Tuesday, July 31, 2012

DoMA Ruled Unconstitutional...Again!!!

A federal judge in Connecticut has ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act in a challenge brought by married same-sex couples.

Judge Vanessa Bryant, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that the Section 3 of the 1996 law, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, violates equal protection guarantees. The suit, Pedersen et al v. Office of Personnel Management et al, was brought by six couples and one widower in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont who were denied federal benefits because they were legally married to a spouse of the same sex.

In a striking opinion that exceeded 100 pages, Judge Bryant concluded that, “having considered the purported rational bases proffered by both BLAG and Congress and concluded that such objectives bear no rational relationship to Section 3 of DOMA as a legislative scheme, the Court finds that no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision. The provision therefore violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Are we noticing a trend here folks?

Marriage News Watch: July 30, 2012

GOP Congressman: Party Caters to Extremes

Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY) is fed up with the GOP.

Hanna singled out Michele Bachmann’s “suggestion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin be investigated to see if she has ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood” as an example of a party that has gone off the rails.

The Syaracuse Post-Standard has the story:
“I have to say that I’m frustrated by how much we — I mean the Republican Party — are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history,” he told The Post-Standard editorial board.
…“We render ourselves incapable of governing when all we do is take severe sides…” he said. “If all people do is go down there and join a team, and the team is invested in winning and you have something that looks very similar to the shirts and the skins, there’s not a lot of value there.”
…“I would say that the friends I have in the Democratic Party I find … much more congenial — a little less anger,” he said.

Azariah Southworth on Outing Jonathon Merritt

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chick-fil-A Sued For Sexism

And I thought their discriminatory mentality ended with homophobia. No such luck (allegedly). From Huffington Post:

Brenda Honeycutt, a former employee of a Chick-fil-A establishment in Georgia, is suing the restaurant for wrongful termination, alleging that she is a victim of gender discrimination, according to GLAAD. 

The lawsuit, which was obtained by GLAAD, refers to a June 27, 2011, incident in which Jeff Howard, the owner and operator of a Duluth, Ga., Chick-fil-A, fired Honeycutt so she could be a "stay home mother." 

According to the document, Howard held meetings without Honeycutt present and eventually replaced her with a male employee. Her termination is allegedly part of a pattern of gender discrimination "against female employees" at the Duluth establishment.

Prior to her termination, Honeycutt's performance had been "satisfactory-to-above satisfactory." 

Jezebel's Doug Barry recently poked fun at Howard's decision to replace Honeycutt with a male, writing, "you know, because guys don't have all that baby-making liability stuffed into their abdomens."

Bullied Teen Refuses to Be A Victim

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Bullied since second grade, the openly gay 16-year-old was harassed and taunted for acting “ girly,” having long hair and being different at Unioto High School in Chillicothe.It came to a head in October when he was severely beaten in his third-period class by another student, and it was captured on video.

That’s when [Zach] King and his mom, Becky Collins, went from victims to activists.Since the attack, they’ve told their story to groups of teens and adults, most recently at the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio’s biennial conference yesterday in the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square.

As part of a panel discussion called “It’s Getting Better,” they talked about what can be done to prevent and react to bullying and harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.

“It’s empowering to do this, to share my story with other people,” King said after the discussion. “And I hope they will learn, and one day there will be a lot less bullies than there are now...”

 You can read the article in its entirety HERE.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

D.C. Mayor: Chick-fil-A = Hate Chicken

This weekend, Washington, D.C., mayor Vincent Gray joined the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco by announcing the Chick-fil-A chain is not welcome in his city.

Gray went a step further on Twitter, referring to the Atlanta-based chain as "hate chicken." Chick-fil-A has funneled millions to groups that work to strip rights from LGBT people, while their CEO gives interviews disregarding LGBT families, saying he doesn't believe gays should be able to marry, and says anyone who believes otherwise is "arrogant," shaking their fist at God," and "invites God's judgment." He also claimed that Chick-fil-A managers have to help parent those not raised in traditional mother/father homes.

Friday, July 27, 2012

No Olympic Torch For Romney

The Brits Take On Mitt Romney

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron
From Think Progress:

Earlier today British Prime Minster David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, shot back at Mitt Romney for saying London’s preperation for the Olympics was “disconcerting.” “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere,” Cameron said referring to Romney running the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Later, London Mayor Boris Johnson, also a Tory, called out Romney in a speech at an Olympics event before to tens of thousands of people in London’s Hyde Park:
JOHNSON: I’ve never seen anything like this in all my life. … people are coming from around the world and they are seeing us and they are seeing the greatest city on earth. And there are some people who are coming from around the world who don’t yet know about all the preparations we’ve done to get London ready in the last seven years. I hear there’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready. He wants to know whether we’re ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!

