2757 posts categorized "Media"

April 17, 2015

Charles Francis: Best way to remember first White House protests

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In today's Blade, Mattachine Society of Washington President Charles Francis, marking today's 50th anniversary of the first gay picket outside the White House, describes the continuing struggle to unearth the history of anti-gay persecution:

[I]t is amazing after 50 years how much we still do not know about what was actually happening to these pioneers and the untold thousands of other gay men and lesbians whose careers and lives were destroyed by federal persecution. For example, most of the personal papers of the U.S. Civil Service Commission Chairman John W. Macy—the leader of the government’s gay ban at what is now the Office of Personnel Management — today remain unavailable to researchers at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin....

Working with our pro bono legal counsel McDermott, Will & Emery, The Mattachine Society of Washington has learned that John Macy’s personal papers are not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. He donated them to the National Archives prior to the passage of the Presidential Records Act of 1978 that governs the official records of presidents created or received after 1981. In this way, John Macy to this day has been able to tie up his personal papers with restrictions supposedly to protect the privacy of individuals....

These boxes include the 1965/1966 period when Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings, Paul Kuntzler, Lilli Vincenz, Kay Lahusen, Jack Nichols and others stood outside the White House fence demanding a meeting. Working with the National Archives, whose archivists understand the importance of the sealed boxes of gay and lesbian history, let’s open up the Macy papers as the best way to honor the men and women who took their case to the American people on a sidewalk with pickets, April 17, 1965. Frank would love it.

Also in today's Blade on the 50th anniversary of the first gay WH protests:

Activists to mark 50th anniversary of first gay rights protests

April 16, 2015

Not a hoax: Jim Graham will promote male strip club

Former D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham is now promoting a gay night at a strip club on Georgia Avenue. Someone was just asking me the other day what he was up to. Now we know. One odd detail:

In a takeoff on his well-known use of bowties as a fashion statement during his years as a Council member, Graham said all of the nude male dancers will be wearing one of the hundreds of bowties he has in his wardrobe.

“They are going to put them on and at some point they will dispose of the bow ties in the audience,” said Graham. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

I look forward to hearing reports of the erotic frisson experienced by customers at the use of Jim's bowties by his dancers. (I'm kidding.) I confess I initially thought the entire story was a hoax.

Clinton urges SCOTUS to rule for marriage equality

This represents a shift for Hillary, who previously said that marriage should be left to the states.

Note to Log Cabin: this means she has moved in the right direction, unlike Mitt Romney, whom you endorsed in 2012.

Rubio opposes marriage equality, but would attend a gay relative's wedding

David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement reports on the latest squirming from Sen. Marco Rubio.

Tony Perkins: gay marriage violates church-state separation

Right Wing Watch reports:

The Family Research Council announced today that it has partnered with Rick Santorum’s film company, EchoLight Studios, to produce a short film for churches to air during the April 26 event “Stand for Marriage Sunday: Religious Freedom at Risk.”

In the film, which features appearances by Santorum and Mike Huckabee, the FRC warns that a Supreme Court ruling striking down bans on same-sex marriage would jeopardize religious freedom and undermine the separation of church and state. The film mentions cases in Oregon and Washington state where a baker and florist, respectively, were sued for violating their states’ non-discrimination laws — not marriage laws — for refusing service to gay customers. (The baker and florist both lost their cases).

Once again, FRC and its allies insist that their religious freedom entitles them to discriminate against other people. In other words, they demand the right to impose their beliefs on others in the public marketplace. Given that we live in a religiously diverse society, how is that going to work?

FRC President Tony Perkins lies in the above clip, stating that a majority of Americans agrees with him. In fact, 59 percent support marriage equality. If he embraces biblical truth, why doesn't he stop violating the commandment against bearing false witness?

St. Louis archbishop didn't know sex with children was a crime

NBC News reports on Archbishop Robert Carlson:

The St. Louis archbishop embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal testified last month that he didn’t know in the 1980s whether it was illegal for priests to have sex with children, according to a court deposition released Monday.

Archbishop Robert Carlson, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul at the time, was deposed as part of a lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.

April 15, 2015

RSC calls on Congress to block D.C. anti-discrimination bills

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(Rep. Diane Black. Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) has introduced a disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 44) in the House to block D.C.'s Human Rights Amendment Act, which among other things repeals the anti-gay, congressionally imposed Armstrong Amendment that dates from the late 1980s. This is on the heels of Monday's introduction by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) of a disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 43) against D.C.'s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act.

The House Oversight and Government Reform will hold a markup this Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 am. In the event Hartzler's resolution is moved at the markup, it would be subject to a point of order for violating the three-day rule for markups; such a point of order could only be waved through unanimous consent.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton yesterday denounced the first disapproval resolution (on reproductive health) in no uncertain terms:

If Congress wants to try and strike down our local law, the very least the District of Columbia is entitled to is an open hearing. Instead, with little notice and no hearing, the disapproval resolution seeks not only to undermine the democratic will of D.C. voters, but also the constitutional rights of men and women to privacy concerning their most personal matters. An individual's decisions concerning reproductive choices are personal health care decisions, and are perhaps the most private of decisions protected by the Constitution. Personal reproductive matters certainly are not work related, and are no business of an employer.

