Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Know Your Allies: Ben Cohen

Ben has been a steadfast ally for the LGBT community and is one of the few (straight) professional athletes in the world to make the stand that he has made against a large anti-gay sentiment. I would go so far as to say that he has fought harder for gay rights than a lot of gay people have, if nothing else, because he quit sports while still near the top of his game in order to fight homophobia.

Yeah, he's easy on the eyes too.

GOP Chose the Rich Over Tornado Victims

This is from a week ago:

Think about this the next time you see your Congressman (or better yet, the next time you're in a voting booth).

Bryan Fischer & Gutting the First Amendment

More hypocrisy. The same first amendment that people like Bryan Fischer and his so-called American Family Association use when spewing their hate speech is the same one he is talking about gutting.

It is really sad to see these groups take something that millions of Americans have fought and died for (i.e. the United States Constitution), and advocate for its destruction...while have the blessing of millions of Americans. And Memorial Day was just yesterday.

Proof FRC is a Hate Group

When the Southern Poverty Law Center first label the so-called Family Research Council (and numerous other groups) as a hate group, Tony Perkins and other decried the move. However with talking points like the ones FRC and their ilk cling to, it is a just label. If the shoe fits, wear it. If you would rather not be labeled a hate group, there is a simple solution: STOP SPREADING THE HATE!!!

Seriously, watching this video mad me insanely angry. How can anyone with a functioning brain cell or for that matter a modicum if simple human decency, actually lend people like this credence?

Monday, May 30, 2011

What Today is About

Countless people fought and died so that we could live our lives, be ourselves, and state our opinions (and much, much more). Though that fight continues to this day, we our thankful to those who have fought the good fight, on battlefields and elsewhere.

By all means, enjoy barbecuing, the unofficial beginning of Summer, and the day off. But remember what this day signifies.

Memorial Day

Remember what today is about.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

2012: Rick Santorum's Google Problem...& More

And this guy is a "serious" presidential candidate...supposedly.

Hate Speech: Sports, African-Americans, & the F-Word

From CBS Sports (written by Mike Freeman):
My last conversation about the F-word was with a recently retired NFL player who might one day go into the Hall of Fame. By the end of our chat, we were screaming at one another. 

He had used the F-word -- you know which word I mean, the derogatory one used to describe gays -- several times during a talk we were having about the NFL's toughest players. The player, who is African-American, called one of my player suggestions a f-----. He used the word repeatedly. 

"A black man should never use that word," I said. "We should know better. It's the moral equivalent of the N-word." 

"It's not the same," he said. 

"The F-word and the N-word are exactly the same," I responded. 

"Not even close." 

"Tell me how it's different." 

He couldn't, and our conversation ended with him calling me a dumbass. He's right. I normally am a dumbass. Just not about this. 

That word, like in so many other sports, is used constantly in NFL locker rooms. Homophobia is a disease that has long gone viral in the NFL and across the sports world, the Andromeda Strain of slurs. The F-word is used so much in football and other leagues its true power and ugliness has been lost. 

But there's a more disturbing problem: the use of the F-word by African-American male athletes. 

Look at the two most recent high-profile cases involving slurs against gays. Kobe Bryant, who is African-American, and Joakim Noah, who is biracial (his father is a famous tennis player of African descent and his mother white) were both fined by the NBA for using the F-word. There was Kevin Garnett a few years ago and the remarks of Tim Hardaway. Kenyon Martin was caught on video screaming at Mark Cuban and calling Cuban a "fa---- mother------." 

During an NFL season, players have told me over the years, the word is used hundreds of times in individual locker rooms, many times by African-Americans. 

That word is the same as the N-word. Yes, it is. Don't look at me like that. Yes. It. Is. 

This won't be a popular stance among some of my African-American football acquaintances, but it's a truthful one and it's a conversation that needs to be had. 

