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GLAA is pleased to offer an online site for discussion of affairs that affect the quality of life of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities of the District of Columbia. Through this social networking media GLAA aspires to connect to new generations of LGBT advocates and straight allies and to strengthen our organization's abilities to communicate and broadcast to a broad and diverse population.

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October 14, 2014

Funding or Die

Well-deserved mockery of the Democratic fundraising emails many of us have been spammed with.

October 13, 2014

Roman Catholic Synod points to a pastoral shift on gays

Pope-Francis-arrives-at-the-Vaticans-Paul-VI-Hall-for-the-Synod-on-the-Family-Oct.-6-2014_Credit-Bohumil-Petrik-CNA-2 (Photo courtesy Denver Catholic Register)

Here are the relevant paragraphs from the bulletin issued today by the Synod of Catholic Bishops, which, as you will see, strike a more positive tone without being everything a self-affirming gay Catholic might have hoped:

Welcoming homosexual persons

50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

51. The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.

52. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

Read the bulletin here. New Ways Ministry welcomes the news. Thomas Reese at National Catholic Reporter writes, "Synod document offers new style of being church." (Hat tip for NCR article: Jonathan Rauch)

Continue reading "Roman Catholic Synod points to a pastoral shift on gays" »

October 12, 2014

Cardinal Burke – It is scandal to present homosexual uncle’s relationship to kids

Cardinal Raymond Burke spreads the love and understanding of Jesus Christ. Or Something.

It is disturbingly tone deaf, as well as brazenly hypocritical, for a prince of the Church to talk about protecting children from their gay uncle after decades of child abuse by Catholic priests and coverups by the Church hierarchy. All I can say is, work the cape, honey.

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(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)

On National Coming Out Day, a sad anniversary

NCOD

October 11 was National Coming Out Day. It was also the third anniversary of the death of our colleague and friend, gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny. Here is a link to my blog post on the night of Frank's death in 2011. Frank's voice remains with us, exhorting us, as he did in 1969, to assert our full rights as gay people:

It is time to open the closet door and let in the fresh air and the sunshine.

It is time to doff and to discard the secrecy, the disguise, and the camouflage.

It is time to hold up your heads and to look the world squarely in the eye as the homosexuals that you are, confident of your equality, confident in the knowledge that as objects of prejudice and victims of discrimination YOU are right and they are wrong, and confident of the rightness of what you are and of the goodness of what you do.

It is time to live your homosexuality fully, joyously, openly, and proudly, assured that morally, socially, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and in every other way: Gay is good.

POTUS_and_Kameny

Carl DeMaio's bizarre sexual harassment scandal

CNN reports. I confess I never thought that masturbation would come up in this campaign.

Gay Marriage Obstacles Fall in Conservative States

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(AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau, Brian Jones)

AP surveys the remarkable legal developments of the past week. Here's a portion:

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order Friday that appears to have cleared the way for gay marriages in conservative Idaho. Gay rights supporters are cheering in Boise as state officials were trying to determine when weddings might take place. At least one county clerk in Idaho began issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in North Carolina has struck down the state's gay marriage ban, opening the way for the first same-sex weddings in the state to begin immediately. The ruling follows Monday's announcement by the U.S. Supreme Court that it would not hear any appeals of cases before the 4th Circuit Court, which has jurisdiction over North Carolina.

As our opponents continue to make noise and talk about the downfall of civilization, it is good for us to savor the simple happiness and decency of so many families gaining legal protections and recognition that they never had before. In winning these battles, we are helping make America live up to its founding principles. This is not the end of the struggle for marriage equality, but it is a sweet moment.

Texas AG: gay marriage ban reduces out-of-wedlock births

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(Greg Abbott poses with 10 Commandments at state capitol. Photo by Jana Birchum, Getty Images)

Houston Chronicle reports on the brief that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for governor, filed with the Fifth Circuit on Friday in that state's fight against marriage equality:

Writing in a brief filed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, Abbott said the state was not obligated to prove why gay marriage might be detrimental to the economic or social well-being of Texans. It was only required to show how opposite-sex marriage would be more beneficial for its citizens.

