Thank you for checking out my blog. To submit comments, click on "COMMENTS" at the end of each post. To email a post to a friend, click the white envelope also at the end of each post. Contact Me

TO ADD YOUR BLOG HERE - Click the "Follow This Blog" on the right.

TO SUBSCRIBE - Click a subscription option on the right.

TO READ PAST POSTINGS - Scroll down to my "Blog Archives" on the right or enter a search word or phrase in the search box above.

August 29, 2008


Last march, Lance Neve was brutally attacked by Jesse Parsons at Snuggery's bar in Spencerport, New York. A GLAAD press release said that a grand jury has indicted Jesse Parsons of Spencerport, N.Y. for the brutal attack.

According to a detailed report by 10 News of Rochester, the police said that Parsons was yelling anti-gay slurs at Neve and when Neve tried to leave, Parsons attacked him from behind. When Neve fell, Parsons continued his assault by punching him and slamming his head into the floor.

Neve was rushed to Strong Hospital with a fractured skull, nose, upper jaw and eye socket. Neve's partner, Ozzie Maldonado, was there. “I don't understand why he did what he did and I don't think I ever will understand.”

The only visible scars left are around Neve's eye but the emotional scars run deep. “I don't like it when people are behind me. I even jump when my loved one comes up to rub my shoulders, I jump.”

The community rallied around Neve and Maldonado and is helping them move forward. “It gave me a lot of strength to realize you don't have to be ashamed of who you are,” Neve said.

Yesterday, Parsons was arraigned in Monroe County court and charged with second-degree assault designated as a hate crime. If Parsons is convicted he could face three-and-a-half to 15 years in prison.

The one good thing that came from this senseless attack is the really strong support that their community is giving them. It's proves that if you take away the fanatic, religious extremists, there are a lot more people out there who are supportive and caring.

August 28, 2008


Given my article yesterday, I was delighted to see a press release from Soulforce about a 96 mile walk across the metropolitan Phoenix area. The purpose was to talk with as many Arizonans as possible about how Proposition 102 would negatively impact young people.

According to the press release, the idea for the walk came to Meg Sneed after participating in a three-day walk for breast cancer research. Sneed is a cancer survivor herself and found distance walking both grueling and empowering. She hoped that a similar walk would inspire young people to join the conversation about Arizona's priorities.

Sneed and the six other lesbian and gay young adults who walked with her are members of Soulforce Q, the young adult division of Soulforce which is a national civil rights and social justice organization. The mission of Soulforce is to cut off homophobia at its source -- religious bigotry. It applies principles taught by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Meg and Soulforce Q collaborated with Equality Arizona and two other statewide organizations, Arizona Together and Wingspan, in the planning and execution of this campaign.

Their walk allowed the young "equality walkers" to share their perspectives with ordinary citizens, elected officials, and local community organizations, including the Tempe Community Council.

Julie Roberts, Programs Director at Equality Arizona said, "These young people truly amazed me. Their dedication to this walk and their sense of purpose was incredible."

C.J. Minott, who was one of the walkers and will be returning to University of Arizona campus this fall to continue his studies in Psychology said, "I realize now just how much difference I can make in my community."

Congratulations to Meg and her fellow "equality walkers." You accomplished a really good thing here. Keep up the good work.

If you want to check out Soulforce, go to: Soulforce.org

August 27, 2008


According to Jim Burroway, the newly appointed co-chair for Vote No On Prop 102 and a contributing editor at BoxTurtleBulletin.com, supporters of Prop 102 have out-fundraised opponents by more than 150:1.

Maybe we've all been enthralled with what's happening in California and forgot about Arizona's fight. Or maybe too many of us think that because the voters here already defeated an almost identical measure in 2006, we don't have to worry about this one. Whatever the reasons are, the fact is that unless enough money is raised to counter the messages that the zealous supporters of this homophobic measure are sure to put out there, we will find ourselves on the morning after regretting that we, each of us, didn't do enough.

California is in a much stronger position to defeat Prop 8 there because the right for same-sex partners to marry has already been granted by their Supreme Court. That means that the voters there will have to agree to take away a legal, constitutional right that already exists. That's a much harder thing for the average voter to do.

Here however, same-sex marriage is not an existing constitutional right. In fact, when the Arizona Defense of Marriage law was passed in 1996 an appeal challenging its constitutionality was brought by two men who were denied a marriage license by a court clerk, but the law was unanimously upheld by a three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals. And, since the Arizona Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal on October 8, 2003 effectively leaving the law intact, it's unlikely that it will be changed anytime soon.

The problem for supporters of Prop 102 is that if our Supreme Court make-up changes, it is possible that the law could be struck down. As they see it, only a constitutional amendment can solidify and enshrine that anti-gay, anti-rights and anti-american law into the constitution. And you can bet that they're going to spend big bucks to convince the voters to do just that. And they'll try to use the California Supreme Court decision to prove their case and scare the voters into submission.

We need a major media campaign here to counter what is sure to be a mega fear campaign based on lies and misinformation. That will not only cost a lot of money but it will need a lot of volunteers as well.

Remember, they've already out-fundraised us by 150 to 1. That's enough money to mount a campaign that could easily sway a whole lot of undecided or uninformed voters!


If you can't afford to donate money then donate your time - that can be just as valuable.

Click the banner below to find out more about how you can help:

Arizona - Vote No On Proposition 102 - Again!


