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Hollywood Power Players Attend Obama Gay-Lesbian Fundraiser

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Whatever happens in November, history will recall this presidential campaign as the point at which the Democrats finally came out about the indispensability of gays and lesbians to the party’s electoral coalition.

Obama Touts LGBT Achievements in New Campaign Ad (Video)Darren Criss Replaces Pink for Obama Fundraiser PerformanceObama Ad Featuring Sarah Jessica Parker Debuts During MTV Movie Awards (Video)

It wasn’t long ago that many—perhaps most—Democratic candidates refused to accept donations or public expressions of support from overtly gay organizations. On Wednesday, in front of an enthusiastic sold-out crowd that included some of the entertainment industry’s most powerful LGBT executives, President Barack Obama underscored how much progress has been made for gay rights in just a few decades.

“The fight on behalf of the LGBT community is part of a broader fight for all Americans,” said Obama, who recently announced his support for gay marriage.

Although the president didn’t specifically address marriage equality during his remarks at the gala, his position was implied. “He said it the minute he walked on stage,” J. Edgar screenwriter Dustin Lance Black told The Hollywood Reporter.

Among the Hollywood attendees in the crowd of 600 were CBS CEO Les Moonves and his wife Julie Chen, Will Grace creator Max Mutchnick and his husband Erik Hyman, producer/director Alan Poul, singer Lance Bass, Participant’s Jonathan King, Hulu’s Jamie Kershaw, Disney’s Ricky Strauss, HBO attorney Jeff Guthrie, Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his partner Justin Mikita, Malcolm in the Middle producer Todd Holland and his partner singer Scotch Loring,  Sean McManus of FIND, entertainment lawyer Dana Perlman,  actor Barry Karas, TV producer Daniel Kellison, Star Trek actor/director George Takei, songwriter/manager Bruce Roberts, producer/manager Eric Ortner, manager Greg Mertz, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin. 

Some of the guests donated up to $25,000 each to Obama’s reelection effort for a chance to mingle — and have their picture taken — with the president. TV director Paris Barclay was spotted chatting with Black in a packed photo line in a room off the main ballroom, where about 200 people had gathered. Actress and singer Cher and son Chaz Bono greeted Obama backstage.

While the crowd waited for the president to appear, they were entertained by emcee Ellen DeGeneres and singer Darren Criss of the hit TV show Glee, who agreed to fill in at the last minute for an ailing Pink.

Following the LGBT event, Obama traveled a few miles by motorcade to the Beverly Hills home of Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy and his fiancé David Miller, where 70 donors paid $25,000 apiece to dine with the president. Attendees included actresses Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon, Banana Republic/Gap Inc. president Jack Calhoun,  The Simpsons actress Yeardley Smith, Rob and Michelle Reiner, CAA super-agents Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane, HBO executive Michael Lombardo and partner Sonny Ward,  White House decorator Michael Smith, Southern California DNC co-chair John Emerson, Glee actress Jane Lynch and her co-star Criss.

“I will not be singing tonight,” Obama joked after Murphy introduced him.

The Beverly Wilshire gala and subsequent dinner were the largest in a recent series organized on Obama’s behalf by gay rights activists, who have flocked to support him since his forthright endorsement of marriage equality, which many regard as the critical civil rights issue of this era in American politics.

Bill Clinton, who recently has assumed a far more public—if controversial—role in the president’s reelection campaign, actually was the first Democratic candidate to openly court a gay rights organization, Los Angeles’ Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality, which staged a fundraiser on his behalf. Much of the enthusiasm engendered by that 1992 event, however, waned with the Pentagon’s adoption of its Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell policy and passage of the federal Defense of Marriage Act during the Clinton Administration.

Such reservations now attach to Obama, for whom gay and lesbian bundlers raised $8 million through March of this year. As veteran political strategist and gay activist David Mixner recently told CNN, “Now the community knows how to raise money and contribute on their own and we are more than welcome at the table,” alongside such traditional partners in the Democratic coalition as blacks, Latinos, Jews, labor and progressive Catholics.

The two fundraisers were among five the chief executive has schedule during his current two-day swing through California, which will have hosted 29 presidential fundraisers before Election Day rolls around in November.

Though Obama is all but certain of carrying California, state Democratic officials are hoping his frequent visits to the Golden State will ratchet up turnout and increase the party’s chances of capturing the five congressional seats that would take them one-fifth of the way toward regaining control of the House. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission through May, Obama had raised $19 million up to that point—which was before this trip or his celebrated record-setting $15 million fundraiser at George Clooney’s Laurel Canyon home.

Obama flew into San Francisco Wednesday morning and was accompanied on the flight westward by the Giants’ legendary star Willie Mays. After a brief welcoming ceremony with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the president traveled 20 minutes by motorcade to the Landmark Tower offices of Salesforce.com, a “cloud computing” company, where he met with 25 donors, who paid $35,800 each to take part in a roundtable discussion.

From there, Obama moved on to the historic, wood-paneled Julia Morgan Ballroom in the Merchant’s Exchange Builing, where 270 donors—including Gov. Jerry Brown—paid $5,000 each to lunch on grilled Coho salmon, sea beans, purple artichokes and lemon caper sauce while the President spoke without notes. For many, though, the highlight of the event was Obama’s surprise introduction by the 81-year-old Mays.

The Hall of Fame outfielder first compared his excitement at the election of the first African American president to that of playing in a World Series, recalling how he stayed up late into last election night, too energized to turn the television off. “We have a man that we want to get him back into the White House,” Mays said. “We need him. . .I had no idea in my lifetime that we would have an African-American guy in the White House.”

Obama then came on stage and embraced the Giant great, “Willie Mays, everybody,” the president said. “The Say Hey Kid.”

Building on Mays’ remarks—and the entire day’s theme of inclusion—Obama noted the baseball legend’s obvious pleasure over the ride on Air Force One. “As cool as Air Force One is, it is much, much cooler when Willie Mays is with you on the plane.” The chief executive added that he couldn’t have made electoral history as he did without ballplayers like Mays and Jackie Robinson “to lay the groundwork for a more inclusive America.”

Following his dinner at the Murphy-Miller home, Obama was set to stay in Beverly Hills Wednesday night. Thursday morning, he will travel by motorcade to the hillside mansion of developer Charles Quarles in the affluent, mostly African-American Viewpark neighborhood.

Quarles is president of the LA-based Bedford group and 300 donors, many of them members of the city’s African American business and entertainment elite, have paid $2,500 apiece to breakfast with the president. Former Motown chairman Clarence Avant is a co-host of the Viewpark event. He will be attending with wife Jackie, daughter Nicole, former US Ambassador to the Bahamas, and son Alex

On the flight out to California Wednesday morning, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney held his daily briefing with reporters aboard Air Force One. Several of the questions focused on continuing Republican criticism of the president’s now regular attendance at events with Hollywood and Broadway celebrities. “Can I ask you,” one reporter inquired, “about the California fundraisers, in particular? The President is getting a lot of heat over cavorting with showbiz types. Rush Limbaugh is referring to him as “Barack Kardashian,” can you believe. What is your response to that?”

As the press corps chuckled, Carney retorted: “Two words—Donald Trump. Next question.”

Article source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hollywood-power-players-attend-obama-334371

Gay marriage in Washington state blocked by proposed referendum

Thursday, June 7th, 2012


SEATTLE |
Wed Jun 6, 2012 7:33pm EDT

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Gay marriage opponents in Washington state blocked a law legalizing same-sex matrimony from taking effect as scheduled Thursday by submitting a petition for a ballot measure to repeal the statute.

The group behind the repeal initiative, Referendum 74, said on Wednesday they had collected more than 241,000 signatures, about twice as many as needed, to qualify the measure for the ballot in November.

Across the state, county officials who had been preparing to issue batches of new licenses to same-sex couples starting on Thursday put their plans on hold.

Advocates of repeal had until Wednesday to gather at least 120,577 signatures to win approval for a referendum giving Washington’s voters a chance to overturn a measure passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat.

Democrats, who also control both legislative bodies in Olympia, accounted for the lion’s share of support for gay marriage in Washington state, as they have elsewhere in the country. Opponents were led by religious conservatives, the bulk of them Republicans.

Six states and the District of Columbia already allow same-sex marriage.

Even before the Washington state bill was signed in February, political observers had expected it to be challenged at the ballot box in November. The outcome is far from certain, even in a state as politically liberal and Democratic-leaning as Washington.

In every state where the question of gay marriage has been put directly to voters so far, including California, it has been rejected, experts say. University of Washington law professor Peter Nicolas said 30 states have amended their state constitutions to ban same-sex marriage.

SIGNATURES EXPECTED TO BE CERTIFIED

After a check of some signatures collected by the group Preserve Marriage Washington, Referendum 74 could be officially certified for the November ballot by the middle of next week, said David Ammons, spokesman for the Washington Secretary of State’s Office.

“By all reasonable expectations, it will be on the ballot,” he said.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage, which has successfully campaigned against gay marriage in other states, has joined the repeal push in Washington state.

Joseph Blackholm, chairman of Preserve Marriage Washington, said in a statement that the response to his group’s petition drive was “incredible throughout every corner of the state.”

“Support for Referendum 74 was strong from the beginning, and has grown as the signature drive has advanced,” he said.

But Gregoire predicted voters would support extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

“The state should not be in the business of discriminating against those who request a marriage license, and I believe a majority of Washington voters agree,” she said in a statement.

Gay marriage supporters appear to have a big money advantage so far.

Preserve Marriage Washington has raised $113,168 in campaign funds, according to the website for the Washington state Public Disclosure Commission. Washington United for Marriage, the main coalition seeking to uphold same-sex weddings in the state, has raised $714,590, the commission website said.

“We’re pretty laser-focused on building our bi-partisan campaign, building a broad coalition and building a long and aggressive campaign to win in November,” said Zack Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage.

Marriage Equals One Man Plus One Woman, a group separate from Preserve Marriage Washington, is collecting signatures for another proposed ballot measure that seeks to define marriage as between one man and one woman. That group is headed by attorney Stephen Pidgeon.

To qualify for the ballot, it must obtain 242,000 signatures by July 6, Pidgeon said. His organization is aiming for 300,000 signatures and is about a third of the way there, he said.

Maryland lawmakers earlier this year approved a measure to allow same-sex marriage in that state, but opponents there also have petitioned for a repeal referendum.

(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Osterman)

Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/06/us-usa-gaymarriage-washington-idUSBRE8551JE20120606

Gay teens less likely to be happy, nationwide survey finds

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

It’s not easy growing up gay in America, despite the nation’s increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage and other issues of gay equality.

Gay and lesbian teenagers across the United States are less likely to be happy, more likely to report harassment and more inclined to experiment with drugs and alcohol than the nation’s straight teens, according to a new nationwide survey of more than 10,000 gay and lesbian young people.

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The survey, which will be released Thursday by the Human Rights Campaign, aWashington, D.C.-based civil rights group, is described as one of the largest ever to focus on the nation’s gay youth. It was conducted online and involved 10,030 participants aged 13 to 17 who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It also included interviews with about 500 13- to 17-year-olds who composed the poll’s “straight” population.

The study paints an often stark picture of the challenges of growing up gay in this country, even as same-sex marriage gains support among many Americans and other legal and cultural barriers to gay equality begin to fall.

The survey showed, for example, that half of all gay and lesbian teens reported being verbally harassed or called names at school, compared with a quarter of non-LGBT kids. About twice as many gay and lesbian respondents as straight teens also said they had been shoved, kicked or otherwise assaulted at their schools, with 17% of LGBT teens and 10% of straight youths reporting such assaults.

Fewer than half of gay teenagers said they believe their community is accepting of people like them, and 63% said they would need to move to another town or part of the country to find acceptance. Just 4 in 10 gay teens reported being happy, compared with nearly 7 in 10 of their straight peers.

And more than twice as many gay (52%) as non-gay (22%) respondents said they had experimented with drugs or alcohol.

Child welfare advocates who reviewed the study before publication praised it for shedding light on a population that is difficult to reach and in need of help from government agencies and others.

Linda Spears, vice president of policy for the Child Welfare League of America, said the study bears out “our worst fears about LBGT kids. These kids are often so vulnerable in the way their lives are being led because of the lack of support they have. They need what all young people need, parents and others who are there for them and nurture their development.”

Chad Griffin, the new president of the Human Rights Campaign and an advocate for same-sex marriage, said the survey “is yet another reminder that we still have a lot to do in this country so that young people can grow up healthy.”

Griffin, who helped organize the legal fight against Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage, said he hopes the report will inform policymakers and serve as a reminder to parents, schools and elected officials about the challenges facing a vulnerable population.

“These are young people,” he said. “They worry about which hall they can walk down at school, which table they have to avoid in the lunchroom, what happens at church on Sunday and whether they need to hide their identity from their family.”

But the survey also showed that many gay teens find safe havens among their peers, on the Internet and in their schools. Nearly 3 in 4 gay teenagers said they were more honest about themselves online than elsewhere and 67% said their schools were “generally accepting” of gay people.

In interviews this week at L.A.’s Gay and Lesbian Center, several young people spoke about the survey’s findings and their own experiences coming to terms with their LGBT identity.

Jonathan McClain, a 22-year-old from Altadena, said he identified strongly with part of the study showing that many young gays and lesbians feel forced to change their identities almost hour by hour, depending on where they are and who’s around. Many LGBT kids are more likely to be “out” at school than they are with their families.

“Sometimes you’re out of the closet, sometimes you have to put yourself back in and watch what you say and how you act,” said McClain, who volunteers at the center.

McClain, who came out after he graduated from high school, said he had never directly experienced harassment.

That was not the case with others interviewed, including Edwin Chuc, from Los Angeles, who said he had been beaten up in middle school and ended up with broken ribs. Chuc said he had lived on the streets for several years and abused drugs and alcohol before turning his life around.

Now a confident 19-year-old who will attend USC in the fall, Chuc said his parents are much more supportive now than they were when he first came out. “I’m happy and I have people I can turn to,” he said.

Logan Woods, 18, of Manhattan Beach, said middle school was tough for him too, but high school, at the private Vistamar School in El Segundo, has been much better, with good friends and a strong gay support group among the students.

“It’s getting easier for me to live spontaneously and not feel like I have to plan everything out for fear of being hurt,” he said.

The survey was conducted online from April 16 through May 20. It was advertised through social media, as well as through LGBT youth centers across the country. The researchers said the survey method is not unusual for targeting hard-to-reach populations but may not represent a truly random sample.

rebecca.trounson@latimes.com

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/health/la-me-gay-youth-20120607,0,4443551.story

President Obama gets enthusiastic welcome at L.A. gay event

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

At a gay rights dinner last year in New York City, when President Obama listed gay-friendly policies he had enacted, hecklers shouted, “Marriage!”