When black men degrade gays, we are hypocrites. We cheapen our own history and struggles. It remains stunning to me why more African-American athletes (not all by any stretch but enough) don't understand this. 

When a slur is aimed at us, we feel the impact. So why wouldn't gays? 

There's no question the N-word has deeper historical context and is among the ugliest ever used (and I don't care what some rappers say). Because the F-word hasn't been utilized as a weapon as long as the N-word isn't justification for its use. 

"I find it sad and ironic that athletes from a group long oppressed by language and the power of certain slurs would easily toss them around about another group," said Jim Buzinski, who runs Outsports.com, a site dedicated to the coverage of gay athletes. "There will be people who will argue there are historical differences, and while true, does not somehow make one slur 'more acceptable' than another. Hateful words are hateful words, period." 

"Professional sports seems to be the last bastion of homophobia in this country; Kobe Bryant's antigay slur is just the tip of the iceberg," Robert Volk, professor at Boston University's School of Law with expertise in area of the law and sexual minorities, told the Christian Science Monitor. "A number of professional athletes that came out after they left their sport commented on the impossibility of coming out while a professional athlete, given the extremely homophobic atmosphere, and Bryant's fine is not enough to change the atmosphere." 

Athletes who use the F-word aren't alone in their bigotry. Recent polls have shown only half of Americans find being gay morally acceptable. Marriage between gays is illegal in most states ... the way interracial marriage once was. Many parts of this country, unfortunately and disgracefully, truly despise gays. 

Instead of helping to alleviate the experience of gays being the last acceptable group to bash, some athletes are aiding in the ostracizing, and too many of these athletes are African-American. 

And I love this justification from some athletes post-gay slur: it was made in the heat of the game. Sure. If a white NFL player yelled the N-word during a game and later said it was only because he was in the heat of battle, that would be OK? 

Gay slurs also aren't the same as saying a curse. Someone saying ass---- isn't the equivalent of the F-word. Ass----s aren't a group of people. Well, OK, in some cases they are, but you get me. 

Do you know when homophobia in sports will stop? It will end when athletes see gays as human beings like them, just as large swaths of discrimination against African-American athletes stopped (though certainly not all) when whites saw blacks the same way. 

They are the moral equivalent. They always will be.

Sarah Palin Self-Importance Tour

It may have hit its first speed bump before even taking off.

Perhaps she should have had the forethought to actually talk to the organizers of Rolling Thunder first. Maybe she thinks they want her there (apparently they don't exactly).

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Religious Wrong: Ideology Trumps Children

Governor Pat Quinn several months ago signed into law a Civil Unions bill in Illinois which states that same-sex couples in civil unions can not be discriminated against (by organizations that get state money) and must be treated as a married couple. As a result of the passage of this legislation which goes into affect June 1, Catholic Charities has decided to end adoption/foster services. So yet again, a religious organization chooses ideology over truth.

Now I know that, at least in the minds of these people, they are doing what is best for the kids by not putting them with same-sex couples. The problem is that the empirical evidence, not only does not bare that out, but says the exact opposite. Every study of good repute says that same-sex couples are completely capable of raising happy, healthy kids. That, and the fact that there are not enough opposite-sex couples who are willing/able to raise adoptive children (or any children). As such, having same-sex couples adopt and foster kids helps to alleviate the problem. Unfortunately, time after time, facts fall on deaf ears when it comes to religious conservatives. More unfortunate, it is the children (who these people claim to care about) who will suffer the consequences.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Religious Wrong: A Theory on the Choice Debate

For the last few decades, social conservatives and religious leaders have held to the opinion that being gay is a choice. It has boggled my mind that anyone could really believe this idea and I have tried to think of some reason why they would still, even after all this time, try to peddle this schlock. Some time ago, a possible explanation came to me. So, here is my theory...

