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June 29, 2009


At approximately 1:00 am on June 28th, the Ft Worth Police department along with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) entered the Rainbow Lounge, a new gay bar open only a few weeks, to supposedly conduct a "routine" alcohol beverage code inspection.

These inspections have been done before but they were always handled in a low-key manor. A couple of police would come in, look around and then ask the owner or bartender a few questions before filling out their forms. If there was no overly loud music and no fights or loud arguments going on and no one was making out in the bathrooms, they simply left without incident. This one however, turned out to be anything but routine.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Witnesses say that police arrived at the nightclub about 1 a.m. Sunday and arrested seven people and that one of those arrested suffered a fractured skull during the takedown and is at a Fort Worth hospital.

That person is Chad Gibson who was knocked unconscious and is in serious condition with an injury that has caused bleeding on his brain. This may very well require delicate and dangerous brain surgery to alleviate.

In their written report, the police claimed that Gibson was "resisting arrest" and had to be “placed on the ground to control and apprehend him.” But The general manager of the Rainbow Lounge and several patrons disputed the police account, saying officers used excessive force to make arrests.

Chris Hightower of Fort Worth, a friend of Gibson who was with him that night, said:
"He was just walking to the bathroom when an officer grabbed him and shoved him against a wall and pulled his head back. He was then thrown to the ground and three other officers were on him."

The police report also claimed that many of the patrons verbally harrassed them and one patron even assaulted a TABC agent by grabbing his groin while another made “sexually explicit movements towards another officer.”

To counter those claims, the GLBT publication Dallas Voice reported:

Rainbow Lounge owner J.R. Schrock said claims that patrons made sexual advances to the officers and that one patron groped an officer were lies.

“The groping of the police officer — really? We’re gay, but we’re not dumb,” Schrock said to the crowd that gathered at the bar Sunday afternoon [for a demonstration against the incident]. “That is a lie, and I am appalled by it."

Other eyewitness accounts said that the police were very loud and abrasive as they moved through the lounge, clearly trying to intimidate the patrons.

Having lived through the era of having only mafia owned gay bars to go to and then having to deal with indiscriminate police raids, I find this incident to be doubly appalling. First, because it even happened at all and second, because they chose to do it on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots which, I'm absolutely sure, could not have been an "accident" or "coincidence."

I'm hoping that the officers and supervisors involved in this overtly homophobic raid don't just get a slap-on-the-wrist reprimand but are suspended without pay and/or outright fired. This is not something that should be happening in a large metropolitan city, or anywhere else for that matter, in 2009.

Unfortunately I just learned that the Dallas Voice just published a report that said:

Senior Editor Tammye Nash is just now leaving the hospital in Fort Worth where she spoke with Chad Gibson’s family. Gibson is in intensive care after reportedly suffering head trauma when he was thrown to the ground by police early Sunday during a raid of the Rainbow Lounge. Nash said she visited with Gibson’s mother and his sister this morning, and they told her that his condition has worsened. Gibson reportedly has a brain bleed — also known as intracerebral hemorraghing — and the clot inside his skull has gotten larger and shifted, which is a bad sign. Gibson is scheduled for another CT scan at 10 a.m. today. After that, doctors will decide whether the clot can be shrunk with medication or whether they need to perform surgery. Stay tuned, and keep Gibson in your thoughts and prayers.

I now amend my last comment to say that I hope that the subhuman, homophobic police who are responsible for Chad's injuries be given the maximum penalties possible under the law. They could not have been operating under any kind of "approved" police procedures and should be held criminally responsible!

June 28, 2009

JUNE 28TH, 1969



June 25, 2009


President Obama has run out of excuses for not taking action on DADT himself by simply exercising his own authority.

As most of my regular readers know, I've written numerous articles about Obama's inaction on DADT. Well since then, the steam over this issue has steadily increased the pressure for him to do something.

In addition to the USA Today/Gallup poll taken in May showing that over two-thirds of the country supports repealing DADT and the University of California's Palm Center Think Tank's report on what actions Obama can legally take on his own authority, this past Monday, 77 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to the Present urging him to stop the unwarranted discharges of gay service members.

