Friday, February 19, 2010

Absurdity on film

Watch to the very end to really get an idea of how ridiculous marriage laws are.  (Thanks to for the tip.)  I'll be back on Monday.

Speakers at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) Convention

This report on CPAC is from Right Wing Watch.  FYI: Many members of the CPAC threatened to boycott the convention if a gay Republican group was allowed to attend. (Maybe that's why some people call it hate?)

Janice Shaw Crouse of The Beverly LaHaye Institute joined the EagleForum's Phyllis Schafly and Tim Goeglein of Focus on the Family for a CPAC panel entitled "Saving Freedom from The Enemies of Our Values." 
While Schlafly spent most of her speech rambling on about the internal enemies of the conservative movement, namely RINOs and Rockefeller Republicans, and Goeglein spent most of his time quoting other people, Crouse got right down to business, explaining that the those who are undermining our families, our morals, and our values are making today's children susceptible to becoming the next Hitler Youth:

Translation: Gay families are creating Hitler Youth.  (Not, of course, the legions of children I saw carrying hateful signs at anti-gay marriage protests.)  And for the record, Massachusetts voters: Senator Scott Brown spoke at this conference as well.  So much for that independent Republican he was supposed to be.

And here's another clip from Hatefest, 2010.

MLK Day will remain that way in Utah

A few minutes ago the Desert News posted this story:

Ogden gunmaker John Browning won't share a state holiday with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. 
"We don't want to go where we're not wanted," said Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Eagle Mountain. "I had an idea to honor an international icon and a favorite son of Utah and got backed into race politics."
After the proposal surfaced Wednesday, local NAACP leader Jeanetta Williams said it was "a very mean-spirted act" to consider honoring a gun manufacturer on the same day as King, who was shot and killed by an assassin.
 Love the spin on this one.  A white legislator chooses to present a bill to share the birthday of America's most prominent and influential African-American with a gun manufacturer.  Never mind the King was killed by a gun.  Never mind that he embodied non-violence.  It's Senator Mark Madsen who has been "backed into race politics."  Yea.  That sort of happens when you are so overtly racist.

I really have no words that would suffice here.

Thanks to Joe.My.God for bringing my attention to this story in the Salt Lake City Tribune:

A plan is circulating under the radar in the Utah State Senate to share the holiday honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., shot to death in 1968, with one of the country's most famous gun makers. 
The plan is to rename the holiday, which falls on the third Monday of January, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr./John M. Browning Day, adding the gun manufacturer whose birthday also falls in January.

A bill titled "John M. Browning State Holiday" was submitted at the deadline for filings, Feb. 5, sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Lehi.

 I actually have no words right now.

Openly Gay African American man with children named president of Grinnell College

Thanks to and Pat for calling my attention to this great story.

Raynard Kington, the deputy director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a leading scientific researcher on the role of social factors as determinants of health, has been named the next president of Grinnell College in Iowa.  From the press release:

Dr. Kington; his partner, Peter T. Daniolos M.D., a child psychiatrist at Children's National Medical Center and George Washington University; and their two young children plan to move to Grinnell during the summer and occupy the president's home at the college. Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.
Congrats to Kington, his family, and Grinnell.  Kington acknowledged his partner and children (including 4-year-old son Emerson, above) at a surprise announcement regarding his presidency at the college.

Huckabee to support anti-gay marriage group

According to On Top, Former Arkansas Governor and Mike Huckabee will be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for the Iowa Family PAC, a group whose mission is to oppose same-sex marriage.  The political action committee says it will support Christians who are "God-first" candidates.  According to On Top:

Huckabee is the presidential choice of social conservatives who attended September's Value Voters Summit, the annual conservative meet up sponsored by the Family Research Council (FRC), an ardent opponent of gay and lesbian rights. Surprisingly, former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin trailed in fourth place.
The former Baptist minister does not believe gays should be allowed to serve in the military and supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union
In November, he told CBS' Katie Couric that if you alter marriage to include gay couples “then there is really no limit” to how it might be defined and suggested polygamy would soon follow
“Can we change it to multiple spouses?” he rhetorically asked. “If not, why not? You know, I hear people say, 'Well, what would be wrong?' What would be wrong, then, with a man having two or three or six or seven wives? Or a woman having six or seven husbands all at the same time?” 