August 26, 2008


The Advocate ran a story last Friday that I found very interesting and affirming.

For awhile now, I've felt that the general public has been getting very tired of the extremist's rantings. There's only so many times you can cry wolf without the wolf showing up before people stop listening.

Over and over again the religious zealots have been shouting about the dire consequences of homosexuality. From gay rights and same-sex marriage to abortion, single-parent families and adoption, they've used their pulpits to vigorously campaign for candidates and issues that used to be the domain of political discourse outside of church walls.

To many believers, the church was always a sanctuary where they could go to get away from the pressures of daily life and reaffirm their faiths. But in the last couple of decades, almost every sermon has included impassioned warnings about the evils of one candidate or another, one issue or another. Finally, that seems to be taking its toll.

According to the Advocate, there has been a significant shift in conservative thought. In a survey released last Thursday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 50% of conservatives think churches and other places of worship should stay out of social and political matters. That's up a whopping 30% in just the last four years!

The Advocate story breaks down the specifics of the poll and it really is fascinating and encouraging reading. I recommend taking a few minutes out of your day and check this out.

For the whole report, go to: Advocate.com

August 24, 2008


There seems to be a rapidly growing segment of the faithful within the Mormon church who oppose their leaders actions regarding Proposition 8 in California. Some even oppose the proposition itself.

Because they don't feel that they can speak out within their own church, they're organizing on the internet. This all started when, in many people's opinion, the church's hierarchy overstepped their authority and went against church scripture.

In June, top Mormon leaders distributed a letter to be read from all California pulpits to call on the faith's 750,000-plus members to contribute money and time to help pass Proposition 8 (see my June 30th post).

Many Mormons felt very uncomfortable with what their leaders were instructing them to do and a few tried to speak out against it. A Westminster College Professor, Jeffrey Nielsen lost his job at Brigham Young University after he expressed doubts based on the separation of church and state philosophy (see my July 1st post). This extreme, dictator-like maneuver didn't quell the dissenters. It only drove them to the internet - with a new, more serious accusation.

Lds4gaymarriage.org quotes legal decisions and LDS scripture from the Doctrine & Covenants, which states that religious freedom doesn't "provide license to infringe or impose upon the rights and liberties of others."

"We need a place where people can have a discussion and get information," said Laura Compton, a contributor at MormonsforMarriage.com. "And people need to know that it's not coming from an anti-Mormon place, or a gay Castro district place. It's coming from a faithful place." This site opposes Proposition 8 outright.

These are just two of the many sites that have been popping up on the internet either in opposition to the LDS leadership's direction or opposition to Proposition 8 itself. It would be nice to think that this ground swell of opposition within the LDS would be enough to cause the leadership to rethink their approach and back off. Knowing how entrenched and arrogant they are I doubt it will.

What it could do is start getting the faithful talking with each other and maybe deciding, on their own, not to follow their leaders on this one.

To read the full story, go to: YahooNews.com


In one of the most dramatic upsets in Olympic history, gay Australian Diver Matthew Mitcham snatches the Gold Medal out of the hands of China's top diver.

Matthew, who came out to the world before the Olympics (see my Aug. 3rd Posting), was cut from the 3 meter finals earlier in the week because of a 16th place finish in the semifinals. Of course he was devastated by such a poor showing but with a steel-willed determination and a never-say-die attitude, he narrowed his focus and concentrated on the 10 meter platform competition.

Being an Olympic addict myself, my partner and I were both pretty much glued to the TV during the swimming and diving competitions. After being amazed by Michael Phelps' astonishing accomplishments, we thought we had seen the end of dramatic, mind-boggling finishes. We were wrong.

During the semifinals on Friday (our time), Matthew seesawed back and forth in the standings but after his final dive, he ended up in 2nd place. When NBC turned to cover the finals on Saturday, they picked-up the action midway through and Matthew's name wasn't even visible on the board. Peter and I looked at each other in amazement. What happened? Where is he?

When he finally did appear on the platform, the commentator explained about an earlier missed dive. He had 3 dives left and his next two propelled him back into 2nd place again. But he was trailing China’s Zhou Luxin by more than 30 points going into the last dive and even he didn't think he had a chance of overtaking him. He just wanted to do the best dive he could and hold onto the Silver.

Well - the Olympics is filled with dreams and impossible expectations. Zhou Luxin's final dive was just before Matthew's and all he had to do was make a "good" dive to cinch the gold. But after he dove, audible gasps swept through the arena. He had over rotated and just missed his entry, causing a noticeable splash. His score was low but still left him comfortably in first place. The stage was set.

The pressure Matthew had to have felt standing on the very edge of the platform would have unhinged most people. But he was rock-solid. He left the platform and executed one of the most perfect dives of the competition and slipped into the water without any splash whatsoever! The judges agreed and awarded him the highest scoring dive in the history of the Olympics. With four perfect 10's, he ended with an amazing 112.10. This gave him just enough to edge-out Zhou Luxin by 537.95 to 533.15.

Matthew's incredible achievement reminded me of Greg Louganis' last performance in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. During the preliminary rounds, while performing a reverse 2 1/2 pike he hit his head and suffered a concussion. Despite his injury, he completed the preliminaries and went on to win the gold medal. Greg was, and still is, considered the best diver in Olympic history. But his status may now have some serious competition in Matthew Mitcham. For those of you who don't know, Greg came out in 1994 and in his autobiography published in 1995 entitled Breaking the Surface (still available at Amazon.com), he revealed that he was HIV positive and he's still doing great today.