Gay New World

Hot young actors Kellan Lutz and Camilla Belle will costar in a film as secret lovers in a world in which homosexuality is considered the norm, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In the role-reversal drama Love is All You Need, Belle will play a star quarterback who is adored by a large fan base while Lutz, portrays an aspiring journalist. "The two fall in love, with their relationship growing in secret, but when the romance becomes public, the two find themselves being bullied," according to THR...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Avoiding Right Wing-Supporting Brands

From Think Progress:

Have you eaten at White Castle recently? Or caught a movie at Regal Cinemas?

If so, you may be unwittingly helping finance right-wing attack ads.

That’s because many of the country’s most common brands are run by rich conservatives who are using their personal wealth to bankroll outside spending groups that are running attack ads smearing progressives. From Marriott Hotels to Brawny paper towels, and from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Coachella music festival, corporate executives at these organizations have given millions of dollars to groups like Mitt Romney’s Super PAC Restore Our Future.

Some corporations, like Waffle House, give direct donations to conservative attack ad groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.
The following list of consumer brands either have leaders who wrote checks to outside right-wing attack ad groups or gave money directly from the corporation. Only entities that gave $25,000 or more were included in this guide.

The article gives a list of brands that have given $25,000 or more to right-wing causes and politicians.

Marriage Equality for the Kiwis

It's time for some good news. Gay Star News brings us this out of New Zealand:

A same-sex marriage bill was picked today to be debated and voted on by the parliament in New Zealand.

The Definition of Marriage Amendment Bill was sponsored by lesbian Labour MP Louisa Wall and it states that marriage should be defined as the union of two people regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill was one of five drawn from a pool of 62 bills in the Members’ Bill Ballot.

‘I think it’s got a good chance of going through,’ Labour leader of the opposition David Shearer said today, confirming that he will support the bill. ‘I think it's the reality of our times.’
Argentina recently made marriage equality the law of the land. All of this global change on LGBT equality while the so-called "land of the free" falls farther and farther behind many parts of the world. We'll get there, but how many nations will get to equality before the United States?

Economists: GOP Has Abandoned Reality

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

A survey of forty economists from across the ideological and partisan spectrum has concluded that on some of its most cherished issues, the Republican Party has simply taken leave of economic reality. For instance, economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers noted that one of the results from the survey — run by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, which is hardly known for a left-wing slant — is an overwhelming agreement that the 2009 Recovery Act (i.e. the stimulus) brought down unemployment. But GOP leaders have spent years roundly denouncing the stimulus as a failure...
I personally don't think it is that the GOP has left economic reality specifically, but rather that the have taken a categorical leave of reality as a whole. But hey, that's just my humble opinion. This is an article worth reading in its entirety.

MLS Anti-Homophobia Pledge

The pledge reads:
  • We agree that everyone should be able to participate in, watch and enjoy sports — whoever they are and whatever their background.
  • We agree that sports are about fairness and equality, respect and dignity. Sports teach individuals how to strive and succeed, how to cope with success and disappointment, and bring people together to achieve a common goal.
  • We are committed to making these values a reality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We will work together, and individually, to rid the game of soccer of homophobia and transphobia.
  • We will make soccer a welcome, inviting, and inclusive place for everyone — for those participating in the sport, those attending matches and for those working or volunteering in it — while making adeliberate effort to reach out to GLBT people. We will work with all these groups to ensure they have a voice, and to challenge unacceptable behavior, including working to eliminate homophobic language from the game.
So far, the Philadelphia Union is the first and only club to sign the pledge.

Hate Crime in OKC

Unfortunately after last night's post  about one hate crime, there is yet another one to report out of Oklahoma City. From The New Civil Rights Movement:

Jon Ferguson, a 25-year old gay Oklahoma City man Saturday morning saw his car spray painted with the word “fag,’ then blown up feet away from him as he approached.  Ferguson was rushed to the hospital with 1st and 2nd degree burns as the flames from his Camaro rose ten feet into the air. Oklahoma City Fire Department and local officials are treating this only as a case of arson, and not as a hate crime, for now. No, seriously. Arson. Not a hate crime — yet. (The New Civil Rights Movement called the Oklahoma City Fire Department and we’re awaiting a call back — we’ll update you when we get a response.) And sadly, the vandals may have won. “It’s almost not worth being proud of who you are, and trying to show that you’re gay, because stuff like this really does happen,” Ferguson tells local Oklahoma City News 9 TV. ”I’ve always seen it on the news that kids are dying and stuff because they’re being bullied, and you’re 25 years old and something like this happens to you. It’s almost not worth it, and you understand why kids don’t come out of the closet.”

To quote one of my favourite films, "What can men do against such reckless hate?"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Anti-Gay Slurs Carved Into Lesbian's Skin

Scotland Introduces Marriage Equality

After a government consultation which produced a record 77,508 responses, ministers in the Scottish government confirmed they would bring forward a bill in Parliament on same-sex marriage, making Scotland the first part of the UK to move towards marriage equality. According to Scotland’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, the government is “committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal.” Scotland’s landmark announcement comes at a time when many felt the government was stalling on its promise to introduce legislation. Although 64 percent of Scots support same-sex nuptials, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland recently spent another £100,000 ($154,000) on an unsuccessful “war on gay marriage” ad campaign. If the marriage bill makes it through Parliament, the earliest ceremonies would take place in the start of 2015.

