1496 posts categorized "News"

April 17, 2014

SCOTUSblog denied press credentials

(Photo courtesy Brittanica.com)

Politico reports:

SCOTUSblog, the Peabody Award-winning blog that covers the Supreme Court "gavel-to-gavel," has been denied a Senate press pass, which in turn means it cannot be issued a press credential for the Supreme Court. The site's publisher said in a post it will appeal the decision and may litigate the issue if necessary.

It is disgraceful that the go-to source for reporting and analysis on SCOTUS is treated this way. The powers that be need to get with the times.

April 13, 2014

Walking While Trans

(Photo by John Riley for Metro Weekly)

Planet Transgender reports:

Just days after Monica Jones was seen in this CBS video (embedded below) protesting the failed religious discriminatory law in Phoenix, she was offered a ride while walking to a bar. The driver turned out to be an undercover police officer who then arrested her for "manifestation of prostitution'.

This law is a vague statue which enables officers to arrest woman for no other reason than asking if they are police. The law is used to feed people to "Project Rose" as the city conducts massive drag nets hauling in dozens of individuals at a time. This profiling of woman by police is contested by the Arizona ACLU which notes that "The difference between 'innocent' and 'criminal' behavior often comes down to how a person looks.

A 2011 study in NYC found that 59% of transgender respondents said that they had been stopped by police. So over half of our sisters in NYC had they lived in Phoenix would have faced the prospect of "Project Rose".

In short, a transgender woman of color is simply assumed to be guilty. This makes things more convenient, except of course for the woman criminalized essentially for existing. The Monica Jones case illustrates why we are not done in our battle for equality and justice. Those of us who do not fit the police profile owe it to our trans sisters of color to stand up against this relentless legal assault on their existence.

On Friday, April 11, I participated in a rally outside the Wilson Building here in D.C. at which we expressed support for Monica Jones and called for repeal of the District's so-called Prostitution Free Zones law, which discriminates against transgender women and solves nothing. GLAA's views on PFZs are expressed here.

Metro Weekly reports. I am quoted at some length in the article.

Nevada GOP drops party platforms against gay marriage and abortion

Las Vegas Review-Journal reports a welcome bit of news.

Mat Staver warns of government overthrow over gay marriage

Right Wing Watch shares the latest right-wing lunacy.

April 09, 2014

UMass guard Derrick Gordon comes out

Cyd Zeigler of OutSports interviews sophomore shooting guard Derrick Gordon of the University of Massachusetts, who came out to his teammates. Kudos to this young man, and to those who helped him.


Fischer: It's now a crime to be a Christian in America

From Right Wing Watch. Do not rely on Bryan Fischer for information.

April 07, 2014

Supreme Court won’t hear anti-gay photographer case

The Blade reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday it won’t take up a case in which a New Mexico photography business alleges its rights were violated when it landed in hot water for refusing to shoot a same-sex wedding ceremony.

In orders published Monday morning, the court listed the case, Elane Photography v. Willock, without comment as among the cases it won’t consider.

The case was brought to the Supreme Court by Elane Photography, which was found to have violated New Mexico’s anti-discrimination law for refusing to take a photo for the same-sex wedding ceremony for Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth in 2006. (The wedding was only ceremonial because the incident took place before the state legalized same-sex marriage.)

Thank the Goddess for small favors.

April 05, 2014

Fox's Starnes denounces treatment of ex-Mozilla CEO

Fox News reporter Todd Starnes writes at Townhall.com to defend now-former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich:

Why not demand that those who oppose gay marriage relinquish the right to own property? Why not take away their right to vote? Why not take away their children? Why not just throw them in jail? Why not force them to work in chain gangs? Why not call for public floggings? Or better yet, let’s just strap them down on gurneys, stick a needle in their arm and rid the world of these intolerant anti-gay bigots once and for all.

I want to assure Mr. Starnes that I oppose those traditional conservative measures.

April 04, 2014

'Safe Bathrooms DC' Aims to Increase Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

The D.C. Office of Human Rights announced on April 3:

D.C. Office of Human Rights

“Safe Bathrooms DC” Aims to Increase Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Innovative reporting method uses Twitter (#safebathroomsDC) to accept complaints

Thursday, April 3, 2014

CONTACT: Elliot Imse, Director of Policy & Communications – 202.481.3773; [email protected]

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Public bathrooms can present many challenges: inevitably long lines, empty paper towel holders, and faucets that manage to spray more water onto your clothes than into your hands. Yet these challenges are trivial when compared to those some transgender and gender non-conforming people face when using gender-specific public bathrooms. Fear of harassment or violence can create a stressful experience, and many people report scouring the neighborhood until they can locate a gender-neutral bathroom. Now, the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) is asking community members to help make it a bit easier for the transgender and gender non-conforming community, with today’s launch of its Safe Bathrooms DC campaign.

