Saturday, May 16, 2009

Moakler, Co-Exec. Dir. of Miss CA USA, Tells CBS She Quit in Protest, Calls NOM Hate Group

“It was a very, very difficult decision for me” to step down, Moakler told Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen. “But at the end of the day, I really -- I had to follow my heart. I didn't feel, you know, that at the press conference (with Trump), that Carrie at that time was really taking any responsibility. And for me, it was just very difficult to stand behind.

“ ... There's so many different factors that weigh into this story and that have kind of made it so sensational, from gay rights, to the First Amendment (Prejean has cited her right to free speech in defending the anti-same-sex marriage comments), to the pictures, to big business, and I, you know -- one of the biggest factors was actually the next day ... when she was talking (during a broadcast interview) about the photographs, and she was blaming this photographer, and blaming the wind, and you know , is constantly being a victim and pointing fingers at everybody else and I just couldn't stand behind that...

“I just wanted her to be honest, and just say -- I didn't want her to lose her crown. But I would have loved to have heard her say 'You know what? I was a young kid, and I made a mistake,’ and, ‘Yes, I should have told the pageant officials about (the photos). I never thought I would, you know, be in this position and I made a mistake. Sorry.’ That would have been fine.”

Moakler added, “I think she's a young girl, and I think she was thrown into the spotlight (after the Miss USA pageant). I think she was not prepared. I think a lot of organizations latched onto her. They exploited her. They didn't prepare her. I think, you know, she's very honest when she says she never expected this.

"But at the same time, I think it's wrong to start screaming that you're being persecuted and then you go and align yourself with organizations like NOM that are particularly -- I consider them hate groups. (NOM is) the National Organization for Marriage,” which opposes same-sex marriage.

VIDEO: KNBC "Today in LA" on Courage Campaign and Meet in the Middle

KNBC interviews Rick Jacobs, Chair and Founder of the Courage Campaign in a segment on the Prop 8 court case and the fight for marriage equality. Meet in the Middle 4 Equality is also featured.

EVENT REMINDER: Marriage Equality Rally in New York City Sunday

Posting a reminder of tomorrow's marriage equality rally in New York City's Time Square. See posted flyer to the left. Click on it to enlarge.

On the eve of the rally, Westchester, New York's News 12 aired the following report on Carolina Cordero-Dyer and Claudia Glasser and their family, friends of fellow blogger, Blabbeando.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Unite the Fight Source Speaks to VP Biden on Iraqi Gay Torture - Response "Discouraging"

Mike Bonin, Chief of Staff for Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl, both of whom were vital to getting the Los Angeles City Council to pass a resolution condemning the torture and murder of gay men in Iraq, gave the following account about his exchange with Vice President Joe Biden about the issue.
I was part of a group of 15 or so people who got to spend 45 mins with the veep this morning. After the handshake and photo op, I asked him if I could ask a question. I mentioned the UN report, the call for action by Amnesty International, and the reports of horrible anal glue torture. I asked him what the US govt could do.

He gave me a very long and detailed answer, condemning not just the attacks on gays, but also marital rape in Iraq and Afghanistan. He conceded the answer he was going to give me would not please me and went on to explain that the Iraqi and Afghani government is either too ineffectual to act, or is afraid of offending the religious zealots who perpetuate the attacks.

He said that last time he was in Iraq the US military intervened to stop an attack on a man who was being assaulted for being gay. He assured me the US military would continue to act, but it is virtually impossible to know of the events as they are happening, let alone prevent them.

His comments were sobering and quite discouraging -- although I was mildly encouraged that such a high-ranking US official was clearly aware of the details of the issue. The noise being made has not totally fallen on deaf ears.

Later, as he ended the Q&A session and was preparing to leave, he turned back to me, looked me in eye, and told me he wanted me to know he would not forget the issue, and that the administration would not let it go.

More noise and continued attention to this and other human rights abuses, not just against the LGBT community, is imperative.
Ugh. I can understand how difficult it is for the military to stop the torture when it's happening (because how could they know?), but the Afghan and Iraqi governments are afraid to offend the extremists? How about how the zealots are offending those they torture? I can understand it is a delicate situation, but the chosen path is to remain silent?

It appears as if our government is also cowering to these extremists! The least the US government could do is practice what it preaches and issue a strong statement to the Iraqi and Afghan governments demanding they do something, however ineffectual.

If in fact Biden does stick to his statement that the administration would not let this issue go, then there is some hope. But with their continued silence on LGBT rights, I wouldn't expect them to do anything anytime soon.

So like my friend said, "More noise and continued attention to this and other human rights abuses, not just against the LGBT community, is imperative."

Wisconsin High Court Agrees to Hear Case Challenging State's Marriage Equality Ban

Unite the Fight earlier reported that the Wisconsin high court was asked to review the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Good news. They agreed to hear the case.

But hold your horses. A ruling striking down the amendment would not legalize same-sex marriage because state law still defines marriage as a union between husband and wife. However, it could pave the way for lawmakers to eventually allow it, or for advocates to file lawsuits seeking that right.

