Thursday, March 31, 2011

Colorado: Civil Unions bill stalls

Colorado's civil unions bill stalled tonight due to the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee, who refused to approve the bill for consideration by the full chamber.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper had urged the committee to advance the bill, which was approved by the state Senate last week.

One Colorado reports via press release: “Today’s vote was out of touch with everyday Colorado voters. With 72% of Coloradans in support of civil unions, House Republicans are out of the mainstream,” said Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado, a statewide LGBT advocacy organization. “Once again, they have turned their backs on Colorado families and kids.”

According to polls, support for civil unions is high. A February 2011 poll by Public Policy Polling found that 72% of Colorado voters support legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples.

Additionally, a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll conducted in 2010 found support for civil unions across political parties and religious affiliations, including 61% of Republicans, 84% of independents, 70% of Catholics, 67% of Protestants, and 55% of “born again Christians.”

Earlier today, a group of anti-gay Christians gathered at the state capitol building for a prayer vigil opposing the bill while pro-gay supporters held their own rally nearby.

The coalition advocating for civil unions includes more than 100 organizations representing nearly 1 million Coloradans.

All 5 Democrats on the Committee voted for the bill, while all 6 Republicans on the committee voted against the it. Republican Representatives Brian DelGrosso, Jerry Sonnenberg and B.J. Nikkel, considered moderates on the committee, took long pauses before submitting their "no" votes Thursday night.

Click here for more details


Gay Navy Officer wins discharge hearing

Petty Officer Derek Morado today won his discharge hearing with the Navy after being told he faced ejection due to a MySpace photograph that was turned in anonymously. In the photo, Morado is seen kissing another man. Morado's lawyer told KMPH News that even though DADT has been repealed, that doesn't mean the military's investigations are over.

From Get Equal: This is good news for a few reasons -- it shows the power of grassroots efforts to apply pressure and the reality that, when we expose the truth and stand up for our dignity, we win. We don't know how many other servicemembers are facing discharge, but we will not rest until all Americans -- LGB and T -- are free to serve their country freely, openly, honestly, and without danger of discharge.

Today was a victory, and we're grateful to Derek for lending his story and his voice to highlight the fact that servicemembers are still facing the discharge process, even 100 days after the law was repealed. We're also grateful to our friends at AMERICAblog Gay, who partnered with us to send Derek into the courtroom with the names of thousands of supporters who were unwilling to let this happen without pushing back.

The Navy's panel voted 3-0 in favor of Morado's retention. shows NOM's true side

From the excellent website The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is a highly secretive organization believed to be largely funded by the Mormon and Catholic churches.

During the country’s greatest economic decline in decades, NOM has amassed huge resources to stop marriage equality, whether at the ballot box or in court. NOM publicly projects rationality and tolerance, yet keeps company with zealots and long-time LGBT antagonists.

I encourage anyone who is interested in seeing justice and equality for the LGBT community to visit this site. It shows how these hateful organizations cloak themselves in "sanctity" but are actually just another homophobic religious right group - one with deep pockets.

Delaware: Civil Unions bill moves forward in state senate

A same-sex civil unions bill cleared a Delaware senate committee Wednesday and now heads to the senate floor for debate.

The bill -- S.B. 30 -- sponsored by Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark North, with more than two dozen co-sponsors, now goes to the Senate floor for debate.

Committee members heard impassioned testimony from opponents and supporters of the bill, one reading from the Bible, another reading a letter from his son, all saying the state would be significantly changed for the better or the worse. The balcony was packed and so was much of the floor of the Senate chamber.

Mike Bouchard, a New Castle County policeman who is active in his church, told the panel he says goodbye to his partner each morning and lays his life on the line each day for the community. He's honored to do it, he said.

"I hold the highest regard for my position in law enforcement," Bouchard said.

But he had one question for the panel: Why, if he is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his community, is he not given the same rights as those whose partner is of the opposite sex?

After a two hour hearing, the bill passed out of the senate administrative services committee with the 4 Democrats voting for it and the Republicans taking no position.

A tribute to Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay servicemember

Very straight forward, touching tribute to a gay servicemember who died in the line of duty. I encourage everyone to watch this.

From The Courage Campaign

Montana GOP lawmaker defends drunk driving

Montana GOP Rep. and bar owner Alan Hale stands up to denounce DUI laws. All of them.

Said Hale: "These DUI laws are not doing our small businesses in our state any good at all. They are destroying them. They are destroying a way of life that has been in Montana for years and years. These taverns and bars in these smaller communities connect people together. They are the center of the communities. I'll guarantee you there's only two ways to get there: either you hitchhike, or you drive, and I promise you they're not going to hitchhike."

Just in case you weren't absolutely sure that GOP lawmakers were about clearing the way for their wealthy friends (and themselves) to make money, even at the risk of people being hurt, injured or killed, well, there you go...

And I'm not EVEN going to comment on what he's wearing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taylor Mali on what teachers "make"


Washington State legislature votes to recognize out of state same-sex couples legal status

The Washington state senate passed it's last hurdle in recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships.

From the Seattle Times: The Washington Legislature has approved a measure that recognizes out-of-state domestic partnerships.

On a 28-19 vote, the Senate cleared the last hurdle for the bill. It now heads to Gov. Chris Gregoire's desk. Under the measure, gay marriages performed elsewhere would be recognized as domestic partnerships here, as well as domestic partnerships performed in other states.

At this time, five states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages. Washington is the fourth state to approve a bill recognizing same-sex couples from other states, following Rhode Island, New York and Maryland.

The measure enjoyed wide support among Democrats. It passed the House 58-39, mostly on party-line votes.

Indiana newspaper polls on whether banning marriage equality would be good for business

The Evansville Courier & Press has a poll out asking if banning marriage equality would "help" or "harm" Indiana's business climate.

Clearly, if companies were to be able to offer benefits to same-sex couples AND if the state itself offered marriage rights, it would make Indiana able to compete for the best and brightest with no discrimination.

Here's a link to the poll.

Go kids! You know what to do...

Bandit actually runs

Michael has started taking our "weight-challenged" dachsund Bandit for walks the past few days.

For some reason, he actually seems to like it. And he actually got his plump self up to a gallop!

Go fat boy, go!

Jon Stewart: GE pays NO Corp taxes while cutting jobs

Thank you Mr. Stewart for getting to the very simple heart of the matter...

