Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another Official Leaves the GOP

Former Nevada Lieutenant Gov. Sue Wagner told the Reno Gazette-Journal that she has left the Republican Party because she thinks hardline conservatives have pushed the party too far to the right.

According to the paper's Tuesday report, Wagner -- who has also served as a state senator, assemblywoman, and gaming commissioner -- is now registered as a nonpartisan voter rather than as a Democrat.

"It’s grown so conservative and tea-party orientated and I just can't buy into that," Wagner said. "I've left the Republican Party and it's left me, at the same time."

Her action comes despite a long-time family connection to the party.

A Gallup poll released earlier this month found that the proportion of Americans who identify as Republicans has fallen to 25 percent, down from a high of 34 percent in 2004.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Indiana Marriage Equality Ban May Be Derailed

The full Indiana House in a bipartisan vote just effectively killed an anti-gay marriage bill — at least for now. 

The House voted 52-43 to approve an amendment to HJR3, a bill that would ask voters in November if they want to change the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Because changing a constitution is a sacred act, two separate but consecutive Indiana legislatures have to vote to make the change, and they have to vote for and pass the exact same bill.

Tonight’s passage of the amendment would, naturally, alter the bill, and therefore they have not approved the same bill twice.

For today, at least, the people of Indiana have been spared being marked as anti-gay...

And with each passing year, there are fewer homophobes to support this kind of measure and the chances of it passing decrease.

Marriage News Watch: January 27, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Why Net Neutrality Matters

OK Lawmakers Consider Banning ALL Marriages

From News9

...The idea stems from a bill filed by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmond). Turner says it's an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt while supporters say it's what Oklahomans want.

"[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all," Turner said.

Other conservative lawmakers feel the same way, according to Turner.

"Would it be realistic for the State of Oklahoma to say, ‘We're not going to do marriage period,'" asked News 9's Michael Konopasek.

"That would definitely be a realistic opportunity, and it's something that would be part of the discussion," Turner answered...

So Oklahoma Republicans are so homophobic that they are willing to throw straight people under the bus as well. As the larger Republican Party/conservative movement are trying to seem (at least on the outside) to be more inclusive, this will only hurt the GOP brand by exposing it for what it is: a safe haven of bigotry and antiquated ideas.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Former Gov. McDonnell (R-VA) & Wife Indicted

From the Washington Post

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged Tuesday with illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations and large loans from a wealthy Richmond-area businessman who sought special treatment from state government.
The two were charged with 14 felony counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, obtaining property under color of their official office and conspiring to the do the same.

They were also charged with making false statements to a federal credit union.

McDonnell was also charged with making a false statement to another financial institution, and Maureen McDonnell was charged with obstructing the investigation.

Charges mean the couple could face a maximum of decades in prison, though would likely serve far less if convicted...

Don't blame me, I voted for the other guy.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Travel Alert to Russia Issued Ahead of Sochi Olympic Games

With the upcoming Olympics in February, many eyes have been turned towards Russia at large, and Sochi - which is hosting the Games - more specifically. Now, they have drawn the gaze of the U.S. Department of State. Among the issues of concern are terrorist threats and hostage-taking (some bombings have already occurred), less than stellar health care should someone fall ill there while attending the Games, public demonstrations, lodging and so on.

One of the more prominent reasons for the travel advisory is one that has acquired extensive media coverage over the past several months: Russia ban on so-called pro LGBT "propaganda." One section of the travel advisory spells out Russia's threat to the LGBT community and its allies, foreign and domestic:
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) ISSUES: In June 2013, Russia’s State Duma passed a law banning the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors. The U.S. government understands that this law applies to both Russian citizens and foreigners in Russia. Russian citizens found guilty of violating the law could face a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($3,100). Foreign citizens face similar fines, up to 14 days in jail, and deportation. The law makes it a crime to promote LGBT equality in public, but lacks concrete legal definitions for key terms. Russian authorities have indicated a broad interpretation of what constitutes “LGBT propaganda,” and provided vague guidance as to which actions will be interpreted by authorities as “LGBT propaganda.” LGBT travelers should review the State Department’s LGBT Travel Information page.
The travel alert can be read in full at the State Department's website HERE

Jon Stewart Embarrasses Bill O'Reilly...AGAIN!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Media & Outing Members of Congress

