Friday, May 21, 2010

The Fierce Urgency of Now

It's safe to say that many LGBT bloggers are unhappy with the Obama Administration over its lack of leadership on DADT.  Sure, we were promised repeal in the State of the Union Address, but that repeal seems less and less likely by the day.  Here's a post from Pam's House Blend that seems to be a decent example of what I've been reading lately.  (Photo: the wonderful Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend.)
With today's official confirmation that Democrat Ike Skelton refuses to include "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal language in the House's Defense Authorization bill, and reports are coming that Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson too has joined Democrat Sen. Jim Webb, and Republican Scott Brown in ruling out repeal in 2010. Their reason? They are listening to Bush-appointee and Obama holdover, Democratic Administration Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' recommendation to not to attach repeal to the Senate version of the Defense Authorization Bill. To anyone playing close attention, repeal seems hopelessly handicapped in 2010.

And mostly, by the White House's complete and total lack of leadership. Because of Gates' unprecedented presumption to set the legislative calendar for Congress, and Obama's total silence and disengagement on the issue, it is undeniably the Democrats who are destroying hope for repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for 2010.

They are telling our community as they always have: to wait.

Not acceptable.

This is not the bargain we made. This is not the "fierce urgency of now." I say to President Obama, we voted for you. Not George W. Bush's Secretary of Defense. We were expecting Change. And we expect you to keep the promises you made to our community. And we expect you to lead the Democrats, as the leader of the party.

Your complete and total lack of leadership on this issue is more than a disappointment, it is a betrayal.

It's time for the gay community-for the leaders of our national organizations-to come together, in total unity, and say with one voice: "We'll vote for you later."

Later. As in Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010.

In other words, you're on your own for midterms.

It's clear the carrot is not working. We've been donating, volunteering, and voting Democratic since time immemorial. We stood by the party in the hard times. We help them regain control of the House and the Senate in 2006. They've controlled both houses for over four years. But when did they get around to introducing a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal bill into the Senate? Oh that's right, March 2010, just two months ago. Wouldn't it have been good to have planned a little more in advanced? Wouldn't it have been smart to have introduced it earlier and built support internally before the clock started ticking down? Our civil rights are, apparently, the Democrat's afterthought.


Until Democrats fear ticking off the LGBT community, they clearly will be feckless allies and fair weather friends who take us for granted and feel no inclination to reward us for our tireless devotion to keeping them in power.

Well, let them look at the prospect of midterms 2010, without our resources. No LGBT votes. None of our feet on the ground knocking on doors. Our pocketbooks sealed tight.

To be clear, I don't want the Republicans in charge of the Senate or the House anymore than anyone else. But it is the only stick we have in our arsenal to discipline the Democrats into doing what they promised, what is right. As the Courage Campaign noted today, the relationship has become hopelessly dysfunctional. They clearly need a spanking. It is no longer enough they be better than the GOP, they must actually be good.

And, as completely incompetent as the Obama administration has been in getting anything resembling "bi-partisanship" out of the GOP in the last 15 months, I wish them luck in 2010, contending with even an stronger GOP minorities or, god forbid, majorities.

Maybe when President Obama really contemplates that, he'll call off his dog, Secretary Gates. Maybe he'll be moved to pick up the phone and have a chat with Jim Webb and Ben Nelson and get them to do what's good for the party in November 2010. Maybe he'll do one of his famous bi-partisan reach arounds to Scott Brown?

Or maybe not. Maybe it's time for Democrats to feel a little hurt from the LGBT community. Maybe our little kiss-and-make-up sessions after the Democrats passed and signed DADT, and DOMA, have left the impression the LGBT community are a bunch of pushover pansies that will never fight back, no matter how many times the party betrays us.

It's time (way past time, really) for Human Rights Campaign, and every major LGBT organization to let a message be known, Obama and the Democrats have a proposal on the table:

    "President Obama and Secretary Gates must come out and endorse repeal this year. The leader of the party must bring Democrats in line to deliver on the promises he and the party have made to our community for years. Or every major LGBT organization will recommend LGBT Americans stay home during the midterm elections.

Yeah, we'll get around to helping you guys out again someday. On the same time frame you've been giving us for years: Later.