This is how the Republicans tell us jobs get created - give corporations tax cuts, in addition to tax credits, and then they'll create, ummm,... wait a minute...

Oh. Never mind.

Top 7 worst website names

And, discuss....

(source via joemygod)

Sutton Foster vs. Patti LuPone in "Anything Goes"

This is some very funny editing...

Catch the audio at the very end.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Indiana: Senate votes to ban marriage equality & civil unions

The Indiana state Senate has just voted to approve a bill that would make marriage equality illegal.

From the Indy Star: The bill's language, which says "a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized," means that civil unions would not be recognized either.

If the General Assembly passes the measure again in 2013 or 2014, it would go to the voters in 2014, before the state constitution can be amended.  The Indiana House already approved the measure.

Current state law prohibits gay marriages. Amendment sponsor Sen. Dennis Kruse of Auburn says the measure would provide maximum protection for the basic family unit of society.

So I guess this is kind of like wearing two condoms or something...

Pastor Garlow thanks African-Americans for saving the country from the bondage of marriage equality

San Diego's slimiest Christian pastor betrays his inner white colonialist tendencies...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Britney Spears 'Femme Fatale' CD released Tuesday

Britney Spears' new CD, Femme Fatale, is being released Tuesday in what is sure to be a hailstorm of press appearances.

Thousands are thrilled, some have already moved on... where do you stand? Big fan or is Britney fanned out?

For more info on the release click here.Britney Spears Femme Fatale

Till the World Ends - Single - Britney Spears

US Citizenship and Immigration Services puts Bi-national Partner deportations on hold

Christopher Bentley, the spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, confirmed today that cases of foreign partners who are married to a same-sex partner and would otherwise be eligible for a green card are on hold in light of questions about the continued validity of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Bentley writes, "USCIS has issued guidance to the field asking that related cases be held in abeyance while awaiting final guidance related to distinct legal issues."

The USCIS reached this decision in response to the administration's Feb. 23 announcement that it no longer will defend Section 3 of DOMA in court. Were it not for Section 3 of DOMA, a U.S. citizen who is half of a same-sex bi-national married couple would be able to sponsor his or her non-citizen spouse for the purpose of obtaining a green card.

We'll see where this goes. It's clear the decision by the Obama Administration to not defend DOMA in court has had ripple effects since the announcement.

Chippendales on the loose in Vegas

Apparently, every now and then they let the Chippendales out of their theater at the Rio Hotel and Casino and have them run free throughout Las Vegas....  I'd stop and look if this crossed the street.


ENDA bill to be introduced to Congress this week

Rep. Barney Frank plans to introduce the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to Congress this Wednesday.

The bill, reported to be the same exact bill that was introduced in the 111th Congress, would prohibit most employers from discriminating in hiring and promotions on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Chances are extremely slim that it will move forward considering the Republican controlled House, but Rep. Barney Frank says he wants to use the opportunity to talk about the issue of LGBT discrimination in the work place with those who supported the bill in the past but couldn't get past the transgender component of the bill.

Last year, according to Rep. Frank "We have work still to do and we have overwhelming -- over 90 percent -- support on the Democratic side for ENDA based on sexual orientation and we had, in the last Congress, about 30 Republicans that way. Unfortunately, there's a drop-off from that number to transgender, and this is a chance to work hard to sway those who are committed to ENDA to support the full transgender inclusion as well."

For more info, click here.

Alec Baldwin: why he can't marry Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Alec Baldwin's funny video in support of the pro-marriage equality "Fight Back New York" campaign.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

An Open Letter to NY Gov. Cuomo

(Excerpt from open letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo from Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center in NYC.   Read the entire letter here)

Dear Governor Cuomo,

Last fall, I was honored to receive a call from your campaign staff inviting me to bring homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youths from the Ali Forney Center to a campaign event for you in Brooklyn with President Clinton. The youths were excited to see you and President Clinton, and we felt the invitation demonstrated a real concern from you about their lives and their plight.

Now, six months later, we are stunned and horrified by your proposal to put an end to any New York State support for homeless youth shelters. In New York City, there are 3,800 youth who go without shelter every night, over 1,000 of whom are LGBT. Fewer than 300 shelter beds currently exist for these kids, and every night, thousands are forced to fend for themselves on the streets.

Mr. Governor, I invite you to stop into one of our youth shelters. Maybe you can explain to our kids why they should be turned out of their beds and put in the street so you can give tax breaks to millionaires, to paraphrase your own father in his address at the 1984 Democratic Convention.

Maybe you could explain how they are supposed to survive alone on the streets at night. I don’t have an answer for them, and their pain and confusion are palpable.

Most of our clients are the most vulnerable LGBT youth in the community, rejected and abused by parents who cannot accept having gay children, discarded and thrown out of their homes simply for being LGBT.

The facts are shocking: studies show that 62 percent of homeless LGBT youth consider or attempt suicide, and 20 percent of homeless LGBT youth in New York City become infected with HIV.

On their behalf, I implore you to protect homeless LGBT youth, and all homeless youth, not leave them out in the cold. Your words and actions will have a direct impact on these young New Yorkers.

They at least deserve an explanation.

Carl Siciliano
Executive Director
Ali Forney Center
New York City

For more information about the Ali Forney Center, visit this link.

Billy Porter: "Time"

There's really not much more to add to this.

This. Is. Art.

Pay attention. Here it is.

How blessed I am to know this man.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro, 1st Female Vice-Presidential Candidate dies at 75

Geraldine Ferraro, the first Vice-presidential candidate in US history passed away today at the age of 75. She had been battling a form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma for 12 years.

"Geraldine Anne Ferraro Zaccaro was widely known as a leader, a fighter for justice and a tireless advocate for those without a voice. To us, she was a wife, mother, grandmother and aunt, a woman devoted to and deeply loved by her family," the family statement said. "Her courage and generosity of spirit throughout her life waging battles big and small, public and personal, will never be forgotten and will be sorely missed."

Ferraro, along with running mate Walter Mondale, lost in a landslide in 1984 to Ronald Reagan and George Bush with a popular vote total of 58.8% to 40%.

But Ferraro's place in history will always stand as a "first" that helped open doors for women in untold ways.

