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September 30, 2008


In my posting on August 12th I reported that a group of rightwing churches were planning to challenge the IRS tax law restrictions on mixing politics with religion.

On Sunday, they did just that. According to a story in yesterday's Washington Post, Rev. Ron Johnson Jr. told his flock in Crown Point, Ind. that voting for Sen. Barack Obama would be evidence of "severe moral schizophrenia." He told his worshipers that the Democratic presidential nominee's positions on abortion and gay partnerships exist "in direct opposition to God's truth as He has revealed it in the Scriptures." Johnson went on to present a detailed, slide show enhanced presentation comparing John McCain to Barack Obama.

He was joined by 32 others across the country who did the same thing from their pulpits during Sunday morning's services. Their intention is to force a court case that they hope will end up in the Supreme Court. Once there, they feel certain that the right-leaning court will overturn the 54 year old ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt houses of worship.

The Arizona based Alliance Defense Fund, a socially conservative group of lawyers dedicated to realizing the Dominionist goal of marrying church and state, are the architects of this challenge. They, of course, have gotten the attention of the IRS. The agency has pledged to "monitor the situation and take action as appropriate."

This concerted effort by the religious right is not supported by the religious community as a whole. In an open letter Saturday, a United Church of Christ minister, the Rev. Eric Williams, warned that many members of the clergy are "exchanging their historic religious authority for a fleeting promise of political power," to the detriment of their churches.

"The role of the church -- of congregation, synagogue, temple and mosque -- and of its religious leaders is to stand apart from government, to prophetically speak truth to power," Williams wrote, "and to encourage a national dialogue that transcends the divisiveness of electoral politics and preserves for every citizen our 'first liberty.' "

The ball is now in the IRS's court. It will be interesting to see just how they handle this.

To read the full story, go to: Washington Post

September 29, 2008


How many of you remember the totally incoherent answer the South Carolina Miss Teen USA Pageant Contestant gave to a simple question?

In case you forgot or didn't even get to see it, take a look at this:

This is probably one of the funniest and, at the same time, saddest beauty pageant moments caught on video. Most of the time I was watching this, my mouth just hung open in disbelief. Yes, it was funny but when she finished I was totally relieved that the poor girl could finally leave the spotlight. I really felt sorry for her. She was a young, naive, inexperienced teenager caught in an embarrassing moment that she didn't know how to handle.

Well, the following video could be just as funny if it weren't so scary? Pay particular attention to the question Katie Couric asks Sarah Palin. Then listen closely to the answer Palin gives.

Now listen to Palin's answer when Couric asks her about her comment that Russia's geographic proximity to Alaska automatically gives her foreign policy experience.

Both of these answers would be hilarious if they weren't made by the person who wants to Vice President of the United States. And, as we are all painfully aware, possibly the President by default.

Not only is her grasp of national and international politics completely non-existent, she clearly doesn't even have the ability to think on her feet when she doesn't have prepared answers. This is not someone who should be even close to a position of power of that magnitude.

Her selection should also send up huge red flags about John McCain's ability to make the wise decisions that will surely be necessary over the next immediately crucial years for this country.

What really scares me is the number of people who still consider both of them to be competent, world-level leaders.

On so many levels, this would be so wrong.

September 26, 2008


Is John McCain using the supposed bailout crisis to make himself look like a hero?

Faced with diminishing poll numbers and a really poor "performance" by his VP starlet during her interview with CBS's Katie Couric, John McCain desperately needed something to put himself back on top and take attention away from Palin. The dramatic suspension of his campaign and the attempt to cancel the first Presidential debate with Obama, all in the name of patriotic concern for the country's well being, certainly had the potential to do that.

While it has succeeded, in part, in shifting attention away from Palin's poor performance, it may not succeed in putting McCain back on top. Unless all the players play their parts.

It seems that his involvement in the big bailout show has become highly questionable at best. In an Op-ed piece, Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. said:

John McCain's sudden intervention in Washington's deliberations over the Wall Street bailout could not have been more out of sync with what was actually happening.

In fact, the whole thing is taking on the aura of a badly written theatrical extravaganza.

With McCain lamenting that "partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges," President Bush, right on cue, forces a meeting with McCain and Obama (along with several other minor political players) at the White House. This in spite of the fact that House and Senate leaders from both sides of the aisle announced a bipartisan agreement on the principles of a bailout which they said in their press conference should be workable. The so-called "consessions" that Bush made were clearly inevitable long before he even called the meeting. In fact, they were probably already agreed to in the bipartisan negotiations. So the only thing the White House meeting accomplished was to put John McCain in position.

Act two: Right after the meeting, one of Washington's minor republican players was the only one who magically appeared in front of the press to declare that there was, in fact, no deal. I'm not naming him because his name really isn't important. He played his little part by setting the stage with fear and partisan conflict. Suddenly, within hours after the meeting, there appeared a whole cadre of republicans who expressed dissatisfaction with the agreement their own leaders had negotiated.