I find this divide between the LGBT community and President Obama very sad.  Yet I understand where it's coming from.  Many of the overtures to the LGBT community have been window dressing: cocktail parties, Easter Egg Hunts, a movie night for LGBT leaders.  These gestures are meant to placate while LGBT soldiers are being fired for who they are, LGBT couples find themselves unable to bury their loved ones, and the federal government continues its institutional discrimination.  Yes, the community is getting loud, angry and impatient.  But as we know, the Black Civil Rights Movement didn't succeed because of cocktail parties.  Please, Mr. Obama.  Remember the fierce urgency of now.

Harvey Milk Day

Marisol Bello of USA TODAY is reporting that tomorrow, California will mark the official “Harvey Milk Day” in honor of the slain gay rights leader. Some 26 cities in 20 other states will unofficially mark the day with rallies and events.

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office and icon of the gay-rights movement. He was depicted by Sean Penn of an Oscar winning performance in the film, Milk.”

In her article, Bello notes the importance of Milk’s legacy today:

The Milk events come as gay-rights advocates are pressuring Congress to pass a bill that ends job discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and to repeal the military ban on gays and lesbians serving openly.

Gay-rights activists stepped up their protests this week, rallying at the U.S. Capitol and in front of legislators' district offices and chaining themselves to the White House gates to call attention to their causes.

Robin McGehee, co-founder of GetEQUAL, one of the groups leading the rallies, says that despite gains since Milk served, gays and lesbians still lack full equality. "Thirty-two years later, sadly, we still wait," she says.

The USA Today website has posted a brief commemoration of Milk, narrated by his friend Cleve Jones:

Midnight Train to Georgia

How's this for a subway musician?

Today's Letter from the Front Lines

May 21, 2010

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

On November 4, 2008, I spent the evening at the Democratic Headquarters of a small town. I watched anxiously as election results poured in from across the nation, nervous and hopeful that enough Americans had believed in the change you promised to bring.

Then it happened. The broadcaster announced that the network was declaring you the winner; the tears welled up in my eyes. Cheers erupted and I turned to hug the person standing closest to me, as we all did.

Balloons and confetti flew, and photographers began snapping pictures. One aimed his camera at me and I turned away. After another attempt, he asked if he could take my picture. I said no. I couldn't risk having my photo appear in a newspaper because I am a Marine, and the person in my arms was my boyfriend.

We had met nearly three years earlier while I was in Marine officer training. He was working in a clothing store near a bar I went to on the weekends. I wanted a reason to stay and talk to him, so I bought a pair of shoes I did not need. We went on our first date the next weekend, and the rest was history. I was later stationed across the country and we flew cross-country to see each other. When I found out I was being deployed, he came with my family to see me off.

It was my first deployment, and I had no idea what to expect. It is a strange feeling to say goodbye to someone you know you might never see again. When have you hugged enough? How do you know when to let go? How many times do you tell them you love them? How do you convince them everything will be fine when you are not sure it will be?

I looked at my mom and dad, my sister and nephews, and my boyfriend, trying to burn their images into my mind so I would not forget them.

As I looked around the parade deck and saw my fellow Marines kissing their wives and girlfriends goodbye, I felt crushed. I could not kiss my boyfriend of two years goodbye. Worse, he was afraid to even stand too close to me for fear of anyone getting the wrong idea. I was willing to risk it out of my love for him, but he – like the rest of my family – feared being responsible for doing or saying anything that could have jeopardized my career.

Several years earlier, sitting in a Marine recruiting office, my recruiter asked me if I was gay. He had been trying to explain DADT to me and was frustrated by how long it was taking. He said it only mattered if I was gay, so he asked. It was the first time I was confronted with DADT, but it would not be the last.

When you ask a straight Marine if he is gay, he says no without hesitation. When you ask a gay Marine, he either lies or cites DADT and declines to answer. You can sacrifice your integrity or invite suspicion.

When I returned from Iraq, I had trouble adjusting to being home. Like many of my fellow Marines, I had trouble reconnecting to my friends and family. I did not know how to relate to my boyfriend. I had trouble being intimate, trouble sleeping, trouble expressing my feelings. Our relationship suffered.

I became depressed, and we grew apart. I could not seek counseling because my relationship with him was against the law. Talking to a counselor about my relationship would have resulted in my own discharge. I suffered alone and in silence.

When he finally left me, I was devastated. My other half – my partner through school, transfer, and deployment – was gone. After four years he had grown tired of living with the shades closed in the apartment, afraid that neighbors would see us sitting beside each other on the couch. My work suffered and my colleagues noticed a difference in me, yet I had no choice but to lie and cover it up, insisting that I was fine.