The largest House Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, has called on Congress to pass the disapproval resolutions or attach riders to the D.C. Appropriations Bill to block implementation of the D.C. anti-discrimination bills. GLAA is working with a wide array of local and national allies to defend both bills.

Roll Call reports.

(Hat tip: Bradley Truding)

Update: The OGR markup has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

O'Reilly: 'Open season on Christians and white men' in U.S.

Really, Mr. O'Reilly?

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Christie swims against the tide on marijuana

Our friend Ernest Hopkins comments on Facebook:

Good to know. He might as well not even run with an announcement like this. Talk about swimming against the tide...

Let Gov. Christie enjoy his alternate reality; but he should pay the tab for it himself, as a private citizen.

Larry Kramer's latest: 'debasing and vile'

Mattachine Society of Washington President Charles Francis writes of this NYT book review:

The deification of Larry Kramer continues. His latest novel is no history: it is in fact a debasing and vile telling of American history through an obsession of his: the word "shit" beginning in the "penis of America", Florida, with Florida monkeys and the "anus of America", the Everglades. I am not making this up. This is not Annette Gordon-Reed uncovering with meticulous research the "Hemingses of Monticello". Kramer says, "tough shit" in the novel if you ask questions or want more.

Yes. Here is my Nov. 2011 column on Kramer.

April 14, 2015

Cultural competency bill for healthcare providers introduced in D.C. Council

Thanks to Councilmembers Grosso and Alexander for introducing the bill we and our allies have been working on to establish LGBT cultural competency requirements for District-licensed healthcare providers. And thanks to their colleagues for unanimously co-sponsoring. CM Alexander chairs the Health committee, so we were pleased to help get her on board as co-introducer.

D.C. Council rejects Corizon contract on 6-5 vote

Thanks to Councilmembers Charles Allen, Mary Cheh, David Grosso, Phil Mendelson, Brianne Nadeau, and Elissa Silverman for voting today to disapprove the Corizon contract for inmate healthcare. Thanks also to our many allies who opposed the contract, including Deb Golden at the D.C. Prisoners Project, Samantha Davis at So Others Might Eat, and Shannon Minter at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Here is a sample of GLAA's letter to CMs urging rejection of the contract.

A number of people hired by Corizon wore t-shirts saying "Jobs Not Jail," which is agreeable enough but not the issue under discussion, which was Corizon's terrible record in providing correctional healthcare services. Some of the same folks were picketing in front of the Wilson Building when I arrived for the legislative meeting, and their picket signs were incoherent. I asked one of the Corizon picketers whether he was for Corizon or against it, and he could not answer me. I guess the instructions were, "Wear this shirt and carry this sign."

This could come up again if allies of Mayor Bowser win the special elections for D.C. Council seats in Wards 4 and 8. So stay tuned.

April 13, 2015

Marriage News Watch

Matt Baume at AFER gives us his latest update.

GLAA urges D.C. Council to reject #Corizon contract for inmate healthcare

Deb Golden of the D.C. Prisoners Project tweets GLAA's letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson urging rejection of the Corizon contract. Here is a copy of our letter to Ward 1 CM Brianne Nadeau. We have also signed on to a joint letter.

April 12, 2015

Hillary enters presidential race

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday launched her 2016 presidential race with this video.

April 11, 2015

Obama shoots rainbow from his hand

Very amusing.

April 09, 2015

President Obama opposes youth 'conversion' therapies

Thank you, Mr. President.

April 08, 2015

Taking the Ball from the GOP

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(Washington Blade editorial cartoon by Ranslem)

My latest Blade column takes a look at how the GOP's overreach has exposed its weak game. Here is an excerpt:

Republicans had a bad week last week. When not failing in their effort to sabotage nuclear nonproliferation negotiations, they were denouncing the Indiana and Arkansas legislatures for undermining their so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts by adding clarifying language. Retail giant Walmart was instrumental in pressuring Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to demand a fix to that state's RFRA.

The only homophobes who had a good week were the owners of Memories Pizza, who received over $800,000 in donations in a right-wing media scam that hailed them as Christian martyrs for refusing to fill the previously unknown demand for pizza at gay weddings.

Read the whole thing here.

Springfield voters repeal LGBT rights protections

Tell me again why my rights should be subject to my neighbors' veto? The U.S. Constitution guarantees a republican form of government. It says nothing about plebiscites.

April 07, 2015

SC cop faces murder charge after shooting man in back

Without this video, the officer would likely have gotten away with it.

Evan Wolfson eats his Wheaties

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April 04, 2015

The #Indiana Memories Pizza fundraiser is a conservative media scam

Forward Progressives reports on "another publicity stunt designed to gin up the conservative base."

CO: shop not wrong for refusing anti-gay cake

In the minds of some on the right, a shop that discriminates out of bias against a gay customer is the same as one that refuses to participate in an expression of anti-gay bias. This Colorado ruling shows otherwise.

