Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims rages at his colleagues over the state's failure to protect its LGBT citizens from discrimination.
Also, BuzzFeed reports that State Sen. Jim Ferlo came out at the same rally.
Carlos Maza at Media Matters debunks myths about anti-discrimination laws.
Lancing State Journal reports:
The congregation of Catholic nuns that operates Marian High School have signaled they will re-examine policies that led to the controversial firing of a gay teacher who said she was let go because of her nontraditional pregnancy.
Well that's a start.
Leonardo DiCaprio's opening remarks at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit in New York City.
My first column in my new perch at the Washington Blade is on America's latest Mideast war: How often do we have to respond to distant problems by charging in and making things worse before we bloody well stop doing it?
Also, Blade editor Kevin Naff graciously welcomes me to the Blade's list of opinion writers. As I start this new professional relationship, I want to thank Metro Weekly and editor Randy Shulman for giving my work a home for so many years.
Ynet News reports:
Drek – one of Tel Aviv's most popular gay party organizers – has inspired a massive wave of criticism and anger online after using imagery inspired by the Islamic State group's executions on a number of posters promoting the club's parties.
Here are a couple of the offending images.
It does seem in dreadful taste. But dark humor generally is. As I do not live in the Middle East, I am not inclined to judge the Drek promoters too harshly.
Larry Klayman at right-wing site World Net Daily thinks nuclear weapons are the best way to deal with ISIS. Because sanity sometimes gets in the way of fun.
Right Wing Watch reports:
Walid Shoebat took to BarbWire today to address the reports in a new documentary that ISIS is raping its recruits and using videos of the assaults as blackmail. Of course, the BarbWire columnist cited the rapes as proof that ISIS is part of the gay rights movement....
Of course, Shoebat doesn’t seem to believe that raping hundreds of women makes ISIS part of the “heterosexual agenda.”
Facts are a buffet to some people. They just pick what they want.
My column this week looks at indecency. Here is an excerpt:
It is amazing what indecent things some people say and do in the name of decency.
If your Christian parents throw you out of the house for being gay, and they cite Scripture, it is probably St. Paul, specifically 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
Regarding the reference to homosexuality, Bible Gateway explains, "The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts." But let's not quibble over translations, nor scour the Bible Concordance for the precise connection between God's kingdom and kicking out children. The point is that some people really believe this crap, and it's causing harm, and it's time we stopped being shy about it.
After organizers of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade decided to allow an NBC-affiliated LGBT group to march, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue envisioned gay marchers masturbating in the street. Father Charles Pope, blogging for the Archdiocese of Washington, called the parade an "anal sex" celebration. These gentlemen are quieter about the papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic fleeing to Rome to avoid justice for abusing shoeshine boys.
Mayor Gray has proclaimed September 29, 2014 "Robert 'Bob' King Day" in Washington, D.C.
We must object. Here are links to several stories and blog entries that detail King's efforts against marriage equality in the District.
Let us be clear: Bob King did NOT merely oppose marriage equality in D.C. He aggressively opposed us, stoked anti-gay bigotry, took money from anti-gay bigots for his efforts, and even asked the U.S. Congress to intervene in D.C. affairs because he didn't like what our own elected leaders had done. The latter is especially egregious.
As GLAA has stated:
The District has no business issuing official proclamations and ceremonial resolutions to honor people and organizations openly hostile to the LGBT community. Officials must put procedures in place to prevent such slip-ups. Good works in other areas do not excuse discrimination or bias.
Mayor Gray is a good friend who has done more than any other mayor for LGBT people in the District. But we cannot agree with his act to honor Bob King. Mr. King contacted me last year seeking to put the past behind us and work together for the sake of the District. I was interested in a reconciliation; but when he refused to express any regrets for his past anti-gay and anti-democratic actions, much less apologize for them, I declined to meet with him. We are not sore winners. But reconciliation requires a change of heart and mind. King merely said, "You won, and we lost." I was already aware of that. What I did not detect was any contrition, nor the slightest warmth in his voice. If you extend your hand to me in fellowship, I will reciprocate. If, on the other hand, you are merely a political operative who wants others to forget your transgressions without your having acknowledged them, it is another matter.
(Hat tip: Bob Summersgill)
No, Todd, they won't. Unlike Canada, which you cite, America has something called the First Amendment. And we at GLAA have defended our opponents' First Amendment rights time and again. Here is the latest example.
(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)
Marc Santora reports in NYT:
The organizers of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade said on Wednesday that they were lifting a ban on gay groups participating in the march, ending a policy that had prompted protests, court battles and bitter debate for decades.
The decision to allow a gay group to march under its own banner, first reported by The Irish Voice, came as Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to once again boycott the parade and the organizers faced pressure from employees of NBC Universal, which broadcasts the festivities.