The stage is now set for a dramatic third act rescue. What savior could possibly sweep in above the fray and unite the republicans? Yep, you guessed it.

I hate to seem that cynical but, unfortunately, I am. If this dramatic third act rescue does happen, I hope the American people aren't dumb enough to fall for it.

September 24, 2008


At a press conference last Friday, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders announced that he had an 11th hour change of heart about gay marriage.

In a highly emotional statement, with his wife by his side, Sanders said that he would not veto the City Council resolution supporting a legal fight to overturn California's prohibition on same-sex marriages. He had previously promised a veto but, instead, he signed it.

Sanders, a Republican former police chief, told reporters that he could no longer back the position he took during his election campaign two years ago. At that time he said that he favored civil unions but not full marriage rights for homosexual couples.

"Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative," he said at the press conference. "Those beliefs, in my case, have since changed. The concept of a 'separate but equal' institution is not something that I can support."

He fought back tears as he said he wanted his adult daughter, Lisa, and other gay people he knows, including some of his own staff members, to have their relationships protected equally under state laws.

Below is the full press conference as posted on YouTube.com.

This is one of the strongest, heartfelt statements against legalizing gay marriage discrimination I've seen and I hope that everyone in Arizona and Florida sees this video as well.

If you have a blog, please post this. It deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. If you don't have a blog, then email this article to as many friends as you can. Just click on the little white envelope below. We simply can't let a few religious zealots dictate public policy.

BTW - I found this video on a discussion thread at Feast Of Fools. Marc Felion and Fausto Fernós have one of the most entertaining, informative and often hilarious radio programs on the air. They're based in Chicago and the "Community" section of their website feastoffools.net posts daily discussion threads that run the gambit from incredibly informative to incredibly funny to incredibly touching. Check them out.

In my haste to share this video, I misread the actual date. Had I caught that, I certainly would have made it clear in my post. The press conference was actually held Sept. 2007.

I do, however, still feel the same way about the event. It's relevance is even more acute today, less than six weeks away from the crucial vote on November 4th. It points out in a very dramatic, heartfelt way that when someone with honesty and integrity is confronted with the very real and very personal face of the gay marriage issue, they can't help but see Prop 8 for what it is - a discriminatory attempt to deny a whole class of people the same right to pursue happiness that everyone else has.

I do apologize for misreporting the date but I hope that doesn't, in any way, diminish the emotional power of the video itself.

Also, the Feast Of Fools broadcast is actually a podcast. You can find it at: Feast of Fools : Gay Fun Show

Thanks to NG and Rainbow Dragon 76 for letting me know about these errors.

September 23, 2008


According to a press release from Immigration Equality, the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), a bill that would grant equal immigration rights to Americans in same-sex binational relationships, is rapidly gaining support in both houses.

In just September alone, the UAFA has gained an unprecedented level of support when four more Senators and sixteen more Representatives joined in cosponsoring the legislation. That brings the total number of cosponsors to a record breaking eighteen Senators and 116 Congressional Representatives.

Under the current immigration laws, a heterosexual U.S. citizen can sponsor their spouse for immigration but because same-sex partnerships are not recognized by the Federal government, GLBT partners can't do the same thing.

That forces thousands of lesbian and gay binational couples into choosing between their partner or their country. This impossibly difficult situation often results in trying to maintain a long-distance relationship, self-exile abroad or ultimate separation.

Immigration Equality believes that this serves no public policy function and contradicts the central goal of U.S. immigration policy - family unification. The UAFA legislation would remedy this injustice.

To read the full press release, go to: Immigration Equality

September 22, 2008


According to a news release from the Vote No On Proposition 102 campaign, religious leaders from several denominations will hold a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday, September 23rd.

Citing the need to clearly express their opposition to Proposition 102 (Arizona's discriminatory anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment proposal), Southern Arizona faith leaders will gather to speak to the press and the public.

The event will begin at noon inside the Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church sanctuary, 2331 E Adams Street in Tucson.

Leaders from the Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Jewish Reformed traditions, and others will process into the sanctuary in formal clerical vestments at noon.

Some of the speakers will include:

Rev. Pedro Goycolea, pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Centro Vida, a Spanish-speaking congregation in Sahuarita.
Father Frank Bergen, who has served as a priest in both the Roman Catholic Jesuit Order and the Episcopal Church.
Rabbi Helen Cohn, a Jewish rabbi who is spiritual leader of Congregation M’kor Hayim in Tucson.
Rev. John Fife, former national moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Rev. Anna Bell, minister at Mosaic United Methodist Church, Tucson.
Kelly Frieders, a married Republican mother of triplets, and an active Christian lay person.

Everyone is invited so if you live in Tucson, stop by on your lunch hour and help show support for these courageous leaders.


Anne Kilkenny is a long-time resident of Wasilla, Alaska where Sarah Palin began her political career. She has known Palin personally for the last 16 years and has, herself, been actively involved in the Wasilla community.