April 03, 2015

Buchanan to Hannity on Iran: 'You're hysterical'

This delightful clip of Pat Buchanan schooling Sean Hannity on Iran makes me think that a reality show called "Battle of the Wingnuts" could be a smash hit.

Cutting holes in the law

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Given the persistence of would-be discriminators in portraying themselves as victims, I reiterate what I wrote in December on faith-based exemptions: "To preserve civil society, we cannot permit ad hoc exclusions from equal protection."

IndyStar editorial: A historic step forward for Indiana

For the first time, [Indiana] elected leaders have inserted the phrases "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" into a state law that protects against discrimination. And there are promises — credible promises — to go farther in the future.

A note of caution:

Obama: framework would cut off every path Iran has to develop nuclear weapons

To those who say there's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans regarding the Middle East because both support Israel and both use American military, look at this: a Democratic president using multilateral diplomacy while Republicans, aggressively and willfully ignorant of recent history, clamor for another preemptive war. This negotiation is not finished, but congrats and thanks to the president and Secretary of State Kerry for their persistence.

Suspect arrested in Hotel Donovan murder

NY Boy Scouts affiliate defies ban on hiring adult gays

An admirable development in New York.

Somali Militants Kill 147 at Kenyan University

NYTreports on a horrific attack in eastern Kenya.

April 02, 2015

Final Four coaches issue joint statement against Indiana law

What a remarkable outpouring we have seen of LGBT-affirming statements in response to Gov. Pence's signing of an anti-gay law disguised as a defense of religious freedom.

April 01, 2015

Class act on the mound in Oakland

What a fine way of turning a negative into a positive.

In response to hate, a Kentucky high school team finds its strength

I love this story.

Ark. Gov. Hutchinson will not sign 'religious freedom' bill without changes

Thanks to Hutchinson's son Seth, and to Walmart and other companies that weighed in with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Below, hundreds rally for changes to the Arkansas RFRA bill. Our voices, and the looming consequences for persisting in bigotry, are having an effect.

Trevor Noah: Live at the Apollo

Trevor Noah, the young South African comedian chosen as Jon Stewart's successor as host of the Daily Show, has stirred some controversy due to his past material. Here he talks about race in South Africa and in America. Not the safest of subjects, but he is smart and has a facility for voices. His black Hitler is quite good.

Bowser bans D.C. government travel to Indiana

Thanks to Mayor Bowser for this sensible action that makes it clear that Indiana’s extreme RFRA law cannot be squared with the District’s values. She has added our city’s voice to the growing chorus of condemnation around the country. This nationwide reaction is a welcome illustration of how times have changed.

March 31, 2015

Backlash to a bad bill and a disastrous interview

Above is the notorious interview in which Indiana Gov. Mike Pence repeatedly refuses to answer George Stephanopoulos's question on Sunday. Here are several takes on the matter, which has stirred up a huge nationwide reaction:

Here are some thoughts of mine:

  1. Contrary to Gov. Pence, the Indiana RFRA is not the same as the 1993 federal version, nor the Illinois version Obama voted for 17 years ago.
  2. A lot has happened since the 1990s. The religious right routinely plays the victim as a cover. Their real objection is that everyone does not believe the same as they do.
  3. Without an anti-gay motivation, there is no reason for the law at all. That motivation has been amply reported in the past few days--the statements, the 'phobes in the signing photo, the bakers and florists etc.
  4. Most Americans support anti-discrimination laws, which are not just a basis for lawsuits, they are a statement of public policy. It matters which symbolic statement you make.
  5. Indiana has no LGBT protections in public accommodations. If there is no intent to discriminate, they should clarify that by adding LGBT protections.
  6. The libertarian view on anti-discrimination laws is at least coherent, which I respect, but it lost the public policy argument long ago, and I don't see libertarians demanding repeal of the Civil Rights Act beyond its application to the government. It has seeped in too deeply.
  7. The public reaction to the Indiana law has shown a sea change in views on the place of gay folk in society. That is a good thing in itself. If the backlash means businesses making clear their support for their gay employees and customers, and posting "We serve everyone" signs, that is surely welcome.
  8. At the same time, the doubling down by Republican presidential candidates, and by politicians in Arkansas, in their eagerness to pander to their base by making an anti-gay statement, shows how out of step the GOP is politically.
  9. We are too diverse religiously to cohere socially if we go down the road of encouraging people to impose their religious anathemas in the public square, whether that be in shops, pharmacies, or professional services. It is true that much of this can be handled by the market; I certainly would not demand that someone who despises me prepare food for me and my guests. But again, a clear statement of public policy is a good in itself.
  10. Anyone who wants to go off on their own like Thoreau should try it. I don't know where that would be. Short of that, we are interconnected in innumerable ways on a daily basis, and I will not consent to being carved out from equal protection at people's whim.

The telltale bill signing photo

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Crooks and Liars reports on who was standing behind Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in the private bill signing ceremony for the so-called "religious freedom" bill.

Bryan Fischer on #BigGay