Film: A Lack of Gravity

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chick-fil-A Lies

The reality is that the The Jim Henson Company ended their partnership with Chick-fil-A due to its funding of homophobic causes and organizations. Chick-fil-A's Chief Operating Officer has been outspoken about his business being a Christian organization and used that as  a justification for it decision to fund the anti-gay agenda. In a Facebook post from this past Friday, the Jim Henson Company said the following:
The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors.  Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD. 
It's ironic how Chick-fil-A uses a biblical justification for being anti-gay, yet it apparently blatantly lies when the Bible says "Thou shalt not bear false witness." More right-wing hypocrisy.

Sen. DeMint's Homophobia in the Spotlight

This ad in South Carolina has gotten Senator Jim DeMint's supporters angry:

Keep in mind that DeMint is a very conservative Republican (Hell, he's a Tea Party Republican at that) and is rather outspoken about being anti-gay in almost every way possible. I would think his supporter, also very conservative, would be happy that their guy is anti-gay.

According to The Advocate:

It's one of three ads from the group that use the same tactic to call out antigay bullying and attacks on students for supporting civil rights as part of its larger point about homophobia and its result in discriminatory laws. The group is reportedly spending $30,000 to air the ads while raising money to keep the campaign going.

The DeMint ad references a comment the South Carolina senator made during a debate in 2004. But it wasn't the only time DeMint has said gays shouldn't be allowed to teach.  In October 2010, during a speech at the Greater Freedom Rally of conservative voters, he fought back, complaining that "no one came to my defense" for his comments while whispering to him "that I shouldn't back down."
DeMint will probably wear this as a badge of honour the way that many organizations wear being called a "hate group" for being anti-gay as a badge of honour...which is really just side in both cases.

GOP Sen.: Obama Talks Incessantly About Middle Class

Better to talk about the middle class "incessantly" than not at all.

Know Your Allies: Chris Kluwe

Chris Kluwe is a punter for the Minnesota Vikings which I guess mean that I (a Green Bay Packers fan) have to hate them a little less). 

In an interview with Outsports.com, he talks about his support of marriage equality, his stance against Minnesota's anti-equality amendment, and the issue of gay men in the NFL (and professional male team sports in general).

"For me, it’s always been about justice and doing what’s right. People should treat each other the way they want to be treated and that’s basically what life boils down to." 
 -Chris Kluwe

A Progressive GOP Platform?

If voters have their input, ending wars and stopping subsidies might make it into the Republican party platform. 

The GOP launched a website yesterday that invites Republicans to make suggestions for what should be included in the GOP Party Platform, and in the first 24 hours respondents offered up an array of progressive issue positions for their leaders. The open-source system invites people to write up anything they think should be included, then allows others to “second” the idea. The ones with the most “seconds” will then be voted on. 
The open-source website allows voters to participate in party politics in a new way, and gives people mass input into what the GOP does. And anyone is welcome to take part. As the website says, “The best ideas often come from unexpected sources. If you have access to an internet connection (we assume you do if you are reading this), join now and submit your ideas.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Death of Journalism

Penn State Sanctions & Paterno Family Response

Penn State football was all but dismantled Monday by an NCAA ruling that wiped away 14 years of coach Joe Paterno's victories and imposed a mountain of fines and penalties, crippling a program whose pedophile assistant coach spent years molesting children, sometimes on school property.

The sanctions by the governing body of college sports also imposed unprecedented fines of $60 million, ordered Penn State to sit out the postseason for four years, capped scholarships at 20 below the normal limit for four years and placed football on five years' probation.

Current or incoming football players are free to immediately transfer and compete at another school.

The NCAA's sanctions following the worst scandal in the history of college football stopped short of delivering the "death penalty" - shutting down the sport completely. It actually did everything but kill it.
Part of the Paterno family response (via CNN):
Sexual abuse is reprehensible, especially when it involves children, and no one starting with Joe Paterno condones or minimizes it. The horrific acts committed by Jerry Sandusky shock the conscience of every decent human being. How Sandusky was able to get away with his crimes for so long has yet to be fully understood, despite the claims and assertions of the Freeh report.

The release of the Freeh report has triggered an avalanche of vitriol, condemnation and posthumous punishment on Joe Paterno. The NCAA has now become the latest party to accept the report as the final word on the Sandusky scandal. The sanctions announced by the NCAA today defame the legacy and contributions of a great coach and educator without any input from our family or those who knew him best.
No comment would have been the better thing for them to say, given that it is the abused/raped kids who are the victims, not Paterno, nor Penn State.