In today's society political correctness is generally important. As such, discrimination against people, particularly based on traits that are beyond their control, is frowned upon. This includes traits such as ethnicity, nationality, gender, handicapability, and so forth. People get fired for doing such things. There are laws all ver the place protecting these groups. On the other hand, when it comes to things that ARE under people's control (or at least more or less so), they are fair game. After all, there are entire films and televisions shows dedicated to the bad and stupid decisions that people make from fashion blunders to "Jackass." And we laugh at these things free of guilt because, let's face it, it's their own fault. 

Having said all of that, here is where the conservative "logic" kicks in. If being gay is a choice, then gay people are at fault for any misfortune that befalls them as a result of them making the choice to be gay. Thus, conservatives can feel free to ridicule, denounce, and discriminate against the gay community; guiltless and to their heart's content. D.O.M.A., Don't Ask Don't Tell, and employment discrimination all all become acceptable. The problem is this: the conservative "logic" that homosexuality is a choice defies actual logic.

Towards the end of 2010, there was a rash of publicized suicides resulting, directly and indirectly, from anti-gay ridicule (it should, of course, be noted that such things have been going on for who knows how long). Saying that being gay is a choice is implicitly saying that it was easier for all of those people, young and old, who have committed suicide over the years because they were gay to choose to kill themselves than it was to choose to be straight. This makes zero sense. It would make far more sense to choose to be straight and not have to worry about homophobic animus. Of course that would assume that there is a choice to be made.

This is only part of why the social conservative thinking on sexual orientation and gender identity does not hold up to scrutiny. Everyone has their share of problems in life. Why would such a large swath of society make the conscious decision to add such a significant complication? Being gay comes with a number of problems from the relatively mundane (such as people whispering about you behind your back) to the down right dangerous (including threats/acts of violence or even death). To think that millions upon millions of people would risk physical harm and "choose" to be gay utterly defies reason.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Coming Out Story: Dustin Lance Black

In a lot of ways, Dustin Lance Black is a hero.

From "The Young Turks:" Herman Cain Fails on Constitution

I admire Cain's passion, but perhaps he should take his own advice and READ the Constitution...and know what it actually is.

Marriage in Minnesota: From "The Rachel Maddow Show"

Slamming GOProud (from The Advocate Magazine): Part 3

This is an article which appeared in "The Advocate Magazine" recently:

In the end, CPAC chair Alberto Cardenas indicated GOProud likely won’t be invited back, bowing to conservative groups like the Family Research Council, which, along with other groups, boycotted CPAC.
“They used that platform to be quite aggressive,” Cardenas told conservative publication Human Events of GOProud. “The ideal GOProud participation would have been, ‘You know what, guys? This is an inclusive society. We’re as interested in these fiscal issues as you are. Fill your website with fiscal issues that you’re for and be a mainstream discusser of issues. We just happen to have a different lifestyle.’ ” In other words, sit down, shut up, and don’t challenge homophobia.

And that’s what GOProud’s drama tells us about the endurance of the Christian right: It still wields a great deal of power in the GOP (witness how abortion became front and center in the budget battle), even as mainstream America is well beyond its issues. 

The media claimed that the Tea Party was something new, focused on fiscal issues, not social ones, and had supplanted the religious right. But in fact, what we’ve come to learn is that it is often the same old crowd, and many of the Tea Party activists are also moral crusaders. That was borne out in the campaigns by two of the most prominent Tea Party Senate candidates in 2010, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell.

GOProud is useful to the GOP insofar as it provides the cover of being “tolerant” of gays at a time when a majority of Americans now support marriage equality, and as younger voters support full equality in huge numbers. But Cardenas’s statement shows the limit of that tolerance. Those who control the GOP don’t want to see open gays in the party at all — even if they’re only supporting “fiscal” reforms. 