Ferraro was born August 26, 1935 -- Women's Equality Day -- in Newburgh, New York, to restaurant owner Dominick and Antonetta (Corrieri) Ferraro. She earned a bachelor's degree in English at Marymount Manhattan College in 1956. Then, while working as an elementary teacher by day, she put herself through law school at night, earning a law degree from Fordham University in 1960.

She was first elected to public office in 1978 when she became the U.S. representative for the 9th Congressional District of New York. She was re-elected in 1980 and 1982.

During her three terms in the House, she championed the Equal Rights Amendment and sponsored the Women's Economic Equity Act.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Book of Mormon" opens on Broadway

The new Broadway musical "The Book of Mormon" opened to rave reviews last night.

The NY Times Ben Brantley wrote: "This is to all the doubters and deniers out there, the ones who say that heaven on Broadway does not exist, that it’s only some myth our ancestors dreamed up. I am here to report that a newborn, old-fashioned, pleasure-giving musical has arrived at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, the kind our grandparents told us left them walking on air if not on water. So hie thee hence, nonbelievers (and believers too), to “The Book of Mormon,” and feast upon its sweetness."

The New York Daily News wrote: "Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the envelope-pushing pair behind "South Park," and Robert Lopez, the composer of "Avenue Q," delivered this baby. And, oh boy, it's a real winner. The show is blissfully original, irreverent, outspoken and hilarious. And all that's tucked inside good -- no, great -- old-fashioned musical."

The New York Post wrote: "Sure enough, “The Book of Mormon,” which opened last night, is all that — and much, much more. It’s a fiendishly well-crafted, hilariously smart — or maybe smartly hilarious — song-and-dance extravaganza. The show’s a hoot. The show’s a hit."

So there you have it kids. Go see a real, bonafide Broadway hit with wit.

Benefit Album for Japan Catastrophe

iTunes, App Store and Mac App Store

As Japan recovers from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, the world’s top recording artists respond to the tragedy with this benefit album. The 38 tracks include some of their biggest hits, featuring an exclusive remix of Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way,” Katy Perry’s “Thinking of You,” Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon,” Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love," and more.

All proceeds go to the Japanese Red Cross.

Target sues marriage equality group from asking supporters to sign petitions

In San Diego today, a court case is set to begin in which Target Corporation is suing an activist organization, Canvass For A Cause.

CFAC is being sued by Target to block them from asking customers outside Target stores to sign petitions to help the cause of marriage equality. Target has stated that they have no problem with the "message" - but say they have had  complaints by customers who don't like to be bothered exiting the stores.

But CFAC says that other groups - from veterans organizations to the Girl Scouts - are allowed to approach customers and that Target doesn't seem to have a problem with those groups.

CFAC also says all of their volunteers are trained to not be bothersome or rude. CFAC has asserted that Target, which has a history of anti-gay bias, is only trying to shut down organizations that support causes Target opposes. CFAC feels this is primarily a First Amendment issue.

Earlier this month, Lady Gaga cancelled a marketing deal with Target when discussions on improving relations between the LGBT community and Target failed to come together. Lady Gaga has been an out-spoken advocate for LGBT rights and equality.

Interestingly, there are reports that Target's history of anti-gay bias has not kept Ricky Martin, recent GLAAD honoree, from developing his own marketing deal with Target. Ricky and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson recently performed in Minneapolis for 10,000 Target store managers. This is a common practice when recording artists want to encourage Target stores to sell and promote their music.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Afternoon tunes: "The Day I Stop Loving You"

I love this song, AND this version by Matt Zarley and Lacey Kohl.

Colorado: Civil Unions passes in state Senate

Today the Colorado State Senate passed the current Civil Unions bill that would give same-sex couples many of the rights of marriage on a vote of 23-12.

It now goes to the state House where it might find more resistance since Republicans hold a slight majority.

House Republican leadership has promised a fair hearing. There are reports there is GOP support for this legislation - IF it can make it out of committee where it may get waylaid.

Polling has shown that 72 percent of Coloradans and 61 percent of Republicans in the state support civil unions.

Thinking good thoughts...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Definitions: Bigot

OK - just checking.  The word gets thrown around a lot lately, and I wanted to make sure I understood the word.

I do.

9th Circuit Court refuses to lift stay of same-sex marriage

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday left in place a ban on gay marriage in California, denying requests to allow same-sex couples to marry during a lengthy appeals process.

Federal Judge Vaughn Walker ruled last year that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional and ordered that same-sex weddings be allowed to resume, but his decision is on hold pending the appeal.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is waiting for California's supreme court to issue guidance on whether Prop. 8 sponsors have legal standing to defend the law in court when the state will not.

California's decision could add nine months to a year to the federal appeal process.

Unfortunately, that may be too late for some longtime gay or lesbian couples. As I wrote here recently, Ed and Derence of Palm Springs, a couple that has been together for 40 years, demonstrate that lives are in the balance. Ed suffers from advancing Alzheimer's. The California Supreme Court and now the 9th Circuit have decided to make Ed and Derence wait at least 9 more months before they might enjoy the fundamental right to marry. By then, it might not matter anymore. By then, Ed fears he may not recognize the love of his life, his own home or anything else.

Sometimes you hear people say "what's the rush?" or "we'll get there, don't worry."

Ed and Derence worry.

Colorado: Civil Unions bill moves forward in state Senate

The Colorado Civil Union Act cleared its first vote in the state Senate today.

The bill, sponsored by Denver Democrat Pat Steadman, and co-sponsored by every other Democratic member of the Senate, passed after a debate mostly focused on reciprocity, or how Colorado would recognize civil unions and same-sex marriages from other states like Iowa and Illinois.

If the legislation becomes law, it would establish a new form of relationship recognition for both same-sex couples and heterosexuals. Most of the protections and rights married Coloradan couples would also be made available to those couples in civil unions.

The bill will have one more vote tomorrow and is expected to be passed. It will then head to the Republican controlled House where Rep. Mark Ferrandino will sponsor it. A co-sponsor, and out lawmaker, Rep. Sue Schafer said the bill would probably be introduced in a week.

Brad Clark, executive director of One Colorado, a statewide GLBT advocacy organization, applauded the vote:

“Today is a tremendous victory for gay and lesbian couples across the state—and for all fair-minded Coloradans,” Clark said. “We look forward to working with House Republican leadership who have promised a fair hearing. Issues of significant importance with overwhelming public support like civil unions deserve a full and fair hearing with an up-or-down vote by the entire House.”

