Friday, February 28, 2014

Brooklyn Nets' Jason Collins meets the family of Matthew Shepard


Recently signed Brooklyn Nets player Jason Collins met with the family of slain college student Matthew Shepard, who Collins has honored every game since last season by wearing the number 98 - the year that Shepard was killed.

Collins gave Shepard's parents and brother signed jerseys after the Nets headed to Denver during Collins's first week back in the NBA since coming out as gay.

And yes, the Nets beat the Denver Nuggets 112-89 Thursday night with Collins in the game.

Go Jason.

Forward.

(via Out)

Jean Claude Van Damme - Zero Gravity Split



New "Gravity" riff on Van Damme's viral "split" video last year.

(h/t Towleroad)

President Obama addresses escalating events in Ukraine


President Barack Obama spoke Friday on the situation in Ukraine, saying there would "be costs for any military intervention" in the country.


HBO's Looking picked up for second season


Variety reports that HBO's freshman series Looking has been renewed for a second season.

The renewal comes amid some complaints that the show was "boring." While the series has struggled in the ratings, the numbers have improved due, in part, to the lead-in of Girls.

I've liked the show from the debut and continue to like it. I think it's fresh, honest and doesn't try too hard to be controversial.  And Jonathan Groff is imminently likeable.

And funny enough, I can't stand to watch Girls.  Just goes to show you - something for everyone.

Congrats to Jonathan Groff and company.  Here's "looking" to the second season.

You can check out a sneak peak of this Sunday's episode below:


The CW gives a first look at new series THE FLASH


With the lead character introduced last December on the CW's "Arrow," the new series will feature Grant Gustin ("Glee") as a police scientist who through a freak accident acquires the ability of super-speed, becoming "The Flash."

Judging from the look of the photo above, the series will probably have a similar "gritty" look to it much like "Arrow."

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Flash serves as an origin story similar in vein to Arrow. Barry (Gustin) -- introduced in Arrow's two-part winter finale in December -- is a Central City assistant police forensic investigator who visits Starling City to look into a series of unexplained robberies that may have a connection to a tragedy in his past. Through a freak accident, he is given the power of super speed that transforms him into the fastest man alive.

Joining Gustin in the main cast are John Wesley Shipp (aka the original Barry Allen from the '90s series); Tom Cavanagh as physics "rock star" Harrison Wells; Jesse L. Martin as Detective West; Candice Patton as West's daughter and Barry's love interest Iris; Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, a bioengineering expert; Carlos Valdes as mechanical engineering expert Cisco Ramon; and Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne.

Regular readers of The Randy Report know my "geek" side as a comic book movie/TV series fan. I was a big Smallville fan, and really like Arrow. I'm curious to see how a "new millenium" Flash will fly.

City of Tempe, Arizona, passes LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance on vote of 7-0


Within hours of Governor Brewer's veto of the anti-gay "License to Discriminate" bill, the city of Tempe, Arizona has passed an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance, the Arizona Republic reports:

The council’s 7-0 vote was “another action that shows we don’t discriminate in our community,” Mitchell said Thursday. “We’re moving in the right direction in terms of equality.”

The city ordinance bans discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations at restaurants and hotels, but includes exceptions for religious organizations and social clubs.

Businesses or individuals that discriminate in Tempe on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, gender, religion, national origin, familial status, age, disability and U.S. military veteran status face a civil sanction with a fine up to $2,500.

In addition to Tempe, three other Arizona cities - Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff - have passed ordinances that ban LGBT discrimination. However, outside of those four cities it is still legal to fire someone for being gay or deny them public accommodations.

DC lobbyist proposes a law banning gay players from the NFL


Via the Huffington Post, you can file this under "Never Gonna Happen."

Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman wants to see Congress pass his "American Decency Act of 2014," which would make it illegal for "self-declared homosexual football players" to join an NFL team unless it "provides facilities for homosexual players which are entirely separate and distinct from the facilities used by heterosexual players."

Burkman proposes a fine starting at $3 million for any violations of the proposed "law."

"I felt that if the NFL doesn't have any morals, and people like [Commissioner] Roger Goodell, who are just go-along-get-along guys, just want to appease advertisers, appease corporate America and all that stuff," Burkman said earlier this week, "I figured, well, it is time for conservatives in Congress to step in and define morality for them."

Earlier this week,  Burkman predicted that dozens of members of Congress would rally behind his proposal.  I'm highly doubting that will happen.

Of course, this is never going to happen. So you have to wonder what kind of publicity Burkman is looking for here since it only serves to portray him as a jackass.