Marriage News Watch: July 23, 2012

Pat Robertson: Dump Your Muslim Girlfriend

Anti-Gay Cake Shop Feels the Heat

From Denver Westword Blogs:
Yesterday afternoon, 28-year-old Dave Mullins and 31-year-old Charlie Craig stopped by Lakewood's Masterpiece Cakeshop to order their wedding reception cake -- what they hoped would be a rainbow-layered masterpiece decked out in teal and red frosting (their ceremony colors). Although they'll be reciting their vows in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in September, the couple plans to celebrate with a reception for friends and family in Denver in October. But after bakery owner Jack Phillips listened to their request, they say, he refused it. His business doesn't create cakes for gay weddings.

"It was the most awkward, surreal, very brief encounter," Mullins says. "We got up to leave, and to be totally honest, I said, 'Fuck you and your homophobic cake shop.' And I may or may not have flipped him off."

Mullins posted his reaction on Facebook, from where it branched to web sites such as Wipe Out Homophobia, creating a minor Internet frenzy. Since then, similar stories about the shop have surfaced, and Yelp reviewers have written more than sixty comments expressing disgust. There is now a Facebook-organized protest of the business underway and an online petition with signatures from several states and countries.

On the phone with Westword this morning, a Masterpiece staff member commented only, "We have nothing to say about that..."
You can read the rest of the article HERE.

Minnesota: Equality Outraises Discrimination

Opponents of the Minnesota constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage have raised six times as much money as the amendment’s supporters so far this year.

Minnesotans United for All Families, which is working against the amendment, raised about $3.8 million from January 1 to July 10, according to financial documents filed with the state this week, the Associated Press reports. The measure’s backing group, Minnesota for Marriage, brought in just $620,000 in that period. The two groups’ total fund-raising amounts to $5.4 million and $1.5 million respectively.

Both groups expressed optimism that their side will win at the polls in November. “Various studies elsewhere have shown that for all the millions spent in marriage amendment campaigns, there aren’t a lot of minds that are changed,” Minnesota for Marriage chairman John Helmberger told Minnesota Public Radio. “It’s mainly one of voter turnout.”

Sunday, July 22, 2012

DADT Repeal = Small Impact on Chaplains

Prior to repeal, various conservative groups and individuals - including many conservative retired chaplains - warned that repeal would trigger an exodus of chaplains whose faiths consider homosexual activity to be sinful. In fact, there's been no significant exodus - perhaps two or three departures of active-duty chaplains linked to the repeal. Moreover, chaplains or their civilian coordinators from a range of conservative faiths told The Associated Press they knew of virtually no serious problems thus far involving infringement of chaplains' religious freedom or rights of conscience.

"To say the dust has settled would be premature," said Air Force Col. Gary Linsky, a Roman Catholic priest who oversees 50 fellow chaplains in the Air Mobility Command. "But I've received no complaints from chaplains raising concerns that their ministries were in any way conflicted or constrained."
[Archbishop Timothy]Broglio remains concerned that Catholic chaplains might somehow be pressured to participate in or facilitate ceremonies or programs that bestow recognition and approval on same-sex couples - "As time goes by, it will be a challenge, to make certain you're not silently condoning."

As for preaching the Catholic doctrine that homosexual behavior is a sin, Broglio said he expects chaplains to retain the freedom to do so as part of their religious services. But he said there is confusion as to whether that freedom extends to other settings where chaplains might face pressure to deliver inclusive messages.

Broglio said he has not given his chaplains specific instructions to either emphasize church teaching on homosexuality in their preaching or to avoid the subject.

The Founders on Our "Christian" Nation

GOP Needs Less Old, White, Fat Men

George Zimmerman: Creepy & Demanding

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Family-Friendly" Cities

RWNJ: Blame Gays For Colorado Shooting

An American pundit is saying acceptance of gays and lesbians in liberal churches and media led to the tragic shootings in Aurora, Colorado.

Anti-gay group American Family Association’s news director Fred Jackson made these comments while discussing the Batman movie theater shooting that killed 12 people.

According to Right Wing Watch, he believes because Americans no longer fear God and hell, and growing more welcoming of gays and lesbians in churches, it is no wonder ‘why all these terrible things are happening to us’.
On his radio show AFA Today, Jackson said: ‘I know the AFA Journal has been dealing with denominations that no longer believe in the God of the Bible, they no longer believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation, they teach that God is OK with homosexuality, this is just increasing more and more.
If you read the article on from there, it just gets more bizarre as he starts making even more unsubstantiated and ludicrous claims.

Lowlights & Highlights: July 21, 2012

Clearly the worst thing to happen this week was the shooting in Colorado, and I don't need to tell anyone how tragic this is. As someone who lived in Blacksburg, Virginia on April 16, 2007, I know what this community is going through and they have my condolences and prayers.

Compounding the tragedy is that it has brought out the lunatic fringe elements of society. Case in point: Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said that this happened because of an attack on Judeo-Christianity here in America. He went on to question why the people in the theatre (where the shooting took place) didn't have any guns, almost like he's blaming them for being sitting ducks. I have no idea how this man's thought process (assuming he actually has one) works, but his opinion would have been far better kept to himself since it does more harm than good.


