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.

December 19, 2008


Amid the frustration and turmoil within our community over Obama's pick of rightwing, anti-gay evangelist Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation was the hope that out lesbian and long-time labor activist Mary Beth Maxwell would be named Secretary of Labor. That appointment would make her the first openly gay member of the LGBT community to ever serve in a presidential cabinet. Certainly, she is eminently qualified.

Filling that labor position was left to the very last cabinet level appointment. Thus, raising hopes even further that Maxwell would be his pick. Some of us even thought that maybe he was delaying announcing her appointment until after he had made his selection of Warren public. This would have made political sense since the sting of that slap in the face would be softened by the excitement of Maxwell's appointment.

Unfortunately, less than a day after the Warren announcement, Representative Hilda Solis was named to that position.

There's no question that, like all of Obama's cabinet picks, Solis is highly qualified as well. However, the biting sting of a virulent anti-gay evangelist giving the inaugural invocation has been greatly exacerbated by the strong disappointment of Maxwell being passed-over.

In case some of you aren't aware of just who Rick Warren is, in an interview with Beliefnet.com, he equated allowing loving same-sex couples to get married with redefining marriage to permit incest and pedophilia. He has also repeatedly espoused the often used lie that allowing marriage equality would threatened the freedom of preachers like him to say what they thought about homosexuality.

In a CNN commentary piece, Kathryn Kolbert, president of People for the American Way (a nonprofit advocacy group that supports equality and freedom of speech and religion), said:

"Warren has been divisive and dishonest on the issues of marriage equality and religious freedom -- and on other issues important to many Obama supporters, as well.

He adamantly opposes a woman's legal right to abortion and dismisses common-ground efforts to reduce the need for abortion by comparing them to accommodating the Holocaust. He is disrespectful of progressive people of faith, suggesting that they are tools of the Democratic Party or more Marxist than Christian.

So much for the values of unity and respect, not to mention the constitutional principle of equality, on which President-elect Obama campaigned."

As much as I would emotionally like to dismiss Obama as just another two-faced politician who talks out of both sides of his mouth when he purports to be a supporter of our community, I'm biting my tongue and containing my extreme disappointment - for now.

I am still hopeful that he will follow through on his statements of support for acquiring fully equal rights for same-sex couples, repealing DOMA, passing ENDA and ending DADT.

In fact, speaking of DADT, in an article posted today at Advocate.com, openly gay William White, president of New York's Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, is being named as a possible candidate for Secretary of the Navy in the Obama administration.

Obviously, an appointment of this magnitude would reverberate throughout congress and all branches of the military. It would also underscore Obama's commitment to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

According to The Advocate,

White, who has been with the museum since 1992, according to Newsday, would be the first openly gay chief of a military branch. The secretary is a civilian position, meaning his appointment would not be a direct violation of the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian service members.

Members of Congress and retired members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have contacted Obama's transition team, urging him to pick White.

So I suggest we bite the bullet on Warren and continue to look towards the future with optimism. At least, that's what I'm going to try to do.


December 18, 2008


On Saturday, December 20th at 5:00pm on the Mill Avenue bridge in downtown Tempe, Arizonans will join the rest of America in a nationwide candlelight vigil.

This national demonstration was organized by Join The Impact (the same people who put together the highly successful November 15th demonstrations) and planned locally by H.E.R.O. "Light Up The Night For Equality" is planned to honor the rights lost to Proposition 8 and the rights still nonexistent to 1 in 10 U.S. citizens. It is also intended to remind the general public that we're still here and we're not going away until equal rights are available to everyone.

In the words of Join The Impact:

There are still too many people in this country who do not understand what it is we are fighting for. Too many people believe the slanderous rumors about our community. They believe that we want “special” rights, that we already have equal rights, or that we are being “greedy.” IT’S TIME THIS STOPS! These people do not hate us, they just do not understand us. Many of them have gay friends. Many of them have gay family members. What they are missing, is awareness. On December 20th, we will SHED LIGHT ON OUR MOVEMENT AND GIVE THE GIFT OF AWARENESS TO ALL!

H.E.R.O. has posted the following instructions:

* Phoenix residents are encouraged to dress warm and report to the Mill Ave Bridge at Tempe Town Lake at 5 p.m., Saturday, December 20th.
* This will be a peaceful demonstration in the spirit of the holidays so be ready to sing.
* Bring candles! (They can be purchased 10 for $1 at Dollar Tree)
* Dress alike. Wear as much red as you can; scarves, hats, even pants if you have them. Join the Impact is asking people to make or wear 2nd Class Citizen t-shirts, but the message is optional.
* Be sure to wear a white ribbon in a double knot as a symbol of Marriage Equality. (The white represents marriage and the knots signify tying the knot)
* Bring any canned or boxed food you have collected as part of the National Food Drive. This will be the culmination of the National Food Drive for Equality

What will we be doing?

* Hosting a peaceful candlelight vigil in honor of those rights lost.
* We will stay silent unless asked a question or sing, we will not yell, instigate, or bear signs. Instead, we will let our shirts and flyers do the talking and our candles pay our respects. Again, bring candles please.
* Singing and/or silence encouraged...chanting is not....keep it peaceful and in the holiday spirit.
* We will also be drinking coffee gratefully donated by a local coffee shop.

