We have to start this week’s Don’t Be Dumb at Brunch with a special “Happy Birthday!” to America’s Golden Girl, Betty White, who turned 96 years young this past Wednesday. Now, to catch you up to speed, we have the latest on how Trump is hurting the LGBTQ community with religious freedom (yet again), a cool Deadpool tribute to yet another “Golden Girl” and how to book your next flight on RuPaul’s plane.
You’ve got a lot or reasons to raise your glass at brunch this weekend!
Here are the week’s 5 news stories that’ll keep you looking well-informed at brunch:
1. Religious Freedom Trumps Health Care, Apparently
The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services announced a new division of the Office of Civil Rights responsible for outreach to religious organizations that opposed LGBTQ equality and a woman’s right to choose. Health care workers will also be allowed to refuse treatment to LGBTQ people, as well as women who are seeking an abortion, because of their religious beliefs.
Roger Severino, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, who is pushing for the rule change, has a history of speaking out against civil rights protections for minorities. President Obama overturned a similar rule that was in place under President George W. Bush that was regularly used to refuse treatment of LGBTQ citizens due to moral objections. The Bush-era rules were cited in denying fertility drugs to lesbians and an ambulance driver’s refusal to transport a transgender woman. That woman later died before getting treatment.
The White House, which declared Tuesday, Jan. 16 “National Religious Freedom Day,” is expected to announce these rule changes as early as next week.
2. Deadpool Is a Friend of Dorothy
In a recently tweeted photo, Ryan Reynolds, the actor who portrays Marvel superhero Deadpool, showed off the names of his katanas: The words “Bea” and “Arthur” are engraved on the back of each handle.
Reynolds claims “Bea” is a joy to work with, while “Arthur” is grumpy-wumpy. (Sounds like the reactions of Bea’s costars on The Golden Girls, Rue McClanahan and Betty White.) Check out cameos by Bea and Arthur in Deadpool 2, in theaters on May 18.
Know this name: Mathilde Krim. She was devoted to a fierce mission to save lives, and she passed away last Monday.
One of the first scientists to raise funds for AIDS research and development of treatments to help the infected, she spoke directly and honestly about AIDS as founding chair of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (now called the Foundation for AIDS Research). She used science. She used fact. We must pay tribute to her efforts that literally saved the lives of our brothers and sisters.
Raise a glass to Mathilde this week. She deserves it.
4. Look! Up in the Sky!
World of Wonder, the company behind RuPaul’s Drag Race and several other reality TV shows, is developing a scripted comedy feature that places the world’s most famed drag queen on the maiden voyage of “Glamazonian Airways.” It’s called Drag Queens on a Plane, and it’s already been called “the most glamorous disaster movie in herstory!”
Hilariousness is bound to ensue, and we can only dream of who might be on board. Or, better yet, who’s flying the plane. The possibilities are endless, so grab your duct tape, lip gloss and popcorn. We’ll meet you at the theater.
5. Our Whackjob of the Week: Mathew Staver
Liberty Counsel Chairman and Kim Davis attorney Mathew Staver told an audience on VCY America’s “Crosstalk” this week that gay people should not be allowed to serve as judges because they’d be incapable of being objective in cases involving religious freedom. He said this in response to a question about Andrew McDonald, who was recently nominated to be Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. (This would make McDonald the first openly gay Chief Justice of a state Supreme Court in the United States.)
Stop us if you’ve heard this tired, old and ignorant argument before. Are you telling us a woman can’t objectively hear a case involving abortion or women’s rights? What about an African-American judge hearing cases involving minority rights? Their job is to interpret the law, not to inject personal opinions or biases. How would Staver react if people doubted a Christian Judge’s ability to be fair and objective when hearing a case? Yeah, that’s what we thought. Hypocrisy in its truest form.
Matt, get some sleep, because that argument is as tired as you are.
Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were one of two plaintiff couples in California’s 2013 challenge of Proposition 8, which brought marriage equality back to the state after being ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court. These activists also host the weekly podcast The Husbands. Catch them there or follow them on Instagram @JeffZandPaulK.
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