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July 9, 2009


I've written a lot about the Mormon church in the past. Their outright hostility, their hypocritical, immoral and unethical tactics, especially during California's Proposition 8 battle, have been recurring themes in most of my posts. I've also seen, first hand, how easily and willingly my partner's family has frequently put their Mormon beliefs above their love for their own gay son.

That's why it's always reassuring and heartwarming to come across a Mormon family that doesn't put religion above their love for their children. The following YouTube video shows such a family...

As positive and uplifting as this video is, it's also a little difficult for my partner to watch without feeling a sense of loss himself. However, our closest friend and myself have made it clear to him that he does have a family who loves him unconditionally. And my own family has also made it clear that they feel the same.

If you know someone who's struggling with issues of little or no family support, let that person know that they're not alone and that they do, indeed, have a whole new family that loves them for who they are - not who they expect them to be.

July 8, 2009


There is something seriously wrong with a society that allows a brutal murderer to serve less time than someone who abuses an animal. In this case, it's the state of South Carolina that allowed this travesty.

On the night of May 16, 2007 at about 3:45 am, 20 year old Sean William Kennedy was murdered in a brutal, homophobic attack outside a Greenville County, S.C. bar.

During his trial, it was argued that because Sean hit his head on the pavement after being hit hard enough in his face to break facial bones, his murderer was only charged with involuntary manslaughter. The prosecutor's logic was that even though Sean's brain stem was separated from his brain by the impact of his fall and even though his murderer left a message on the answering machine of Sean's friend telling him that the "f***ing faggot owes me $500.00 for breaking my goddamn hand on his teeth that f***ing bitch!” - Sean's murder was still unintentional and that a long prison sentence could hurt the murderer. Totally ignoring the fact the he already had a history of violent behavior.

Sean's murderer, Stephen Andrew Moller, was convicted of Sean's murder on the reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to only three years, minus seven months for time served.

That, by itself, was a travesty but to make matters worse, Moller was just released one week early on July 1st for good behavior because he got his GED while he was incarcerated.

According to Elke Kennedy's blog (Sean's mother):

He was supposed to stay in prison till September 7th 2009, however he received 2 month credit for good behaviour by getting his GED while in prison.

He was eligable for early parole on December 28th 2008 already. In a early parole hearing on February 11 2009 he was denied parole and his release date was set to July 7th 2009.

In a final act of callous insensitivity by the state of South Carolina, Mrs. Kennedy wasn't even given the courtesy of a personal phone call. Instead, she received an automated phone message telling her that Sean's murderer was given a one week early release.

South Carolina is one of the many states that don't have a hate crimes law in place and this tragic case dramatically demonstrates why federal hate crimes legislation is so important. Not only would it give state and local governments greatly enhanced tools, including FBI involvement, for investigating these crimes and apprehending the guilty parties, but it would also insure that perpetrators of these heinous crimes would receive the type of sentencing their actions deserve.

Thanks to Womanist Musings for supplying additional information for this story.

July 6, 2009


In an excellent, in-depth piece in Saturday's edition of the New York Times, James McKinley Jr reported that in addition to Chad Gibson's serious head injury, another patron of the Rainbow Lounge raid suffered broken ribs and a third had a broken thumb.

Also, according to a Box Turtle Bulletin post today, another man, George Armstrong, suffered severe bruising and muscle strain when he was arrested on the tenuously ambiguous charge of public intoxication even though he claimed that he was not drunk.

In a telephone interview with the Dallas Voice Armstrong said that he had gotten to the bar about 12:45 a.m. and had only been there about 30 minutes when Fort Worth officers and TABC agents swept in and began arresting people.

"I looked up and there was this swarm of police coming in.

I saw them making their way through the crowd, and I just kind of smiled at one of the officers and flashed him a ‘peace’ sign,” he added. “The next thing I know, he was coming at me. He tackled me to the ground, twisted my arms up really hard behind my back. I just kept saying, ‘What is wrong? Why are you doing this? Why are you touching me?’”

Armstrong said the officer told him he was being arrested for public intoxication, then took him outside and had him sit on the sidewalk until he was placed in the nearby van and taken to the police station. Officers outside, he said, “apparently found it really humorous. There was a lot of smirking and smiling going on.”

“When the guy tackled me in the bar, I landed on my shoulder. My shoulder and back took all the force of the fall. I was lucky that I didn’t hit my head like [Gibson] did. But I was hurt. I was in a lot of pain,” Armstrong said. “I told them at the police station that I was really hurt, but they just ignored me.”

After pleading not guilty before a judge, Armstrong was released around noon and drove straight to the emergency room at Baylor All-Saints Hospital where doctors treated him for severe bruising and muscle strain in his shoulder and back.

Since the incident occurred, Ft Worth Police Chief Jeffrey W. Halstead has backed off his initial support of the officers involved and has suspended joint operations with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Under intense public and political pressure, he has also ordered a full police department investigation and promised to give police officers “multicultural training.”

Also, the Dallas/Ft Worth Television News has reported that the TABC has instituted it's own internal investigation of the incident and has reassigned the two TABC agents involved to desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

The incident has had wide coverage in the mainstream media and several demonstrations have already taken place - with more planned. There have also been calls from GLBT activists and state and local politicians for broader, outside investigations of the TABC and Ft Worth Police Department actions.

BTW - Chad Gibson remains at JPS Hospital but his family said he is improving and his condition was upgraded from serious to fair. His doctors have said however, that he will still suffer from severe, recurring headaches for at least the next couple of years.

UPDATE 7/8/09...
365.com reported that Chad Gibson was released from the hospital and is now at home.

The police are still trying to claim that Gibson feel to the ground causing his head injury but multiple eyewitnesses continue to refute that saying that Gibson was slammed into the wall and then down to the floor by out of control police officers.

In an interview following his release, Gibson also denied the police claim that he grabbed at the crotch of one of the officers. He was backed up by other eyewitnesses who said that neither he nor anyone else grabbed at anyone's crotch.

Several investigations are being conducted but however it turns out, it won't change that fact that Gibson will most likely suffer from severe recurring headaches from that incident for several years to come.