That makes LGBT rights a wedge issue for Democrats to now wield against Republicans instead of the other way around, as it had been for so long. When President Obama decided not to defend DOMA, it was good for the LGBT movement but also great politics for him, something we all hope he and Democratic leaders have realized. It put the GOP on the defensive, as John Boehner showed no passion in defending DOMA — and knows most Americans don’t support DOMA — but had no choice because of that antigay base, which GOProud’s wild ride underscores is still very much in charge. ✤

Slamming GOProud (from The Advocate Magazine): Part 2

This is an article which appeared in "The Advocate Magazine" recently:

 GOProud is opposed to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which is now law. And fearing being cut out of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference - which for 2012 has banned groups that support any pro-gay legislation - Barron told the blog RedState last February, "Considering we don't support gay marriage and DADT isn't part of our agenda [I'm] not sure how this affects us at all."
Barron and GOProud now also support House speaker John Boehner defending section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in federal appeals court after President Obama announced he believed the law is unconstitutional — though Barron himself is legally married to a man in Washington, D.C. Barron’s husband, to whom he refers a lot in his tweets, is a D.C. teacher who wrote a piece in MetroWeekly about how kids learn to be bullies from adults who bully one another. But there couldn’t possibly be a better example of an adult bullying other adults than Barron tweeting this: “The gay left = the American Taliban. Hateful, angry and dumb as shit.” He’s also tweeted that Andrew Sullivan is “fat,” “pathetic,” and “self-important” and that Meghan McCain is “intensely stupid.”
Barron has said in a radio interview that he wanted to see as many candidates as possible in the Republican primaries — including, presumably, even the antigay ones, which is most of them — but then tweeted that Fred Karger, the only openly gay announced candidate (who is associated with GOProud’s rival group, Log Cabin, and actually forcefully takes on homophobic politicians), is a “fake candidate.”
Barron’s impulsive tweets are telling in a variety of ways. He obsessively tweets about his abs and his workouts in a way that betrays a guy who’s pretty insecure about his body and perhaps his very manhood, out to prove he’s a real guy, not like those other gays, such as the “catty” Barney Frank, who Barron tweeted has a “purse” and wants to “sit in Scott Brown’s lap.”
This insecurity over masculinity seems to be a theme at GOProud. In a YouTube clip that received much attention over the winter, GOProud member Matt Hissey says he doesn’t like most gays: “I don’t really like gay people that much. Gay people frustrate me, the stereotypical gay people, it frustrates me…”
In an interview on my radio program, Barron had a meltdown after I noted blatant hypocrisy in his apologizing for having rightly called conservative power attorney Cleta Mitchell a “nasty bigot” in a public forum. Conservatives at CPAC and across the right-wing blogosphere expressed outrage at his comment, and conservative lesbian radio host Tammy Bruce quit the GOProud board within days. GOProud’s invitation back to CPAC was jeopardized as well, in yet another example of Barron’s volatile nature getting him in trouble. Attempting to stop the bleeding, he issued a slobbering apology for his bad “language.”
When I noted that it was “wussy” of him to apologize to Mitchell while refusing to apologize for calling the gay left “dumb as shit,” Barron lashed out, and I had to bring the interview to a close.

Slamming GOProud (from The Advocate Magazine): Part 1

This is an article which appeared in "The Advocate Magazine" recently:

Lessons Learned

COMMENTARY: Two notable themes emerge from GOProud: the lack of any actual gay pride in those who run it and the truth about who is still really steering the GOP.

There are two things we’ve learned from GOProud, the small, often obnoxious right-wing gay group that makes the Log Cabin Republicans seem like liberals. For the uninitiated, this is the group that supports outspokenly anti-equality public figures — from Ann Coulter, who was paid to speak to the group, to Donald Trump, who is opposed to any gay unions—and targeted gay congressman Barney Frank during the 2010 election with an ad that called him “catty.” 