In the letter they called on him to use his executive powers to order a halt to military discharges under DADT and to work aggressively with Congress to pass new legislation to overturn what they describe as a discriminatory policy that harms national security. The letter said, in part:

"We urge you to exercise the maximum discretion legally possible in administering Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell until Congress repeals the law. To this end, we ask that you direct the Armed Services not to initiate any investigation of service personnel to determine their sexual orientation, and that you instruct them to disregard third party accusations that do not allege violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

To metaphorically swing the congressional closet door that Obama has been hiding behind wide open - David Corn, writing for the publication Mother Jones, reported today that when questioned about DADT and DOMA, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs usually gives a version of the same reply - we're waiting for the Pentagon and/or Congress. He essentially has been suggesting that Obama cannot do much on his own. Corn went on to write:

Well, the Center for American Progress--the policy shop run by John Podesta, who oversaw Obama's presidential transition, says that's not so. This week, CAP released a report proposing a rather simple 5-step program for dumping DADT.

1. Signing an Executive Order banning further military separations based on DADT and sending a legislative proposal on DADT repeal to Congress.
2. Forming a presidential panel on how to implement the repeal
3. Repealing DADT in Congress and changing the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, or UCMS
4. Changing other necessary military guidelines to conform to the new policy
5. Following-up to ensure that the armed forces implement the policy changes

Obama cannot do all of this on his say-so. But he sure could get the ball rolling by inking an executive order and creating a presidential panel.

If Obama were to at least issue that Executive Order stopping the discharges immediately, it would go a long way in restoring the GLBT community's faith in the promises he made to us before being elected.

One thing for sure - he's run out of time and excuses. And he can be sure that the GLBT community and the press in general is not going to stop hammering away until he does something.

Mr. President, I still really do want to believe that you honestly do want to live up to the ideals of equality you so passionately preached about before you became President.

Please don't let us down. The country needs and deserves to have at least one politician, one president actually be what he and/or she wants us to believe they are.

June 24, 2009


According to a press release issued today from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a Trans-inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced in congress today.

Representatives Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis introduced the bill that will extend the existing federal law prohibiting employment discrimination to protect people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Introduction of this bill represents a change in strategy from a few months ago when Barney Frank and others announced that they would introduce legislation to extend the ENDA law to include only sexual orientation. Their thinking at that time was that this legislation would stand a much better chance of passing without "gender identity" being included.

Clearly, outrage and very heavy pressure from the gay and transgender communities, along with several polls showing wide-based support for this kind of protection, has changed their minds.

Equality Arizona is asking everyone here in Arizona to take action now by contacting their representatives and urging them to support this inclusive version of ENDA. You can find a quick and easy form to do this with by clicking the "take action now" link.

If you live outside of Arizona, click here to find out who your representative is. At this site, you can find out who represents you, what their Washington and local phone numbers are and how to send them an email.

We've waited too long for this to have it slip away because we didn't do enough. So, please contact your representative as soon as possible and let them know that we're watching what they do.

June 23, 2009


After the numerous postings I've published reporting on and challenging the Mormon church over their hypocrisy on GLBT issues, it's nice to report something positive.

According to a posting by Queers United, a group of moderate Mormons who disagree with the church's stand on gay marriage and gay equality have created a petition that they intend to deliver to Church Headquarters on the first anniversary of the passage of Proposition 8.

They invite everyone, Mormon and Non-Mormon alike, to sign the petition. On the petition's website, they explain their intent as follows:

By signing the Petition and spreading the word about it, you will be sending a message to the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that it is time for reconciliation. More importantly, you will be showing support for those who have been harmed by Church policies and practices because of their sexual orientation.

If you're short on time and can't read the whole petition right now but you still want to make sure your name is included, go to: ldsapology@gmail.com

When the email window opens, simply type your name into the "subject" line and send.

The petition originators pledge that "Your e-mail address is confidential and it will not be shared with any others."

June 22, 2009


Thomas R. Suozzi is the County Executive in New York's Nassau County. He's the grandson of Italian immigrants, was raised a Roman Catholic and attended only Catholic schools growing up. He is also one of the most successful and most respected democratic politicians in the state.