Every day, gay and lesbian service members suffer and our loved ones suffer. We are forced to lie to our brothers-in-arms and our units suffer. We lie about our relationships, and our families lie to protect us.

The law renders us second-class citizens by prohibiting us from having or forming relationships – the same type of relationships our straight counterparts form that are hailed as vital to the health and success of our Armed Forces.

While they have family housing, family counseling, family readiness officers, and key volunteers, we serve alone. We are denied access to services and support created specifically to help us with family issues and stress – much of which results from the very policy that prohibits us from seeking help in the first place.

The sacrifices gay and lesbian families make just to get through each day are more than most people can even fathom, and we do it in silence. I live every day with the knowledge that I could be fired simply for being honest about who I am. I lie about my loved ones and myself in order to survive.

Still, my sense of duty and patriotism drive me to serve despite the restrictions this law imposes on my family and me.

Please, Mr. President, work with Congress to end this discriminatory law.

Let me serve honestly, openly, and with integrity.

Semper Fidelis,
A U.S. Marine

(The writer is currently serving and unable to identify himself publicly.)

A moving tribute to the Kennedys

This week The Boston Pops premiered this musical tribute to the three Kennedy brothers.  If the rest of the piece is as moving as these few minutes, it must have been quite an evening.  The actors in this clip are Cherry Jones, Robert DeNiro, Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jon Stewart, right on target again

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
On Topic: In the News - Gay Marriage
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Daniel Radcliffe Public Service Announcement

 Daniel Radcliffe had recorded a public service announcement for the Trevor Project, which supports LGBT youth.  Wonder why an American actor doesn't do something like that here.

This should make you smile

(with thanks to Joe. My.God.)

One of the most moving letters in the Repeal DADT campaign

May 10, 2010

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Tracey Cooper-Harris. I served in the Army for 12 years, reaching the rank of sergeant. As a soldier and a noncommissioned officer (NCO), I performed my duties with honor and distinction. I was lauded by my peers and superiors for going above and beyond the status quo to complete the mission.

And, I am gay.

I lived in constant fear serving under “don’t ask, don’t tell.” I was always looking over my shoulder, censoring what I said and keeping as much physical distance as possible between my military life and my personal life.

Even with this vigilance, I was found out by some male “friends” at my first duty assignment. I was just 19 years old. The deal was simple: Perform sexual favors and my secret was safe.

I had a choice: Report these men for “sexual harassment/cohesion” and end my military career or submit to their demands.

Despite the military’s “zero tolerance” policy on sexual harassment, it doesn’t apply to those forced in the closet under DADT. I was sexually blackmailed and just a teenager.

At that time, as well as other times during my military service, I had seen friends discharged under DADT who were in similar situations. My friends were discharged, while their perpetrators were given a slap on the wrist.

The signal from command was clear: Being gay was a far more serious offense in the military than sexually harassing a fellow service member. I ultimately chose what I believed was the best decision for me at the time. I let these men have their way with me in exchange for their silence.

I am not proud of what I did, but I loved my job too much to let it destroy my career before it had even started.

My decision didn’t come without consequences. I was eventually diagnosed with an STD which could potentially lead to cervical cancer later in life.

I, frankly, am still ashamed of what I had to do to stay in the Army. I wasn’t discharged under DADT, but left because of it. I continue to attend counseling sessions provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs for what I went through. The memories still come back to haunt me some 16 years later.

I don't want to see other service members go through what I went through. And unfortunately, this will continue to happen as long as DADT is law.

As long as a recruit or military member meets or exceeds the criteria for military service, let them serve. A bullet doesn’t discriminate because of a person’s race, gender identity, sex, religion, or sexual orientation, so why does the U.S. military continue to do so?

The time to repeal DADT is long overdue. Please, Mr. President, do the right thing.

Respectfully yours,
Former Sgt. Tracey L. Cooper-Harris
United States Army

Injustice in Malawi

CNN is reporting a terribly sad and disturbing story from Malawi where a court has found a gay couple a gay couple guilty of gross indecency and unnatural acts.  The men, 26 and 20, face 14 years of hard labor.

Reports CNN:
Steven Mojenza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, (right)were arrested in December at their home in Blantyre, Malawi, for professing their love in a traditional engagement ceremony. They were rounded up after news reports surfaced, charged under colonial-era sodomy laws and detained at Chichiru Prison without bail.