Aimed at rapidly increasing the number of single-occupancy gender-neutral public bathrooms in the District, the campaign features photos of common bathroom challenges, and aims to encourage people to report non-compliant bathrooms using Twitter or the OHR website. The District is one of the few jurisdictions in the nation that requires all single-occupancy bathrooms at restaurants, businesses or other public places to be gender-neutral, without labels such as “male” or “female.” While in the past non-compliant bathrooms could be reported to OHR through the traditional complaint submission method, now community members can quickly alert OHR by tweeting the business name and location using the hashtag #safebathroomsDC, or by submitting a short five question form on the OHR website.

Continue reading "'Safe Bathrooms DC' Aims to Increase Gender-Neutral Bathrooms" »

ACA meets its signup quota

Charles Gaba at ACAsignups.net provides an informed response to anti-healthcare trolls who, being committed to declaring the Affordable Care Act an utter failure no matter what, have taken to saying, "But how many of them have PAID???" By this they are suggesting to dispute the figure of 7 million enrollees is inflated. Click on the above link to Gaba's blog entry for a thorough refutation of that right-wing talking point.

(Hat tip: Markos Moulitsas on Mark Thompson's "Make It Plain" show on Sirius/XM Radio, yesterday evening.)

Judge to end Ohio ban on recognizing gay marriage

AP reports:

A federal judge said Friday that he will strike down Ohio's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, a move that stops short of forcing Ohio to perform same-sex weddings but will make the state recognize gay couples legally wed elsewhere.

Judge Timothy Black announced his intentions in federal court in Cincinnati following final arguments in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the marriage ban.

"I intend to issue a declaration that Ohio's recognition bans, that have been relied upon to deny legal recognition to same-sex couples validly entered in other states where legal, violates the rights secured by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," Black said. "(They're) denied their fundamental right to marry a person of their choosing and the right to remain married."

Brick by brick, as Lorraine Hansberry once put it.

April 03, 2014

Capehart tribute to house music producer/remixer Frankie Knuckles


Jonathan Capehart pays tribute to house music legend Frankie Knuckles, who died on Monday at age 59:

The National Public Radio obituary noted that “By the mid-1990s, house music was so mainstream that a song by Frankie Knuckles was played in a commercial for Lipton Iced Tea.” The New York Times remembrance highlighted the Grammy he won in 1998 for nonclassical remixer of the year. And the Chicago Tribune obit pointed out that Knuckles would build “dynamic ebb-and-flow sets that would keep his dancefloor filled from midnight to noon on weekends.”

World Vision Board Member Resigns Over Gay Uproar

AP reports:

A World Vision board member has resigned in protest after the Christian aid group quickly reversed its decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages.

Jacquelline Fuller, director of corporate giving for Google Inc., said in an email Wednesday to The Associated Press that she remains a "huge fan" of the group's work on behalf of the poor, but she resigned Friday "as I disagreed with the decision to exclude gay employees who marry." ...

Last week, World Vision U.S. was at the center of an uproar after confirming it would hire employees in gay marriages. The charity, based in Federal Way, was started by evangelicals and grew to become a nearly $1 billion international relief agency.

Some prominent evangelical leaders condemned the decision, and several thousand donors canceled their child sponsorships over the new policy. Within two days, the charity backtracked, causing a separate backlash, this time from evangelicals and others who supported recognition for married gay employees. Washington is among the states that recognize same-sex marriage.

D.C. primary election post-mortems

(Washington Blade photo of Philip Pannell by Michael Key)

Tuesday's D.C. primary election results included the defeat of Mayor Vincent Gray by Ward Four Councilmember Muriel Bowser, and the defeat of Ward One Councilmember Jim Graham by challenger Brianne Nadeau. Here are several related news stories:

I'm sure we'll have commentary here on the election results and their implications; for the moment, I offer these news links. You can find competing commentaries by Peter Rosenstein and Mark Lee in the Blade. I almost got whiplash from Rosenstein's speed in getting behind Bowser after her defeat of Gray. But as the story on Independent mayoral candidate David Catania above reminds us, the race isn't over.

Mississippi governor to sign anti-gay 'religious freedom' bill into law

Reuters reports on the latest salvo in the far right's campaign to package their anti-gay fanaticism in the garb of religious freedom.