At a time when gay marriage is being used as nothing more than a bargaining chip in the still unsettled battle for the New York State Senate, I think the following NY Times Opinion piece, written by Suozzi and published June 12th, should be read by as many people as possible. It's vitally important to the battle for marriage equality that the worth and significance of passing the gay marriage legislation not be lost in the ferment of petty political squabbles.

It is for that reason that I include Suozzi's piece, in it's entirety, below:

WHEN I ran in the Democratic primary for governor against Eliot Spitzer in 2006, I vocally supported civil unions for same-sex couples but did not endorse equal marriage. I understood the need to provide equal rights for gays and lesbians, but as a practicing Catholic, I also felt that the state should not infringe on religious institutions’ right to view marriage in accordance with their own traditions. I thought civil unions for same-sex couples would address my concerns regarding both equality and religious liberty.

I was wrong.

I have listened to many well-reasoned and well-intentioned arguments both for and against same-sex marriage. And as I talked to gays and lesbians and heard their stories of pain, discrimination and love, my platitudes about civil unions began to ring hollow. I have struggled to find the solution that best serves the common good.

I now support same-sex marriage. This is a subject of great debate before the New York State Legislature (although the legislators there are a little distracted right now), and I hope that same-sex civil marriage will be approved within the month.

Under current New York State law, same-sex couples are deprived of access to the employment benefits, life and health insurance and inheritance laws that heterosexual couples have. If the state were to institute civil unions for same-sex couples, that discrimination would end, but we’d still be creating a separate and unequal system.

Civil unions for both heterosexual and same-sex couples would be an equal system, but this compromise appears unlikely at the current time. Few heterosexual couples would give up their current civil marriage for a civil union. While some states would recognize civil unions for all, others would not, causing legal problems for New York couples. Advocates of same-sex marriage don’t seem in favor of such a compromise either.

According to the last census, there are an estimated 50,000 households headed by same-sex couples in New York, many who were married in other states. Those marriages are recognized by New York courts as valid. As a result, we have same-sex marriage for some in New York (albeit performed out of state) and no marriage at all for other same-sex couples.

Any change in the New York law can, and must, balance equality while making sure that religious institutions remain free to choose whether to marry same-sex couples. By following the example of Connecticut and Vermont, which included protections for religious institutions when they recently legalized same-sex marriage, we can ensure that churches are not forced to consecrate marriages they do not endorse. This will require a strong liberty clause allowing religious institutions to opt out of solemnizing same-sex marriage, which also applies to the provision of services and programs at religiously affiliated institutions.

Many civil marriages are not considered “holy matrimony” by religious institutions because they do not conform to the rules of the religious institution. Those marriages have not challenged religious liberty. We must see that civil marriage, which has always been separate from religious marriage, will remain so.

But most important, gays and lesbians have suffered too long from legal discrimination, social marginalization and even violence. They are entitled to clear recognition of their equal status as citizens of a country that is founded on the principle that we are all inherently worthy. By delivering a clear message that same-sex couples can no longer be treated as separate and unequal in New York, we will also reduce discrimination in everyday life. We will all be better for that.

Equal civil marriage should, and likely will, pass because of the public’s growing unwillingness to sustain inequality. Society will also be strengthened as more people take responsibility for one another in marriage. I now encourage others who oppose gay marriage to re-examine the reasons they do so, and to consider changing their minds too.

If you live in New York and want to get involved, Queers United has published the following information:

The senators below just want to vote on a tax bill and end the session without giving a fair chance for the marriage equality bill. It is essential to call them if you reside within their district.

Sen. Diane Savino (Staten Island, BK – Southwest): 518-455-2437
Sen. Daniel Squadron (Lower MH, BK – Northwest): 518-455-2625
Sen. Liz Krueger (Manhattan- UES): 518-455-2297
Sen. Eric Schneiderman (NW Manhattan): 518-455-2041
Sen. Jeff Klein ( Bronx, Lower Westchester): 518-455-3595

New Yorkers, be sure to email your state senator and let them know you demand a vote in the affirmative on marriage equality for same-sex couples, regardless of their previous stated position.

