Monday, June 30, 2008

Arizona citizens to vote on banning same-sex marriage

After failing in April in the Arizona House of Representatives after Democrats changed the measure to tie it to expanded legal rights for domestic partners, causing most Republicans to withdraw their support, the Senate approves a measure to ban same-sex marriage in the final hours of one of the longest state legislative sessions on record.

Arizona voters rejected a similar state constitutional amendment in 2006. That measure would have also stopped the state from recognizing civil unions of same-sex couples.

The long-anticipated vote came just before adjournment and followed hours of angry, raucous debate in which the Arizona Senate rule book was used as a weapon to both stall the vote (Democrats) and cut short debate (Republicans). Senators on both sides of the aisle and of the issue lamented a meltdown in the higher chamber, as most of the day's work was scrapped so that the marriage amendment could be voted upon while key senators were present.

Senate President Tim Bee, a Tucson Republican, cast the decisive, 16th vote in favor of the referendum that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

After the vote, conservative activists rejoiced that voters would get a chance to vote on the issue this fall. A similar measure, which also banned governments from offering benefits to employees' domestic partners, gay or straight, failed at the polls in 2006.

Democratic Sen. Paula Aboud accused leadership of "cheating," while Harper derided Democrats for "dilatory" stall tactics.

"To end this session today means we all walk out of here tainted, besmirched," Aboud said. "That's what will be remembered about this session."

Aboud, who is openly gay, accused the amendment's supporters of being "afraid of me and my relationship."

Bee and other members decried the lack of decorum.

After the vote, conservative activists cheered while gay rights activists blasted lawmakers for pushing a measure that would divide Arizonans.

Barbara McCullough-Jones, executive director of Equality Arizona, warned that anti-gay rhetoric from lawmakers could fuel anti-gay violence. She pledged that her group would work to defeat the election of lawmakers who supported the referendum, as well as the referendum itself.

"We as an electorate, we are going to say no again," she said.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Righteous is as righteous does; Lexington Pride

The fanatic blogger at Righteous in Kentucky returned earlier this month after a 6 month absence; just when we thought we had one less conservative blogger, he returns. This blogger isn't just conservative however, he is a fanatic.

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." - Winston Churchill

If his readers believe his posts and follow him, why trash pro-gay organizations and draw attention to them since they obviously know about us and don't like us anyway?

In his latest pro-Family Foundation of Kentucky post, he actually says he will remain inside this weekend because of Lexington Pride. He goes on to say he will have any homosexual who steps on his property arrested! Littered with religious rhetoric that makes no sense, this blogger jumps from subject to subject that makes understanding him near impossible.

Fred Phelps and his clan have stated they will protest Lexington Pride. I wouldn't could on it however; it's a long drive from Kansas to protest for only an hour, and they haven't shown up at any of the Kentucky events they claimed they would attend in years (

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco: LGBT Community protests against the Human Rights Campaign

The self proclaimed largest gay rights organization in the United States continues to draw fire from LGBT people around the nation.

  • Andrew Sullivan, one of the most respected and most read gay bloggers slammed them in his post: HRC Busted.
  • Log Cabin Republicans issued a statement denouncing the HRC's YouTube video of John McCain.
  • Organizers of Atlanta pride refused money from the HRC.
Forget about political maneuvers and electoral games; ignore the platitudes and moralisms of extremists. Leaving members of our community behind isn't acceptable, and that's what most people remain upset about.

What else can go wrong for them? Plenty! This is hot off the press:

As gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people prepare to celebrate gay pride in San Francisco this weekend, many of them also are organizing a boycott and protest of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Activists plan to be on the streets during the festivities to inform people of the boycott and protest of the Human Rights Campaign's annual fundraising dinner in San Francisco next month, a major event that raises tens of thousands of dollars for the organization.

Similar actions took place at fundraising dinners in Philadelphia and New York City earlier this year.

The controversy stems from the Human Rights Campaign's decision last fall to support a bill in Congress that would bar employers from firing a person because of his or her sexual orientation. The bill, which passed the House but has stalled in the Senate, did not include the same protections for transgender people. More than 370 gay rights organizations condemned the bill for that reason.

On Tuesday, San Francisco Supervisors Tom Ammiano and Bevan Dufty introduced a resolution at City Hall calling for a bill that includes transgender people and recognizing the boycott.

"The Human Rights Campaign should not be human rights cowards," Ammiano said at a news conference at the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center. He said the organization seems uneasy with transgender issues.

Dufty said he will skip the fundraising dinner for the first time in 23 years and instead will make dinner at his home for people protesting outside the event.

The city's two LGBT Democratic clubs support the boycott, as does the San Francisco Labor Council. Assemblyman Mark Leno and state Sen. Carole Migden, both of San Francisco, also are not attending the event.Matt Foreman, who was executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force when the congressional vote took place, called the actions of the Human Rights Campaign "a monumental betrayal."

Foreman said it raises questions about the effectiveness of the organization, which raised $28 million last year.

