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February 02, 2015

Shep Smith 1, Rand Paul 0

Above, Shepard Smith of Fox News calls anti-vaxxers science deniers and tells them to get their kids vaccinated and stop endangering public health. Below, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) shocks everyone by saying something crazy.

Konnichiwa

A beautiful ad from MTN, a mobile telecommunications firm based in South Africa.

Konnichiwa, incidentally, is Japanese for "Good afternoon."

A moment of sportsmanship

Sherman_congrats_Brady
(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports)

SB Nation reports.

Sherman also did not take part in the brawl. While many of us were still in shock at the idiocy of the call that lost the Seahawks the championship, this guy had the presence of mind and the class to show his respect to a victorious opponent. Also noteworthy: standout players Malcolm Butler of the Patriots and Chris Matthews of the Seahawks were undrafted. Butler's reaction to his big moment was quite moving.

In related news, every SB XLIX player, ranked by the quality of his butt. Who wants to see this vulgar crap?! Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman are ranked 14th and 15th, btw.

February 01, 2015

Michael Sam featured in Super Bowl ad for Coca Cola

Coca Cola describes this Super Bowl ad:

Michael Sam has experienced firsthand how the Internet has grown increasingly negative. Watch as he channels this negativity into positivity and provides great advice for how to #MakeItHappy.

Russell Brand defends Bruce Jenner, knocks media

Russell Brand knocks the media for its exploitation and disrespect regarding Bruce Jenner's gender identity transition.

Banner performance

On this Super Bowl Sunday, a look back twenty-four years to the memorable rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner by Whitney Houston before the 1991 Super Bowl. As Tom Sherwood said in sharing it, "This is how you do it." Amen.

PS: Best wishes for her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown's healing.

Cumberbatch's Alan Turing gay-rights campaign snubbed by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Imitation_game_blackbear

The Independent reports:

Benedict Cumberbatch's plea for Prince William and Kate Middleton to support a gay-rights campaign has been rejected.

Cumberbatch played pioneering World War 2 codebreaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Turing was prosecuted for being gay, but he was given a posthumous pardon in 2013.

The actor has signed an open letter calling for some 49,000 other men similarly convicted under the old law to have the same treatment as Turing. The petition has already been signed by almost 90,000 supporters.

On the positive side, the snub has gotten attention for Cumberbatch's effort. Good on him.

Hallmark moment

Eugenia and Corinna are included in Hallmark's #PutYourHeartToPaper campaign. As simple as that.

Huckabee on drinking, swearing, and being gay

Mike Huckabee again.

Langston Hughes gets a Google Doodle

Happy birthday, Langston Hughes.

(Hat tip: Tom Sherwood)

January 30, 2015

HRC releases 2014 State Equality Index

I am pleased to note that the District of Columbia has most of the boxes checked. More to come.

AFA tries to have it both ways with Bryan Fischer

Bryan-fischer-gay-rights

The American Family Association has written to the Southern Poverty Law Center repudiating certain statements by its longtime spokesman and talk show host Bryan Fischer, demanding that SPLC stop attributing those statements to AFA.

SPLC isn't having it:

In the Jan. 28 letter to the SPLC, AFA general counsel Patrick Vaughn listed a series of offensive comments from Fischer and said the organization “has never held these views and wishes to clarify that it still rejects such sentiments.”

Vaughn also wrote that Fischer would no longer serve as an AFA spokesperson or its director of issue analysis. However, Fischer will continue to host his two-hour, daily Focal Point radio show and write blog posts. Vaughn wrote that the AFA’s radio network provides a “diversity” of viewpoints but that Fischer’s statements do not represent the views of the AFA.

In response, Cohen wrote, “The fact that the AFA is continuing to allow Mr. Fischer to host a daily radio show and blog on its website also makes us question the AFA’s sincerity. Sponsoring Mr. Fischer’s racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred of the Muslim and the LGBT communities in the name of ‘diversity’ says as much about the AFA as it does about Mr. Fischer....

“Without ending Mr. Fischer’s talk show, without apologizing for the bigoted statements that he, Mr. Wildmon, and others associated with the AFA have made, and without making it crystal clear that the AFA will not tolerate any such statements in the future, the AFA’s 11th-hour disavowal of Mr. Fischer appears to serve only one purpose: to give the AFA a degree of plausible deniability while it continues to spew hateful rhetoric,” Cohen wrote. “It’s a shell game and a transparent one at that.”