At a similar event Wednesday night in Beverly Hills, nearly a month after the president embraced gay marriage, there was no heckling. Instead, 600 supporters at the LGBT Leadership Council event rose to their feet as one, chanting, “Four more years!”

L.A.’s gay community turned out in force to celebrate the man who has been dubbed the nation’s “first gay president.”

The event at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel was part of a two-day fundraising swing through California and Nevada during which Obama was expected to raise more than $15 million for his reelection effort. He started the day in San Francisco and ended with a $25,000-per-person dinner for 70 at the Beverly Hills home of “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres, whose decision to come out of the closet in 1997 was covered as a major cultural — and potentially career-ending — event, emceed the party. Darren Criss, a heartthrob on “Glee,” provided entertainment, after the singer Pink withdrew, citing illness.

The gathering was a who’s who of gay Hollywood, and included many of the creative minds whose portrayals of gays on screens large and small has nudged society toward accepting gay rights. Max Mutchnik, creator of “Will and Grace,” was a co-host. Dustin

Lance Black, Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Milk,” was in the audience, as were Cher and her son, Chaz Bono.

The president, who spoke for 30 minutes, was relaxed as he ticked off his administration’s gay-friendly accomplishments, including the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule. He didn’t mention gay marriage. He didn’t have to.

Recent strides in gay rights, he said, were simply part of the country’s history of civil rights struggles, of “this constant progression to include more and more people in the possibility of the America dream.”

“And so this is just one more step in that journey that we’ve taken as a nation. And it doesn’t always go in a straight line, it goes in zigs and zags. There are times when the body politic takes a wrong turn and there are times where there are folks who are left out. But what makes America exceptional is eventually we get it right, what Dr. King called the arc of the moral universe — it bends toward justice.”

Every so often, he said, he looks at “a little checklist in my desk in the Oval Office — my ‘to do’ list.”

With a hearty “Check!” after mentioning each item, he cited the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, ending the Iraq war, defeating Osama bin Laden and ensuring healthcare access for 30 million who were uninsured.

But he acknowledged persistent problems with the economy and joblessness, issues that make Americans anxious. That anxiousness, he said, will be easy for Republicans to exploit as the election nears.

“It’s very easy to put on a bumper sticker: ‘It’s Obama’s fault,’” he said. “We’re going to have to work through that.”

Obama is scheduled to hit a new money-chase milestone on this trip: his 150th fundraiser. The 150 events have taken place since he filed as a candidate for reelection in April 2011, according to a tally by CBS News. Funds raised at these events support the Obama campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.

Republicans pounced on the pace of his fundraising.

“Instead of taking action to create jobs, the president has decided to focus on holding a record 150 fundraisers to save his own — it must be tough being president when there are so many parties to attend,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Matt Connelly.

Before launching into his serious remarks, the president seemed briefly caught off-stride when the audience interpreted as off-color a joke he made about a push-up competition between DeGeneres and his wife, initiated by the talk show host in February.

DeGeneres, Obama said, is “a great friend who accepts a little bit of teasing about Michelle beating her in push-ups. I think she claims Michelle didn’t go all the way down.”

The audience began to chuckle and then erupt in bawdy laughter. Obama kept a straight face. “That’s what I heard,” he added. “I just want to set the record straight. Michelle outdoes me in push-ups as well. You shouldn’t feel bad.”

Before the event began, a long line of partygoers waited on the sidewalk outside the hotel to check in. CBS chief Les Moonves and his wife, Julie Chen, waited patiently for their wristbands. Obama, Moonves said, “has shown great leadership” on the issue of gay marriage.

Though he heads a news division, Moonves said, “ultimately journalism has changed … partisanship is very much a part of journalism now.”

He hastened to add that despite his presence, “I run a news division. I’ve given no money to any candidate.”

robin.abcarian@latimes.com

kathleen.hennessey@latimes.com

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama-gay-fundraiser-20120607,0,3525161.story

Gay marriage in Washington state blocked by proposed referendum

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Gay marriage opponents in Washington state blocked a law legalizing same-sex matrimony from taking effect as scheduled Thursday by submitting a petition for a ballot measure to repeal the statute.



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The group behind the repeal initiative, Referendum 74, said on Wednesday they had collected more than 241,000 signatures, about twice as many as needed, to qualify the measure for the ballot in November.

Across the state, county officials who had been preparing to issue batches of new licenses to same-sex couples starting on Thursday put their plans on hold.

Advocates of repeal had until Wednesday to gather at least 120,577 signatures to win approval for a referendum giving Washington’s voters a chance to overturn a measure passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat.

Democrats, who also control both legislative bodies in Olympia, accounted for the lion’s share of support for gay marriage in Washington state, as they have elsewhere in the country. Opponents were led by religious conservatives, the bulk of them Republicans.

Six states and the District of Columbia already allow same-sex marriage.

Even before the Washington state bill was signed in February, political observers had expected it to be challenged at the ballot box in November. The outcome is far from certain, even in a state as politically liberal and Democratic-leaning as Washington.

In every state where the question of gay marriage has been put directly to voters so far, including California, it has been rejected, experts say. University of Washington law professor Peter Nicolas said 30 states have amended their state constitutions to ban same-sex marriage.

SIGNATURES EXPECTED TO BE CERTIFIED

After a check of some signatures collected by the group Preserve Marriage Washington, Referendum 74 could be officially certified for the November ballot by the middle of next week, said David Ammons, spokesman for the Washington Secretary of State’s Office.

“By all reasonable expectations, it will be on the ballot,” he said.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage, which has successfully campaigned against gay marriage in other states, has joined the repeal push in Washington state.

Joseph Blackholm, chairman of Preserve Marriage Washington, said in a statement that the response to his group’s petition drive was “incredible throughout every corner of the state.”

“Support for Referendum 74 was strong from the beginning, and has grown as the signature drive has advanced,” he said.

But Gregoire predicted voters would support extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

“The state should not be in the business of discriminating against those who request a marriage license, and I believe a majority of Washington voters agree,” she said in a statement.

Gay marriage supporters appear to have a big money advantage so far.

Preserve Marriage Washington has raised $113,168 in campaign funds, according to the website for the Washington state Public Disclosure Commission. Washington United for Marriage, the main coalition seeking to uphold same-sex weddings in the state, has raised $714,590, the commission website said.

“We’re pretty laser-focused on building our bi-partisan campaign, building a broad coalition and building a long and aggressive campaign to win in November,” said Zack Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage.

Marriage Equals One Man Plus One Woman, a group separate from Preserve Marriage Washington, is collecting signatures for another proposed ballot measure that seeks to define marriage as between one man and one woman. That group is headed by attorney Stephen Pidgeon.

To qualify for the ballot, it must obtain 242,000 signatures by July 6, Pidgeon said. His organization is aiming for 300,000 signatures and is about a third of the way there, he said.

Maryland lawmakers earlier this year approved a measure to allow same-sex marriage in that state, but opponents there also have petitioned for a repeal referendum.

(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Osterman)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp

Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47713909

Hoyer’s daughter discloses she is gay

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

The daughter of Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland disclosed Wednesday that she is a lesbian, an announcement gay advocates hope will boost their effort to keep the state’s new same-sex marriage law on the books.

Stefany Hoyer Hemmer said her decision to come out of the closet publicly was driven in part by her support for Maryland’s law, which Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, signed in March and which is likely to appear on the ballot in November.

“It was important for me to come out because of my dad’s visibility both on a local level and on a national level,” Hemmer told The Baltimore Sun. “The referendum is a big deal and I’m encouraged by the numbers” indicating support for the new law, she said.

Her announcement was first reported by the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper.

Same-sex marriage advocates praised the disclosure, which came a month after Hoyer, the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, said that he now supports gay marriage.

In a statement released by advocates, he said he is “hopeful” Maryland’s law will survive referendum.

“It’s another example of people who are talking to their friends and are talking to their family and … they’re seeing the importance of marriage equality to them,” said Del. Luke Clippinger, a Baltimore Democrat who is openly gay.

Hemmer, 43, lives in Talbot County and works for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She has lived with a partner for the past 18 months. She said that friends and family, including her father, have known she is gay but that she never spoke publicly about her sexual orientation.

Hoyer’s decision to support same-sex marriage followed a series of similar statements by top-ranking federal officials that ultimately prompted President Barack Obama to say last month that he also supports gay marriage.

The issue is far from settled in Maryland.

Opponents working to repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law have submitted more than twice the number of signatures needed to put the law up for referendum in November. If 55,736 of those signatures are verified as legitimate, voters will get to decide whether to keep the law.

The law would not take effect until 2013. Six states and the District of Columbia now issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Hemmer said that it is not yet clear exactly what role she will play in the Maryland debate but that she intends to be active. She said she expects to attend events organized by advocates as the election nears.

Alex X. Mooney, chair of the Maryland Republican Party, said he doesn’t believe Hemmer’s announcement will have any impact on how Maryland voters consider the issue.

“The election will make it clear where Marylanders stand, that they’re not for gay marriage,” Mooney said. “To the extent that the pendulum swings one way, I think it swings back eventually.”

A Gallup poll last month found that 54 percent of Americans consider gay and lesbian relations morally acceptable, an increase from just under four in 10 who responded that way in 2002. Half of the respondents in that poll felt that same-sex marriages should be legal.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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annie.linskey@baltsun.com

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  • Article source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-hoyer-daughter-20120606,0,3345917.story

    Grenell On Foreign Policy And Being Gay In The GOP

    Thursday, June 7th, 2012

    Copyright © 2012 National Public Radio®. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

    NEAL CONAN, HOST:

    Richard Grenell explained in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece that Mitt Romney chose him to serve as his foreign policy spokesman based on his record and his abilities. The Romney campaign, he says, and every other Republican, also knew he was gay. Still, shortly after his appointment, Grenell resigned, citing criticism from some conservatives and what he described as hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues. While the campaign is expected to focus on the economy this fall, candidate Romney also attacks President Obama’s foreign policy and declares that as president he would pursue unapologetic U.S. global leadership.

    MITT ROMNEY: American foreign policy must be prosecuted with clarity and resolve. Our friends and allies must have no doubts about where we stand, and neither should our rivals.

    CONAN: Richard Grenell will join us in a moment from a studio in Grand Rapids. If you have questions for him about gay conservatives or about Mitt Romney’s foreign policy, give us a call. 800-989-8255. Email: talk@npr.org. You can also join the conversion on our website. That’s at npr.org. Click on TALK ON THE NATION. Richard Grenell, nice to have you with us today.

    RICHARD GRENELL: Thanks, Neal. Thanks for having me.

    CONAN: And did the controversy that developed over your sexuality make it impossible to do your job?

    GRENELL: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I was hired because of my experience in dealing with national security issues, and obviously my desire to confront President Obama’s weak record when it comes to foreign policy issues. And what became increasingly clear is just that the far right and the far left, which a lot of media are not focusing on the far left’s responsibility here, but the far right and the far left together really just wanted to talk about my personal life.

    CONAN: And there was a story in The New York Times that said at one point you were trying to get together a conference on national security, your expertise, and you were asked by the Romney campaign to lay low for a little while.

    GRENELL: Yeah. I mean, again, what became increasingly clear is that this fervor on the left and the right didn’t want me to do my job. They really wanted to talk about gay marriage and, you know, a lot of my personal life. And, you know, for me, I don’t have the luxury of being a one-issue voter. I wish I did. I’m much more thoughtful and complex than that. But the narrative that was developing is that, you know, gays can’t be conservative. The claim that gays should be barred from conservative activism is a bipartisan bigoted view. And what I saw from the left is they didn’t want a person to be – a gay person to be conservative. And the far right didn’t want a conservative to be gay.

    CONAN: Some of the questions, and you’ve gotten many more than I have, so I will bow to your greater expertise on this as well. But some of the questions said how could someone who is openly gay, has a partner, supports gay marriage, in fact would like to be married, as I understand it, support a presidential – indeed, work for a presidential candidate who says he’ll work for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage everywhere?

    GRENELL: Look, I’m very comfortably gay and comfortably conservative. If you’re looking to agree with a politician’s position on every single issue, well, then congratulations because you’re the candidate. Most of us realize that you have to prioritize issues. You have a bunch of complicated issues. When you go into the voting booth, you are making a decision on who best represents your worldview. And for me, that’s clearly Mitt Romney. I mean, if you look at the president’s record with Russia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Mexico, our neighbor to the south, it’s just overwhelming to me that this president does not want America to be the leader. He wants us to be one of many. And that’s not a worldview that I want for America, and it’s not a view that I want to vote for.

    CONAN: So let me ask you about some of those issues, and again, you are the former Romney spokesman. You do not speak for the campaign any longer. So your views are your own. But the…

    GRENELL: Correct. But they – but let me just, you know, say one thing. They are based on, you know, eight years of being the American spokesman at the U.N. for ambassadors.

    CONAN: Oh, I’m not saying you’re not an expert, but…

    GRENELL: Sure. No, no, no. I’m not implying that. But I think it’s important since we’re talking about being a gay conservative and the campaign and what happened on the campaign. It’s important to note that this wasn’t an issue when I worked within the Bush administration and government. I draw the distinction between hyper-partisan campaigns and governing. And so, you know, for me, there’s two different kind of scenarios that someone subscribes to. And I very willingly signed up for the campaign, but realized the hyperpartisan nature of it was going to prohibit me from doing my job.

    CONAN: What would a President Romney do differently than President Obama is now doing with Iran? The sanctions that are accelerating have just about crippled the economy there.

    GRENELL: Oh, I think that’s foolish to say that it’s crippled the economy. The sanctions clearly are not working. And let me just back up a little bit and say the Bush administration put five resolutions on Iran into place. And again, those U.N. sanctions on Iran during the Bush administration did not work. This administration, the Obama administration, has so far only been able to produce one U.N. resolution.

    For an administration, for a candidate, I should say, candidate Obama, who promised to lead the world, when it comes to leading the U.N., he’s a miserable failure. Susan Rice, who is our U.S. ambassador, has been unable or unwilling to really – to bring Russia and China to the table. Again, I want to point to the fact that in the Bush administration, we got five U.N. resolutions on Iran. This administration has gotten one.

    So the Obama team decided that sanctions via the U.N. were not working, and I think that’s a good analysis. And so they decided to go with kind of a coalition of the willing for sanctions and pushed our friends and allies to have oil sanctions on Iran. But if you look at the record of leading other countries to implement those oil sanctions on Iran, again, the Obama administration is unable or unwilling to get our friends and allies to go along.

    You look at South Korea, India, China, a bunch of countries in Europe. We’re just failing when it comes to implementing the oil sanctions. Yet, the White House is trying to spin that the sanctions are working, and clearly, you know, they got through to you because you are saying that the sanctions are working. If the oil sanctions were working, we would see Iran completely implode. That is their economy.