Their arrests received some popular support in the conservative southern African nation, but sparked condemnation by gay rights activists and human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which have called for the release of the couple.

"This is an outrageous verdict," said Peter Tatchell, a London-based activist who has been supporting and advocating for the men.

"While Steven and Tiwonge freely confirmed their love for each other, there was no credible evidence that they had committed any illegal homosexual acts," Tatchell said. "With so much hatred and violence in the world, it is bizarre that any court would criminalise two people for loving each other."
A statement released by one of the men read,  "I love Steven so much. If people or the world cannot give me the chance and freedom to continue living with him as my lover, then I am better off to die here in prison. Freedom without him is useless and meaningless."

Another shocker

Michael A. Jones of is reporting that yet another right wing, anti-gay politician has found himself in a sexual scandal.

As Jones puts it, stories like these are about as shocking as "Meryl Streep nominated for Oscar."

Writes Jones:

You can almost start a professional football team with the number of high profile anti-gay politicos who have waxed on about how gay people threaten marriage, only to then cheat on their spouses. The newest member of this elite team of hypocrites? Rep. Mark Souder (left), an Indiana Congressman who has touted family values ad nauseam since being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994. Someone should get this band of politicians some uniforms.
Rep. Souder announced today that he "sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff. I am so ashamed to have hurt those I love."

Well, not to kick somebody while he's down, but it's hard not to wonder if Rep. Souder is ashamed of his nearly two decade-long career in the U.S. House, where he made denying gays and lesbians certain rights a staple of his legacy. Heck, even on Rep. Souder's own Web site, there's a call to arms to keep marriage the sole domain of heterosexuals: "Studies consistently demonstrate that it is best for a child to have a mother and father, and I am committed to preserving traditional marriage, the union of one man and one woman."

Apparently that commitment stops the second a part-time employee walks into his office.

Rep. Souder joins a lengthy list of individuals who preach one thing, and then do another. (Quite literally.)  There's Gov. Mark Sanford and his Appalachian Trail, Sen. David Vitter and his DC Madam phone numbers, Sen. John Ensign and his attempts to buy his way out of an extramarital affair, former Sen. John Edwards and his love child with a woman not his wife, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his extramarital dalliances while trying to impeach a President for having an affair, Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons and his alleged affair with a Playboy playmate, and Irish Member of Parliament Iris Robinson's affair with a 21-year-old lover, just to name a few of the more high profile politicians who believe that gay people are a threat to the integrity of marriage. Perhaps these folks should try to hold up the world's largest mirror.

Rep. Souder is now resigning from office, ending a nearly sixteen-year career in the U.S. House where he voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, and against employment non-discrimination laws for LGBT people and hate crimes protections for LGBT people. In all of those votes, Rep. Souder cited family values as reason number one for his vote.

I'd advise politicians out there to keep their anti-gay comments to themselves.  They're a sure sign that you are either (1) gay yourself; (2) in an affair with some staff worker or  (3) all of the above.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Just in: Portuguese President to sign marriage bill

The Pope must be furious....Meanwhile, in the United States, a governor us vetoing a bill that would give same-sex partners burial rights....and another, the Governor of Hawaii, is suggesting she will veto a civil unions bill.

Just in via Joe.My.God:

The head of state's decision to permit the enactment of a bill passed by Parliament in January makes Portugal the sixth European country allowing same-sex couples to wed. President Anibal Cavaco Silva said in a nationally televised address he regretted that the country's political parties had failed to reach a compromise during days of heated debate in Parliament four months ago. Vetoing the bill would only send it back to Parliament where lawmakers would overturn his decision, he said, adding that the country needed to focus on overcoming an economic crisis that has increased unemployment and deepened poverty. The Socialist government's bill was backed by all of Portugal's left-of-center parties, who together have a majority in Parliament. Right-of-center parties opposed the measure and demanded a national referendum. "Given that fact, I feel I should not contribute to a pointless extension of this debate, which would only serve to deepen the divisions between the Portuguese and divert the attention of politicians away from the grave problems affecting us," Cavaco Silva said. He said that, in ratifying the law, he was setting aside "personal convictions."

Please, President Obama

This message is from Americablog

The Department of Energy has just appointed Jonathan I. Katz, an avowed "proud homophobe" who blames gays for AIDS, to an elite scientific panel that is assisting British Petroleum with the oil spill disaster in the Gulf.  Here is what Jonathan I. Katz had to say about the "innocent victims" of AIDS:

"These people died so the sodomites could feel good about themselves."