Yes.

Meet Christian nationalist David Lane

David_lane_a

If you think AFA's Bryan Fischer is extreme, check out Christian nationalist David Lane, who has close ties with Republican leaders. Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports of Lane:

He has:

  • Argued that “homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” of President Obama in 2013 will provoke God’s wrath in the form of “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.”
  • Urged conservative Christians to prepare for martyrdom in their fight to “save the nation from the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage [and] homosexual scouts.”
  • Favorably quoted a Christian author who said that “same-sex marriage practiced universally is suicide. To survive gays and lesbians are parasites, depending for their cultural survival on couples that birth the next generation.”
  • Explained why homosexuality is a threat to freedom: “Homosexuality is debauchery. God’s loyalty and fidelity — that guard the nation — make sustainable freedom dependent on seeking virtue.”
  • Said homosexuality is part of a Marxist “psychological conditioning” plot.

January 29, 2015

GLAA launches 2015 election project amid right-wing threats

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

For Release:
 Thursday, January 29, 2015
Contact: Rick Rosendall 
202-328-6278


GLAA Launches Election Project Amid Right-Wing Threats to D.C. Self-Determination

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., today launched its 2015 Election Project as the group Heritage Action called on Congress to overturn District bills that protect reproductive health decisions and LGBT students.

GLAA President Rick Rosendall stated, "We thank Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for her strong statement today that included this: 'Just as my colleagues insist that the laws of their constituents be respected by Washington, you better bet that we will insist on the same American principle and will target members who dare disrespect the people of the District of Columbia by trying to overturn our local laws.'"

Rosendall continued, "The Congresswoman is right. As the District prepares for a special election on April 28, we should not have to look over our shoulders for fear that congressional overseers will substitute their judgment for that of D.C. voters by blocking our local enactments."

This week, GLAA released its LGBT policy brief, "Building on Victory," and its questionnaire for candidates in the April 28 special election to fill D.C. Council vacancies in Wards 4 and 8. The deadline for receipt of candidate responses is March 5, after which GLAA will assign ratings to the candidates (on a scale of -10 to +10) based on their questionnaire responses and their records on LGBT issues. GLAA does not endorse candidates in partisan elections.

Continue reading "GLAA launches 2015 election project amid right-wing threats" »

Surrender Dorothy

Lindsey_Graham
(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Christian Science Monitor reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is testing the waters for a presidential run.

Seriously? The closet case who just this week demanded to know from AG nominee Loretta Lynch why gay marriage would not lead to polygamy? If you are that delusional, Senator, bring it on.

AFA's Bryan Fischer not really fired

RWW reports:

Bryan Fischer kicked off his radio program today by refuting reports that he had been fired by the American Family Association, explaining that he has simply given up his role as an official AFA spokesman while retaining his role as a daily radio host for AFA's radio outlet, American Family Radio.

Fischer said that his designation as an AFA spokesman while he also served as a radio host was creating confusion and resulting in the personal opinions he expressed on the radio being unfairly attributed to the AFA. As such, Fischer will no longer serve as an official voice for AFA but will continue to spew his bigotry from the AFA's radio stations.

So apparently Rachel Maddow was misled.

Heritage Action urges Hill action against pro-gay D.C. legislation

GLAA anticipated this sort of thing. Follow the link to the new Home Rule section of our policy brief, out this week. We have briefed Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and the Human Rights Campaign, and they are on the case.

January 28, 2015

AFA fires Bryan Fischer

Fischer

Mediaite reports. It involves RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and a bunch of RNC folk heading to Israel on a trip paid for by American Family Association, whose longtime spokesman Bryan Fischer has said that Jews have no right to practice their religion in America. Below is the video from the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

One Man's Pastry Is Another Man's Poison

Bible_on_an_American_flag_insert_by_Bigstock

My column for this week's Blade is now online. Here is an excerpt:

Back home at the Iowa Freedom Summit, Dr. Ben Carson joked to reporters about a baker putting poison in a gay couple's wedding cake. (Is the GOP running a contest to find the most deranged person who thinks he or she can be president?) In related news, a man filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division last year against the Azucar Bakery in Denver for refusing to write "God hates gays" on a cake. This is the new religious freedom: muddling the difference between denying service to a minority and refusing to assist expressions of intolerance. Perhaps we should train shop owners to distinguish real customers from trolls.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, whose demotion by Pope Francis has not shut him up, recently discussed what he called the Church's "man crisis" and blamed "radical feminists" for priests raping boys. Seriously. Eminence, if we get you another fabulous set of embroidered vestments, could you stuff an altar cloth in your mouth for the rest of the year?