HRC has phone banks set up across New York State, email them now to help volunteer:

NYC: 111 W. 40th St. (@6th Ave.) 5th Floor from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. *Additional time can be provided if needed. To RSVP, please e-mail roryjomalley@gmail.com with your name, cell phone number and availability. Note: To clear security, all volunteers need valid ID and to be on the RSVP list.

Rochester: e-mail Jeremy at jpmull@gmail.com or call 617-669-4412

Syracuse: e-mail David at HRCSyracuse@gmail.comor call 301-651-8518

Westchester: e-mail Brendan at nymon02@gmail.com or call 914-420-3596

June 18, 2009


The infamous National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which has been using sleazy, underhanded tactics to prevent gay marriages throughout the country, has now focused its attentions on New York State Senators.

In a desperate, reprehensible and legally questionable attempt to intimidate, terrorize and coerce New York State Senators, NOM (remember the video "Gathering Storm?" - they made it) is now threatening to fund GOP challengers to any Senator that votes for the gay marriage bill. They sent a fund raising letter to all of their followers which included the following threat:

"The first $500,000 raised by NOM PAC New York will be used to fund a primary challenger to any GOP state senator in New York who votes for gay marriage."

Although they didn't send this letter to any of the senators directly, they knew that its message would make its way to every senator now considering the NY state gay marriage bill. And that is clearly their intent. They want them to think that if they vote for this legislation, NOM would provide substantial funding to any GOP challenger.

That's a serious threat that could be intimidating enough to dissuade GOP senators who have either already expressed support for the bill or are still undecided but are leaning towards its passage.

If this isn't outright intimidation and coercion of duly elected government officials then what is. I would hope that New York's Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is at least investigating this latest attempt by NOM to threaten and terrorize elected officials for the sole purpose of affecting policy.

One thing that would take the sails of out this terrorist-like effort by NOM would be for a group of fair minded individuals or organizations who have, or can raise, this kind of capital to step up to the plate and pledge to those senators who vote for the gay marriage legislation that they will match any donations that NOM contributes to the opponents of those senators.

This kind of action would put an immediate end to NOM's sleazy campaign. Or, at the very least, re-level the playing field and render NOM impotent.

If you think this is a good idea, talk it up to your friends, families and acquaintances. If they aren't able to contribute, they may know people who can.

June 17, 2009


Attorney General Eric Holder made a public statement yesterday about the rising tide of violence and called for a tougher U.S. hate crimes law to stop "violence masquerading as political activism."

He said that in order to stop the violence Congress should pass an updated version of the hate crimes legislation to more effectively prosecute those who commit violent attacks based on gender, disability, or sexual orientation.

"We will not tolerate murder, or the threat of violence, masquerading as political activism," Holder said. "So let me be clear, the Justice Department will use every tool at its disposal to protect the rights ensured under our Constitution."

It was an important and very forceful statement that needed to be said by the man who is in charge of our Department Of Justice (DOJ). I'm sure that he honestly meant what he said. What I'm not sure of is his motivation for saying it now.

Yes, the recent, front page headline murders of Dr. Tiller during a service inside his own church and Stephen T. Johns, the guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, were certainly motivators. But the staggering 28% increase in violence and murder against GLBT people in 2008 alone has been something our community has been shouting about for awhile now and we're still waiting for the hate crimes bill to finish winding its way through congress and to the desk of President Obama for his signature.

Although I welcome this forceful comment by Holder, I can't help but think that its timing is meant to divert our attention away from the now infamous, cruelly offensive and wholly bogus brief that Holder's Justice Department filed in defense of DOMA.

That one brief has incited almost as much outrage throughout our community as the passage of Proposition 8. So much so that in the last few days many of our wealthier GLBT democratic supporters and donors have declined their invitation to the prestigious 10th Annual GLBT Leadership Council Dinner scheduled for June 25th in Washington, D.C. - which is one of the democrat's biggest fundraisers. They have also publicly stated that they will withhold their donations for as long as it takes congress and the President to act on the many GLBT issues vital to our community. Their action is being imitated by scores of volunteers and smaller donors throughout the country who helped put Obama and the democrats in office. And their numbers are growing everyday.