From the Facebook page of journalist Itay Hod:

people always say, no one has the right to out anyone. that coming out is a private matter. i disagree. as you can imagine, not a very popular opinion. but bear with me.

here's a hypothetical: what if you know a certain GOP congressman, let's just say from Illinois, is gay... and you know this because one of your friends, a journalist for a reputable network, told you in no uncertain terms that he caught that GOP congressman and his male roommate in the shower... together. now they could have been good friends just trying to conserve water. but there's more. what if this congressman has also been caught by tmz cameras trolling gay bars. now what if you know that this very same guy, the darling of the gop, has also voted against repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, opposed the repeal of doma, is against gay marriage; and for the federal marriage amendment, which would add language to the us constitution banning gay marriage and would likely strike down every gay rights law and ordinance in the country?

Are we still not allowed to out him?

let me ask another question... doesn't the media have an OBLIGATION to expose his hypocrisy? if he had done something so hypocritical and he wasn't gay, wouldn't we demand journalists do their job? but they can't... because we won't let them. you're not allowed to out ANYONE, we tell them.

we've created a situation where even though news organizations know this guy is gay, they can't report it because he hasn't said so on twitter.

if we keep saying that being gay is genetic; ergo, it's no different than having blue eyes or blonde hair... than why are not allowed to mention it? why do we need anyone's consent to talk about their sexuality? are we not allowed to say someone has blue eyes until they post a fb message telling us they are in fact blue?

we've been so effective at convincing everyone that outing people is a crime against humanity, that we've made it impossible for any network or news organization to talk about this "hypothetical" gay republican congressman and his hypocritical vote against gay rights. they won't touch it for fear of retribution from GLAAD or HRC. (in fact when my friend's network interviewed said hypothetical republican, he talked about wanting to find a nice woman to marry... and the network aired it... knowing it was a lie...

so, forgive me if I don't subscribe to the notion that you're not allowed to out anyone... in fact in some cases, i'd celebrate it. but I'm crazy that way. Herndon Graddick

by the way... not sure why... but had a sudden urge to share this.

"This" is a link to an Americablog page that, among other things, shows some of the "gayest" images from the Instagram page of Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL). The Instagram page has since been made private (though the images are still on Americablog, hurray for screencaps). Schock has been more or less dogged by rumours of his sexual orientation despite - or perhaps in part because of - his very anti-gay legislative record. He has been given a 0% score by the Human Rights Campaign.

I have said time and again that I am against people (and more so public figures) being outed...unless you are outing their hypocrisy. In that case, have at it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Hunger Strike Against Marriage Equality

Trestin Meacham, a 35-year-old Utah man, is allegedly refusing to eat anything until the state nullifies its recent decision to allow same-sex couples to get married.

At the time the above video was released, Meacham had reportedly gone 12 days without food -- surviving only on water and an occasional vitamin -- and has lost 25 pounds.

“I cannot stand by and do nothing while this evil takes root in my home," the 35-year-old reportedly wrote on his blog. "Some things in life are worth sacrificing one’s health and even life if necessary. I am but a man, and do not have the money and power to make any noticeable influence in our corrupt system. Nevertheless, I can do something that people in power cannot ignore."

Meacham claims he will fast until Utah decides to nullify the court's decision -- nullification being a theory that the states have authority in all matters, not the federal government. It is a theory that has reportedly been used previously in an attempt to prevent integration in the public school system in the 1950s.

Marriage News Watch: December 30, 2013

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Welfare-Drug Testing Program Ruled Unconstitutional

From the New York Times

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down as unconstitutional a Florida law that required welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug testing, setting the stage for a legal battle that could affect similar efforts nationwide.

Judge Mary S. Scriven of the United States District Court in Orlando held that the testing requirement, the signature legislation of Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who campaigned on the issue, violated the protection against unreasonable searches.

“The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied,” she wrote. The ruling made permanent an earlier, temporary ban by the judge.
Tuesday’s decision stemmed from a 2011 suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Florida Justice Institute on behalf of a Central Florida resident, Luis W. Lebron, a Navy veteran and full-time student who had filed for public assistance. Mr. Lebron, who provided care for his disabled mother and was raising a young child as a single father, argued that it was unfair to require drug testing when no suspicion of drug abuse existed.

Given that these bills cost far more money than they save (which is allegedly the reasoning for these bills according to their supporters), I'm not seeing how this is in any way conservative fiscally.