Right after Palin was announced as McCain's pick for Vice President, Anne was inundated by the world and local media. They all wanted to know what she knew about the totally obscure Sarah Palin. It got so intrusive that she decided to write-out a statement covering everything she knew about Sarah Palin.

On September 1st, she decided to post what she had written as a comment to an article about Palin in the Washington Independent.

At the end of the extensive posting, she said:


First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed
voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting
programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny +
Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local
government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

Since it's posting, her comments have been picked up in bits and pieces in publications all over the world. Most of what she said has been verified and/or is still under investigation not only by the media but also by regulatory and judicial bodies in Alaska.

Her posting is too long to include here but I urge everyone who has an interest in knowing just what kind of person may become the second most powerful human being on the planet (and considering McCain's age, very possibly the single most powerful) to click on the link below and read Kilkenny's entire letter.

To read her story, go to: http://washingtonindependent.com/3671/the-reform-candidate

NOTE: When the page opens, it'll be at the top of the Independent's story, which I also recommend that you read. Anne's letter is 9 postings down under "Scared Womens Rights 5 days ago"

September 19, 2008


Hot on the heels of Sarah Palin's much publicized attempts at book banning comes this incident in Helena, Montana.

Helena is both the capital of the state of Montana and the county seat for Lewis and Clark County. The Chamber of Commerce touts it as a city alive with community spirit and filled with timeless treasures and sophisticated services.

Unfortunately, despite their claim of sophistication, it seems that some of its citizens would like to ban at least one of the books the Lewis and Clark Library has on its shelves. It is, of course, a gay oriented book which these self-righteous zealots think shouldn't be available to anyone.

According to a story in yesterday's Helena Independent Record:

The book, “The Joy of Gay Sex,” was petitioned to be removed from the library’s shelves after a Helena man stumbled upon it on one of his frequent visits to the library.

Ironically, this book has been available at the library since the early 1990's, which means that no one has complained about it for almost 18 years. Of course, now that a single, uptight individual has "accidentally" found it, it's suddenly objectionable to have it available in the public library.

Coauthor Edmund White said of his book:
Its sole purpose is to enrich the lives of men whose sexual preference is for men by indicating how to get the most out of sex, by pointing out ways to banish negative emotions like guilt and by encouraging intelligent, creative relationships.

In an encouraging development, at a public hearing last Tuesday night, the testimonies of supporters advocating to keep the book outnumbered those who wanted it removed from the shelves.

The Independent Record's article ended by saying: "Indeed, nearly every book on the library shelf could potentially offend or disgust a reader...it would be a far greater disservice to a community — and to democracy — to have a library that censors what people can and cannot see."

Hopefully, due the clear-minded thinking of many Helena residents, this issue won't end up in the courts because of lawsuits that the ACLU will feel obligated to file.

BTW - a newer version titled “The Joy of Gay Sex, Revised & Expanded Third Edition” by the book's original coauthor Charles Silverstein is available at Amazon.com.

September 18, 2008


Wayne Besen is an accomplished author, activist, columnist and public speaker. He is the founder and driving force behind the TruthWinsOut.org website and was a national spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.

He has appeared on numerous television shows from NBC Nightly News to Fox's O'Reilly Factor to Hard Copy, MSNBC News and numerous others. He has also spoken at many leading universities, including Vanderbilt, Harvard Law School, John Hopkins, and the University of Florida.

The totality of his accomplishments leaves no doubt that he is one of the strongest, most articulate and best known voices for the GLBT community.

That being said, I find myself in strong disagreement with a suggestion he made in a recent posting at WayneBesen.com.

In that article, he calls for the Log Cabin Republicans to disband. His reasoning is absolutely spot-on and I totally agree with his logic.

A few paragraphs before the end, he said:

It is obvious, however, that this organization has outlived its usefulness and has been soundly defeated by much larger, wealthier and influential anti-gay forces. The party is now rotten to the core and thrives on homophobic bigotry, anti-immigrant sentiment, small-minded populism and foolishly mocking our foreign allies at the expense of our long-term national security (remember freedom fries?).

A couple of paragraphs later, Wayne goes on to say:
The only chance for gay Republicans to be legitimate players in the GOP is to have the party suffer a string of crushing losses. The defeats have to be so painful and substantial, that they lead to realignment, where the role of social conservatives is significantly diminished. Clearly, the Log Cabin Republicans can only save their party by helping to defeat it.

I wholeheartedly agree with this logic. Ironically, that is precisely why I so strongly disagree with his call for the Log Cabin Republicans to disband.

I firmly believe that the most effective and most startling tactic that LCR could use in this mind-numbingly important election is to NOT DISBAND. Instead, they should come out very publicly and withdraw their support for the McCain/Palin ticket. They should then turn right around and strongly endorse Obama and Biden.