By the way, Burkman has an openly gay brother. Weigh that one out in your heads.

Wow.




President Obama & Vice-prez Biden join First Lady's "Let's Move" campaign



Every First Lady has their platform, or pet project, during the time their husband is in office.

Michelle Obama's current platform is encouraging kids to get out and move. Not sit in front of the computer or video games, but to get up and out and move.

And drink more water.

Healthy, easy initiative that everyone can get behind.

Barack and Joe get in on the action in this quick video.

Now get up and run around the block. Now.

For more info, go to www.LetsMove.gov

Matt Goss drops his new video - "I Do"


Matt Goss' debut EP features the romantic, “I Do.” The song is described by Matt as the perfect proposal song that is as inclusive as it is romantic.

Other tracks include “Mustang,” “Lovely Las Vegas,” and “There’s Nothing Like This,” all of which will appear on Goss’ full-length album, Life You Imagine in the spring of 2014.

Often described as a "modern throwback," Goss and producer Ron Fair spent two years meticulously recording with a sixteen-piece brass section and thirty-two strings, prompting Billboard Magazine to applaud its “mix of big band swing and contemporary-sounding soul that pays respectful homage to the Rat Pack era.”

 “I want my music to sound big. I’m inspired by Queen and Sinatra, Elvis and Bowie because there was never anything understated about their music,” says Matt. “I want to create as much energy, glamour, and drama as I can.”

Goss is a huge hit in Las Vegas headlining his own show at Caesars Palace.  And you can see the appeal in this video.  Check out his  EP I Do on iTunes.


Former NFL star Deion Sanders: There were gays on every NFL team I played on


Deion Sanders sat down with Arsenio Hall to talk about out football player Michael Sam.  Sanders mentions that every NFL team he played on had gay players.

Unfortunately, he drops alcoholism and drug use in the same sentence as gays which doesn't sit well with me. But I think he's trying to send a positive message somewhere in all this:

"I don't nor do I condemn, but I've had a friend, family members... Everyone out there, you've had someone of homosexuality in your family — and someone whose on drugs and alcohol. How can I judge them? It's up to me to give him love, to give him support, to just be there for him. So I don't condone nor I condemn. But I'm gonna love him.

"Everybody in the NFL is always talking about football as a family but when you have the opportunity to really extend and show them that you're a family member, this is the opportunity. He's not the first gay guy in the NFL! He's the first one to come out, let's get that straight. Every team I've played on, there was someone...we always knew. But he was cool. That was our boy. We had to look out for him.

"Every team I've played on - five different teams - there was someone gay in the locker room."


The "states" of marriage equality today


The state of marriage equality is changing every day in America, so it's pretty hard to keep up.

Here's an updated map via Andrew Turnbull.  I'm sure it will change again sooner than any of us anticipate.

Good for the good guys!

Crow solves complicated problem in 8 steps


This aired on the BBC, so I'm taking it as authentic.  But wow - the fact that this crow can put all this together and solve the task at hand is amazing.

Watch and be impressed.


Morning instructions

Via George Takei

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tweet of the day: Chris Meloni

https://twitter.com/Chris_Meloni/status/439106394873430016

In addition to the above tweet, I must point out that upon perusal of Chris Meloni's Twitter feed, I found that he had retweeted the fab Billy Porter.

And there you have it.  I always knew I liked Chris Meloni.


Lea Salonga sings "Back To Before" from RAGTIME


Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga’s critically acclaimed Café Carlyle cabaret concert, Back to Before, filmed live at The Allen Room, Jazz at Lincoln.

This is a voice, kids.

New York Times music critic Stephen Holden wrote: “Ms. Salonga is a performer whose formidable talent is matched by her unstoppable drive and keen intelligence. As Broadway divas go, she is a cut above most.”

Music video: RuPaul "Geronimo"


Danger - lots of twerking going on here.  Possibly NSFW.

Fun track and video from RuPaul featuring Julian Serrano.

From RuPaul's latest CD "Born Naked."

Over 68K views in less than a day.


Homo-con group GOProud takes credit for veto of Arizona's "License to Discriminate" bill


Biggest laugh of the day.

Homo-conservative group GOPRoud sent out the letter below, hours after Governor Brewer of Arizona vetoed the "License to Discriminate" bill. In the letter, the group takes credit for Brewer's decision to veto the legislation.

What a laugh...

Dear Friends,

On Tuesday GOProud sent out a statement encouraging Governor Jan Brewer to veto Arizona Senate Bill 1062, which would have legalized the discrimination of gay individuals.