In addition to being the first openly gay male athlete to compete in the Olympics, Matthew also became Australia’s first male Olympic gold medallist in diving since 1924.

After it was all over and he had the gold medal in his hands, Matthew said, “It’s going to take a while to sink in. My cheeks hurt from smiling. My face hurts from the chlorine. My legs are sore from jumping up and down. I’m in pain and I’m tired. But I’m so happy.”

Whoever said that good guys finish last never watched the Olympics. Congratulations Matthew. We're all very, very proud of you!

August 22, 2008

Arizona Democratic Party Stands Against Proposition 102

Last week the Democratic party passed a resolution to oppose Prop. 102 at its summer state committee meeting in Flagstaff.

According to a Human Rights Campaign release, Committeewoman Mohur Sidhwa and the newly formed LGBT Caucus presented a resolution during the general session of the state committee to oppose Prop 102 which will appear on November’s ballot. Prop 102 is a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The state committee unanimously approved the resolution.

Here is the text of the adopted resolution:

(Opposing Ballot Referendum 102)

Whereas: The pursuit for equality is an enduring value of the Arizona State Democratic Party, and

Whereas: The Arizona State Democratic Party supported a similar resolution two years ago, and

Whereas: The Arizona voters voted down a similar ballot initiative just two years ago, and

Whereas: The proponents of said ballot referendum are using this as a tool to raise money and turnout in a cynical manipulation of Arizona's electoral process.

Whereas: Facing a three-billion dollar budget deficit, the Republican leadership prioritized this issue, violated legislative ethics rules, and failed to adequately address vital issues such as education.

Therefore, Be it resolved: that the Arizona State Democratic Party opposes this ballot referendum which would, if passed, place discriminatory language in our State Constitution.

Be it further resolved: that the Arizona State Democratic Party requests all voters maintain the Arizona tradition of equality by voting against this ballot initiative.

August 21, 2008

Louisiana Govenor Refuses To Renew Job Discrimination Protections

The newly elected Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, has said that he will not renew the non-discrimination order that protects gays and lesbians in the workplace.

This would effectively take away employment protections that have been in effect since ex-Governor Kathleen Blanco issued her executive order in December 2004. The order, which some church groups and Jindal have criticized over the years, is set to expire Friday.

According to a Advocate Capitol News Bureau story, Jindal said:

“We are not going to renew it and that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. The reason for allowing the order to lapse is that I don’t think it is necessary to create additional special categories or special rights. State and federal law already prohibits discrimination. We are firmly and strongly committed to fair treatment of all of our people and certainly don’t condone discrimination in any form.”

How incredibly hypocritical is that? Apparently he thinks that discrimination against the GLBT community isn't really discrimination.

According to Randy Evans, a New Orleans lawyer who is co-political director of Forum for Equality, a New Orleans-based political action committee for the lesbian and gay community in Louisiana, Jindal’s decision means “it is perfectly legal to fire anyone based on their sexual orientation even if they are a perfect employee.”

What a shame for the state of Louisiana. Jindal is moving his state backwards to appease his right wing religious supporters who can now discriminate without threat of legal action when they take state money for "faith-based" programs. He is also tarnishing the state's image of "Everyone Welcome" which is the official motto that appears in all of their promotional materials and road signs.

Considering that 90% of all Fortune 500 companies now officially endorse non-discrimination policies for lesbians and gays, it is also very possible that this could cost Louisiana jobs.

This is something that several companies have said was a major part of their decision to move or open new operations here in Arizona. In fact, to take it one stop further, the anti-gay marriage amendment proposed for the November ballot here is why some companies and corporate business scouts are either delaying decisions to open shop here or are just outright deciding against it.

In 1990, Arizona voters defeated two Martin Luther King holiday propositions. It wasn't until 1992 that the holiday was finally passed after mega-star concerts and business conventions were canceled and the NFL threatened to pull the 1993 Super Bowl out of Arizona.

Now granted, this may not seem to have the same magnitude of potential reaction that the MLK holiday had. But today, more and more of the business, entertainment and general populace are recognizing that discrimination against the GLBT community is not only morally wrong but it can be costly to their interests as well.

If the national Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) isn't passed soon, I really believe that it's only a matter of time before the same of kind of reactions start happening in states around the country. People are getting tired of the same shrill, anti-gay rantings of extremists over and over again. They're beginning to know better.

To read the full story, go to: 2theadvocate.com

August 20, 2008

Still Undecided About Barack Obama?

A Harris Interactive poll that was just released yesterday showed that Barack Obama has a huge 68% to 10% lead over John McCain among LGBT voters. There are however, 15% of us who are still undecided.

Well maybe this will help. According to a story posted at Advocate.com today, Terry Bean, who is an Oregon Obama supporter and prominent Democratic fund-raiser said in a statement, "I was appalled that George Bush got 24% of the GLBT vote in 2000 and again in 2004 and vowed to do all that I could to prevent that from happening again with John McCain."

His idea was to develop a website that would give voters information contrasting Barack Obama's record on LGBT issues and legislation with that of John McCain. And also offer interactive functions to allow visitors to input comments and even dialogue with other visitors.

Well, he's done a lot more than that. The new, independent, website will also offer a star-studded lineup of bloggers, including such LGBT notables as former HRC executive director Elizabeth Birch, blogger Pam Spaulding, longtime activist David Mixner, and the Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson.

