starts acting too butch, you rein her in and you say, “Oh no, sweetheart, you can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.”‘

Wow. Just wow.

These are the instructions North Carolina Pastor Sean Harris spat out to his congregation this week. His comments have been described as ‘sickening’ and at least one commentator called for him to be banned from his church. Pastor Harris later retracted his statements after footage of the sermon went viral and he was metaphorically pelted with rotten tomatoes. You can view it below.


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