The case was submitted by William McConkey, a 66-year old who describes himself as a “Christian, straight, married," man with a gay daughter is a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh political science instructor. He claims the referendum that banned marriage equality in Wisconsin illegally put two issues to voters at the same time: whether to ban gay marriage and whether to outlaw civil unions.

The court has given lawyers 30 days to file their briefs.

Fair Wisconsin, the state’s largest gay rights group, praised the court’s decision to take the case.

“The constitutional amendment is definitely something we see as a stain on the constitution. It sort of enshrines discrimination,” said its legislative director, Katie Belanger. “We are really looking forward to the Supreme Court making a fair decision about whether or not the amendment was put to the people in the legal and constitutional way.”

Stay tuned!

See related story, "Wisconsin Governor's Civil Unions Plan Likely Legal" at Gay Marriage Watch.

Gay Adoption Wins in Florida Court, Enforcing Recognition of Adoptions in Other States

The Florida Court of Appeals unanimously overturned a lower court's ruling stating that in fact Florida is obligated to recognize adoptions granted to same-sex couples by other states.

Basing its decision on the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the federal constitution, Lara Embry, the plaintiff in the case, “must be given the same rights as any other adoptive parent in Florida.”

Noting that “there are no public policy exceptions to the full faith and credit which is due to judgments entered in another state,” the court concluded that “regardless of whether the trial court believed that the Washington adoption violated a clearly established public policy in Florida, it was improper for the trial court to refuse to give the Washington judgment full faith and credit.”

A concurring opinion further noted that Embry’s “same-sex relationship with [the other parent] is irrelevant for the purpose of enforcing her rights and obligations as an adoptive parent.”

Embry, who had separated from her partner, had one biological child and adopted her partner's birth child, and vice versa. When they split, Ryan wanted to end all contact with Embry and separate the bonded siblings.

This is a big step for Florida. Currently, the laws in Florida ban same-sex couples from adopting within its borders, but these laws are currently being challenged. This ruling, declaring that the state must uphold gay adoptions from other states, is a strong message to the judges who will be considering the ban challenges in their courts.

As it has been stated numerous times on this site and others, the right-wing is beginning to attack the LGBT right to adopt, which many are saying is the next major battle for the LGBT population. The anti-LGBT won't stop until our families are destroyed.

And families DO matter. Read this amazing post on Bilerico Project titled "Family Matters", a moving story of a gay man's close family who don't share a drop of biological blood between them. And in the end, it doesn't matter because we choose our families.

But you know what they say. Two steps forward, one step back. Louisiana Moves to Limit Gay Adoptions.

Update on Gov. Lynch Signing NH Marriage Equality Bill

Unite the Fight and many others have asked all to urge New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch to sign the marriage equality bill.

Sounds like he's listened.

As reported by the AP, Gov. Lynch will sign a bill to make his state the sixth to legalize gay marriage as soon as the Legislature makes some changes, which legislative leaders immediately said they would back.

Reuters reports that "the governor’s suggested changes would make clear that religious groups would not be required to perform gay weddings if their beliefs prohibited it, and that they would not be held liable in court for refusing such services."

Reuters also reports, "The language would also make clear that social groups and other organizations affiliated with religious entities did not have to provide benefits to gay couples."

Personally, I have no issues with that latter statement. I don't care to give my money to religious entities that need protection to discriminate against me in the first place.

Wait, I have one issue. It's annoying that secular people can get civilly married without stipulations, but that's because they're straight. The religious don't care about them. They're obsessed with us, the LGBT population, and no amount of stipulations is going to appease them when it comes to us.

But then I get pleasure in seeing them pissed off. I know I'm not supposed to admit that, but I am.

Mo Baxley, executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, approved of Lynch' proposed changes.

"This is language we can support," she said. The organization is asking everyone in New Hampshire to contact their representatives for one last push for them to concur with the governor's change.

“New Hampshire’s great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections,” Mr. Lynch, a Democrat, said in a statement. “But following that tradition means we must act to protect both the liberty of same-sex couples and religious liberty.”

Since the original bill never made it to the governor's desk, the legislators will now have to incorporate the new language before sending it to him.

Senate President Sylvia Larsen and House Speaker Terie Norelli predicted the Legislature would act quickly to adopt the changes, perhaps as early as next week.

I have to give kudos to the governor who is on record as opposing same-sex marriage, because he's knowingly pissed off his conservative supporters by agreeing to sign the bill. Kevin Smith, executive director of gay marriage opponent Cornerstone Policy Research, said Lynch's proposed changes are a disingenuous attempt to obscure the fact Lynch misled the public into believing he opposed same-sex marriage.

I disagree. He's restated his opposition to same-sex marriage, but it's clearly on religious grounds. He decided to view the issue "through a broader lens." So I don't see that as misleading - he never promised to NOT sign a civil rights bill granting marriage equality. In other words, he paid respect to the founding principle of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.

Kevin Smith could learn a lesson or two from Gov. Lynch.

By the way, the National Organization for Marriage is behind the child exploitation ad, trying to manipulate the governor.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

UPDATE: Same-Sex Marriage Debate Begins in Rhode Island State House

UPDATE: The House Judiciary Committee heard public comments today on Rhode Island's same-sex marriage bill, and as usual, many opposed showed up along with those in favor (there's also bill being considered to ban same-sex marriage).