Won't you please join us in asking President Obama to fire this bigot?

While we all agree that our country should use our best minds to address this catastrophe, it is difficult to believe that the Obama administration could not find anyone other than a man who proudly authored an essay titled "In Defense of Homophobia."  This homophobe is not, as Energy Secretary Chu recently said of Katz, one "of our best scientific minds."  He is a bigot who should not be elevated by the President of the United States as a representative of the best minds in America.

President Obama would never appoint a "proud racist" or a "proud anti-Semite" to a panel of experts, and showcase him as one of the best minds in our country, and he shouldn't appoint a proud homophobe either.  Please use this form to add your name to a public letter asking President Obama to fire Jonathan I. Katz.  Then forward this email to your friends.

The latest letter to President Obama

 The latest "Letter from the Frontlines" urging President Obama to actively engage in repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  It takes more than a mention on the State of the Union Address: 

May 17, 2010

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

    I am a proud Army veteran of the first Gulf War. You won't find anyone who loves this country more. I get chills and teary eyes, every time I hear the Pledge of Allegiance or The Star Spangled Banner. I've been known to call a business when I see them flying a tattered flag to let them know that if that's all the pride they have in the American flag, they should just take it down. I am also a proud lesbian.

    I joined the military in 1989, before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was enacted and when there was an outright ban on gays and lesbians in the military. I did not realize at the time that I was a lesbian, but later, when I did come to terms with my being gay, I never tried to hide it, but I did not flaunt it either.

    My sexual orientation was a non-issue. I was a hard charging soldier, promoted long before my peers. I am sure there was talk behind my back about me being a lesbian, but no one ever seemed to care. I was a good friend, soldier, and leader; everyone I encountered could have cared less about what happened in my private life. After DADT was passed, I started to hear stories about people being discharged. I struggled with this every day, always fearful that I would be next.

    Eventually, the stress of constant fear that I could lose my job no matter how hard I worked or how well I performed, became too much. I knew from the stories of others that even serving to the very best of my ability could cost me my job. I knew that an anonymous tip—by someone who was jealous of my success, angry with me because of a disagreement, or mad because I rebuffed a sexual advance—could trigger a demoralizing, demeaning investigation under DADT. And if I was not willing to lie, I knew an investigation could lead to my discharge.

    I was lucky, though. I did not get kicked out, but that does not mean that DADT didn’t affect me. The uncertainty and fear of knowing that anyone with a grudge could end my career, and the sadness in realizing that at any time my country could callously discard me for no other reason than the fact that I was gay, pressured me to give up the career I loved. I chose not to reenlist.

    There are days when it is hard for me not to walk into the nearest recruiting station and sign back up. I watch what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan and it's hard for me to think about not being there with the men and women I served with in the first Gulf War. I have to remind myself why I chose not to reenlist.

    Defending our country in uniform is one of the greatest privileges and responsibilities of being an American. Many people do not appreciate that; many take our freedoms for granted; and many do not choose to serve. We cannot afford to lose those who want to serve, who have the necessary skills and work ethic, and who would risk their lives for their comrades and their country.

    Mr. President, in your State of the Union Address, you said that the American people are not quitters. I did not quit on my country during the first Gulf War and I would serve again if called. There are at least 66,000 gays and lesbians serving right now who do not want to quit, either. Mr. President, please don’t quit on them. Please do everything in your power to end DADT this year. We are counting on you.


    Former Sgt. Shonda Garrison
    United States Army

Pretty life affirming

This made my day.  Hope it makes yours.  It's from Britain's Got Talent, the show of Susan Boyle fame.  Just click.

Britain's Got Talent

Ah, youth.

Newsweek on the Defensive

Sometimes you get so used to subtle and not so subtle homophobia that you begin doubting yourself when you think you see it.  This happened to me last week when I read a Newsweek column that in essence said that a gay man like Sean Hayes shouldn't play the hetero lead in the rival of the musical Promises, Promises.

I shrugged off my irritation, until I started reading the blogs and realized I wasn't the only one who picked up on the homophobia.   Many LGBT publications and organizations are now asking for an apology from Newsweek.

