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.

March 13, 2009


In two separate stories published by The Advocate, same-sex marriage rights in Vermont got a double dose of support.

Mental Health Experts Endorse Same-Sex Marriage...
On March 10th, The Advocate reported that leading mental health and human services organizations in Vermont, citing professional studies that show legalizing gay marriage helps the children of same-sex couples, came out in support of marriage equality.

The group says allowing gay couples to marry validates their relationships, could reduce discrimination and increases benefits for the families.

Opponents have argued that gay marriage is detrimental to children. But mental health experts say studies show that's not true and that opponents are instead misrepresenting studies about divorced parents.

In an interview on WCAX-TV in Burlington, Jackie Weinstein of the University of Vermont’s Human Development and Families Studies said:

"We felt it was important for us to set the record straight about the scholarly literature in our field, and we have lots of different families and the best thing to do for all children is to support parents the best way we can."

The Vermont legislature is currently considering a same-sex marriage bill that was introduced in February. The bill has 59 sponsors in the house and next week, the senate judiciary committee will begin holding hearings and testimony.

The mental health and human services organizations - which include Vermont Psychological Association, the Vermont Psychiatric Association, the Vermont Association of Mental Health Counselors, and the Vermont chapter of the National Association of Social Workers - will all testify in support of same-sex marriage at those hearings.

In 2000 Vermont became the first state to pass civil unions but, in the nine years since, there have been numerous problems with businesses, hospitals and even government agencies recognizing the legality of those unions.

Let's face it folks - separate will NEVER be equal.

On March 12th, The Advocate reported that 182 Vermont clergy members representing nine religious denominations have signed a declaration in support of same-sex marriage in Vermont.

Their declaration reads, in part,

“As religious people, clergy, and leaders, we commit ourselves to public action, visibility, and education to support the right and freedom of same-gender couples to participate in civil marriage. We oppose the application of sacred texts and religious traditions for the purpose of denying legal and social equity to same-gender couples.

We recognize that a separate system that legally recognizes same-gender couples creates a harmful stigma for those we support and love in our community. Although civil union protections have remedied some of the financial and legal inequities, the denial to participate in the status of civil marriage is a social injustice that fractures our communities, harms those we love and sends a message of government sanctioned discrimination."

To read the whole declaration, go to: http://eqfed.org/campaign/declaration

Hopefully, this kind of strong support from both the professional and religious communities will help convince Vermont lawmakers to finally pass full marriage equality.

I personally think it will.

March 12, 2009


Tuesday evening the Washington State Senate passed Senate Bill 5688 by a vote of 30 to 18. Dubbed the "everything but marriage" bill, this legislation would bestow on same-sex domestic partners all of the state rights and benefits afforded to straight married couples. The House is also expected to pass this and Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, has said she supports the measure and will sign it.

In 2007, Washington approved a Domestic Partnership bill introduced by Seattle Democratic Sen. Ed Murra and last year the state amended that bill to include additional coverages. With those two actions, same-sex partners were granted hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations and inheritance rights when there is no will.

Now, with passage of this most recent upgrade amendment, spearheaded by gay state senator Ed Murray, a Seattle Democrat, same-sex partners will have all of the benefits of heterosexual married couples. The bill adds domestic partners to all remaining areas of state law where currently only married couples are addressed. This includes statutes ranging from labor and employment to pensions and other public employee benefits.

Washington state now joins California and Oregon as the only three states that endow Domestic Partnerships with the identitical state rights and responsibilities that straight marriages have had all along.

Unfortunately, this does not include any federal rights. However, with the anticipated repeal of DOMA by our current congress and the promised equality of all federal partnership rights by President Obama, this remaining inequity should be resolved. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Sources for this article were: The Seattle Times, The Advocate and Box Turtle Bulletin

UPDATE 3/14...
As an interesting side note, Republican State Senator Dale Brandland, who voted for passage of the above bill and was also the former Whatcom County sheriff, said in an interview in the Bellingham Herald:

"I guess from my perspective, I've come to the conclusion that people are born gay. I don't think this is something that they just pick up along the way. Once I came up with that kind of conclusion, it wasn't difficult for me to understand that gay people are going to develop feelings for people of the same sex and will want to get into meaningful relationships.

"I thought it was inappropriate to deny them some of the basic rights that relationship entails."

Senator Brandland and two other Republicans defied a feverish blog and email campaign mounted by Gary Randall, President of the statewide Faith and Freedom Network whose promotional tag is "Advancing Judeo-Christian Values."

To counter Randall's campaign, a prominent Seattle liberal weekly newspaper, The Stranger, began waging war in favor of the bill on its blog. Locals also took to the social networking site Facebook to advocate support of the bill.

Let's hope this is a trend that takes hold across the country and ultimately buries the religious, right wing fanatics under the bile of their own lies and hatreds.