Today, we are proud to share with you the news that the Governor Brewer has vetoed that legislation. It is because of supporters like you that the message of freedom is reaching conservative leaders all across America.

Governor Brewer's decision reinforced the voices of several influential Republicans like Senator John McCain, Senator Jeff Flake, Governor Mitt Romney, Governor Rick Scott, and Speaker Newt Gingrich, who all spoke out against SB 1062, just like we did.

This is no small victory. GOProud's mission is one that is being characterized by many of our Party leaders. Together, we are entering a modern Republican era, where the principles of conservatism are celebrated by all Americans.

Please take this opportunity to extend your congratulations to our friends in Arizona, express your gratitude for the courage and conviction of leaders like Governor Jan Brewer, and continue supporting the important work we do here at GOProud.

(via JMG)

Singer/songwriter Justin Utley speaks to Utah lawmakers about LGBT discrimination

Award-winning singer/songwriter Justin Utley speaks to legislators and community members
in Salt Lake City regarding LGBT equality.

In late February, Salt Lake City hosted a meeting organized by Utah state senators Steve Urquhart (R) and Jim Dabakis (D), and attended by a group of legislators from both sides of the aisle to begin a dialogue between lawmakers and the LGBT community in search of tolerance, understanding and protected rights.

GOP Sen. Urquhart is the sponsor of SB100, an anti-discrimination bill for the state of Utah which will not be voted on this year due to an uncertain outcome regarding the appeals process currently underway regarding marriage equality.

The state's voter-approved ban on marriage equality was ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court judge in December and has since moved on to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

But the point of the evening's gathering was not about marriage but understanding LGBT lives on a personal level.

One of those sharing his own journey was openly gay singer/songwriter (and native Utahan) Justin Utley.   Justin spoke to the crowd about experiencing discrimination first hand when he lost his job after an employer found an email he sent about the death of his gay partner. "She (his employer) said that had they known I was gay during the interview process, they would not have hired me."

But Justin's view of the future for his home state remains hopeful. "There is a spoke in the wheel of this state that needs to be fixed. My hope is that together, from this moment on, we can build that bridge of understanding and we can begin to work together to build a state that we can all be proud of."

You can watch Justin's full testimony below:



Looking back on the event, Utley told The Randy Report, "It was incredible to be there and see senators and state lawmakers in Utah's capitol with a heartfelt interest in moving forward with a LGBTQ non-discrimination bill in my home state. It was a huge step forward, and the start of something big. It was an honor to be part of the discussion."

Justin's OutMusic Award-winning song "Stand For Something" was born from his own desire to motivate community action towards securing LGBT equality in America.

Watch KSL TV's report, featuring Justin Utley, below:



(source)

Very cool video ad on subway platform


Imaginative digital subway ad in Sweden for hair-care products recognizes when trains enter the station — and then showed a woman's hair blowing all around, as though windswept by the train.

Very simple, but seems to incorporate the technology into the environment.

Ad agency Akestam Holst and production company Stopp produced the ad for Apotek Hjärtat's Apolosophy hair care products.


Apotek Hjärtat - Blowing in The Wind from Ourwork on Vimeo.

Steve Grand releases new video, raises over $100k overnight for debut CD

Steve Grand in his new music video "Back To California"

"All-American Boy" singer Steve Grand appeared on Larry King Now this week to talk about his upcoming debut album and the Kickstarter campaign that funded it.

He launched the campaign just yesterday with hopes to raise $81,000 before March 30. Instead, he has raised over $116,000 in one day:

Recording and producing an album can be an expensive undertaking. Record companies often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars — millions for the bigger artists — producing and promoting an album.

My goal is $81,000. That will allow me just enough to finish my record, create album art, package it, and film my next music video, which I plan to release on the same day as the album.

If we can raise this money together, you can count on my album being out sometime in May. And then I’ll see you on tour!

Grand says excess funds will be used for radio promotion and marketing.

I really like this guy since he released his smash, uber-viral music video "All-American Boy."

You can check out his Kickstarter pitch plus his latest music video - "Back To California" - below.

Go Steve Grand!




WWHL Green Room Reflections - Anderson Cooper


The Coop gets deep sitting in the Watch What Happens Live green room:

"Last time I was here Cher was here. I wonder what she's doing right now?"

"I wonder if Andy (Cohen) will ever pay his tab at Eastern Bloc? I wonder if I can ask him? So cheap..."

"I can't remember the last time I got drunk on a Monday..."