The frustration over the administration's inaction on DOMA and DADT was highlighted by Obama's announcement today that domestic partnership benefits would be extended to all federal employees. The problem is that DOMA makes it impossible, legally, to extend health and retirement benefits so that pretty much guts the advantages of such a move.

Someone somewhere in congress and/or the administration really needs to take the initiative and introduce legislation that would repeal both DOMA and DADT. Before the President and the democrats lose our support entirely.

I still don't, and probably never will, understand just why Obama hasn't yet issued a stop-loss order to at least suspend the destructive GLBT discharges while the details of the repeal of DADT are worked out. Who's the Commander-In-Chief anyway - Obama or a handful of homophobic generals? 'Cause I can't believe that the religious right has enough power left in Washington to even be legitimately effective anymore. So who's pulling the strings now!?

June 16, 2009


There can be no question that hate crime violence is on the rise.

The murder of Dr. Tiller during a Sunday service in his church and in front of his family was, by any account, a despicable and heartless act. But to have that followed so closely by the fatal shooting of the guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and then the recent slaughter of a father and his 9 year old daughter here in Arizona is a giant red flag.

All three of these murders were carried out by rightwing extremist who were, no doubt, encouraged and incited by the vitriolic hate spewed daily by the avaricious hatemongers of the media. From the anti-abortionist to the anti-semitic to the anti-immigrant - all demonstrate the same kind of fanaticism usually only associated with the growing supremacist movement.

Probably the most shocking of these atrocities was the recent father/daughter murder here in Arizona. This was an action orchestrated and carried out by Shawna Forde, the leader and founder of a highly controversial, local "Minuteman" organization that patrols the US/Mexican border looking for illegals.

Forde was trying to raise a large amount of money to make her anti-illegal immigrant operation more sophisticated. The group had heard that a hispanic man living in a remote area south of Tucson was an immigrant drug smuggler who probably had large amounts of cash, drugs and weapons on hand. That assumed lure plus the isolated location made him an easy target.

According to a report by the Arizona Republic, published last Saturday, Shawna and two of her male followers dressed as law enforcement officers (which none of them were) and forced their way into the home about 10 miles north of the Mexican border in rural Arivaca.

"This was a planned home invasion where the plan was to kill all the people inside this trailer so there would be no witnesses," Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County said. "To just kill a 9-year-old girl because she might be a potential witness to me is just one of the most despicable acts that I have heard of."

Ford and all of these lunatics were the kind of rightwing fanatics that believe their cause justifies even murder if the people they kill are, in their minds, the "enemy." And I hold the rightwing media, especially talk radio, responsible for riling up these already unstable individuals. As far as I'm concerned, all of those so-called "hosts" should go to jail right along with the people they incite.

It's also the same kind of fanaticism that drove someone to throw a bomb into the crowd at the world's largest Gay Pride event held this past weekend in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

PinkNews, out of the UK, reported that 21 people were injured and four were taken to the hospital. Of the four people hospitalized, one has serious head trauma and another is in serious condition with multiple injuries. The two others have non-life threatening injuries.

Sao Paulo's Pride event is in its 13th year and despite the ongoing threats from anti-gay extremist, it still drew over 3 million proud revelers from all over the world.

At first, it was thought that someone who was upset at all the noise threw the bomb from a window. But, as parade spokesman Pedro Xavier said, the attack was probably anti-gay because "nobody has a bomb just sitting around at home."

All of these attacks, along with the already proven rising rate of violence against gays throughout the country underscores the necessity for all of us to be cautious and aware of our surroundings whenever we're out and about.

No. We're not going to go cowering back into the closet - that's NOT who we are. But, as I've said in multiple past postings, the more successful we are, the more frustrated and violent our opponents become. So lets all just be careful out there.

June 13, 2009


Many in the GLBT community are very upset with Obama's silence and inaction on DOMA and DADT.

To some, the Dept. of Justice's (DOJ) baffling, specious and almost unintelligible brief filed IN FAVOR OF UPHOLDING DOMA in a recent court challenge is the last straw.

