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March 5, 2009


Last September I reported on a gay bar in Galveston, Texas that survived Hurricane Ike (barely) and became a kind of a defacto community center for everyone, straight and gay, who stayed behind to ride-out the storm and protect their property from looters.

The bar, known as Robert’s Lafitte, was one of the only businesses left standing. After the owner and his friends saw that the building still seemed to be structurally sound, they cleaned out the standing waters and layers of mud and reopened - even before power was back on. Their hope was to somehow help the survivors who lost most, if not all, of what they had.

They collected donated food and supplies dropped off by the community itself to help feed and clothe those who needed it most and proceeded to put on drag shows (even without power) to lift people's spirits. It became a shinning light in the midst of widespread destruction. To this day, the bar still has a number of straight patrons who regularly stop by.

Sadly, at around 8pm on Sunday, March 1st, two brothers, Lawrence Henry Lewis III, 20, and Lawrneil Henry Lewis, 18, and their cousin, Alejandro Sam Gray, 17 decided to attack the bar and its patrons for no other reason than to target homosexuals. One held the door open while the other two hurled large rocks and chunks of concrete at the patrons inside, all the while yelling homophobic slurs.

According to an article at Chron.com, the Houston & Texas news service, there was an estimated 25 to 30 people inside at the time. Marc Bosaw, 57, who was at the bar with his partner, James Troy Nickelson, 39, said he was shocked by the ambush.

“I thought with all the things going on, especially politically, that we would be more accepted and not just randomly attacked,” said Bosaw, a disabled U.S. Navy veteran. “I don’t see any room for hate right now.”

Bosaw said he had just sat down on a barstool about 5 feet from the door. He was sipping wine and visiting with friends when he felt a violent blow to the back of his head.

“I dropped my wine and reached with my left hand to the back of my head, and another rock hit my arm and ricocheted off,” Bosaw said. “I stood up thinking someone was robbing me and checked my wallet.” Bosaw then began to collapse, so his partner and friends carried him to a pool table, pressing a cold cloth to his head wound to stanch the bleeding. “Everything kind of went white all around me,” he said.

Nickelson, also struck in the head by the same rock, and at least four other patrons then went outside and chased the attackers. During the pursuit, one of the attackers threw a brick, which struck Nickelson’s jaw.

Galveston police caught the suspects about 10 blocks away. The three men are charged with felony assault and Jennifer Ott, prosecutor for the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, said that they would pursue the hate crimes enhancements as well. This would be only the second time those enhancements have been attached to a case in Galveston even though there have been 10 hate crimes reported to the Galveston police since 2004.

If a jury convicts them of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and agrees they committed a hate crime, the three could face an elevated punishment of five to 99 years or even life in prison.

Until the Mormon and Catholic churches and the evangelical, right wing, religious fanatics stop demonizing gay people and stop spreading their vicious and cruel lies about who we are, this kind of thing is not only going to continue, it's going to get even uglier.

You can help stop this. Simply talk to your families, friends, priests, pastors and clergy and tell them that you don't agree with that kind of hate mongering.

If you think it would too hard for you to take a stand like that, just think about how hard it is for a gay person to go out into the public knowing that they have a big christian target painted on their back. This hatred can be stopped but only if YOU choose not to stay silent. It's the right and Christian thing to do. And I know you know that.


The Illinois legislature PASSED the Civil Unions Bill HB2234. It will now go to the House floor for a full vote.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact the committee members.

I'll keep you posted on the outcome of the floor vote.


Having spread their filth and lies in California, Arizona and Florida, the Mormon church has now rallied their forces to attack a small, Illinois legislative committee.

The Youth and Family Committee is right now, today (March 5th, 2009) debating Civil Unions bill HB2234. And the Mormon church, in a frenzy to prove the Mormon might, has mobilized their members to call State Representatives and Senators urging them to kill the bill in committee. Apparently they're worried that if HB2234 reaches the floor for a vote, it will pass.

Their tactic is to attack the bill at a point where they can concentrate their onslaught on the fewest decision makers possible thereby flooding them with phone calls, faxes and emails.

If you find this blatant church incursion to be as repulsive as most fair-minded people do, there is something you can do NOW that will only take a few minutes of your time.

Below is the same list of committee members and their phone numbers that the Mormon leadership has sent to their followers. Just give them a call and let them know, in the strongest but politest way possible, that you FAVOR the passage of HB2234 and fervently disapprove of the Mormon church's attempt to control your government.

Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) (Sponsor of HB2234)

Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago)

Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago)
Republican Spokesperson

Rep. William D. Burns (D-Chicago)

Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe (R-Chicago)

Rep. Al Riley (D-Matteson)

Rep. Dave Winters (R-Rockford)

If you're a Illinois resident and want to know who your representative is, you can use or click on the following link to get their name and contact information: http://www.elections.il.gov/DistrictLocator/SelectSearchType.aspx?NavLink=1 Once there, just enter your 9
digit zip code (without the dash) and this will bring up your district's information.

