Saturday, December 25, 2010

More Saturday Male Beauty

Gay Weddings Boom Under Argentina's New Marriage Law

Argentina catapulted into the ranks of nations allowing full civil marriage for same sex couples back earlier in the year. In addition to underscoring the falsity of the USA's supposed constitutional guaranties to its LGBT citizens, Argentina made it clear that religion and the civil laws are separate spheres where the religious beliefs of some do not get the authority to deprive other citizens of their civil legal right to equality in all things. Now, as the Guardian reports, gay marriage is become a big business in Argentina which is aggressively marketing itself as a gay travel and wedding destination. In fact, at the NGLCC national dinner I attended last month, the Argentine Ministry of Tourism provided the after dinner entertainment and party. Here are highlights from the Guardian article:
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Five months ago Argentina became the first country in Latin America, and one of only a handful of nations in the world, to legalise same-sex marriage. Since then the country has seen hundreds of gay couples saying "I do" and the birth of a booming new economy catering for the increasingly lucrative gay wedding market. For many people, business has never been better.
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Five hundred same-sex marriages have taken place in Argentina since the legislation was passed on 22 July, with hundreds more planned for the new year. Marini says that in recent months she has seen dozens of other gay wedding planning businesses launch in the capital, with more than 300 suppliers now trying to target the gay market.
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"Attitudes have changed since the legalisation," she says. "This time last year, when we called hotels or restaurants scoping potential venues for parties or civil partnerships, we'd get told that they didn't cater for those kind of functions."
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Now, she says, everyone is desperate to get in on the action. "We get the same places calling us begging us to bring our gay clients in to do viewings. Suddenly people have realised that the gay community is enforcing its right to get married and couples are spending a lot of money doing so."
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Gay couples often far outspend their heterosexual counterparts. The wedding industry in Argentina estimates that gay couples spend up to 30% more on their big day, with budgets stretching to $25,000 (£16,000).
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[M]any of Gay Planners' and Delicias Gourmet's wedding clients have been together for decades. While civil partnerships have been permitted in Argentina since 2003, couples say the legalisation of same-sex marriage finally gives them the same rights as heterosexual couples.
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Many of Argentina's same-sex weddings take place in the capital, but services are being held across the country. . . . Alongside their event planning services, Gay Planners also offers a range of legal services for foreign clients travelling to Argentina to take advantage of the new laws.

Robert Knight Demonstrates More Batshitery

Robert Knight is an old nemesis of mine. We crossed paths and exchanged e-mail volleys in the aftermath of my work with Wayne Besen in exposing high profile "ex-gay" poster boy, Michael Johnston, as a fraud. Johnston - who was part of a national Christian Right anti-gay media blitz in 1998 was sleeping around the Hampton Roads area (he is from the area and operated the now defunct Kerusso Ministries based in Newport News) under an assumed name and having unprotected sex seeking to infect others with HIV. The reaction among the Christianist was not pleasant and, among other things Wayne and I were attacked by name in a rant on the right wing site Townhall.com.
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Despite admissions in e-mails that the work of Paul Cameron is fraudulent and that gays did not precipitate the fall of ancient Rome, Knight - who has bounced from one anti-gay organization to another like some bad penny (he's currently at Coral Ridge Ministries, which was peddling Michael Johnston's videos even though his "moral fall" was known within the ex-gay industry) - continues to disseminate outright lies and what can only be labeled as hatred towards gays. From our exchanges, Knight is absolutely obsessed with gay sex - particularly anal sex - which sends him into an utter frenzy. Of course, true to form, Knight wraps himself in the mantle of Christianity and religiosity even as he makes a mockery of the Commandment against lying and bearing false witness. Now, with the Senate having voted to repeal DAD, Knight seems posed to go off the deep end. My analysis? Knight is a severe closet case who wants to destroy what he cannot allow himself to experience because of his warped religious mind set. The result is what I view as his transferred self-loathing toward gays who have accepted their God given sexuality. Alvin McKwen takes a look at Knight's hysteria in a post at Pam's House Blend. Here are some highlights:
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For some, the need to stigmatize the lgbt community based on their constant desire to remind folks about gay sex never goes away.
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Robert Knight of Coral Ridge Ministries has made a career out of spreading anti-gay propaganda and lies, even to the point of citing the discredited Paul Cameron in front of Congress. And in a recent piece in The Washington Times - one of the only places that will publish his nonsense - Knight is claiming that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed because Republicans refused to get nasty about homosexuality: Instead of using the military debate to bring to light many suppressed facts that could cripple the homosexual juggernaut if Americans only knew, they played by their opponents' rule book.
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The irony of Knight's position is the realization that 17 years ago, Republicans and those who didn't support gays and lesbians serving openly in the military did pull out the horror stories. They talked about "gay sex," "the gay agenda," "fisting," and even pulled the "gay assault" card.
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But things have changed. Homophobia still exists but for the most part, more of us are out and unashamed of who we are despite the efforts of those like Knight. Americans know more of us and the lies about us being an invading horde of Godless creatures just isn't resonating like they used to. The sad thing is that no one told Knight.
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I would also conjecture that Knight - like many of the Christianists has in fact a weak and shallow faith which gays threaten because, if God made some of us gay as part of Hus natural order of things, that would mean the Bible is wrong in the few passages that are cited as condemning homosexuality. And if those passages are wrong, then the entire fragile house of cards collapses, leaving Knight (and others like him - e.g., much of the Catholic Church hierarchy) facing the fact that they have lived their lives based on a falsehood and suffered needless self-denial and self-hate for no reason. They truly cannot let anything suggest that their lives have been warped and wasted. Thus, in their very sick and frightened minds, gays must be destroyed.

Ireland Now Has Civil Partnerships

Ireland has now outstripped the USA - alleged land of liberty and freedom of religion - in terms of how it treats its LGBT citizens. Earlier in the week, Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern has signed the commencement order which sees the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act 2010 come into effect. This means that the first Civil Partnership ceremony will take place in early April, 2011. Ireland will also now recognize foreign same sex marriages and civil unions as civil partnerships under Irish law. Meanwhile in social/cultural backwaters such as Virginia - and many other U. S. states - sames sex relationships receive no legal recognition and the state constitution band any such recognitions. Indeed, as noted before, Virginia's display more concern over domestic pets than they do for living, breathing, tax paying same sex couples. All so that self-righteous and Pharisee like Christianist can feel morally superior and self-satisfied. Here are highlights from the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network press release:
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The Minister for Justice and Law Reform Dermot Ahern TD today signed the Commencement Orders for the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act 2010. Speaking at the signing of the Commencement Orders, Kieran Rose, chair of GLEN said that “with this signing, the Minister is opening up a great and wide vista of futures, opportunities, celebrations and more secure futures for lesbian and gay couples”.
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Couples must give three months notice to the Civil Registrar before having a civil partnership ceremony. The Commencement orders mean that from the 1st of January 2010 same-sex couples will be able to apply to the Civil Registrar to enter into a Civil Partnership. The first Civil Partnership ceremonies are likely to occur in April.
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The Minister also signed orders which will automatically recognise a wide range of foreign same-sex civil marriages and same-sex civil partnerships as Irish civil partnerships. Same-sex couples who are already married or are civil partners through these recognised foreign relationships will be deemed civil partners in Ireland from early January.