Site adviser Michael Crawford said "We've integrated a number of Web 2.0 tools into the LGBTFOROBAMA.com platform. Users can engage in discussions, comment on news items, post video testimonials, and tell the world why winning this election is vitally personal to them."

To access this site, go to: LGBTFOROBAMA.com

To read the Advocate story, go to: Advocate.com

August 19, 2008

Unanimous Supreme Court Decision Bars Discrimination By Doctors

In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court told doctors that they could not use their religious beliefs to withhold medical care from gays and lesbians.

According to a release by the Associated Press,

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote in the ruling that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state's law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations."

Guadalupe Benitez, 36 of Oceanside filed the original lawsuit that led to the decision. According to Ms. Benitz, the doctors who treated her with fertility drugs and then showed her how to inseminate herself at home refused to assist with the actual insemination itself because it would conflict with their religious beliefs.

Those filing friends of the court briefs backing Ms. Benitz included the American Civil Liberties Union, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, the National Health Law Program and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

To read the AP release go to: Associate Press Release

August 18, 2008

Openly Gay Primary Winner Likely To Go To Congress

Jared Polis, a 33-year-old openly gay entrepreneur from Boulder, Colorado, who won last Tuesday's Democratic primary will very likely be elected in November.

According to Scott Adler, an associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado, “The Republicans don’t have a real shot at this one, and they know it. They would be wasting a lot of money putting dollars into this race.”

There have been five other gay and lesbian members of Congress, including current Representatives Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin who are both Democrats. If elected, Jared would become the third current openly gay or lesbian member of Congress. Ms. Baldwin and Mr. Polis would be the only two who went public with their sexuality before they were elected.

According to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund (a group that supports gay candidates for public office), Mr. Polis would be the first openly gay man elected to Congress as a nonincumbent. He would be filling Democrat Mark Udall's seat who is now running for the Senate.

“I think this sends a signal to young gays and lesbians across the country that they can consider a career in public service and they shouldn’t be scared away from that merely because of their sexual orientation,” said Mr. Polis, who introduced his partner, Marlon Reis, at Tuesday night's victory party.

Source for this story: New York Times

August 17, 2008

Wal-Mart Threatens Workers' Jobs If They Vote For Democrats

Wal-Mart has already been ruled against several times by the National Labor Relations Board for violating the law by retaliating against workers for supporting a union. Now they're trying a more insidious approach in an effort to control who their workers vote for in November.

Wal-Mart has a long history of breaking laws, abusing their workers and decimating small towns across the country. Now they're threatening their workers with the loss of their jobs if they vote for democrats.

According to a NY Times article, several labor groups filed a complaint last week with the Federal Election Commission, accusing Wal-Mart of violating election rules. The unions learned that thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads were summoned to mandatory meetings where they were told that if Democrats won in November they would likely pass a law to make it easier to unionize companies.

They then warned that if that happened, Wal-Mart would be forced to cut jobs and that even those employees who weren't fired would end up having to pay union dues and be forced to go on strikes, which would, of course, result in lost pay.

By telling workers who are paid by the hour (which includes all of their department supervisors as well as virtually all floor employees) how to vote, they blatantly violated the Federal Election Campaign Act.

The law they were referring to is the proposed Employee Free Choice Act which would allow unions to organize companies if more than half the workers signed cards agreeing to join, dispensing with the need for a secret ballot. That legislation is supported by a vast majority of Democrats, including Senator Barack Obama, who co-sponsored the bill.

I stopped shopping at Wal-Mart years ago as soon as I learned about them locking employees in the stores and forcing them to work overtime without pay.

I do understand that many people shop there solely because they can save money during these financially stressed times. But that comes with a very high price. Even though I've been out of work since February and could save a lot of money simply by going to a Wal-Mart, I just can't bring myself to walk through their doorways. To me, they represent the worst of what a so-called American business can be.

I know that many of you will still feel that you have to shop there. The only thing I can do is ask you - where do we, as human beings, draw the line?

To read the full NY Times story, go to: New York Times

August 15, 2008

Why Support Barack Obama?

Let me say right off the bat that I was initially skeptical of Barack Obama's true commitment to the GLBT community.

Having been a radical gay activist in NY and having put in many hours on Bill Clinton's first campaign in 1992, I was adamant about Clinton's support of our community. Unfortunately, shortly after taking office, he back-tracked and capitulated on most of the promises he made to us.

To say that I was pissed off would be an understatement. On one hand, I could understand the politics behind his actions but on the other, the radical activist side of me couldn't quite reconcile the opposing reality that the man I believed in would so easily back down to the political pressures of the moment.

It was a very psychologically difficult time for me. I knew without a doubt that Clinton would be a far better option than Bush Sr (who I had virtually no respect for to begin with) and being somewhat of a political pragmatist, I was still glad I supported and voted for him. I couldn't shake the bad feelings I had about his betrayal though so I became "uninvolved" and refused to work for his reelection in '96. But I still did vote for him.

That's the basis of my skepticism of Obama. I'm gun-shy. It's also the reason that I didn't support Hilliary in the primaries. I've heard very strong comments of support from a Clinton before and I just couldn't convince myself that it wasn't deja vu all over again.