Tony Award-winner Billy Porter's new solo album - "Billy's Back on Broadway"


On April 15, 2014, Tony Award-winner Billy Porter will release his debut CD on Concord Records, Billy’s Back on Broadway.

Featuring ten classics made famous on the Great White Way that focus on inspiration, empowerment and hope, the album’s title is a nod to Sammy Davis, Jr.’s recording Sammy’s Back on Broadway.

“The canon of great Broadway songs is so vast and I have so many favorites that the only way I could narrow them down was to choose a theme,” Porter says of the songs on Billy’s Back on Broadway. “Once I settled on what I wanted to say and the journey I wanted the listener to take, the songs made their presence known rather quickly.”

While Porter grew up as a gospel singer, he transitioned to theater, making his Broadway debut in the original cast of Miss Saigon. “Seeing Jennifer Holliday from Dreamgirls perform on the Tony® Awards telecast and later discovering Barbra Streisand by listening to her albums at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh really changed everything for me,” Porter says of his career path. “When Barbra released her first Broadway album I was about 15 years old, and I thought, ‘One day, I’m going to make my own Broadway album – just like Babs!’”

Joining Billy on one track will be pop music legend and fellow Tony Award-winner Cyndi Lauper, dueting with Porter on “Happy Days/Get Happy,” a tune made famous by Streisand and Judy Garland. “I’ve said it before and I'll say it again. Cyndi is one of the godmothers of individuality,” Porter explains. “She forged a path for so many of us that didn’t fit into the status quo. I learned so much and have felt so inspired by her journey as an artist and human being before I even knew her. She’s a blessing and a gift, and I’m so thrilled she said ‘yes’ when I asked her to sing on this album.”

Porter continues to star on Broadway in Kinky Boots in his award winning role as "Lola."  The show, based on the 2005 British movie of the same name, tells the story of a drag queen who helps to rescue a floundering shoe factory. Kinky Boots celebrates its one year on Broadway anniversary in April 2014.

Now the winner of every major theater award, including the 2013 Tony® Award for Best Actor in a Musical, Porter is truly living the dream.

The CD is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Track Listing for Billy’s Back on Broadway

1. But The World Goes Round
2. Everything’s Coming Up Roses
3. Don’t Rain On My Parade
4. On The Street Where You Live
5. I’ve Gotta Be Me
6. I’m Not My Father’s Son
7. Happy Days/Get Happy (w/Cyndi Lauper)
8. Luck Be A Lady
9. Take The Moment
10. I Am Changing

(via press release)

Scott Foley shares his "Charisma" with you

Shirtless Scott Foley is the new face of Charisma linens

Handsome and hunky Scott Foley is featured in a new ad campaign for Bloomingdale's line of Charisma towels (and bedding).

Which, of course, means he had to shed his clothes for the photoshoot.

Yay!



Scott Foley gives you body in this still from his shirtless photo shoot for Charisma

Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state


For the time being, same-sex marriages performed outside of Kentucky must now be recognized in that state.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn today made final a ruling issued earlier this month in which he found that Kentucky’s marriage amendment and statutes violate the right to equal protection under the law.

“Those laws ... are void and unenforceable,” he said in a one page order.

Earlier today, Attorney General Jack Conway’s office asked Heyburn to stay enforcement of his ruling, but Heyburn did not address that motion and for now his ruling goes into effect.

Kentucky's Attorney General could decide to NOT appeal the decision. Conway's motion asked for the delay to give that office time to decide whether to appeal the Feb. 12 ruling and would give the state an opportunity to prepare to implement the order.

Some are betting AG Conway may join the six other state AG's in not defending or appealing such rulings.

(source)

Ohio stands down on "Arizona-style" discrimination bill


Upon word of Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona vetoing SB-1062 last night, Ohio legislators withdrew their own "religious freedom" bill for their state.

Good.

Forward.

Sen. John McCain applauds AZ Governor's veto of "License to Discriminate" bill





Arizona Sen. John McCain today applauded the Governor of Arizona for her veto of the "License to Discriminate" bill SB-1062 (via press release):


"I appreciate the decision made by Governor Brewer to veto this legislation. I hope that we can now move on from this controversy and assure the American people that everyone is welcome to live, work and enjoy our beautiful State of Arizona."

HBO's "The Normal Heart" to debut on May 25th


HBO Films has announced that "The Normal Heart" will  see it's world debut at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) May 25th on HBO.

The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts.  Also featured in the production are Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff, Denis O'Hare, Stephen Spinella, Corey Stoll, Finn Wittrock and BD Wong.