Saturday Male Beauty

A Gay Couple and a Miracle on 22nd Street

With the bad rap that LGBT individuals get from the Christianists who claim we are seeking to destroy marriage and/or the family, a story out of New York City shows a gay couple doing more to further love and a sense of holiday magic than a host of haters like Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher. For reasons still unknown, a gay couple on 22nd Street received hundreds of letters addressed to Santa Claus - addressed to their exact address. The video below is their explanation of how they tried to do the right thing and managed to see that a couple hundred letters were fullfiled. Would that the world had mor Jim's and Dylan's in it and less "godly Christians." An article here has more on their story -these are highlights:
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There were just two weeks left until Christmas, and both Jim and Dylan were in a state of semi-paralysis. They had handed out a few letters to friends to answer, but not nearly enough to make a dent in the pile. Each day when one of them would check the mail more letters would fall out of the box.
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One option: Take the letters to the Main Post Office, where they would be added to the thousands of other letters sent to Santa each year. Thoughtful strangers, in a perfect world, would pick them up and buy the letter writers gifts.
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But Jim imagined the worst: “If we bring them back to the post office, are all the kids getting a letter back with ‘Return to Sender’? I don’t want that to happen.” So Jim and Dylan came up with their own solution, one I sought to capture in our video.
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Joe Biden: Gay Marriage Inevitable

In a statement that will likely cause the Neanderthals and knuckle draggers of the Christian Right to nearly wet themselves and send spittle across the room, Vice President Joe Biden said during a Friday appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, that he believes that gay marriage is inevitable. I suspect that Biden is right no matter what professional haters such as Baggie Gallagher and Brian Brown may disingenuously spew about the "sanctity of marriage" as they laugh all the way to the bank. The younger generations are decidedly more accepting of same sex marriage and as old ultra-conservatives die off, the balance of power at the ballot box will shift to a pro-same sex marriage majority. Meanwhile, as regular readers know, I believe that, if there indeed is a God, he/she/it most certainly has a very special place in Hell for those who make a career out of striving to stigmatize and denigrate others and strip minorities of their legal equality. Here are highlights on Biden's comments from the Advocate:
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I think there is an inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage," Vice President Joe Biden said during a Friday appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, though he indicated the White House's policy in support of full civil union rights — not marriage equality — hasn't changed.
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Biden’s candor follows several recent statements made by President Obama on the issue, both during a Wednesday news conference and an exclusive interview with The Advocate, where he reflected on his “evolving” stance — one that Obama originally spoke of during an October interview with AmericaBlog Gay’s Joe Sudbay and four other progressive bloggers.
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I notice there is a big generational difference,” he continued. “When you talk to people who are in their 20s, they don’t understand what the holdup is on this, regardless of their own sexual orientation. And obviously when you talk to older folks, then there’s greater resistance.”
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This reality terrifies the Christianists and the professional Christian set alike because they realize that their days of raking in money and duping the ignorant and elderly are numbered. As a consequence, expect the shrillness and level of anti-gay hatred to get worse as this anti-modernity and anti-equality element gives its last last gasp.

Remembering Past Gays in the Military

With the legislative repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, thankfully future generations of gays in the military will not find themselves living in fear of outings and expulsion from careers that many of them truly love. Likewise, the military will not be foolishly loosing great talent and expertise solely to satisfy the religious based bigotry of a segment of society that daily proves itself to be anything but Christian in the true sense of the Gospel message. It's important, however to remember that the religious based bigotry against gays existed long before the passage of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and goes back many, many decades. In the mid-1970's Leonard Matlovich, recipient of a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, received much publicity when he was forced from the military. His tombstone bears the epitaph "When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.” But there were notable gays before Matlovich who likewise lost their military careers. Thanks to a post by straight ally Bob Felton at Civil Commotion, I was reminded of another such past high profile gay in the military. This man received a Congressional Gold Medal, the Legion of Merit and National Order of Vietnam, yet was forced to resign from the Navy because of his sexual orientation. The man's name? Dr. Thomas Anthony Dooley (pictured above left in center), a man some Catholics even wanted canonized after his untimely early death at age 34 because of his world renown humanitarian efforts. Ironically, though forced to leave the military, he was given a military funeral with a U.S. Navy Honor Guard. Here's some highlights from Dooley's life and career:
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[I]n 1944 [he] enlisted in the United States Navy's corpsman program, serving in a naval hospital in New York . . . In 1953 . . . he reenlisted in the Navy. He completed his residency at Camp Pendleton, California and then at Yokosuka, Japan. In 1954 he was assigned to the USS Montague which was traveling to Vietnam to evacuate refugees.
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While Dooley was working in refugee camps in Haiphong, some have alleged that he came to the attention of Lieutenant Colonel Edward G. Lansdale, head of the CIA detail in Saigon. According to these allegations, Dooley was chosen as a symbol of Vietnamese-American cooperation, and was encouraged to write about his experiences in the refugee camps. Some other unsubstantiated reports indicate that he collected intelligence for the CIA. In 1956 his book Deliver Us from Evil was released, establishing Dooley as a strong humanitarian. While on a promotional tour for the book, Dooley was investigated for participating in homosexual activities and was forced to resign from the Navy in March 1956.
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After leaving the Navy, Dooley went to Laos to establish medical clinics and hospitals under the sponsorship of the International Rescue Committee. Dooley founded the Medical International Cooperation Organization (MEDICO) under the auspices of which he built hospitals at Nam Tha, Muong Sing, and Ban Houei Sa. During this same time period he wrote two books, The Edge of Tomorrow and The Night They Burned the Mountain about his experience in Laos.
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In 1959 Dooley returned to the United States for cancer treatment; he died in 1961 from malignant melanoma. Following his death John F. Kennedy cited Dooley's example when he launched the Peace Corps. He was also awarded a Congressional Gold Medal posthumously. There have been efforts following his death to have him canonized as a Roman Catholic saint.
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Dooley's life was an example of what real Christians are about (more information can be found here)- unlike today's professional hate merchants such as Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins, James Dobson and others of their ilk. Just think what could be accomplished if the funds spent to stigmatize gays and deprive us of legal equality were applied in a manner such as what Dooley did with his life.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Male Beauty