“The State is not required to show that recognizing same-sex marriage will undermine heterosexual marriage,” the brief read. “It is enough if one could rationally speculate that opposite-sex marriages will advance some state interest to a greater extent than same-sex marriages will.”

Abbott may not be charged with contempt of court, but the contempt he shows for the court, the truth, and real families in his preposterous brief could hardly be more clear. It must at last be recognized: we are no longer talking about disagreements, but about lies. Desperate, insulting, cynical lies. Stopping me from marrying the man I love does nothing to advance any state interest. The notion that straight people's marriages are somehow devalued by allowed gay couples to wed should leave any decent and honest person's mouth agape. The final resolution of this nonsense cannot come soon enough.

Go Wendy.

October 10, 2014

GLAA candidate ratings ad for Nov. 4 election

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GLAA Revises Candidate Ratings for Bonds, Others

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013

For Release:
Friday, October 10, 2014

Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA Revises Candidate Ratings for Bonds, Others

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance has considered new information provided by several D.C. Council candidates in the November 4 general election, and adjusted the rating of each, as shown below. 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. GLAA does not make endorsements in partisan races.

Anita Bonds (Democratic At-Large incumbent, original rating +6, revised rating +7.5) added substance to her questionnaire and provided additional record information. Her recent LGBT-related record includes supporting Council member Cheh's successful effort to obtain nearly $1 million in additional funding for homeless LGBT youth; working with the Dept. of Corrections to institute a program offering voluntary HIV/AIDS/STD testing upon release from DC Jail; supporting legislation that expands the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana; working with Health Committee Chair Alexander to give authority to the Dept. of Health to administer $1.5 million in grants for HIV prevention and intervention programs in FY15; and supporting repeal of Prostitution Free Zones in the Judiciary Committee.

Kishan Putta (Independent At-Large candidate, original rating 0, revised rating +6) agrees with GLAA on nearly all the issues, and offered some substance. His record includes working in planning and executing DC Health Link outreach and enrollment; working to lift the outdated liquor license moratorium on 17th Street, NW; and testifying for the Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act.

Continue reading "GLAA Revises Candidate Ratings for Bonds, Others" »

Nobel Peace Prize for Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi

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(Photo by Andy Buchanan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

NYT reports:

Reaching across gulfs of age, gender, faith, nationality and even international celebrity, the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday awarded the 2014 peace prize to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India, joining a teenage Pakistani known around the world with an Indian veteran of campaigns on behalf of children.

At age 17, Ms. Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the $1.1 million prize since it was created in 1901. Mr. Satyarthi is 60.

A fine bit of news.

October 09, 2014

Justice Kennedy's busy day

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Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a temporary stay Wednesday to the Ninth Circuit's ruling that same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada are unconstitutional. Later in the day, he lifted the stay on Nevada.

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed discusses it.

My main reaction is: Hey thanks, Justice Kennedy, for jerking us around. By all means, take your sweet fucking time while thousands of families' lives are up in the air. Would you like more coffee? I just put a fresh pot on. Have another scone.

Update: And now this:

Civil Forfeiture

Introducing Law & Order: Civil Forfeiture Unit, starring Jeff Goldblum. This is funny, but the problem is real, and it is appallingly arbitrary and unjust. Police departments are enriching themselves simply by seizing people's cash during stops and keeping the money without charging the people with a crime, based on arbitrary and evidence-free claims like, "No one carries that much cash for an honest purpose."

October 08, 2014

Diseases and Demagogues

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(Photo by Julien Harneis)

My Blade column this week looks at the right wing's political exploitation of Ebola. Here's a portion:

Obama Derangement Syndrome spiked again last week over Ebola, after a man from Liberia was diagnosed with the viral disease in Dallas, Texas.

Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham asked, "Why did Obama let the Ebola virus into the U.S.?" Another radio demagogue, Michael Savage, said Obama "wants to infect the nation with Ebola" as part of a war on white people. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said that the American troops being sent to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak are really being sent "to go catch Ebola and die." Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) managed to connect the Dallas Ebola case with ISIS, the IRS, and Benghazi. Fox News host Steve Doocy asked Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tim Frieden, "Why should we believe you when you're telling us this stuff?" since Frieden works for Obama.

It is difficult enough to confront resurgent diseases without an explosion of unhinged conspiracy mongering.

Read the whole thing here.

Update: I note with sorrow that the Dallas patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, has died. May he rest in peace.

October 07, 2014

Geoffrey Holder, 1930 - 2014

NYT reports:

Geoffrey Holder, the dancer, choreographer, actor, composer, designer and painter who used his manifold talents to infuse the arts with the flavor of his native West Indies and to put a singular stamp on the American cultural scene, not least with his outsize personality, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 84.

Charles M. Mirotznik, a spokesman for the family, said the cause was complications of pneumonia.

Few cultural figures of the last half of the 20th century were as multifaceted as Mr. Holder, and few had a public presence as unmistakable as his, with his gleaming pate atop a 6-foot-6 frame, full-bodied laugh and bassoon of a voice laced with the lilting cadences of the Caribbean.

In the clip above, Holder dances with the original Scarecrow as he receives his Tony for directing The Wiz. Below, a glimpse of his work for Alvin Ailey. May this great artist rest in peace.

October 06, 2014

SCOTUS declines marriage appeals from five states

The Supreme Court of the United States today declined to hear appeals in marriage equality cases from Oklahoma, Utah, Indiana, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Chris Johnson of the Blade reports.

Gay marriages began in Virginia this afternoon. Today's high court ruling will also mean equality in six other states, which are in the same federal appeals circuit courts as the five directly affected. This will bring the U.S. marriage equality roster to 30 states and the District of Columbia, representing 60 percent of America's population.

We will not be done until all fifty states enjoy equality, but this is an enormous step forward. Justice Ginsburg recently indicated that there was no need for SCOTUS to weigh when all the appellate rulings so far have been for marriage equality. If one of the remaining circuits upholds a state ban on same-sex marriage, that would set up a conflict that SCOTUS needs to resolve.

This is not the end, but it is a very good day. Congrats to everyone in the new marriage equality states.

October 04, 2014

General Mills, the anti-Chick-fil-A

As Mark Joseph Stern at Slate writes, this Cheerios commercial for Canada, featuring Quebecois parents André and Jonathan and their daughter Raphaëlle, "hits all the right notes." For a major commercial brand to embrace gay families as part of its diverse customer base, in such contrast to Chick-fil-A, is a big deal, as Stern suggests.

(Hat tip: Bob Witeck)

October 03, 2014

Michael Savage: Obama Wants To Bring Ebola Epidemic To America, Should Resign

It just doesn't quit. The hate, I mean.

(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

Anti-gay mother: It's God's will that my son's widower get nothing from wrongful death suit

From Alabama, an illustration of the grim fact that the struggle for equality for gay families is not over: Defendant-Intervenor Pat Fancher's Motion for Summary Judgment against the husband of her dead son.

If I believed in God, I would pray for her to get boils or something. But I don't, so have a nice day.

Mike Huckabee's strange concept of religious liberty

As with all Christianist bullies, Mike Huckabee thinks that his religious freedom is being infringed if he cannot impose his beliefs on his fellow citizens.

Key & Peele - Gay Wedding Advice

Very funny.

September 30, 2014

John Oliver on drones

American drones are not frightening only if you are not living under them. John Oliver of HBO's Last Week Tonight makes it real.

AG candidate Lorie Masters issues statement on LGBT issues

GLAA, while not rating candidates in the race for D.C. Attorney General, invited candidates to submit statements on LGBT issues. The first to respond is Lorie Masters.