The 5 W's of LUTN

Who: Anyone, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, who wants to stand up and show the world that we will not sit back any longer while our rights are taken away and hate and discrimination is written into our constitution
What: A Candle Light Vigil
Where: The Mill Ave Bridge at Tempe Town Lake
When: December 20th at 5 p.m.
Why: Because we have sat by, in silence, for far too long waiting for our turn at equality and freedom. And now we will stand together, united within our community and with those communities who know the pain of inequality and segregation.

If you don't live in Arizona, click here to find a vigil location nearest you.

December 17, 2008


It's beginning to look a lot like gay-marriage might become a reality in Maine.

With Connecticut adopting legal gay marriages and the recent unanimous recommendation of a New Jersey commission to dispense with civil unions and legalize gay marriages there, not to mention the very real possibility of New York, it seems that a sizable portion of Maine residents are becoming more comfortable with the idea of gay marriages for their state as well.

Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin reported :

It looks like Maine may emerge as the next battleground for same-sex marriage. Equality Maine had 250 volunteers at 86 polling places on election day asking voters to sign postcards supporting same-sex marriage to send to state legislators. Equality Maine’s goal was “only” 10,000 signatures; they collected 33,190. Meanwhile, the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry has been holding press conferences around the state to build support for same-sex marriage.

Of course, the religious right wingnut fanatics have already started to organize to try a Prop 8 style constitutional amendment campaign against this. But Maine isn't California. In Maine, a two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature, followed by a majority vote of the people in a referendum is required before any amendments can become legal. With trends tracking the way they are, I don't think that's too likely.

I also believe that our community has learned some very important lessons from the November 4th fiascos in California, Arizona and Florida. Those defeats were probably the best thing to happen to the gay marriage struggle. They jolted and, in turn, energized a whole new activist movement that hasn't been seen in the GLBT community since the early seventies. We're simply not going to let that happen again.

December 16, 2008


President-elect Barack Obama is holding true to his word. Yesterday, he named lesbian Nancy Sutley head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Sutley, 46, becomes the first prominent member of the LGBT community to earn a senior role in the Democrat’s new administration.

According to 365gay.com, Nancy was a special assistant to EPA administrator Carol Browner and then served, until 2005, as deputy secretary for policy and intergovernmental relations at the California Environmental Protection Agency and as energy adviser to former Governor Gray Davis. She is currently a Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles for Energy and Environment and a board member for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

“President-elect Obama’s nomination of Nancy Sutley is another step toward full equality for gay Americans,” Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute, said in a statement.

“It sends a signal to young people that they can participate in their government at its highest levels, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender or ethnicity.”

Other members of Obama's Environmental and Energy team are Nobel-prize winning physicist Steven Chu as energy secretary, former head of New Jersey’s environmental department, Lisa Jackson, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency and former head of the EPA under Clinton, Carol Browner, as head of a White House council on energy and climate. Browner also works closely with and is a personal confidante of former Vice President Al Gore.

In addition, Obama announced that he will nominate Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado to run the Interior Department.

These announcements clearly show that Obama is serious about the environment and they mark a stark departure from the failed and underhanded policies of the Bush administration.

With this team, Obama is demonstrating a far more aggressive approach in addressing global warming and in supporting much needed research into alternative energy sources.

“America must develop new forms of energy and new ways of using it,” he said.

It finally looks like America is, once again, going to work with the other coutries of the world instead of working against them.

December 15, 2008


Chapel Hill NC Votes For Gay Marriage Rights...
According to Qnotes Online, less than a week after the town council of Carrboro voted to support marriage equality for same-sex couples, the Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously approved a similar resolution.

Tom Greene, a teacher at Chapel Hill High School who moved to North Carolina with his partner, submitted the resolution to the Town Council. Openly gay Councilman Mark Kleinschmidt urged the council to immediately endorse it instead of waiting for advice from counsel. They did.

The vote affirms the town’s long-standing vision for acceptance and equality. In part, the resolution asked the city to “endorse and support the rights of same-sex couples to share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitments of civil marriage.”

The resolutions from Chapel Hill and Carrboro will be forwarded to state and federal legislators.

Chapel Hill, which is located near Durham and the state capital of Raleigh, is home to the University of North Carolina.

New Jersey Commission Backs Gay Marriage Rights...
The New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission unanimously recommended that state legislators allow gays and lesbians to marry.

The commission, mandated to evaluate the state's two-year-old civil unions law, determined that full marriage recognition was superior.

"This commission finds that the separate categorization established by the Civil Union Act invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children."

AP reported that the commission was made up of LGBT leaders, government officials, a Republican and two clergy members. The commission found that in addition to being unequal, the rights afforded same-sex couples under civil unions aren't always well understood. Citing just one example, the commission documented cases in which people in civil unions had been prevented from visiting their partners in the hospital.

According to an article in The Advocate, Steven Goldstein, head of Garden State Equality and the vice chairman of the commission, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger, "The report is a sweeping indictment of the failure of the civil union law and asks Governor Corzine and the legislature: Do you want equality or not? If so, there is only one way to go."

Governor Corzine said that he wouldn't comment until he had reviewed the report. However, the Governor has said in the past that he would sign a bill allowing gay marriage.

If this happens, New Jersey could become the first state to legalize same-sex marriage by passing a law on their own rather than by a forced court ruling.