I was born in Chicago and raised in a small town north of the city. Much of my family still lives there and I have a fairly good understanding of the psyche of that region. Of course prejudices still exist there but overall it is one of the more progressive and tolerant parts of the country. Even considering the brief controversy surrounding the boat races at Crystal Lake (which is about 5 miles from where I grew up) during the Gay Games, the majority of the population is pretty open and welcoming.

However, many of us who grew up under Mayor Richard J. Daley's powerful grip on the political structure of not only Chicago and the state itself but of that entire region are deeply distrustful of politicians in general. That's why, to me, the wide support Barack has there is very impressive.

The stories and information I hear about him do seem to be true. And the more I hear, the more I'm beginning to believe that he really does mean what he says. He has also backed up his rhetorical support by concrete, political actions.

One of the most telling was right after he took office as an Illinois State Senator. He immediately signed on as a sponsor of legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Even when one of the gay sponsors of the bill wanted to take out that phrase in hopes of making it easier to pass the bill, Obama was insistent on keeping it in and lobbied extensively for its passage. That's a very impressive, proven commitment. Illinois now has some of the most progressive GLBT legislation in the country.

If you are serious about wanting to live up to your obligation to vote but you still aren't sure of voting for Obama, I have a suggestion. The Advocate just published an in-depth piece on Obama and I strongly suggest that you take the time read it. It's a little long but you can always save it to your hard drive and read it over when you have the time. If you're serious about making an intelligent, informed decision, I urge you to read that piece. Trust me, it's worth the effort.

Just one final thought on this - for now.

If you're a person of integrity, intelligence and compassion, there's no way you could possibly justify supporting or voting for John McCain.

His startling reversals of professional and personal morals for political gain have been just too numerous and too mind-boggling to leave any kind of doubt that he would be just as bad as our current President. Maybe even worse considering that he doesn't have the same level of astounding ignorance that "GW" has demonstrated over and over again. McCain is shrewd and calculating and would back whoever and whatever he felt would do him the most good regardless of the consequences for the rest of us.

Obama or McCain. That's what our choices are in November. If you honestly care about the GLBT community, this country as a whole and the world in general then not voting is simply not an option!

To read The Adocate's story go to: The Advocate

August 14, 2008

Update For Today's Prop 8 Action In Irvine California

Chino Blanco sent me the following update info for today's action at the Shubert Flint PR firm (address, entrance & staging area is in the photo above):

For map links, times, etc. go to: chinoblanco.blogspot.com

If you have questions or need to talk to someone in CA about the demo, Call Vern Nelson at 714-235-8376 (VERN).

I urge everyone in the basin area who has the time later this evening to attend this event. It should be fun for you and eye-opening for some of their clients.

Below is a reduce version of the flyer that'll be passed out.

Click Here for a full size version that you can print out to take with you.

August 13, 2008

Proponents Of Prop 8 Leave An LA Times Editor Speechless

The Los Angeles Times editorial board has a long-standing practice of inviting representatives on both sides of an issue to meet with them (separately) before publishing editorial opinions. This gives each side an opportunity to express their feelings and gives the editors a deeper understanding of the issues.

The LA Times published their opinion on Proposition 8 in an editorial on August 8th. Apparently though, some interesting and outlandish statements were made during a meeting with supporters of Prop. 8 that weren't published in the opinion piece that opposed that measure.

Karin Klein, who is an editor and was at that meeting, published her account of it at the LA Times Blog Opinion L.A.. Karen said:

At one point, the conversation turned to the "activist judges" whose May ruling opened the door to same-sex marriage, and how similar this case was to the 1948 case that declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional. According to one of the Prop. 8 reps, that 1948 ruling was OK because people are born to their race and thus are in need of constitutional protection, while gays and lesbians choose their homosexuality. So much for the expert opinions of the American Psychological Assn. and the American Academy of Pediatrics that people cannot choose their sexuality. Oh, those activist doctor types.

As if that weren't bad enough, Karen went on to say that one Prop 8 supporter said:

Gay rights are not as important as children's rights, and it's obvious that same-sex couples who married would "recruit" their children toward homosexuality because otherwise, unable to procreate themselves, they would have no way to replenish their numbers.

Even though Karen is an accomplished and seasoned editor, she said that she was left momentarily speechless. She also said that the recruitment argument "made no logical sense at all."

Wouldn't it be great if the editors here in Arizona and in Florida held their own meetings and then reported on those. Give a fanatic the opportunity to talk in that kind of environment and they will invariably show themselves to be the idiotic fools they really are. We just need to make sure that they have that opportunity and that the media covers their comments in earnest.

August 12, 2008

Right-Wingers Setting Up Challenge To Separation Of Church And State

A few weeks ago, onlinejournal.com posted an excellent article by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.. Apparently the rightwing-nuts are planning a multi-pronged event in September that they hope will end-up before the Supreme Court.

Their objective is to force a challenge to the restrictions that prevent any religion from using its pulpits and/or resources to openly politic for or against candidates and legislations that they support or oppose.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a group of lawyers dedicated to realizing the Dominionist goal of marrying church and state, has taken another step in that direction.

