1288 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

March 02, 2015

David Benham's baseball cure (for the thing that makes Jesus puke)

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(Photo of David Benham - screenshot from The Blaze)

Anti-gay crusader David Benham testifies:

We had so many people from the gay community reaching out to us and one man in particular from the city of Chicago reached out -- and he said things to me that made me lose my appetite. But I simply responded in love.

After a little conversation back and forth, I found out he loved baseball... and I got him tickets to a Cubs game. He shot me a Facebook post and said, 'I was not expecting that -- and I've been thinking a lot about this. I've chosen to walk away from my lifestyle'... What God needs most is a simple voice for truth.

OMG, I am sorely beset by homosexual demons. Quick, someone send me season tickets to the Nats to drive them out! I promise not to stare at the players' butts!

(Hat tip: John M. Becker at Bilerico)

HRC: maps of state laws and policies

As nationwide marriage equality nears, the focus increasingly turns to the state of LGBT-related laws and policies in the states. DC is in the top rank, with most of the boxes checked. There is much more work to be done in many states.

Marriage equality wins in Nebraska

March 01, 2015

They met on Grindr at CPAC

Ah, the homocons and their privileged play in the gardens of the oppressor.

February 27, 2015

Rights groups thank Reid, Pelosi for opposing use of religion to discriminate

Today, 77 rights organizations sent a letter to Democratic Leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to thank them for opposing the use of religion to discriminate. GLAA is proud to be among them. The letter was coordinated by the Inter-Coalition Religious Refusals Working Group of the National Women’s Law Center. The text is as follows:

Dear Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Leader Reid:

The undersigned organizations have come together to thank you for your strong stand protecting people from those who would misuse religion to harm others. Your continued leadership is critical to stopping any new legislative initiatives in this area in the 114th Congress. In fact, Congress has begun to consider these issues already, with a House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee for the Constitution and Civil Justice Hearing on “Oversight of the Religious Freedom Restoration Action and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act” on February 13, 2015.

The groups that have signed onto this letter include those working on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities; women; communities of color; youth; reproductive health; individuals facing issues around aging and end of life concerns; health care; people of faith and religious communities; secular beliefs; religious liberty; civil rights; labor; those affected by domestic violence; those living with HIV/AIDS; and a variety of other issues. Together, we represent many millions of Americans across this country.

Our nation’s laws have long protected the freedom of religion and belief – but not the right to impose those beliefs on others. The American people agree; 83 percent of adults believe that “people are entitled to their religious beliefs, but this does not give them the right to harm other people.”

The 77 organizations that have signed this letter, despite our different missions, hold in common the core principle that religion should not be used to discriminate. We thank you for doing the same. We, and the many millions of people we represent, stand with you in opposing any efforts to pass legislation that would allow religion to be misused in this way.

February 26, 2015

Hate pastor James David Manning protests too much

Harlem-based anti-gay loon James David Manning, who claims to be a Christian pastor but displays not the slightest comprehension of the teachings of Christ, is even more unhinged than usual in the above clip.

Manning's obsession with homosexuality may be explained by the video below from the David Pakman Show. At about 12:20, Manning says that in his twenties in prison he was tempted to have sexual intercourse with a sodomite. This is right after he insists that Starbucks puts gay semen in its coffee. (I'm not kidding.)

This, I submit to you, is another example of Rosendall's Law, which states:

Whenever any person displays vehement and obsessive hostility toward gay rights, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that he or she has unresolved personal issues such as repressed homosexuality, an estranged gay spouse, or a gay child.

Stand with Mayor Bowser to defend #i71 - now the law in D.C.

NBC Washington reports:

Possessing small amounts of marijuana is now legal in the nation's capital, even after some members of Congress threatened prison time for D.C. Council members.