(from Out Front Colorado)

Indiana Marriage Ban Moves Forward

A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions is headed to the Senate floor after passing out of the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-3.

The committee voted down an amendment that would have limited the ban only to same-sex marriage, leaving the door open for Indiana to legalize civil unions in the future.

Thirty states have constitutional bans on marriage. Twenty also ban civil unions in their constitutions.

The measure has already passed in the Indiana House. The legislature will have to approve the bill a second time by 2014 in order to get it on that year's ballot, the earliest voters would see it.

Obama Administration Asks United Nations to Support LGBT Rights

The Obama administration, on Tuesday, introduced a declaration to the United Nations calling for better treatment and protections for LGBT people internationally.

The declaration, announced at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, has the support of more than 80 countries, according to the Associated Press. The document demands that countries end persecution of gay people and asks the U.N. to review how governments treat their gay citizens.

In a statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said "Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. We will continue to promote human rights around the world for all people who are marginalized and discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity. And we will not rest until every man, woman and child is able to live up to his or her potential free from persecution or discrimination of any kind."

In opposition to the proposed declaration, The Family Research Council, an SPLC-certified hate group released a statement saying "Our global neighbors have the freedom to believe that homosexuality is wrong--just as they have the freedom to legislate against any behavior they think is harmful to society. That freedom--and their very sovereignty--would be threatened by this effort."

The move represents a break on the part of the US from the Bush administration, which declined to support a 2008 document written by the French government similar to the one being proposed.

The new resolution now has support from Thailand, Rwanda, El Salvador, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, which did not support the 2008 document.

Homosexuality is still punishable as a crime in at least 85 countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, and Ghana.

Colorado House approves anti-bullying bill

The Colorado House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would reduce incidents of bullying in Colorado public schools.

If passed by the full legislature, the bill — HB-1254 — would clearly define bullying, create a state grant program to which schools can apply in order to fund bullying prevention programs, and require each school district to adopt a comprehensive, evidence-based anti-bullying policy.

The measure, which is co-sponsored by Representatives Sue Schafer and Kevin Priola, would overhaul current state anti-bullying guidelines for schools which would include sexual orientation and establish a state government organization to raise money for anti-bullying programs.

The measure requires that the state’s school districts implement programs to train teachers and create databases about bullying incidents in schools.

Elizabeth Taylor: Tireless AIDS Activist & Film Legend passes away at 79

Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed film star whose sultry screen persona, turbulent personal life and worldwide fame and glamour made her one of the last of the classic movie stars and a template for the modern celebrity, died Wednesday at age 79.

She had extraordinary grace, wealth and beauty. She won two Academy Awards, and her advocacy for AIDS research and for other causes earned her a special Oscar, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, in 1993.

Her more than 50 movies included unforgettable portraits of innocence and of decadence, from "National Velvet" to Oscar-winning performances in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Butterfield 8."

Longtime friend Barbra Streisand issued a statement saying "It's the end of an era. It wasn't just her beauty or her stardom. It was her humanitarianism. She put a face on HIV/AIDS. She was funny. She was generous. She made her life count."

Taylor was a great ally to the LGBT community, and worked tirelessly on behalf of AIDS-related charities and fund raising. She helped start the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) after the death of her former co-star and friend, Rock Hudson.

“I remember complaining, ‘Why isn’t anybody doing anything? Why isn’t anyone raising money?’” asked Elizabeth. “And it struck me like lightning: ‘Wait a second, I’m not doing anything.’”

“I decided that with my name I could open certain doors, that I was a commodity in myself—and I’m not talking as an actress. I could take the fame I’d resented and tried to get away from for so many years—but you can never get away from it—and use it to do some good. I wanted to retire, but the tabloids wouldn’t let me. So I thought, If you’re going to screw me over, I’ll use you.” The tabloids had followed her every move for decades, and by attaching her name to the AIDS crisis, they would have to acknowledge it.

Elizabeth Taylor would breakdown the stereotypes associated with the disease and enlighten an ignorant world.

There are those who gain, use and abuse their celebrity and position without ever contributing to a greater good. And then there was Elizabeth Taylor.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

8 things you should know about anti-gay Republican Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty

Eight things you should know about newly announced Republican Presidential candidate, former Governor and anti-gay Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota:

1. Pawlenty proudly opposes recognition of any same-sex unions: In a recent interview on FOX News, he told Greta Van Susteren that he will “never be at the point where I say all domestic relationship[s] are the same as traditional marriage. They are not.”

2. Pawlenty supports maintaining Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, rescinding funding to implement its repeal, and perhaps not allowing gays and lesbians to serve at all.

3. Pawlenty regrets his vote as a state legislator supporting nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity.

4. Pawlenty vetoed a bill extending end-of-life rights to same-sex couples. In addition, same-sex couples continue to be limited in the ability to seek restitution for wrongful death.

5. Pawlenty vetoed an anti-bullying bill adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Minnesota’s bullying policies and training.

6. In 2001, Pawlenty opposed labor unions’ efforts to offer benefits to employees’ same-sex partners.

7. Pawlenty vetoed a bill allowing local municipalities in Minnesota to offer domestic partner benefits.

8. Pawlenty vetoed a bill allowing state employees to use their accrued sick leave to take care of seriously ill family members.

For more detail, check out Zack Ford's excellent article on the issues listed above.

Delaware: Civil Unions bill introduced in state senate

Today, SB 30, was introduced by Senator David Sokola & Representative Melanie George which would legalize civil unions in the state of Delaware.

The bill would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions giving them all of the rights, benefits, and obligations of marriage under state law, but would not allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses. Religious institutions may choose not to solemnize civil unions.

Currently, five states have laws providing an expansive form of state-level relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples, without offering marriage. California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington provide same-sex couples with access to almost of all the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Earlier this year, the governors of Hawaii and Illinois signed into law civil unions bills. Couples in Illinois can begin applying for civil union licenses on June 1, 2011 and in Hawaii couples can begin applying on Jan. 1, 2012.

(more from the Human Rights Campaign press release)

Op-Ed piece in Las Vegas' leading newspaper in support of marriage equality

Very surprising but supportive op-ed piece in today's Las Vegas Review-Journal regarding whether or not Nevada is ready and should "jump in" on marriage equality, both as a matter of fairness and finance.

