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October 10, 2008


In a stunning and unexpected announcement at 11:30 am (est) this morning the Connecticut Supreme Court voted to legalize same-sex marriages.

The court ruled that civil unions were discriminatory based on the equal protection clause of the state constitution. In a 4-3 decision, the court's majority wrote that the state's "understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection."

"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice. To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others."

According to the Hartford Courant:

Unsatisfied with the civil unions, eight same-sex couples had brought the case, Kerrigan v. the state Commissioner of Public Health, after they were denied marriage licenses in 2004 by the Madison town clerk, who was following instructions issued by the state attorney general's office.

The state, arguing that civil unions already provide all the rights and protections of marriage, prevailed in a Superior Court ruling in July 2006. The couples appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which heard three hours of arguments on the case in May 2007.

The GLBT community in Connecticut and the rest of the country has been waiting for over 16 months for the court's decision. When it was finally handed down this morning it caught most of us by surprise.

Governor M. Jodi Rell released a statement just minutes after the ruling was announced. The Governor said that she disagreed with the decision but would uphold it. She added that she was proud to sign the country's first state civil unions law in 2005 and thought it was "equitable and just."

She went on to say,
"The Supreme Court has spoken. I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision -- either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution -- will not meet with success. I will therefore abide by the ruling."

Defeated, the opposition will now concentrate their efforts on the November election when voters will be asked whether or not the state should convene a constitutional convention. But, as the governor said, that effort doesn't seem likely to succeed.

With Massachusetts and California, this now brings the total number of states that have legalized gay marriages to three...and counting.

UPDATE... Governor rell said: "The Supreme Court has spoken. I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut."

She was wrong!

According to the Hartford Courant a poll was taken by the The University of Connecticut following the State Supreme Court's decision. It found that 53% of Connecticut residents agreed with the court.

In the Governor's defense, the poll does seem to support her belief that any attempt to reverse that decision doesn't seem likely to succeed.

Well Governor, at least you were half right.

Lest we forget however - the Governor and the state of Connecticut are still to be highly commended for being the first in the nation to lead the way with Civil Unions.

UPDATE... The Waterbury, Ct Republican-American reported that gay couples won't have to live in Connecticut to get married there and they won't have to wait either.

All that potential gay marriage couples have to do is complete a marriage license application, provide identification and make a sworn statement that the information they provide is true.

Connecticut doesn't have a residency requirement and doesn't impose a waiting period like two dozen other states do.

Congratulations to all of you who are about to be married there.

October 9, 2008


The ABC television network has, in recent years, demonstrated a very positive, diversity inclusive approach in their programming. For that, they deserve to be commended.

Unfortunately, their recent decision not to air a climate change ad produced by Al Gore's We Can Solve It organization is seriously jeopardizing the positive image they've worked so hard to create.

Although the climate change crisis has been pushed to the background, it is still certainly a monumental issue that affects all of us. And it will continue to grow more serious everyday.

The network has yet to issue a public statement explaining their action but it does seem that the ad's strong attack on the oil companies' insanely powerful and disproportionate influence over governmental policies and regulations is probably the reason.

Watch the ad below and decide for yourself:

I personally see nothing else in the ad that could possibly be considered objectionable enough to justify their refusal to run it. If that IS the reason then ABC should be ashamed of itself...as much for their action as for their apparent assumption that no one will notice or care.

We Can Solve It is mounting a petition campaign on their website. If you would like to participate, go to: wecansolveit.org

October 8, 2008


In what has to be the most outrageously ludicrous tactic yet, the republicans now claim that openly gay Rep. Barney Frank was responsible for our current financial crisis.

This is not the first time republicans, along with their right wing media friends, have tried to blame others for what they themselves caused. They've used this maneuver many times before in desperate attempts to distract the public from their own culpability. But this time they've laced their Karl-Rove-manufactured smears with outright homophobia. And the Fox News Network is leading the charge.

According to a story at Edge New York,

An Oct. 6 article in the Huffington Post observes that Fox News and the Business and Media Institute have zeroed in on Frank for having been romantically involved with Herb Moses, whose relationship with Frank, as well as his tenure as a Fannie Mae executive, both ended a decade ago.

