It became official yesterday, August 15: Vincent Orange is gone from the D.C. Council. This City Paper article from 2010 shows some of the reasons why I consider this good news. In addition to having called his rival mayoral candidates in 2006 morally unfit for supporting marriage equality (he lost badly in that race), he falsely took credit for reforms at Pepco (and wrongly invoked my name while doing so).
Orange did some good things, though one bill he moved for us he only did after another Councilmember (I believe it was Jack Evans) held up one of his bills until Orange marked up the bill we wanted. Orange finally decided to support marriage equality after we had won. But he was the least trustworthy member of the Council, and his self-promotion was endless and exhausting. Democratic At-Large nominee Robert White, who is expected to be appointed to the vacant seat on an interim basis, will be a breath of fresh air on the Council.
My new Blade column gapes at Trump's fascist rally in Cleveland, as well as the growing scandal over Russian interference in the American election. And I examine the sharp contrast between the two parties' vice presidential candidates. Have a gander while you watch self-defeating leftists trying to sabotage the proceedings in Philadelphia.
The Tina Fey of 2016 has emerged, and it is our best girl, @LauraBenanti. Now I have something to look forward to during the rest of this campaign. Brava, Laura. You nailed it. My favorite moment is her squinting at the teleprompter.
A fine performance by the former congressman at yesterday's disgraceful hearing on the anti-LGBT, so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which is simply a continued attack on gay families waged under a new (and false) banner.
Have you had occasion in your life to sob uncontrollably? Do you remember the raw grief and the sense of being lost, the free fall of despair? Were you 15 years old and facing TV cameras as Cameron Sterling was in Baton Rouge? His father Alton was shot multiple times point blank while already restrained. It is too awful for words; yet the heartbreaking video of Cameron's grief may be the only way to touch the humanity of some people. 61 years ago, Emmett Till's mother was faced with the awful decision of whether to have a closed casket or to open it and allow photographers to capture the horror. "I want them to see what they did to my son," she said. It is natural to want to grieve in private. Once again, a family reeling from the devastation of brutal injustice has found the courage to allow the cameras in. We are too good at distancing; we need to be confronted by the barbarity done in our name. But oh, for a child to have to bear that burden. I hope Cameron at least gets some sense of the countless strangers who longed to hold him as he shook. But he wants his father back, and we cannot give that to him. We must do more than cry in sympathy. We must make this stop.
Below, the horrific video of this point-blank killing of Alton Sterling while he was restrained. All cops are not monsters. But we have a terrible and recurring problem, and a big part of it is a refusal by people all along the chain of justice, including juries, to hold racist, murderous officers accountable. We have got to find a way to change this. But at least we can make some noise. Joan E. Biren writes: "Let the BATON ROUGE PD (@BRPD) know what you think. I did."
PHONE: (225) 389-2000
Note: After he was shot, Sterling was mortally wounded but not dead. He died subsequently.
My Blade column this week uses the president's historic visit to Hiroshima as a jumping-off point for a consideration of his ground-breaking approach to foreign policy.
Lawyer who helped take down Prop 8 joins fight against NC's anti-LGBT law https://t.co/HB5gBNJCEq— huffpostqueer (@huffpostqueer) May 18, 2016
The Human Rights Campaign goes the celebrity route again. HRC President Chad Griffin, then leader of American Foundation for Equal Rights, previously brought Olson in, along with Democratic attorney David Boies, for the court fight against California Proposition 8, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry. Olson and Boies ran up more than $6 million in legal fees in that case, despite the fact that other attorneys working in marriage equality cases often worked pro bono. So how much is HRC going to pay Olson?
It should be noted, by the way, that the Perry case did NOT win the nation marriage equality. It was sent back to a lower court by SCOTUS in 2013 for lack of standing. The 2013 SCOTUS overturn of the discriminatory federal definition of marriage in DOMA was in another case, United States v. Windsor, where Edith Windsor's attorney Roberta Kaplan argued before the high court. The ruling that granted civil marriage equality throughout the country came with Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. The plaintiffs in that case were represented at oral argument by civil rights lawyer Mary Bonauto and Washington, D.C. lawyer Douglas Hallward-Driemeier.
GOP congresswoman stands up for LGBT rights alongside her transgender son https://t.co/f4N1Q3Xz79— huffpostqueer (@huffpostqueer) May 18, 2016
The Lehtinens were at the Trans Equality fundraiser Wednesday evening at The Hamilton, where Rodrigo gave his mother an Ally Award. Another member of Congress honored was Rep. Mike Honda.
A lovely video from Trans United Fund.
Our friend Peter Tatchell writes from London:
Pope Francis has failed LGBT people
Gentler words do not assuage Vatican opposition to gay equality
"The Pope promised reform but has reconfirmed traditional Catholic doctrine on same-sex relationships. He has ignored submissions and appeals by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics. Gentler words do not assuage Vatican opposition to gay equality. Joy of Love offers a change of tone, not of substance,” said LGBT and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.