    CONAN: Let’s get some callers in on the conversation. Our guest, again, the former spokesman on foreign policy for Mitt Romney, Richard Grenell. 800-989-8255. Email us: talk@npr.org. Ryan is on the line, Ryan calling from Nashville.

    RYAN: Hi, Mr. Grenell. Thanks for taking my call. I was wondering. Mr. Romney made a statement – and I realize this was after you were no longer with the campaign – that our number one foe in the world was Russia. And that just struck me as kind of Cold War thinking from a bygone era. And I was wondering what you thought about his statement there.

    GRENELL: Thanks, Ryan, for the question. You know, I think that it’s clearly a top-tier issue, and that’s the way I would characterize it. What I feel very uncomfortable with is President Obama snuggling up to the Russians as he has. I mean, the idea that he’s being more honest with the Russian president, Medvedev, when he whispered to him, hey, I need some more flexibility. Let me get through this election before I am able to…

    CONAN: Flexibility on missile defense.

    GRENELL: Yeah. They were talking about missile defense where the president – let’s face it, President Obama has already been extremely flexible with the Russians. I would argue that he’s already put the missile defense program in jeopardy. And then, while talking to the Russian president, he was caught on tape…

    CONAN: Open mic, yeah.

    GRENELL: …open mic, saying, you know, let me get through this election, and then I’ll be able to be a lot more flexible with you. And I think that’s outrageous. That’s a moment in time that shows who President Obama is.

    CONAN: The – Ryan was not the only person to criticize that. Former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell also thought this was a comment that betrayed a lack of understanding of the world.

    GRENELL: Yeah. I think it’s more than just a lack of understanding. I think…

    CONAN: No, no, no. Not the Obama comment. The Romney comment about Russia.

    GRENELL: Oh. Well, I was going back to the president of the United States talking to the Russian president, where he literally was caught…

    CONAN: But that wasn’t what General Powell…

    GRENELL: …being a little bit more honest. Well, you know, I think if you want to talk about Russia and a slip-up of – one of the candidates slipped up on Russia, I think you’re going to have to talk about the president of the United States, the guy who’s in the White House, getting caught on tape whispering to the Russians.

    CONAN: Ryan, thanks very much for the phone call. Appreciate it.

    RYAN: OK.

    CONAN: And again, what would a President Romney do differently on North Korea?

    GRENELL: Well, I think on North Korea there’s a variety of things that we should have done differently, which starts with speaking very clearly about the problems there. And I think you certainly wouldn’t cut a deal with the new head of state in North Korea to say we’re going to give food aid when you don’t have assurances that they have given up some of their questionable programs. And that’s exactly what happened.

    You know, when Wendy Sherman, who is the deputy at the State Department and a Hillary Clinton confidante, was brought back into the State Department, she once again was somebody who got hoodwinked by the North Koreans. And quickly, we saw her put together a food aid program and tell us that they were back on track with wanting to give up some of their programs. And, you know, either this administration is really bad at negotiations or they’re really gullible. But at this point, I think the evidence shows that it’s one of the two.

    CONAN: Could not the hope have been that a new leader would prove somewhat different than his predecessor and that this was an opportunity for an opening and to see if he would roll back the programs, as he said he would? Of course, he did reverse course very shortly there afterwards, and the United States withdrew the offer of food aid.

    GRENELL: I think hope is a tactic. It’s not a foreign policy.

    CONAN: We’re talking with Richard Grenell, who served as foreign policy and national security spokesman for the Romney campaign before his resignation. You’re listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. And candidate Romney has been somewhat criticized for being, well, a little vague on foreign policy. He’s not come out with detailed positions on any number of issues to outline, for example, what he would do differently in the current negotiations with Iran than President Obama is doing. Is that a calculated stance that, well, let’s not telegraph our punches?

    GRENELL: No. I think, first of all, if you want to talk about, you know, foreign policy strategy or world view, Gov. Romney has been very clear about how he views the world, and that he thinks that the United States is exceptional. And it’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, but I think it does have philosophical bent to it, that when you entered negotiations that you are not embarrassed by the fact that we are the United States of America, and we may ask for something that does not appear to be equal. And let me give you an example.

    When I was at the U.N., you know, I sat inside the Security Council. I sat behind the sign that says the United States, and there is a incredible sense of responsibility when you sit in that chair because at the Security Council, there are 14 other nations that are watching you and trying to figure out what you are going to offer as the first point of negotiation. And with that responsibility, I think you can do one of two things.

    You can either say I’m going to lay my cards out on the table and just trust you, and let’s negotiate into a position that we both are happy with, or you can proudly and boldly put forward our national security priorities. And I think there’s a huge difference in how you approach the negotiation table. And this administration has decided to really trust the other sides of the table and lay our cards out fully and talk about what’s our lowest common denominator or what we need to leave the room so that everyone is happy.

    So you enter the negotiations trying to make everybody happy, and I think that’s a dangerous start. You really need to enter diplomacy from a tough position. You know, diplomacy is supposed to be a difficult process, and it’s not supposed to be clean and nice. It’s not about dinner parties. And, you know, what we always believed in the Bush administration is if you wanted to avoid war, then you better have tough diplomacy. You better have diplomacy with an edge because that’s the last possible hope before some sort of military action.

    CONAN: Let’s get one more caller in. This is Patrick, Patrick with us from Cary, North Carolina.

    PATRICK: Yeah. I wanted to find out what the guest thought about Mitt Romney’s age policy in the world or if he has one and whether or not he would change what George Bush started in terms of how he, you know, boosted American support for combating age abroad, or if he thought that was an inappropriate role for the United States.

    GRENELL: That’s a great question. I have to be honest, I have not talked to the governor about this policy, so I don’t know. My suspicion is that this is the type of program that Gov. Romney would think is essential when going abroad. You know, exactly as the caller said…

    PATRICK: Why would you think so?

    GRENELL: Because I know that the governor is someone who believes that America has a responsibility to the world. And like George Bush, I think there are – there’s proof that money and programs are directly affecting people’s lives. And so if the program can be found to be administered in a positive way, then I think the Americans, more times than not, will be there to support those programs.

    PATRICK: Do you think he would reinstitute the Mexico City Protocol banning contraception use or funding the programs that would…

    CONAN: And we’re just going to have to cut the question there and give Richard Grenell 15 seconds to answer it.

    GRENELL: Yeah. You know, again, I have not talked directly to the governor on this issue, so I wouldn’t know the specific position.

    CONAN: Patrick, thanks very much for the call. Appreciate it. And, Richard Grenell, thanks very much for your time today. We thank you.

    GRENELL: Sure. Anytime, Neal.

    CONAN: Richard Grenell joined us from a studio in Grand Rapids. He served at the United Nations from 2001 to 2009 and then later served as foreign policy and national security spokesman for the Romney campaign prior to his resignation. Tomorrow, a conversation about who needs a union. Join us for that. It’s the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I’m Neal Conan in Washington.

    Copyright © 2012 National Public Radio®. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to National Public Radio. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR’s prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

    NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

    Article source: http://www.npr.org/2012/06/06/154443663/grenell-on-foreign-policy-and-being-gay-in-the-gop

    Washington Gay Marriage Law Blocked As Opponents Submit Signatures For Referendum

    Thursday, June 7th, 2012

    OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington’s gay marriage law was blocked from taking effect Wednesday, as opponents filed more than 200,000 signatures seeking a public vote on the issue in November.

    Preserve Marriage Washington submitted the signatures just a day before the state was to begin allowing same-sex marriages. State officials will review the signatures over the next week to determine if proposed Referendum 74 will qualify for a public vote, though the numbers suggest the measure will make the ballot easily.

    “The current definition of marriage works and has worked,” said Joseph Backholm, the chair of Preserve Marriage Washington, as he stood next to stacked boxes of petitions.

    The law, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year, would make Washington the seventh state to have legal same-sex marriages.

    National groups have already promised time and money to fight the law, including the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage, which was involved in ballot measures that overturned same-sex marriage in California and Maine.

    Gay marriage supporters, expecting that the referendum would qualify, have already been raising money to protect the law. Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, expects both sides to raise millions of dollars.

    “It’s fair to say it’s going to be an extremely expensive race,” Silk said.

    The issue has implications on ballots across the nation.

    President Barack Obama recently declared his support for gay marriage. In Washington state, the referendum has split the state’s two candidates for governor. Maryland legalized gay marriage this year as well, but that state is also poised to have a public vote this fall.

    Washington state has had domestic partnership laws since 2007 and in 2009 passed an “everything but marriage” expansion of that law, which was ultimately upheld by voters after a referendum challenge.

    A poll by Seattle consulting firm Strategies 360 showed that 54 percent of voters in the state think it should be legal for same-sex couples to get married, though the poll didn’t specifically ask them how they would vote on a referendum.

    Perry Gordon lives in Roy but came to Olympia to watch the signature filing and to support gay marriage. He called gay marriage a matter of equality and encouraged Washington voters to consider their conscience.

    “Would you want somebody to tell you that the only recognized marriage should be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman? How would you feel about that?” Gordon said in an interview.

    Gordon is gay and said he’d like to get married at some point in the future.

    Backholm, meanwhile, raised the specter of polygamy and marriage within families while making his case against gay marriage. He said the law would redefine marriage as it’s been known for generations and suggested a possible slippery slope to other types of marriage.

    “We have to think about the precedent we’re creating,” he said.

    Gay marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C.

    The Washington secretary of state’s office recommends that referendum campaigns submit about 150,000 signatures in order to provide a cushion for invalid or duplicate signatures. Backholm estimated the anti-gay marriage campaign was delivering about 240,000 signatures.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Mike Baker can be reached on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/HiPpEV

    Related on HuffPost:

    Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/washington-gay-marriage-referendum_n_1574608.html

    Gay rights groups to join NAACP, Rev. Al Sharpton in planned protest against NYPD street stops

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    Post Contributor Badge

    This commenter is a Washington Post contributor. Post contributors aren’t staff, but may write articles or columns. In some cases, contributors are sources or experts quoted in a story.

    Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/gay-rights-groups-to-join-naacp-rev-al-sharpton-in-planned-protest-against-nypd-street-stops/2012/06/05/gJQACir6GV_story.html

    J.C. Penney ad puts gay Texas couple in spotlight

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012


    DALLAS, June 5 |
    Wed Jun 6, 2012 5:18am IST

    DALLAS, June 5 (Reuters) – A J.C. Penney ad for
    Father’s Day featuring a gay Texas couple and their two children
    has angered a national conservative organization, but the couple
    says they’ve been bombarded with mostly positive feedback from
    friends and strangers around the country.

    The print ad in a small June catalog for the Plano,
    Texas-based retailer shows Cooper Smith and Todd Koch of Dallas
    laughing and playing with their 3-year-olds, Mason and Claire.
    It reads, “First Pals – What makes Dad so cool? He’s the swim
    coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver – all
    rolled into one. Or two.”

    J.C. Penney’s advertising campaigns have used more people
    from more diverse backgrounds since Ron Johnson became the CEO
    of the mid-priced department store chain last November. Before
    joining J.C. Penney, Johnson was Apple Inc’s senior
    vice president of retail.

    The Father’s Day ad with two Dads follows a May print
    catalog ad for Mother’s Day showing a lesbian couple with their
    children and the hiring of openly gay entertainer Ellen
    DeGeneres as a company spokeswoman featured in TV commercials.

    “Of course, some people have told us what we are doing is
    vile, disgusting and unnatural,” Smith told Reuters on Tuesday.
    “Growing up gay, that isn’t something we haven’t heard before.”

    One Million Moms responded to the DeGeneres hiring with a
    call for a boycott. The group reacted to the May ad with pleas
    for members to gently pressure store managers for more neutral
    advertising.

    This time, One Million Moms, an affiliate of the American
    Family Association, is encouraging members to boycott stores,
    contact store managers and return catalogs with the statement
    “Refused . . . Return to Sender” written on them.

    On its website, One Million Moms said under a headline,
    “Avoid JCP this Father’s Day,” that J.C. Penney was “continuing
    down the same path of promoting sin in their advertisements.”

    “We must remain diligent and stand up for Biblical values
    and truth,” One Million Moms said in the statement on its
    website. “Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is
    wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature.”

    J.C. Penney officials did not immediately respond to a
    request for comment.

    Smith said a friend with connections to the Dallas
    area-based department store operator recommended that the couple
    and their children be included in the ad. The family – Smith
    runs a public relations company and Koch works in corporate
    finance – was selected and photos were taken in February, Smith
    said.

    “We hadn’t heard a thing about it until the ad appeared last
    week,” Smith said.

    The family appeared on a Dallas TV show on Tuesday morning
    to discuss the ad, which is included in the small June color
    catalog mailed to customers’ homes.

    “It represents a large group of diverse families,” Smith
    told Reuters. “We are just seen on one page.”

    Article source: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/05/usa-advertising-jcpenney-idINL1E8H5KUD20120605

    Caiden Cowger, Conservative Teen Radio Host, Slams President Obama For ‘Making Kids Gay’

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    A West Virginia-based teen radio host is making waves after proclaiming that President Obama “is making kids gay” in a recent episode.

    Fourteen-year-old Caiden Cowger, who hosts the twice-weekly “Caiden Cowger Show,” made his anti-gay proclamations in a recent broadcast, video of which was uploaded to his YouTube channel on May 26. “Homosexuality is a belief,” Cowger, who has previously interviewed former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, declares. “The person is not born that way, no matter what Lady Gaga says…it is a decision.”

    After confessing that he was once friends with some kids who have since come out as gay, he notes, “They were not homosexuals [then]…they just decided all of a sudden, ‘I think I’m going to be gay,’” before he eventually concludes, “I’m going to tell you this, guys: President Obama…Vice President Biden…is making kids gay!”

    Cowger, who is identified by The New Civil Rights Movement as a Pentecostal Christian, slams homosexuality as “a perverted belief, it’s immoral and not natural” before noting, “I’m not for bullying homosexuals, I believe that it’s wrong. But when you’re trying to teach them the word of God and they consider that bullying…I find that a big problem, not being allowed to convert other people to my religion.”

    On his Facebook page, Cowger cites Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck as his influences, but professes, “I make up my own mind. People don’t do that for me. I can make deside [sic] my own beliefs.”

    This isn’t the first time Cowger has slammed the Obama administration. Noting that June is “no longer one of [his] favorite months” on his website, he adds, “I want STRAIGHT PRIDE MONTH! I mean, fair is fair here!”

    Take a look at other disturbing LGBT-related statements made by right-wing pundits below:

    Loading Slideshow

    • Pastor Worley: Gays And Lesbians Should Be Put In An Electrified Pen And Ultimately Killed Off

      The pastor, identified on YouTube as Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., condemns President Obama’s much-publicized endorsement of same-sex marriage while calling for gays and lesbians to be put in an electrified pen and ultimately killed off.