Read the whole thing here.

Oh I don't know, could it be ... Satan?!

AFA's Bryan Fischer has a great deal of chutzpah to call other people vicious when he does nothing else but vilify and attack. But he says gay people are of Satan simply because we demand our birthright of equality. His fever-pitched rhetoric could inflame someone to violence. But people of his ilk never take responsibility for the poison they put out.

Holocausts and memory

January 27, 2015

Mormon church offers gay people some rights, with a condition

Salt_Lake_Temple
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

WaPo reports:

After years of behind-the-scenes meetings between LGBT advocates and top Mormon leaders, church officials Tuesday announced for the first time general support for legislation to protect LGBT people in areas such as housing and employment – as long as accommodations are made to protect the freedom of religious people who oppose such measures.

Experience teaches us not to trust vague "religious freedom exemptions." This article does not specify what that means in this case. I know what it meant to the Archdiocese of Washington in 2009--a sweeping exemption to the DC Human Rights Act. No. We are not demanding "all or nothing," we are demanding equality, and we keep pressing until we win. Partial steps are one thing, poison pills another. I don't want marriage with an asterisk.

January 25, 2015

Judge issues 14-day stay of order striking down Alabama marriage ban

January 24, 2015

Jack Jacobson elected president of D.C. State Board of Education

Jack_Jacobson

Jack Jacobson, Ward 2 representative to the D.C. State Board of Education, has been elected by his colleagues as the body's president. A State Board news release states:

Mr. Jacobson’s focus has been on raising educational achievement in the District’s traditional public and public charter schools, constituent services, public safety, and cooperation between District agencies. Most recently, Mr. Jacobson served as the Chair of the State Board’s Implementation Committee, where he oversaw the review and subsequent adoption of the District’s ESEA Flexibility Waiver....

After taking office, Mr. Jacobson shared, “I look forward to working with all of my colleagues, as well as the community, our students, teachers, principals, and other stakeholders, to ensure that our education system is exemplary and that all students have the opportunity to receive an excellent education. I also look forward to strengthening the relationship between the State Board and the State Superintendent of Education, the Deputy Mayor for Education, the Chancellor, the Public Charter School Board, the DC Council’s Committee on Education, and all of our school leaders.”

Congrats to Jack, who is my own State Board rep and is the highest-ranking openly gay elected official in the District, following the departures of David Catania and Jim Graham from the D.C. Council. Best of luck to him in his new post.

January 23, 2015

Federal judge strikes down Alabama marriage ban

Marriage equality comes to the heart of Dixie.

Enter the dragon

Above, a bit of motion capture from Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug in The Hobbit. Below, how the animation was constructed.

January 22, 2015

Mayor Bowser names Sheila Alexander-Reid director of LGBT Affairs

Shiela_Alexander-Reid_insert_by_Ron_Simms_Jr
(Photo by Ron Simms, Jr.)

Congrats to Sheila Alexander-Reid and Terrance Laney, named by Mayor Bowser as Director and Deputy Director of what will now be called the D.C. Office of LGBT Affairs. Lou Chibbaro at the Blade reports.

I am proud to note that Sheila was a 2007 winner of GLAA's Distinguished Service Award. We look forward to working with Sheila and Terrance.

Huckabee: states shouldn't follow SCOTUS gay marriage ruling

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(AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

Here's what Mike Huckabee told right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt, his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification:

If the courts make a decision, I hear governors and even some aspirants to the presidency say well, that's settled, and it’s the law of the land. No, it isn't the law of the land. Constitutionally, the courts cannot make a law. They can interpret one. And then the legislature has to create enabling legislation, and the executive has to sign it, and has to enforce it.

Dear Mike, no. Please check out the Supremacy Clause in Article VI of the Constitution.

Those mythical 'no-go zones'

The Supreme Court won't end the gay marriage debate for Republicans

Linda Greenhouse at NYT explains why.

If guys acted in real life the way they do on gay apps

Our friend @OfficialSampson (Sampson McCormick) appears in this funny video.