"Some who favor legalizing gay marriage in Nevada -- including many libertarian-leaning conservatives -- favor it for economic reasons. If Nevada were to become America's super-fabulous gay marriage mecca, we'd benefit from the fees, the travel, the hotel stays and the parties."

"It's a natural extension of the city's existing tolerance, too. If we're liberal enough to let pretty much any straight couple get married while drunk, we've got to be liberal enough to let real-life gay couples who actually want to honor the institution of marriage do it here."

It seems people are figuring out not only is it the right and fair thing to do, it makes money for the state and it's citizens. Funny how money can move an issue.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Casey Heynes - the bully victim who fought back

Casey Heynes became a youtube sensation recently when, after being bullied for most of his days in high school, he stood up for himself and turned the tables on a bully.

I personally applaud him for his courage to say "enough" to the bully who wouldn't leave him alone. I went through a lot of this in school and wish I had turned things around the way this young guy did.

In the clip below, he gives an interview describing how he suffered being bullied for years, contemplated suicide and finally how he found the strength to stand up to one of his bullies.

Good for Casey. I don't condone violence, but he gives hope to everyone who's ever been bullied that the day will come where the courage and confidence come together to say "enough." I think he's a hero and an inspiration.

Ricky Martin at GLAAD Media Awards in NYC

Film and Broadway producer Craig Zadan, presented the Vito Russo Award to Grammy Award-winner, Ricky Martin, whose decision to speak about his life as a gay man has had a tremendous impact worldwide, especially for Latino youth and their parents.

The Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mammoth Ski Weekend 2011 - part 1

Mammoth Ski Weekend 2011.

Michael and I had a great time with our partner in crime for these events, Russell Todd.

Russell was a successful actor on TV and in movies: he was a leading actor in Friday the 13th part 2, the remake of Where The Boys Are, a star of the long running day-time drama "Another World" as Dr. Jamie Frame, and on the prime time TV series "High Mountain Rangers."

All that aside, though, Russell is a great guy: very funny, very personable in every situation, and even though he's handsome and smart - he's very self-deprecating in any situation. Most men as handsome as he is would take themselves very seriously. Russell is the opposite - he ignores how handsome he is, and always has fun in any situation. He talks to everyone in social settings, makes jokes at his own expense and makes everyone feel comfortable. Most of the time he's asking you questions about yourself rather than talk about himself.

One of my favorite credits of his was in a recent fun, stylish, international commercial for Lawson's Scotch as Sharon Stone's boyfriend. It's perfectly suited for Russell - looks great, star quality and a terrific sense of humor:

Russell as Dr. Jamie Frame opposite Anne Heche's "Marley" on "Another World":

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sarah Palin: the gift that keeps giving...

In recent interviews, Sarah Palin said:

"NPR, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, all those kind of frivolous things that government shouldn't be in the business of funding with tax dollars -- those should all be on the chopping block as we talk about the $14-trillion debt that we're going to hand to our kids and our grandkids."

Mind you, debt reduction would scarcely be affected by defunding the federal arts agency, which currently operates on a $161-million annual budget. That $161 million is a very small drop in the bucket in terms of reducing the multi-trillion dollar deficit.  Also, the arts and humanities programs are those that teach our children to think "out of the box," to think creatively and to learn to find new ways of connecting ideas to come up with new solutions in life.  What frivolity!

One thing she didn't mention about her home state of Alaska - which she is constantly proud of declaring runs a state surplus - Alaska gets $1.84 for every $1 it sends to Washington D.C. in tax revenue. In other words, Alaska is a welfare state running on the subsidy of the federal government. This is in addition to the fact that Alaska has a special fund that rewards it's citizens annually based on oil profits the state makes. Wow - and they STILL need federal dollars. BUT, they run a surplus. Amazing, isn't it?

Sarah Palin also, while in India, participated in a Q and A session with India Today Editor-in-Chief and Session Chairman Aroon Puriein which she declared she and John McCain didn't win in 2008 because - and I quote - “I wasn’t the top of the ticket!"

Well, finally. She finally said what we've all known she's been thinking. She finally threw John McCain under that 2008 Republican bus. I'm guessing she figured she was so far away in India, that no one would know she said it.

Ah, Sarah. The gift that truly keeps giving.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Good day of skiing at Mammoth

Good first day of skiing at Mammoth today. Didn't kill myself the way I usually do.

Most trips you have to drag me off the slopes but being a little older, and not dancing the way I used to do, my legs aren't what they used to be. God, the burn half-way down the slopes. I do everything I can think of to get oxygen to the muscles - deep breathing, prayer, whatever it takes to get down safely.

But it's great fun. Love doing this with Michael and our friend Russell.

More skiing tomorrow. However, it's supposed to be colder and snowing off and on during the day. Not my favorite.

It's so rare that Michael and I get to travel together between our two schedules AND getting a dog-sitter.

Good times! More wine!

Former NYC Mayors join "New Yorkers for Marriage Equality"

Former New York City Mayors David Dinkins and Ed Koch have join the "New Yorkers for Marriage Equality" campaign by appearing in videos supporting these important civil rights. I'd like to point out that former Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who has several gay friends, has yet to join the campaign.

From a news release: Two recent New York polls show a strong majority of New Yorkers support marriage equality. A Siena Research Institute Poll found 57 percent of New Yorkers support marriage for same-sex couples and another recent poll by Quinnipiac University had support at 56 percent.

The New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign is centered on video testimonials from New Yorkers who support the right of same-sex couples to marry. To date, HRC has released videos from Former Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins, Ethan and Ryan Hawke, Russell Simmons, Mark and Sunrise Ruffalo, John Slattery, Joan Rivers, Barbara Bush, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, Fran Drescher, Moby, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Julianne Moore and Kenneth Cole.

In addition to rising acceptance in New York state, a Washington Post/ABC poll today found 53% of Americans support marriage equality. That's the first time to show majority acceptance in the 7 years of the poll.

Slight Majority of Americans support marriage equality

A slight majority of Americans now support marriage equality according to a poll by the Washington Post and ABC:

Five years ago, at 36 percent, support for gay marriage barely topped a third of all Americans. Now, 53 percent say gay marriage should be legal, marking the first time in Post-ABC polling that a majority has said so.