February 24, 2015

Trigger Warnings and Twitter Wars

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My column this week looks at clashes over gender politics that are testing the civil rights community. Here is an excerpt:

For years, some radical feminists have vociferously opposed transgender people. An example is Janice Raymond, a lesbian ex-nun who wrote in her 1979 book, The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male, that trans women, whom she regarded as male predators, were the "avant garde of the patriarchy invading women's spaces." As a liberal feminist and a supporter of trans equality, I very much disagree with Dr. Raymond. Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, explains, "[G]ender identity (the sex of one's brain) drives trans persons to transition, regardless of genital anatomy."

For the LGBT advocates with whom I work in Washington, D.C., that ship has sailed. We do not sit around discussing gender theory. We take it as a given that trans people are citizens entitled to equal protection. We work in coalition to ensure that the "T" is included in legislation, data gathering, and public services (and D.C. is among the top states in the Human Rights Campaign's State Equality Index). Science is on our side: the American Psychiatric Association declassified transgender identity as a disorder in 2012, as it did homosexuality in 1973.

For some, this is not enough. There is a movement to "no-platform" trans-excluding radical feminists (TERFs), that is to bar them from campuses and deny them a platform for their views. This is part of a broader and distinctly illiberal trend whereby universities are seen not as centers for the robust exchange of ideas, but as frightening places full of triggers and micro aggressions....

Read the whole thing here.

National Review executive editor Reihan Salam signs marriage equality statement

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(Photo by Kris Krug)

Reihan Salam, executive editor at the conservative National Review, has signed a statement drafted by David Blankenhorn that makes the conservative case for marriage equality.

I first encountered Salam when he worked for Andrew Sullivan's blog, so I sent Andrew a congratulatory note. He replies, "Reihan was my first intern. love the guy."

The ground has certainly shifted. Hooray for us.

Discriminatory Washington state florist chooses martyrdom over $2001 settlement

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(Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom)

The Blaze reports.

If the discriminators are the victims here, then erase my life.

February 23, 2015

Anti-gay #SB202 becomes law in Arkansas

SecDef Carter supports openly trans servicemembers

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Michael K. Lavers at the Blade reports. President Obama has endorsed Secretary Carter's statement.

February 22, 2015

Celebrities defend gay rights in Ghana

February 20, 2015

Texas Supreme Court: no more gay weddings

Travis County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir stated:

The Texas Supreme Court order on the Motion for Temporary Relief has stayed further proceedings in the trial court, and is not directed at the County Clerk. I have every reason to believe that the actions I took this morning were legally correct based on the trial court's order, and that the license my office issued was then and is now valid. There is no further action for me to take at this time.

Matt Baume explains the bakery wars

AFER's Matt Baume explains it all for you.

February 19, 2015

BAR: U.S. Protection of LGBT Iraqis Questioned

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(Bodies of dead gay Iraqis lie in a Baghdad street. AP Photo)

Our friend Michael Petrelis blogs about a Bay Area Reporter story on the plight of gay Iraqis and the responses of the United Kingdom and the United States.

Mike includes links to the referenced British and American government files obtained through FOIA requests. Thanks, Mike.

GLAA criticizes police sex work sting

The above tweet quotes from and links to a Blade story by Lou Chibbaro Jr. on a recent sting operation by the Metropolitan Police Department. Here is something I also said to Lou which was not quoted in the article:

Several local officials have privately agreed with us, but this law that only causes harm is considered politically untouchable. Incidentally, for the benefit of the hysterics at Family Research Council (who misrepresented our views), we are talking about consenting adults, not the victims of sex trafficking. Indeed, any resources in the area of sex crimes should go to keeping the former safe and rescuing the latter, not entrapping consenting adults. In these belt-tightening times, that public funds are expended on sting operations for victimless crimes should be considered scandalous. But the greater responsibility lies with the D.C. Council, which allows the laws that MPD uses for such operations to remain on the books.

These related GLAA documents may be of interest:

The blood ban and the celibacy challenge

A message from Alan Cumming. Second option: sign the petition to pressure the FDA to screen donors based on their exposure to risk, not on their sexual orientation.