“If enough people believe that we should have – I'll just use the illustration of polygamy – then we should accommodate that. Otherwise, are we being just as bigoted and intolerant and lacking compassion 'cause we don't promote and accept and put a sanction on polygamy?” he asked. “I don't think so.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Re-Imagining Valentine's Day

 On Sunday, February 14th,  Standing on the Side of Love, which is a movement within the Unitarian Universalist Church,  came to life. Over 100 communities Reimagined Valentine’s Day and celebrated International Standing on the Side of Love Day. It was a day of worship and action. Each community that participated focused on issues that mattered locally and used tactics that would create change.

The Catholic Church speaks to politicians

Carol Glatz of the Catholic News Service reports that Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna has written in the Vatican newspaper that public officials who support same-sex marriage cannot consider themselves Catholic.

Cardinal Caffarra wrote that Catholic politicians must not only promote the public good; they also "have a serious duty to make sure their beliefs, thoughts and proposals concerning the common good are consistent."  He further noted that "“It’s impossible for the Catholic faith and support for putting homosexual unions on equal footing with marriage to coexist in one’s conscience - the two contradict each other."  If a Catholic lawmaker were to introduce a measure or to vote in favor of gay marriage, that would be a "publicly and gravely immoral act."  In that case, said the cardinal, "we will, at the proper moment, give the necessary directives."

These comments are disturbing, to say the least.  If the issue of gay marriage should make it to the US Supreme Court, what will guide the five Catholic judges?  Will these judges bend to Vatican orders?  Will they be excommunicated if they don't?  And why the threat on this issue?  The Catholic Church vehemently opposes the death penalty.  Why hasn't there been a similar statement with the force of this one?

Half a century ago,  John Kennedy put to rest any concern that the Vatican would have influence on US policy.  Unfortunately, Cardinal Caffarra has put that concern front and center once more.

Pride House, Vancouver

Typically, houses in the Olympic Village are organized around country.  This year, Canada has created "Pride House" -- a safe haven for LGBT athletes.  It is the first of its kind.  Within the first week of its opening, four LGBT athletes requested asylum in Canada because their sexual or gender orientation could mean jail time in their home countries. Pride House has provided lawyers and other aid to help these athletes.  Go, Canada!

Good News from New Hampshire

The Boston Globe is reporting that the New Hampshire legislature voted twice on Wednesday to keep same-sex marriage legal.   A bill that would have repealed New Hampshire's same-sex marriage law failed by a very large margin, 210-109.   A proposal that sought to define marriage as between a man and a woman also lost by a margin of 201-135.  The measure required a 3/5 majority to pass.

The debate was, at times, passionate.  State Representative Nancy Elliot (left) tried to reduce the debate to one specific sexual act when she said, “We're talking about taking the penis of a man and putting in the rectum of another man and wriggling it around..."  She later had to back off from an accusation that gay sex with pornographic photos was being taught in a fifth grade New Hampshire School when she couldn't verify her sources.

Another representative,  Alfred Baldasaro (right), said, “A black person cannot change the color of their skin, but a homosexual can change their sexual preference any time,” he said.  “What about [laws] being disrespectful to sister-sister that love each other, sister-brother, sister-mom, incest, it's in there. Aren't we discriminating against all of them?” he said last week during a committee hearing. “What about the Muslims, now? Everyone's praising the Muslims that are killing us. What about them? They want three, four wives ...”

Not quite sure I follow his logic. Nor have I ever been able to understand how straight people can know whether being gay is a choice or not.

Hollywood Squares

Hat tip to Paul for putting this on facebook. Just try not to laugh. This may have been the gayest show on TV ever.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

There isn't enough coverage of this sort of news

AP has posted the following story about gay marriage in Iowa and faith leaders:
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 160 faith leaders are weighing in on gay marriage, saying they support such unions and disagree with those who cite the Bible in raising objections
The 167 people, who represent a number of faiths, held a Statehouse news conference Tuesday to argue that unions based on love "must be honored." 
All too often, the media opts to portray religious communities and leaders as vehement opponents of gay people.  This simply isn't true in many cases.  I'm glad that these leaders are making themselves heard.

