Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Great Year For Gay Rights!!

2011 was a very good year for gay rights!  It was very encouraging to see more and more people around the globe accepting of gays and lesbians.  It was very heartening to watch Hillary Clinton proclaim that "gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights".  There were setbacks as well, especially in Africa.  As Martin Luther King said “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice” 
MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts looks back at the year that was in LGBT news. Here are some of his highlights and our reporting from this “banner year” for equality:
Dec. 6: Obama administration pledges to prioritize LGBT equality in its foreign policy and directs agencies to help LGBT refugees. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a speech in Geneva, in which she reminds the leaders of the world that “gay rights are human rights.”
 Sep. 20: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is officially repealed.
July 16: Gay troops participate in San Diego’s gay pride parade.
 June 24: New York passes marriage equality and a record number of couples wed.
June 16: U.N. Human Rights Council passes a resolution condemning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
April 29: Department of Labor bans discrimination based on gender identity.
Feb. 23: Justice Department announces it won’t defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
Feb. 1: Department of State recognizes nontraditional families on passport applications.
2011: Record number of Americans support same-sex marriage.
Watch the round-up:

Friday, December 30, 2011

American Family Association Endorses Serial Adulterer Newt Gingrich

Photo: Stephen Voss
We all know how much the AFA cares about family values.  Now they're putting their money where their mouth is.  The had a choice of squeaky clean Rick (frothy mix) Santorum, or Michele Bachmann with her manly man first man Marcus.  They could have chosen that sharp as a tac Texan Rick Perry.  Well, they chose the paragon of morality, the protector of families, Newt Gingrich.  He cheated on his first wife with his second wife.  He cheated on his second wife with his third wife.  Good choice, AFA!! Newt is right up your alley!!

If the Southern Poverty Law Center hadn’t already designated the American Family Association a hate group, we’d be afraid that the group would have something of a credibility crisis on its hands after endorsing New Gingrich for president.Newt’s virulently anti-gay, so there’s no problem there. The thing is, he’s also virulently anti-fidelity, having twice divorced wives he cheated on to marry his then mistresses. Wife number one notoriously got the Newt boot for “not being young or pretty enough to be First Lady.” Oh, and also having cancer.Wife number two was also divorced after falling ill. Newt must have skipped the “in sickness and in health” part of his marriage vows.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Catholic Church Playing The "I Can't Discriminate" Victim Card

Dan Gill for The New York Times
Catholic Charities turned away Rick Wade, left, and 
Tim Kee of Marion, Ill., when the couple tried to adopt a child three years ago.
The Catholic Church has decided to end their foster care and adoption services in the state of Illinois.  The state passed a civil unions law and blocked taxpayer funding for the Catholic charities for these services if they continued the practice of discriminating against gay and lesbian couples.

The catholic church wanted to receive taxpayer funds and block adoptions for gay and lesbian couples.

Via The New York Times:
“In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., a civil and canon lawyer who helped drive the church’s losing battle to retain its state contracts for foster care and adoption services.

Now they are crying victim.  Wow!  So, their thinking is "we want to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples...and we want the government to pay us to do it".

Critics of the church argue that no group has a constitutional right to a government contract, especially if it refuses to provide required services.
But Anthony R. Picarello Jr., general counsel and associate general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, disagreed. “It’s true that the church doesn’t have a First Amendment right to have a government contract,” he said, “but it does have a First Amendment right not to be excluded from a contract based on its religious beliefs.”
Uh, no.  If your religious beliefs involve discriminating against gays and lesbians who actually pay taxes, unlike the Catholic church, I would think the government would be required to specifically exclude you from a taxpayer funded contracts.  
Tim Kee, a teacher in Marion, Ill., who was turned away by Catholic Charities three years ago when he and his longtime partner, Rick Wade, tried to adopt a child, said: “We’re both Catholic, we love our church, but Catholic Charities closed the door to us. To add insult to injury, my tax dollars went to provide discrimination against me.”
Not anymore, least not in Illinois.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Iowa State Chair Quits, Endorses...Ron Paul!

Ooh, Michele! That's gotta sting! This has been a very good week for Ron Paul!  He is still riding high in Iowa polls, he's getting all this free press for his wonderful newsletters, and a glowing endorsement from this Christ-like figure! Now he gets Michele Bachmann's Iowa state chair on his side.  

Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign co-chairman Kent Sorenson tonight endorsed Ron Paul, one of her rivals in the Iowa caucus race.
“The decision I am making today is one of the most difficult I have made in my life.  But given what’s at stake for our country, I have decided I must take this action,” Sorenson said in a statement. “Today, I am switching my support from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul for the 2012 Iowa Caucuses and the presidency of the United States.”
Sorenson, a state senator from Indianola, announced the surprise endorsement from the stage of a Paul event at the the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
The turnabout is a major surprise with just six days remaining before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. Sorenson, in fact, appeared at a Bachmann event just this afternoon — a stop at the Pizza Ranch in his hometown of Indianola.
Sorenson said little at the event, but appeared with Bachmann and clearly offered indications of support for her candidacy.
Fellow Bachmann campaign co-chairman Brad Zaun told reporters Sorenson had just returned from the dentist, and Sorenson himself said he was saying little because he was still numb and afraid he would drool on himself.
At least she can take comfort in the arms of her manly man husband Marchus.  Ooh Michele! That's gotta sting!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gay & Lesbian Couples Are Penalized When Taxes Are Due

A few years ago, I was temporarily unemployed.  During that time, I got health care benefits through my husband's company.  Great!  They offer domestic partner benefits like many companies, large and small, now do.  We truly are making progress in this country.  We were both very happy and grateful, until he filed his tax returns.  Unlike straight married couples, my health care benefits counted as taxable income on my husband's return.  He had to pay taxes on my benefits.  

This does not happen to federally recognized married heterosexual couples.  Why do I keep hearing that gays are asking for "special rights" and not just equal rights?  Because the mainstream does not know these specific details.  They do not know that we are, in fact, penalized because the federal government does not recognize our relationships.  

I was surprised to realize that my current coworkers didn't know that, in most states, employees can be fired simply because they are gay...and there is nothing that the gay employee can do.  They were genuinely surprised by this.  Perhaps we need to do a better job educating people.

Via The Advocate:

CNNMoney reports that the federal government’s lack of recognition of same-sex marriages, which forces legally married couples to file separately on their federal returns, results in as much as $6,000 per year in additional taxes.

Not only are these couples losing out because they can’t take advantage of the lower tax rates that come from combining incomes and deductions, says to the article, it’s “also harder for them to qualify for certain tax breaks because the credits phase out sooner for single filers.”

“It’s costing these families thousands of dollars a year, as well as the emotional pain and suffering,” said Ken Weissenberg, a partner at accounting firm EisnerAmper and one-half of a same-sex married couple.

CNNMoney based their information on a series of same-sex versus opposite-sex tax scenarios it presented to H&R Block. A seemingly equal household with one working parent earning $100,000 per year and one stay-at-home parent earning nothing produced radically different results when toggled between opposite-sex and same-sex situations.

HBO To Air Documentary About Activist And Gay Film Historian Vito Russo

I am very much looking forward to seeing this documentary about the life of Vito Russo.  Back in my college days, I wrote a term paper and did a presentation based on, in large part, his book "The Celluloid Closet".  I was still pretty much isolated and did not know any other gay people in my personal life.  His book was a connection to the gay world for me.  
Vito Russo is one of our LGBT History’s greatest heroes. 
Vito an  LGBT activist, film historian was a founding member of Gay Activists Alliance and participated in every significant milestone in the gay liberation movement, from Stonewall to Act Up.  Russo’s concern over how LGBT people were presented in the popular media led him to co-found the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and to write “The Celluloid Closet,” the first book to critique Hollywood’s portrayals of gays on screen.  HBO will air  “VITO” a 2011 Documentary which Premiered October 14, 2011 at the 49th New York Film Festival at Lincoln and will air it during Gay Pride Month, June 2012.
His book was then turned into a documentary.  Author Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City) wrote Lily Tomlin's narration for the film.  It was also aired by HBO and is available at (affiliate link)

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Smash" A Grown Up Glee on NBC

This so confirms how gay I really am!!  I just watched this extended preview for the upcoming NBC series "Smash" and it is already my favorite new show!!