Holiday Thoughts - Christmas NineYears After Coming Out

This Christmas is so very different from the first few years after I came out when sadness and depression were my prevailing experience. I mourned times past and floundered about wondering if I'd ever have a happy future and whether I'd ever have someone special in my life. At the time, it felt like it would never happen and suicide was a frequent thought in my mind. Everyone told me to be patient and that things would get better. Patience is something far easier to contemplate in theory than actually put into practice. But, things did get better - not as rapidly as I wanted - and I have in many ways achieved what I had hoped for when I first came out and had the world I had known largely vanish. My words to readers struggling in the early stages of coming out - especially those who married and had children as I did - is to be patient and believe that it will get better. I am proof that it can and does happen.
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The long weekend promises to be hectic, but far better than the sad and lonely holidays not so long ago. Last night and today have been a marathon so far, and the day is not even half over. We've had a Christmas brunch for the boyfriend's family (22 guests) and now soon we will be headed to Virginia Beach for Christmas Eve dinner with one of the boyfriend's clients/friends and her family. After that we'll hit the midnight service at First Lutheran in Norfol before returning to Hampton. Tomorrow we have an open house for friends at our home and then on Sunday a gathering of my family including my mother who is down from Charlottesville. Needless to say, blogging will be hit or miss for much of the weekend.
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As for the boyfriend, he continues to be a gift from God and I am truly blessed to have him in my life - even if on occasion I say to him "Yes, mein Furher" when he gets a little bossy. He loves me and cares for me as no one ever has before and seems to see things in me that I do not see. And his sweetness extends not only to me, but my children and his family and clients. I received my Christmas present (pictured above left) from him a few days early. Now I will now be able to give my Jeep to my son who is in need of a vehicle. Yes, it does get better - just not on our schedule at times.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday Male Beauty

Racism, Revisionist History and the GOP

As noted before on this blog, the present day GOP continues to be the political home for racists - some overt, others not - and those who seek a revisionist history that either sanitizes America's past sins or recreates a false history that supports their own bigotry. The historical myths embraced by the GOP range from claims that the USA was founded as a "Christian nation" to pretending that the awful days of segregation and opposition to black civil rights efforts were not so bad. One Republican leader who demonstrates this desire to fictionalize history is Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. In a main editorial page column, the New York Times takes Barbour and his dreamworld view of the past in his home state to task. While Barbour is the immediate target in the column, many of his GOP brethren and the Christianists to whom the GOP prostitutes itself daily all share the racism that haunts the Party of Lincoln nowadays. Here are some column highlights:
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In Gov. Haley Barbour’s hazy, dream-coated South, the civil-rights era was an easy transition for his Mississippi hometown of Yazoo City. As he told the Weekly Standard recently, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an unmemorable speaker, and notorious White Citizens Councils protected the world from violent racists.
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Perhaps Mr. Barbour, one of the most powerful men in the Republican Party and a potential presidential candidate, suffers from the faulty memory all too common among those who stood on the sidelines during one of the greatest social upheavals in history. It is more likely, though, that his recent remarks on the period fit a well-established pattern of racial insensitivity that raises increasing doubts about his fitness for national office.
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In the magazine’s profile of the second-term governor, Mr. Barbour suggests that the 1960s — when people lost life and limb battling for equal rights for black citizens — were not a terribly big deal in Yazoo City. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” he said.
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And the Citizens Councils were simply right-minded business leaders trying to achieve integration without violence. Thanks to the councils, he said, “we didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”
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The councils, of course, arose in the South for a single and sinister purpose: to fight federal attempts at integration and to maintain the supremacy of white leaders in cities and states. Mississippi’s council, formed in reaction to the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, was one of the most powerful political forces in the state, and later raised funds for the defense of the murderer of Medgar Evers. The council chapter in Yazoo City, so fondly remembered by Mr. Barbour, published the names of N.A.A.C.P. leaders who dared to demand the town’s schools be integrated in 1955. Those on the list systematically lost their jobs and their livelihoods, boycotted by white citizens.
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[T]his is the same man who in 1982 made an indefensible remark to an aide who complained that there would be “coons” at a campaign stop. If the aide persisted in racist remarks, Mr. Barbour said, he would be reincarnated as a watermelon and placed at the mercy of blacks. His campaign for the governor’s office was also racially tinged.
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Memory has long been the mutable clay of the South, changing the meaning of the Civil War and now the civil-rights era. But the memory of Mr. Barbour’s personal history will not soon fade. That should give pause to the Republican Party as it considers his future.
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As is always the case, I am struck by the fact that the political party that claims to be the champion of religious and family values constantly shows that in reality it is the party of racism, contempt for other human beings who are "other" and the hoarding of wealth as opposed to charitable works. Why does the word hypocrites spring to mind?

UN to Investigate Treatment of WikiLeaks Suspect Bradley Manning

One of the things Barack Obama said he would do as president is end the torture policies of Chimperator George W. Bush. Unfortunately, he has not done so and the situation of WikiLeaks suspect underscores this failure of Obama to make good on this campaign promise. Manning has languished in a brig cell at Quantico, Virginia for seven months, yet has not been charged with anything more than vague charges of releasing classified information. Moreover, based on reports of supporters, Manning is receiving treatment tantamount to torture. Once again, the U. S. Constitution's supposed guarantee of the rule of law and bans on incarceration without being specifically charged and requirements of a speedy trial are turning out to be a sham - like so many other things in the USA. Now, supporters of Manning have asked the United Nations to investigate and - unfortunately - I suspect the USA could be found in violation of its own laws and international conventions to which it is a signatory. In Manning's case, it seems the infamous policies of the Court of Star Chamber are alive and well and that Manning - if he did release information to WikiLeaks is being punished for what Germans at Nuremberg were told they should have done when the Nazi regime was guilty of war crimes. Here are details from the Guardian:
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The United Nations is investigating a complaint on behalf of Bradley Manning that he is being mistreated while held since May in US Marine Corps custody pending trial. The army private is charged with the unauthorised use and disclosure of classified information, material related to the WikiLeaks, and faces a court martial sometime in 2011.
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The office of Manfred Nowak, special rapporteur on torture based in Geneva, received the complaint from a Manning supporter; his office confirmed that it was being looked into. Manning's supporters say that he is in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day; this could be construed as a form of torture. This month visitors reported that his mental and physical health was deteriorating.
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He was charged in July with leaking classified material including video posted by WikiLeaks of a 2007 US attack in Baghdad by a Apache helicopter that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver. He is also suspected of leaking other material to the website, which is posting more than 250,000 secret state department cables. Manning has not commented on whether he is the source.
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In an interview with MSNBC, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, described Manning as a political prisoner and called on human rights organisations to investigate. Nowak, an Austrian rights lawyer, has been involved in cases related to the Balkans, Guantánamo Bay, Iraq and China.
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Manning's real offense - if he indeed leaked the materials - is that he showed the U.S, military to be guilty of possible atrocities. Sadly, Obama and the military are more concerned about punishing Manning than bringing charges against those who committed the atrocities. Once again, the situation is all too typical of American claims of moral superiority that are not borne out by reality.