While I certainly would not expect or even really ask people to boycott Chick-Fil-A in light of the fact that they have given millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations spreading falsehoods and misinformation about the LGBT community, I find it heartening that many people are voluntarily boycotting this business. Some of these people are quite high-profile. As I have mentioned earlier in the week, actor Ed Helms (The Hangover) and Boston mayor Thomas Menino (pictured) have both publicly voiced their feelings on this issue.

Chick-fil-A has every right in the world (or at least this country) to give money to whatever organization they wish. However, we the people have every right to make sure our dollars are not the ones that they give to proliferate hate, bigotry, and outright lies. Freedom is a two-way road folks.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Boston Mayor: No Chick-Fil-A Here

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino is blasting fast food chain Chick-fil-A's public stance against gay marriage and says its restaurants don't belong in the Massachusetts city.

'You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population,' Menino tells the Boston Herald in an interview published Friday (20 July). We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion.'

Earlier this week, Chick-fil-A Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy said the company is 'guilty as charged' when it comes to its opposition to gay marriage. It had donated nearly $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2010 through its charitable arm called WinShape. It also gave more than $2 million to anti-gay groups between 2003 and 2009.

Rachel Maddow Takes on Rush Limbaugh

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy 

Rush Limbaugh is an idiot. He doesn't even know the name of the film which he is talking about even though the rest of the world has known it for the better part of a year? If he doesn't know something that simple, why should we think he knows what he's talking about with the rest of the garbage he spews?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

McCain on His Palin Decision

Tennessee Gov. Not Hateful Enough

Republican legislators in Tennessee are circulating a resolution that would condemn their own party’s governor, Bill Haslam (R), for choosing not to fire a gay person on his staff. The resolution, which has been signed by nine country Republican chapters so far, would also denounce the Governor for keeping a Muslim woman in his employ, and for not supporting two highly conservative pieces of legislation.

Haslam did not hire the Muslim or gay employees. Rather, he simply kept them on the payroll after a change of leadership. 

The Tennessean obtained copies of the counties’ nearly-identical resolutions, which say Haslam has “forced this GOP organization to lose the confidence in our Governor during an election year.” One of the reasons listed for why Republicans have lost confidence, it continues, is that Haslam allowed “openly homosexuals to make policy decisions”
I guess these people are giving up whatever pretense of decency they have, which was already precious little.

Obama's Brilliant Campaign Against Romney

Portugal's (More Sensible) Take on Drug Laws

From Business Insider:

Over a decade has passed since Portugal changed its philosophy from labeling drug users as criminals to labeling them as people affected by a disease. This time lapse has allowed statistics to develop and in time, has made Portugal an example to follow. 
The resulting effect: a drastic reduction in addicts, with Portuguese officials and reports highlighting that this number, at 100,000 before the new policy was enacted, has been halved in the following ten years. Portugal's drug usage rates are now among the lowest of EU member states, according to the same report

One more outcome: a lot less sick people. Drug related diseases including STDs and overdoses have been reduced even more than usage rates, which experts believe is the result of the government offering treatment with no threat of legal ramifications to addicts.

While this policy is by no means news, the statistics and figures, which take years to develop and subsequently depict the effects of the change, seem to be worth noting. In a country like America, which may take the philosophy of criminalization a bit far (more than half of America's federal inmates are in prison on drug convictions), other alternatives must, and to a small degree, are being discussed.
America could learn something from Portugal since what we are doing clearly is not working.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ed Helms Boycotts Chick-Fil-A

Actor Ed Helms calls Chick-Fil-A's stance on marriage equality "lame" and says the fast food franchise has lost a loyal customer.

Website TMZ first reported the tweet from the popular star of NBC's The Office and The Hangover movies, which reads, "Chick-Fil-A doesn't like gay people? So lame. Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens! Lost a loyal fan."

The star's comment is in response to news that broke Tuesday, in which Dan Cathy, COO of Chick-fil-A, was asked if the company had indeed established a position against marriage equality. "Guilty as charged," Cathy replied, then went on to explain its adherence to what it believes are biblical principles.

Bryan Fischer: Liberals Opposed Civil Rights

How is abolishing slavery conservative? There was a time when the GOP was progressive and liberal. The thing is that there is a phenomenon that Fischer has apparently never heard of: political realignments. The South saw this, in large part, because of the civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's. Yes these states were Democratic bastions up to that point. They clearly no longer are. The GOP was once the party of social justice. Now, the party is obsessed with keeping rights from the LGBT community, women, racial minorities, and so on. We see it in voter ID laws the disproportionately affect the poor, the elderly, college students, and other groups that are likely to vote against the GOP. The party with greats including Teddy, Abe, and Ike died a long time ago.

Bryan Fischer clearly has no idea what he is talking about. Then again, that fact is not news.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Romney Struggles For Excuses

Is "The Dark Knight Rises" an Anti-Romney Plot?