The media, from countless blogs and websites to prestigious newspapers and national broadcasts, have espoused scathing commentaries about this latest slap-in-the-face action taken against the rights of GLBT people throughout the country. I too am incensed that the DOJ (i.e., the Obama administration) would even consider taking such a stand when Obama is already under a great deal of fire for his unwillingness to use the stop-loss power he already has to at least suspend the continuing DADT discharges so that no more American Patriots are unceremoniously kicked-out for nothing more than being gay.

What makes this even more confusing is the way in which the DOJ handled the filing of their brief. Their actions just simply make no sense. Even if you buy into the argument that this particular case isn't the right one to challenge DOMA on the grounds of a constitutional right for gays and lesbians to marry because it only addresses the right to have the already performed legal gay marriages recognized by other states and the federal government. There are, in fact, several cases in the pipeline that directly challenge the constitutionality of prohibiting only gay marriages and would be much stronger challenges to DOMA.

In a June 12th posting renowned journalist Andrew Sullivan said:

There's a completely decent reason to keep DOMA in place for the time being, especially in the federal courts right now - where bad precedents could wound us in the future. But to file an actual brief re-stating some of the worst and most denigrating arguments against gay civil equality is just bizarre. They could have argued for a narrow ruling or kept the "reasonable" arguments to a minimum. What they did - without any heads up to any of their gay supporters and allies - is unconscionable. Citing incest precedents? Calling gay couples free-loaders? Arguing that our civil rights are not impinged because we can marry someone of the opposite sex? Who on earth decided that that was a great idea? Marc is right that this will be simply incomprehensible to most gay people. To have unloaded it after refusing to do anything on DADT, after failing to lift the HIV travel ban, after punting on even pure symbolism like hate crimes - well, it's no way to treat those who worked their butts off to elect you...

I'm baffled by this, I really am. The content of this brief is a massive political error from an administration that is making it impossible for its gay supporters to stay supportive. What's next? A Clintonian political ad boasting of these arguments?

It's now even more important to visibly remind Obama that we are NOT AT ALL HAPPY with the way he and his administration are handling the issues of vital importance to our community. One way to do this is to show up and protest whenever Obama makes any kind of visit to cities and towns outside of Washington.

Queers United has reported that one such visit will be in Chicago TOMORROW MORNING. If you live in Chicago or the surrounding area, you owe it to yourself and your gay brothers and sisters to attend the demonstration that's already planned. Here's the specifics:

Monday, June 15th from 10:30 AM – 12 noon

Hyatt Regency Hotel
151 E. Wacker Drive
(one block east of Michigan Avenue)

June 11, 2009


As some of you may know, over the last couple of months the New York Legislature has been going through a very public and very tumultuous power struggle over who controls the senate. And Governor Paterson's gay marriage bill has been embroiled right in the middle of the drama.

Well, The Advocate reported this past Monday that a political coup, of sorts, was successfully executed. The democrats had only a two vote majority so when two democrats, Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate, announced that they agreed to vote with senate Republicans after reaching a power sharing agreement that made Republican Dean Skelos majority leader of the senate and Espada temporary president of the senate.

This, in effect, unseated Democrat Malcolm Smith who had been dragging his feet in bringing the marriage bill to the senate floor for a vote claiming there weren't enough votes to pass it even though the bill's sponsors claimed otherwise. Speculation was that in order for Smith to become majority leader last April, he made a deal with a couple of senate democrats who strongly opposed his support of gay marriage and didn't want the bill to go forward.

Wait. It gets better. Ironically, many now feel that the bill has a much better chance of being voted on and very possibly passed because of this coup.

Espada has publicly stated his support for granting same-sex couples the right to marry and although Dean Skelos has expressed opposition to the bill, he has also previously stated that he would allow his party colleagues to vote their conscience.

Unfortunately, today the Buffalo News reported the following:

With protesters from Democratic-leaning groups trying to block lawmakers from entering the chamber, the session fell apart immediately when the official bills that the Senate was about to move to the floor were locked in a desk by Democratic officials seeking to prevent the Republican-backed coup group from voting. Republicans did not have keys to the desk.