Directed by Ryan Murphy and written by Larry Kramer, adapting his groundbreaking Tony Award-winning play of the same name, "The Normal Heart" tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, taking an unflinching look at the nation's sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial.

Ruffalo portrays Ned Weeks, who witnesses first-hand a mysterious disease that has begun to claim the lives of many in his gay community and starts to seek answers. Matt Bomer plays Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned’s lover. Taylor Kitsch plays Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist. Jim Parsons plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright, reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival. Roberts plays physician Dr. Emma Brookner, a survivor of childhood polio who treats several of the earliest victims of HIV-AIDS.

Kramer’s play debuted at New York’s Public Theatre in 1985 and was revived in Los Angeles and London, and off-Broadway. The 2011 Broadway revival garnered five Tony nominations, winning for Best Revival, Best Featured Actor and Best Featured Actress.

(source)

Hillary Clinton adds more and more speaking dates

Bill Donohue needs to 'see' gay discrimination before he will believe it exists


Catholic League's Bill Donohue sat down with CNN's Chris Cuomo to talk over the governor of Arizona's veto of the "License to Discriminate" bill.

Donohue began by accusing President Barack Obama’s administration of “encroaching on the rights of people of faith” in a variety of areas. “Gays as individuals, I’m with you on that Chris, let’s protect them in the workplace, let’s protect them as individuals,” Donohue insisted. “What my concern is, and I think I speak for a lot of people of faith, is the institution of marriage. That’s a separate issue altogether.”

“Where are the examples of gays being discriminated against?” Donohue asked. “If they’re being discriminated against, how come they make more money than straight people on average?”

“Is somebody being denied at Applebee’s getting a hamburger? Where are these examples?” he followed up.

“Under the law in Arizona, there is no special protection of the LGBT community, so a business member, if he or she wanted to or she wanted to, could discriminate without violation,” Como said. “That’s why the law was unnecessary. Do you get that?”

“Can you enumerate for me examples of gay people in Arizona who are having their right violated by people of faith?” Donohue asked.

“Can you point out a business that was made a substantial burden religiously because of what they had to do vis-a-vis a gay person?” Cuomo shot back.

In this clip, Bill Donohue either proves he doesn't have a firm grasp of the issue of equal rights for gays OR he is once again demonstrating his talent for obfuscating the truth.



(via Mediaite)

Michele Bachmann feels people should be tolerant of other people's intolerance


Michele Bachmann appeared on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer Wednesday and used part of her time to urge "tolerance for the community of people who hold sincerely held religious beliefs."

While the congresswoman said she respects both sides of the debate, she said she did not think Governor Jan Brewer should veto the bill as other conservatives have been urging her to do.

Asked by Blitzer if the bill will "open the door for less tolerance for gays," Bachmann answered, "In fact, it's just the opposite. This is a decided level of intolerance. It's effectively eviscerating the rights of freedom of speech, expression and religious expression for the people of Arizona and it sets a terrible precedent."

Blitzer pushed back, calling the bill "discriminatory" and not "respectful" to the gay community. Blitzer also corrected predicted that Gov. Brewer was going to veto the bill.


Paula Deen says she feels like a gay, African-American football player


Paula Deen, speaking to People Magazine, says she feels like Michael Sam, recently out NFL prospect:

“I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name.

"It’s like that black football player who recently came out. He said, ‘I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player.’

"I know exactly what he’s saying. I’m fighting to get my name back."

I'm not quite sure that Michael Sam, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and upcoming NFL draftee, feels "disgraced" in any way.

But you Paula. Her grasp of the english language has always been a bit tenuous.

Kentucky seeks delay in recognizing same-sex marriage


While awaiting final orders from U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II on his ruling that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages from out of state, the Attorney General has requested a 90 day delay:

The two-page filing Thursday morning says the delay is sought to give the attorney general time to decide whether to appeal the Feb. 12 ruling and would give the state an opportunity to prepare to implement the order.

The request came as parties in the case were awaiting a final order from U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II overturning part of Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban.

Earlier this month, Heyburn concluded that the ban, which has been in place since 2004, treated "gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them."

Heyburn had indicated earlier that his final orders would not include a stay on the ruling.

Pat Robertson says impeach Attorney General Eric Holder


Well, here Pat goes again.

Pat Robertson indicates more than once that Attorney General Eric Holder is encouraging state AG's to not "uphold" or "abide" by their state's laws.

What AG Eric Holder said was that state attorney generals are not required to defend laws that are found to be unconstitutional. And all of the attorney generals in question are doing just that. They are enforcing the laws of their states. But some have chosen to not DEFEND laws that they feel are unconstitutional.