The idiocy that is Rush Limbaugh strikes again.

I'm guessing that Limbaugh has not even seen this film, given that it hasn't come out yet. I guess Limbaugh thinks that everyone else is as ignorant as his listeners are.

Boy Scout Anti-Gay Ban Remains

After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays, ruling out any changes despite relentless protest campaigns by some critics.

An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, "came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts," the organization' national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press.

Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion – preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.
"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," Mazzuca said. "We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."

The president of the largest U.S. gay-rights group, Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign, depicted the Scouts' decision as "a missed opportunity of colossal proportions."

"With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued," he said. "They've chosen to teach division and intolerance."

The Homeless LGBT Youth Epidemic

From Think Progress:
As many as 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT, and a new Williams Institute study of youth shelters confirms this estimate. Between October 2011 and March 2012, 354 agencies completed surveys about their clients and found that about 40 percent of their homeless and non-homeless clients were LGBT (9 percent of whom identified as bisexual). About 30 percent of clients using housing-related services (like emergency shelter and transitional living programs) were LGBT.
Of all the agencies’ LGBT homeless clients, 68 percent have experienced family rejection and more than half (54 percent) experienced abuse in their family. Fortunately, nearly 80 percent of the service providers who work with clients under the age of 18 are doing family acceptance-related work, though only about half of providers working with older youth offer such resources.

The largest barriers to doing more work to reduce LGBT youth homelessness were insufficient state funding, insufficient local funding, and insufficient federal funding.

You can read the article in its entirety HERE and the accompanying study HERE.

Conservatives Want Romney's Tax Returns Too!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Police, Firefighters Making Minimum Wage

It's unfathomable that these men and women who put their lives on the line are only getting paid as much as employees from Burger King.

Marriage News Watch: July 16, 2012

Elizabeth Warren Outraising Scott Brown

Penn State Football's Death Penalty

Fox Fail: Pollution is Good

From Examiner.com:
The study was commissioned by the Department of Defense, and the university was given $2.4 million to carry it out. The purpose of the study was to develop a plan that sequesters carbon in long-leaf pine forests on military bases, therefore reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. 

During the course of the study Auburn researchers concluded that pollution has temporarily increased the growth rate of trees in the South Eastern regions of America, which historically removes more carbon from the environment than it produces. The study also found that the cause of this growth will lead to ground level ozone increases, which can develop into a myriad of other environmental conditions.

So while the study concluded that pollution did help the trees grow, it also found the pollution would ultimately damage the environment. Fox, staying true to form, elected to show a graphic for the entire segment (see image above article) which claimed "STUDY: POLLUTION HELPED GROW FORREST ACROSS SOUTHEAST U.S."

Gee, I wonder why Fox viewers are the least informed? You can read the article in its entirety HERE.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Marriage Equality...In Vietnam?

The Ministry of Justice is collecting opinions from agencies and organizations about the legalization of same-sex marriage as it drafts modifications to the current marriage laws, VnExpress reported Friday.

In its latest letters to social organizations and related agencies, the ministry said it is considering legalizing same-sex marriage because increasing numbers of homosexual, bisexual and transgender people were coming out and declaring their sexual orientations.

Their need to get married and live together is also increasing, while the Law on Marriage and Family issued in 2000 outlaws same-sex marriage, the ministry said.

“To guarantee personal freedom, the marriage between same sex people needs to be recognized...”
In May, authorities in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang fined a family for organizing a public celebration of their son’s marriage to another man.

A few years ago, a lesbian couple in the southern province of Ca Mau was also fined for organizing a similar wedding ceremony.

I'm sure the country is a ways away from really having marriage equality like, say, Canada has. However, if they end up beating the States to marriage equality, this country should collectively hang its head in shame. You can read the article in its entirety HERE.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Ever wonder why Friday the 13th is considered to be so unlucky? Well, I was watching The History Channel some years back and they were talking about the Knights Templar and the show gave me an answer to that question (though this quote isn't from The History Channel, it still rings true):

The whole superstition regarding the unluckiness of Friday the thirteenth arose when, on Friday, October 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the simultaneous arrest and imprisonment of all the available Knights Templar, and the confiscation of all their worldly goods. Because of this unwarranted persecution of the Knights Templar, all down the ages, Friday the thirteenth has been considered an unlucky day ever since.

Many, many Knights Templar were tortured into confessing such misdeeds as heresy, treason, worshiping an idol; all capital offenses. 

Many executions were carried out: many Knights Templar were burnt at the stake, including the elderly leader of the Order, Grand Master Jacques de Molay. As he was burnt at the stake, he faced the Notre Dame Cathedral, his hands folded in prayer. He said:

"God knows who has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death."

Pope Clement, who was instrumental in disbanding the Knights Templar, died only a month later, and King Philip, who ordered the capture, persecution and death of the Knights Templar, died mysteriously in a hunting accident before the end of the year.