"Hero of the supermarket" wins French citizenship

Lassana Bathily, a Malian Muslim immigrant who saved several lives from terrorist Amedy Coulibaly earlier this month at a kosher supermarket, has been granted French citizenship. He had applied for it last summer. Congrats to him. When we overgeneralize about Islam, and talk as if we are in a religious war, we play into the hands of people like Coulibaly and hurt people like Bathily. That makes no sense.

January 21, 2015

State of the Union: These 3 Words Were Used For First Time Ever

LGBT_mentioned_in_SOTU

Lucas Grindley at Advocate.com reports:

Among the usual laundry list of American priorities and constituencies, the State of the Union address for the first time explicitly included lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.

It might be surprising, but never before had any president used the words "lesbian," "bisexual" or "transgender" when talking to the huge audience that watches the annual State of the Union. The reference came Tuesday as part of President Obama's description of the values that make us American.

Reaction to gay marriage in Obama's 2015 State of the Union

As the President celebrates the advance of marriage equality, Speaker Boehner keeps his grim face, the six SCOTUS justices maintain their practiced neutrality (they have cases pending, and were not there as a partisan cheering section), and one of the heroes of Selma rises to his feet.

It is worth noting that by using the phrase "civil right" about gay marriage last night, the President moved the discussion forward. Those of us who have been on the front lines of the marriage equality fight have studiously avoided using that phrase, because it has been a sore point with African American voters. We used phrases like "equal rights" and "human rights" instead. Here in D.C., when the Foundation for All D.C. Families hired Celinda Lake to do a poll on marriage equality in 2006, this was one of the points we examined.

The issue of messaging, where you consider your audience when framing your message, may seem cynical and calculating, but when you are trying to persuade people and win their votes, it is not helpful to start by pissing them off. This is a linguistic point on which white gay activists have respectfully let black leaders like Rep. John Lewis and President Obama take the lead. And if there is a greater moral authority than John Lewis, I would like to know who.

That Boehner look

Bill Maher misspells "Boehner," but he has a point.

January 20, 2015

Gov. Jindal does it to himself again

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(Hat tip: Steve Marmel)

President Obama's #SOTU Comeback: 'I know because I won both of them'

Instant reaction is calling this the "best burn in SOTU history."

Entire address is below. I thought it was a strong speech. It didn't have the laundry list lots of people wanted, but it challenged the Republicans and showed his confidence. Bisexual and transgender people were recognized for the first time in a State of the Union address. And he celebrated the advance of marriage equality. Overall I was very pleased.

Billy Crystal's gay discomfort

Billy-crystal-jpeg-656564737
(Photo courtesy RAYE34 fansshare.com #5406WW10813299)

Pink News reports:

Billy Crystal has claimed that modern gay storylines on TV shows are “pushing too far”.

Crystal played one of the first regularly openly gay characters, Jodie Dallas, on 1970s comedy ‘Soap’.

Speaking to the Television Critics Association, the star claimed that he doesn’t want TV to “shove it in our face” with regards to gay issues.

He said: “Sometimes I think, ‘Ah that’s too much for me.’

Dear Billy, I assume this means you are locked in a dungeon, tied down with your eyes forced open like in "A Clockwork Orange," with a giant tv showing gay programs in a loop. I admit it does sound like torture. Maybe if it's a good boy, its tormenters will untie it and give it a remote control.

Now Billy says his comments were taken out of context. Well that's dreadful, of course.

Noah Michelson at HuffPost Gay Voices comments.

Jon Stewart takes on Mike Huckabee over culture-clash hypocrisy

Score one for Jon Stewart. Notice that Huckabee manages to put his anti-elitism in the nicest possible light, though Stewart isn't having it. Huckabee is a lot more likeable than the other whackjobs.

Kirchick: ISIS goes medieval on gays

ISIS_goes_medieval_on_gays

Jamie Kirchick at The Daily Beast has an interesting piece on the recent execution of gay men by ISIS by throwing them off a building ledge.

I have never understood how any god who demands such barbarity could possibly deserve anything but curses. Incidentally, if you think your god is any better, go back and re-read your holy book.

Incidentally, Kirchick is talking about radical Islam, not Islam in general. Just as social conservatives cherry-pick scriptural passages that suit them, those who prefer a less barbaric faith can do the same. This cafeteria approach to Holy Writ is done by everyone, but few admit it. The point is that you can believe what you want. You do not have to believe in a god that commands savagery.