Log Cabin Republicans to Continue DADT Lawsuit

While I generally find members of the Log Cabin Republicans ("LCR") to be some sort of self-loathing masochists given that they support a political party that as a whole would prefer them either invisible or - in the case of the worse Christianists - criminalized or dead, I will admit that with their lawsuit, Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, the LCR may have helped force Obama and Congress to finally act on repeal of DADT. Now, with repeal legislation signed into law, the LCR plan to continue the DADT lawsuit until such time as "open service is reality" for LGBT Americans. I view it as a good move and one that will keep the pressure on the military and Obama and hopefully expedite repeal implementation. I also hope that the 9th Circuit will uphold Judge Phillips' ruling and worldwide injunction so that there is no way for some in the GOP to try to take us backwards as part of their slavish prostitution of the party to hate groups such as American Family Association and Family Research Council. Here are highlights from the Miami Herald on the LCR effort:
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[A]s long as servicemembers still face the threat of discharge, Log Cabin Republicans will continue our fight in court to protect the fundamental constitutional rights of our men and women in uniform. President Obama today promised that implementation would move 'swiftly,' and Log Cabin plans to hold him to that promise.
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"This is a shining day in American history, and the importance of this legislation should not be understated," said Dan Woods, White & Case partner who is representing Log Cabin Republicans in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America. "Unfortunately, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' remains in force at this time and will continue to harm gay and lesbian servicemembers until sixty days after certification by the President, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As there is no set timeline for certification and the government remains legally able to discharge servicemembers for their sexual orientation, our case is alive and kicking until the promise signed today becomes a reality."
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Log Cabin Republicans have maintained a three-front strategy against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' lobbying for repeal in Congress, consulting with the Department of Defense, and filing suit in federal court. The case went to trial in July of 2010, and Judge Virginia Phillips ruled on September 9, 2010 that the policy violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Barack Obama Signs DADT Repeal Bill into Law

This morning Barack Obama belatedly made good on a campaign promise to sign legislation into law repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell ("DADT") which has plagued LGBT service members for 17 years. Unfortunately, it will be months before repeal becomes truly effective as the military "writes regulations" and implements repeal. Until this happens, LGBT service members will need to continue to live in fear of discharge or reprisals. Also, today Harry Reid returned to Dan Choi the West Point ring that Choi gave to Reid last July with a statement that Reid could return the ring if and when DADT was repealed (see photo at right). The New York Times has coverage on the bill signing today and here are details:
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The military’s longstanding ban on service by gays and lesbians came to a historic and symbolic end on Wednesday, as President Obama signed legislation repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the contentious 17-year old Clinton-era law that sought to allow gays to serve under the terms of an uneasy compromise that required them to keep their sexuality a secret.
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“No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie or look over their shoulder,” Mr. Obama said during a signing ceremony in a packed auditorium at the Interior Department here. Quoting the chairman of his joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, Mr. Obama went on, “Our people sacrifice a lot for their country, including their lives. None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well.”
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The repeal does not immediately put a stop to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Mr. Obama must still certify that changing the law to allow homosexual and bisexual men and women to serve openly in all branches of the military will not harm readiness, as must Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mullen, before the military can implement the new law.
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While there is still significant resistance within the military to the change in policy, especially within the Marine Corps, at least one proponent — Representative Barney Frank, the openly gay Democrat from Massachusetts — insisted on Wednesday that this latest effort to integrate the armed services will go more smoothly than did racial or gender integration.
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While many gay people in the military are now breathing a sigh of relief, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which represents soldiers facing charges under the policy, is warning its members that they are “still at risk” because the repeal will not take full effect until 60 days after Mr. Obama, the defense secretary and admiral certify readiness.

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Am I pleased that DADT is on the way out? Most definitely. However, I hope the DADT challenge in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States continues and that the 9th Circuit finds the law unconstitutional. At that point, Obama can refrain from an appeal and we will have both an appellate court ruling plus the new legislation driving a stake through the heart of DADT - just in case the GOP tries to play games next year. Here's a video of today's signing ceremony:

The Sad Legacy of John McCain - Now Alleged to be Working with a Hate Group

There are moments when I ask myself WTF happened to John McCain. In 2000, I and many other rational people supported McCain's presidential bid. Ten years later, McCain is becoming a caricature and one can wonder what posterity will think of the man. If selecting the utter unqualified Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 wasn't enough to tarnish his name likely forever, perhaps the final nail in that coffin will be his reported willingness to work with a registered anti-gay hate group whose leader has past ties with white supremacy groups. Back in 200, McCain condemned the hate merchants of the Christian Right. These highlights from a CNN transcript while McCain was in Virginia Beach demonstrate the McCain of 2000:
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DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Right now we want to take you on CNN to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where Senator John McCain is addressing a crowd there. He plans to blast televangelist Pat Robertson for some phone calls that he had put together in this campaign thus far.
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SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... I am a pro-life, pro-family fiscal conservative, an advocate of a strong defense, and yet Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and a few Washington leaders of the pro-life movement call me an unacceptable presidential candidate. They distort my pro- life positions and smear the reputations of my supporters. Why? Because I don't pander to them, because I don't ascribe to their failed philosophy that money is our message.
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I recognize and celebrate that our country is founded upon Judeo- Christian values, and I have pledged my life to defend America and all her values, the values that have made us the noblest experiment in history. But public -- but political intolerance by any political party is neither a Judeo-Christian nor an American value. The political tactics of division and slander are not our values, they are... They are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country.
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Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right.
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That was the John McCain of 2000. Now, whether due to senility, bitterness arising from his self-inflicted loss in 2008 by selecting Palin, or something else, McCain has become someone foul. The evidence? These highlights (which take a cheap shot at Lady Gaga) from the hate group Family Research Council website:
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FRC, . . . we'll be spending the next couple of weeks reassessing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" debate. In fact, I've already been in conversations with Hill leaders about holding hearings in the New Year, as well as statutory and legislative oversight steps that can be taken to turn back aspects of the repeal and slow down--if not stop--the rest. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others will be working with FRC to put a strict evaluation process in place. We want to ensure that the Pentagon is monitoring the effect of this radical change on the men and women in harm's way. One way to do that is demanding specific measurables--like tracking the sexual assaults, dips in recruitment and retention, combat distractions, and more. If there's the slightest disruption to the military's mission, you can bet that FRC will be on the Hill, demanding to revisit this repeal. And unlike the Senate Majority Leader, we won't consult Lady Gaga first.
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John McCain, I am ashamed that I ever thought well of you. I obviously did not understand your true bigotry.

HRBOR To Present "Flavor Hampton Roads, A Winter Wine Fest"

Hampton Roads Business OutReach ("HRBOR") will be hosting "Flavor Hampton Roads, a Winter Wine Festival," at the Five Points Community Farm Market, 2500 Church Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23504, on Saturday January 22, 2011. Participating food and beverage vendors in the event include Bardo, Still, Get Fresh CafĂ©, Angry Adams, Total Wine, Gordon Biersch, Lew-Lou’s Sinsational Bakery, and Rogue Elephant Coffee. It should be a wonderful event and local readers can contact me to purchase tickets or follow the directions set out below. Here are more details.

