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May 7, 2009


The tenth annual National Women’s Health Week will kick off on Mother's Day Sunday, May 10th and will run through Saturday, May 16th.

It's a nationwide undertaking coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health (OWH). During this week communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups work together to educate women about steps they can take to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases.

Here in Arizona, Planned Parenthood is contributing through a variety of activities including breast cancer screenings on May 16 and a public outreach about prevention on May 13 in conjunction with President Obama’s visit to deliver the ASU commencement address.

They were also scheduled to present health information at the Women’s Health Expo & Conference being organized by the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth, and Families. Unfortunately, Governor Jan Brewer has decided to exclude the preventive health information provided by Planned Parenthood Arizona.

In response to Brewer's ban, Planned Parenthood Arizona issued the following statement:

As a result, Planned Parenthood Arizona, an organization that thousands of Arizona women and families trust, will not be offering information about sexually transmitted infection prevention and treatment, early cancer detection, and the benefits of regular well-women exams.

It is alarming and potentially dangerous that information offered to help women take control of their reproductive lives is not being included at a women’s health event! This flies in the face of the goals of National Women’s Health Week.

Planned Parenthood Arizona is disheartened and concerned by the Governor's actions. We asked to meet with Governor Brewer to explain Planned Parenthood Arizona’s focus on prevention. Since then we’ve written to describe in detail the health threats confronting Arizona women. The Governor has not responded to these repeated requests, and the ban on the health information for which Planned Parenthood Arizona is respected, remains in place!

We are left wondering what priority is more important to Governor Brewer than promoting and protecting the health of Arizona women, young people and families.

What's so disheartening about Brewer's decision is that she would introduce right-wing, ideologue politics into an event that should transcend politics all together. Certainly, as a woman, Brewer has to be aware of the obstacles and challenges women face in trying to get accurate, unbiased health information that specifically addresses their problems.

Given that, how can she, in good conscience, take an action that would block health information that could potentially save lives for no other reason than tired, worn-out, ideological arguments that have long-since been discredited. She should be ashamed of herself. Certainly, her actions bring shame on the beautiful state of Arizona.

If you would like to express how you feel you can contact the Governor by phone - 602-542-4331 (or
Toll Free at 1-800-253-0883) - by fax at 602-542-1381 or by filling out the online email form.

May 6, 2009


As I reported briefly yesterday, Maine's House of Representatives passed gay marriage legislation (LD 1020) by a vote of 89 to 58.

This follows last week's Senate approval and earlier this morning Governor John Baldacci enthusiastically signed the bill despite much speculation that he might not sign it because of his previously stated beliefs about marriage and his expressed support for Civil Unions instead.

Prior to the vote, Balducci took the unusual step of personally calling two married, straight constituents who suported gay marriage. They had emailed him expressing their concern that he might be planning to abdicate his responsibilities by not signing the bill and simply letting it go to a voter referendum this fall.

During the unexpected and lengthy phone conversation Balducci, in referring to the an open forum community discussion, said:

I was extremely impressed by the arguments for both sides, but especially by the proponents.

They were very respectful- I liked that they turned their backs when they disagreed.

I was truly impressed by the people who spoke for the bill.

I was opposed to this for a long time, but people evolve, people change as time goes by.

According to a report by LezGetReal.com, at the bill's signing, Balducci said “In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

Main now becomes the 5th state to legalize gay marriages following Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont. It's also the second state to do this by legislative action and the first state to it without having to override a governor's veto.

California has to announce their decision on the legality of Prop 8 by June 6th so we could be hearing about that any day now.

Box Turtle Bulletin reports the current state-by-state status as follows:

Colorado – The legislature passed a Designated Beneficiary Agreement Act, which has been signed by the Governor.

Illinois – a bill has been introduced to enact Civil Unions. The bill is currently waiting for a House vote.

Nevada – The Senate passed a bill to provide Domestic Partnerships with all the rights and obligations of marriage. It will go before the Assembly Judiciary on Friday. The Governor has promised to veto the bill but some sources say that there will be a compromise crafted before the legislature disbands in a month.

New Hampshire – The House and Senate have both passed a marriage bill. The Senate version had specific religious protections that were not in the House bill. The House Judiciary has approved the changes and they will go before a House vote tomorrow. The Governor has stated that he is opposed to gay marriage in the past but has not addresses this specific bill.

Hopefully, Governor Balducci's signature on Maine's legislation will put enough pressure on New Hampshire's Governor John Lynch to follow suit.

New York – A marriage bill has been introduced in the house. Log Cabin Republicans announced that they have found additional Republican support in the House for marriage. Senate Majority Leader Smith will not bring marriage to a vote in the Senate until adequate votes will assure its passage, which probably means that four to six Republicans will need to be convinced. Empire State Pride is doing polling in Republican districts and seeking to give them assurance that a vote for equality will not result in an election defeat.

Washington - a bill to upgrade the state’s Domestic Partnerships to provide all the rights and obligations of marriage has passed the Senate and House with large margins and will be signed by the Governor. A petition has been filed to put it to the voters.

District of Columbia – the Council voted to recognize out of state marriages. This bill will be signed by the Mayor and then Congress has 30 days to review and possibly overturn it by a majority vote in both houses and the signature of the President. A same-sex marriage bill is expected later this year.

Rhode Island is now the only New England state that doesn't have either same-sex marriage or civil unions. There are however, several bills before that state's legislature that could legalize one or the other of those two options.

As euphoric as all this is - and it is - it's likely that the momentum will begin to slow a bit as we come down to the more diehard conservative states.