“This is very consistent with a lot of other polling data we’ve seen and the general momentum we’ve seen over the past year and a half,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, a leading pro-gay-marriage group. “As people have come to understand this is about loving, committed families dealing, like everyone, with tough times, they understand how unfair it is to treat them differently.”
Opponents of marriage equality weren't happy with the results and pointed to the language of the poll “Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?” Opponents said those polled thought the word "illegal" meant gays would be imprisoned which sounded harsh.

However, the poll has used the same language since 2003, when polls leaned in opponents direction. I notice they didn't get mad about language then.

Other polls by the Pew Research Center, the Associated Press and CNN show similar trends.

Forward, kids. Forward.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ski Trip March 2011 - Mammoth!

On the road for a few days of skiing at Mammoth! Whoo-hoo!

Indiana may ban civil unions

Several hundred people rallied at Indiana's Statehouse in Indianapolis Monday, chanting "Nix Six," referring to the measure, House Joint Resolution 6, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The proposed legislation has passed the state House 70-26 and is set for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, the Star said.

The measure must pass the current Legislature, then the one that will be elected in 2012, and finally get voter approval in a referendum in the 2014 general election to become an amendment to the state Constitution, the newspaper said.

The amendment would not only limit marriage to the union of one man and one woman, but would also bar civil unions or any other arrangement that would afford the same legal rights as traditional marriage, opponents said.

"Every generation has that thing they have to fight for," said Dorothy Vanore, 19, of Indianapolis, referring to struggles for women's right to vote and minorities' civil rights. "It's our turn to fight for who we want to marry."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dog stands guard over his injured canine friend in Japan

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

God, I love dogs.

Repeal of Defense of Marriage Act introduced in Congress

From Instinct: "In the House, the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) was introduced by Reps. Jerry Nadler, John Conyers, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis and David Cicilline, with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer sponsoring that chamber's bill. The House version also counts 100 co-sponsors.  In the Senate, which is looking at DOMA repeal for the first time, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the legislation."

At the press conference to announce the repeal bill, House Democrats called on citizens who were legally married in their state but denied rights affording to heterosexual couples under the law. Edie Windsor, 81, spoke about her 44-year relationship with Thea Spyer. When Spyer died in 2008, Windsor paid more than $360,000 in federal estate taxes because the government did not recognize their marriage.

Obviously, there's more chance of passing in the Democrat controlled Senate. There are about 20 co-sponsors in the Senate. With Republican control of the House and the much more conservative Tea Party freshmen in that chamber, I'm not too optimistic about passage there.

There would be a strange irony in the Tea Party members opposing the repeal of DOMA: Tea Partiers stand for states rights. The basis of their position seems to always be "let states govern themselves." If that's the case, and a state decides to allow marriage equality, then the federal government should honor those marriages like any other states' marriage. I'll be curious to see how they argue this among themselves.

But - it's all about steps, kids. Forward. No fear.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Carol Channing: Larger Than Life" - a documentary

“Carol Channing: Larger Than Life,” directed by Dori Berinstein, written by Dori Berinstein and Adam Zucker. (United States) – World Premiere, Documentary.

This film will debut at the world famous Tribeca Film Festival. It is a celebration of the life of Carol Channing, whom I love so dearly.

The story of legendary performer Carol Channing’s life is as colorful as the lipstick on her big, bright smile.

Director Dori Berinstein captures the magic and vivacity of the 90-year-old actress and throws it at the screen like roses at the stage during curtain call. You’ll have a grin on your face and a tear in your eye, evidence that the original Dolly Levi is still glowin’, still crowin’ and still goin’ strong.

At this past years' "Gypsy of the Year" event on Broadway, the men of the last revival of "Hello, Dolly!" were reunited with Carol to perform together once again.

During the rehearsals, the men were invited by Dori to sit down, with cameras rolling, and reminisce about our time doing "Hello, Dolly!" and life in general with Carol. It was a really wonderful, cathartic few hours spent in a room with men I greatly respect, talking about someone we universally admire and love.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this film celebration of Carol's life and career.

Beverley Randolph, Broadway Stage Manager, passes away at 59

I was very sad to learn today that Beverley Randolph, Broadway Stage Manager for over 30 years, passed away today.

Beverley stage managed more than 20 Broadway productions over the course of a 30-plus year career. At the time of her death and since 2009, she was production supervisor for the musical The Addams Family. Her credits include the Kander & Ebb musical Curtains, the musical Little Women, the 2002 revival of Into the Woods, the 1998 revival of The Sound of Music, Stephen Sondheim’s Passion, Kander & Ebb’s The Kiss of the Spider Woman, William Finn’s Falsettos, the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, plus Follies in Concert at Avery Fisher Hall, the 1987 revival of Cabaret and Neil Simon’s Chapter Two.

I was lucky to get to know Beverley. She was kind, strong and very good at her job.

As I read testaments to her today, I'm reminded of my own friendship with Beverley.

I was - and this is the truth - supposed to be an original cast member of "Jerome Robbins Broadway". Beverley Randolph was the Production Stage Manager of the show. At the time we all auditioned, it was being called "The Robbins Project." Spring/Summer of 1988. I flew in from "the road" while performing in the national company of CATS several times to audition for Jerry Robbins. Somehow, in the craziness of the business AND a very very bad phone service at the time, I didn't get the call that I was cast. When I finally got the message and called in, the casting director said "we wondered what happened to you" but it was gone. They'd gone with the next guy. I ended up being called in about 13 times for replacements spots. Twice I was hired, but the person I was supposed to replace rescinded their notices.

Anyway, at the same time, I was trying to earn a living in NYC. While many of my friends went from one Broadway show to the next, I did odd job after odd job. One job that I did was to clean apartments. Among those was Beverley Randolph's. She was always gracious and kind, knowing that I had been seen for Jerome Robbins Broadway many, many times.

One day, I got a kind of feverish call from Beverley saying "please call me as soon as possible." Of course, I called as soon as I could. I was an unemployed actor dying to be in her show.

I so very clearly remember dialing her number and listening to the phone ring. Finally, a voice answered and said "this is Beverley". I said "this is Randy Slovacek" and she quickly said "can you clean my apartment this Friday? I have to have it clean for some guests…"

Not quite what I was expecting. :(

But it wasn't her fault. Kind of crushing, but we laughed about this later.

I never went into JRB. Many opportunities came up but it just never happened.