Rhode Island, being staunchly Catholic and target by NOM, is a huge challenge for marriage equality proponents, since the past 12 years the bill has never passed the committee to a floor vote.

State Rep. Frank Ferri (D-Warwick), flanked by family members, expressed his outrage at the lack of action taken by his fellow legislators on the issue of marriage rights for gays and lesbians. Ferri married his husband, Tony Caparco, in Canada in 2006.

"It is embarrassing and insulting that I have to come here before you again to beg for the constitutional right of Rhode Island’s gay and lesbian citizens to marry the people we love," Ferri said. "It is deeply personal, and after 12 years of getting the same runaround and the bill dying in committee, I am tired of this issue not demanding your attention and action."

Read full story at Edge Boston.
The debate over marriage equality was revisited in the Rhode Island State House Wednesday, as that states House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on two proposed bills. One bill would allow same-sex couples to wed in Rhode Island; the other would prohibit gay marriage by adding an amendment to the state’s constitution.

Thirty-one of Rhode Islands 75 House members have cosponsored that states marriage equality bill, but Rhode Islands powerful Roman Catholic lobbies ardently opposes the measure. Providence’s Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has been pushing hard in his opposition as well and using scare tactics, telling Rhode Island Catholics their religious freedoms are in danger.

Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri is also adamantly against marriage equality. Last month Carcieri announced he and his wife had joined the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and appeared at an event announcing a NOM ad blitz in Rhode Island.

In the previous 12 years the Marriage Equality issue has come before the Rhode Island legislature, it has never made it pass the committee level. No decisions were made Wednesday about the fate of this year’s bill.

Crossposted with

NH Governor Lynch to Sign Marriage Equality Bill. NH Sixth State to Recognize Same-Sex Marriage!

New Hampshire will now be the sixth state to recognize marriage equality! It now joins Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut and Maine.

Gov. Lynch does want to make a few changes to bill. He wants to add the extra protections for religious institutions that were in the Vermont and Connecticut legislation.

The Nashua Telegraph reports: "The suggested change would only give a legal protection to individuals working directly for a religious organization or an entity that a religious group owns or controls. The change, for example, would not permit a self-employed photographer or caterer to refuse to work because a same-sex marriage ceremony violated their own religious beliefs."

The changes are slight and practically already in the bill.

Here is the governor's full statement:
CONCORD - Gov. John Lynch released the following statement today regarding same-sex legislation in New Hampshire:

“The gay marriage debate in New Hampshire has been filled with passion and emotion on all sides.

“My personal views on the subject of marriage have been shaped by my own experience, tradition and upbringing. But as Governor of New Hampshire, I recognize that I have a responsibility to consider this issue through a broader lens.

“In the past weeks and months, I have spoken with lawmakers, religious leaders and citizens. My office has received thousands of phone calls, letters and emails. I have studied our current marriage and civil union laws, the laws of other states, the bills recently passed by the legislature and our history and traditions.

“Two years ago, we passed civil unions legislation here in New Hampshire. That law gave same-sex couples in civil unions the same rights and protections as marriage. And in typical New Hampshire fashion, the people of this state embraced civil unions and agreed we needed to continue our tradition of opposing discrimination.

“At its core, HB 436 simply changes the term ‘civil union’ to ‘civil marriage.’ Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change.

“I have heard, and I understand, the very real feelings of same-sex couples that a separate system is not an equal system. That a civil law that differentiates between their committed relationships and those of heterosexual couples undermines both their dignity and the legitimacy of their families.

“I have also heard, and I understand, the concerns of our citizens who have equally deep feelings and genuine religious beliefs about marriage. They fear that this legislation would interfere with the ability of religious groups to freely practice their faiths.

“Throughout history, our society’s views of civil rights have constantly evolved and expanded. New Hampshire’s great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections.

“That is what I believe we must do today.

“But following that tradition means we must act to protect both the liberty of same-sex couples and religious liberty. In their current form, I do not believe these bills accomplish those goals.

“The Legislature took an important step by clearly differentiating between civil and religious marriage, and protecting religious groups from having to participate in marriage ceremonies that violate their fundamental religious beliefs.

“But the role of marriage in many faiths extends beyond the actual marriage ceremony.
Below is the language Gov. Lynch has proposed for the same Sex legislation.


“I have examined the laws of other states, including Vermont and Connecticut, which have recently passed same-sex marriage laws. Both go further in protecting religious institutions than the current New Hampshire legislation.

“This morning, I met with House and Senate leaders, and the sponsors of this legislation, and gave them language that will provide additional protections to religious institutions.

“This new language will provide the strongest and clearest protections for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals working with such institutions.
It will make clear that they cannot be forced to act in ways that violate their deeply held religious principles.

“If the legislature passes this language, I will sign the same-sex marriage bill into law. If the legislature doesn’t pass these provisions, I will veto it.

“We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity.

“I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals and I urge the legislature to pass it.