First same-sex couple marries in Texas

Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ban Advanced Placement U.S. History

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(Students protest proposed changes to U.S. history curriculum in Colorado. AP photo)

Think Progress reports:

An Oklahoma legislative committee overwhelmingly voted to ban Advanced Placement U.S. History class, persuaded by the argument that it only teaches students “what is bad about America.” Other lawmakers are seeking a court ruling that would effectively prohibit the teaching of all AP courses in public schools.

The reason I don't advocate nuking Oklahoma for this is that history teaches us that it would be a terrible idea.

Pussy Riot: I can't breathe

Pussy Riot expresses solidarity with Eric Garner and other victims of police brutality.

Boehner's heavy-handed attempt to take over foreign policy on Israel

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(AP photo)

Polls are showing that Speaker John Boener's invitation to Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu to address Congress two weeks before he is up for re-election is unpopular with Americans. A recent story in Haaretz shows Boehner's dishonesty and recklessness:

House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that he had asked Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer not to inform the Obama administration about their contact over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Congress speech so as to avoid "interference."

"I wanted to make sure there is no interference," Boehner told Fox News' Sunday morning program. "There is no secret here about the animosity that this White House has for Netanyahu and I didn’t want them getting in the way and quashing what I thought was a real opportunity,” Boehner continued.

How dreadful it would be for the president to interfere with Boehner's foreign policy. Pardon me, I seem to have fallen down a rabbit hole.

EEOC says Wal-Mart discriminated against lesbian

AP reports:

A federal agency says Wal-Mart discriminated against a lesbian employee who sought health coverage for her ailing wife and has ordered "a just resolution" for violating her civil rights.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ordered the retail giant to work with Jacqueline Cote of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who hopes the determination will help her pay off $100,000 in medical bills.

In a Jan. 29 EEOC ruling, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, the agency said Cote "was treated differently and denied benefits because of her sex."

Our colleague Craig Howell writes, "Now that Wal-Mart has entered the 21st century [See this and this], I hope they can settle this case promptly."

Gay Catholic group attends Ash Wednesday papal audience

Francis DeBernardo at New Ways Ministry writes:

In what is surely the most official welcome from Church officials that New Ways Ministry has received in its 38-year history, and one of the warmest welcomes the LGBT community has received, a pilgrimage group of 48 LGBT Catholics and supporters led by our co-founder, Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, received VIP seating at the papal audience in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, on Ash Wednesday, February 18, 2015....

Two weeks before departure on February 12th, [Gramick] received a letter from Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Prefect of the Papal Household, letting her know that he had reserved tickets for the group for the Ash Wednesday audience. She assumed that these were the general seating tickets. On the night of February 17th, when the group picked up the tickets at St. Peter’s, they learned that they were VIP seating.

It was not a private meeting, which is hard to get, but it was a gracious gesture. I note that Archbishop Ganswein is the Vatican heartthrob who became known as "Bel Georgio" when he attended Pope Benedict XVI.

I am glad for Sister Jeannine and her colleagues. What will really be telling is whether they are invited to participate in the next synod, at which a substantive discussion can occur. The Church's doctrine on gay people is wrong and harmful. We are not a threat to anyone's family. We ourselves are family. The pope's considerable pastoral gifts notwithstanding, there is no sign that he wants or intends to change this policy. Without some sign of doctrinal reform, his embraces and compassionate words are like an animal shelter volunteer petting a dog as it is being euthanized. I appreciate the compassion, but what I am looking for are understanding and affirmation. If the prime seating at a papal audience is a sign of greater welcome ahead, it will be more significant.

February 12, 2015

The People's Brief for marriage equality

I have signed the people's brief. Will you?

Getting Off Our High Horse

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My latest column, now online at the Washington Blade, looks at the controversy over President Obama's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. Here's an excerpt:

At its best, faith challenges us to reflect on how far our actions have strayed from the standards we profess. The Christian Right, by contrast, uses faith as a weapon against its political opponents. Its standard bearers cannot acknowledge crimes even nine centuries in the past. So forget the anti-Semitic Rhineland Massacres of 1096; the sack of Constantinople in 1204; the destruction of ancient libraries and art treasures; the hundreds of thousands who died from slaughter, famine, and disease before the Crusaders even reached the Holy Land. Do not mention the estimated 1.7 million deaths from the Crusades, or that the savagery was launched by Pope Urban II in 1095.