Read the statement by Lorie Masters here.

We will post statements by the other AG candidates, both here and at GLAA's main website at glaa.org, as we receive them.

September 29, 2014

Rosendall, Summersgill testify for Human Rights Amendment Act

The D.C. Council Judiciary Committee today heard testimony on a few bills, including Bill 20-803, "Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014," and Bill 20-321, "Human Rights Act Notice Requirement Amendment Act of 2013." Read our testimony here:

Rick Rosendall's testimony (on Bills 20-803 and 20-321)

Bob Summersgill's testimony (on Bill 20-803 only)

The hearing became much more interesting that it might have been because an attorney for Catholic University testified against Bill 20-803's repeal of the Armstrong Amendment, which was imposed by Congress on the District 25 years ago and permits religiously-affiliated educational institutions to discriminate against gay people. Mónica Palacio, Director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights, testified in support of the legislation.

Julia Robey Christian, communications director for Judiciary Chairman Tommy Wells, tweeted praise for my comments during the question-and-answer session:

BBC News reports on Hong Kong protests

BBC News reports from Hong Kong:

The BBC's Carrie Gracie reports from the heart of the protest. Hong Kong police have used tear gas to disperse thousands of pro-democracy protesters near the government complex, after a week of escalating tensions. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested, with hundreds remaining in the city centre late on Sunday.

Serbia holds first Gay Pride march in four years

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The Independent reports from Belgrade.

What will SCOTUS do this term on marriage equality?

Above, AFER's Matt Baume discusses the marriage equality issue that was on the agenda for this morning's meeting of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices. NYT reports:

The endgame started Monday morning. At their first private conference of the term, the justices were scheduled to consider, among many other things, seven petitions urging them to hear appeals from decisions striking down bans on same-sex marriage.

In an unusual move, the same-sex couples on the winning side of those cases joined their adversaries in asking the Supreme Court to settle the question, nationally and once and for all.

The justices face complicated choices about which case to accept, and when. They could announce their choices as soon as this week and hear arguments as soon as January.

Or they could sort and sift and wait for other courts to rule. The last time the court heard cases on same-sex marriage, in 2013, they were argued in March. The last argument session of the term is in April.

Lambda Legal blogged before the SCOTUS conference here.

September 28, 2014

Conservative blog: ISIS publicly crushing babies of Christians to death

A friend on Facebook posted this story from a conservative blog and commented, "What you don't want to know, but need to..." Follow the link if you want to see the photo, as I will not.

Speaking of what we don't want to hear but need to know, shall we keep track of the number of Christian babies crushed by ISIS as well as the number of babies and children of all faiths killed by American bombs? There are many horrors in the world. Are we obligated to go to war over each one? The fact is American warfare has made the Mideast less stable, not more. We must not allow ourselves to be stampeded. That is not just my opinion; it is what every damn one of you knows to be true. The neocons refuse to learn any lessons from the past decade. For God's sake, let us not emulate them.

Fox's Bolling makes second apology for insulting female UAE pilot

Media Matters shares this. Here's the transcript:

BOLLING: A personal comment before we go to break. Earlier this week I made a comment that was wholly inappropriate, and I apologize for it. The comment became during K. G.'s One More Thing honoring UAE bomber pilot Major Miriam al-Mansouri, who bombed ISIS. My remark was not intended to be disparaging of her, but that's how it was taken. I should have known better and used better judgment.

Yesterday I made an apology on this show, but it was inadequate. Fox News has received letters from viewers including from women in the military, and I have taken them to heart. Therefore, let me speak clearly and sincerely. I'm sorry for what I said, I believe that Major al-Mansouri is a hero, she's courageous, brave, and she deserves our praise, not inappropriate jokes. I appreciate that she is fighting the extreme radicals that threaten all of us. She has my admiration and my very, very sincere gratitude.

He didn't mean to offend. Pardon me, but fuck you, Mr. Bolling. Some men will die before they honestly confront their male privilege and disrespect of women.