New York gays are not all happy at the decision.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today praised federal court Judge Martin Feldman for ruling today that the US Constitution does not preclude the state of Louisiana from defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and that voters made a rational decision in doing so when they adopted the state's marriage amendment. Feldman becomes the third federal judge to have ruled that traditional marriage laws are not unconstitutional, and the first since the US Supreme Court issued their decision invalidating a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. A state judge in Tennessee has also ruled that the US constitution does not prohibit states from defining marriage a one man and one woman.
"Here we see the house of cards collapsing that supported the myth that redefining marriage is inevitable," said Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. "This decision by Judge Feldman in Louisiana is a great win for the cause of marriage, coming as it does on the heels of other pro-marriage court victories, that puts the lie to the claim that it is inevitable the US Supreme Court will redefine marriage. To the contrary, we believe they will leave this issue with the states."
Katie Halper at The Raw Story writes:
There is a rich and honorable historic tradition of sexual boycott for socio-political purposes. The practice was immortalized by Aristophanes in his comedy Lysistrata, in which the women of Greece abstain from sex to encourage their husbands and lovers to negotiate a peace and end the Peloponnesian War. “Lysistratic nonaction” has been seen more recently, in places like the Philippines, Colombia, Liberia, and Ukraine, with varying degrees of success.
Well, ladies, it’s time to take active non-action once again. There are some men in the news whose behavior really requires it. I am issuing a non-binding call for a sexual boycott. It is a crime against not only women, but, I would argue, humanity, to have any sexual relations with these men. Their behavior towards women cannot be sanctioned or condoned through sex. It must be punished through denial. Luckily as you will see from the list, abstaining won’t require too much will power.
Singer CeeLo Green tops the list for his bizarre suggestion, "People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!! If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent."
Regarding boycott target number 3 (Republicans), guys can show solidarity by entirely avoiding the men's room at Union Station.
(Hat tip: Pam Spaulding)
Matt Baume of AFER gives an update on marriage equality cases.
If Rams can discriminate against a homosexual because his behavior doesn't measure up, so can bakers and photographers.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) August 31, 2014
AFA's Bryan Fischer rather desperately misrepresents the Rams' football-based decision to cut Michael Sam in order to make an unrelated point. Meanwhile, Breitbart in its report completely ignores Sam's strong performance in pre-season games, going back instead several months to before he was drafted.
Lucas Grindley reports at Advocate.com on Sam's situation. As Cyd Zeigler at Outsports says, the Rams' decision was based on the fact that it already has a strong defensive line. The fact that Sam was overlooked by every other NFL team, including teams like the Bengals and Patriots that needed pass rushers like him, suggest that something other than his merits was at play. Shame on the NFL.
Miranda Blue at Right Wing Watch reports:
A World Congress of Families event in Melbourne this week was supposed to feature speeches by three Australian government officials, including social services minister Kevin Andrews. Instead, all three have backed out in the face of criticism of the Illinois-based group’s promotion of harsh anti-gay and anti-choice laws around the world.
In addition, the Australian politicians had come under fire for the conference’s sponsorship by Catch the Fire ministries, a group run by far-right politician Danny Nalliah who has blamed wildfires on abortion rights and frequently lashes out against "multiculturalism." (Nalliah also happens to be an ally of bizarre birther WND columnist and RWW favorite Lord Monckton).
Andrews’ decision to back out of the WCF event is especially galling since the group had been planning to present him with its “Natural Family Man of the Year” award. In a somewhat confusing statement, Andrews criticized those asking him to back out of trying to “shut down debate” while agreeing with them that the WCF summit represented “intolerance.”
Outsports reports. Any other NFL team can pick him up in the next 24 hours. Very disappointing, but it's not over yet. Sam tweeted:
I want to thank the entire Rams organization and the city of St. Louis for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to (1/2)— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 30, 2014
show I can play at this level. I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career (2/2)— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 30, 2014
The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I've always known. The journey continues.— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 30, 2014
@MichaelSamNFL Your skills, toughness, spirit, and poise are an inspiration to millions. Thank you for stepping up. Still rooting for you.— Richard Rosendall (@RickRosendall) August 30, 2014
NYT offers a preview of the Sunday morning political shows on its op-ed page.
As predictable as the dawn. This week the President is a hapless weakling; next week, if he issues an executive order on immigration, he'll be a tyrant. It would be nice if those interviewing McCain and his closeted and overcompensating sidekick would ask them how their hawkish approach worked under Mr. Obama's predecessor. But the media has been much more interested in the President's haberdashery.
Samantha Bee normally annoys me, but this is funny. Michael Sam outclasses the people who persist in trying to marginalize him with their locker room fantasies. Rooting for you, Mike.
My column this week discusses the police abuses and racial injustice exposed by a recent police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Here's an excerpt:
When civil disorder followed the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, it was fueled by police aggression that exacerbated existing community mistrust.