      “Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there,” Worley suggests in the clip, reportedly filmed on May 13. “Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out…and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”

    • Pastor Suggests Gays Should Be Prosecuted Like They Were Historically

      Ron Baity, founding pastor of Winston-Salem’s Berean Baptist Church and head of the anti-marriage equality organization Return America, referred to homosexuality as “a perverted lifestyle” in a Sunday sermon before telling his congregation that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should be prosecuted, Good as You is reporting.

      “For 300 years, we had laws that would prosecute that lifestyle,” he is quoted as saying. “We’ve gone down the wrong path. We’ve become so dumb that we have accepted a lie for the truth, and we’ve…discarded the truth on the shoals of shipwreck!”

    • Pastor Sean Harris: Parents Should ‘Punch’ Their Effeminate Children

      “So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, ‘Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,’ you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.”

    • Pastor Slams Gay Marriage, Suggests Unions Between ‘Person And A Beast’ Could Be Next

      Tim Rabon, pastor at Raleigh’s Beacon Baptist Church, condemned states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland which have already “re-defined” marriage to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples.

      As heard in this recording, Rabon asked his congregation, “What is stopping them from refining marriage from a person and a beast? We’re not far from that.”

    • Tamara Scott: Gay Marriage Leads To Eiffel Tower Marriage

    • Bryan Fischer On Why Gays Are Responsible For The Nazi Party

    • Pastor Wooden Says Gay Sex Causes Gay Men To Need Diapers

    • Linda Harvey: Don’t Let Gay Doctors Attend To Your Children

    • Robertson Compares Polygamy, Bestiality And Pedophilia To Gay Marriage

    • Scott Lively: Gay-Straight Alliances Are Designed To Recruit Kids

    • Tony Perkins: ‘If You Want A Military That Just Does Parades,’ Allow Gays To Openly Serve

    • James Robison: ‘The Enemy’ Is Using ‘Glee’ To Destroy America

    • Newt Gingrich: Gay Marriage A ‘Perfect Example Of What I Mean By The Rise Of Paganism’

    • Daniel Lapin: Gays Should’ve Been Quarantined To fight AIDS

    • Pat Robertson Advises Father To Seek Ex-Gay Conversion For Gay Son

    • Bryan Fischer On How ‘Poppers’ And Promiscuity Causes AIDS

    • Liberty Counsel Warns That Macy’s LGBT Policy Could Lead To Rape, Sexual Assault

    Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/caiden-cowger-teen-radio-host-gay-obama_n_1574524.html

    NBA Trade Rumors: Would Memphis Grizzlies Really Deal Rudy Gay?

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    Rudy Gay bounced back quite well for the Memphis Grizzlies this season after suffering a season-ending injury last February. After Zach Randolph went down with a partially torn MCL, Gay rallied the Grizzlies to finish fourth in the West. Following that accomplishment, should Grizzlies fans believe rumors from Hoopsworld that Memphis is shopping him?

    Absolutely not.

    The Hoopsworld article said that many teams are expected to be interested in acquiring Gay, such as the Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Golden State Warriors. Each of these teams have needs at small forward and in perimeter scoring in general. However, none of them have much to give in return.

    Besides David Lee and Stephen Curry, the Warriors don’t have anyone with great scoring capability, and they certainly wouldn’t give up Lee or Curry to get Gay. The Nets and Raptors don’t have anyone who could be truly potent scorers game after game next season to give the Grizzlies.

    The Magic would be able to give the Grizzlies Jason Richardson or Hedo Turkoglu, but to compare the scoring ability of either player (at any point in his career) to that of Gay is simply laughable.

    Indeed, Gay is more expensive than is convenient for the Grizzlies. Gay is due $16.5 million in 2012-13 and $17.9 million in 2013-14.

    The Grizzlies are in a tough payroll situation. They have $62.5 million committed to eight players for 2012-13. For 2013-14, the Grizzlies have $58.5 million committed just to Gay, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

    However, the Grizzlies are much more likely to maintain the core of the team than to break it up and alter the makeup of the team. To trade Gay would be to remove a great deal of the Grizzlies’ ability to run in transition, which was a major part of the Grizzlies offense this season.

    Even with Randolph healthy last season, the Grizzlies leaned on their transition game a fair amount.

    Gay is the most dynamic offensive player for the Grizzlies. He’s the best of any Grizzlies player at creating his own offense. Also, he’s the biggest inside-outside threat on the team. The 25-year-old forward is one of the few Grizzlies who can hit three-pointers.

    Defensively, Gay is a big difference maker. He was third on the team in steals per game (1.5). He’s one of the key players in closing off passing lanes and forcing turnovers.

    Grizzlies management is likely committed to keeping Gay, as it was last year when his name surfaced in trade rumors. Beating back rumors shortly after the Grizzlies fell in the Western Conference semifinals last year, Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley made an emotional call to Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal.

    Heisley will surely approach the new rumors surrounding Gay with similar loyalty to Gay, making known how important Gay is to the team.

    How veritable the current rumors are that Gay may be traded is questionable. Besides, all of the rumors that surfaced last year surrounding Gay came from outside of Memphis.

    In response to a question asked of him via Twitter, Memphis TV reporter Rob Fischer dismissed the rumors.

     

    The Grizzlies are less prone than other teams to get bogged down in rumors surrounding their players. O.J. Mayo stayed strong down the stretch despite the persistent rumors surrounding him. Gay kept recovering at a high intensity last year despite the talk. Expect the talk surrounding Gay to dissipate as the Grizzlies grind through the offseason.

    Article source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1210246-nba-trade-rumors-would-memphis-grizzlies-really-deal-rudy-gay

    NBA Trade Rumors: Would Memphis Grizzlies Really Deal Rudy Gay?

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    Rudy Gay bounced back quite well for the Memphis Grizzlies this season after suffering a season-ending injury last February. After Zach Randolph went down with a partially torn MCL, Gay rallied the Grizzlies to finish fourth in the West. Following that accomplishment, should Grizzlies fans believe rumors from Hoopsworld that Memphis is shopping him?

    Absolutely not.

    The Hoopsworld article said that many teams are expected to be interested in acquiring Gay, such as the Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Golden State Warriors. Each of these teams have needs at small forward and in perimeter scoring in general. However, none of them have much to give in return.

    Besides David Lee and Stephen Curry, the Warriors don’t have anyone with great scoring capability, and they certainly wouldn’t give up Lee or Curry to get Gay. The Nets and Raptors don’t have anyone who could be truly potent scorers game after game next season to give the Grizzlies.

    The Magic would be able to give the Grizzlies Jason Richardson or Hedo Turkoglu, but to compare the scoring ability of either player (at any point in his career) to that of Gay is simply laughable.

    Indeed, Gay is more expensive than is convenient for the Grizzlies. Gay is due $16.5 million in 2012-13 and $17.9 million in 2013-14.

    The Grizzlies are in a tough payroll situation. They have $62.5 million committed to eight players for 2012-13. For 2013-14, the Grizzlies have $58.5 million committed just to Gay, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

    However, the Grizzlies are much more likely to maintain the core of the team than to break it up and alter the makeup of the team. To trade Gay would be to remove a great deal of the Grizzlies’ ability to run in transition, which was a major part of the Grizzlies offense this season.

    Even with Randolph healthy last season, the Grizzlies leaned on their transition game a fair amount.

    Gay is the most dynamic offensive player for the Grizzlies. He’s the best of any Grizzlies player at creating his own offense. Also, he’s the biggest inside-outside threat on the team. The 25-year-old forward is one of the few Grizzlies who can hit three-pointers.

    Defensively, Gay is a big difference maker. He was third on the team in steals per game (1.5). He’s one of the key players in closing off passing lanes and forcing turnovers.

    Grizzlies management is likely committed to keeping Gay, as it was last year when his name surfaced in trade rumors. Beating back rumors shortly after the Grizzlies fell in the Western Conference semifinals last year, Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley made an emotional call to Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal.

    Heisley will surely approach the new rumors surrounding Gay with similar loyalty to Gay, making known how important Gay is to the team.

    How veritable the current rumors are that Gay may be traded is questionable. Besides, all of the rumors that surfaced last year surrounding Gay came from outside of Memphis.

    In response to a question asked of him via Twitter, Memphis TV reporter Rob Fischer dismissed the rumors.

     

    The Grizzlies are less prone than other teams to get bogged down in rumors surrounding their players. O.J. Mayo stayed strong down the stretch despite the persistent rumors surrounding him. Gay kept recovering at a high intensity last year despite the talk. Expect the talk surrounding Gay to dissipate as the Grizzlies grind through the offseason.

    Article source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1210246-nba-trade-rumors-would-memphis-grizzlies-really-deal-rudy-gay

    California gay marriage case headed to U.S. Supreme Court

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    “We have overruled the will of seven million California Proposition 8 voters,” O’Scannlain wrote. “We should not have so roundly trumped California’s democratic process without at least discussing this unparalleled decision as an en banc court.”

     Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Michael Daly Hawkins, who voted in February to overturn Proposition 8,  responded in a concurring opinion that their ruling was narrow.

    “We held only that under the particular circumstances relating to California’s Proposition 8, that measure was invalid. In line with the rules governing judicial resolution of constitutional issues, we did not resolve the fundamental question that both sides asked us to: whether the Constitution prohibits the states from banning same-sex marriage.

    “That question may be decided in the near future, but if so, it should be in some other case, at some other time.”

    The court’s brief order Tuesday also said that Judge N.R. Smith, who dissented in the February ruling,  favored review by an 11-member en banc panel of the court.

    “The final chapter of the Proposition 8 case has now begun,” said Chad Griffin, founder of a group that is financing the legal fight to overturn Proposition 8. “Should the United States Supreme Court decide to review the 9th Circuit’s decision in our case, I am confident that the justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality.”

    Marriage Equality, another gay rights group,  noted that opponents of gay marriage have 90 days to request review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “Earlier this year, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit held that Proposition 8’s targeting lesbian and gay people and taking away their freedom to marry violated the equality and fairness guarantees of the United States Constitution,” said John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA’s legal director. 

     “Today, a majority of the Court agreed, by declining to revisit the ruling.  If the United States Supreme Court also declines to review the case, loving, committed lesbian and gay couples could be able to marry again in California later this year or early next year.”

    RELATED:

    Supreme Court may not hear Prop. 8 appeal

    Same-sex marriage won’t resume immediately

    Ruling to have limited effect outside California

    – Maura Dolan in San Francisco

    Photo: Demonstrators gather outside the James R. Browning Courthouse in December. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

    Article source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/06/california-gay-marraige-case-headed-to-us-supreme-court.html

    Caiden Cowger, Conservative Teen Radio Host, Slams President Obama For ‘Making Kids Gay’

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    A West Virginia-based teen radio host is making waves after proclaiming that President Obama “is making kids gay” in a recent episode.

    Fourteen-year-old Caiden Cowger, who hosts the twice-weekly “Caiden Cowger Show,” made his anti-gay proclamations in a recent broadcast, video of which was uploaded to his YouTube channel on May 26. “Homosexuality is a belief,” Cowger, who has previously interviewed former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, declares. “The person is not born that way, no matter what Lady Gaga says…it is a decision.”

    After confessing that he was once friends with some kids who have since come out as gay, he notes, “They were not homosexuals [then]…they just decided all of a sudden, ‘I think I’m going to be gay,’” before he eventually concludes, “I’m going to tell you this, guys: President Obama…Vice President Biden…is making kids gay!”

    Cowger, who is identified by The New Civil Rights Movement as a Pentecostal Christian, slams homosexuality as “a perverted belief, it’s immoral and not natural” before noting, “I’m not for bullying homosexuals, I believe that it’s wrong. But when you’re trying to teach them the word of God and they consider that bullying…I find that a big problem, not being allowed to convert other people to my religion.”

    On his Facebook page, Cowger cites Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck as his influences, but professes, “I make up my own mind. People don’t do that for me. I can make deside [sic] my own beliefs.”

    This isn’t the first time Cowger has slammed the Obama administration. Noting that June is “no longer one of [his] favorite months” on his website, he adds, “I want STRAIGHT PRIDE MONTH! I mean, fair is fair here!”

    Take a look at other disturbing LGBT-related statements made by right-wing pundits below:

    Loading Slideshow

    • Pastor Worley: Gays And Lesbians Should Be Put In An Electrified Pen And Ultimately Killed Off

      The pastor, identified on YouTube as Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., condemns President Obama’s much-publicized endorsement of same-sex marriage while calling for gays and lesbians to be put in an electrified pen and ultimately killed off.

      “Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there,” Worley suggests in the clip, reportedly filmed on May 13. “Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out…and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”

    • Pastor Suggests Gays Should Be Prosecuted Like They Were Historically

      Ron Baity, founding pastor of Winston-Salem’s Berean Baptist Church and head of the anti-marriage equality organization Return America, referred to homosexuality as “a perverted lifestyle” in a Sunday sermon before telling his congregation that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should be prosecuted, Good as You is reporting.

      “For 300 years, we had laws that would prosecute that lifestyle,” he is quoted as saying. “We’ve gone down the wrong path. We’ve become so dumb that we have accepted a lie for the truth, and we’ve…discarded the truth on the shoals of shipwreck!”

    • Pastor Sean Harris: Parents Should ‘Punch’ Their Effeminate Children

      “So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, ‘Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,’ you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.”

    • Pastor Slams Gay Marriage, Suggests Unions Between ‘Person And A Beast’ Could Be Next

      Tim Rabon, pastor at Raleigh’s Beacon Baptist Church, condemned states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland which have already “re-defined” marriage to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples.

      As heard in this recording, Rabon asked his congregation, “What is stopping them from refining marriage from a person and a beast? We’re not far from that.”

    • Tamara Scott: Gay Marriage Leads To Eiffel Tower Marriage

    • Bryan Fischer On Why Gays Are Responsible For The Nazi Party

    • Pastor Wooden Says Gay Sex Causes Gay Men To Need Diapers

    • Linda Harvey: Don’t Let Gay Doctors Attend To Your Children

    • Robertson Compares Polygamy, Bestiality And Pedophilia To Gay Marriage

    • Scott Lively: Gay-Straight Alliances Are Designed To Recruit Kids

    • Tony Perkins: ‘If You Want A Military That Just Does Parades,’ Allow Gays To Openly Serve

    • James Robison: ‘The Enemy’ Is Using ‘Glee’ To Destroy America

    • Newt Gingrich: Gay Marriage A ‘Perfect Example Of What I Mean By The Rise Of Paganism’

    • Daniel Lapin: Gays Should’ve Been Quarantined To fight AIDS

    • Pat Robertson Advises Father To Seek Ex-Gay Conversion For Gay Son

    • Bryan Fischer On How ‘Poppers’ And Promiscuity Causes AIDS

    • Liberty Counsel Warns That Macy’s LGBT Policy Could Lead To Rape, Sexual Assault

    Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/caiden-cowger-teen-radio-host-gay-obama_n_1574524.html

    California gay marriage case headed to U.S. Supreme Court

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    “We have overruled the will of seven million California Proposition 8 voters,” O’Scannlain wrote. “We should not have so roundly trumped California’s democratic process without at least discussing this unparalleled decision as an en banc court.”

     Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Michael Daly Hawkins, who voted in February to overturn Proposition 8,  responded in a concurring opinion that their ruling was narrow.

    “We held only that under the particular circumstances relating to California’s Proposition 8, that measure was invalid. In line with the rules governing judicial resolution of constitutional issues, we did not resolve the fundamental question that both sides asked us to: whether the Constitution prohibits the states from banning same-sex marriage.

    “That question may be decided in the near future, but if so, it should be in some other case, at some other time.”

    The court’s brief order Tuesday also said that Judge N.R. Smith, who dissented in the February ruling,  favored review by an 11-member en banc panel of the court.

    “The final chapter of the Proposition 8 case has now begun,” said Chad Griffin, founder of a group that is financing the legal fight to overturn Proposition 8. “Should the United States Supreme Court decide to review the 9th Circuit’s decision in our case, I am confident that the justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality.”

    Marriage Equality, another gay rights group,  noted that opponents of gay marriage have 90 days to request review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “Earlier this year, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit held that Proposition 8’s targeting lesbian and gay people and taking away their freedom to marry violated the equality and fairness guarantees of the United States Constitution,” said John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA’s legal director. 

     “Today, a majority of the Court agreed, by declining to revisit the ruling.  If the United States Supreme Court also declines to review the case, loving, committed lesbian and gay couples could be able to marry again in California later this year or early next year.”

    RELATED:

    Supreme Court may not hear Prop. 8 appeal

    Same-sex marriage won’t resume immediately

    Ruling to have limited effect outside California

    – Maura Dolan in San Francisco

    Photo: Demonstrators gather outside the James R. Browning Courthouse in December. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

    Article source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/06/california-gay-marraige-case-headed-to-us-supreme-court.html

    Obama Heads West for Dollars and Thanks From Gay Supporters

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    Only weeks ago, a gay rights gala in Los Angeles on Wednesday night loomed on President Obama’s calendar as a reminder of his awkward “evolving” but still-unsupportive stance on same-sex marriage. But then he came out in favor of the change, and now Mr. Obama heads west to collect the kudos — and dollars — of a galvanized gay community.

    Chad Griffin, the incoming president of the Human Rights Campaign and a co-chairman of the gala, said that “even prior to Obama coming out for gay marriage, there was this grand contrast” between him and his Republican rival, the former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, who favors amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

    “But once the president came out in favor of marriage equality, I mean the passion and excitement was really unleashed,” Mr. Griffin said. “Now there’s no cloud over that support. An already enthusiastic base has been further motivated, further excited and further mobilized.”

    The annual fund-raising dinner of the LGBT Leadership Council, which Mr. Obama formed in 2007 for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters as his first presidential campaign got under way, had to be moved from the site initially chosen for the gala to the larger Beverly Wilshire hotel, to accommodate the increased demand. Tickets for the gala sold out, as did far more expensive ones for a private dinner that follows the event.

    According to the Obama campaign, about 600 people paid at least $1,250 each to attend the gala, which will feature television star Ellen DeGeneres and a performance by Darren Criss, who plays an openly gay high school student in the TV show “Glee.” Mr. Criss is a last-minute replacement for the rock singer Pink, who had to cancel due to illness, organizers said.

    For $2,500, an attendee receives preferred seating; for $10,000 a photo with Mr. Obama; and for $25,000 a couple, inclusion in a reception. After the gala, about 70 people — individuals who paid $25,000 and couples who paid $40,000 — are expected to join Mr. Obama for dinner at the Los Angeles home of “Glee” creator and gay rights activist Ryan Murphy and his fiancé, David Miller.

    The Los Angeles events occur less than a month after Mr. Obama was in the city for a fund-raising dinner at the home of actor George Clooney that raised an estimated $15 million — the day after the president had announced his personal support for a same-sex marriage in a television interview.

    The timing was coincidental. While aides say Mr. Obama decided in January to declare his support for marriage equality before the election, his timetable was hastened when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., in a television interview, offered his fulsome endorsement for people of the same sex to marry and enjoy the same rights and privileges accorded to married heterosexual couples.

    Before Mr. Obama gets to Los Angeles on Wednesday, he first will land in San Francisco for two fund-raisers. He will attend a discussion with 25 supporters who have paid $35,800 each and then go to a luncheon with 250 people who paid $5,000 each.

    As is usual for Mr. Obama’s fund-raisers, the proceeds of the California events benefit his campaign, the Democratic National Committee and some state Democratic Party organizations. The president has been a frequent flier to California and New York, which he will visit yet again next week, not to campaign for votes (both states are reliably Democratic) but to raise money. Indeed, Mr. Obama’s financial support from liberal Hollywood and Silicon Valley figures have helped to make up for diminished contributions from Wall Street since 2008.

    On Thursday, before he leaves California, Mr. Obama will go to a breakfast fund-raiser at a private residence near Los Angeles. According to his campaign, about 300 people paid at least $2,500 each to join him. Then the president is off to Nevada, a crucial swing state in the election, for the only “official” event of his latest Western jaunt.

    In Las Vegas, Mr. Obama once again will address the rising costs of college education, an issue that he and Democrats in Congress have emphasized lately in part to appeal to younger voters, whose support is considered essential to Democrats’ victories in November.

    Article source: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/obama-heads-west-for-dollars-and-thanks-from-gay-supporters/?ref=politics

    Antonio Villaraigosa has supported gay marriage for many years

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    One night nearly 20 years ago, a political newcomer showed up in Hollywood at California’s oldest gay and lesbian Democratic club looking for an endorsement in a state Assembly race.

    Amid the flurry of questions was one he had never heard before: Do you support gay marriage?

    Antonio Villaraigosa paused. “I’ve never thought about that,” he said. “But yeah, I’m for it.”

    His simple gut response stands in contrast with President Obama’s painstakingly gradual evolution on the issue, which culminated in the president’s announcement last month that he now supports same-sex marriage.

    While many politicians have taken a cautious approach on gay issues, Villaraigosa has earned a reputation as a fierce and early advocate for gay equality, pushing for the passage of groundbreaking anti-discrimination measures in the Legislature and helping win protections for transgender inmates in city jails as mayor of Los Angeles.

    In recent months, he has used his position as chairman of this summer’s Democratic National Convention to call for marriage equality to be included in the convention’s official platform — a politically sensitive calculation for the party in a close presidential race.

    Villaraigosa meets regularly with a group of gay and lesbian advisors, and each June he hangs a rainbow-striped flag outside his Windsor Square residence and throws a garden party for the community. And while gays may not deliver mountains of votes in elections, they are a potent fundraising force. The mayor has benefited from tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from gay and lesbian activists, including some of the same wealthy gay donors that Obama will tap Wednesday at two fundraisers in Beverly Hills.

    Villaraigosa says his connection to the gay community is partly ideological and partly personal. Several of his family members are gay, including his cousin, John Perez, the speaker of the Assembly. And when he was a kid growing up in the 1960s in East Los Angeles, his mother sometimes had a gay couple over for dinner. “They’d be holding hands and from time to time kissing on the cheek,” he remembers.

    As a union organizer and later as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Villaraigosa became attuned to discrimination against gays, especially when the AIDS crisis hit in the 1980s. He says he began to see the struggle for gay equality as the next frontier in a continuum of battles fought by Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez.

    “I am very cognizant that I am here because there was a civil rights movement,” he said in a recent interview. “And I believe this is a civil rights issue.”

    In 1994 Villaraigosa headed to Sacramento and was sworn in alongside Sheila Kuehl, the first openly gay member of the Assembly. At a luncheon on one of their first days in office, he and a few other lawmakers walked over and introduced themselves as “the honorary gay and lesbian caucus,” she said.

    Working with Kuehl and others who supported gay rights, Villaraigosa played a central role in the passage of several major bills, including legislation that banned discrimination in housing and in the workplace. “Supportive is too small a word,” Kuehl said. “He was just fierce and unwavering.”

    During one debate, Villaraigosa brought his young son onto the Assembly floor and told his colleagues he wanted to make sure that his son was protected by law whoever he turns out to be and whomever he wants to love.

    The opponents of those bills were not just Republicans but sometimes conservative Democrats who “were afraid of their own districts,” Kuehl said.

    Eric Bauman, who was president of the Stonewall Democratic club when Villaraigosa sought its endorsement in 1994, said Latino and African American elected officials were particularly hard to win over.

    “We spent more time educating Democrats on gay and lesbian issues than garnering their support,” said Bauman, who is now the chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.

    In 2000, Villaraigosa campaigned against Proposition 22, a state law passed by California voters that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. When the state Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional in the spring of 2008, he married 11 gay couples at City Hall.

    That fall, voters approved Proposition 8, another ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage. Most African Americans and Latinos voted for the measure. At a boisterous rally outside City Hall after its passage, Villaraigosa spoke to the crowd in Spanish. “If we’re going to start a conversation, we have to have it in many languages,” he said.

    But Villaraigosa’s views on same-sex marriage aren’t popular with all Latinos. Some Latinos say Villaraigosa is out of touch on the issue.

    “I admire him,” said Esther Valdez, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, which supported Proposition 8. “But I think he’s far to the left of the mainstream in his community.”

    Valdez thinks Democrats may alienate minority voters if they make gay marriage a key part of the presidential campaign.

    Villaraigosa acknowledges that possibility. “There’s no question some people will support [Obama] because of this issue and some people won’t,” he said. But the mayor said he — and now Obama — are standing on the right side of history.

    This spring, before President Obama altered his position, a reporter asked Villaraigosa if he would support gay marriage at the Democratic Party convention he’s chairing in North Carolina. He responded much as he did two decades earlier. “I do,” he said. “I think it’s basic to who we are.”

    kate.linthicum@latimes.com

    Article source: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-villaraigosa-marriage-20120606,0,5456818.story?track=rss

    Ex-NFL player talks of challenge of being gay in locker room

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    Wade Davis works at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth in New York.

    If it seems like a unique occupation for a former NFL player, it probably is … especially since Davis is one of those rare ex-players who’s come out of the closet.

    The former cornerback’s name isn’t a well-known one, but Davis did attend training camps and even played in preseason games as a member of the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins from 2000 to 2003. He never stuck on a regular-season roster but did earn stints in NFL Europe with the Berlin Thunder and Barcelona Dragons.

    In interviews with OutSports and SBNation, Davis, 34, talked about the challenges of being closeted in an NFL locker room.

    “I think subconsciously, I understood that being gay — the way I was raised — was wrong, and there was no way that my family, at least in my mind, would accept me,” Davis told SBNation’s Amy Nelson. “And also that my football family would (not) accept me just because of the perception of being gay meant that you’re less masculine.”

    That meant holding himself back personally even as he grew close to heterosexual teammates like the Titans’ Jevon Kearse and Samari Rolle.

    “You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family,” Davis told OutSports. “Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family. I think about how close I was with Jevon and Samari. It’s not like they’d like me less, it’s that they have to protect their own brand.”

    MORE:  Are NFL locker rooms ready to welcome gay players?

    Kearse recently showed support to gay athletes in a separate interview with OutSports and suggested the NFL might be ready to accept homosexual players in the locker room.

    But Davis, who also now does campaign work for President Obama, never felt comfortable treading on what’s essentially been taboo ground in professional team sports, at least for active players. He was even advised to avoid another unidentified player on the Titans who was labeled as “different” with the thought that such an association would jeopardize Davis’ ability to make the team.

    “There was a part of me that was a little relieved because, when I knew football was over, my life would begin,” Davis said to OutSports. “I had this football life, but I didn’t have another life away from that. Most of the guys had a family and a wife, but I had football and nothing else.”

    He says he first realized he was gay in 11th grade.

    “I can remember being in gym class and having the desire to look at a boy in a way that I should look at girls,” he told SBNation.

    If that sounds like a red flag to players who might be skittish with him in their inner circle, Davis says it absolutely shouldn’t be the case.

    “At never a point (during) my NFL playing career did I take advantage of the privilege that I had to see a man naked. I never even remotely got aroused in the locker room. It’s a place where those guys are your family, and the last thing that you want to do is make anyone in your family feel uncomfortable. It’s not even a thought,” he said.

    “I think the players have to understand that there’s nothing that’s gonna happen.”

    What hasn’t happened so far is a pro player in a major North American pro league to reveal he’s gay during his career. And even Davis admits that might fall to a star player rather than a fringe one like he was even though he hopes someone steps out in the near future.

    “I’m gonna be flat-out honest with you, it probably shouldn’t (be a reserve player) if he wants to keep his job,” he said. “If he’s the 53rd man on the roster, if he’s a free agent who’s fighting for a job, maybe he shouldn’t. I would hope that he would.”

    Is such a courageous step in the offing?

    “I can’t say it’s in the next five or 10 years, but I definitely think it’s on the horizon,” says Davis, who came out himself only recently.

    “I started to realize that, ‘You know what? There’s an opportunity here for me to really make and affect change — not only with myself but with the world.’ “

    Article source: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2012/06/ex-nfl-player-wade-davis-talks-of-challenge-of-being-gay-in-locker-room/1

    Gay marriage ban backers look to US Supreme Court

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012


    Gay marriage took another step Tuesday on its march to the U.S. Supreme Court, when a federal appeals court that struck down California’s ban on same-sex unions refused to reconsider the ruling.

    Now that the case has run its course in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the measure’s sponsors “absolutely” plan to take the case to the high court, said Brian Raum, a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal defense group.

    Backers of the ban, known as Proposition 8, now have 90 days to petition the Supreme Court to review the finding that the ban violates the civil rights of gay men and lesbians in California.

    If at least four justices agree to accept the case, oral arguments would likely be held next spring.

    The developments came after the 9th U.S. Circuit declined to review a February ruling by two of its member judges who found the state’s voter-approved same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, in part because it rescinded a right that gay and lesbian Californians already had won.

    Same sex unions briefly were legal in the state before 52 percent of voters approved the ban in November 2008.

    Gay marriage supporters welcomed the latest news in the long-running legal battle. If the Supreme Court refuses to take up the case and lets the appellate ruling stand, same-sex marriages could be legal again in California by the end of the year.

    “The final chapter of the Proposition 8 case has now begun,” said American Foundation for Equal Rights co-founder Chad Griffin, whose group is funding the effort to overturn the ballot measure. “Should the United States Supreme Court decide to review the 9th Circuit’s decision in our case, I am confident that the justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality.”