This kind of action could send shock waves throughout much of the Republican Party. More importantly, if they explained that they were doing it out of conscience, a deep love for the Party and the hope that it would help bring about much needed change within it, it would definitely garner huge international publicity. That kind of public spotlight could even help persuade enough gay and straight voters to follow suit, in elections from the White House to City Councils, and possibly bring about Wayne's scenario of devastating the republican party to the point of forcing a realignment within it.

I would call upon President Patrick Sammon and the other leaders of the Log Cabin Republicans to consider this kind of history making action. It could not only restore your weakened credibility but it would also put you squarely in the center of a worldwide public spotlight. If you truly believe in what was once the republican principles and you honestly want to work within that system to change it, then there really is no other option - except to quit.

Wayne Besen is right. The republican party is never going to change unless it undergoes a major, transformative shake-up.

To use a somewhat worn but still true cliche...drastic times call for drastic measures.

September 17, 2008


I'm sure, by now, everyone has seen the devastation caused by hurrican Ike in Galveston, Texas. Thousands of homes were turned into nothing more than matchsticks, flooding covered almost everything and all power and water were knocked out.

Although people were warned to leave before the storm, some stayed hoping to protect their homes and keepsakes from the scavengers who would certainly swarm the area after the storm passed.

In the aftermath, those who stayed realized how lucky they were to still be alive. But the problem of surviving without food and water until help came quickly became very serious.

During this critical time, help surfaced from one of the only businesses still left standing. A popular gay bar known as Robert’s Lafitte.

Owner Big Mouth Robert (as he is known to locals) said that the bar's windows were blown out and three feet of water gushed inside during the height of the storm. After the waters receded, they saw that the building still seemed to be sound so they cleaned everything up and reopened the bar.

It quickly became a kind of defacto community center for everyone - straight and gay. People started dropping off food and some supplies at the bar for people in need knowing that it could be months before the city is up and running.

With the help of friends, Robert even started offering his previously scheduled drag show and Tina Turner sing-along. These shows helped keep spirits up and people's minds off the devastation that was just outside the door.

“It’s more than a life saver. This is like the Coast Guard,” Brian DeLeon, a straight man who told Reuters News Service that he had never thought of entering the bar in the past.

“These are the people who take you up out of the water and make life livable. Once I get back to work, I’m coming back here.”

Now, that's how we build trust and mutual respect between straights and gays. Let them see who we really are.

Major kudos to Robert and everyone over there who made this happen.

Sources for this story: 365gay.com and Advocate.com

September 16, 2008


Before he began running for President this time around, I used to like John McCain. I really wanted to believe that he was who he claimed to be. And judging from his public comments and the people he stood up for, he seemed to be just that.

Over the years, I've become pretty cynical. Especially when it comes to politics and politicians. But there have been occasions, even though I've been a life-long democrat, when I've supported other candidates. McCain was one of those candidates. At least he was 8 years ago. In 2000 I did vote for Al Gore but in 2004 I very seriously considered voting for McCain had he become the nominee. I even went so far as to write a letter to Kerry urging him to consider McCain for his running mate.

The tragedy of who McCain has turned himself into has more than reinforced my cynicism. Maybe he got blinded by the prospect of finally becoming a viable presidential candidate or maybe it was the promises he got when he made that startling turn-around in support of Bush. Whatever the reason, he has become everything he used to despise and has transformed himself into a mean, ugly and totally untrustworthy old man.

Richard Cohen wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post that is online now and will be published in the paper tomorrow. It's titled "The Ugly New McCain" and in it, he details everything that has become wrong with a John McCain candidacy. He brilliantly sums up my own personal feelings and it's one of those rare pieces of journalism that everyone should read.

To access Cohen's piece, go to: WashingtonPost.com

September 15, 2008


There has been much written and much said about Sarah Palin's attempts at banning books from Wasilla's Public Library. Did she or didn't she?

Unfortunately, there was at least one claim that even included a "hit list" of books that she allegedly wanted removed. I say unfortunately because that list was easily shown to be a fake but the widely publicized debunking of that claim successfully muddied the whole issue.

That incident doesn't change the fact that Palin did attempt to ban books on at least two occassions.

According to a New York Times article published Saturday, Sept. 13th:

Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”

“I’m still proud of Sarah,” she added, “but she scares the bejeebers out of me.”

Although Palin didn't specifically insist that "Daddy's Roommate" be removed from the library, the implication of what she said as a councilwoman was clear.

For years before Palin was elected Mayor, the social conservatives (including Palin's own Assembly of God Pentacostal church) were pressuring the library director to remove books they considered immoral.
“People would bring books back censored,” recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. “Pages would get marked up or torn out.”

In one instance, the Rev. Howard Bess, a liberal Christian preacher in the nearby town of Palmer, said that the Wasilla Assembly of God, was pushing to remove his book, "Pastor I Am Gay," published in 1995, from local bookstores.

Head librarian Mary Ellen Emmons told Rev. Bess that several copies of his book had disappeared from the library shelves.