Winter Wine Festival
&
Silent Auction

Five Points Community Farm Market
2500 Church St., Norfolk, VA 23504

http://www.5ptsfarmmarket.org/
January 22, 2011 7p.m. - 11p.m.

Come and taste incredible wines, gourmet foods, desserts and coffees

Tickets:

$40 each until December 31, 2010 !!!
$50 each after January 01, 2011

For Sponsorship Opportunities contact, Jodi Butler: 757-572-5971.

For tickets contact Carl Johansen: 757-339-1892 or Email: events@hrbor.org

Wednesday Male Beauty

Mitch McConnell - Rumored Closet Case - Tries to Block DADT Repeal

Last night I mentioned that rumors are swirling that Mike Rogers might finally have the goods on the Palmetto Queen, Senator Lindsey Graham. Another target for well deserved outing is Senator Mitch McConnell (pictured at right with the Palmetto Queen) who tried a last ditch attempt to block DADT repeal legislation. Such conduct clearly places a bull's eye on McConnell's back and one can only hope that someone with evidence to out him will finally come forward. Politico looks at McConnell's shady ploy which fortunately was blocked. Here are highlights:
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A last-ditch effort by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to complicate the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was blocked Tuesday night after Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) objected, Senate aides said.
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McConnell attempted to add an amendment to the so-called stripped-down defense authorization bill that would have required the consent of the military service chiefs to proceed with "don't ask" repeal. Under legislation passed by the Senate last week, certifications are required from the president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. All the incumbents in those positions support repeal.
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"It was a McConnell proposal," a GOP aide confirmed. "There was an attempted to get unanimous consent for it to be included in the defense bill and someone objected." McConnell's amendment, which Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and other GOP senators have been urging for months, called for certifications from the four service chiefs. All of the incumbents in those positions have expressed at least some reservations about repeal at this time.
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Even if such a bill somehow passed with an amendment that threatened "don't ask" repeal prospects, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would likely refuse to bring it to the floor. Of course, any such amendment, or even the prospect of it, could be seen as an effort to upstage President Barack Obama as he prepares to sign the conditional repeal bill into law on Wednesday morning.

Professional Christians Ignore the Pagan Roots of Christmas

As we near the apogee of the Christmas season and fussy, busybody, anti-gay Christianists continue to hyperventilate over the repeal of DADT, it's important to remember the artificial construct on which these modern day Pharisees have built their propaganda machine - especially when they whine about those who use the term "Happy Holidays" in lieu of the de rigor "Merry Christmas." The truth is that there is little new under the sun and as history tells us, the story line of death and rebirth around the time of the winter solstice goes back for centuries before the Church's selected birth date of Christ. Yes, I have touched on this issue before, but with Del. Bob Marshall continuing his religious based crusade against LGBT Virginians, it's appropriate to touch on the subject again. Bob Felton at Civil Commotion looks at the topic as does ReligiousIntolerance.org. with an extensive review of solstice religious observances from around the world. The long and short of the matter is that Christians merely bootstrapped their religious celebration onto existing observances and that much of the "holiday traditions" are in fact pagan hold overs. First this from Bob Felton:
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It is the day of least sunshine; it signifies the start of lengthening days and, soon, better hunting and freshening fields. It is the low-point in the eternal cycle, and there is no end of myth accompanying this day, all pointing toward and celebrating rebirth.
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By the third century CE, there were many religions and spiritual mysteries being followed within the Roman Empire. Many, if not most, celebrated the birth of their god-man near the time of the solstice. Emperor Aurelian blended a number of Pagan solstice celebrations of the nativity of such god-men/saviors as Appolo, Attis, Baal, Dionysus, Helios, Hercules, Horus, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, and Theseus into a single festival called the “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun” on Dec-25.
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Many symbols and practices associated with Christmas are of Pagan origin: holly, ivy, mistletoe, yule log, the giving of gifts, decorated evergreen tree, magical reindeer, etc. Polydor Virgil, a 15th century British Christian, said “Dancing, masques, mummeries, stageplays, and other such Christmas disorders now in use with Christians, were derived from these Roman Saturnalian and Bacchanalian festivals; which should cause all pious Christians eternally to abominate them.” In Massachusetts, Puritans unsuccessfully tried to ban Christmas entirely during the 17th century, because of its heathenism. The English Parliament abolished Christmas in 1647.
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The Christianists - and the leadership of the Catholic Church - rely upon the ignorance of their audience to further their agenda of power and control (and money raising). While it's fine and good to celebrate Christmas if one so desires, it is important to understand that its uniqueness is subject to serious doubt and in many ways it is a revamped holdover from much earlier religious beliefs. Here are a few highlights from ReligiousIntolerance.org:
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ANCIENT EGYPT: The god-man/savior Osiris died and was entombed on DEC-21. "At midnight, the priests emerged from an inner shrine crying 'The Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing" and showing the image of a baby to the worshipers."
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ANCIENT ROME: Saturnalia began as a feast day for Saturn on DEC-17 and of Ops (DEC-19). About 50 BCE, both were later converted into two day celebrations. During the Empire, the festivals were combined to cover a full week: DEC-17 to 23. By the third century CE, there were many religions and spiritual mysteries being followed within the Roman Empire. Many, if not most, celebrated the birth of their god-man near the time of the solstice. Emperor Aurelian (270 to 275 CE) blended a number of Pagan solstice celebrations of the nativity of such god-men/saviors as Appolo, Attis, Baal, Dionysus, Helios, Hercules, Horus, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, and Theseus into a single festival called the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun" on DEC-25. At the time, Mithraism and Christianity were fierce competitors. Aurelian had even declared Mithraism the official religion of the Roman Empire in 274 CE. Christianity won out by becoming the new official religion in the 4th century CE.
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BUDDHISM: On DEC-8, or on the Sunday immediately preceding, Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day (a.k.a. Rohatsu). It recalls the day in 596 BCE, when the Buddha achieved enlightenment. . . . Being an Eastern tradition, Bodhi Day has none of the associations with the solstice and seasonal changes found in other religious observances at this time of year. However, it does signify the point in time when the Buddha achieved enlightenment and escaped the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth through reincarnation -- themes that are observed in other religions in December.
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DRUIDISM: Druids and Druidesses formed the professional class in ancient Celtic society. They performed the functions of modern day priests, teachers, ambassadors, astronomers, genealogists, philosophers, musicians, theologians, scientists, poets and judges. Druids led all public rituals, which were normally held within fenced groves of sacred trees. The solstice is the time of the death of the old sun and the birth of the dark-half of the year.
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IRAN: Shabe-Yalda (a.k.a. Shab-e Yaldaa) is celebrated in Iran by followers of many religions. It originated in Zoroastrianism, the state religion which preceded Islam. The name refers to the birthday or rebirth of the sun.
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CHRISTIANITY: Any record of the date of birth of Yeshua of Nazareth (later known as Jesus Christ) has been lost. There is sufficient evidence in the Gospels to indicate that Yeshua was born in the fall, but this seems to have been unknown to early Christians. By the beginning of the 4th century CE, there was intense interest in choosing a day to celebrate Yeshua's birthday. The western church leaders selected DEC-25 because this was already the date recognized throughout the Roman Empire as the birthday of various Pagan gods. Since there was no central Christian authority at the time, it took centuries before the tradition was universally accepted.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is Lindsey Graham About To Be Outed?