But I always remember how classy and wonderful Beverley was. And all my peers spoke glowingly of her work on every production she did.

I remember seeing her backstage at "Kiss Of The Spiderwoman" and "Into The Woods" - she was always kind, warm and wonderful to me.  Even though we never "really" worked together.

True, great, professionals are rare. Great professionals who are kind and polite to the 'struggling' are of an even rarer class.

Beverley was in that class.

She will be missed.

New Poll: Americans oppose Defense of Marriage Act

From The Human Rights Campaign: American voters oppose, by a large margin, the Defense of Marriage Act – the law that forbids the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex couples – as well as efforts by the House Republican leadership to intervene in court cases defending the law, according to new polling released by the Human Rights Campaign in partnership with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

51 percent of voters oppose DOMA while 34 percent favor it. Independent voters, who were instrumental in the Republican House takeover, oppose the law by a 52 percent to 34 percent margin.

Additionally, when read statements for and against defending DOMA in court, 54 percent of voters oppose the House Republicans' intervention, while only 32 percent support it.

Given a list of issues important in determining their vote for President, voters ranked the economy and jobs (54 percent), Medicare and Social Security (23 percent) and education (19 percent) as most important with only 5 percent of respondents saying marriage was most important to them.

Finally, when presented with the actual benefits from which married same-sex couples are excluded, voters overwhelmingly support extending those benefits.

Monday, March 14, 2011

In memory of Thommie Walsh

March 15, 2011. Would have been Thommie Walsh's 61st birthday.

Thommie was a 2-time Tony Award winner, an original cast member of the ground-breaking A Chorus Line, and my dear wonderful friend.

Thommie came into my life in so many ways. As a young actor and dancer, I was forever changed by his performance in A Chorus Line. The boy who grew up near Buffalo but "couldn't remember the name of the town" - he'd blocked it out. His work on Broadway was the stuff wide-eyed young actors or dancers like me only dreamed about. He danced in several Broadway shows - including A Chorus Line - and then graduated to director/choreographer. As Tommy Tune's partner, he won two Tony Awards: for "A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine" and "My One And Only."

Many, many other accomplishments and awards came Thommie's way. Too numerous to mention.

But my favorite memory of Thommie was as my friend. In 2002, Donna McKechnie was asked to perform her developing one woman show "Inside The Music" in Los Angeles. Thommie was her director and choreographer. The theater was a small theater on a budget, so Donna asked if Thommie could stay with me. Every single day was a holiday with Thommie in the house. Having consulted on some of Donna's earlier shows, I accompanied Thommie to rehearsals and did what I could to help. But just being around Thommie made life better and funnier and more wonderful. We became very fast friends.

He was constantly supportive of my work as a director and/or choreographer. A few years later, when I was choreographing a show off-Broadway he insisted he come to see the show. Then he made a point of meeting me for dinner at Joe Allens (famous Broadway restaurant) to talk about it. I'll never forget the look in his eyes when he sat down, smiled, and simply said to me "you did good - I loved it."

His sense of humor, his directness in any situation, everything about Thommie worked for me. I honestly loved this man. My wonderful friend.

In late 2006, however, he stopped returning phone calls. I worried something was wrong. I reached out to everyone I could. At one point - on a cold Christmas eve - I stood outside a holiday dinner in the cold on the phone with Cynthia Onrubia who had assisted him on some shows. The news was not good. I was distraught. I practically begged this woman who barely understood who I was to keep me informed as his health deteriorated.

News was slow to come over the next several months. And then, on a hot summer night, June 16, 2007, he passed away. This boy-wonder of Broadway was gone.

I'll never forget where I was when I heard the news. I was riding in a car in Las Vegas when a friend called me and said "did you hear about Thommie?"

I held my breath as long as I could. I didn't want to know. Several heart-beats went by. Please let it be anything that didn't manifest in my imagination. I'm dramatic - surely I'm wrong.

I wasn't. My friend on the other end of the call was sad and silent. She was sad to report the news.


But never forgotten. I remember Thommie's birthday every year. March 15th - the Ides of March. From Julius Caesar - "beware the Ides of March." Beware indeed. He used his own birthday onstage in A Chorus Line as "Bobby" or "Robert Charles Joseph Henry Mills, III" as his introduction went. Isn't that funny?

I was honored to play his role in A Chorus Line several times and always thought of Thommie when I did. Near the end of his character's monologue, he had a line that said "I just wanted to see if anyone would notice me."

Boy - did the world notice Thommie.

I miss Thommie every time I think of him, which is often. His laugh, his humor, his talent, his friendship... all of it without boundaries.

I'd love to regale you with some stories I lived with him, but they may not be suitable for this post. If you knew him, you know what I mean. If you don't, then please know I hope someday you know someone like him so you will.

Except there will never be another Thommie Walsh. Ever. And my eyes tear up with joy and sadness every time I know that.

Thommie - how very lucky am I to have known you. I miss you still. I always will.

Thommie once advised me if you were going to steal, steal from the best. So, to steal a phrase from Thommie - "love you madly - always"

Bruno had a tooth pulled

Very tough tonight.  The Bruno had a tooth pulled today and he's not doing great.  The pain meds are wearing off and he's anxious and restless.

I tried giving him a pain pill the vet gave us, but he won't take it.  No matter whether I wrap it in cheese, chicken or peanut butter he licks or chews around the pill and then ultimately spits out the pill.

He just keeps moving from one place to another every five or ten minutes. Very restless.  I know he'll be better soon, but I want to help.

It's hard to to be the 'daddy' when you can't fix it.


Joan Rivers on her gay fans

The ever funny, ever relevant Joan Rivers recently spoke about her gay fans in an interview for Frontiers Magazine:

"I think gay men are brighter and smarter and more open, and they always—even in the beginning—got my comedy. I remember the first one to say, 'she’s funny.'  The first ones in Greenwich Village to laugh at me were the gays."

In addition to many, many other things, Joan has been a long-time supporter of God's Love We Deliver, a leading provider of nutritious, individually-tailored meals to people who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. The organization began as a way to help those affected by HIV in the NYC area.

We love you too Joan. Thanks for all the laughs and support.

What happens when a bully just won't stop...

This happened in Australia.

The larger boy, Casey, has apparently been bullied much of his life in high school. Watching the video, he clearly doesn't want to fight.

I understand, however, that it is Casey that got suspended.