Sen. Hiram Monserrate, a Queens Democrat who is considered the weakest link in the uprising, walked out of the session — which left not enough members to have a quorum to take up any business. He said he needed more Democrats to join the takeover effort to make it a true coalition Senate.

"This chamber must not remain divided, so I'm going to excuse myself from this chamber," he said.

The on-again, off-again supporter of the coup said he will not return until the coalition expands. That leaves the Senate in a complete standstill with neither side able to produce the 32 votes needed to call session.

The state assembly overwhelmingly approved the bill last month and, of course, Governor Paterson is eager to sign it.

Now, if someone could only get the senate to act like adults instead of spoiled little children arguing over who's football it is, we just might be able to see a gay marriage bill passed in New York State. Maybe.

According to a NY Times article, the situation in the senate has gotten even more chaotic.

Shortly after the republicans found a set of keys and were able to get into the senate chamber, one of the two defecting democrats (Hiram Monserrate of Queens) the republicans were counting on to complete the forum needed to conduct business, walked out saying he wanted to work on getting more democrats to join the coup before he would participate any further.

Pedro Espada Jr. (who is now sharing power) was so desperate to get his democratic colleagues back into the chamber, he's using the same-sex marriage legislation as a lure by promising to bring it to the floor for a full vote next week which would be the first time in the Senate's history.

Apparently our marriage equality cause has become a linchpin in the Senate's keystone cops like power struggle. Now if they can only get enough senators back into the chamber, we might have a real chance of not only finally getting a senate vote on this but actually even getting it passed.

Stay tuned.

June 9, 2009


The publication Mother Jones (one of my personal favorites) reported Sunday that according to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll conducted May 7-10, 2009 and released last Friday, support for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly has increased from 63% to 69%.

That's now over 2/3 of the general public that believe gays should be able to serve in the military without any of the preconditions of the now obsolete and embarrassing Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy.

According to the poll, the biggest increase in support has been among conservatives. Their support has increased an encouraging 12 percentage points from 46% in November 2004 to 58% in May 2009.

As Mother Jones pointed out,

There's a rule of thumb that says social policies are resistant to change until they garner two-thirds support from the public. Allowing gays to serve openly in the military has now officially passed that point. That means it's safe to keep your campaign promise and act, Mr. President.

Mr. President, it's more than obvious now that not only is there widespread, overwhelming support throughout the country for ending DADT but that you also clearly have the authority to put an IMMEDIATE end to these harmful and disruptive discharges that have so negatively and cruelly impacted so many honorable veterans. So, once again, I ask:


June 8, 2009


Since my last few posts have been somewhat top-heavy with political issues, I thought I'd share the following video with you just to get the week started off on a lighter note.

The song, by artist Lily Allen, has scores of versions at YouTube that combine the song with very clever images but the one I'm including below features the lyrics. The first time I heard this, the images (although very entertaining) distracted from the words and I missed some of what was being said.

I love the contrast between the lighthearted music and the pointblank, in-your-face message. Enjoy...

I'll get back to more serious matters tomorrow.

Okay, I just had to post this. My partner found it again last night so I wanted to share it. This is my favorite version...

June 6, 2009


On May 10th I posted a blog article chastising President Obama for not taking any visible action to end the DADT policy despite overwhelming public support to repeal it and his numerous and clearly stated intentions to do just that when he was elected.

Two days later, on May 12th, I posted another story about the new study published by the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, that said the President does, indeed, have the authority to end DADT on his own authority.

The study said that the Commander-In-Chief already has the statutory authority to halt military separations under 10 U.S.C. § 12305, a law which Congress titled, “Authority of President to suspend certain laws relating to promotion, retirement, and separation.”

More importantly, the study also said that the provisions of the "stop-loss" law, which are granted by Congress, give the President authority to "suspend laws relating to separation when a national emergency has strained personnel requirements.” This is something that can be done immediately by the President alone.

So, given the fact that it has been almost a full month since this new information was made public, why hasn't Obama issued that order?