The Pulpit Initiative
Reclaiming pastors’ constitutional right to speak Truth from the pulpit

On Sunday, September 28, 2008, we are seeking pastors who will preach from the pulpit a sermon that addresses the candidates for government office in light of the truth of Scripture. The sermon is intended to challenge the Internal Revenue Code’s restrictions by specifically opposing candidates for office that do not align themselves and their positions with the Scriptural truth. By standing together and speaking with one voice, it is our hope to recapture the rightful place of pastors and churches in American life. [italics added]

On July 11, the propaganda organ of Don Wildmon’s American Family Association ran an article, titled “Wildmon: Prop. 8 vote crucial in culture battle.” That article said (in part):

The Arlington Group, a coalition of about 60 pro-family groups and ministries, will stress the importance of the November 4 vote in California on Proposition 8, a proposed constitutional amendment that would protect traditional marriage. To do that, pastors will be encouraged to use one Sunday in September to focus on the sanctity of marriage. Churches also will be encouraged to take up a special offering which will go toward the fight for marriage in California. [italics added]

Not only do these people want the pulpit politicized, they want the worship service turned into a political fund-raising event!

The article is incredibly informative and eye-opening. I would strongly urge you to go to onlinejournal.com and read it for yourself.

August 11, 2008

VA Director Prohibits Voter Registration In VA Hospitals

On May 5th, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, James B. Peake issued a directive banning nonpartisan voter registration drives at federally financed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans. This is insanity!

According to the NY Times article, because of this ban, disabled and confined veterans who have made enormous, life changing sacrifices to defend our freedoms, not the least of which is the right to vote, are being cut off from even being able to register.

On June 30th Connecticut Secretary Of State Susan Bysiewicz visited the VA Hospital in West Haven to distribute information on the state’s new voting machines and to register veterans to vote. She was not even allowed inside the hospital.

On the sidewalk outside, Secretary Bysiewicz met Martin O’Nieal, a 92-year-old veteran who lost a leg while fighting the Nazis in WWII. O'Nieal has been a resident of the hospital since 2007 and he told her that he wanted to vote last year but there was no information at the hospital about how to register and the nurses could not answer his questions about how or where to cast a ballot. What's wrong with this picture?

The two reasons Peake issued this ban are astoundingly idiotic. First, he claims that voter registration drives are disruptive to the care of its patients. You've got to be kidding me!

Second, he claims that VA employees cannot help patients register to vote because the Hatch Act forbids federal workers from engaging in partisan political activities. This interpretation of the Hatch Act is completely out of left field. There is nothing partisan about registering people to vote as long as you don't promote a particular candidate or political position.

This insidious, immoral, unpatriotic and extraordinarily hypocritical action taken by Secretary Peake is, quite simply, disgusting!

What is the government afraid of? Other than maybe Barack Obama might be elected. I've personally talked with quite a few veterans while waiting to be seen for appointments at my local VA and I unexpectedly found that the overwhelming majority said that they intended to vote for Obama. Maybe also because the latest polls of active duty men and women show that a majority are not opposed to gays serving openly in the military which indicates a significant change in attitude among the people actually defending our country.

According to the article, bills that would require the department to repeal the ban have been filed in both houses of Congress. They need to be signed into law no later than Oct. 1, so that veterans in V.A. care don’t miss their states’ deadlines to register to vote in the fall elections. That this is even necessary is mind boggling!

As a veteran myself, I am going to shoot off a quick email to both my Senator and my Congressman about this.

To read the full article, go to: NY Times

I just got off the phone with Council for the Senate Rules Committe, Adam Ambrogi. He told me that Senate Bill S3308, introduced by Senators Diane Feinstein and John Kerry, should move to the Senate for a vote when they return in September.

He also told me that House Bill HR6625, introduced by Congressman Robert Brady, was passed unanimously just before breaking for recess.

Mr. Ambrogi gave me his direct line and asked that if I hear any other information about voter registration in VA facilities or these bills to contact him. So, if anyone out there has or comes across anymore information please leave a message at the "Comments" link below or contact me via email.

UPDATE - 8/16/08...
According to a posting at Advocate.com today, troops serving abroad have given nearly six times as much money to Obama's presidential campaign as they have to McCain's. Apparently what the vets at the VA center here told me (see story above) seems to be the sentiment pretty much service-wide.

To read the full story go to: Advocate.com

August 9, 2008

New Proposition 8 Wording Upheld

California Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley upholds Attorney General Jerry Brown's new wording for Proposition 8.

According to Yahoo News, Prop 8 proponent Mark A. Larsson argued that the proposed new language is "extremely argumentative" and could prejudice voters against the measure.

Larson also argued that the attorney general showed prejudice by "selecting a ballot title that begins with a negative, transitive active verb." This argument apparently led to a series of rebuttals that rose to the level of absurdist entertainment.

In his ruling Judge Frawley said, "There is nothing inherently argumentative or prejudicial about transitive verbs, and the Court is not willing to fashion a rule that would require the Attorney General to engage in useless nominalization." He added, "As a general rule, the title and summary prepared by the Attorney General are presumed accurate" and that legal standards "require substantial deference to the Attorney General's actions."

The court further ruled that since the right to same-sex marriage now exists in law and has already been exercised by thousands of same-sex couples, Proposition 8 would not simply limit marriage but would, in fact, eliminate an existing legal right.

This ruling should now make it much more difficult for Proposition 8 to pass in November. Let's keep out fingers crossed.

To read the full story, go to: Yahoo News

August 7, 2008

Action Alert For California's Anti-Gay Marriage Proposition 8

Early this morning I recieved a comment to yesterday's post, "Be Careful Out There..." According to the comment by Chino Blanco, a demonstration is being planned for August 14th in Irvine California. It well be against the PR firm Schubert Flint Public Affairs which was just hired to handle the promotion for the Yes on Prop. 8/Protect Marriage campaign.