# # #

I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual if such request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage, the celebration of a marriage, or the promotion of marriage through religious counseling, programs, courses, retreats, or housing designated for married individuals, and such solemnization, celebration, or promotion of marriage is in violation of their religious beliefs and faith. Any refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges in accordance with this section shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state action to penalize or withhold benefits from such religious organization, association or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society.

II. The marriage laws of this state shall not be construed to affect the ability of a fraternal benefit society to determine the admission of members pursuant to RSA 418:5, and shall not require a fraternal benefit society that has been established and is operating for charitable and educational purposes and which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization to provide insurance benefits to any person if to do so would violate the fraternal benefit society’s free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States and part 1, article 5 of the Constitution of New Hampshire

III. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed or construed to limit the protections and exemptions provided to religious organizations under RSA § 354-A:18.

IV. Repeal. RSA 457-A, relative to civil unions, is repealed effective January 1, 2011, except that no new civil unions shall be established after January 1, 2010.
Let's see if President Obama can keep his silence now!

LA City Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Condemning Iraqi Torture of Gay Men

On Wednesday, after hearing several emotional speeches, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution that "calls upon the government of Iraq to prevent the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and protect the right to life and the right of all its citizens to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

The resolution, sponsored by openly gay council member Bill Rosendahl, is the first public statement by a city or official government body in the United States condemning the torturous actions and murder of gay men in Iraq. Among the atrocious actions is the rounding up of gay men, gluing their anuses shut and giving them a diarrhetic, causing their digestive systems to shut down, ending in death.

The hearing began with an opening from Rosendahl, stating "While we’re standing here in this great country, right now, in Iraq . . . We are seeing gay people rounded up and killed. As I’m standing here, our people are being murdered. Our government needs to focus on it."

Rosendahl then handed the proceeding over to Hossein Alizadeh from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, whose organization's motto is "Human Rights for Everyone. Everywhere."

Mr. Alizadeh read a letter from a 25-year old gay man in Iraq who feared for his life.

"My problem is that I’m a gay, and as a gay man I can’t live a normal life in Iraq because," the letter read. "Every time I walk on the street I wonder what may happen to me today. To protect myself, I have to lie to everyone and pretend that I am a straight person. It is really hard to be a 24/7 liar out of the fear of death...I keep asking myself if this is going to be MY LIFE!!!

"I have no one to turn to.

"My family doesn’t know about my homosexuality…if they find out, they will disown me because I will become a disgrace to them. They may even try to kill me to protect their honor."

The letter is posted in full at the bottom.

While reading this letter, Mr. Alizadeh played the following PowerPoint presentation that included text from posters distributed throughout Baghdad, calling for the death of homosexuals, as well as witnesses and quotes from news reports.

Iraq Persecution of Gays

Mr. Alizadeh concluded his presentation, stating, "There are hundreds of people like him in Iraq that are being tortured to death and killed everyday."

Following the reading of the letter, Ally Bolour, Immigration Attorney specializing in LGBT asylum and co-chair of the IGLHRC board, spoke. "I’ve been working human rights, asylum cases for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folk from all over the world. And after almost thirteen years of being in this business, I’ve seriously thought I’ve seen it all. When I heard and what I saw what’s happening to Iraqi gays, just one word came to mind, one phrase - unconscionable, " Mr. Bolour said. "How can we as the civilized west, the civilized world, sit by, idly, and not do something?"

The floor was then opened up for public commentary. The crowd in the chamber room contained many union members present for other issues, including the service workers' union SEIU, who were waiting to hear a resolution that would pressure the local airports to provide health insurance to their members.

When those from the public spoke in support of the Iraq resolution, the union members stood in solidarity. In a further show of support, Jose Morales, member of the executive board of the SEIU of local chapter 1877, spoke with a translator.

"We’re an organization that opposes discrimination wherever it is," Mr. Morales declared. "Whether it’s in Iraq, whether it’s in Mexico, and we’re here today in opposition to what’s happening in Iraq. So we’re here today to demand dignity and respect all over the world for our people.”


Rosendahl then stood up, amending the resolution's motion and heightening its urgency by adding a call to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "to take action, to end the persecution and murder of Iraqi gays, including but not limited to making a strong public and international statement, condemning the action and exerting all necessary pressure on the Iraq government to take action."

At this point, council members took emotional stands of support for the resolution. Councilmember Tony Cardenas stood first. "We as a country stand for equal justice and equal rights for every single human being," he said. "I think the city of LA should stand up and say we’ve been made aware of this, and because we’re aware of it, we’re saying as a city, that we shall not stand silently and just watch it happen."

Councilmember Janice Hahn followed with an emotional declaration. "It’s just so hard to hear. It’s so hard to listen to this. It’s unbelievable torture. And it’s interesting that we’ve had this broad civic debate in this country about where we stand as Americans on torture, "she said. "This is certainly a level of torture that I think really rises above all the memos the war memos that we’ve seen released during the last month."

"And when I say the pledge of allegiance, when it gets to the end phrase, 'with liberty and justice for all,' I always add 'someday,'" she continued. "I believe there is not justice for all at this moment, and as long as we hear stories about that on this planet I will not be able to say that there is liberty and justice for all anywhere. An injury to one is an injury to all. We pray that this type of torture will come to an end.”