While there are those who disagree with me, I am a strong believer in "outing" closeted anti-gay politicians who work to deprive other gays of legal rights and recognition as full citizens. A closeted politician who does no harm to other gays is safe with his or her secret. Those who work to make life hell for the rest of us while living in the closet themselves are a totally different matter. A case in point is Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a/k/a the Palmetto Queen on this blog. Wonkette reports that blogger friend Mike Rogers - with whom I worked to out former Congressman Ed Schrock - may have the goods on Graham. One can only hope that the Wonkette news is accurate and that if Graham gets outed some of the other closet cases in Congress (Mitch McConnell?) will reconsider their anti-gay agenda. Here are some story highlights:
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Lindsey Graham, South Carolina’s favorite lifelong bachelor and former military prosecutor, is always reliably against homosexuals having any basic human rights in America because Lindsey’s a Republican, y’all. Anyway, famous outer-of-self-hating-queers Mike Rogers says he’s got pictures of one of Lindsey’s boy toys leaving Lindsey’s house. This would be SHOCKING because come on, everybody knows Republicans cannot be gay because Jesus did not make gays. Mike Rogers says on his Twitter:
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I wonder if Lindsey Graham knows I have pictures of a man who spent the night at his house. pls RT
– 10:57 AM Dec 18th
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Just reached lawyer at home. Meeting set for Tues. on releasing pix of man who spent night at Lindsey Graham’s.
– 11:05 AM Dec 18th
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[W]e must also wonder if John McCain will call for the execution of his best boy pal in all of Washington, because everybody knows that America WILL NOT TOLERATE any gay “distractions” . . .

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Catholic League's William Donohue Proves to be Another Self-Enriching Bigot

Even before I left the Catholic Church a decade or more ago, I found William Donohue and the Catholic League to be liars and professional victims. Now, new financial information indicates that Donohue - like Maggie Gallagher and other professional homophobes - is living very high on the hog living off of demonizing gays, claiming that anti-Catholic bigotry exists under every bush, and unquestioningly kissing the asses of the corrupt and disingenuous members of the Church hierarchy. Like his professional Christian cohorts, Donohue makes the tawdriest of hookers look virtuous. According to Catholic United - a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good - Catholic League President William Donohue receives $399,156 in annual compensation. Meanwhile, the Catholic League holds some $26 Million in assets. Indeed, Donohue proves himself to be just as arrogant and corrupt as the members of the Church hierarchy to whom he prostitutes himself. Here are highlights from the Catholics United website:
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Controversial Catholic League president William Donohue – whose work has now gained the support of the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – earned a salary of $342,500 in 2009, with an additional $56,656 in fringe benefits. According to annual IRS Form 990 filings, the organization spent more than $2.6 million in 2009, despite the fact that its program work constitutes little more than the issuing of inflammatory press releases.
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The Catholic League masquerades as an official ministry of the Catholic Church while engaging in heavyhanded tactics that many Catholics find distasteful. Donohue recently threatened a media campaign against state governors who didn't display nativity scenes in state capitol buildings.
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Despite this, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, authored a blog post last week expressing support for Donohue and his organization. . . . “Across the country, Catholic dioceses are closing parishes and everyday Catholics are struggling to make ends meet. Bill Donohue is clearly out of touch with this reality,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United. “Now we know why Donohue is so intent on ignoring social justice, concern for the poor, and other actual teachings of Jesus Christ: focusing on these issues is not good for the bottom line.”
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As organizations go, the Catholic League is a “non-profit” in name only. In 2009 it pocketed $943,516 in excess revenue, down from $1.35 million in 2008. As of the most recent filings, the Catholic League reported $26.2 million in net assets.
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The Catholic League's recent 990 filings can be found here.

Gay Victory in U.N. Resolution Vote

Some time ago I wrote about a successful effort by African and Muslim nations to strip "sexual orientation" from a United Nations resolution condemning violence against and/or the execution of members of minority groups. Today, led by a U.S. effort, the United Nations did an about face and added sexual orientation to the scope of the resolution - no doubt to the angst of anti-gay Muslim and African Christian haters. Thank goodness that hate did not prevail. The Advocate has coverage and here are some highlights:
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Following weeks of intense lobbying by gay activists, member states of the United Nations voted Tuesday evening to restore "sexual orientation" to a resolution that condemns extrajudicial killings.
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The assembly voted 93 in favor of the United States' proposal to restore the previous language, with 55 countries against and 27 abstaining. The assembly then approved the amended resolution with 122 in favor, zero votes against, and 59 abstentions.
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In a speech on Human Rights Day less than two weeks ago, Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said she was “incensed” about the vote in the Third Committee and vowed that the U.S. would work to restore the reference to sexual orientation in the resolution. Her remarks followed a speech by U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon in which he spoke forcefully against the criminalization of homosexuality.

Bob McDonnell Opposes Marshall's Bid to Bar Gays from National Guard

I have addressed in previous posts the threat by Del. Bob Marshall - one of the puss filed boils on the rump of Virginia politics - to introduce frivolous legislation in the coming session of the Virginia General Assembly aimed at barring gays from membership in the National Guard notwithstanding Congress' repeal of DADT over the weekend. While certainly no friend of LGBT Virginians, Governor Bob McDonnell has stated that he does not support Marshall's latest anti-gay effort. Perhaps McDonnell realizes that Marshall's bill even if enacted would fall in the face of federal regulations. Or perhaps he even has come to recognize the generational changes taking place in terms of LGBT acceptance. Or, more likely, he has aspirations for higher office and realizes that gay bashing is becoming a losing proposition. Even a majority of Republicans in recent polls have supported the end of DADT. Here are highlights from WAVY-TV 10 on McDonnell's statements on this issue:
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Gov. Bob McDonnell says he would not support an effort to ban gays from serving in the Virginia National Guard.
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After Congress voted over the weekend to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the U.S. military, Republican Del. Robert Marshall of Manassas said he would introduce legislation to ban gays from the Guard.
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On his monthly question-and-answer show on WTOP radio in Washington, McDonnell said Tuesday that he disagrees with Congress' vote to end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy based upon his own military service. But
he thinks the state's National Guard should adhere to federal guidelines.
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Again, if McDonnell has dreams of running for higher office, he needs to court moderates and independents, the vast majority of whom support DADT repeal and are not fans of gay bashing as a GOP blood sport.