First off, denialists and elitists who believe they are superior to other gays — even if the attitude masks a pitiful self-loathing — are clearly as prevalent as ever in the LGBT movement, except that they can now be out of the closet. Perversely, the fact that we can find such people in GOProud is a measure of our success. 
The other thing we’ve learned is that the Christian right, contrary to all the media blather about it losing steam as the Tea Party ascends, still has a grip on the GOP, and this can actually be helpful in gaining civil rights through the Democratic Party—if the Democrats recognize a useful wedge issue staring them in the face.
On the first count, let’s look back in history. There’ve always been gays in even the most extreme corners of the Republican Party. There was the reckless senator Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand man, Roy Cohn, who helped his boss ferret out both alleged communists and homosexuals in the government in the 1950s. In the ’80s closeted conservative activist Terry Dolan vocally supported the antigay agenda of Christian right leaders as chair of the National Conservative Political Action Committee. He helped elect—and wrote a book about—Ronald Reagan, who bowed to religious extremists and ignored AIDS, the disease that took Dolan’s life in 1986 at the age of 35. 

Justin Raimondo was the openly gay campaign manager of the virulently antigay Pat Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign. In the new century we had Ken Mehlman, chair of the Republican National Committee and, later, George W. Bush’s reelection campaign manager, who promoted anti–gay marriage amendments across the country, helping the GOP to win with hate. And let’s not forget Mary Cheney, who, like Mehlman now, is out, but gives money to antigay politicians even as she enjoys the benefits of hard-won gay rights advances.

Their motivations are probably unique to each but there are some commonalities: a desire to be close to power; a hunger for attention and GOP approval; a selfish devotion to Republican “fiscal” policies over civil rights; and a belligerence toward gay activists, whom they seem to detest. 

GOProud’s Chris Barron fits right in, often appearing desperate for Republican acceptance, compromising his positions at a moment’s notice—if he even had any to begin with. Formerly political director for the Log Cabin Republicans, he broke away and cofounded GOProud, claiming that Log Cabin wasn’t conservative enough. Since its founding in 2009, GOProud slowly moved in the direction of not taking any pro-gay positions, all in an attempt to be included in the Republican Party, even though Barron oddly once tweeted that GOProud is “a gay organization, we only work on gay issues.”

Monday, May 23, 2011

Marriage in Minnesota: The Voter's Wrath

Here is an article from HRC:
By: Charlie Joughin
Republicans in the Minnesota Senate are reportedly blocking emails from constituents expressing their anger and disappointment following a move by the legislature to place an anti-marriage amendment on the 2012 ballot.
 According to MN Public Radio, Sen. Scott Dibble says more than 100,000 emails  were set to be deleted this morning, claiming they were clogging the servers.

HRC sent an action alert to its entire list of members and supporters in the state on Sunday asking them to send a message of anger and disappointment to those legislators who voted in favor of the measure.  The Secretary of the Senate is reporting that some 230,000 messages have been received since yesterday.
We have been working closely with OutFront Minnesota, Project 515, supportive legislators, labor and other progressive organizations in the state to oppose this measure in the legislature.  Together, the group has been planning a winning campaign to defeat this amendment with the newly formed coalition, Minnesotans United for All Families – www.minnesotansunitedforallfamilies.org.
Currently, 29 states have constitutional amendments prohibiting marriage for same-sex couples. However, a recent Star-Tribune poll showed the majority of Minnesota residents oppose the amendment.

Perhaps if they can't deal with the backlash of their actions, they should have voted differently...or resigned altogether. Cowards.

Jim Daly: The Long Defeat

Jim Daly
This is part of a statement made by Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family:

We're losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don't know if that's going to change with a little more age—demographers would say probably not. We've probably lost that. I don't want to be extremist here, but I think we need to start calculating where we are in the culture.
 All of us have seen that the tide is turning against the haters when it comes to LGBT rights in general. It is why DADT is on its way out the door within the year. It's why there ARE states in which performance/recognition of same-sex marriages exists. It is why several polls are, for the first time in history, saying that a majority of Americans are for marriage equality. If people like Jim Daly, Bryan Fisher, and Tony Perkins wish to fight the long defeat, they are certainly free to do so. They MUST realize that history will not look kindly on them. They will be the George Wallace's of their generation.