How did this come about, that these Knights Templar, these proud knights in armour, responsible for guarding pilgrims to the Holy Land and the most respected knights in the land, with their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience rigorously adhered to and their sacred mission of protecting the pilgrims in the most holy of all places on earth--how did these perfect, gentle knights manage to offend not only their sovereign king but the pope, as well? And to the degree that the infamous persecution has its own unlucky aura surrounding that day, or indeed any Friday the thirteenth, for the next 700 years?

Even though the original vows included a vow of poverty, and the individual knights adhered to the rule as far as personal expenditures, they, as an organization, had become extremely wealthy over time, forming the first international banking system of any kind, and accruing wealth and estates through pious gifts of landowners wishing to finance the Crusades. King Philip was deeply in debt to the Knights Templar:proper name, the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon ...

And Pope Clement owed his position to King Philip's influence, primarily.

That's one way to cancel the debt--kill all the persons you are indebted to and confiscate their wealth.

So, happy "Sucks to be a Templar Day" to all!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

SC Gov: Rape Prevention is a Distraction

An Open Letter to Maggie Gallagher

From After Elton:
...When we met a few months ago at a reception following a gay marriage debate you had with Andrew Sullivan, you were really quite charming, and we had a perfectly affable conversation on matters mostly unrelated to marriage equality. I have endeavored since that meeting to be more civil in discussions about your advocacy and have become more sensitive to (and distressed by) the personal attacks I sometimes see directed at you. I've tried to stick to what you say, while attempting to understand what you mean, since they are two entirely different things in most cases. You're a master of knowing your audience, and you were honestly an engaging person to talk to at that Washington & Lee reception. We agree on nearly nothing, but I took from that evening that you were a human being, and deserved to be treated as such. I still believe that.

But the things you say are monstrous. Particularly because they put a polite and kindly gloss on something that at its heart is very ugly and does damage to a lot of people. "Not this, not now?" Sorry, but marriage equality is NOT an affront to civilized society, and when you hold it out as such, you make it harder for gay youth who through no fault of their own are stuck in communities and families that say they and their relationships are "less than" their friends who are straight...
I think that Ed Kennedy, this letter's author, is being kinder to Gallagher than she deserves. You can read the letter in its entirety HERE.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Homophobic Attack At Lowes

From The Advocate:
Two men who report being verbally harassed and physically threatened at a Lowe’s home improvement store in Riverside, Calif. have been granted temporary restraining orders against the employees who allegedly attacked them. Jeremy Smythe, 29, and Daniel Soto, 35, have requested video evidence from Lowe’s of the incident and are considering a civil case against the store.
Lowe’s security cameras captured footage of the incident, but Lowe’s has not agreed to release the video to Smythe, Soto and Roberts-Ross. Should Lowe’s release the tape, a representative told Smythe, Soto and Roberts-Ross, they will do so with the stipulation that it cannot be released to media. Smythe suggests Lowe's knows its employees were in the wrong.

“If the video shows we were the aggressors, why wouldn’t Lowe’s say, ‘Show the tape’? It’s going to show what we’ve been saying all along,” Smythe says.
It's pretty obvious that if/when the evidence shows that these employees are the agrgressors here, they should be fired. I know to most that common sense, but we should also be aware that common sense ain't that common in this world. 

Don't forget that these two men had a child that was with them when this incident occurred. Yeah, these employees were attacking these men with their child in tow.

I can't help but think that if something like this happened at a Home Depot (which has a good track record with LGBT equality to the point that they have incurred a boycott be the so-called American Family Association), the employees would have been fired on the spot, no litigation required.  Just some food for thought there.

You can read the article in its entirety HERE.

Romney Booed At NAACP


GOP Rep: No Coverage For Brain Tumor Patients

From Think Progress:

On Monday evening, Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) said that insurance companies should be allowed to discriminate against people with brain tumors during a House Rules Committee debate of the GOP’s bill repealing the Affordable Care Act. The law, which Republicans will vote to eliminate on Wednesday, includes a provision prohibiting insurance companies from turning away sick people.

But Dreier suggested that these individuals would be better off enrolling in state-based “high-risk insurance pools,” that could offer coverage to the individuals who are turned away from the individual health care market because they are too costly to cover.

If they paid for the insurance, they should get the coverage. Otherwise, the insurance "provider" should refund every penny the patient ever paid them. I would be surprised at the heartlessness of this elected official, except he's a Republican politician. You'll be hard pressed to find one who is not of the same mind on this issue. Also, in a more general sense, the GOP is pro-discrimination.

You can find video of Dreier's statement HERE.

The Religious Wrong: Gays Are Driven By Demons

Honestly, I'm starting to get bored with Bryan Fischer. He is pretty much saying the same thing repeatedly. He needs new material.

How Gay is Canada?