Although the comment didn't really relate directly to the article, I feel it deserves attention. From what I understand at this point, the Shubert Flint firm was one of the primary players in the public relations campaign to justify the Iraq war and has now agreed to take on Proposition 8 (for a hefty fee I'm sure).

You can read Chino's article about this demonstration at the website Pam's House Blend.

His comment is posted at "Be Careful Out There..."

If you live in California or you might be visiting there, the demonstration will be held August 14th at about 5:00 pm. The address is:

Schubert Flint Public Affairs
2020 Main Street
Irvine, CA 92614

I'll keep you posted as soon as I get more information.


First, a correction - The Schubert Flint Public Affairs firm was not, itself, involved in the selling of the Irag war BUT its senior partner, Jeff Flint, was one of the people involved in that campaign. Chino Blanco, in an excellent report posted at DailyKos.com said that at the time, Flint was with Russo Marsh & Rogers who represented the pro-Iraq War group Move America Forward which was responsible for the very public campaign to invade Iraq instead of pursuing Usama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Just to give you a better idea of the kind of people that Jeff Flint and Jennifer Kerns (who was just hired by Schubert Flint as the Communications Director for the Pro-Prop 8 campaign) really are, consider the following statements they recently made publicly: Flint, in mimicking Barack Obama, said "I'm for change....blah blah blah...I's for bringing people together...blah blah blah...let me quote Obama some more....blah blah blah...." If that isn't a not so subtle stab at racism, what is.

And Kerns, in describing how she's going to handle the campaign, said: "One of our campaign cornerstones will be the fact that if the initiative [to ban gay marriage in California] doesn't pass that public schools will be forced to teach the difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage."

Back to the demonstration. They're still working out specifics but I am now in direct contact with Chino and will keep you posted on further details.

If you have any questions about the demo you can post a comment/question here. If you don't want your comment or question to be public you can still use my "Comment" link at the bottom of this posting. I screen ALL comments that come into my blog so I don't have to publish it if you don't want me to. Chino said that you could also go to his blog at chinoblanco.blogspot.com and post there as well. I'm not sure if he screens his comments before they're posted but I'll check with him and let you know.

One last thing - a comment left on one of Chino's postings made a very astute point. Many of the clients of Shubert Flint are, in all likelyhood, opponents of Prop 8 and probably don't know much about the firm's involvement to pass it. That's why this demonstration has an excellent chance of being very successful. Once they know just who is representing them, a lot of those clients just might start rethinking their association with Shubert Flint and very well might decide to change their representation.

August 6, 2008

Be Careful Out There...

If you've been paying attention to the news lately, you've probably already gotten the sense that gay violence is on the rise. Now, according to an article at 365gay.com, The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports that gay hate-crimes have, indeed, risen significantly in 2008. And we still have almost 5 months to go yet. This is not good news but, unfortunately, not wholly unexpected either.

According to the article:

Since the February murder of 15 year-old Lawrence King and the brutal beating of Duanna Johnson, there have been at least 13 brutal and violent LGBT hate crimes throughout the country. The organization added that the reported crimes only may be a small number of the total, since many LGBT people are reluctant to go to police, and many of the attacks that are reported are not listed by authorities as hate crimes.

I, personally, have no doubt that the number is a lot higher. Clearly, many gays don't report incidences either because they're not out of the closet yet and fear being outed if they do report it, especially if their injuries weren't bad enough to require medical attention, or they feel that nothing is going to be done by the local authorities anyway so why bother?

That's unfortunate because it leaves these animals out on the streets free to continue their sick, perverted behaviors. The other aspect of not reporting is that it keeps the number of incidences lower than they should be and makes it easier for politicians and fanatics (frequently the same people) to claim that it's not a big enough problem to warrant passing or adding to hate-crime legislation. Just for these two reasons alone, I strongly urge anyone who is a victim of a hate-crime to report it.

If you are out of the closet and pissed off enough and fearless enough to weather some potential backlash, you could also report the incidence to your local news media as well. The more public exposure this issue gets, the stronger our case becomes to pass national hate-crimes legislation. However, If you do decide that you want to be that public about it but you're worried about potential consequences, you could ask them beforehand not to use your name in their media report if it isn't already a part of the public police record.

That being said and at the risk of sounding somewhat contradictory, I also caution everyone to be careful out there. As I've said in some of my past posts, the right-wing, religious fanatics are losing ground fast and they know it. They're desperate and the more desperate they become, the more violent their rhetoric and their actions become as well. However, the likelihood of something happening to you personally is still very, very low so don't let yourself become overly paranoid and fearsome about it either.

As practically every New Yorker knows instinctively, it's always smart to be aware of your surroundings and the people around you whenever you're out and about. That's a good idea for anyone - straight or gay.

To read the full story go to: 365gay.com

August 5, 2008

Hate Crime Will Not Be Charged In Gay Bashing

On July 17th at about 1:00 am 42-year-old Jimmy Lee Dean was severely beaten in Dallas, Texas. According to witnesses, Bobby Singleton, 29, and Jonathan Gunter, 31, both of Garland, started kicking and beating Dean with a handgun and inflicting injuries that required hospitalization. Witnesses also claim to have heard Singleton and Gunter yelling anti-gay epithets at Dean while they were beating him. Both were arrested and are about to go to trial.