"Sarah brought pressure on the library about things she didn't like," Bess said. "To believe that my book was not targeted in this is a joke."

The second, and most publicized incident was in 1996 shortly after Palin took office as Wasilla's Mayor. According to the Washington Post and the New York Times, Palin asked Emmons three times in her first few weeks in office whether she would agree to remove controversial books. Emmons told Palin that she would not.

Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said the questions were hypothetical and entirely appropriate. He said a patron had asked the library to remove a title the year before and the mayor wanted to understand how such disputes were handled.

Records on the city's website, however, do not show any books were challenged in Wasilla in the 10 years before Palin took office.

In a startling and lengthy letter posted in the comments section of the Washington Independent Anne Kilkenny said of this incident:
While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

This incident has been documented and verified by media the world over.

Aside from Palin's obvious lack of experience with and even basic understanding of the dangerous world affairs this country is now facing, is she really the of kind "moral compass" we want the United States of America to follow?

I think not. I think we've had enough of that garbage for the last 8 years!

September 14, 2008


On his first and only visit to Denver, 26 year old Nima Daivari, his cousin and her boyfriend were walking home from dinner at a 16th Street eatery. While they were talking, a pedestrian passed by and suddenly yelled, "Keep that faggot away from me."

Maybe it was Daivari's tight, white jeans, snakeskin shoes and the fairy pendant that he wore on a chain around his neck but when he said "Excuse me?" to the man, the assailant turned and punched him in the head. Fortunately, Daivairi was a trained boxer and he quickly subdued his attacker, holding him in a headlock until a policeman arrived.

Unfortunately, that's when things went from bad to unbelievable. Daivari wanted his attacker arrested but not only did Officer Richard Boehnlein refuse repeated requests to press charges, he refused to investigate and didn't even bother to take the attacker's name. Instead, he simply told Daivari "No, go home," and let the attacker walk away.

Daivari registered an official complaint which resulted in a finding that the officer should have at least documented the case and "probably" should have arrested his attacker. Officer Boehnlein was reprimanded and fined with a ludicrous "one regular day off."

To make matters even worse, when Daivari tried to bring a civil suit, U.S. District Judge Zita Weinshienk dismissed the case, holding that no rights were violated. Gay men are not a protected class under the Constitution.

That doesn't even make any sense! This was a physical attack on a law abiding citizen and as such should have been prosecuted, if not as a hate crime, then surely as an assault. Certainly at least the assailants name should have been taken. What's wrong with these people?

Apparently the mile-high air there is a little to thin for them to even be able to think straight. What a sad commentary on the city and on the state. I certainly won't be visiting there anytime soon.

My source for this article is the Denver Post


Keith Olbermann is a hard hitting commentator for MSNBC. My partner just sent me this video of Olbermann's scathing rebuke of the McCain camp, the current administration and the republican party's callous marketing of the horrendous 9/11 tragedy.

I don't normally publish on Sundays but this is one of the most brilliant pieces of journalism I've ever seen anywhere. It deserves as wide a distribution as possible so, please, after you watch it, send it to as many people as you can. This should be seen by everyone.

You can click the little white envelope below to send people an email link to this page.

If you prefer, you can send them the following direct link to this video at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26645619/. (This link though includes an unskippable commercial just before the video starts.)

September 12, 2008


What I reported Wednesday was going to happen, Episcopal Bishop the Right Rev. Marc Handley Andrus did hold the promised press conference later that day.

According to the LA Times, California's six most senior Episcopal bishops unanimously declared their opposition to Proposition 8. The bishops argued that preserving the right of gays and lesbians to marry would enhance the "Christian values" of monogamy, love and commitment.

Flanked by fellow clergy members and gay and straight couples, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles said,

"We believe that continued access to civil marriage for all, regardless of sexual orientation, is consistent with the best principles of our constitutional rights. We do not believe that marriage of heterosexuals is threatened by same-sex marriage."

In the face of the extraordinarily expensive and massive push by the Mormon Church and other right-wing religious zealots to pass Prop 8, it is certainly heartening and very encouraging to hear this kind of strong, religion-based support for our community.

If you would like to read the full report, go to: Los Angeles Times

September 11, 2008


Luis Garcia of Echo Magazine reported that straight allies of the GLBT community are having a rally in Phoenix.

The nationwide event is scheduled to take place in cities across the country from Sunday, Sept. 14th through Saturday Sept. 20th. Called Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, it's a community vigil designed to provide straight Americans with the opportunity to publicly stand up for equal rights for the GLBT community.

The Phoenix event is scheduled to take place at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 16th, directly across from Biltmore Fashion Park mall in front of the Camelback Esplanade complex (SE corner of 24th Street and Camelback Road).

Mesa resident Susan Hurley is the local organizer for Phoenix. Susan is a heterosexual married woman who believes that all couples deserve the opportunity to have their relationship recognized by the government.