From the National Post:

The Forum Research poll, commissioned by the National Post and taken twice in June to confirm its accuracy, found that 5% of Canadians identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. And contrary to the popular wisdom that the same-sex marriage rate is surprisingly low, the poll found that a third of LGBT people say they are in a same-sex marriage.

“Social scientists have never been able to pin down how many Canadians are LGBT, but we believe this is the best estimate to date,” said Lorne Bozinoff, president of the polling firm. “This is something people want to know; they’re curious. And now is the time to measure it: people are less reluctant to answer the question, so we can actually ask it.”
But Forum’s 5% figure jibes with the latest number out of the United States, where a University of California Los Angeles think-tank last year found 4% of Americans are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. University of British Columbia professor Amin Ghaziani said it is “terrific” that Canada has joined the U.S. in producing a more comprehensive snapshot of its gay community.

“I think this survey will prove useful for demographers and anyone who is tracking public opinion on sexuality — on the relationship between knowing someone who is LGBT-identified and support for LGBT issues,” said Mr. Ghaziani, an expert in the sociology of sexuality who is working on a book about gay neighbourhoods.

The article features some more details on the numbers and demographics. You can read the article in its entirety HERE.

The Religious Wrong: Trying to Boycott Google

They may be biting off more than they can chew this time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Marriage News Watch: July 10, 2012

"Freedom to Marry" Seeks Young Conservatives

From the Huffington Post:

As support for marriage equality continues to grow, a significant number of conservative hold-outs still insist that marriage must remain between one man and one woman. But instead of simply writing off Republicans, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group Freedom to Marry today begins a campaign to spread the message that support for marriage equality is consistent with conservative principles. To do so, Freedom to Marry is tapping a group on the right already trending away from the GOP traditional position: young conservatives.

Freedom to Marry on Tuesday launches "Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry" to highlight the demographic's growing support for marriage equality. While 61 percent of all Republicans said they believe same-sex marriage should be illegal in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, Republicans ages 18 to 44 were evenly split.

The campaign begins with a reception this evening on Capitol Hill, and there are plans to host a brunch at the Republican National Convention.
It is true that even among conservatives, particularly younger conservatives, there is growing acceptance of LGBT equality just like there is in pretty much every socioeconomic strata.  Cultivating this demographic will be very important moving forward and is a very smart (and bold) move on the part of Freedom to Marry. Plus, there is the added bonus of pissing off folks like Tony Perkins.

The Broader View of Coming Out

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pat Robertson: Ignore the Bible?

First, America was not founded as a Christian nation. God is not mentioned explicitly in either the Declaration of Independence, nor the Constitution of the United States (if memory serves). The "creator" is mentioned in the Declaration and Christians believe that to be God, but God is not mentioned by name. Also, I'll direct those who misguidedly believe America is a Christian nation to article 11 of the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli (I have written about this previously) which states in its entirety:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
One of the founders was President when this treaty passed and signed it into law (and I'm sure some of them were in Congress as well). It is pretty hard to look at this and still think that America is explicitly a Christian nation. Then again, some people have a talent for not doing research and putting on the blinders when it comes to looking at facts.

Second, if you are going to recommend ignoring the Bible's support of slavery because society now sees it as wrong, should you not do the same regarding the Bible's (alleged) condemnation of homosexuality? More and more people are supporting LGBT equality, they see homosexuality as just another variant of humanity, and believe that homophobia is damaging to people. Thus, by Robertson's own logic, the Bible saying (allegedly) that homosexuality is wrong should be ignored.

Thanks Pat!

Latino Groups Supporting Equality

From the Washington Blade:

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Cuban American National Council, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund are among the 22 groups that have backed the “Familia es Familia” campaign.  The initiative will provide affiliated organizations with trainings, videos, publications and other resources in both English and Spanish on marriage rights for same-sex couples, discrimination and other issues. “Familia es Familia” will also use Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks to further engage Latinos on these issues.
 An Arcus Foundation-funded survey that ‘La Raza’ and Social Science Research Solutions released in April shows that 54 percent of Latinos support marriage rights for same-sex couples. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they back civil unions for gays and lesbians, while 78 percent of Latinos support openly gay and lesbian servicemembers. The same poll found that while 83 percent of respondents support LGBT-specific employment protections, only 55 percent said they support adoption rights for gays and lesbians.
 “A growing majority of Latinos in this country know that every gay or lesbian person is part of someone’s family — a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a loved one — and the more conversations we have, family member to family member, the more support for the freedom to marry grows,” [Evan] Wolfson [from Freedom to Marry] stressed to the Blade, specifically highlighting marriage rights for same-sex couples. “Latino gay couples seek the freedom to marry to affirm and strengthen their love, their commitment, and their ability to take care of each other and their families; government should not be putting barriers in their way. Freedom to Marry is proud to be supporting the ‘Familia es Familia’ campaign to lift up Hispanic voices and stories as together we make the case for ending the exclusion from marriage.”

I guess the National Organization For Marriage Discrimination trying to drive wedges between the LGBT community and racial minorities is not going so well.