There is an intellectual and legal difference.

But then, this IS Pat Robertson.

The science of team work



Be smarter in two minutes.

Love the AsapSCIENCE guys.

Brian Brown of NOM has lost his balance in Texas


"We've seen a rash of these rulings in recent weeks, all making the same errors about binding Supreme Court precedents relevant to marriage and all issued by activist judges bound and determined to redefine marriage in defiance of thousands of years of human experience," said Brian Brown, NOM President.

"These egregious decisions by unelected judges throwing out the votes of millions of Americans have been shamefully encouraged, aided, and abetted by the lawless actions of President Obama and his administration, especially the Attorney General.

"It simply has to stop. Critical issues like marriage that are foundational to civilization cannot be permitted to be taken over by activist judges and out of control political appointees. The voices and values of ordinary citizens are being trampled by judges determined to impose profound social change that affects citizens in the deepest and most fundamental ways.

"The American people, and our leaders in Congress, need to step up and restore the powers of government to their proper balance." - hate group leader Brian Brown writing on the NOM blog through tears of impending unemployment

Coming soon to your state?

Via Memeographs

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Arizona Gov. Brewer vetoes "License to Discriminate" bill



After days of speculation, and a very public backlash to the legislation, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Arizona's SB-1062 bill dubbed the "License to Discriminate."

In the past week, almost 100 corporations that do business in Arizona had publicly urged the governor to kill the legislation. In addition, both US Senators from the Grand Canyon state was well as GOP state Senators who had originally voted FOR the bill came out publicly against it.

Sports Illustrated reported earlier today that in light of no decision from the governor, the NFL was looking into options to move the Super Bowl out of Arizona and possibly to runner-up city Tampa Bay.

Major League Baseball had also issued a statement today pushing for veto.

In a short public statement, Gov. Brewer said that the measure was “broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.” Which was true, but probably more "unintended" in terms of the fact that the bill showed it's supporters to be the bigots they are.

What was missing from the governor's statement was saying she was vetoing the bill because it's basically immoral and discriminatory.

LGBT advocacy groups were quick to respond:

Human Rights Campaign

With today’s veto, Governor Brewer spared her state from institutional discrimination and economic catastrophe. Make no mistake, there is no better way to doom jobs in a state than by signing license-to-discriminate bills,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. “The bipartisan outpouring of opposition to this bill is all the proof you need that this country isn't turning backwards. Governor Brewer did the right thing in stopping this assault on businesses and the LGBT community and we call on her and the legislature--and governors and legislators in other states--to resist any attempt to give license to discrimination.”

ACLU Of Arizona

“Discrimination has no place in Arizona, or anywhere else,” said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. “We’re grateful that the governor has stopped this disgraceful law from taking effect, and that Arizona will remain open for business to everyone.”


GLAAD

"Discrimination is not an American value, plain and simple," said GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis. "Governor Brewer today demonstrated that basic respect for LGBT people extends across party lines, and anti-LGBT bias isn't just bad politics, it's bad for business. As other states consider similar laws that aim only to make LGBT people's lives more difficult, legislators would do well to remember that anti-LGBT laws just won't be tolerated."


The Task Force

"We thank Governor Brewer for her decision to veto this outrageous measure -- a law that if enacted would be bad for Arizona people and the Arizona economy. In doing so, she has stopped a bill that both cynically uses religion as a smokescreen to justify discrimination and insults people of faith who feel that discrimination is morally wrong. This decision sends a clear message that extremism is totally unacceptable to people of all political persuasions."

GetEQUAL

"Governor Jan Brewer stood on the right of history today by vetoing SB 1062. It is clear that this bill would have hurt business, caused unnecessary controversy, and -- most importantly -- increased the suffering of LGBTQ people in Arizona. We are relieved that she has shown leadership and vetoed a bill that is bad for business and bad for the people of Arizona"

Truth Wins Out

"Gov. Jan Brewer avoided going down in history as ‘Jan Crow’ by wisely vetoing this wolf in sheep’s clothing," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "If this bill had become law, it would have been a disaster for Arizona's reputation and severely tarnished the governor's legacy"

Lambda Legal

“Arizona's recent history has taught corporate and civic leaders that discrimination is terrible for business. This religion bill would have reversed the state's hard-won economic progress by declaring "open season" on LGBT people. Everyone in Arizona deserves respect and inclusion, including same-sex couples and their families, and people of all faiths and backgrounds. Governor Brewer did the right thing with today's veto."