Via Towle Road:

Debra Messing, Anjelica Huston, former American Idol contestant Katherine McPhee, Broadway, Kate Clinton, and Steven Spielberg are just a few of the names involved in the forthcoming NBC drama Smash, which I posted about back in May.
The show's drama revolves around the mounting of a Broadway musical, and NBC has just put out a seven-minute promo on the show featuring footage and interviews with the cast and producers. It appears to be shaping up as a must-watch.

Ron Paul's Anti Gay Newsletters Exposed

His newsletters weren't just anti gay. They were filled with racism and anti government paranoia among other ideas that may take his current supporters by surprise.

Via The New Republic:
For years, Ron Paul published a series of newsletters that dispensed political news and investment advice, but also routinely indulged in bigotry. Here's a selection of some especially inflammatory passages, with links to scanned images of the original documents in which they appeared.

The December 1989 Ron Paul Political Report contains entries on a “new form of racial terrorism,” cites former Congressman Bill Dannemeyer’s claim that “the average homosexual has 1,000 or more partners in a lifetime,” and quotes Lew Rockwell, president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in the third person.
In January 1990, the Ron Paul Political Report cites “a well-known libertarian editor” who “told me: ‘The ACT-UP slogan on stickers plastered all over Manhattan is ‘Silence=Death.’ But shouldn’t it be Sodomy = Death’?”
The September 1994 issue of the Ron Paul Survival Report states that “those who don’t commit sodomy, who don’t get blood a transfusion, and who don’t swap needles, are virtually assured of not getting AIDS unless they are deliberately infected by a malicious gay.”
The June 1990 issue of the Political Report says: “I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”
January 1994 edition of the Survival Report states that "gays in San Francisco do not obey the dictates of good sense," adding: "[T]hese men don't really see a reason to live past their fifties. They are not married, they have no children, and their lives are centered on new sexual partners." Also, "they enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick."

Friday, December 23, 2011

Michigan Bans Same Sex Partner State Benefits

Anti gay Gov. Rick "Scrooge" Snyder
Wow! The Michigan GOP is filled with a bunch of Dicks!  Seriously, 2 days before Christmas and they take away benefits from Michigan families...families that include children.

They are on the wrong side of history.  People will look back at this the same way George Wallace's actions now are.
LANSING - Republican Gov. Rick Snyder Thursday signed into law HB 4770 which prohibits public employers from providing partner benefits to unmarried partners of public employees.
There had been some speculation that Snyder would not sign the bill when he asked the legislature to take the bill back and amend it to expressly prohibit the law from stopping universities from offering such benefits. Snyder has said that he does not believe the state can regulate the universities because of the autonomy afforded them by the state constitution.
House analysts said the legislation would not exclude universities, but Senate analysts said it would....
"The decision to take healthcare benefits away from families just in time for the holidays is mean-spirited and cruel. Governor Snyder had an opportunity to show real leadership and put an end to the political games; instead he approved an extreme policy that sets our state back, jeopardizes our economy and puts our families at risk," said Kary Moss, executive director of the Michigan ACLU. "The bill serves no other purpose than to single out a small minority of people and deprive them of critical protections as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. We are prepared to challenge this law on behalf of Michigan families in the coming weeks."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Minnesota Gay Community Apologizes To Amy Koch For Ruining Her Marriage

MN State Senator Amy Koch-Victim of Gay Marriage
Little did I know that our efforts to attain equal rights would have such a negative impact on this poor woman and her family!!  She was such a strong defender of traditional marriage that she helped to get a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the Minnesota ballot for next year.  Maybe it was the stress of protecting traditional marriage that caused her to have an "inappropriate relationship" with a male staffer.

See the Full Letter Here:

The gay and lesbian community of Minnesota has issued a letter of apology to recently resigned Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch for ruining the institution of marriage and causing her to stray from her husband and engage in an "inappropriate relationship."

Dear Ms. Koch,

On behalf of all gays and lesbians living in Minnesota, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for our community's successful efforts to threaten your traditional marriage.  We are ashamed of ourselves for causing you to have what the media refers to as an "illicit affair" with your staffer, and we also extend our deepest apologies to him and to his wife. These recent events have made it quite clear that our gay and lesbian tactics have gone too far, affecting even the most respectful of our society.