Well, according to a video piece (see below) posted at The Daily Beast by award winning gay journalist Jason Bellini, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other "mainstream" gay rights organizations had reached an agreement with the White House to support delaying action on the DADT repeal until some of the other pressing GLBT rights legislation has been passed. To lend credence to this has been the HRC's somewhat milquetoast efforts to hold the administration's feet to the fire to get this repeal accomplished as promised.

Of course HRC immediately issued a statement denying that any deal was made. But despite that denial, many people in the gay community, especially the newest and youngest activists and activist organizations felt that there might be some truth to the accusation because blogs and websites burned up the internet with condemnations and accusations against HRC for not truly representing the goals of the now more fervent, in-the-street, activist movement.

In response to this growing maelstrom, HRC President Joe Solmonese finally came out and publicly called on President Obama to at least suspend DADT to stop the unwarranted and unwise discharges of sorely needed military personnel.

Gay News Net reported yesterday that when Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball last night asked Solmonese whether he believes Obama has the authority to sign such an order and whether he should do so, Solmonese said, "Yes he can and yes I do." Matthews repeated the question, asking "Do you think he should?" Salmonese confirmed, "Yes I do."

Solmonese also said that Obama should sign the executive order immediately to halt further firings like that of Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate who speaks Arabic. "The president has the opportunity to stop that from happening," Solmonese said. "We've asked him to do that and pressed him to do that and hope that he will."

If, in fact, the HRC did reach some kind of agreement to delay an all-out push for the repeal of DADT, I'm absolutely positive that there were no sinister, underlying motivations. I'm sure that they thought that strategy would be the most effective in securing all of the rights we're seeking. It's possible that they didn't even know about the recently revealed Presidential powers that Obama has to effect this change completely on his own authority.

Whatever reasons were behind HRC's past inaction, I'm glad to see them now using their substantial political capital to pressure Obama to suspend the firings. They're a good organization that has done a whole lot in advancing our causes in towns, cities, states and municipalities throughout the country. So let's not, as the saying goes, "throw the baby out with the bath water."

One thing for sure at this point - it is now almost impossible for the President and his administration to ignore the importance of immediate action on DADT. We're all watching Mr. President.

Below is Jason Bellini's video piece referred to above:

June 4, 2009


I'm a couple of days late with this but I didn't want to let it go by without a comment.

Lately, many in the GLBT community have been expressing growing dissatisfaction with President Obama's seeming non-action on many of the issues we consider to be of paramount importance to our community. I myself have expressed my own frustrations over this in several of my more recent posts.

Although these feelings certainly do seem to be justified considering the high expectations for action that were fueled by Obama's many strong and positive statements about ending DOMA, DADT, anti-gay discrimination in the workplace and housing, passing hate crimes legislation, etc., etc.. Let's not forget that in just six short months, he has appointed more openly gay professionals to high level, high profile management and advisory positions throughout the government and his own administration than any president before him. He is also the first president to endorse and speakout for an end to anti-gay discrimination throughout the world.

Yes, he hasn't moved as fast as we wanted him to but I think it's important to recognize the impact that the words a President speaks to us and to the rest of the world have not just on policies but on the thoughts and beliefs of tens and hundreds of millions of people.

It's easy to dismiss what someone says by loudly protesting that they're "just words." But what makes a difference is what the specific words are and who says them. Entire armies have been moved to against-all-odds victories and whole civilizations have been built on nothing more than words. The reality is that, like it or not, words are what change everything.

On Monday, President Obama issued the following proclamation declaring June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month:


Obama Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Obama is the first President to ever even acknowledge our transgender brothers and sisters in a national/international speech. That's important.

Thanks to Towelroad.com for the text of the proclamation.

June 2, 2009


I ran across the following video, titled "Talking Equality," at the Feast Of Fools website. It was posted by FOF member Wesley from California and it's an excellent repudiation of the lies and gross distortions that the fanatic right-wing keeps trying to ram down people's throats.

Take a few minutes and watch this. It's definitely worth your time and it will give you some excellent talking points whenever someone tries to use those idiotic arguments around you.

BTW - I had some trouble getting this mounted so if the video doesn't play, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSTv7Xao93I