I've been thinking that at first I probably just chalked up the article to what I have learned over the years about LGBT people in film. If you are straight and play a gay, you get lauded and nominated (or even win) the Oscar.  I guess playing gay is that much a stretch.  If you are gay, you aren't allowed to play a straight in Hollywood.

Here are some examples of straight actors who have won or been nominated for playing LGBT over the last 35 years or so.  Many of these performances were brilliant (Heath Ledger and Sean Penn come to mind), but it still doesn't negate the prejudice against gay actors in the movies.

Oscar Wins:

William Hurt in The Kiss of the Spider Woman
Tom Hanks in Philadelphia
Charlize Theron in Monster
Peter Finch in Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sean Penn in Milk
Hillary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry
Nicole Kidman in The Hours
Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote 

Oscar Nominees 

Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
Bruce Davidson in Longtime Companion
Felicity Huffman in Transamerica
Cher in Silkwood
Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon
Chris Sarandon in Dog Day Afternoon
Greg Kinnear in As Good as It Gets
Ed Harris in The Hours
Julianna Moore in The Hours
Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls
Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal
Colin Firth in A Single Man 

There may be more; these are the ones I came up with and verified.  Compare this list to the out LGBT actors who have been nominated or won.  (I haven't included actors such as Jodie Foster, since she was in the closet when she was cast and won.  She was certainly perceived as straight during that time.  It's interesting, however, to count how many movies she's made since she came out.  My total is zero.)

The LGBT List of Oscar Winners and Nominees:

Ian McLellan in Gods and Monsters (nominated for Oscar)

That's it.  It's all I can remember.  And he played a gay man in this movie.  We could possibly add Nigel Hawthorne who was nominated for The Madness of King George, although I'm not sure everyone would agree that he was "out."  In any case, both are British actors, so not one gay American actor made the list, at least to my knowledge.

Here's hoping that the Newsweek article will bring attention to what happens to LGBT actors in Hollywood, and the double standard of how straight actors can play gay and be lauded for it, while LGBT actors rarely get a chance to play straight.

Help Devan

Bloggers: if you are willing, please post this on your blog.


 A friend of mine has a nephew who is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Please spread the word and consider being tested, which only involves sending in a swab of your saliva.  Here's the info from Devan's aunt:


My four year old nephew needs a bone marrow transplant. ANYONE can be a potential match--please consider being tested. It's a simple, free swab on the cheek. Spread the word. (If you are willing, make this your status). For more info go to With deep gratitude to those who have already helped.


 For more information go to

No final wishes is reporting Governor Tim Pawlenty (who, by the way, is trying to woe the right wing as he considers a run for the presidency) has vetoed a bill that would have given same-sex partners the right to  make decisions about the body of their deceased loved ones.

The "Final Wishes" bill is by "Project 515," a group so named because there are 515 laws in Minnesota that discriminate against same-sex couples, though the group is not seeking marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

The Pope in Portugal

It still boggles my mind that the Pope thinks he has moral authority.  During his visit to Portugal -- where the legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill that the President, a Catholic, has yet to sign -- Pope Benedict announced that gay marriage is an insidious and dangerous threat to the world.  Quotes The New York Times:
In a speech here to Catholic social service groups, Benedict called for initiatives aimed at protecting “the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good.”
Now I might argue that widespread sexual abuse of children and its cover-up is the very definition of "insidious" and "dangerous,"  but I guess I'm a card carrying member of the reality community.

And remember, this is the same man who claimed that the blurring of gender roles as a result of things like gay marriage were threats to creation as serious as saving the rain forests and halting climate change.

Think about it: my living with my husband and two bassets, parenting two fabulous children, serving leadership roles in our church....that equals global warming?

I agree wholeheartedly with Peter Tatchel of the gay rights group OUTrage  who said:
The Pope is fast losing all his sense of moral priorities. Compared to war, poverty and racism, gay marriage is a minor issue. It is not worthy of the Pope's moral outrage. In a world filled with hate and violence, he should be encouraging love and commitment, not denouncing it.
Or what  a spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement told the Telegraph about the Pope's condemnation:
It is one thing to oppose gay marriage from religious convictions and another to make such a claim about it when you look at issues such as teenage pregnancy, sexual disease, drug abuse, world poverty and war. This is an appalling, unfounded and unjust claim. I do not really see on what basis he can say gay marriage is among the most dangerous challenges to society. It ignores real social evils the Church and others should be addressing with far greater urgency.
Not much to add to that.