Thursday, April 9, 2015

Via JMG: LGBT Groups Applaud Obama's Support For Laws That Ban "Ex-Gay" Torture

Studies conducted by major mental health organizations and personal testimony from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth have shown that conversion therapy can create dangerous and even life-threatening effects, including depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse and suicidal behavior. We are thrilled that President Obama will call for an end to the use of conversion therapy on minors. It is a harmful and discredited practice that uses rejection, shame and psychological abuse aimed at changing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Fifteen years ago, major medical, psychiatric and counseling associations rallied to GLSEN’s side to beat back attempts to force this insidious practice into our schools. We salute them for their pioneering stance and thank the President for his leadership in protecting youth from these damaging and misguided practices.
Truth Wins Out
"We are ecstatic that President Barack Obama spoke out against this harmful practice that psychologically terrorizes too many perfectly healthy LGBT youth and stigmatizes them as mentally ill,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The President’s wise words gave momentum to efforts to prohibit fringe practitioners from traumatizing vulnerable LGBT adolescents and calling it therapy.” “President Obama’s expression of support shows that he really ‘gets it’ at a fundamental level,” said TWO’s Wayne Besen. “We are very fortunate to have a president who is dedicated to equality and ending the destructive practice of conversion therapy.
Lambda Legal
In both California and New Jersey, Lambda Legal joined with regional and national organizations working with LGBT young people to advocate on behalf of the ultimately successful efforts in both states to enact legislation preventing licensed mental health providers from using therapies with minors that are demonstrably ineffective and can be deeply harmful, and we were part of the correspondingly successful efforts to defend these bans in court. We will continue to advocate on behalf of LGBT young people as other states likewise move to protect them from this preventable harm. These dangerous and damaging efforts to change sexual orientation and gender identity have wrecked lives. Tonight the President lent the full weight of his leadership to the work our community has been doing for years to protect young people and their families. He joins not only Lambda Legal and our sister organizations, but every leading medical and therapeutic organization, as they have unanimously and unequivocally recognized that LGBT people's identities should not be targeted for change.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

A Shred of Decency

Via JMG: Reuters Poll: Majority Say They Oppose RFRA Laws, Support Same-Sex Marriage

Via Reuters:
A majority of Americans believe businesses should not be allowed to refuse services based on their religious beliefs in the wake of controversies in Indiana and Arkansas over gay rights and religious freedom, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Thursday. The poll, conducted April 6 to 8, also found that 52 percent of Americans support allowing same-sex couples to marry, far more than the 32 percent who oppose it. The poll found solid opposition to allowing businesses to refuse services or refuse to hire people or groups based on religious beliefs.
Fifty-four percent said it was wrong for businesses to refuse services, while 28 percent said they should have that right. And 55 percent said businesses should not have the right to refuse to hire certain people or groups based on the employer's religious beliefs, while 27 percent said businesses should have the right. The Reuters-Ipsos poll found divisions among Americans on where same-sex marriage laws should be made. The largest grouping, 34 percent, believes same-sex marriage laws should be made by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring a nationwide constitutional right.
Another 22 percent said same-sex marriage laws should be made at the state level by voter referendum. Eleven percent said laws should be made by state legislators and 8 percent would leave it up to Congress. The poll found 24 percent did not know how best to handle it. The poll said 55 percent want to see all states - even those that do not permit same-sex marriages - recognize such unions from states where same-sex marriage is legal.
Earlier this week the Family Research Council trumpeted very different results from a poll they had commissioned.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via JMG: Married Today, Fired Tomorrow

Greg Stohr writes for Bloomberg:
Same-sex couples across the U.S. may soon have the legal right to marry. In 28 states, their employer will still have the legal right to fire them. Even as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares for arguments this month on legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, gays in much of the country lack the anti-discrimination protections that apply to racial minorities and women. It’s a legal anomaly that could become a new flashpoint this summer if the Supreme Court backs marriage rights. Gay-rights advocates are vowing to push for changes to anti-discrimination laws and try to overcome longstanding resistance from Republican-controlled legislatures. “Otherwise, these couples are going to hold public weddings and get fired from their jobs,” said David Codell, constitutional litigation director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
RELATED: The above map from the Movement Advancement Project shows the 22 states that currently include sexual orientation in employment protections. Of those 22 states only New Hampshire, New York, and Wisconsin do not also include gender identity in those protections.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Grace and Frankie - Official Trailer - Netflix [HD]

Love Rules: 20+ Years Fighting for Marriage

Via Steven Bancarz: 25 Quotes fromthe Buddha that will change your life

By Steven Bancarz

Between the 6th and 4th century BCE, a man named Siddhārtha Gautama began to turn heads in Eastern India with his profound spiritual wisdom.  He was given the name “Buddha”, which literally means “The enlightened one”, and to this day we still receive tremendous insight from his teachings.