Twitter Watch: Black Enough?

From Christianist Bryan Fisher:

No one has ever explained to me what "authentically black," "real black man," or "black enough" actually mean.

Marriage in New York: Steve Nash

Another famous athlete on our side:

Marriage in Minnesota: We Have Just Begun to Fight

This is a must see from Saturday night:

Despite this win for the haters, the actual ballot measure will not be voted on until November 2012. That's a year and a half to tip the scales in the right direction. Fight on Minnesota.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Still on the Ground

I'm reading an article on the reactions of the people who thought that the rapture would happen today. Hi-larious. There have been numerous times over the years that some zealot said that the rapture would happen on a given day. Guess what, we are all still here. This dude, Harold Camping, who started peddling this schlock said that he was "bewildered" that it didn't happen. I'm sure that's the rated "G" version of what he was thinking. He apparently spent $100,000,000 advertising the event. That stat boggles my mind. Think of all the good that could have come from that money. Feeding poor people, getting kids school books, buying me a car. It's really sad how this stuff goes down, not to mention the people who profited from the idiots that actually subscribed to Camping. Someone, or a group of people, made tens of thousands of dollars on a scam where they offered to take care of people's pets if they got raptured, making them sign a contract and paying up front. Gotta love capitalism. Like the saying goes, a fool and his money are easily parted.

So, what is the lesson people should have learned today? Be a skeptic. Don't listen to zealots. No one really knws when the world will end, so when someone says they DO know, see them as the deluded person (or liar, whichever applies) that they are. Beware of false prophets.

Peace and God bless.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rick Welts on Coming Out

Rick Welts, President/CEO of the Phoenix Suns, is one of the numerous sports figures to come out as gay over the last few days (seriously, there have been a lot of them lately). Here is an interview that aired last night:

The only criticism I have about this interview is that Eliot Spitzer mentions Magic Johnson coming out as HIV+. We all know that there is a swath of people who believe that it is a "gay" disease and it seems that Spitzer mentioning the two (HIV and being gay) in the same interview may tap into that...which is obviously unfortunate. Lastly, that final statement by Welts, the one about marriage and the word equal, was pitch perfect.

Side Note: He is 57. If I look that good at that age, all count myself lucky.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flaunt It...Or Not...

This was originally written for another blog, but I thought it was worth posting here as well.

I was at a bar last night with some mates when this guy sits a seat or two to my left. He was wearing a shirt that said "Vagitarian." Seriously, and this isn't the first time I have seen this (though it's possible that it was the same guy twice). I honestly had/have no problem with this guy for wearing that shirt (although he looked like a schlub, but that's not because of what the shirt said). What gets me is that if I wore the gay-equivalent of that shirt, some a-hole walking down the street will invariably call me the f-word and some Tony Perkins type of homophobe (if you don't know who he is, consider yourself lucky) will consider it "flaunting my sexuality." Such double-standards I find so incredibly frustrating and annoying. Why is one considered flaunting and worthy of public ridicule and the other is not? If someone could answer that question without giving a bigoted/homophobic answer, I think I would die from sheer shock.

Some people are gay. Deal with it. When we actually do flaunt it, you'll know it:

AFA Says Yoga is For Heathens

From the American family Association's website:

"These people need to buy a Bible — and read it.
The professing Christian who practices yoga as a way to keep fit should heed the words of Mohler and Groothuis who both agree that yoga, even if it's labeled Christian, is diametrically opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Many Christians practice yoga for "relaxation and exercise" without realizing that classical yoga is intended to put you into an altered state of consciousness. Yoga is not "just exercising." Participants are being swept into a counterfeit religion. According to God's Word, pagan religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, are evil. The Bible clearly says that God's people are to have nothing to do with wicked customs. (Deuteronomy 18:9-14) Believers are instructed to, "Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." (Romans 12:90) Ever noticed how professing Christians are no longer uncomfortable in the face of evil? The reason is that we have been desensitized!
Sadly, Christians have become worldly. Instead of being beacons of light in a dark world we have become world-minded. In fact, we have blended into the dishonest, destructive and debase culture so thoroughly that it's near impossible to tell the difference between Christians and heathens!"
I, personally, find it virtually impossible to fathom how anyone can lend credence to this group. It isn't just that I am diametrically opposed to them on almost every political and social issue, it is the fact that most of what they say makes little to no sense whatsoever.

Marriage in Minnesota: Conservative In-Fighting

Minnesota already has a law against same-sex marriage on the books statutorily. Despite this, GOP legislators have put forth a constitutional ban on SSM which has already passed the State Senate (and will likely pass the house, both chambers are controlled by Republicans). The idea behind a constitutional ban being to preclude any judicial rulings in favour of having/recognizing same-sex marriages. None of this is a surprise.

The surprise is the degree of in-fighting taking place in conservative circles in the state.

Conventional wisdom would say that rank-and-file Republicans would be all for this legislation. This does not seem to be the case. In this particular front on the marriage battle, it seems that a lot of the conservatives are actually “small government” conservatives with a good deal of ideological consistency. Government should stay out of people’s lives, including saying who can marry whom. It is not just the usual suspects (I.e. conservative gay groups like the Log Cabin Republicans of Minnesota for instance). A conservative radio host, Ben Kruse got into a debate with a member of a Minnesota “family” association, and conservative radio is not really known as being a friend to pro-gay causes. State Assemblyman John Kriesel said, “I look at it as: We are all equal.” Not many Republican elected officials have taken this position on same-sex marriage (I’m hard pressed to think of one). Libertarian leaning conservatives have likewise sided against a constitutional marriage ban. Minnesotans for Limited Government, which is a conservative political action committee, came out against it earlier this month.

From my perspective, this ideological consistency is quite refreshing.

All too often, we hear conservatives say they are for small government in one breath, and in the next, they say same-sex marriage is wrong and talk about banning it statutorily or constitutionally. Those two things simply are not compatible. If government should be in our lives as little as possible, why should it dictate whether or not two consenting adults can get married under the law?

What is unfortunate is that elected Republicans will completely ignore this.

The voting on this ban is primarily along party lines. Even though Governor Mark Dayton is a pro-gay Democrat, this ban is going to completely bypass him (this is how it works in Minnesota) so he can not veto the measure. With both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, it will head to the ballot. That’s the bad news. The good news, such as it is, is that a poll that came out recently says that Minnesotans are against the ban 55% to 39% for it.  Apparently, republicans are not just out of touch with major elements of their party, but are out of touch with Minnesotans in general. Let us hope that, come election day, these numbers hold or improve and that fair minded Minnesotans show up to the polls.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Welcome to the Gayborhood

This weekend featured two high profile people coming out as openly gay.

Don Lemon
One of them was Don Lemon, a newsman who works for CNN. I believe that the significance of this is that there are precious few role models for young gay men who are also African-American. The fact of the matter is that homophobia, as much as it is a problem in the general population, it is a far larger problem in the Black community. Don Lemon now being open about his sexuality can stand as someone young gay men of colour can look up to and know that they can still lead successful lives regardless of their sexual orientation. The subject of his sexuality came up as a result of a book about his career called "Transparent."

Side note: Currently, there are only two other openly gay people on broadcast news: Thomas Roberts and Rachel Maddow, both of MSNBC.
Rick Welts
The other person to come out was Rick Welts of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Though he is not a player, this is a man who has been involved in the sport for some 40 years from being a ball-boy to his current position as President of the Phoenix Suns. He is pretty much the first (if not THE first) active executive/player/coach in the NBA or any other of the "Big Four" here in the States - the others being the NHL, NFL, and MLB - to be openly gay. Welts is now in a position to break the all-too-long held stereotype that being a gay an precludes being able to be involved with sports directly or otherwise. The article about him in the NYTimes is a must read.