HBO's "Looking" picked up for 2nd season


HBO's freshman series Looking has been renewed, Variety reports:

“Looking” premiered last month to a small audience, but has grown its audience with each of its last three episodes. The pickup comes as HBO sorts out its comedy slate with a renewal last week for “Getting On,” and cancellations after maiden seasons for comedies “Hello Ladies” and “Family Tree.”

While the show started out with small-ish audiences, the average audience is now up to 519K live viewers.  But where the show really shows it's support is in "gross views."  When you factor in all original run views, previews, On Demand and HBO Go, the average weekly viewership is up to 2million.

Texas ban on marriage equality ruled unconstitutional


This gives the anti-gay forces a record of 0-5 in federal courts.

“Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” Judge Orlando Garcia, a Clinton appointee, wrote. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.”

From the San Antonio Express-News:
A federal judge in San Antonio has declared Texas' ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, however, also issued a stay, meaning the ban stays in effect for the time being.

One lesbian couple had to go to Massachusetts to get married, and they want Texas to recognize the union. A second gay couple have a courtship of 17 years and want to get married here in their home state.

Both sued the state in federal court aiming to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage, saying it is unconstitutional.


LGBT Advocates immediately issued statements on the ruling:

Freedom To Marry

"Today the 6th federal judge in a row has ruled – in Texas – that there is simply no legitimate justification for denying marriage to loving gay and lesbian couples. The court's holding is solid and serious, and follows the language and logic of the Supreme Court's marriage ruling last year and the Constitution's clear command. With 47 marriage cases in 25 states now moving forward, and the possibility that a freedom to marry case will again reach the Supreme Court as soon as 2015, we must continue the conversations and progress -- Texan to Texan, American to American -- that show that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry."

Human Rights Campaign

This injunction sends a powerful message that gay and lesbian Texans are being harmed every by inequality, and that these plaintiff couples who we're proud to call members of the HRC family are very likely to succeed in striking down Texas' ban on marriage equality. This is a historic day in the heart of the South, and I can't stress enough how important it is to move quickly until loving couples in all 50 states feel the full reach of this victory for equality." The Texas ruling comes on the heels of a year-long string of electoral, judicial and legislative victories for marriage equality. Recently the New Mexico Supreme Court and federal district judges in Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio and Kentucky have ruled in favor of marriage for lesbian and gay couples.

Equality Texas

Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas, called the decision “a huge victory that moves Texas one step closer to the freedom to marry.” “The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Windsor made it clear that animus or moral disapproval is not an acceptable justification for denying any American their constitutional right to equal protection of the law,” Smith said. “We are gratified to see Judge Garcia uphold the Constitution of the United States and declare that Texas’ restrictions on the freedom to marry are unconstitutional and unenforceable. We anxiously await the day when the United States Supreme Court will reach the same conclusion.”

Jan Brewer promises to do "the right thing" for Arizona

https://twitter.com/GovBrewer/status/438538415429009411
We shall see...

Oprah looks back at the coming out of Mr. Universe champion Bob Paris


In the late '80s,  Mr. Universe winner Bob Paris revealed his relationship with his partner at the time, Rod Jackson. In 1989, he and Rod appeared on OPRAH to talk about coming out.

It's almost odd to watch the clip of the two men explaining "why come out?"  Imagine that question today.

Now, more than 25 years after coming out of the closet, the former bodybuilding champ shares his thoughts on the death threats he received after his announcement, the fate of his relationship with Rod and the country's shifting perception of homosexuality.


NBA makes Jason Collins' Brooklyn Nets jersey available


Due to popular demand, the NBA has made openly gay Jason Collins' Brooklyn Nets jersey available at their online store.

Via ESPN:

The jerseys were available at NBAStore.com and the NBA Store in Manhattan after the league received hundreds of inquiries both online and at the store, the spokesman said.

Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, becoming the first active openly gay player in league history.

The Nets can give Collins a second 10-day deal once the first one expires.

He will wear No. 98 -- starting Wednesday night at Portland -- in honor of Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured, beaten and murdered in 1998 in an anti-gay hate crime.

For $70, you, too, can have Jason Collins' jersey. Check it out here.

Ugandan tabloid lists "Top 200 Homosexuals"


Now that Uganda's president signed the "Anti-Homosexuality Act" into law, a Ugandan tabloid has decided to publish the names of 200 allegedly gay citizens, putting all of these people at the risk of being murdered.

Via the AP:

The Red Pepper tabloid published the names — and some pictures — of alleged homosexuals in a front-page story under the headline: "EXPOSED!"