The Huffington Post notes that it was the day after Frank appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program (and contradicted O’Reilly’s assertions) that Fox News published a story claiming that the media had looked the other way during Frank and Moses’ long-ended relationship because of Frank’s status as an openly gay man.

The story also tried to accuse Frank of stalling regulations to rein in Fannie Mae because of his relationship with Moses.

The Huffington Post quoted Frank’s correction of O’Reilly the day before the Fox News article appeared.

Frank said, "You’ve misrepresented this consistently."

Continued Frank, "I became chairman of the committee on January 31st, 2007. Less than two months later, I did what the Republicans hadn’t been able to do in 12 years--get through the committee a very tough regulatory bill."

Added Frank, "The Senate was dragging its feet, as often happens. And in January of 2008, I asked Secretary Paulson to put in the stimulus bill.

"So the earliest chance I got to put tough regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we did it."

That correction by Barney apparently pissed off Bill O'Reilly and the Fox News Network so much that they just had to launch into their false and misleading diatribe against him.

To read the full Edge New York story, go to: Edge New York

To read the full Huffington Post story, go to: Huffington Post

October 7, 2008


Pape Mbaye (pronounced POP mm-BYE), 24, is an entertainer from Dakar, Senegal. He was well known throughout West Africa for his dancing, singing and storytelling. This year however, his flamboyance and notoriety attracted the wrong kind of attention and it nearly cost him his life.

Last February a Senegalese magazine published photographs of what they said was an underground gay marriage. Mbaye appeared in the photos and the magazine claimed that he had organized the event. Pape said that in the ensuing six months he was harassed by the police, attacked by armed mobs, driven from his home, maligned in the national media and forced to live on the run.

According to the New York Times;

For the past few years, anti-gay hysteria has been sweeping across swaths of Africa, fueled by sensationalist media reports of open homosexuality among public figures and sustained by deep and abiding taboos that have made even the most hateful speech about gays not just acceptable but almost required. Gay men and women have recently been arrested in Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana, among other countries.

“In most countries there is poverty and instability, and usually homosexuality is used as a way of shifting the attention from the actual problem to this thing that is not really the problem but can distract the public,” said Joel Nana, who is from Cameroon and who works for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

Christopher Nugent, who is a senior pro bono counsel specializing in refugee and asylum cases with the Washington based law firm Holland & Knight, represented Mbaye in his petition. Nugent said that Mbaye's case was exceptional because his fame made his situation particularly perilous. “He was vilified in the Senegalese media as being the face of the sinful homosexual, and he had scars to show.”

In July, the United States government gave him refugee status. That was one of the rare instances when refugee protection has been granted to a foreigner facing persecution based on sexual orientation.

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

October 6, 2008


Most people in this country don't have the slightest idea what a Vice President does or what that person's powers are. That's somewhat understandable since most people are struggling just to pay their bills and buy food to feed their families. To say that they're distracted by those concerns, especially in today's world, would be a gross understatement.

I do think however, that we have every right to expect the person running for the office of Vice President of the United States to know everything there is to know about that office. Not only should they have an extensive knowledge of and appreciation for the actual authorities of that position but, even more importantly, what powers and authorities that position doesn't have.

The video below is from the one and only VP debate last thursday. This particular section zeros in on moderator Gwen Ifill's question about the candidates' understandings of the office they're running for.

Pay particular attention to Palin's remarks (at the 2:44 time marker) about what she thinks is the authority of the VP. Then listen to what Biden accurately describes as the VP's limitations.

I agree with Sen. Biden. Dick Cheney is the most dangerous Vice President this country has ever seen. He has pushed way beyond the actual powers of his office and is personally responsible for much, if not most, of the severe problems this country now faces. He has worked "behind the scenes" to undermine the United States constitution, deregulate almost all of the safeguards for fair and honest business practices, illegally manipulated no-bid, billion dollar contracts for the company he used to head (Halliburton) and was almost single-handedly responsible for getting us into the Iraq war by forcing the manipulation of CIA information about Iraq, Saddam Hussein and WMD's.

This is the man who Sarah Palin looks to for her definition of what she would be able to do as Vice President.

This should send chills up everyone's spines. Hasn't this country already lost enough? Do we really want to see the Cheney/Bush policies continued?