Gay and Homeless for the Holidays

Since coming out I have met many LGBT individuals who have been rejected by their families because of their God-given sexual orientation - something these individuals never chose. Typically, the parents of these rejected individuals are quick to cite their "religious faith" as their justification for their horrible, un-Christian, and heartless behavior towards their own children. As a parent of three children myself, I truly do not understand how one could be so hate-filled as to reject their own child. The mind set is nothing short of evil and, as the Los Angeles Times notes a disproportionate number of homeless teens and young adults are gay. Sadly, these homeless are the victims of a form of religion that in my view has become a foul evil in and of itself. Here are highlights from the LA Times story:
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Every year, hundreds of gay youths end up on the streets of L.A. County, where they make up a disproportionate share of the people under 25 who are homeless. 'They haven't been on the streets for years and years,' an advocate says, 'so they don't look bad.
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The city hipsters sipping expensive coffee and chatting on cellphones did not give a second look at the two young men cutting across a Hollywood courtyard on their way to bed down in a nearby park.
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AJ, 23, and his boyfriend, Alex, 21, hide their blankets and duffel bags in bushes. They shower every morning at a drop-in center and pick out outfits from a closet full of used yet youthful attire.
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A recent study found that 40% of the homeless youths in Hollywood, a gathering spot for these young people, identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or unsure of their sexual orientation. Five percent say they are transgender.
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Gay and transgender youths become homeless for the same reasons as others their age. Many come from families with a history of abuse, neglect, addiction, incarceration or mental illness. But they say their sexual or gender identity often plays a role in the breakdown of their families. "Queer" was among the more polite names Christopher was called while growing up, before he even knew what the barbs meant.
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When he turned 18, he said, his grandmother kicked him out of the family home. She filed a restraining order against him in court. . . . I been hearing about my peers committing suicide because of the teasing and bullying … and of course I understand," he said, staring at a web of scars on his left forearm. "But then I go, 'How come that's not my story? Why didn't you kill yourself? How did you make it through all that?'"
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AJ was just 16 when his Vietnamese immigrant father told him to get out of his house, unable to accept his admission that he was gay. Any effeminate gesture, AJ said, would drive his father to beat him. For a time, AJ moved between the homes of friends and relatives in California and Colorado while he worked a succession of jobs. Some paid well enough for him to get his own apartment. But, he said ruefully, "It has been hard to sustain my sobriety." When he was fired from his last job in July, he had no place to go but the streets.
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For some gay youths alienated from their families, the foster care system provides sanctuary. But too often, said Costello, the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center's associate director for children, youth and family services, they bounce between foster parents and group homes until they turn 18. Once emancipated, they have nowhere to go.
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Yes, some accuse me of being anti-religion, but when I see alleged Christians treat their own children as if they were garbage, I cannot help but believe the death of this poisonous form of Christianity would be a good thing. The world would be a better place without it.

Tuesday Male Beauty

Lt. Dan Choi, GetEQUAL Activist Robin McGehee Invited to "'DADT" Repeal Signing

In the course of my activism, I have been lucky to meet and/or speak with some of those individuals truly on the front lines of the push for LGBT equality. Two such individuals are Dan Choi and Robin McGehee who have been in the forefront of civil disobedience in the successful push to see DADT dispatched to the trash heap of history. Both deservedly have been invited to the signing of the DADT repeal law by President Obama which will happen tomorrow according to USA Today:
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President Obama is likely to sign the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy Wednesday, and may hold a news conference this week, spokesman Robert Gibbs said today.

*Though the schedule is being finalized, Gibbs said he expects a formal signing ceremony Wednesday morning to sign the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal. "I think there are a lot of people who are interested in attending," Gibbs said. Gibbs said White House and Pentagon lawyers are working on "implementation and legal issues" associated with lifting the ban on gays in the military.
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Since there is much that yet needs to be done before LGBT service members can serve without fear of discharge, Dan Choi is planning on keeping the pressure on Obama to finalize the repeal process. Here's part of a statement Dan made at Huffington Post:
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President Obama, you are not off the hook. The compromise bill passed today puts the moral imperative squarely on your desk. Sign an executive order instituting a full non-discrimination policy throughout the military. If you do not, if you drag your feet and politicize this with your theoretical calculations as you have these past two years, you will be guilty of abetting those who loudly proclaim homophobia from their platforms and pulpits. Provide them no shelter or safe haven. Institute justice now.
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We stand on the shoulders of many who have come before us, from Air Force Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich to our present day heroes. We owe it to them to continue fighting. Our loudness does not distract but enhances the fight. Our direct action puts wind in the sails of lobbyists and political elites who do our bidding on the inside. We are one team with one goal: Equality in our lifetime. I do not intend to waver or retreat in pursuit of this new life purpose and mission, and neither should any American who loves justice.

Virginian Pilot: Good Riddance to Ban on Gays

As Bob Marshall fulminates over gays soon being able to serve in the military without fear of discharge haunting them 24/7, the Virginian Pilot - which refused to publish information on GOP Scott Rigell's endorsement by and anti-gay hate group prior to the recent election - has even come out and lauded the demise of DADT. While in my view anything by allies to LGBT Virginians, even the folks at the Virginian Pilot can do the math and realize that with 77% of the population nationally supporting repeal, they had best get on board. The editorial page writers may also be belatedly waking up to the fact that the region needs to become more progressive and socially tolerant after being after slammed and being described as "Old, Slow and Not Too Bright" in a Brookings Institute study. Here are highlights from the Pilot editorial page:
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Good riddance to ban on gays. The inevitable arrived early. Despite overwhelming evidence that the military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy was doomed one way or another, it didn't appear Congress would ever muster the courage to end it - until Saturday.
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On a 65-31 vote, the Senate finally approved legislation to allow gays to serve openly in the armed forces. Among those voting for the measure were Democrats Mark Warner and Jim Webb of Virginia and Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Kay Hagan of North Carolina. The vote was somewhat surprising, given the hyper-partisanship on Capitol Hill these days - not to mention the chronic hand-wringing and waffling over this issue.
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[A]generational shift in attitudes toward homosexuality - in the armed forces and the general population - ensured that such a discriminatory policy would not last. Recent court rulings also indicated the ban would not withstand continued legal challenges.
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There's no need to continue denying the reality that gay Americans can serve - and always have served - honorably in the military. More than 13,500 members of the armed forces have been driven out since the "don't ask, don't tell" policy went into effect in 1993. Countless others have lived in fear of reprisal, opted not to re-enlist or decided not to join because they didn't wish to live a lie.
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The military will adapt to this change, just as it did to racial integration and to allowing women to serve. In both those cases, critics predicted the sky would fall. It didn't. It won't this time, either.