District 10 Councilmember Herb J. Wesson, Jr. had an important objection to Rosendahl's earlier statement. "I take issue with one statement that you [Rosendahl] made when you said 'these are my people.’ That’s not true. They are human beings. They are our people. And I think we need to get away from that. People need to just start seeing people for who they are."

He continued, "I feel real personal where it relates to this because there’s not a member here that doesn’t have a relative, even if you don’t want to admit, that is either gay or lesbian. I got like nine in my family! OK. Every week it seems like I get a new addition. That’s my family, ok. That’s my people."

He then referred to the importance of the resolution. "The least we can do is stand up and say, 'We know this is going on, it’s wrong, and we’re lifting our voice, saying it’s wrong. Stop it.' I don’t see a reason why the president could not say something about this."

Councilmember Ed Reyes followed. "This is the 2nd largest city in the country. For this council to make a statement, it will be heard. It will be heard by many."

Mr. Reyes then made a connection between the torture and the bullying of LGBT youth in America. "Right now, today, throughout the country today, there are children who are being bullied, there are kids being attack because of the way they are, how they behave, because of the tendency to be different. And that’s wrong. And it’s all connected. The message of allowing this to occur, of sticking our heads in the sand, it’s wrong."

"The United States went to Iraq on the basis of protecting human rights," Councilmember Jose Huizar reminded the chamber. "And when we see it’s actually gotten worse in respect to gays and lesbians we got to raise the flag and say, 'This is wrong.'"

President of the Council, Wendy Greuel, then called for a vote. The resolution passed unanimously 12-0 to thunderous applause.

Letter From Iraqi Gay Man

My own personal account, including a public comment at the hearing I gave, will be posted soon.

Study Finds Five Years of Marriage Equality Works For Massachusetts

Recently, Unite the Fight posted on how marriage equality is becoming less of a threat, with support for it growing, thus making opponents irrelevant.

On the fifth anniversary of Massachusetts allowing same-sex marriage, a survey report was released showing how support for marriage equality has increased in the state now that the residents have experienced and witnessed the normalcy of it.

Massachusetts Marriage Equality Works Survey Report

With 600 voters in Massachusetts surveyed from April 5-8 of 2009, Lake Research Partners found:
  • Society is stronger because more couples are taking responsibility and making long-term commitments.
  • It’s better for society overall that more people are getting married.
  • Marriage equality promotes the common good by encouraging more people to build families and raise children.
  • Children raised by gay and lesbian couples are more secure.
  • Voters believe marriage equality helps Massachusetts live up to its values.
  • Marriage equality should be protected.
  • Massachusetts couples should have access to federal marriage benefits.
These are the kind of findings that scare the whacked out marriage equality opponents because they reveal the falsehoods in their arguments against allowing the LGBT population the right to wed.

I don't see a rise in interspecies marriage in Massachusetts. Do you?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

YouTube BLAST: Satire of Miss CA Press Conference, Anti-Gay Media Compilation, Savage: "F" for Obama

1. I almost didn't laugh at this great satire because, well, basically, it's plainly stating what was actually said at Miss CA's press conference.

Gag me with a spoon.

2. And this doesn't make me laugh at all. It's a compilation from of the right-wing media's accusations that same-sex marriage will lead to "triads", interspecies marriage and pedophilia. Y'know, that damn "slippery slope" argument. Ugh.

3. Dan Save gives President Obama an "F" on LGBT issues.

Pro and Anti Marriage Equality Rallies Organized Same Day in New York

Marriage equality passed as expected yesterday in the New York State Assembly, but it faces a much higher hurdle to clear in the state's senate.

With this in mind, Broadway Impact, Empire State Pride Agenda and Marriage Equality New York are putting on a rally in New York City's Time Square this Sunday, May 17 from 5-7pm.

Hair's Tony-nominee Gavin Creel is hosting the event and will lead his fellow cast members in a performance from the show.

Empire State Pride Agenda has also begun airing the first of a series of ads depicting families and their support for marriage equality.

Hopefully the show of support and the messages behind the ads will get through to the senators, but unlikely will reach the homophobic ears of the stubborn Sen. Ruben Diaz. He plans to hold his own counter protest. Despite the last one he held being a big flop, this one seems to be picking up steam.

So if you're in New York and can make it to the rally, show your numbers!

Rhode Island Marriage Equality Hearing Today!

There will be a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill H-5744 ending marriage discrimination this afternoon at the rise of the House.

Please contact committee members and let them know why marriage equality is important to you. They need to hear from proponents of the measure prior to their hearing. Catholic opposition in the state has been loud and clear against the marriage equality bill within the state.

Click here to send an email to all of the House Judiciary Committee's members at once.

Crossposted with Queers United.

Keith Olbermann's WTF!?! Moment: Miss California Carrie Prejean

No comment necessary. I think he said it all.