This is the latest move in a period of a month or two where the issues of homosexuality and sports figures have intersected on a large scale, from this back to Kobe Bryant's homophobic slur just before the playoffs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Twitter Watch: Wrong Word

Sorry Mister Perkins but this is not courage. It IS ignorant, hurtful, narrow-minded, and a great many other terrible things, but not courage.

Discrimination in Minnesota

The Minnesota State Senate voted 38-27 in favour of an anti-same-sex marriage constitutional amendment. The measure now must pass in the House, but given that the House is controlled by Republicans, passage is expected. Minnesota already has an anti-same-sex measure statute, but the constitutional amendment, if passed, would supersede any judicial rulings on the matter. 

I guess it's not enough that they have the Vikings, Minnesota had to throw this at us too.

Uganda Update

Apparently the AP story about Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill was wrong and a vote on the bill is scheduled for Friday.

There go my vacation plans...

Serial Adulterer Ready to Run

Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House, will announce that he will run for the Republican nomination for 2012. I guess we will find out if Republicans like a guy who cheated on his wife while she is being treated for cancer (I think that question has been answered for Democrats).

Good News From Uganda

The "Kill the Gays" bill that was perhaps hours or days from passing has been dropped by Uganda's Parliament. This controversial bill sparked outcries from across the globe, including Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank saying that if the bill passed, aid to the nation should be cut off. Although the future of the bill is unknown, Wednesday was the last day of the legislative session.

The bill would have made homosexuality punishable by incarceration and  possibly, death (as the name implies) in Uganda.

For more information, here is an article from MSNBC.

Twitter Watch: What Tennessee & Rap Have in Common

Marriage in New York: Beginning Anew

Daniel O'Donnell
A marriage equality bill has officially been introduced into the New York State legislature by Democrat Daniel O'Donnell. In three previous attempts, marriage equality passed in the Assembly but fell short in the Senate, most recently in December 2009. It is currently unclear whether or not there is enough support in the Senate (several Senators are undecided), however there is hope since some of the legislators who previously voted no are currently on the fence. The Senate is the major hurdle. Governor Cuomo campaigned on marriage support and has said he will sign the bill should it get to his desk.

This legislative session ends in June, so there are only a few weeks in which to get this passed.

The so-called National Organization for Marriage some days ago issued a statement saying that they will fight to defeat any Senators who vote in favour of marriage equality by spending millions of dollars.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Twitter Watch: Separating American Families

Because of the so called Defense of Marriage Act, bi-national same-sex couples/families are susceptible to being split, which is the case with a gay couple that has been (temporarily) spared while Attorney General Eric Holder looks over the case personally.

I'm pretty sure that old saying is NOT "Give us your tired, your poor, but not your homos..."

NOH8 Campaign: Nick Harris

Nick Harris: Carolina Panthers Linebacker.

I'm always happy to see pro athletes, especially here in the States, add their voices (or images) to the fight for equality because these are men, and women that lots of people look up to and listen to.

Twitter Watch: Fire on the Ice

In the wake of the pro-Same-Sex Marriage message by NHL player Sean Avery, Uptown Sports (a sports agency which represents hockey players) had this to say:

This sparked responses from elsewhere in the world of North American Hockey, including another sports agency, Norton Sports:

And from Paul Bissonette of the Phoenix Coyotes:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Marriage in New York: Sean Avery

The Empire State is possibly on the cusp of legalizing same-sex marriage and a major advertising campaign is underway. Sean Avery of the New York Rangers (National Hockey League) is the first professional athlete to lend his name to the campaign.

For Starters...