"What is going on here is an emperor-has-no-clothes moment," said Foreman, who said he will be outside protesting but is "pained" to be doing so. "We still don't have one single federal law that protects gay people, let alone transgender people."

Theresa Sparks, who is president of the San Francisco Police Commission and is transgender, said she returned an award she received from the Human Rights Campaign.

Sparks, who attended the news conference with Dufty and Ammiano, noted the contributions of transgender people to the LGBT movement. The 1969 Stonewall riots in New York that sparked the modern LGBT rights movement were promulgated by transgender people, she said.

She dismissed the political argument that the nondiscrimination bill was more likely to pass Congress if it didn't mention transgender people.

"To me, this is less about strategy and more about integrity," Sparks said.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Freedom Rings in California

All same-sex couples and members of Marriage Equality USA have been celebrating a major victory in the State of California since yesterday evening, a victory activists and volunteers fought long and hard for: the civil right to marry the person they love.

Marriage Equality USA's president, Mr. David Janis-Kitzmiller and his partner Jeff had the honor of being the first Fairfield residents married in Solano County yesterday. (story)

In other California counties:

  • "I'm really amazed and happy," said Jason Scott, leader of Marriage Equality USA's Fresno chapter. "It's something you might not expect in Fresno." (story)
  • Monday night's marriage was the second one for Ryan James, 32, and Moe Perez, 39, leaders of the Alameda County chapter of Marriage Equality USA. They lined up for a license on Valentine's Day 2004 in San Francisco after Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed same-sex marriages in that city.
  • Jamila Tharp and Michelle Hasting crossed the Canadian border two years ago to commit themselves to each other for the rest of their lives. Both sides of their families attended the Vancouver wedding ceremony, as did their daughter, who was the flower girl, “3, and very excited,” Tharp said. Tharp sits on the Marriage Equality USA board and is on a state advisory board for the Unitarian Universalists Legislative Ministry of California. The stay-at-home mother also sits on the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission. (story)
Congratulations to everyone in California!

"No one can rain in our parade. This is an absolutely fantastic day, it's a historic milestone for California as we move forward in the civil rights struggle for our generation." - Marriage Equality USA Media Director Molly McKay

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Andrew Sullivan slams the HRC

Andrew Sullivan slams the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in his post "HRC Busted." (more)

> In late 2000, Sullivan began his blog, The Daily Dish. In the wake of September 11, 2001, attacks, it became one of the most popular political blogs on the Internet. By the middle of 2003, it was receiving about 300,000 unique visits per month.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Liberty Council tires to stop gay marriages in California (again)

An anti-gay group on Thursday made a last-ditch effort to stop gay marriage from becoming legal in California by asking a midlevel appeals court to temporarily prohibit county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Liberty Counsel, in a petition (view) with the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco, argued that the wording of the California Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriages allows the lower court to set the terms and schedule for implementing the decision.

Liberty Counsel argued that the high court's May 15 ruling put dozens of state laws addressing marriage into conflict and that the Legislature needs time to address those issues.

Barring any further legal intervention, gay couples will be able to start marrying in California at 5:01 p.m. Monday, when the Supreme Court's decision becomes final.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera called Liberty Counsel's filing "absurd."

"I am not aware of a process in American law that enables parties to effectively appeal a higher court ruling to a lower court," Herrera said.

The Liberty Council sent a blast email asking the following:

Will you help me flood Governor Schwarzenegger's office with phone calls? I want to literally shut down his switchboard right up until the 5pm Sunday deadline when the ruling permitting same-sex "marriage" will go into effect.

From Liberty Council's website, for $15.00, you can send faxes to California Governor Schwarzenegger, and California lawmakers. Senator Gil Gedillo of California angered Liberty Council by returning a fax to them with the words, "
do not send" written across the page (view). Liberty Council responded by calling Senator Gedillo "arrogant." Great job Senator Gedillo!

Liberty Council claims to be
a nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family.

Did you catch that? Traditional? As I have said before and must say again, traditions' must sometimes be broken in favor of progress. Without progress, this nation could still be a colony that uses slave labor, filled with women who cannot hold public office or vote.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Log Cabin Republicans disagree with HRC on McCain

Log Cabin Republican blogger disagrees with the Human Rights Commission (HRC).

Log Cabin Republicans blog:

We understand the general election starts today and Log Cabin will do its part to educate gay and lesbian voters about Sen. McCain in the weeks ahead. Contrary to what many Democrats are saying, Sen. McCain is not George W. Bush. Most gays and lesbians understand that fact. Sen. McCain isn’t going to use gay people as a wedge issue. He won the GOP nomination with no help (and with outright hostility) from many so-called “social conservatives.” This is a significant achievement for all gay and lesbian Americans.

HRC glosses over McCain’s principled stand against the anti-gay federal marriage amendment. As I pointed out in this column for the Washington Blade, McCain didn’t just vote (twice) against the marriage amendment. He put himself on the line, bucked his own party leadership and President Bush, and took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to speak against the proposal. In 2004, he gave one of the most impassioned speeches from the Senate floor on the issue. That isn’t insignificant.

