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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!