“Part of the goal of Seven Straight Nights is education and information,” Hurley said. “We want to outreach to the mainstream community and people who don’t really know what the issues are. We want to show the GLBT community that they have a lot of straight allies out there who will not be silent anymore.”

Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights was created by the equality non-profit groups Atticus Circle and Soulforce. Last year, 38 cities in 28 different states across the country participated in the weeklong event.

To check out their website, go to: sevenstraightnights.org

To read Luis Garcia's full article in Echo Magazine go to: echomag.com

Additional Note:
If you plan on going to the Phoenix event, parking will be available on the fourth floor of the Biltmore Fashion Park garage, directly behind Macy's.


Monroe Judge David J. Audlin Jr. has ruled that Florida's 31 year old ban on gay adoption is unconstitutional.

The case evolved around a 13-year-old boy with learning disabilities and special needs. Neither the boy nor the foster father were identified by name.

The boy has lived with his foster father since being placed there by the Department of Children & Families in 2001. In 2006, Judge Audin appointed the foster father as the boy's legal guardian.

According to an article in the Miami Herald,

At a recent hearing, the boy testified he wanted the man to be his ''forever father'' -- like all the other kids had -- ''because I love him.''

Judge Audin noted that the statute was passed by lawmakers in 1977 amid a politically charged campaign to, as one lawmaker at the time put it, send gay people ''back into the closet.'' Audin said the law violates the Constitution's separation of powers by preventing family court and child welfare judges from deciding case-by-case what is best for a child.

A home study by a social worker ''highly'' recommended the guardian and his partner be allowed to adopt the boy, saying the two men provided a ''loving and nurturing home,'' provided ''fair and consistent'' discipline and are financially secure, the order says.

The case can still be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court but more and more attention is being focused on Florida and Mississippi as the only two states left that have outright bans on gay adoption. This attention is beginning to cast them as being against the best interest of adoptive children. Virtually every study and almost all directly involved agencies and institutions have expressed strong support for gay adoptions.

Unfortunately, John McCain and most republicans still oppose these adoptions because their right-wing, religiously fanatic base is still fervently against them. Apparently they would rather let children grow up in over-burdened institutions rather than let them go to loving, caring homes for no other plausible reason than political expediency.

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

September 10, 2008


I have written a number of pieces about the unfathomably hateful comments spewed out by the ultra right wing, religious fanatics. It's no big secret that I consider them to be the exact opposite of what I have always believed religion was supposed to be about.

I'm always baffled by the number of average people who actually buy into their satanic messages. And yes, they are, by the very definition of the word - satanic, which Merriam-Wester describes as "characterized by extreme cruelty or viciousness." Some have even called for their followers to go out and shoot gay people. (see my June 6th posting)

That's why it's always great to hear from a religious leader who actually does stand for the true tenets of religious belief. In this case, it's the Right Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Episcopal Bishop of California.

Reverend Andrus will hold a press conference later today at 1:00 p.m. (PCT) at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral. He will deliver a statement signed by Episcopal bishops throughout the state calling for compassion, love and equal protections for all.

Reverend Andrus will be joined by the Right Rev. Steven Chaleston, Assisting Bishop of California, the Right Rev. Barry Beisner, Episcopal Bishop of Northern California as well as other bishops, members of the clergy and lay leaders from throughout California. They will affirm the church's long-standing position of equal rights and fair treatment for all - which would, of course, include maintaining the legality of same-sex marriages as directed by the California Supreme Court.

I hope that the many fair-minded church leaders here in Arizona will do the same thing and take a stand in opposition to the anti-gay Proposition 102.

My source for this article is gaynewsblog.net

September 9, 2008


Fresh & Easy is a chain of stores opening around the country. It touts itself as a "neighborhood-sized market that's quick and easy to shop." Their promotional mailers quote USA Today as saying "They're about the size of a Trader Joe's with lots of Whole Foods-type natural foods and prices that can seem Costco-esque." It sounds almost too good to be true. It may be.

When I first got their mailer I was intrigued. One was opening just down the street so we decided to check it out as soon as it opened. I love Trader Joe's and Whole Foods but they're both a bit out of the way and Whole Foods tends to be pretty pricey so, of course, Fresh & Easy sounded like a great alternative - until I got another flier that looked almost exactly like theirs stuck in my door.

The flyers design and logo were very similar to Fresh & Easy's so it got my attention. The group calls itself "fresh & easy facts" and claims to be a project of Grocery Workers, Food Professionals and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

According to them, Fresh & Easy is anything but a "neighborhood market." It's owned by Tesco International which is considered to be the "Wal-Mart of the UK." It touts itself as being environmentally friendly and their subsidiary, Fresh & Easy, claims in its mailer and on its website to offer "fresh and wholesome foods."

Unfortunately, Tesco has been fined for selling expired and spoiled food, altering the sell-by dates on labels and selling organic food tainted with pesticides.