    A majority of the 9th Circuit’s 26 actively serving judges voted against giving the case a second look while leaving Proposition 8 in effect until a Supreme Court appeal is resolved.

    Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain issued a terse dissent, arguing that the full 9th Circuit should have reexamined its panel’s 2-1 decision because in his view it was based on a “gross misapplication” of Supreme Court precedent and “overruled the will of seven million California voters.” Judges Carlos Bea and Jay Bybee joined him in that opinion.

    The 9th Circuit does not often agree to rehear cases, a procedure known as en banc review. Federal court rules reserve the practice for appeals that involve “a question of exceptional importance” or if the original decision appears to conflict with Supreme Court or 9th Circuit precedents.

    Several other high-profile same-sex cases also are moving toward the high court. A three-judge panel of the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared last week that the federal law that prohibits recognition of same-sex couples unconstitutionally denies Social Security and other federal spousal benefits to married gay couples.

    The Massachusetts and California cases could reach justices at the same time, which “probably increases the likelihood the court will take the (Proposition 8) case,” said David Boies, a lawyer representing the two unmarried couples who first sued to overturn the ban three years ago.

    At the same time, because the 9th Circuit limited its decision to California instead of ruling that gay marriage bans are inherently unconstitutional, the Supreme Court might be inclined to let it stand, he said.

    Article source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/05/2833344/next-word-in-calif-gay-marriage.html

    Gay Inc Takes On Stop and Frisk

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    BlackPride200.pngOnce gay pride goes black, apparently, it doesn’t go backSo, the promised fallout between blacks and gays continues!

    Four weeks after President Obama came out for same-sex marriage, today will see one of the most significant signs of a new alliance between traditional race-based civil rights groups and the current wave of LGBT oriented civil rights groups yet. At 4:00 PM, a cadre of gay organizations (including Lambda Legal, HRC, GLAAD, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, ESPA and GMHC) will be present at the Stonewall Inn, joined by Al Sharpton and the NAACP (marking the first time we’ve ever gotten a press release from the venerable civil rights organization telling us to meet them at a gay bar). Together, the groups will announce a new unified front in fighting “stop and frisk,” the NYPD’s practice of stopping, almost exclusively, black and Latino young men.

    But, wait a second…what happened to Obama’s support of same-sex marriage? The National Organization for Marriage, Touré and Rev. Ruben Diaz promised it would drive a wedge between the gays and the blacks and Hispanics.

    Today’s event shows, as Pam Spaulding and we have tried to point out again and again and again over the past few weeks, that black homophobia is overblown hokum. It also shows that the organizations that make up “Gay Inc” are not as white-washed as their critics sometimes claim.

    When the President came out for same-sex marriage, we didn’t think there would be any political fallout, as such a position was an extremely common one for black politicians across the nation. Many other “black elites” from Hollywood and the music industry followed suit, which anti-gay marriage forces could claim didn’t speak for the people. But it was really the support of the NAACP, the century old civil rights organization, along with polls showing that black people might actually support gay marriage more than white people that finally started to shut down the “black = homophobic meme.”

    “Don’t equate your sin with my skin!” is a classic line that comes up when an elderly black civil rights worker doesn’t want their struggles compared to those of gay people. Another one is, “Don’t compare Stonewall to Selma!” But that latter comparison will be made quite strongly, by no smaller symbols of the organized fight for racial civil rights than Al Sharpton and the NAACP, today at the actual Stonewall Inn.

    Furthermore, the gay organizations are reaching back with an extreme measure of goodwill by taking on stop and frisk, an issue of great importance to black and Latino citizens here in New York City. Stop and frisk fuels marijuana arrests to the point in which they are the primary reason for arrests in the city. Because of this, stop and frisk is symptomatic of the larger problems of the War On Drugs nationally, which disproportionately harms black and Latino men and their families.

    This move is good politics and ethical policy for the Gay Inc groups for a number of reasons. First, as we discussed with Brian Lehrer and Mike Signorile and Yetta Kurland over the past few weeks on the radio, there is a misperception in the media, unfair and untrue but undeniably present, that being gay in America is all about being a rich, white guy living a kind of Will Grace Manhattan fantasy. (Joe Biden even cited Will Grace when he inadvertently pushed President Obama to embrace marriage equality.) Of course, gay America includes black America, and Hispanic America, and poor America, and their children. These are overlapping, not disparate, groups. Gay young men in New York City — and those living on our streets are disproportionately LGBT, black and Latino — are affected by stop and frisk. The ballroom kids of the Bronx, the Westside piers and the kids we see vogueing near the Voice offices outside of the Hettrick Martin Institute are exactly the demographic most likely to be hurt by stop and frisk’s discriminatory practices. This is smart politics for Gay Inc, as stop and frisk is such a pressing civil rights issue for traditional civil rights groups; but it’s also ethical policy, because it shows that gay concerns are the same concerns as those of blacks and Latinos, and vice versa. There is no black and brown versus gay divide, because black and brown people are gay people, and gay people are brown and black.

    Second, it shows a conscious decision by Gay Inc to think beyond promoting gay marriage and ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. For years, gay organizations have been criticized by some of the most impassioned activists in the gay rights movement for being too concerned with being “middle class” (promoting marriage) and militaristically rightwing (ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” without taking on the larger issues of war). A caller when we were on the Brian Lehrer Show also pointed out how she felt like gay organizations didn’t care about some of her major concerns as a black, urban, lesbian woman: poverty and jobs. Indeed, it’s much easier to have a gala for a happy cause like marriage than it is to address the complicated and depressing topics of homelessness, poverty, joblessness, drug use and sex work that can be more pressing challenges for the city’s young black and Latino LGBT youth than the right to marry. That HRC sees stop and frisk as a human rights issue goes a long way towards broadening its mission beyond its oft perceived focus upon rich, white, connected political operatives.

    Third, it shows a real ability for coalition building. Harvey Milk was insistent upon needing a broad coalition of gay people and their straight allies, which needed to draw upon labor, political leaders and all sorts of professions. Today’s event is including not just black and LGBT civil rights groups, but also the presence of SEUI and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Gay Inc has no problem wielding influence on Wall Street or in the world of high finance; HRC honored Goldman Sachs, of all organizations, right near the peak of Occupy Wall Street’s activities, earning the wrath of the OWS Queer Caucus. (What they are able to accomplish with that influence, in terms of helping poor, black and Latino LGBT citizens, is another story, and not a successful one. Despite recently taking on LGBT youth homelessness, ESPA has utterly failed to win any additional state funds from Governor Cuomo to address this epidemic, even though they gave him their Leadership Award.)

    So to see them on the bill with a couple of unions will broaden the scope of their mission, if not fully quel the ire from the queer left.

    More than anything, our analysis is that today’s event at the Stonewall marks a new era in fighting for civil rights. There is obviously now a true ebb and flow between the big race and LGBT civil groups acting in each others interests, while also putting their time and their money down in admitting that often their interests are, in fact, one and the same. There are ways in which the fight for LGBT civil rights is different from the fight for racial civil rights; the nuances are complicated, and we’ll leave that for another post. But there are overarching parallels, and it’s a heartening thing to see these groups taking a united stand against Mayor Bloomberg’s discriminatory stop and frisk policy, which molests hundreds of thousands of (gay and straight) young men of color every year and hurts their civil rights.

    Mayor Bloomberg recently also hacked $7 million dollars from the city’s budget for homeless youth, something which should enrage LGBT and racial civil rights groups alike. And, given that HRC gave Mayor Bloomberg their National Ally For Equality award for helping bring gay marriage to New York, we know that they have his ear. He did help bring equality to same-sex New Yorkers who wanted to get married.

    Now maybe HRC can persuade Bloomberg to bring equality to young brown and black men, too — both those who are homeless, and those harassed near their homes.

    Thrasherhalfthumb50.jpgYou can follow staff writer Steven Thrasher on twitter (@steven_thrasher) or reach him by email (sthrasher@villagevoice.com).

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    Article source: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/06/gay_inc_takes_o.php

    California gay marriage case looks headed to Supreme Court

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    Reuters

    3:49 p.m. CDT, June 5, 2012

    Article source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-california-gaybre8540xx-20120605,0,484026.story

    Gay community, celebrities a key source of campaign cash for Obama

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012


    (Credit:
    MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

    (CBS News) President Obama heads to the West Coast today for a two-day, three-city fundraising swing that includes a stop tonight at the LGBT Leadership Council Gala in Beverly Hills, where the featured entertainment will be “Glee” star Darren Criss and the speakers will include talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

    The event, which comes after two San Francisco fundraisers, will mark Mr. Obama’s third fundraiser directly targeting the LGBT community this year. In April, he hosted a fundraiser in Florida with the LGBT Leadership Council that raised $125,000 from 50 supporters; in May, shortly after he announced his support of same-sex marriage, he raised an estimated $1 million during a New York City fundraiser co-hosted by Ricky Martin. A campaign official tells CBS News that approximately 600 people will attend tonight’s event, with tickets starting at $1,250 per person.

    There is no way to know exactly how much money Mr. Obama has raised from gay donors, since those who give to Mr. Obama are not asked to disclose their sexual orientation. But analyses of the president’s so-called “bundlers” – the well-connected and wealthy men and women who reach out to friends, family and acquaintances for donations – suggest that a significant chunk of his campaign cash is coming from the LGBT community. The Washington Post found that roughly one in six of the president’s top bundlers are gay; the Advocate reported last October that nearly one in five of the bundlers who had raised at least $500,000 for the president hail from the LGBT community. A new CNN analysis found that LGBT bundlers raised at least $8 million for the president between January and March – more than bundlers from the real estate community raised and behind only bundlers from the legal profession, the securities/investment and business services industries, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

    “Because people don’t identify their sexual orientation when they give, it’s hard to make a mathematical calculation,” said Democratic political strategist and gay rights advocate Richard Socarides. “But I do think it’s fair to say that especially given the relative softness from some of the other communities that supported the president in 2008 – I’m thinking specifically of Wall Street – that I think the president and the Democratic Party in general is looking to receive substantial backing from donors who are motivated by gay rights and human rights issues.”

    “It’s a significant donor group in the Democratic community,” adds Democratic lobbyist and strategist Steve Elmendorf, who is gay. He said that while gay donors have become “wildly enthusiastic” about the president since he announced his support for same-sex marriage, “the community’s been really important to him from the beginning.”

    “Any big city where you go to an event for him, there is a contingent of LGBT bundlers and donors,” Elmendorf said, arguing that politically-active gay donors have long been behind the president because the difference between him and his Republican opponents on gay rights issues “is so clear.”

    A spokeswoman for the Obama campaign pointed to repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the president’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act to explain support for the president from the LGBT community.

    “The community is supporting President Obama because they recognize he is committed to equal rights versus Mitt Romney who has pledged to roll back rights and benefits for gay Americans,” she said.

    Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesman for the gay rights group the Human Rights Campaign, said that even before Mr. Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage, members of the LGBT community were among the strongest financial supporters of the president – though he added that since the announcement, “anecdotally, it appears as if there’s more fervor perhaps in support.” He added that “given the amount of progress we’ve seen, and his recent marriage equality support, all signs point to the level of engagement with the community only increasing.” The president’s re-election website includes a special section for LGBT donors featuring a video narrated by gay actress Jane Lynch, who discusses the president’s support for gay rights. 

    There’s no question that Mr. Obama was highly engaged with the LGBT community before he “evolved” on same-sex marriage – last June, for example, he appeared at a “Gala with the Gay Community” fundraiser in Manhattan, and he spoke in 2009 and 2011 at the Human Rights Campaign’s national dinner. He actually formed the LGBT Leadership Council back in 2007 to mobilize support and raise money from the gay community. 

    Still, the president’s long refusal to endorse same-sex marriage prompted criticism from some in the LGBT community, and there was speculation that anger among gay donors over the White House’s attempt to walk back Vice President Joe Biden’s comments that he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage pushed Mr. Obama to finally make the announcement.

    After tonight’s LGBT Leadership Council Gala, Mr. Obama is attending a fundraiser at a private home, which the Hollywood Reporter reports is being hosted by “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, bundlers from the television, movie and music industry have raised $6.8 million for the president from January through March.

    Much of that money has come from – or been driven by – celebrities. Last month, actor George Clooney hosted a fundraiser for the president at his home in Los Angeles, with guests including Robert Downey Jr. and Salma Hayek. It was one of many celebrity-studded events attended this campaign cycle by the president, who has raised money with Lady Gaga, Spike Lee, Barbara Streisand and many other boldface names over the past year.

    The president’s popularity with celebrities, which dates back to the 2008 campaign, has become a source of mockery for Republicans. In the 2008 campaign cycle, Sen. John McCain’s campaign released an ad mocking the president as a celebrity himself and drawing parallels with Paris Hilton. More recently, the Republican National Committee released a web video attacking Mr. Obama over the release of a campaign video featuring Vogue Editor Anna Wintour discussing a fundraising dinner she is co-hosting with actress Sarah Jessica Parker. The video featuring Wintour was released on the same day as a disappointing jobs report which showed the unemployment rate ticking up to 8.2 percent.

    The “celebrity” attacks did not gain significant traction in the 2008 campaign cycle, but Republicans believe they can damage the president this time around by pointing out his celebrity hobnobbing against a backdrop of a still-struggling economy. “Obama’s focused on keeping his job,” the RNC video says. “But what about yours?”

    It’s a risk the Obama campaign is willing to take, however, for obvious reasons: The Clooney fundraiser alone raised $15 million for the president and his Democratic allies. Romney has raised money with reality show host Donald Trump, actor Jon Voight and musician Kid Rock, but there’s no question he has significantly less support from famous names than the president.

    “The Hollywood community and the entertainment community, where a lot of openly gay Americans have figured prominently, have always been able to rally financial support for Democrats,” notes Socarides.

    For Ricky Martin, a member of both the celebrity and LGBT communities, Mr. Obama’s decision to support same-sex marriage was the latest evidence for why he has so much support from those groups.

    The courage Mr. Obama showed in backing same-sex marriage, Martin said at a fundraiser last month, “is the kind of courage we expect from our president and that is why we support him.”

    Article source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57447968-503544/gay-community-celebrities-a-key-source-of-campaign-cash-for-obama/

    Jason Alexander sorry for ‘gay’ cricket comment

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    Former “Seinfeld” star Jason Alexander got on the wrong side of some of his fans when he made a wisecrack about cricket being a “gay” sport, and he’s since apologized.

    The actor was speaking with Craig Ferguson on CBS’ “The Late Late Show” Friday when the topic came up, and Alexander said cricket was, to him, “a bit gay” because “There’s a lot of people wearing white. People wearing helmets for no discernible reason…Everybody breaks for tea in the middle.”

    And then, “You know how I know it’s really kind of a gay game? It’s the pitch,” the actor went on. “It’s the weirdest … It’s not like a manly baseball pitch; it’s a queer British gay pitch.”

