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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