White House Press Secretary F***s Up on LGBT Issues, A Bad Reflection of Obama

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was unprepared at yesterday's press briefing when three reporters hounded him on LGBT issues and the administration's refusal to acknowledge the equality advances in the nation or its lack of follow-up on campaign promises to the LGBT population.

The reporters: Cornering Gibbs was ABC's Jake Tapper, CNN's Jill Dougherty, and Bill Press.

First out of the gate was Tapper.
Q: Okay. And the second question on a completely different topic -- the President opposes same-sex marriage, but he supports giving same-sex couples the same rights as married people.

MR. GIBBS: And benefits.

Q: Same rights and benefits. What's your response to critics of his policy who say this is exactly separate but equal?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I would point you to the any number of times that he was asked this during the campaign and addressed it.

Q: I don't think he was ever asked is this separate but equal.

MR. GIBBS: No. In fact, it was asked on multiple occasions, and I can pull you something on that. It's the President's belief -- he strongly supports civil unions, and supports ensuring that they have access to the rights and benefits, such as hospital visitation and things like that, that are enjoyed by others.
WTF?! Basically, he's saying that the President supports a separate but equal situation. Rather ironic, I'd say.

Next up to bat, Dougherty.
Q: And a question on another subject. Even some of the President's friends are now saying that he is hedging on his promises on "don't ask, don't tell." He said he would overturn it, and now -- and you're saying, you have said, the President will keep his promise. But we heard from General Jones saying that "I don't know" when he was asked when it would be overturned. And some people feel that it's really on the back burner.

And also, cases of people -- there's a group now of people who were in the military who are gay who have come out, who are -- we're doing a profile on one who's a linguist, Arabic linguist, who's been kicked out because -- precisely of that.

MR. GIBBS: I think that case, in fact, shows why the President, why former members of the Joint Chiefs, and why the administration believe that the policy isn't working for our national interests.

Now, in terms of keeping his promise, I would note that many of the questions that have been asked here require more than the snapping of one's fingers. To get fundamental reform in this instance requires a legislative vehicle. The President made a promise to change this policy; he will work with the Joints Chiefs of Staff, the administration and with Congress to ensure that we have a policy that works for our national interests.
Wow. He's so wrong. As Pam Spauling at Pam's House Blend puts it, "He completely fails to mention the fact that President Obama has the power by executive order to cease the witch hunts, and to stop the discharges until Congress takes legislative action, as the Palm Center at UCSB report released this week, "How to End 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell': A Roadmap of Political, Legal, Regulatory, and Organizational Steps to Equal Treatment," outlines.

Last but not least, reporter Bill Press.
Q: Robert, back to "don't ask, don't tell," you indicated that the President wants to change the policy, but that some legislative vehicle would be necessary. He is the Commander-in-Chief. I mean, if the President and the Secretary of Defense can bring about a new leadership in Afghanistan, replace the commanding general there, couldn't the President and the Secretary of Defense delay any more people getting fired under "don't ask, don't tell"?

MR. GIBBS: Well, there have been discussions about the best way to move forward, and the only sustainable way to do that is through -- sustainable and durable way -- is through legislation, which the President has promised and has continued to work for.

Q: Is he willing to let other men and women in uniform, then, be dishonorably discharged simply because they're gay and lesbian while he's waiting for legislation?

MR. GIBBS: Well, Bill, as I said a few minutes ago, I think the President believes now, as he believed -- has believed for quite some time, that the process does not serve our national interest. You've seen many speak out in opposition to it, and the President is working with the Joint Chiefs and members of Capitol Hill to come to a durable legislative solution.
Bulls**t. Again, it's been clearly shown in the above mentioned report that if the President wanted to stop the witch hunt discharges of gays and lesbians in the military, he could. Saying that a fundamental change needs to happen is like telling New Orleans right after Katrina that they needed better levees. Well, yeah, but in the meantime, DO SOMETHING!

I have clearly stated my frustrated with President Obama, and this just fans the flames.

A strategy of dodging and silence isn't the "Change" and "Hope" Obama promised. It's the same crap that's been dealt to the LGBT population each time they helped a politician get into office.

I'm ready to picket the White House. How about you?

NY State Assembly Passes Marriage Equality 89-52, On to Tough Senate

After three hours of debate, the New York State Assembly passed the marriage equality bill proposed by Gov. David Paterson as expected, with a vote 89-52, increasing the equality margin from a 2007 marriage vote of 85-61. The next step for passage lies in the senate where it faces an uphill battle.

Five members who had voted "no" changed their votes - two Republicans: Fred Thiele and Janet Duprey, bringing the total number of GOP "yes" votes to five; two Democrats: Sandy Galef and Bob Reilly; and one Independence Party member, Tim Gordon.

From a great report from the PolitickerNY:
ALBANY—The debate on the same-sex marriage bill in the State Assembly began at 4:52 p.m., with bill sponsor Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell [Rose O'Donnell's brother] calmly answering questions from Assemblyman Jack Quinn.

Their exchange was respectful, and at times funny. The first strong position was taken by Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick, a Long Island Republican, who opposed the bill because he said it would force organizations or public accommodations with a religious belief—say, a Knights of Columbus Hall—to accept same-sex couples. His exchange with O'Donnell grew heated.

