5 LGBT things you need to know about today 2-24-14

1. There is some Texas-sized firepower behind the push to bring gay marriage to the state. Congressman Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, and Mark McKinnon, former chief media adviser to President George W. Bush, have signed on as co-chairs for the campaign, which is part of the larger Southerners for the Freedom to Marry campaign. This is the same initiative that Mayor Kasim Reed has gotten behind, in coordination with Georgia Equality and Freedom to Marry.

“As a conservative, I don’t believe you or I or the government can tell people who they can love or marry,” McKinnon said in a release. “Freedom means freedom for everyone, not just for some. That’s why I’m a southerner for the freedom to marry. And the political reality is that the marriage wedge has lost its edge. This train has left the station and we all need to get onboard.”

2. Sad. Apparently the anti-gay Regnerus study, which among other things suggests that gay parents push their children to suicide, was conceived by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation.

“In meetings hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington in late 2010, opponents of same-sex marriage discussed the urgent need to generate new studies on family structures and children,” the New York Times says. “One result was the marshaling of $785,000 for a large-scale study by Mark Regnerus, a meeting participant and a sociologist at the University of Texas who will testify in Michigan.

Academics have widely discredited the study and even the journal that published it, the Chronicle of Higher Education, launched an internal audit and found it to be a shamBut that hasn’t stopped the religious right from using the study as an anti-gay weapon in the US and abroad. Speaking of…

3. It just got harder to be gay in Africa, if that’s possible. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni thumbed his nose at rights groups, Western donors and President Obama today and signed an anti-gay bill into law. The law strengthens existing punishments for anyone caught having gay sex to up to a life term in prison, criminalized lesbianism and made it illegal to help individuals engage in gay sex acts.

President Obama had said the legislation would be “a step backward for all Ugandans” and warned that it would complicate U.S.-Ugandan relations.

“There’s now an attempt at social imperialism, to impose social values. We’re sorry to see that you (the West) live the way you live but we keep quiet about it,” President Museveni said at the signing. Archbishop Desmond Tutu called Museveni out, saying he broke a promise to Tutu that he would not let the bill become law.

4. Here’s a new one: “homosexual OCD.” ABC News has a story up about therapists misdiagnosing patients as gay, when they are really just straight guys with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Steven Brodsky, clinical director of the OCD and Panic Center of N.Y. and N.J., says he had one patient who was so crippled by obsessive thoughts about being gay that he wasn’t able to live independently and had to move back in with his parents. Brodsky determined he had OCD associated with homosexuality.

“I have treated this many times,” said Jeff Szymanski, clinical psychologist and executive director of the International OCD Foundation. “It’s pathological – even though I know that I am 100 percent straight, not gay, I am second guessing it. I think, wait a minute I spent too much time looking at that guy in the locker room. I need to know – I need to be sure. They get lost in this stuff.” Szymanski says that the patient ends up being “clearly straight” in 90 percent of these cases, and that the obsession is “absolutely common in the OCD world.”

5. Does Rocco’s deliver 1,700 miles away? Tuscon, AZ-based restaurant Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria has a great response to the passage of the state’s bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers. He put a sign up in his window saying “We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona legislators.”

“Funny how just being decent is starting to seem radical these days,” the restaurant commented on Facebook.