All for now.  Taking tomorrow off from blogging.  See you Thursday!

Betty White's SAG Speech

There's a movement afoot to bring Betty White to Saturday Night Live to host.  After watching this acceptance speech, you'll see why!

Dick Cheney's Don't Ask, Don't Tell Turnaround

Over the weekend former Vice President Dick Cheney said that it was time to reconsider DADT.  According to the Washington Post:

He based his view that "it's time to reconsider the policy" on the public statements of Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other military brass in support of ditching "don't ask, don't tell." But Cheney did volunteer that "things have changed significantly" in the two decades since he ran the Pentagon as secretary of defense under George Bush the Elder. "I think the society has moved on," he said. "I think it's partly a generational question."

Like Colin Powell, Cheney suggests that we get rid of a discriminatory policy without owning any responsibility for that policy.  Cheney had eight years to say what he said last Sunday.  He's waited until the Bush administration was out of office so he wouldn't upset the right wing in his party.  Why is the press letting these guys do an about face on this policy when, in fact, they were either originators of the policy or enforced that policy when they were in office?  Why is the press giving these guys a pass for doing what's right long after their political career could be a risk?  These two men -- and many, many others -- were on the wrong side of history.  It's great that they are on the side of equality now, but we can't let them run away from their past.

Another reason to keep the faith (maybe)

Remember when civil unions were a threat to civilization?  When some politicians in Vermont lost their jobs because they supported civil unions -- even though they were required to recognize same-sex couples by the court?  Now, about ten years later, comes this poll from Texas.  John Wright from  The Dallas Voice writes the following about Texas, arguably one of the most socially conservative states in the union:
Sixty-three percent of Texans support some form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, whether it be marriage or civil unions, according to the results of a University of Yexas/Texas Tribune poll released today. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they support same-sex marriages, while 35 percent said they support civil unions. Only 30 percent said they oppose both marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples, with an additional 7 percent saying, “Don’t know.” The poll of 800 registered voters has a margin of error of +/-3.46 percent. These new poll results show an increase in support for relationship recognition since a poll conducted by the Texas Lyceum Association last June. The Lyceum poll found that 57 percent of Texans favored some form of relationship recognition, with 32 percent backing civil unions and 25 percent favoring marriage. According to the new poll, the number of people supporting civil unions and same-sex marriage has increased 3 percent EACH over the last eight months. If this rate of increase were to continue, a majority of Texans would support same-sex marriage within five years.

And yet....why do I suspect that if civil unions went to the ballot in Texas, it would lose?  It's the extraordinary PR/Propaganda machine of the far right.  They are brilliant.  They are ruthless.  They are shameless.  And until we accept this and stop relying on the goodwill of people to vote the right way, we will continue to come up short.  Maybe it's time for us to not only run a campaign for us, but also a more calculated campaign against these tactics and what they stand for. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Protest in Paris

The Annual Kiss-In in Paris was supposed to take place outside Notre Dame Cathedral, but threats of violence from fundamentalist Christians against the protesters prompted a move to another part of the city.  Here's a clip of the sweet protest:

Counter Demonstration to the Kiss-In

Not all kissers were willing to leave Notre Dame Cathedral for their "kiss-in."  The ones who stayed were met with protesters who chanted, "Habemus papam," which means, "We have a Pope."  (This is what is chanted when, after one pope dies, another is selected."

The level of anger at people kissing is quite amazing.  Maybe another reason why some people call it hate?

Valentine's Day Protests in New York

Valentine's Day provided supporters of gay marriage the opportunity to make some timely political statements. Four members of Queer Rising were arrested after they chained themselves to the New York City Marriage Bureau where four same0sex couples were denied marriage licenses earlier in the day.

A few days earlier in Buffalo, Kitty Lambert (right) and her partner Cheryle Rudd were denied a marriage license.  Lambert then asked a random man from a crowd to marry highlight the "insane" (her word) laws that only allow heterosexual.  She and this stranger were immediately granted a license.

And yesterday in Central Park, performance artist/ activist Rev. Billy (left) performed a group "unmarriage" ceremony for straight couples unwilling to partake of marriage until "love is the law."