We apologize that our selfish requests to marry those we love has cheapened and degraded traditional marriage so much that we caused you to stray from your own holy union for something more cheap and tawdry.  And we are doubly remorseful in knowing that many will see this as a form of sexual harassment of a subordinate.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NBC Nightly News Reports Lack Of Drama Over DADT Repeal

Completely unrelated and gratuitous what?!!
All the prognosticators of doom and gloom over the repeal of "don't ask don't tell" were, surprise, WRONG!! Duh! This and many other examples are showing that the repeal of DADT was a non-issue.  Even military commanders that originally decried the repeal have admitted that they were wrong.

Via NBC News:
It's been one year since President Obama signed the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, and critics said changing the law would never work in the real world of combat. NBC's Jim Maceda takes one measure of the change, with some of America's troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

Lesbian Couple Shares "First Kiss" At Navy Ship's Return

AP Photo/Brian J. Clark:  Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, left,
kisses her girlfriend of two years, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell

This is wonderful!  Flags waving and crowds cheering for 2 lesbian Navy Officers.  Just months ago, this would have been grounds for dismissal.  I saw a comment on another site asking "why is this even a news story"?.  Really? Soon it won't be...and that is a good thing! 

Via AP:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) -- A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" rule on Wednesday when two women sailors became the first to share the coveted "first kiss" on the pier after one of them returned from 80 days at sea.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., descended from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship and shared a quick kiss in the rain with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles. Gaeta, 23, wore her Navy dress uniform while Snell, 22, wore a black leather jacket, scarf and blue jeans. The crowd screamed and waved flags around them.

"It's something new, that's for sure," Gaeta told reporters after the kiss.
"It's nice to be able to be myself. It's been a long time coming."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

11th Circuit Court Rules Anti Gay Counseling Student Rightfully Expelled

Jennifer Keeton Expelled From Graduate Counseling Program
For Anti Gay Beliefs

This is a very interesting case!  This woman decided to enroll in a education program for an association that has certain rules and ethical requirements based on scientifically based counseling!  If she does not want to abide by their standards...well she can join Marcus Bachmann's practice.
In July 2010, Jennifer Keeton sued Augusta State University for expelling her from its graduate level Counselor Education Program when she refused to abide by the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics. Keeton argued that she should not have to affirm gay clients or silence her personal religious opposition as a counselor. Now, a unanimous three-judge panel from the 11th Circuit  Court of Appeals has rejected her appeal for a preliminary injunction against the expulsion, concluding that her free speech and free exercise were not hindered by the school’s conditions.
Keeton had said she believes members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning population suffer from “identity confusion,” and had expressed interest in attempting to convert students from being homosexual to heterosexual. She also said it would be impossible to separate her views about homosexuality from her clients’ views, and even admitted that if she were a high school counselor, she would tell a sophomore struggling with his sexual orientation that it is not okay to be gay. The court ruled that the cultural sensitivity remediation the school prescribed her so she could learn to work with GLBTQ clients did not constitute viewpoint discrimination, but rather reflected the expectations of the profession:
Every profession has its own ethical codes and dictates. When someone voluntarily chooses to enter a profession, he or she must comply with its rules and ethical requirements.  Lawyers must present legal arguments on behalf of their clients, notwithstanding their personal views.  Judges must apply the law, even when they disagree with it.  So too counselors must refrain from imposing their moral and religious values on their clients.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gay Marriage Is Good For Your Health!

What an interesting study!  What fascinated me most was the fact that it didn't matter if the gay men were married or not!  Everyone benefited from gay men being able to legally marry because it removing barriers to gay marriage reduces "the occurrence of stress-related health conditions"  among all gay men.

I don't know if that is enough to convince the homophobes that gay marriage is a good thing.  I don't think they really care about the welfare of gay men who choose to embrace who they are.  They only care about what they think is the protection of the sanctity of "traditional" marriage, which means blocking gays from marrying.  Well, at least we can present this evidence to people who may still have common sense and actually want to promote the "general welfare" of all Americans.

Marriage equality advocates have another reason to feel dedicated to their cause today, as a revelatory new study has found that the health of gay men living in states with laws allowing same-sex couples to wed actually improves their health, even if they don't get hitched.
According to "Effect of Same-​Sex Marriage Laws on Health Care Use and Expenditures in Sexual Minority Men: A Quasi-​Natural Experiment," which can be found online in the American Journal of Public Health, gay men's visits to local health clinics dropped significantly after Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Why Is Marcus Bachmann Obsessed With Gays? Wink, Wink!