The Advocate also reported the following exchange between Ashton Kutcher and another user on Twitter:

Actor Ashton Kutcher, in a heated conversation with another user on Twitter, used the micro-blogging site to urge people to stop using the word "gay" as an insult. "can we just get clear, calling some one 'gay' or 'fag' is as derogatory as calling someone a 'ni**er'. U look like an idiot when you do it," he wrote on Wednesday. Another user had told him to "stop being so gay." After Kutcher's reply, the other user replied, "just jokin, no disrespect bro."

Thanks Ashton. You always were one of the good guys!

March 11, 2009


According to courier-journal.com, a publication that covers news from the Louisville, KY and Southern IN areas, a controversial bill intended to ban unmarried couples (i.e., gay couples) from becoming foster or adoptive parents died in the Kentucky senate.

Even though Senate Bill 68 was voted out of committee last week, it was never called to the floor for a vote. The bill's sponsor, Senator Gary Tapp, R-Shelbyville, acknowledged yesterday that the bill was dead.

Sen. Tapp said, "It's too late. It didn't go anywhere this session." He said he didn't know why the Senate's Republican leadership didn't schedule a vote.

Majority party leaders could not be reached for comment and seemed to be trying to distance themselves from the bill. Probably for a number of very good reasons. Aside from the fact that the latest nationwide poles show the republican party with the lowest approval rating (only 26) in recent memory, lezgetreal.com reported that:

Insiders at Kentucky’s State House are saying that Senator’s were flooded with calls and e-mail from angry citizens, most saying that they would think that a bill that takes away potential homes and adds costs to states taxpayers for the care of children in state custody “was just plain dumb”. Our sources are saying the states Republican leadership is now viewing SB 68 as divisive and pure political poison. They want nothing to do with it.

But even if the bill were to win Senate approval, it would still need to be passed by the overwhelmingly Democratic House. And there is little chance of that happening with only three scheduled days for passing bills remaining in this year’s session.

Chris Hartman, Director of Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign, one of the groups that opposed the bill, said…

We are encouraged the thousands of statements, letters, and phone calls from fair-minded Kentuckians opposing Senate Bill 68 (SB 68) has driven home the message that hate legislation should never be passed in the commonwealth. It is in the best interest of our children and our state’s economy that this bill not reappear in the future, though if it does, we will gather and build upon the countless allies that have come forward with Fairness to oppose this legislation, and we will mobilize them against it with even greater fervor.

I really do feel very, very hopeful that we are moving into one of the most exciting and most productive periods in the history of the GLBT rights movement.

That being said, and for ironically that very same reason, now IS NOT the time to relax and just wait for it to happen. The door is being opened wider than it's ever been opened before BUT WE HAVE TO STAND UP AND WALK THROUGH IT. None of these emerging possibilities will ever happen if we just sit and wait!

Keep fighting -- we CAN and we WILL WIN!

March 10, 2009


The Caribbean is a beautiful place to visit. Lush, tropical islands ringed with miles and miles of white, sandy beaches. Complete with an almost endless supply of bright, warm sunshine beckoning you with the promise of long, lazy days of snorkeling, scuba diving, exploring or just hanging out on the beach sipping exotic beverages. It can truly be a vacation paradise.

BUT, if you're gay, there is one island that can turn your dream vacation into a dark, dangerous and even life threatening nightmare. Jamaica.

Over the weekend, Box Turtle Bulletin posted an excellent, and scary, story about Jamaica's extreme homophobia.

As most of you probably already know, Jamaica has a long history of myopic homophobia. It's an ingrained part of their culture - just as it once was in this country before the activist gay movement started changing minds and laws. In Jamaica however, it's not just something that the general populist believes and lives, it's hardcore, official public policy.

In response to the strained relations this has caused between the United Kingdom (Jamaica's protector) and the Jamaican government, Prime Minister Bruce Golding told Parliament that, "...gay rights advocates are perhaps the most organized lobby in the world” and he vowed to preserve the country’s 145-year-old anti-sodomy law that prohibits sexual acts between men.

He went on to say:

“We are not going to yield to the pressure, whether that pressure comes from individual organisations, individuals, whether that pressure comes from foreign governments or groups of countries, to liberalise the laws as it relates to buggery.”

As the BTB story put it:

This language is not simply a stance taken by a politician; it represents a deep and pervasive homophobic culture. Gay men and women are in real danger in that country.

So, if you are planning on taking a Caribbean cruise, I would strongly advise against visiting Jamaica. Not only isn't it worth the very real risk of physical harm but it would also be very poor judgement to spend your hard-earned dollars in a country that would rather see you in prison for life - or worse.

If you'd like to read BTB's full story, go to: http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2009/03/07/9523