    By Sunday he’d realized his error, and to calm the rough media seas that erupted after his commentary, the 52-year-old actor tweeted a “message of amends.”

    He explained that he’d used the joke previously when hosting a show in Australia years prior, and at first didn’t understand why it was now being seen as offensive. But, after reflecting on the gag with some of his gay friends, he said he realized where he went wrong.

    “I should know better,” he tweeted. “My daily life is filled with gay men and women, both socially and professionally. I am profoundly aware of the challenges these friends of mine face and I have openly advocated on their behalf.”

    “So, I can only apologize and I do,” Alexander added. “In comedy, timing is everything. And when a group of people are still fighting so hard for understanding, acceptance, dignity and essential rights – the time for some kinds of laughs has not yet come. I hope my realization brings some comfort.”

    Article source: http://marquee.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/05/jason-alexander-sorry-for-gay-cricket-comment/

    Wade Davis, Former Football Player, On Being Gay In The NFL

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    “I started to realize that, you know what, there’s an opportunity here for me to really make and effect change, not only within myself but in the world.”

    So explains Wade Davis, a former NFL cornerback who came out as gay last year after playing with the Tennessee Titans, and later with the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins, from 2000-2004.

    Now, however, the 34-year-old Davis is coming forward about the challenges of being a gay man in the NFL for the first time, via revealing interviews with both SB Nation and Outsports. “I think subconsciously, I understood that being gay…the way I was raised…was wrong, and there was no way that my family, at least in my mind, would accept me,” he confesses to SBNation’s Amy Nelson. “And also that my football family would [not] accept me, just because of the perception of being gay meant that you’re less masculine.”

    Though the idea of having an openly gay man in the locker room may make other heterosexual players uncomfortable, Davis notes, “At never a point [during] my NFL playing career did I take advantage of the privilege that I had to see a man naked. I never even remotely got aroused in the locker room.” He explained his reasoning in further detail to Out Sports: “You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family. Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family.”

    These days, it’s his work off the field that Davis wants to be most remembered for: he’s now a staff member at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth in New York City. “It’s the first job since football that I wake up excited for work,” Davis, who also does campaign work for President Obama, told Out Sports’ Cyd Zeigler. “For these kids, the question isn’t whether they are shooting a basketball well, it’s whether they have a place to sleep tonight, whether they’ve eaten today.”

    Still, Davis seems to still have residual hesitation about active football players coming out. When Nelson asks him if it’s possible for a reserve player rather than a star quarterback to come out as gay, Davis notes, “I’ll be flat-out honest with you…it probably shouldn’t be if he wants to keep his job. If he’s a free agent who’s fighting for his job, maybe he shouldn’t…I don’t want to tell someone to give up their lifelong dream of playing in the NFL.”

    But then, a moment later, he adds, “You know what? Yes, it should be. Screw it. I don’t want to be in the business of telling anyone they can’t live their life authentically.”

    Take a look at other openly LGBT sports figures below:

    • Matthew Mitcham

      The Olympic diver, who took home the gold medal in 2008 in the ten meter platform, revealed his sexuality in an a href=”http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/05/23/1211183107597.html” target=”_hplink”exclusive interview/a with emThe Sydney Morning Herald/em. Mitcham, then 20 years old, credited partner Lachlan with helping him battle depression and emotional burnout in the years before his Olympic triumph.

    • Gareth Thomas

      Thomas’s decision to a href=”http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/19/gay-groups-applaud-gareth-thomas” target=”_hplink”confirm his sexuality/a while still an active rugby player was praised by LGBT rights advocates as a brave move. Though others have since followed suit, Thomas hoped people who eventually consider his sexuality as irrelevant. “What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby,” he told emThe Guardian/em. “I’d love for it, in 10 years’ time, not to even be an issue in sport, and for people to say: ‘So what?’”

    • Martina Navratilova

      The Prague-born tennis pro, who came out as bisexual in 1981, is credited with having “expanded the dialogue on issues of gender and sexuality in sports,”a href=”http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016378.html” target=”_hplink” according to ESPN/a. “Martina was the first legitimate superstar who literally came out while she was a superstar,” Donna Lopiano, executive director of the Women’s Sports Foundation, said. “She exploded the barrier by putting it on the table. She basically said this part of my life doesn’t have anything to do with me as a tennis player. Judge me for who I am.”

    • Johnny Weir

      Known as much for his colorful fashion sense as his slick moves on the ice, Weir faced intense media scrutiny over his sexual orientation beforea href=”http://www.afterelton.com/people/2011/01/johnny-weir-finally-really-out” target=”_hplink” finally coming out/a in his recently published memoirs. “With people killing themselves and being scared into the closet, I hope that even just one person can gain strength from my story,” Weir said at the time. “A lot of the gays got downright angry about my silence. But pressure is the last thing that would make me want to ‘join’ a community.”

    • Billie Jean King

      Unfortunately, the tennis pro’sa href=”http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/lesbiansinsports/p/BillieJeanKing.htm” target=”_hplink” 1981 outing/a was not her choice; she was forced out when her former female lover sued her for palimony and nearly lost all of her commercial endorsements as a result. But her career was far from over, and in 2000, she became the first open lesbian ever to coach an Olympic team.

    • Gus Johnston

      The Australian hockey champ, who retired this year, came out earlier this week in an emotional YouTube video, emThe Sydney Morning Herald/em a href=”http://www.smh.com.au/national/playing-it-straight-20111022-1mdj3.html” target=”_hplink”is reporting/a. “I regret immensely that I wasn’t strong enough as a leader, that I didn’t step up when I was playing and share this about myself,” he is quoted as saying in the video.

    • Sarah Vaillancourt

      Originally from Quebec, the Canadian hockey champa href=”http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/othersports/2003817138_goodread02.html” target=”_hplink” decided to stop /ahiding her sexual orientation while still a freshman at Harvard University. “If they weren’t going to accept me on the team,” she told emThe Seattle Times/em, “I wasn’t going to stay.”

    • Greg Louganis

      In 1995, the Olympic diving hero (who a href=”http://www.outsports.com/local/2006/0417louganis.htm” target=”_hplink”became the first man/a in 56 years to win two gold medals in diving when he captured the platform and the springboard events in Los Angeles 11 years earlier) shocked fans when he decideda href=”http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Greg-Louganis-Comes-Out-on-The-Oprah-Show-Video” target=”_hplink” to come out/a as both gay and HIV-positive on emThe Oprah Winfrey Show/em. “People who were close to me — family and friends — they knew about my sexuality,” he said in 2006. “I just did not discuss my personal life, my sexuality with the media. That was my policy.”

    • Billy Bean

      Formerly of the San Diego Padres, baseball player Billy Bean came out in 1999, five years after he retired. Now, however, he says he has regrets about ending his baseball career after just six seasons. “If I had only told my parents, I probably would have played two or three more years and understood that I could come out a step at a time, not have to do it in front of a microphone,” hea href=”http://outsports.com/jocktalkblog/2011/09/27/moment-7-major-leaguer-billy-bean-comes-out-still-regrets-retiring/” target=”_hplink” is quoted by/a Outsports as saying. “And I was completely misguided. I had no mentor. I think that’s where the responsibility comes in for people who have lived that experience, and we take for granted that everybody’s adjusted and gets it.”

    • Rosie Jones

      The pro-golfer, who won 13 events during her 21 years, a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/21/sports/golf/21ROSI.html” target=”_hplink”came out in/a a 2004 emNew York Times/em editorial. “You see, my sponsor, Olivia, is one of the world’s largest and most respected companies catering to lesbian travelers, and this represents the first time a company like this has sponsored a professional athlete — a gay professional athlete,” Jones wrote. “Inherent in this sponsorship is my coming out. It’s a bit of a curiosity, because I’ve never been in the closet. For more than 25 years, I’ve been very comfortable with the fact that I’m gay…I have never, until now, felt the need to discuss it in the news media.”

    • Robert Dover

      The champion rider, who competed in six consecutive Olympics, says he’s never had much of a problem with being open about his sexual orientation in the equestrian world. Still, as he hea href=”http://www.outsports.com/olympics/2004/0804robertdover.htm” target=”_hplink” told Outsports/a, “I did not connect my social life to my work life for many years, and while I never ran away from the issue of my homosexuality, I must admit that I had no real interest in bringing attention to it, especially with the press…what changed everything was a combination of meeting my soul-mate Robert Ross, whom I was so proud to be with that I wanted everyone to know, and the AIDS epidemic which affected so many people dear to me.”

    • Ilana Kloss

      The South African-born commissioner of World Team Tennis a href=”http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_445847.html” target=”_hplink”has also been/a the partner of Billie Jean King for more than 20 years. She also credits King with encouraging her to pursue her career. “I had an opportunity to hit tennis balls with Billie Jean King when she was in South Africa when I was 11,” a href=”http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/jul/17/17kloss1o1/” target=”_hplink”she said/a. “She encouraged me to pursue my dream, and I did.”

    Earlier on HuffPost:

    Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/wade-davis-football-gay-nfl-player_n_1571406.html

    California Gay-Marriage Case on Path to Supreme Court

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    SAN FRANCISCO—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday declined to rehear arguments over a California ballot measure banning gay marriage, after previously upholding a district court’s rejection of the law.

    The decision is the final marker before the case likely moves to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Tuesday’s ruling came after proponents of Proposition 8—the 2008 California voter initiative prohibiting same-sex marriage—asked that a February decision by a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel be reviewed by a contingent of 11 judges.




    A U.S. Court of Appeals Tuesday declined to rehear arguments over California’s ban on gay marriage, sending the case on a trajectory to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justin Scheck has details on The News Hub. Photo: Getty Images.

    To reach the larger panel, a majority of the court’s 25 active judges would have had to vote to rehear the case. The motion failed to get a majority, the decision said.

    Andy Pugno, a lawyer for the group supporting Prop 8, said the ruling “essentially clears the way to where we ultimately knew this was going, which is the U.S. Supreme Court.” He said he would ask the Supreme Court to take the case.

    In a conference call, David Boies, a lawyer for the plaintiffs who successfully challenged Prop 8, said Tuesday’s decision “affirms what we’ve said from the beginning, that marriage is a fundamental right.”

    Legal Patchwork

    See where each state stands on the same-sex marriage issue.

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    Three Ninth Circuit judges dissented from the ruling Tuesday, citing a remark by President Barack Obama, who recently announced his support of gay marriage, that he would like to see the national discussion about the matter continue “in a respectful way.”

    “Our court has silenced any such respectful conversation,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote for the dissenters.

    Ted Olson, another lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said the Supreme Court would likely decide in October whether to hear the case, and if it does, would probably issue a decision by June 2013.

    Mr. Olson said the case could head to the Supreme Court in the same time frame as a separate challenge to the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act. A federal appeals court in Boston last week ruled that the federal measure, too, was unconstitutional.

    The case would head to the Supreme Court at a time when public opinion on gay marriage is shifting. Polling analyses by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that in 2004, 60% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage and 31% supported it. This year, Pew said, 43% of Americans oppose gay marriage while 47% support it.

    Prop 8—which passed with 52% of the vote—amended California’s constitution to nullify a state Supreme Court ruling that the California constitution requires that same-sex marriage be permitted. In upholding the trial-court ruling, the Ninth Circuit in February said the measure violated the U.S. Constitution by withdrawing from gays and lesbians a right that they previously enjoyed.

    Write to Justin Scheck at justin.scheck@wsj.com

    Article source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303830204577448483797182536.html

    Gay Jews March for First Time in Celebrate Israel Parade (PHOTOS)

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    Sunday, the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York commemorated its 64th anniversary with purportedly the largest gathering in the world saluting Israel. Celebrate Israel transcends religious and political differences to represent the American Jewish community and celebrate our common history and solidarity with fellow Jews here and in Israel. This year, there was even more to celebrate.

    For the first time since the parade was established in 1964, a queer Jewish group was allowed to march and explicitly represent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews. This is a monumental and historic milestone in the effort for full LGBT inclusion in Jewish life. In 1993, LGBT Jews were excluded from the parade when the parade board uninvited the LGBT Synagogue Congregation Beth Simchat Torah. In subsequent years the parade has prevented visible LGBT inclusion one way or another. In 1999 CBST was allowed to march as part of a cluster of other synagogues if they agreed not to use words like “Gay, Lesbian, Bi or Trans” or anything “recognizably gay” on their banners.

    Personally, I remember learning about this policy when I was in high school. The message to me was that gays were not welcome or wanted in the Jewish community. There was something so shameful, embarrassing and distracting about displaying the word “gay,” that even in a secular Jewish event, it must be silenced and closeted. Closeted and confused myself, I would attend the parade yearly with my entire family and feel completely ostracized by my own people. I knew I was not alone in feeling this rejection. Thousands of other LGBT Jews endured this sadness for years. I vowed then that there would be a day when large rainbow flags, smiling LGBT faces and Jews of all orientations can celebrate Israel down 5th Avenue with the rest of the our community. This day has finally come.

    Spearheaded by Orthodox yeshiva high school students, members of Jewish Queer Youth (JQY), a new non-profit organization for Orthodox LGBT Jewish Youth, appealed the Jewish Community Relations Council, which organizes the parade, for full LGBT participation at this year’s parade. As Co-executive Director of JQY, I can attest to how important this effort has been to Jewish youth and how strong the love for Israel is among the LGBT Jewish community. One 17-year-old Orthodox 11th grader even came out to his grandmother, who had been a past parade director, in the effort to secure our inclusion in Israel’s celebration. These heroics by such young brave Jews are nothing short of inspiring. Eventually, the parade informed JQY that we would be allowed to march.

    The members of Jewish Queer Youth decided to open this opportunity up to the entire LGBT Jewish community and straight allies. Nearly all the major LGBT supportive Jewish organizations have united in participation. Co-sponsors of the LGBT marching group include Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, A Wider Bridge, Eshel, Keshet and the Schusterman Family Foundation. Together we marched as one family in celebration of our homeland.

    While there has been some pushback, and a failed effort by some at JCRC to prevent us from using the words “Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Trans” in our banners, JQY remained resolute in our insistence to be treated like all other Jewish groups that are allowed to embrace their unique identities at the parade. We simply did not back down. I told the JCRC that asking a gay Jewish organization not to use the word gay in their banner is like asking people of color to wear light foundation as to not “distract” from the general theme. Celebrating what makes us unique and directing our energy and support toward Israel is the hallmark of this parade. Our backbone paid off and we were allowed to display our rainbow colors and the words “Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender” proudly.

    Check out photos and video of the parade, and continue reading below…

    • Photo by Robert J. Saferstein.

    • Photo by Robert J. Saferstein.

    • Photo by Robert J. Saferstein.

    • Photo by Robert J. Saferstein.