Ferguson police, overwhelmingly white in a community two-thirds black, offered a case study in how not to handle lawful protests. While failing to release a proper incident report and initially withholding Wilson’s name, they put out information to imply Brown deserved his fate. Never mind the double standard whereby (say) gun-waving white radicals like Cliven Bundy in Nevada are spared deadly force.
As police innovated daily escalations (infringing First Amendment freedoms, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at reporters and peaceful protesters), community leaders including Alderman Antonio French urged restraint, blocked looters, and transmitted events on social media. Capt. Ron Johnson of the state highway patrol showed maturity by replacing riot gear with respectful community engagement, though events (and some headstrong officers) outflanked him.
Live tweets and subsequent reports reveal belligerent officers with a history of abuse. While demonstrators chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot,” outsiders instigated violence that gave police an excuse to “drop the hammer,” as SiriusXM radio host Mark Thompson put it. A Missouri GOP official called on-scene voter registration efforts “disgusting.” So pointing guns at protesters is not a provocation, but registering voters is?
Read the whole thing at Metro Weekly.
Mark Joseph Stern at Slate has excerpted a string of audio clips from Tuesday's 7th Circuit hearing on the Indiana and Wisconsin gay marriage bans, in which conservative Judge Richard Posner quietly and brutally exposes the bankruptcy of the state governments' position.
Listening to the audio has a much more powerful impact than just reading Posner's words on the page. I think this is going to be a legendary moment when the history of this struggle is written. Judge Posner is devastating.
John Aravosis at AMERICAblog reports:
The wildly popular gay dating app “Grindr” is facing accusations that a glitch in its system is giving away the actual location of its users to anyone with a Web connection.
The charge, first reported by NDTV – which I tested and found to be accurate — is that someone not even signed in to the phone/tablet application can find the location of any Grindr user to within about 100 feet.
Among the locales in which gays were detected by my test of the security breach: Turkey, Jordan, the British House of Commons, and the DC headquarters of the Republican National Committee.
(Update: Using the Grindr security glitch, I just found three gays in Kampala, Uganda; and a colleage found two inside the Russian state Duma (parliament), and one inside the Kremlin itself.)
Grindr claims it's not a bug, it's a feature.
Video of Michael Brown's funeral service, held Monday at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. May he rest in peace.
Beautiful New Yorker cover this week, by Eric Drooker. Hands up, don't shoot.
In addition to being spot-on, this commentary by Aussie comedian Adam Hills is a beautiful tribute to Robin Williams. Helloooooo!
In what may spell the end times for the deranged Phelps family, they have accepted the offer by Hills to pay their first-class fare to Iraq (and pay the carbon offset) to protest anti-Christian persecution by the radical Islamic group ISIS. And just as a sweet reminder, a scene that illustrates why the late actor and comedian reviled by the Phelps loons is so beloved.
Kyle Mantyla reports at Right Wing Watch on the latest lunacy from Bryan Fischer of AFA.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch has the latest craziness from David Horowitz. Here's a sample:
Obama is an anti-American radical and I'm actually sure he's a Muslim, he certainly isn't a Christian. He's a pretend Christian in the same way he's a pretend American. It really is disgraceful. He's inviting the terrorists to behead more Americans when he should be attacking them with our military. His whole agenda in office has been to defeat America, he lost the war in Iraq deliberately, he created a vacuum which ISIS has filled.
Click on the link above for audio clips.
A curious article appeared in the online version of the Blade on August 15, written by Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez and Heather Cronk and titled, "LGBT success comes from diverse communities." In it they take objection to a quote by Robert Raben of The Raben Group in a previous article. He was remarking on the power of white privilege, but Sousa-Rodriquez and Cronk managed to turn this into a claim "that only white men can secure progress," as they put it. They took great issue with this. The trouble with this is that it is simply not what Raben said.
I posted the following reply:
The authors should re-read the article. They have seriously misconstrued Robert Raben’s remarks. He did not say that only white men can secure progress. He was noting the power of white privilege, not (to say the very least!) endorsing white supremacy. He is known as someone who continually spends his privilege to empower all. During our community’s preparations for passage of marriage equality in DC, which we won five years ago, Robert was as clear as anyone about how crucial it was for our city’s effort and its public voice to reflect the diversity of our community. He must have gasped at being so badly misunderstood by these writers, whose interpretation is approximately the opposite of what he and his firm uphold.
As Barney Frank used to say, some of us are working to create change; but some people just want to complain.
Florida AG Pam Bondi says y'all can just stay in limbo until SCOTUS rules.
Rep. John Lewis, renowned civil rights champion and veteran of the Freedom Rides and Bloody Sunday, marches in Atlanta to show solidarity with the peaceful protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.
Meanwhile in Ferguson, the protests are being infiltrated by violent outside agitators.