As far as their environmentally friendly claim goes, it's estimated that their environmental impact could be as much as 12 times what the company claims. And just recently a Riverside, California distribution center was cited by a district judge for not complying with the state's environmental planning legislation.

I just just got over food poisoning from tainted food and that's something I don't want to repeat. For that reason and because of the immorality of misrepresenting themselves, my partner and I have decided not to shop there. As appealing as their stores may seem, for us it's just not worth the risk

If you want to check out Fresh & Easy Facts, go to: freshandeasyfacts.com

September 8, 2008


Saying that Sarah Palin would be more of the same divisive, right-wing, religion-based politics would be a gross understatement.

I originally intended to post a single, in-depth piece on Palin's politics, beliefs and record of outrageous comments. However, in doing research right from the very first day she was announced as McCain's VP pick, I found so much material that I quickly realized a simple, single article couldn't do this subject justice.

I feel that this is such an important topic because Palin could very conceivably become President so I've decided that I will post at least one Sarah Palin article every week, on Monday, from now on. And judging from the sheer volume of information I've found so far and the fact that new things are popping up everyday, this will probably run right up to the election.

I"ll start with her first run for a public office - Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.

Palin's self-centered, religion-based aggressiveness quickly turned what was once a quiet, peaceful, nonpartisan town of less than 7,000 into divided political encampments. This was a place widely known for its wide libertarian streak and for helping start the Iditarod sled dog race. Where everyone knew everyone else and the most important political discussions centered around paving over dirt roads, putting in sewers and which candidate was your hunting buddy?

Palin closely studied republican ideology and proceeded to use tactics right out of the Karl Rove playbook. She immediately introduced the subjects of abortion, gun rights and term limits and frequently made it known that she was a born-again Christian. She knew that a sizable portion of the population were followers of her own Pentacostal religion and that she could use that base to her advantage.

The three-term incumbent mayor, John C. Stein wasn't a church-going man and believed that religion should not be a part of political discussions. This was never a problem for his friends, neighbors and constituents and most people seemed to agree with him. Abortion was always considered a private issue, term limits were never considered necessary and gun rights were never threatened.

Shortly after the campaign began, anti-abortion fliers started showing up everywhere. At the same time, Ms. Palin played up her church work and her membership in the National Rifle Association. As a result of the controversy Palin created, the state Republican Party, which was never involved in city elections before because they were always nonpartisan, started running advertisements on Ms. Palin’s behalf.

Well, with the inexperience of the incumbent Mayor in dealing with politics of this nature and the money that the local republican party poured into this tiny, little town, Palin won the Mayor's office. Unfortunately, she left in her wake a severely fractured and divided community. All of the sudden friends and neighbors stood against each other rather than side-by-side. Almost gone was the overriding pioneer spirit of "we can do this together" - now being rapidly replaced with "who's side are you on?"

My source for most of the above information was an excellent piece in the New York Times. It's a little more in-depth and if you would like to read it, go to: New York Times

September 5, 2008


We all know that the republicans have perfected the art of jaw-dropping hypocrisy. Now, thanks to my partner who sent me this and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, we have a fantastic video record of a few of the top republican politicos talking out of both sides of their crooked mouths.

I especially like the one with Karl Rove, who I consider to be the lowest bottom pond scum on the planet. With, of course, the obvious exception of Dick Cheney. I would include GW but he just isn't smart enough to be anything more than the algae that aimlessly floats on the top.

This is hilarious...

If you want to watch more of these, go to: TheDailyShow.com

BTW - I don't have much time today but I wanted to leave you with something to laugh about over the weekend. I'll be back on Monday with a slightly more serious piece on Sarah Palin that I've been compiling info for over this past week.

September 4, 2008


According to a story posted in the LA Times Blogs section, well known politicos Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan and former John McCain adviser Mike Murphy were caught slamming McCain's VP pick.

Murphy, Noonan and host Chuck Todd all thought they were off-air during a discussion on MSNBC. Unknown to them, the mikes were still on when Todd asked Noonan "Is she really the most qualified woman (Sarah Palin)...?"

Noonan's response was immediate and harsh. She said:

"The most qualified? NO. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives... Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and that's not what they're good at, they blow it.”

The posting went on to say that Murphy termed the Palin pick "cynical" and that Noonan said "It's over," meaning the race itself and not in a favorable way for her party.

Here's that tape...

To see the whole LA Times posting, go to: LA Times Blogs

September 3, 2008


According to Pinknews.co.uk the short film By The Way I'm Gay, a quirky 3 minute film by gay teenagers, has won the Best Film category in the first Kino Kids Film Festival in Kent, England.

The festival was created by production company Maeve Films and is run by filmmakers Elaine Wickham and Jan Dunn.

"What’s great about By The Way I’m Gay was not only that it was made by young people themselves but also that it was made with a light-hearted tone," said Ms Dunne.

It's really great and I just had to share this with you. Enjoy.