"By conferring a marriage license, we are saying that marriage is equal for heterosexuals as well as homosexuals," Fitzpatrick said. "And the problem I have is that, while the law cannot force any religious organization to solemnize or legitimize homosexual marriage, it will force society to recognize the legitimacy of homosexual marriage."

He wondered if there could be a provision for "conscientious objection" by some institutions. O'Donnell said this amounted to discrimination.

"The laws of discrimination and the human rights are what they are," he replied.

"What you're attempting to do is to legislate discrimination," Fitzpatrick replied.

"This is not about anybody's religion," O'Donnell replied. "I am entitled to the same paper you have, Michael, whether you want me to or not."

Fitzpatrick continued, saying a catering hall, for example, "has a right, I think, to discriminate on those grounds, if it is a religious institution."

"You ought to go to law school and read the law," O'Donnell replied. "You want to change the human rights law or the discrimination law, you can put in a bill to do that."

"I disagree, Dan, because I think there is a coming collision between what you're attempting to do and every faith that does not agree with gay marriage. This will be tested in court," Fitzpatrick replied.
A few moments later, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat and Orthodox Jew, rose. It was he who had made the comment to which Titone referred.

"It is about God," he said, waving a leather-bound copy of the Book of Leviticus. "It is about what I believe God wants. And I don't separate, you know, being the political figure and being the individual. How do you do that?"

"God is not a politician, to the best of my knowledge God does not flip-flop on the issues, either," he continued, referencing a letter he and colleagues received today from Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. "Suddenly Gillibrand is telling me that I should support gay marriage. I would love to know how she came to that conclusion on her own. I'm sure politics played absolutely no role. I'm sure it was about principal, about morality, about being fair."
Assemblyman Michael Benjamin:

Stay tuned for the drama in the senate. And keep your eye out for that crazy, anti-gay senator Ruben Diaz.

In the meantime, go to a rally to persuade resistant senators to vote for equality!Broadway Impact is sponsoring a rally after Sunday’s AIDS Walk:

WHEN: Sunday, May 17th, 5:00 to 7:00 PM
WHERE: 6th Avenue at 45th Street


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

VIDEO: MSNBC's Harball "Gay Marriage Debate" HRC vs. FRC

Joe Solmonese of HRC vs. Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg.

Who do you think did better?

Video: MSNBC's David Schuster Reacts to Miss CA Keeping Crown, "Can I Vomit Right Now?"

You gotta love the guy!

EVENT REMINDER: On May 13, Speak Out Against Torture and Murder of Gay Men in Iraq

Mike Bonin, Chief of Staff for Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Co-Founder of Courage Campaign's Camp Courage, issued the following letter urging attendance to a consideration of a resolution that would put Los Angeles on record condemning the torture and murder of gay men in U.S. occupied Iraq.

While we eagerly await a court decision on whether California will recognize our relationships, our people are being tortured and murdered in Iraq. In a story largely ignored by the media, death squads are rounding up Iraqi gay men, sealing their anuses with powerful glue, then inducing diarrhea, which leads to a painful and agonizing death.

The annihilation of our people, ordered by religious decree in a nation where our troops have sacrificed their lives to restore religious freedom, is appalling. In San Francisco, activists have protested. Here in Los Angeles, we cannot remain silent while this happens.

Next Wednesday, May 13, the Los Angeles City Council will consider a resolution, sponsored by my boss, Councilman Bill Rosendahl, putting the City of Los Angeles on record condemning this atrocity. A representative of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission will be on hand to testify.

I invite and urge you to attend and to speak out. A large crowd of members of the LGBT community and human rights supporters will help us draw media attention to these crimes.

The council meeting will be held at 10 a.m., May 13, in the John Ferraro Council Chambers, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, 90012.(Map)

If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Anataly DeJesus in my office at or 213-473-7011. We will do our best to arrange parking.

Please help spread the word by forwarding this email.

For more information on what is happening in Iraq , please see the following links: Gay City News, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and another from the IGLHRC.

Councilman Rosendahl, the IGLHRC and I hope to see you next week.


Mike Bonin
Please go and show your support for the resolution. With the U.S. occupation in Iraq, we are morally responsible for what happens within the country's borders. As part of the international LGBT population, we need to speak up for our brothers and sisters who cannot speak up for themselves.

Let the Los Angeles City Council know how important this resolution is by attending and showing our numbers in solidarity.

Russian Lesbian Couple Attempt First Same-Sex Marriage, Are Denied

A lesbian Russian couple, Irina Fedotova and Irina Shipitko, attempted the first same-sex marriage in the country at the nation's capital of Moscow and were denied.

A flustered-looking official denied their application Tuesday, a move that gay rights activists say symbolizes the refusal of many Russian officials to recognize the rights of the country's gay and lesbian communities. Registry office director Svetlana Potamoshneva, seemingly embarrassed, handed them a written rejection and said Russian law recognizes only marriages between a man and a woman.

The couple declared that this wouldn't be the last time they will try.