As if the beating wasn't bad enough, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News last Friday the prosecutors said that they weren't going to charge the pair with a hate crime because both face the maximum penalty if found guilty, making the additional hate crime categorization unnecessary. Each suspect now faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony that, with a conviction, will put them in prison for up to 99 years.

What really bothers me about the prosecutors' decision is that the whole purpose of a hate crime charge is not only to enhance sentences but, even more importantly, to send a strong and clear message that these types of crimes are not tolerated by a civilized society. And what if they aren't given the "maximum penalty?" Does that mean that they could be paroled and put back out onto the streets to beat other gays or blacks or latinos or asians in just a matter of months? Clearly, the prosecutors' logic is flawed at best.

Fortunately, the Dallas police have said that they will categorize the attack as a hate crime for statistical purposes.

Singleton and Gunter, while awaiting indictment, are being held in lieu of more than $300,000 bail each, according to Dallas County Jail records.

August 4, 2008

HIV Cases Undercounted By At Least 40%!

According to a Sunday New York Times article the CDC (Centers For Disease Control) figures released last Saturday show that the annual HIV infection rates have been underreported by at least 40%.

Dr. Kevin A. Fenton, who directs H.I.V. prevention efforts at the agency, said, “C.D.C.’s new incidence estimates reveal that the H.I.V. epidemic is and has been worse than previously known.”

This is a very important discrepancy because accurate and timely data about HIV transmission rates are used for planning and evaluating basic prevention efforts and the monies that are spent on those efforts. The study found that 56,300 people became newly infected with H.I.V in 2006. For the last 15 plus years, the estimated figure of 40,000 new annual infections has been used by the government in determining funding for HIV/AIDS programs here in the United States.

Dr. Philip Alcabes, an epidemiologist at Hunter College in Manhattan said that if this new report is accurate that means that new HIV infection rates have been undercounted by about 15,000 per year for 15 years. "Therefore," Dr Alcabes said "there are roughly 225,000 more people living with H.I.V. in the U.S. than previously suspected.”

This administration has been severely criticized worldwide for not allocating sufficient funds to fight HIV in this country and many professionals are very upset that the CDC didn't release this study much sooner.

This is obviously another case of this administration attempting to withhold scientific research studies it deemed uncomfortable or unprofitable for them and/or their friends. Knowing that this is one study that they couldn't keep under-wraps indefinitely and that Bush is only months away from leaving the White House and that the congress has adjourned for this session, making any kind of funding increases for this year impossible, they apparently felt that now would be a good time for them to release it.

This has been the sleaziest, most dishonest and most corrupt administration in the history of this country. I hope that someone will pursue legal actions against as many of them as possible after they're out of office.

To read the full NY Times article go to: New York Times


Speaking at an AIDS conference in Mexico city, former President Bill Clinton said that the just released report by the CDC (above), has spurred him into action. He said that “For Americans, this should be a wake up call. Even as we keep working globally, we need to do much more to fight AIDS at home, and I intend to do so with my foundation.”

Imagine what might have been done already had the CDC released that report in a much more timely manner.

Thank you Bill Clinton and shame on the CDC for putting politics ahead of people's health and well being.

August 3, 2008

Openly Gay Olympic Diver Could Take Home Gold

20 year old Matthew Mitcham is Australia's top tanked Olympic diver who came out in an interview for The Sydney Morning Herald last May. And now he is determined to take home a gold metal from the Beijing Olympics.

It looks like Matthew has a very good chance of doing that too. According to a featured Cover Story to run in the August 26th edition of The Advocate:

He did just that May 11 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix, one of the major annual meets put on by FINA, the international governing body for swimming, diving, and water polo. There, at an outdoor pool in windy conditions, Mitcham won the 10-meter platform, his specialty, defeating both 2004 Olympic gold medalist Hu Jia of China and fellow Australian and 2004 silver medalist Matthew Helm. Mitcham, currently ranked third in the world, also beat world number 1 Sascha Klein of Germany.

Matthew didn't necessarily intend to come out to the world, he was just giving an interview. But then the reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald asked him who he lived with. Matthew said:

“I hadn’t planned to do it at all. It was just a question” -- which he answered by saying he lived with his partner of two years, Lachlan -- “and it went from there. I just want to be known as the Australian diver who did really well at the Olympics. It’s everybody else who thinks it’s special when homosexuality and elite sport go together.”

Pick up The Advocate for the full story. The shorter, online version is at: Advocate.com

August 1, 2008

A Very Promising HIV Discovery

This is very exciting! A new discovery by Dr. Sudhir Paul and Dr. Miguel Escobar of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston may prove to be the most important discovery to date in the battle against the HIV virus.

According to Dr. Paul...

“We have found an innovative way to kill the virus by finding this small region of HIV that is unchangeable,”

Granted, we have had promising new discoveries burst onto the scene before and have sadly watched them ultimately prove unsuccessful. And, because of the insidious ability of the virus to mutate and eventually adapt itself to whatever medications that have been developed so far, we've had to constantly play catch-up by creating new drugs that the virus doesn't recognize.

This new discovery however, sounds like it could prove to be the most promising one yet because of their breakthrough finding of a "constant" within the HIV virus itself. Knowing what that constant is could make future treatment therapies much more effective and possibly even result in a permanent solution regardless of the virus' mutations.

The following video report was made by KMSB-TV in Tucson, Arizona and posted on their website:

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and I'll keep you updated.