Unless, of course, we get a couple of new Supreme Court Justices who will swing the balance away from hardcore ideology and back to fair and balanced equality. Then it could happen countrywide in one, quick swoop of the pen.

Wouldn't that be incredible!

May 5, 2009

Maine's House of Representatives just passed legislation that legalizes gay marriage in the State of Maine.

The vote was 89 to 58 in favor of passage. The State Senate approved the measure last week so now the bill goes directly to Governor John Baldacci for his signature.

I'll have more on this in tomorrow's posting.


Howard Stern has mesmerized and confounded his listeners and critics alike for years now. You never know what he's going to say from one second to the next and from all appearances, neither does he.

Aside from his trademark, point-blank, raunchy realism there's one thing that has remained a constant and recurring topic of countless discussions. Us.

He clearly believes that the gay community has an indisputable right to equal treatment - not just under the law but within the general society as a whole. He has been a staunch, unabashed and defiantly outspoken champion of our causes for many years now and his ability to reach millions of people everyday (mostly straight) makes him one of the most powerful voices we could ever have on our side.

Last week, Jenny Stewart posted a segment of a discussion on the April 29th broadcast under Hot Topics on Gay.com. I want to share this with you now because I think it deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.

According to Jenny, who is apparently a long-time listener, Stern frequently inserts insightful, positive opinions on gays - completely out of nowhere. On the April 29th show, while reading his fan feedback emails, he started talking about someone complaining to him that the show had become "too gay." Following is the exchange that took place between Howard and his co-hosts Robin Quivers and Artie Lange:

Howard: I was talking to someone recently and they said, 'Oh you have so many gay guests lately, the show is getting too gay.'

OK -- first of all, we don't have that many gay guests. And my feeling about gay people is that we have a responsibility not only to make gay marriage acceptable and to make gays feel as accepted as heterosexuals, but that we have to hold gay people above all others.

Robin: What the hell does that mean?

Howard: In other words, gay people are downtrodden. They're beaten and abused for their sexuality. And it goes across race – it's in the white community and the black community. Gay people are the bastards of the world. And in order for things to change – because anyone of you could have gay children, gay relatives or gay friends –

Robin: And in some countries, you can be put to death for being gay.

Howard: Yes. You know, it reminds [me] almost of the Jews in Europe. In Poland, Warsaw was one of the great cities of Europe. They had Jews and the Jews were very important to the culture of Poland, and elevated the society. And then when the Nazis came and cleaned them out, Poland became what is today – nothing. It's really…not much.

Now, gay people in our society are responsible for some of the most creative arts, and creative science Рand not just the Arts, because I don't want this to sound like a clich̩. What I'm saying is that they're contributors, they are people who want to thrive and they're artistic and they're free thinkers.

So I think we have a responsibility to make [gays] acceptable. We have to get past all this bullshit, so that some gay kid going to high school doesn’t get the shit beat out of him just because he's gay. And like, what is this hang up with gay marriage, you know? Who cares?!

I mean, we aired a clip yesterday where this guy was carrying on – he's petitioning, and he's devoting his whole life to making sure that gay marriage doesn't happen in his state. And I'm thinking, 'Geez, this man must have the most empty fucking life.' It's just such bullshit.

If you want to believe in God, that's great. But don’t buy into these religions that were created by man that have all these cockamamie rules that were created by some uptight douche bag.

Artie Lange: And God created gay people, so I don’t know what these religious nuts are even talking about. Look, you can become a Nazi and you could be mad at them for doing that. But you're not born a Nazi. Every type of person was created by God, so you love them and accept them. Some people think it’s a choice, being gay, but I really don’t think so. I mean, why would you choose to be downtrodden?

Robin: Why would you choose to get the shit kicked out of you?

Howard: Right.

When Stern was just beginning to make a major name for himself, I just couldn't get into his style of commentary and comedy. Over the years however, after hearing over and over again about the extraordinary level of humanity and compassion that make up the core of his persona, I've done a compete 180.

I don't think there's anyone anywhere who deserves our respect and especially our gratitude more than Howard Stern.

Thank you Howard for continuing to stand by us.

May 4, 2009


Orson Scott Card is a best-selling science fiction writer, english professor and public speaker.

He is also an extreme homophobe who is calling for the criminalization of homosexuality and the overthrow of the American government if he and his cohorts don't get their way.

As an official representative of the Mormon church, he was recently installed as the newest and most prominent board member of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Which, by the way, is the group that brought you the infamous and much ridiculed "Gathering Storm" TV commercial.

Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way issued the following statement in a recent press release:

“If the National Organization for Marriage wants to make the comments of a gossip columnist and a beauty queen the subject of a national debate, then it should answer for the bizarre and troubling remarks of its most prominent board member – best-selling science fiction writer Orson Scott Card.

The NOM has argued that it is not a homophobic organization, but Card’s remarks suggest otherwise. Card, who represents the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the board and received an effusive welcome last week from NOM president Maggie Gallagher, supports criminalizing sex between same-sex adults.

Keegan goes on to quote Card directly from his own writings:

Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books…to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens.

Keegan also cites Card's own words in advocating the overthrow of the government if same-sex marriage is permitted:

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.

Now, of course, Card has a right to say whatever he wants about gays, homosexuality and overthrowing the government no matter how disgusting or alarming. But when a national, politically oriented organization like NOM endorses those views by giving him such a prominent position on its board, that is, to me, dancing very close to the edge of outright treason.

I totally agree with Michael Keegan in challenging NOM to categorically reject Card’s radical statements.