Nutcase Del. Bob Marshall Continues to Embarrass Virginia

UPDATED: For readers who would like to share their thoughts/feelings with Marshall (who claims to be thinking about challenging Jim Webb for his U. S. Senate seat when Webb's term ends) you can do so via this conatct information:
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Robert G. Marshall
Delegate of 13th District
P.O. Box 421
Manassas, VA 20108
703 – 361 – 5416 (office and fax)
703 – 853 – 4213 (cell) (preferred)
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Yesterday I noted how Del. Bob Marshall - who might as well describe himself as a professional homophobe/gay basher - wants to introduce legislation that would circumvent DADT repeal and bar LGBT service members from the Virginia National Guard. Marshall and his accomplice in theocracy, Attorney General Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli seem determined to make Virginia a state where no progressive business would want to locate unless they are willing to live in a Medieval like society when it comes to religious freedom. While Marshall's anti-gay venom may be popular with the frigid bitches at The Family Foundation, he's helping to drive the younger generation into the arms of the Democrats. With all of the members of the House of Delegates up for election in November, 2011, one can only hope that voters in Loudoun County decide that Marshall has done enough to embarrass their area of the state and the state as a whole to merit a voter enforced retirement. These highlights from CBS News demonstrate that Marshall's batshitery has gone national:
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[D]espite a number of polls indicating widespread public support for the repeal of "Don't Ask," some Republican congressmen have already vowed to fight it. Republican Virginia Del. Bob Marshall says he is drafting legislation that would ban gays from serving in the Virginia National Guard. "This policy [to allow gays to serve openly] will weaken military recruitment and retention, and will increase pressure for a military draft,'' he said in explaining the effort.
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Marshall also lambasted the integration of openly gay men and women into the military as a "social experiment with our troops and our national security."
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After 232 years of prohibiting active, open homosexuals from enlisting in our military, President Obama and a majority in Congress are conducting a social experiment with our troops and our national security," Marshall said. "In countries where religions and cultures find homosexual acts immoral, the Obama administration's repeal policy will work to the detriment of all American troops in securing local cooperation with our nation's foreign policy goals."
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Traditional conservatives and the Tea Party movement are united only in their contempt for equal rights for all Americans and a desire to return America to a 19th century idyll," he [David Brock] said, adding in an interview with the Times that the group has no plans to compromise its goals.
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My advice again to Mr. Marshall: hire a gay escort and get the Hell over your closeted self-hate that you continue to transfer to the rest of the LGBT community.

Monday, December 20, 2010

More Monday Male Beauty

SPLC Responds to Attack by FRC, Conservative Republicans

I book marked a statement by the Southern Poverty Law Center late last week which addressed the disingenuous crocodile tears of the newly registered hate groups such as Family Research Council, but in the flurry following DADT repeal and four nights of holiday parties (including a dinner party at our home tonight), I never got around to addressing it. The SPLC statement lays out the justification as to why organizations received the "hate group" label - something the liars and hypocrites at FRC and similar groups have refused to address. In addition to the SPLC statement, Jeremy Hooper also has a good summary of the lies and deliberate hatred disseminated by these organizations which earned them the hate group label. First, some highlights from the SPLC statement:
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This morning, 22 members of Congress and a large number of other conservatives signed on to a public statement attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for listing several anti-gay religious right organizations as hate groups.
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It was a remarkable performance, given that it was precisely the maligning of entire groups of people — gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people — that caused the SPLC to list groups like the FRC. Remarkable, too, was the accusation that the SPLC was avoiding debate — in fact, the very first public discussion of the issues raised by the SPLC came in a Nov. 29 debate between the FRC’s Tony Perkins and myself on MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews.”
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Consider a few of the comments about gays and lesbians that have come from some of the groups now denouncing character assassination. The FRC, in a booklet entitled Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex With Boys, has claimed that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.” The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer wrote this year that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, which was not listed by the SPLC but helped organize today’s newspaper ad, describes relationships between gay men as “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’” Officials of several, including the FRC, have called for criminalizing gay sex.
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Almost all the religious-right groups named by the SPLC also have engaged in a particularly toxic and widespread defamation of gay men: The claim that they are essentially pedophiles who molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.
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The reality is that virtually all real researchers in the field have concluded, as did the American Psychological Association in an official statement, that “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.”
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Despite the claims made in today’s statement, the SPLC’s listings are not in any way intended to suppress these groups’ free speech. We’re not asking that these groups be silenced or punished in any way. What we are doing is calling them out for their lies.
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the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.”
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At the end of the day, it’s hard to know if the politicians and other leaders who signed today’s anti-SPLC statement really know some of things the groups they are throwing in with support. What’s a fact is that, despite their claims, the groups have so far, without exception, failed to confront the facts of SPLC’s report.
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Jeremy's as always excellent compilation of the lies of FRC and its kindred hate merchants can be found here.

Marine Commandant Pledges to "Personally Lead" Gay Troop Integration

I've been less than kind in my commentary on Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos who, prior to last Saturday's Senate vote on DADT repeal seemed to be doing all he could do to torpedo repeal. Now, in a Stars and Stripes article, Amos as pledged to "personally lead" the integration of gay troops in the Marine Corps. If Amos is true to his word, he will be setting the standard for the Corps - and hopefully other previous homophobes in the U. S. Military. As I have made clear in the past, in my opinion if freedom of religion under the U. S. Constitution means anything at all, it means that LGBT service members should not be punished and stigmatized for their failure to live their lives according to Christianist religious dictates. And by extension, military commanders who cannot support LGBT equality need to resign their commissions for failure to support and defend the Constitutional rights of ALL citizens. Here are highlights from Stars and Stripes:
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One week after warning the distraction of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” could risk Marines’ lives, Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, pledged to lead the effort to integrate openly gay Marines.
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“I, and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps [Carlton Kent], will personally lead this effort, thus ensuring the respect and dignity due all Marines,” Amos said. “On this matter, we look forward to further demonstrating to the American people the discipline and loyalty that have been the hallmark of the United States Marine Corps for over 235 years."
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Amos’ statement sent to reporters came Sunday evening, one day after the Senate adopted the repeal, capping a stunning, climactic day on the chamber floor.
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Here is Amos’ full statement: "Fidelity is the essence of the United States Marine Corps. Above all else, we are loyal to the Constitution, our Commander in Chief, Congress, our Chain of Command, and the American people. The House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to repeal Title 10, US Code 654 "Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the United States Armed Forces." As stated during my testimony before Congress in September and again during hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, the Marine Corps will step out smartly to faithfully implement this new policy. I, and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, will personally lead this effort, thus ensuring the respect and dignity due all Marines. On this matter, we look forward to further demonstrating to the American people the discipline and loyalty that have been the hallmark of the United States Marine Corps for over 235 years."
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Kudos to General Amos and I hope that he demonstrates the class set forth in his statement.