Scott Lively Denies Calling Obama The Antichrist, Admits He Did When Confronted With Audio Of His Comments

(Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports:

During Scott Lively’s interview with Michelangelo Signorile last week, the anti-gay pastor denied ever having said that President Obama is the Antichrist … until Signorile played audio captured by Right Wing Watch of Lively saying exactly that.

Good for Signorile and RWW. Lively is a right-wing evangelical who helped push Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, and is now running for governor of Massachusetts. He recently called President Obama "a radical homosexualist" and suggested that the President may even be homosexual. He just can't stop making crap up.

March 31, 2014

Ugandan archbishop speaks at rally celebrating anti-gay law in Uganda


I am reading Frank Mugisha's Twitter feed. One of the speakers at the rally in Uganda celebrating the Anti-Homosexuality Act is Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali. Indeed, he is delivering the "message of the day." He celebrates the Ugandan church's having cut ties ten years ago with the Episcopal church in America over homosexuality. Here are some of Mugisha's tweets and retweets.

Continue reading "Ugandan archbishop speaks at rally celebrating anti-gay law in Uganda" »

March 30, 2014

Mendelson responds to attacks by FOP

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

You may have seen a recent mailer or ads from the Fraternal Order of Police attacking D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.

Phil's campaign responds here.

My own thoughts: What FOP is doing is particularly scurrilous and disgraceful. One good thing about it is that they are squandering their money on a cause doomed to fail. The only alternative to Mendelson in Tuesday's primary is Calvin Gurley, whose late questionnaire response earned a GLAA rating of +1 compared to Phil's +10. As for FOP, their habitual boorishness, which I have witnessed at Council hearings, has mainly had the effect of making the police chiefs they were attacking look better by comparison. If they represented me, I would demand my dues back.

Former GLAA president Bob Summersgill writes:

We've never had an advocate on the Council as strong as Phil Mendelson.

GLAA member Jeri Hughes, a transgender rights activist, writes:

After reviewing the negative allegations, I performed some fact checks. The representations made by the FOP are factually incorrect, misleading, or outright vicious. Under Mendelson's tenure, there has been an increase in the number of officers serving in the MPD. He defended and championed District gun laws. He has consistently served as a champion of LGBT rights, and a fierce proponent for Public Safety. This Campaign to Hold Phil Mendelson Accountable is nothing more than an egregious Campaign to Smear and Malign. They should be ashamed of themselves. I know several rank and file officers...none of them feel that Phil Mendelson deserves this abuse. None. I personally know that he deserves nothing but praise from the LGBT community. This "campaign" brings into question what the leadership of the MPD FOP is trying to accomplish, as well as their motivation. They aren't representing the members. Just who are they representing? And why? Something here is very wrong...

Phil is a longtime ally and champion for the LGBT community in Washington. Here is our citation for the Distinguished Service Award that GLAA presented him in 2006.

I voted early, and I voted enthusiastically for Phil. *

* GLAA does not make endorsements in partisan races. This is GLAA Forum, where we express our personal views, and I am speaking for myself here.

March 28, 2014

Eure picked as IG for NYPD


NYT reports that Philip K. Eure, the founding director of the D.C. Office of Police Complaints, has been chosen to head the new office of Inspector General for the New York Police Department.

Phil has done a fine job at OPC, and has been great to work with. We will certainly miss him here in D.C., but we congratulate him on his new appointment and wish him all the best. It will be a challenge finding someone to fill his shoes.

(Hat tip: Jason Terry. Photo of Philip Eure via Linkedin)

Transgender rights bill passes Maryland House

Metro Weekly reports:

The Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill to prohibit discrimination against transgender people in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations by a vote of 82-57 on Thursday, setting it up to to be signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).

The bill, SB 212, takes protections for transgender people that already exist on a local level in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, and Montgomery County and extends them to the state's remaining 20 counties. The measure previously passed the state Senate earlier this month on a 32-15 vote.

Congrats to our Maryland colleagues on this landmark victory.

Gov. Snyder: Michigan Won’t Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder refuses to recognize 300 legal same-sex marriages conducted in the state after Judge Friedman's March 21 ruling and before a stay was issued pending appeal. Gov. Snyder's action is illegal. A legal marriage is a legal marriage. But the desperate, last-ditch obstruction by the radical right will continue until SCOTUS finishes the work of recognizing our families nationwide.

March 21, 2014

Michigan marriage ruling: 'Loving has profound implications for this litigation'

Another victory in federal court, this time in Michigan. Senior U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman, citing Loving v. Virginia and U.S. v. Windsor, ruled in that state's gay marriage case, DeBoer v. Snyder:

IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that Article I, § 25 of the Michigan Constitution and its implementing statutes are unconstitutional because they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Here is Judge Friedman's conclusion:

In attempting to define this case as a challenge to “the will of the people,” Tr. 2/25/14 p. 40, state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples. It is the Court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up “to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2694. Today’s decision is a step in that direction, and affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.