The list included prominent Ugandan gay activists such as Pepe Julian Onziema, who has repeatedly warned that Uganda's new anti-gay law could spark violence against homosexuals. A popular Ugandan hip-hop star as well as a Catholic priest are also on the list.

Few Ugandans identify themselves publicly as gay, and the tabloid's publication of alleged homosexuals recalled a similar list published in 2011 by a now-defunct tabloid that called for the execution of gays.

A Ugandan judge later condemned the outing of homosexuals in a country where gays face severe discrimination, saying it amounted to an invasion of privacy.

A prominent Ugandan gay activist, David Kato, was killed after that list came out, and activists said at the time that they believed he was targeted because of his work promoting gay rights in Uganda.

"The media witch hunt is back," tweeted Jacqueline Kasha, a well-known Ugandan lesbian activist who is among those listed in the Red Pepper story.

As the article notes, the last time a "hit list" like this was published, people were found and killed.

This is a reckless, reckless act.

(h/t JMG)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Music: Coldplay "Midnight'


New track from Coldplay dropped tonight in anticipation of their upcoming sixth studio album.

I've been a big fan for years. Always moving forward, creating new sounds and surprising their audience.

The video and track are a bit "trippy" but I like. Very cool.


Newt Gingrich says veto Arizona "License to Discriminate" bill


Newt Gingrich asked his CNN Crossfire audience to tweet their support or opposition of Arizona's "License to Discriminate" bill - SB-1062.

88% tweeted that the bill should be vetoed by the governor.

And, following suit, Gingrich tweeted his support for veto.

This thing needs to go down.  No one sane thinks it's a good idea.

US Attorney General Eric Holder says state AG's not required to defend unconstitutional laws


US Attorney General Eric Holder shared in an interview yesterday that state attorney generals are not required to defend laws that are found to be unconstitutional.

Careful not to encourage state AG's to disavow their own laws, Holder said that officials who have carefully studied marriage equality bans could refuse to defend them.

From the New York Times:

“Engaging in that process and making that determination is something that’s appropriate for an attorney general to do,” Mr. Holder said.

As an example, Mr. Holder cited the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, which forced public school integration in 1954.

“If I were attorney general in Kansas in 1953, I would not have defended a Kansas statute that put in place separate-but-equal facilities,” Mr. Holder said.

The nation’s first black attorney general, Mr. Holder has said he views today’s gay-rights campaigns as a continuation of the civil rights movement that won rights for black Americans in the 1950s and ’60s. He has called gay rights one of “the defining civil rights challenges of our time.”

Currently, six state AG's have refused to defend gay marriage bans in courtrooms while still enforcing the laws.

(source)

Dear Arizona


Arizona Super Bowl committee issues statement denouncing SB-1062


The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee has released a statement opposing the anti-gay legislation SB-1062:

We share the NFL's core values which embrace tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination.

In addition, a key part of the mission for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee is to promote the economic vitality of Arizona.

On that matter we have heard loud and clear from our various stakeholders that adoption  of this legislation would not only run contrary to that goal but deal a significant blow to the state's economic  growth potential.

We do not support this legislation. Instead, we look forward to continuing to promote the
NFL's values while focusing on the economic momentum apparent in Arizona and capturing the positive  worldwide attention associated with hosting Super Bowl XLIX.

83 Corporations (and counting) urge Arizona Governor to veto anti-gay bill


The HRC has shared a letter online in which 83 corporations (at this counting) have signed a letter urging Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the "License to Discriminate" anti-gay bill SB-!062.

You can read the letter here.

(via JMG)

Anderson Cooper rips Arizona lawmaker on anti-gay bill SB-1062


If not for the fact that SB-1062 is such a hideous bill, you could almost feel sorry for the politically tone deaf state Senator Al Melvin here.

With no facts or reasons to support the bill, he digs a deeper and deeper hole the more he talks, especially when he states that "discrimination doesn't exist in Arizona."

Anderson Cooper interviews Arizona state senator Al Melvin Monday night regarding the state's proposed legislation to allow businesses to exercise their religious freedom to discriminate against LGBT citizens.

Melvin insisted, "It's nothing more and nothing less than protecting religious freedom in our state."

Cooper noted how Arizona doesn't expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and grilled Melvin on why, then, they would need to reaffirm a right that isn't under threat in the state in the first place.

Cooper asked, "Can you give me a specific example of someone in Arizona who's been forced to do something against their religious belief or successfully sued because of their faith?"

Melvin said he could not, arguing the bill is "preemptive."

Watch the interview below.


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