The denial is not only about the Middle Ages. Millions were caught up in the Middle Passage that brought slaves to the western hemisphere, and black men in America were being burned alive in public lynching festivals well into the twentieth century. People cut off parts of the victims for souvenirs. Innumerable photos of these horrors are a few clicks away.

We can talk about this. At bottom, that is the president's message. He does our country a service by raising it, though he knows his opponents are waiting to pounce on whatever he says. He can speak less guardedly with his last race and last midterm election behind him.

Read the whole thing.

Mourning in Chapel Hill

February 11, 2015

Obama: critical mass reached, time for marriage equality nationwide

Whether he evolved or revolved on marriage, the president has it exactly right now.

February 10, 2015

A critical mass

May it be so.

Obama comments on the freedom to marry in Alabama

February 09, 2015

Same-sex couples get marriage licenses in Alabama

Alan Blinder at NYT reports:

The United States Supreme Court said early Monday that it would not stop same-sex marriages in Alabama, as gay couples gathered outside courthouses across the state.

Justices on Monday morning denied a request by the Alabama attorney general to extend a hold on a judge’s ruling overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage. The attorney general, Luther Strange, had asked the United States Supreme Court to halt the weddings until the justices settle the issue nationwide when they take it up this year.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore defies federal courts

Alan Blinder at NYT reports on Roy Moore's latest lawlessness:

In a dramatic show of defiance toward the federal judiciary, Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court on Sunday night ordered the state’s probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on Monday, the day same-sex marriages were expected to begin here.

“Effective immediately, no probate judge of the State of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent” with the Alabama Constitution or state law, the chief justice wrote in his order.

February 06, 2015

President Obama brilliantly trolls the National Prayer Breakfast

President Obama makes an admirable statement on the misuse of religion, informed by history and not just recent events. And the haters go crazy. Bravo, Mr. President.

Here are a few news items and comments:

February 04, 2015

Beck: anti-vaxxers are being persecuted, just like Galileo

Right Wing Watch reports on the latest recklessness from Glenn Beck.

Justin Fox of Bloomberg explains that Refusing to vaccinate isn't just a personal choice.

Gay man condemned by ISIS is stoned to death after surviving fall

February 03, 2015

Freedom to Marry runs marriage equality ad in Alabama

11th Circuit denies stay in Alabama marriage case

Also this:

'Death With Dignity' bill likely to get slow walk through D.C. Council

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(Photo by Matt McClain for The Washington Post)

Mike DeBonis at WaPo reports on the Death with Dignity Act, introduced by Ward 3 CM Mary Cheh and endorsed by GLAA.

I am quoted in the article, which also links to GLAA's 2015 policy brief. Councilmember Yvette Alexander, to whose Health committee the bill was assigned, said her Catholic faith, which she cited in opposing marriage equality, will not influence her handling of this bill. That remains to be demonstrated.

February 02, 2015

Gay Pride Mumbai

Alexander Stevenson at NewNowNext reports:

Saturday was the eighth annual Mumbai Pride parade, when more than 5,000 celebrants marched from August Kranti Maidan down Grant Road and Nana Chowk.

According to DNA India, parents and family members comprised a sizable contingent of Queer Azaadi Mumbai, as the event is officially known. That’s a stark contrast from only a few years ago, when most paradegoers wore masks to hide their identities (some still do).

Marriage Equality Watch

Matt Baume of AFER gives an update on the state of marriage equality efforts. Here's AFER's description:

Marriage could be starting next week in Alabama. Anti-gay officials are saying that they don’t have to let gay couples get married, but their reasoning isn’t exactly what you would call true. Oklahoma’s marriage equality backlash is getting dangerous, with a proposed law that would hand new victims to ex-gay predators. And the National Organization for Marriage thinks they’ll have an impact on the 2016 presidential election.