Read the court's ruling here.

Congrats and thanks to all who worked to make this ruling possible. A luta continua.

March 20, 2014

GLAA primary ratings ad


Here's GLAA's ratings ad for the April 1 D.C. primary election. It appears in today's issue of Metro Weekly. (Note: if we could afford it, we'd run it in the Blade also. Advertising is relatively expensive.)

Visit our main website to see the full news release on our candidate ratings.

On the Demise of Rev. Phelps

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

On the Demise of Rev. Phelps

A caustic cleric called us names,
Consigned us to eternal flames,
And taught his offspring, raised as loons,
To flaunt their faith in vile cartoons.

As spring arrives, we learn his fate,
But do not answer hate with hate;
'Tis best that we, by living well,
Defeat his pornographic hell.

We may yet mourn, with wry laments,
His absence from our next events.
He gave intolerance a face,
And, though unwitting, taught us grace.

-- Rick Rosendall, President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Washington, DC, March 20, 2014

March 19, 2014

Honey Maid 'Wholesome' commercial sets righties quivering

Right Wing Watch reports:

Conservative talk show host Janet Mefferd said yesterday that she will no longer buy Honey Maid’s Graham Crackers because one of their advertisements features a same-sex couple with their child.

Discussing a Huffington Post article on the new ad, Mefferd took issue with Honey Maid’s use of the world “wholesome” to describe same-sex couples.

You can listen to Mefferd's scorn-filled voice below. Or just make a batch of S'mores with the kids and sing campfire songs.

195 Democratic lawmakers urge Obama to sign LGBT executive order

Metro Weekly reports:

Nearly every Democratic member of the Senate and 148 Democratic members of the House of Representatives urged President Barack Obama to sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from LGBT workplace discrimination in a letter sent Tuesday.

With the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) having hit a wall in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives after passage in the Senate last year, members of the House and Senate called on Obama “to act now to prevent irrational, taxpayer-funded workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans.”

Please do it, Mr. President.

Ward 1 race heats up

The Blade reports on the race between incumbent Jim Graham and challenger Brianne Nadeau for the Democratic nomination for Ward 1 D.C. Council. By all signs, after four terms Jim is in the fight of his life.

March 16, 2014

Phelps near death


Fred Phelps reportedly is on the verge of discovering how wrong he has been. May God show him more mercy than Phelps himself has shown toward God's gay children.

March 14, 2014

Primary challenger calls Lindsey Graham 'ambiguously gay'

TPM reports. Personally, I don't see a lot of ambiguity in a guy who started his own rumor about dating Ricky Martin.

Sam Adams Beer pulls out of South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade

Boston.com reports that Sam Adams Beer issued the following statement regarding the gay-exclusionary South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade:

We were hopeful that both sides of this issue would be able to come to an agreement that would allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in the parade. But given the current status of the negotiations, we realize this may not be possible. We share these sentiments with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch and others and therefore we will not participate in this year’s parade.

It was said of Sam's cousin John, "He handled every kind of case — land transfers, trespass, admiralty, marine insurance, murder, adultery, rape, bastardy, buggery, assault and battery, tarring and feathering." Once again, the family name is associated with what Churchill called the traditions of the Royal Navy: rum, sodomy, and the lash. I'm just anticipating the next press statement from indignant Hibernians.

March 13, 2014

Senate confirms lesbian judicial nominee to federal bench

Metro Weekly reports. Congrats to Judith Levy.

Ugandan activists challenge Anti-Homosexuality Act in court

BuzzFeed reports. Bravo and best wishes to Frank Mugisha, Julian Pepe Onziema, and their fellow petitioners.

March 11, 2014

GLAA Revises Ratings for Evans, 2 Others

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
www.glaaforum.org (blog)

For Release:
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA Revises Ratings for Evans, 2 Others

At its March 11 monthly meeting, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance considered new information provided by D.C. mayoral candidate Jack Evans, D.C. Council Chair candidate Calvin Gurley, and Ward 6 D.C. Council candidate Darrel Thompson, all Democrats. GLAA adjusted the rating of each. Evans now has a rating of +9, Gurley has a rating of +1, and Thompson has a rating of +3. GLAA has a longstanding policy of reserving the right to re-rate candidates based on new information received during the campaign. GLAA ratings are on a scale of -10 to +10.