Obama defends his foreign policy

President Obama, in demolishing a Fox News reporter's loaded question on his allegedly weak foreign policy, shows that he agrees with me on the unwisdom of launching another ground war in the Middle East. As he notes, his critics say they don't want a ground war either. So what DO they want? Other than wanting him to fail, that is.

(Hat tip: Ronald King)

September 26, 2014

Palin: truth an endangered species #At1400Pennsylvania

When Sarah Palin spoke Friday afternoon at the Values Voter Summit, she referred to the address of the White House as 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue. I suppose she could have been referring to the Commerce Department, which is on that block, though its address is 1401 Constitution Avenue. On the other hand, there is plenty of space there, and I am sure special arrangements can be made if she is determined to move to 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Of course, there is also 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, just steps from the Metro, as the realtors say. And she can see the Capitol from the roof.

Loose Lips: What does the DC AG do?

Will Sommer at City Paper gives GLAA our props (see article) as he looks at the dilemma faced by the 57 percent of voters who are undecided in the upcoming election for D.C. Attorney General:

After nearly a year of legal and legislative wrangling, residents will get what they asked for in a 2010 ballot measure—they’ll vote for the District’s first elected attorney general in November. Next up: figuring out what the District’s first elected attorney general will actually do.

Summit on HIV/AIDS in Gay and Bisexual Men

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Our friend Ernest Hopkins, San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s director of legislative affairs, writes (on FB):

Participating in the first ever White House sponsored Summit on HIV/AIDS in Gay and Bisexual Men. It's hard to believe that such a meeting has never occurred but I am pleased to be representing the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition (NBGMAC) in a solution oriented day of action that hopefully will reintegrate HIV into the policy agenda of the LGBT advocacy community. HIV/AIDS continues to take a disastrous toll on the well being of the LGBT community, especially the low income who face a myriad of social determinants that drive poor health outcomes and among young Black gay men. If HIV advocates and public health officials are truly going to drive rates of new HIV infections towards zero, our public and private health and social justice institutions must focus on the health and well being of gay and bisexual men. I look forward to a day of tough talk that leads to actions that can be achieved during the Obama Administration.

Storybook ending

Derek Jeter wins the game with a walk-off single in his final at-bat in Yankee Stadium. As he hugged his teammates, several past greats waited to greet him: Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez and former manager Joe Torre. Below, Derek walks off the field for the last time. (Meanwhile, the New York Giants beat the Washington Football team.)

September 25, 2014

HBO trailer: The War Against Gays in Russia

Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia premieres Monday, October 6 at 9PM, only on HBO.

The Worst Right-Wing Smears About Eric Holder

A compilation by Media Matters for America.

Krauthammer: 'Let me just say as a layman … Obama is clearly a narcissist.'

Colbert skewers Charles Krauthammer.

The Catholic Church makes life impossible for infertile women

Joel Baden and Candida Moss at Slate report.

AG Eric Holder resigns

Here are several reports, blogs, and tweets about Thursday's big news from Washington.

From NYT:
Eric Holder Resigns, Setting Up Fight Over Successor

Talking Points Memo:
Libertarian Think Tank Removes Piece Comparing Eric Holder To George Wallace

Blue Nation Review:
Eric Holder’s Greatest Achievements

Bilerico:
AG Eric Holder, LGBT Rights Hero, To Resign:

And from Steve Clemons of The Atlantic:

"Why did you shoot me?"

Yet another example of (1) the boneheaded recklessness of some cops, and (2) the value of dash cams. The ghost of Oscar Grant, on the platform at Fruitvale Station, is in the room.

Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still's daughter has tumor removed

NFL Player Devon Still gives his daughter a pep talk before her cancer surgery. Watching this did my heart a lot of good. (Follow link for video.)

Update: "After a 5hr 50min surgery the surgeon was able to remove ALL of her tumor and all of her lymph nodes and her right adrenal gland where it all started from."