"We won't stop in midstream," Fedotova told journalists later, saying she and her partner plan to get married in Canada. She said Russia recognizes marriages registered abroad, thus allowing the couple to formalize their relationship.

Russians consider gay rights taboo, but the couple intend to get their story out through the media of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest finals, a massively popular European contest being held in Moscow this year.

Moscow Pride is scheduled for this Saturday, but Moscow authorities have banned the march, and religious and nationalist groups said Tuesday they have asked for permission to hold a counter-demonstration in central Moscow.

"The gay parade is ... an act of spiritual terrorism," said Mikhail Nalimov, chairman of the Union of Orthodox Christian Youth.

His deputy, Dmitry Terekhov, said the parade was in part aimed at converting people to homosexuality. "This must be stopped by radical methods, but without violence naturally," he said.

In some countries, gays have won increasing acceptance—including the right to marry—but in many nations of the former Communist bloc homophobia remains rampant.

From Towleroad:
"The protesters'" flyer shows garishly made-up transvestites juxtaposed with an image from the Beslan school hostage crisis. In 2004, Chechen terrorists stormed a school in the Russian republic of North Ossetia and held 1,200 children and adults captive for days. Hundreds died in the bloody drama. 'Homosexuality is the same as terrorism,' asserts one of the Pushkin Square activists. He and his colleagues call themselves the Orthodox Front. They tell interested passersby that the gay parade is a provocation against the government and promotes homosexuality. Many people are happy to sign the petition.
Despite being rejected a marriage license, Fedotova and Shepitko said they will continue to fight for recognition of their rights. They have lived through years of threats and intimidation, they said, and want to have a marriage equal to that of heterosexual couples.

These women deserve commendation. Many people have been killed in Russia for what, in the populace's eyes, are far less offenses. Imagine the bravery that is needed to be so open as they had to be to walk into the registry and demand a license knowing you could easily be physically threatened, if not killed. Yes, we face such threats here, but there, it's encouraged.

It's a good reminder that, despite our lack of equality here in America, there are many others in the LGBT population suffering far worse outside our borders.

UPDATE: Miss CA Keeps Her Crown, States "I Was Punished" for Speaking Mind

Today, Donald Trump announced at a press conference that Carrie Prejean will keep her crown as Miss CA.

"She gave an honest answer and for that she should be commended," he said in reference to the marriage equality question posed by Perez Hilton during the pageant.

"We have determined that the pictures taken are fine, so we've made a determination that everything we've seen, we've made a determination that they're acceptable and in many cases very lovely pictures...So we made a determination that pictures taken are acceptable, some are risque, and some, are very beautiful."

"It's the same answer that the President of the United States gave," he said. "It's the same answer that many people gave... It was a very controversial question. It was a fair question. If her beauty wasn't as great, many wouldn't have cared."

Trump went on to say in regards to the Miss CA organization, "There has been a miscommunication with Carrie. I believe the miscommunication problem is solved...They are really getting along well... They have met for hours in my office."

When he announced that Carrie would keep her crown, some paparazzi clapped. "When the paparazzi claps, you know you've made a good decision," said Trump.

Carrie Prejean then spoke.

"Three weeks ago I was asked a politically charged question with a personal agenda...I was given a question asking for my opinion, and I stated my honest belief...The president, the secretary of state, and many Americans share with my opinion."

"Being at the centre of a media fire storm isn't what I had planned or what i signed up for," she continued. "But I have learned to stand up for what I believe in...despite the personal attacks."

"Let me be clear - I am not an activist," she stated flatly. "I was thrown into this firestorm." She clarified that she was an "advocate" for marriage.

Whatever that means.

"Although I am not the most vocal in my defense of marriage...I have become the most visible."

She went on to tearfully recount the story of her grandfather being involved in the Battle of the Bulge and how he fought for her right to freedom of speech.

And then she declared herself a victim.

"On that stage, I exercise my freedom of speech and I was punished for doing so...My faith commands us to forgive one another."

She went on to explain that the nude photos were taken by a girlfriend for "application and not for publication" to expand her portfolio. The latest pictures released today were "photoshopped to discredit my beliefs."

"I hope at the end of the day that everyone can respect my rights as I can respect theirs...I'm convinced now more than ever in standing up for your beliefs and your convictions."

She wants everyone out there to be inspired by her story and to "not be silent."

When asked why she didn't tell the pageant officials she had taken those nudes, she used the "I didn't remember I had taken them" defense. She asked the reporter, "Do you remember everything you did when you were 16?"

Uh, if I were sixteen and posed nude, yeah, I would remember. Especially if it were only a few years ago. It's not like it was a long time ago for her.

The issue here now is that she's made herself look like a victim and the LGBT population the evil bad guys. And I have to say, Perez has done more damage than good. But that's my opinion.

However, this girl is no victim. She's lived a privileged life and for the first time, has had to defend what she believes in. She now knows what it feels to defend yourself from a disapproving crowd. Maybe even experienced some unnecessary discrimination. But now she's a victim?

Try doing some research Carrie. Look into LGBT history. You'll see true definitions of victims and discrimination.

Just go back to your pageants, Carrie, and shut up. We'll continue to fight for the rights you take for granted.