Jack Evans (original rating +8, revised rating +9) had already submitted a strong questionnaire, and had received the maximum record points for his long track record of solid support of LGBT issues. He has the longest record of support of any candidate. The hard-to-get championship point was initially withheld because it is about recent leadership on an LGBT issue, and his initial submission did not document the required extra effort. On February 14, subsequent to GLAA’s initial ratings announcement, Evans provided documentation to show that in the summer of 2013 he drafted and moved legislative language in the Committee on Finance and Revenue, which he chairs, entitled the "Marriage Equality Estate Tax Clarification Act of 2013." As he explained, "This subtitle directs the Chief Financial Officer to make any changes to estate tax forms, instructions and regulations necessary to make it clear that all married couples are eligible for estate tax benefits regardless of whether such marriage is recognized under federal law." GLAA agrees that his action as committee chair merits a full championship point.

Calvin H. Gurley (original rating 0, revised rating +1) submitted a late questionnaire response on February 20; GLAA has re-rated him accordingly. His answers, however, are uninformed, argumentative, and lack substance. He does agree with GLAA on some issues. For that, and for having supported marriage equality against opposition in Ward 5, his original rating of zero has been upgraded to +1.

Darrel Thompson (original rating +2, revised rating +3) was originally rated solely on his questionnaire, which GLAA found weak. On February 26, he submitted information on his record. He was awarded a record point based on his work as a senior staffer to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, and then-Senator Barack Obama on a series of legislative initiatives advancing LGBT concerns.

GLAA President Rick Rosendall stated, "The leading development in this round of mid-campaign adjustments is the revised rating of Democrat Jack Evans (+9), which puts him in a tight cluster with Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray (+10) and fellow Democratic challenger Tommy Wells (+9.5). GLAA does not make endorsements in partisan races."

All three re-rated candidates’ revised submissions are provided on GLAA’s website at the links below.

Jack Evans, Democrat for Mayor
Revised rating: +9

Calvin H. Gurley, Democrat for Council Chair
Revised rating: +1

Darrel Thompson, Democrat for Ward 6 Council
Revised rating: +3

A revised breakdown of the ratings points awarded to each candidate is online at:

Founded in 1971, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Nation's Capital. GLAA lobbies the D.C. Council, monitors government agencies, educates and rates local candidates, and works in coalitions to defend the safety, health, and equal rights of LGBT families. GLAA remains the nation's oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.


March 10, 2014

Black Lesbian Couple Found Dead in Galveston County, Texas

Horrific news from Texas.

March 06, 2014

Scientists May Have Discovered Way to Treat HIV Without Medications

HIVplusMag.com reports:

News coming out of the White House today shows that a technique supported by the National Institute of Health using genetic modification of cells has proven a safe way to treat and control HIV without drugs.

Our friend Ernest Hopkins comments:

One of several very exciting new studies demonstrating the importance of the investment in basic research and HIV specific research. The NIH is an amazing institution and the breakthroughs in scientific understanding coming from hard, deliberate work over a number of years is deeply gratifying.

March 05, 2014

Office of Police Complaints issues annual report for FY13

The D.C. Office of Police Complaints continues to do independent review of citizen complaints of police abuse. OPC issued its annual report on March 4.

March 04, 2014

Republicans From the West Give Support for Gay Marriage


NYT reports:

Evoking Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, a group of Western-state Republicans plans to enter the battle in favor of same-sex marriage on Tuesday, urging a federal appeals court to declare gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma unconstitutional.

The most prominent of the approximately 20 signers of the brief are former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, a longtime supporter of gay rights, and former Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum of Kansas, who said last year that she had reconsidered her former opposition to same-sex marriage. The document says that “marriage is strengthened” and “the social stability of the family unit are promoted” by allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The document is a friend-of-the-court brief, being filed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver. That court is hearing appeals from Utah and Oklahoma to reinstate their restrictive marriage laws.

Thanks to Al Simpson and his colleagues.

(Hat tip: Charles Francis. Photo courtesy Made In Wyoming.)

March 03, 2014

Disney will end Boy Scouts funding

The Walt Disney Company has decided to end its funding of Boy Scouts of America over the group's policy against allowing adult leaders.


Kerry on Russia's 'incredible act of aggression'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told President Obama after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin that she was not sure he was in touch with reality.

Metro Weekly reports on GLAA ratings, Stein endorsements

John Riley at Metro Weekly reports on GLAA's ratings and the Gertrude Stein Club's endorsements in the April 1 D.C. primary. (The Stein Club so far has only done its Council endorsements; its mayoral endorsements meeting will be held on March 6.)