Given the rapidly evolving status of gay rights here in the U.S, where the Boy Scouts of America recently lifted a ban on gay youths and the Supreme Court prepares to rule on two same-sex marriage cases, John Oliver decided it was time to check up on the issue around the globe on Thursday's episode of "The Daily Show."
Operating from the assumption that our friends in Europe are “more enlightened about these issues” than Americans, Oliver was surprised to learn of the riots that erupted in Paris following the legalization in that famously sexually laissez-faire country.
“I guess they just feel very strongly about preserving traditional marriage in France,” he reasoned, “which is of course one man, one woman, and her sister, once, and their maid, and the college-age daughter of friends who stayed with them for the summer. You know, traditional French marriage.”
Oliver was equally puzzled by France’s flashy anti-gay marriage protests which, he said, “look much gayer than our pro-gay protests.” On the streets of Paris, there were shirtless men in pink overalls and matching bandannas and, charging the court at the French Open, there was yet another shirtless, masked man wielding a flare.
“Listen, I don’t want to be in the position of giving tips to bigoted anti-gay forces, but just in terms of pure message discipline, you might want to go with something that doesn’t so much scream audition piece for Cirque de Soleil,” he suggested.
But things are far more dire in Russia, where the lower house of parliament just passed a bill making the “promotion of homosexuality” a crime punishable with fines and jail terms.
“That’s actually smart, because nothing reduces instances of homosexuality like a lengthy jail term,” Oliver joked.
One place gays seem to have found an accepting home is at the Vatican where, according to Pope Francis, there is a powerful “gay lobby.”
“I don’t know if I’d call a Vatican gay lobby a stunning revelation, really,” he said. “The whole building is basically a Liberace fever dream.”
Of course, the “gay lobby” the pope was referring to was not an architectural feature but rather, as CNN’s Father Edward Beck explained, a group of people “putting forth a certain agenda.”
But that distinction was lost on Oliver, who was distracted by Beck’s piercing blue eyes and snowy white hair. “It’s like if Anderson Cooper and a Siberian husky made beautiful sweet love and had a little baby priest,” he quipped.
The gay lobby – or “gay cabal,” as Beck put it, prompting Oliver to suggest other collective terms like “man pile,” “Palm Springs traffic jam” and “Oscar party” – is so powerful it’s rumored to have driven Pope Benedict from the Vatican.
Whether or not that’s true, Oliver was sure of one thing. “No matter what country you live in, no matter what religion you belong to, it seems crazy that in this day and age anyone has a problem with which gender you” are attracted to, he argued, though he allowed televangelist Pat Robertson to have the final word.
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