I'm betting the smaller boy who is the bully thinks twice before picking on someone again.

"HAIR" National Company joins Chicago actors for marriage equality fund-raiser

The National Tour of the 2009 TONY Award winning Best Musical HAIR will join forces with several local Chicago actors to stage a "Be-In" during their stop in Chicago.

The concert event will benefit the non-profit Broadway Impact, a marriage equality organization founded by original tribe member and TONY Award nominee Gavin Creel.

The National Tour tribe has helped keep the spirit and the legacy of HAIR alive with three hugely successful be-in performances in D.C, Seattle, and Los Angeles and is pleased to welcome some of the Chicagoland area's finest local actors into their commune as part of their efforts. The night of music will feature cast members singing their favorite tunes to benefit and raise awareness to the fight for equality.

The event will be held from 6:00-8:00p.m. on Monday, March 14, 2011 at Sidetrack Chicago located at 3349 N. Halsted in Chicago. General Admission tickets are $25 and will be available at the door.

Photo shoot for Ricky Martin's new CD

In case you for got how handsome Ricky is...

Celebrities, entertainment moguls and professional athletes as diverse as Ellen & Portia DeGeneres, Melissa Etheridge, David Geffen, Anne Hathaway, Jane Lynch & Lara Embry, Eric McCormack, Martin Sheen, Lily Tomlin & Jane Wagner, Zach Wahls, Rufus Wainwright, Evan Wolfson, and Bob & Suzanne Wright have come together to ask President Obama to support marriage equality.

Freedom To Marry's new "Say 'I Do,' Mr. President" asks for the President's support of marriage equality.

From their open letter:

Like so many Americans, you have spoken of your personal journey toward support for the freedom to marry. You have talked about the gay and lesbian people in your life, their commitment to each other and care for their kids, and their families that aren’t so different from any other family.

We ask you now for your leadership on ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, an exclusion that harms millions of Americans each day. Whether to end discrimination in marriage is a question America has faced before, and faces again today. With so many Americans talking it through in heartfelt conversations, it is a question that calls for clarity from the President.

You can offer hope to millions of young gay and lesbian Americans who are facing discrimination. You can tell them that their future is bright, that they, too, will be able to grow up and marry the person that they love, that the pursuit of happiness truly belongs to all of us. You can put government on the side of those seeking to care for their loved ones, instead of those standing in their way. You can affirm that for all of us, gay or non-gay, love is love and commitment counts – and that we Americans should treat others as we all want to be treated.

You can add your signature to the list attached to the letter by heading to Freedom To Marry's website.

Bill to repeal DOMA to be introduced this week

U.S. Reps. Nadler, Conyers, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis and David Cicilline will hold a press conference today to announce a bill that seeks to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. According to a press release, the coalition will introduce the legislation into the House Wednesday.

“The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal DOMA, and comes in response to a call from President Obama for Congressional action on the issue,” the coalition writes in the press release.

“As the President has stated: ‘I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It’s discriminatory, it interferes with states’ rights, and it’s time we overturned it.’

Last week, on the heels of the President’s decision not to defend DOMA in court, House Republican Leadership announced that it will defend DOMA in court, making passage of the Respect for Marriage Act more critical than ever.”

(via Instinct Magazine)

Bishop Harry Jackson: The Black Church Stopped Gay Marriage in Maryland

He goes on to say "we are going to stop gay marriage in it's tracks."

CNBC: Host "grateful" the human toll worse than the economic toll in Japan

CNBC host Larry Kudlow expresses his thought that "the human toll (in Japan) looks to be worse than the economic toll  and we can be grateful for that."

A very unfortunate turn of phrase from the self-described supply side Republican.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

NY: 2 anti-gay State Senators under investigation

In the past week the NY Post has reported separately on two New York state senators who are under investigations for corruption.

State Sen. Carl Kruger, according to the New York Post, traded political favors for more than $1 million in bribes over the last five years -- which his live-in boyfriend helped launder.

Kruger and his secret longtime companion, Manhattan gynecologist Michael Turano, were among eight men arrested in a sweeping government "pay-to-play" corruption scandal.
The charges include allegations that Kruger received bribes and other largesse to help two competing health-care companies buy hospitals, and direct state funds to those firms.

Kruger's constant companion, Turano, is accused of using bribe money he deposited in two shell companies for Kruger to pay the lease on a Bentley luxury sedan, credit-card bills and the mortgage on the garish, multimillion-dollar Mill Basin home where the two men for years have shacked up with Turano's mom and brother, authorities and neighbors said.

Separately, the state Attorney General's Office is investigating state Sen. Shirley Huntley and her ties to nonprofits that have soaked taxpayers for more than $400,000, the NY Post has learned. News of the probe comes a week after The Post revealed the Queens Democrat tried to funnel $155,000 to her Parent Workshop nonprofit and as new questions emerge about the shady group.

Both Senators Kruger and Huntley were among the turncoat "group of 8" Democrats who helped kill the marriage equality bill in NY state legislation in 2009.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rhode Island: Marriage Equality

Capping off what has been a very busy and optimistic week, on Thursday night advocates for marriage equality in Rhode Island offered testimony before what is perhaps their most challenging audience: members of the Rhode Island Senate.

In a room that was packed to overflowing several hours early, members of a Rhode Island Senate committee heard testimony from marriage equality advocates and opponents late into Thursday night.

Much of the testimony was understandably emotional, perhaps none more so than Patricia Baker, 54, a corrections officer from Johnston, R.I., who in December was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Requiring an oxygen tank to breathe, Patricia shared her story with lawmakers as her partner, Deborah, wiped away tears.  Shortly after being told that her cancer is incurable, Patricia was stunned to learn that Deborah will not be able to collect Patricia’s hard-earned Social Security benefits upon her death.  This realization prompted Patricia to become an outspoken advocate for marriage equality during what are the perhaps the last few months of her life.

“I worked all my life for those benefits,” Baker told lawmakers. ”We own a house.  We pay taxes. But they told me my Social Security benefits would go back into the system when I die.  How is she [Deborah] going to keep the house?”

In the Rhode Island House, the legislation has the support of House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is openly gay and a co-sponsor of the bill.

Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee is also supportive of the legislation, having called for marriage equality in Rhode Island during his inaugural address.

The greatest challenge is expected in the Senate.  Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed opposes the bill.

(from GLAAD)