To read the full story, go to: Pinknews.co.uk

September 2, 2008


If you thought that the Republican Party would somehow magically transform itself under John McCain and show at least a glimmer of hope for our community, you couldn't be more wrong.

McCain's party has gone out of its way to write highly inflammatory and grossly anti-gay positions into its platform. Aside from McCain's odd and frighteningly dangerous pick of the very conservative and abysmally unqualified Sarah Palin for his running mate, he has completely wiped-out any visage of his much earlier hinted-at support of the GLBT community.

According to a story at Advocate.com, the platform supports a constitutional amendment with this language:

"Because our children's future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage, we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it."

It also praises the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by a Republican Congress in 1996, affirming the right of states to deny marriage to same-sex couples. It then goes on to urge the state of Massachusetts to reverse its policy that requires religious organizations to provide adoption services to gay and lesbian couples.

Of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy it says:
"To protect our servicemen and women, and ensure that America's Armed Forces remain the best in the world, we affirm the timelessness of those values, the benefits of traditional military culture, and the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service."

In a letter to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund in 2007, McCain said that including openly gay military personnel would pose an "intolerable risk to morale, cohesion, and discipline." This in spite of the fact that those arguments have already proven to be totally false by all of the other nations that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly.

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

September 1, 2008


Over the weekend, I came across a poll question at Advocate.com. The question was, "Is the defeat of California's Prop. 8 worth it if Arizona's antigay Prop. 102 passes?"

Of course, to me, the question itself was offensive because no matter how it is answered, it requires a person to make a value judgement between the two fights. It was even more disturbing that there were only 2 answers possible - yes or no - instead of offering a third option that both were equally important.

That question along with some of the comments, prompted me to send a letter-to-the-editor of Advocate magazine. I repeat that letter, in its entirety, below because I think it's very important that people understand what the ramifications of passage of Prop 102 could mean.


I am writing this letter in response to your recent poll questioning whether or not Arizona’s fight against Prop 102 is less worthy of money and support than California’s fight against Prop 8. That isn’t how the poll question was worded but it is the underlying, perceived meaning behind it.

Lest everyone forgets, Arizona was the ONLY STATE to vote down an anti-gay marriage amendment. It did that because the strongest argument that won most people over was the fact that Arizona already has a law banning those unions and a constitutional amendment was overkill. There were also many people who simply didn't want to write discrimination into the state's constitution.

Ironically, thanks to California's legalization of same-sex marriage by their Supreme Court, supporters here now have a very strong argument to scare voters into approving Prop 102. A simple law can be overridden by Supreme Courts. And you can bet that they're going to use that argument over and over again.

Obviously, a lot of political pundits have written-off Arizona's efforts to defeat Prop 102 because Arizonan John McCain is running for President. And since he opposes it, its passage is assured. And, of course, we all know that political pundits are never wrong. That logic is why there’s so little financial support for us here. Even though millions have poured into California and Florida, virtually nothing has come here.

Well, I’d like you to consider the following points.

The reality is that John McCain's presidential bid probably won't have as much to do with it as the pundits think. Arizona's political landscape has changed enormously just in the last ten years alone.

We have a democratic Governor who is very highly thought of throughout the state as well as a highly regarded democratic Attorney General, both of whom have been supportive of the GLBT community. Not to mention several local and state elected officials who are openly gay and a GLBT community and GLBT organizations that have grown substantially as well. So I don't think that McCain's influence here is a guarantee of passage at all.

Granted, John McCain is probably still going to win his race here but passage of Prop 102 is not a sure thing. If the resources are available to fight it as vigorously as the 2006 attempt was fought, it is still a very winnable fight. Why? Because that election showed that there were key areas where the defeat of that proposition was strong enough to more than offset the areas that voted for it. So, a concerted, well-funded, area-targeted campaign now could actually prove to be even more successful than the one in 2006.

I do understand how important California is and that the fight there MUST BE WON, but virtually all of the polls consistently show that Prop 8 is already headed for defeat. Of course a strong campaign would still have to be mounted to assure that victory but how does the importance of that fight equate to ignoring the importance of Arizona's fight? Especially since Arizona is, in my opinion, a very winnable fight.

Let's not forget that passage of Prop 102 here would embolden other states that don't have constitutional amendments to run around in a frenzy to get them passed before their Supreme Courts can take action. On the other hand, a defeat here would show those states that the 2006 defeat wasn't an anomaly and that these homophobic measures CAN BE DEFEATED - even in so-called "red" states.

YES, Arizona does matter - a LOT MORE than many of you might think. Arguments have been made that keeping same-sex marriages in place in California could influence future U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Those are, indeed, very valid arguments but what do you think the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions might be if only two states have approved same-sex marriages but all of the others have constitutionally banned them? Especially if that court is still made up of a majority of conservative justices? Yes, Arizona does matter – and we need financial help! Now!

If you would like to help either through a donation or volunteering, please go to: www.votenoprop102.com