Is his record perfect? No. But it’s inclusive and shows positive signs. We will hear more about his priorities and record in the months ahead. Stay tuned…

Many bloggers think the Human Rights Campaign's high-stakes strategy hints at a developing split within the gay community over McCain.

Although the Log Cabin* hasn't decided whether to endorse McCain, he's signaling he wants to be viewed as a Big Tent Republican comfortable with gay people. McCain seems intent on coming across as likable to election-deciding independents, who tend to be gay-friendly, polls show.
Notice how he has been nearly silent about the upcoming gay marriages in California.

Though many people in the LGBT community claim you cannot be Republican and gay....this simply isn't true; the ideals of the political party you're part of go a lot deeper than your sexual orientation.

Gay Marriage foes divorced reality

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Organization of American States recognizes LGBT people

The Organization of American States (OAS), whose concept predates the United Nations, and was critical to U.S. President Kennedy during the "day the world stood still," also known as the Cuban Missile Crisis passed a historic resolution recognizing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

The resolution was presented by the government of the Federative Republic of Brazil (who has worked with the International Lesbian and Gay Organization for years in favor of LGBT protections) and was approved after three days of negotiations and a mobilization campaign by civilians present there. The English-Speaking Caribbean countries (some countries still criminalize homosexuality) initially resisted and the initial text – although short, was further shortened.

The decision includes gender identity (a subject considered difficult in many countries and forgotten by many activists in the world) besides sexual orientation, and recognizes the existence of the human rights violations to the ITBLG population.

The text of the resolution in English together with the declaration was to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States by Camilo, a young 14-year-old Colombian transsexual (female to male).

(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)


That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in that Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status;*

That the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man establishes that every human being has the right to life, liberty, and the security of the person;

CONSIDERING that the OAS Charter proclaims that the historic mission of America is to offer to man a land of liberty and a favorable environment for the development of his personality and the realization of his just aspirations;

REAFFIRMING the principles of universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of human rights; and

TAKING NOTE with concern acts of violence and related human rights violations perpetrated against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,

  1. To express concern about acts of violence and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
  2. To request that the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs(CAJP) include on its agenda, before the thirty-ninth regular session of the General Assembly, the topic of "Human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
  3. To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth regular session on the implementation of this resolution, the execution of which shall be subject to the resources allocated in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources.
The International Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGA) has worked hard to get this placed for a vote.

ILGA worked with Brazil a couple of years ago to have similar resolutions passed at the United Nations, but the United States, Iran, and Egypt killed the legislation.

The primary difference between this being passed at the United Nations and the Organization of American States is that if the United Nations passed such legislation, it would carry the weight of law. The Organization of American States can only sanction or suspend member states who violates its charter (such as Cuba, who has been suspended for decades).

Nonetheless, this is progress for LGBT people!

Monday, June 02, 2008

LGBT People Protected Again in Kentucky Government

Hats off to Governor Beshear! Finally, some good news!

Kentucky Equality Federation started an online petition for this a few weeks ago (though we had no idea the Governor's Office was considering it already). This will give the Family Foundation something else to blog about!

This was pulled from the Commonwealth News Center:

FRANKFORT, KY – Governor Steve Beshear today signed an executive order restoring equal opportunity employment to all employees and prospective employees. Und
er the order, no one can be hired or fired based on race, age, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, ancestry, age, disability, or veteran status.

“A person should be hired or dismissed
n the basis of whether they can do the job,” said Gov. Beshear. “Experience, qualifications, talent and performance are what matter.”

In 2003, Gov. Paul Patton issued an identical executive order and said he was a strong supporter of fair and equal treatment of employees. He noted that qualifications and conduct in the workplace should be the only factors by which an employee is judged.

However, in 2006 Gov. Ernie Fletcher stripped those job protections (story) from a certain segment of the state employee population - notably Kentuckians who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. The suggestion was that such protection was either unnecessary, legally expensive or the equivalent of “special treatment.” As a result, a gay person could be fired simply for being gay.

The executive order signed today by Gov. Beshear restores equal treatment, diversity and inclusiveness to government.

This is GREAT! I'm sure former Governor Fletcher isn't very happy with this; he revoked the previous order attempting to appeal to his conservative right-wing to remain in office.

Below is the actual text of the signed order:

You can view a complete copy of the executive order by visiting the Executive Journal of the Kentucky Secretary of State's website, or click here.

Tuition dollars and drag queens

The title says it can imagine how this blog entry for the Family Foundation of Kentucky's Louisville Policy Analyst reads.

Though I have no idea what the salary of Mr. Brian Buford is (Director of the University of Louisville's for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Services), a $67,207 annual salary will be the least of anyone's worries if something isn't done soon to raise the value of the U.S. Dollar (economy) and lower gas prices.

Love your neighbor as yourself. - Mark 12:31

That's my family value!

This blog provides a great counterpunch: