The Rostow Report by Ann Rostow

A staunch family values Hungarian member of the European Parliament was caught “fleeing along the gutter” to escape Brussels police during the raid of a gay orgy [which violated Belgium’s strict lockdown rules].


Last month, I spared you the recap of a lawsuit that pitted Indiana against two married women who were not being allowed to put both names on their child’s birth certificate. The case was identical to a 2017 case out of Arkansas, which the Supreme Court dismissed without arguments, noting that its 2015 marriage equality ruling settled the matter quite clearly. The protections of marriage include bureaucratic paperwork such as birth and death certificates.

This story has a happy ending, so bear with me. When the Indiana case arose, most people assumed it would be quickly dispensed with due to the High Court’s previous decision. But for reasons unclear, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit took months and months before finally ruling in favor of the women. Given the new composition of the High Court, and considering that Justices Gorsuch and Thomas had dissented in the Arkansas case, the state of Indiana recently decided to appeal its loss to the Supreme Court, hoping for a fresh look at the notion, to paraphrase George Orwell, that some marriages are more equal than others.

On December 14, however, the justices rejected review, leaving the gay rights victory and its own precedent intact. Since it takes only four justices to accept a case, this suggests (perhaps) that Kavanaugh and Barrett were not inclined to wade into this morass. Or who knows? Maybe Roberts talked them out of it. Whatever happened, it feels as if we dodged a bullet.

In another positive development from the Court, earlier in December the justices left in place a transgender victory out of Oregon, where the Ninth Circuit shot down some anti-trans parents who sued a friendly high school. It’s possible that here, the Court shied away from a case that would challenge its six-month-old ruling on sex discrimination, which held that laws banning gender bias implicitly protect transgender men and women.


Oh, I could go on with legal news. There’s a nice update out of St. Louis, where a retirement home was forced to settle with two lesbians who were denied a unit due to their relationship. And I could also delve into a federal ruling that struck Ohio’s ban on changing gender on birth certificates. But I think we’re tired of winning for today, don’t you?

Let’s move instead to Eastern Europe, where a staunch family values Hungarian member of the European Parliament was caught “fleeing along the gutter” to escape Brussels police during the raid of a gay orgy. Some two dozen naked men were found violating Belgium’s strict lockdown rules when the Covid cops arrived, sending the men scrambling for cover. Among them was Jozsef Szajer, who has resigned his position, and several other unnamed diplomats.

Meanwhile, over in Lithuania, another conservative Christian politician was exposed, Jeffrey Toobin-style, when a shirtless man appeared at his shoulder during a video call with the parliament’s culture committee. Petras Grazulis first said it was his son, and later claimed it was a journalist who was stalking him. This character has told gays to leave Lithuania, has opposed gay adoptive parents, disrupted a gay pride event and once presented a group of gay activists with a pair of jeans that zipped in the back.  

It never gets old, does it? The far-right hypocrite caught with his pants around his ankles or his photo on a gay sex app. And yet, some part of us understands how someone could find themselves in this position. Many of us lied to our parents or friends at some point, many even lied to ourselves. Some of us may have found ourselves pointing fingers at others or denigrating gay and lesbians in order to maintain our own facades. I know I’m probably speaking to an older cohort, but still. You can feel the humanity, right?

Or not! 

Hell, these jokers aren’t teenagers hiding from Mom and Dad. They’re grown men living in the 21st Century, albeit steeped in conservative atmospheres. My sympathy for them is tenuous at best.


Have you ever decided that something was so memorable that you didn’t need to write it down. Let’s say, a recipe you found online or the subject of a news section in a future column? 

I recently gave my wife a list of ingredients, including ricotta cheese and shredded parmesan, for a recipe that I subsequently could not remember whatsoever. I also knew I had a very important subject to discuss in these pages that I never bothered to note even though nothing in my lists or files ever rang the same bell so I knew it was still out there…waiting for me.

But both items eventually came to me. Homemade ravioli. And the story of the small town in Belgium where the mayor decided he and the staff would create their own Christmas lights for the season in order to save money. 

The group decided to install dozens of candle-like lights, roughly four feet high. But then they decided that regular old candle flames on top would be boring, so they fashioned slightly oversized blue caps for the stands. When they turned on the seasonal features earlier this month, the town was festooned with what looked like nearly 100 erect penises.  

Mayor Anthony Dumarey of Oudenburg, a seaside town, said the resulting spectacle was certainly “the most talked about Christmas illumination in the country,” adding that everyone could use “some humour in these times,” according to the Evening Standard

Hey, you can see why I thought the story was unforgettable and did not require mnemonic assistance, right? Admittedly, I had thought I was missing a crucial development in GLBT law or politics. Nonetheless, I’m glad I was finally able to pass along this information. 

As for the ravioli, it sounds as if I might be able to accomplish this feat, even though I have a poor record with anything that involves a lot of flour. Recently, I tried to make “salt rising bread,” but gave this up after two abject failures. Ah, the problems of first-world Covid quarantines.

See you in 2021!