 Manly Marcus Bachmann 
Seriously!  He has compared gays to barbarians that need to be "disciplined". His Therapy practice has included the widely condemned "reparative therapy".  He and his wife, presidential candidate and major homophobe, Michelle are violently opposed to any and all gay rights.

Now, he is revealing his "agenda" as the first spouse, know... Michelle is a shoo-in!  Guess what a priority is for him as first spouse? Attacking gays!!

Via TowleRoad:

Marcus Bachmann told the NYT what his agenda would be should his wife be elected President:
“I’ve decided my cause is not going to be happy meals,” he said during a stop at the Family Table Restaurant here, apparently a dig at Mrs. Obama.

“We are going to be the message-givers,” said Mr. Bachmann, who runs a Christian counseling service that has been accused of trying to “heal” gays by persuading them to become heterosexual.

“We are going to get this message across,” he said. “Marriage is between one man and one woman. We are going to promote families.”

Once again, here is the obligatory link to "homophobic men are attracted to men" study.

Friday, December 16, 2011

And Yet Another Family Values Republican Forced Out Of The Closet

This one is done in by a purchase from a Canadian Online adult toy company aimed at gay men, with government money.  
Everyone’s heard stories of friends outed by the usual suspects: protein-stained Men’s Health magazines, poorly concealed gay porn files and telltale santorum on the bedsheets. But Southaven, MS, mayor Greg Davis’ coming-out tale may be the strangest of all—it happened when state auditors were looking to deduct proper expenses from the $170,000 they say Davis owes.
The Memphis, TN-based Commercial Appeal reports that “Davis spent thousands of dollars at the Mesquite Chop House in Southaven and thousands more at local liquor stores. Also included in the receipts is a charge for $67 at Priape, a store in Toronto that is described by its website as ‘Canada’s premiere gay lifestyle store and sex shop.’ ”
Oh, Priape! Greek for penis—such a cute name. Love their selection of anal beads!

“At this point in my life and in my career, while I have tried to maintain separation between my personal and public life, it is obvious that this can no longer remain the case,” Davis said Thursday afternoon at his Southaven home. “While I have performed my job as mayor, in my opinion, as a very conservative, progressive individual—and still continue to be a very conservative individual—I think that it is important that I discuss the struggles I have had over the last few years when I came to the realization that I am gay.”

Conservative, progressive?  Is that like a Christian, atheist?

Here is a video from his failed 2008 run for the U.S. congress.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Elizabeth Warren Supports Full GLBT Equality

A Few weeks ago,  Laurel Ramseyer posted her concern on PamsHouseBlend regarding Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren's support for GLBT issues.  Gladly, it seems her concern was unwarranted.  

Elizabeth Warren — who is challenging Scott Brown’s (R-MA) senate seat in Massachusetts — is reiterating her support for same-sex marriage and greater equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the workplace. Warren also joined the growing list of lawmakers calling for the repeal of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents the federal government from recognizing married gay couples and offering them federal benefits:

"I’m deeply proud to be from Massachusetts because the Commonwealth has been the nation’s leader in protecting and promoting equality – from marriage equality to the recently passed Transgender Equal Rights Bill. Congress and the President have also recently taken historic steps forward in promoting the cause of fairness and equality: the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Act and – after years of effort – the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” [...]
As other states grapple with whether to support marriage equality, I’m ready to move to the next step: End the two-tiered system created by the Defense of Marriage Act. Our federal government should not be in the business of selecting which married couples it supports and which it treats with contempt. States define marriage among couples, and, once married, all those couples and their families should have the same protections, the same benefits, and the same tax treatments. Fairness and equality are foundational values in our country, and nowhere is that more important than in our families.
In the workplace, people should be hired for what they can do and evaluated on their performance – period. I strongly support the fully inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act. Particularly in these uncertain times, people must have confidence that they will be judged on the merits. Again, this speaks to the fairness and equality that mark us as a people."
If you haven't seen this video of her in defense of the middle class and fair taxation for all Americans, here it is.