Thanks to Queers United for the heads up on this.

March 3, 2009


"The Eve of Justice: Lighting the way for the Supreme Court"

In my posting yesterday, I forgot to mention that I spoke with John Allard of Marriage Equality Arizona and he suggested that people attending tonight's vigil should bring their own candles (if you can afford it, a few extra to share would be appreciated). You can also bring signs with messages promoting marriage equality.

According to the Facebook page for this event, "At the conclusion of the vigil a minister will be available to preside over a 're-commitment ceremony' for any couple married in California, or joined in any other union. This will serve as a powerful reminder to all in attendance, or driving by, that our relationships have value and our commitment to each other deserves the protection of the 1138 rights granted through civil marriage."

My partner and I will be going and we hope to see all of you there. Pass the word.


On Thursday, March 5th, the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the legality of Proposition 8, the homophobic ballot measure that stripped away the right for gays to marry in California.

On Wednesday evening, we will stand together to send a unified message to Californians and the Supreme Court Justices that individual liberties, guaranteed by the California Constitution, cannot be stripped away at the ballot box by a slim majority vote.

This vigil will also show our love and support for all the families headed by same-sex couples who were already legally married and whose relationships are now threatened by the callous passage of Prop 8. And, that we fully support all same-sex couples whose hopes and dreams of marriage and family have been frustrated by the enactment of Prop 8 in California, Prop 102 here in Arizona and Prop 2 in Florida.

In Arizona, the vigil will take place at the following locations and times...


LOCATION: Camelback and Central

TIME: 6:00 TO 7:30pm


LOCATION: United Church of Christ of the Painted Hills, 3295 W. Speedway Boulevard

TIME: 7:00 - 8:30pm

For other vigil locations and times, go to: http://www.marriageequality.org/

BTW - If you don't see your city or state on the vigil list and you would like to participate, go to Marriage Equality to find out how to contact your local chapter or, if there isn't a chapter near you, find out how to start one.

March 2, 2009


Apparently the newly anointed head of the Republican Party, Michael Steele missed NAACP's recently announced position on California's anti-gay marriage Proposition. He either missed it or just simply chose to ignore it for political expediency and to solidify his newly acquired position.

In NAACP's statement, released just days before the California Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the challenges to Prop 8, President and CEO, Benjamin Todd Jealouse said, in part:

"The NAACP's mission is to help create a society where all Americans have equal protection and opportunity under the law. Our Mission Statement calls for the 'equality of rights of all persons.' Prop. 8 strips same-sex couples of a fundamental freedom, as defined by the California State Supreme Court. In so doing, it poses a serious threat to all Americans. Prop. 8 is a discriminatory, unprecedented change to the California Constitution that, if allowed to stand, would undermine the very purpose of a constitution and courts - assuring equal protection and opportunity for all and safeguarding minorities from the tyranny of the majority."

Accoding to reports by Box Turtle Bulletin and Thinkprogress.org, during a radio interview, right-wing host Mike Gallagher asked Steele, “Is this a time when Republicans ought to consider some sort of alternative to redefining marriage and maybe in the road, down the road to civil unions. Do you favor civil unions?”

Steele's response was,

"No, no no. What would we do that for? What are you, crazy? No. Why would we backslide on a core, founding value of this country? I mean this isn’t something that you just kind of like, “Oh well, today I feel, you know, loosey-goosey on marriage.”

Gallagher continued to push the subject by asking, "So no room even for a conversation about civil unions in your mind?" Steele answered, "What’s the difference?"

In stark contrast to this exchange is the fact that last November, Steele told the Washington Times that the party needs to reach out to new communities and that it “has to realize that there are constituencies in the body politic that have no interest in conservative litmus tests based on same-sex marriage and abortion.”

In fact, just days after Steele won the election to head the GOP, he told ABC’s George Stehanopolous that his party would seek to include those who support gay rights.

And, in another interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, the following exchange occurred:

WALLACE: You are one of the co-founders of something called the Republican Leadership Council which supports candidates who favor abortion and gay rights.


WALLACE: Does the GOP need to do a better job of reaching out to people who hold those views?

STEELE: I think — I think that’s an important opportunity for us, absolutely.

This whole thing, at best, illustrates the hypocrisy and duplicity of the Republican Party. At worst, it shows that the religious right-wing is still firmly in control of the party and that Steele's election was nothing more than a smoke and mirror attempt at making the party SEEM more inclusive.

Sadly, that would relegate Steele to the position of the "token black" who is only there for window dressing but has no real authority himself.