Interestingly, Buddha never actually wrote any of his teachings down.  Similar to Jesus and Socrates, his method of teaching was verbal and communicative.  Oral traditions kept the wisdom of the Buddha alive until 400 years after his death when the first transcript of his teachings first emerged.

His awakening occurred when he realized that you didn’t have to starve yourself and mortify your body, as was commonly practiced in India at that time to enhance spiritual clarity and wisdom.  When a young girl offered him some milk and rice pudding as an action of compassion, he realized that there was more to The Way than what he had been taught.

He then meditated for 49 nine days after vowing he would not move until he found the truth.  The insights that came from this still remain some of the most relevant and profound spiritual teachings of all time.  Here are 25 quotes from Buddha that will change your life:

1) “However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”

2) “The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”

3) “A jug fills drop by drop.”

4) “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”

5) “To understand everything is to forgive everything”

6) “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”

7) “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

8) “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

9) “In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.”

10) “In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”

11) “Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.”

12) “Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.”

13) “There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.”

14) “It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see once own faults. One shows the faults of others like chaff winnowed in the wind, but one conceals one’s own faults as a cunning gambler conceals his dice.”

15) “I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”

16) “The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

17) “Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.”

18) “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

19) “Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”

20) “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

21) “You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself”

22) “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

23) “To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others”

24)  “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

25) “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”

Let’s keep these words alive.

About the Author: My name is Steven Bancarz, and I am the creator of ‘Spirit Science and Metaphysics’.  I am working on a new social platform is being built called ‘The Conscious Forum‘ to provide the best place online for open-minded people to discuss, engage, and connect with one another in a way never offered before.

Via Sri Prem Baba: Flor do Dia- Flor del Día- Flower of the day 09/04/2015

“A força de vontade é fortalecida através do esforço. Se você não está podendo se comprometer com a sua prática espiritual, ou com alguma austeridade inteligente que pode te ajudar a romper com determinados maus hábitos, talvez você esteja preso em uma crença. Talvez você acredite não ser capaz ou não ter poder suficiente, e isso te coloca num lugar de tremenda insegurança. Porém, a autoconfiança é um ingrediente fundamental no processo do despertar da consciência, por isso é importante que você consiga atravessar esse pântano, nem que seja se comprometendo com algo bem fácil e simples, mas que possa realizar.”

“La fuerza de voluntad es fortalecida a través del esfuerzo. Si no estás pudiendo comprometerte con tu práctica espiritual, o con alguna austeridad inteligente que puede ayudarte a romper con determinados malos hábitos, tal vez estés preso en una creencia. Tal vez creas que no eres capaz o no tienes el poder suficiente, y esto te coloca en un lugar de tremenda inseguridad. Sin embargo, la autoconfianza es un ingrediente fundamental en el proceso del despertar de la consciencia, por eso es importante que consigas atravesar este pantano, aunque sea comprometiéndote con algo bien fácil y simple, pero que puedas realizar.”

"Willpower is strengthened through effort. If we are not able to commit to our spiritual practice or to some intelligent austerity that can help us break certain bad habits, it may be because we are stuck in a belief. Perhaps we believe that we aren’t capable or that we don’t have enough power, and this makes us extremely insecure. However, confidence is a key ingredient in the process of awakening consciousness. It’s important to get through this swamp, even if it means committing to something relatively easy and simple that we can accomplish."

Via Daily Dharma

Liberated Mind | April 9, 2015

One of the results of meditation practice is the transformation of self-preoccupation into inclusive, open, connected awareness. We can easily go from morning until night engrossed in worries: “What do they think of me? Does he like me? Am I winning?” This habitual state of disconnection leaves us feeling uncertain, afraid, and often exhausted. Practices of ethics, meditation, generosity, and service shift this anxious tendency toward broader engagement and eventually become, in and of themselves, the manifestations of a liberated mind.

- Sharon Salzberg, "In the Spirit of Service"