    • Photo by Robert J. Saferstein.

    • Photo by Robert J. Saferstein.

    • Photo by Robert J. Saferstein.

    • For the first time, the NYC Israel Parade welcomed a contingent of gay, lesbian, bisexual trans people and their straight supporters to march.

    At the parade itself we were met with overwhelming support. The teenagers watching burst into applause as our group passed. There were queer people on the sidelines that shouted that they too were gay and wanted to join us. Surprisingly, I saw many Orthodox women in wigs clapping and smiling, sending us love from the sidewalk. There were some folks negatively triggered by presence, but they were drowned out by outpouring of celebration. It was nice to see the tables turned, where those who are intolerant were in the minority. I was particularly struck by a father who covered the eyes of his young daughter as we passed. However, she grabbed her fathers hand and pushed it aside and began clapping.

    Our inclusion in the march evoked strong responses from those who were protesting the parade that day, both on the right and the left. A small number of both the right wing anti-Zionist Hasidic groups and the left wing anti-Israel groups like Queers Against Apartheid were protesting the parade in close proximity. As our LGBT group marched by, some of the more right wing protestors began yelling prejudiced epithets against us. Disappointingly, instead of supporting our inclusion, the Anti-Israel Queer group joined in the booing. It seemed that they’d rather join in on LGBT hate than understand our right to celebrate our Jewish culture.

    These left wing groups accuse any LGBT celebration of Israel as “Pink Washing” Israel in an attempt to divert attention from the suffering of the Palestinian people. I can only speak for myself in saying that loving Israel in no way impinges on my concern for human rights. It is exactly this love of Israel that makes me hope and pray for peace, prosperity and fairness for all people in the region. Celebrating a homeland says nothing about agreeing with specific foreign policies of the government. Certainly, I can celebrate July 4 without believing in every U.S. policy. We celebrate Israel as proud LGBT Jews without washing away the suffering of others. Celebration and concern often exist in dialectic, and it would be simplistic to say that we can’t experience both. We take pride in that Israel has a thriving LGBT community and hope that one day its surrounding countries will similarly treat their LGBT citizens better. Opening doors of inclusion in every culture can only help in the long term struggle for universal human rights.

    At the same time there are still too many on the right who continue to use their personal understanding of religion to exclude LGBT people and bully them into silence and invisibility. However, no one, no matter how religious, should have an exemption to make anyone suffer. With the Israel parade now fully including the LGBT community, the St. Patrick’s Day parade is now one of the only major NY parades that still publicly rejects LGBT participation. I hope that they too evolve their policies to allow the entire Irish community to celebrate their culture. It is misguided to think that allowing religious exemptions for intolerance in any way protects religious organizations. Quite the opposite; it is the assumption that religious communities are intolerant that exemplifies real disrespect for religion. Those who love religion and believe in its vitality will fight against the notion that religious organizations need exemptions for intolerance, prejudice and ignorance.

    This approach is the hallmark of JQY’s success in helping Orthodox Jewish institutions (and Jewish programs heavily influenced by the Orthodox) be more welcoming toward their LGBT members. Instead of an outside rabbinic approach which tries unsuccessfully to suggest apologetic biblical reinterpretations and unfamiliar rituals, JQY members merely appeal to their Orthodox parents, siblings, schools and friends with a simple message: “Stop hurting us and start loving us because we exist, are part of you and will not stay silent.” Much like Rosa Parks was heroic because she did not leave Alabama, LGBT Jews are most effective change agents when they do not abandon their religious communities. When we express this message, it is not as easy to say “no” to us. And when “no” is more of a headache than “yes,” tectonic cultural change has taken place.

    In the past five years, I have seen JQY create this kind of change. We have been able to open up institutions that until now have been hesitant to include gay Jews. JQY organized the historic gay panel in Yeshiva University’s Orthodox undergrad. Besides having different monthly LGBT panels at Orthodox Hillel Campus communities across American universities, JQY has recently begun organizing gay panels at Orthodox Jewish high schools. We are the first organization to create LGBT panels in American Orthodox Jewish high schools. This month we spoke as part of a program at Riverdale’s S.A.R and to the 12th grade class of Kushner’s Orthodox high school of New Jersey. We even have developed a JQY Gay Straight Alliance for Yeshiva High School Students.

    JQY’s “It Gets Better” video for Orthodox Gay Youth received close to 100,000 hits and is now used in Orthodox teacher training programs. JQY members were included in this year’s Nefesh conference for Orthodox mental health professionals. We are now working in partnership with the JBFCS to develop crisis resources in the Orthodox world for LGBT Jews at risk. Finally, together with supportive rabbis, therapists and family members, JQY has created a new group for Orthodox parents of LGBT Jews called Temicha. Some of our Orthodox parents and family members marched beside us on Sunday at the Israel Day Parade. It speaks worlds to know that our parents and families have moved from being our greatest fear to being our greatest allies.

    It is this spirit of family that we embraced as we marched down 5th Avenue in the Celebrate Israel Parade. The impact of this one event could be invaluable for both the greater Jewish and LGBT communities. It is a chance for LGBT Jews to reconnect with both their Jewish and LGBT identities. It strengthens both worlds and sends a message of solidarity, inclusion and love. It is precisely this energy that should be harnessed to celebrate Israel.

    Most importantly our inclusion breaks a glass ceiling forever. Diversity can only strengthen the Jewish people. When we take our unique energies and come together for a positive purpose, there is no obstacle or challenge that can not be overcome. There is only hope. Israel can be the manifestation of this hope. In the end, we did a good thing and now the world is better because of it. LGBT Jews are part of the Jewish community and were treated as such in the largest Jewish Event of the world. I give this to my 17-year-old self, who desperately needed it, who almost didn’t believe that this was possible … almost.

    Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mordechai-levovitz/gay-jews-march-first-time-celebrate-israel-parade_b_1570861.html

    Gay-Marriage Foes Lose Bid for Review of Order on Ban

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

    A judge’s ruling striking down
    California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage as
    unconstitutional will stand after a federal appeals court in San
    Francisco refused to reconsider the decision.

    Proponents of Proposition 8, approved by 52 percent of
    California voters in 2008, will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to
    review the case. Lawyers for the groups said lower-court rulings
    reversing the measure were an attack on the democratic process.

    “The Protectmarriage.com legal team looks forward to
    standing before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of people’s
    right to preserve the fundamental building block of
    civilization,” Brian Raum, a lawyer for Proposition 8
    proponents, said in an e-mail. “The democratic process and the
    most important human institution — marriage — shouldn’t be
    overthrown based on the demands of Hollywood activists.”

    A majority of the 25 active judges at the U.S. Court of
    Appeals
    in San Francisco voted against rehearing the case. In
    February, a three-judge panel of the court voted 2-1 to uphold a
    federal judge’s 2010 ruling that Proposition 8 violates equal
    protection rights of gay and lesbian couples. Three judges
    dissented from the majority’s decision today.

    “We have overruled the will of 7 million California
    Proposition 8 voters,” Circuit Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain said
    in a dissenting opinion on behalf of himself and the two other
    opposing judges. “We should not have so roundly trumped
    California’s democratic process.”

    Obama’s Support

    O’Scannlain, noting that President Barack Obama announced
    his support of same-sex marriage a few weeks ago, said the
    president also commented that U.S. states are free to decide
    whether to allow gays to marry and the debate over gay marriage
    should “continue in a respectful way.”

    “Today the court has silenced any such respectful
    conversation,” O’Scannlain said.

    Justice Stephen Reinhardt, agreeing with the majority to
    deny review of the case, said the court held in February that
    Proposition 8 was invalid and didn’t resolve the fundamental
    question of whether the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from
    banning same-sex marriage.

    “That question may be decided in the near future, but if
    so, it should be in some other case, at some other time,”
    Reinhardt said in today’s decision.

    The three-judge panel in February ruled that the measure’s
    only purpose “was to lessen the status and human dignity of
    gays and lesbians in California,” which the U.S. Constitution
    doesn’t allow.

    Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court may have several chances over the next
    year to take up the issue of same-sex marriage in some form.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston ruled May 31 that the
    heart of the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act, which defines
    marriage as only a heterosexual union, is unconstitutional. The
    panel was the first appellate court to have declared any part of
    the federal law unconstitutional, said Kenji Yoshino, a
    professor of constitutional law at New York University School of
    Law
    in Manhattan.

    After the San Francisco appellate panel said Proposition 8
    was correctly struck down, backers of the measure sought review
    by a larger group of judges. The law, which remains in effect by
    court order, will continue to be law in California until the
    Supreme Court rules, the San Francisco appeals court said today.

    ‘Binding Precedent’

    Charles Cooper, an attorney for Proposition 8 defenders,
    said in court filings that the three-judge panel “erred in
    breaking with the uniform and binding precedent upholding the
    constitutionality of laws adopting the traditional definition of
    marriage.”

    Lawyers for gay couples that sued to overturn Proposition 8
    opposed a rehearing in the appeals court.

    “The final chapter of the Proposition 8 case has now
    begun,” said Chad Griffin, co-founder of the American
    Foundation of Equal Rights, which sponsored the lawsuit.
    “Should the U.S. Supreme Court decide to review the Ninth
    Circuit’s decision in our case, I cam confident that the
    justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality.”

    Proposition 8, approved after the California Supreme Court
    legalized gay marriage in 2008, amended California’s
    constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one
    woman.

    About 18,000 gay couples married in California before
    Proposition 8 was passed. As of 2006, there were an estimated
    109,000 gay couples in California, more than any other state,
    according to U.S. Census data compiled by the University of
    California
    , Los Angeles.

    Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire,
    New York and Washington, D.C., issue marriage licenses to same-
    sex couples, while Maryland and Washington state have approved
    doing so with laws that have yet to take effect.

    The case is Perry v. Brown, 10-16696, U.S. Court of Appeals
    for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco).

    To contact the reporter on this story:
    Karen Gullo in San Francisco at
    kgullo@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor responsible for this story:
    Michael Hytha at
    mhytha@bloomberg.net


    Enlarge image
    Proposition 8

    Proposition 8

    Proposition 8

    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Opponents of Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage bill, celebrate outside of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on February 7, 2012 in San Francisco.

    Opponents of Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage bill, celebrate outside of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on February 7, 2012 in San Francisco. Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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    Article source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-05/gay-marriage-foes-lose-bid-for-review-of-ruling-voiding-ban-1-.html

    Target selling pro-gay marriage t-shirts 

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — Two years after angering gay marriage supporters with a political donation that benefited a fiery gay marriage opponent seeking the governor’s office, Target Corp. is now upsetting same-sex marriage opponents by selling T-shirts to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota.

    The Minneapolis-based retailer is taking heat in its home state, where voters will decide this November whether to put a gay marriage ban into the state constitution. One organizer of gay marriage opponents warned that their displeasure could spread to 32 other states where voters have banned gay marriage.

    “Target is attacking traditional marriage, which is an incredibly misguided thing for them to have done,” said Chuck Darrell, spokesman for Minnesota for Marriage, a group campaigning to pass the constitutional marriage amendment. “It’s an insult to the overwhelming majority of their customers.”

    Target’s move comes two years after it endured a backlash from gay rights supporters for giving $150,000 to a campaign group backing the conservative Republican candidate for Minnesota governor, Tom Emmer, who narrowly lost to Democrat Mark Dayton in a race that went to an automatic recount. The donation set off protests and calls for a boycott from a constituency that had seen Target as an ally.

    Supporters of gay marriage see Minnesota as having the potential to halt their long losing streak in statewide votes.

    The T-shirt promotion will raise up to $120,000 for the Family Equality Council, a Washington-based group that is part of a Minnesota coalition pushing to defeat the constitutional amendment. The $12.99 shirts will be sold on Target’s website through June, or while supplies last. They come in four designs, emblazoned with words such as “harmony” and “pride.” Singer Gwen Stefani designed one shirt featuring a rainbow and a cloud that says, “LOVE IS LOVE.”

    Target hasn’t taken a position on Minnesota’s ballot question. Spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the T-shirt promotion was organized by a group of gay Target employees and their allies. She said it is Target’s second promotion to benefit a specific group. The first, during last year’s holiday season, raised money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the sale of limited-edition plush dogs.

    “Target is pleased to be able to bring our guests products they want while, in turn, helping support the LGBT community through the donation of 100 percent of the purchase price to the Family Equality Council,” the company said in a statement noting its long-standing support of the gay community.

    Another statement from the retailer notes “a broad range of strongly held views” on the marriage issue and urges employees to vote.

    Family Equality Council director Jennifer Chrisler said the T-shirt proceeds will fund her group’s work around the country, ranging from community building to political advocacy. She added that Target, a longtime sponsor of the Twin Cities gay pride festival, is now sponsoring Family Equality Council retreats for gay families in Massachusetts and California.

    “I know and understand what a big reaction that donation had two years ago, and I think they have taken steps, serious steps, to show that they understood that reaction,” Chrisler said. “But I really think this is an extension of the longtime partnership we have had and their commitment to family.”

    Minnesota for Marriage doesn’t plan to organize action against Target because of its focus on the November vote, Darrell said. Instead, he is asking supporters of the constitutional amendment to counter the Target promotion by donating $12.99 on his group’s website. He said donations are up since Target started selling the T-shirts.

    Darrell also urged Target to get out of the marriage issue — and stay out.

    “Just get out of this debate and do what they’re good at,” Darrell said. “Get out of the business of trying to redefine marriage.”

    Article source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/target-selling-anti-gay-marriage-t-shirts-article-1.1088542

    Court Won’t Revisit Gay Marriage Case; It May Go to Justices

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, said that an appeal of its February ruling by opponents of same-sex marriage failed to get a majority of the full circuit so the ruling will not be re-examined. The court said that the ruling would be stayed for 90 days to allow appeal to the Supreme Court.

    The decision comes less than a week after a federal appeals court in Boston handed a victory to supporters of same-sex marriage by ruling that a federal law declaring marriage to be solely between a man and a woman discriminated against married same-sex couples by denying them the same benefits afforded to heterosexual couples.

    Like the California appeals court ruling, the one in Massachusetts took care not to contend that the Constitution backs the right of same-sex marriage. In both cases, the judges chose narrower grounds by asserting that the laws in question singled out gay couples for discrimination in ways that violated their equal protection rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.

    The California case concerns a statewide referendum passed in 2008 placing a prohibition in the State Constitution against marriage between two people of the same sex. The 2-to-1 appeals court decision that struck down the referendum, known as Proposition 8, said, “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California.”

    It added, “The people may not employ the initiative power to single out a disfavored group for unequal treatment and strip them, without a legitimate justification, of a right as important as the right to marry.”

    Chad Griffin, co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group that brought the case, called Tuesday’s ruling “yet another federal court victory for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples in California and around the nation.”

    “The final chapter of the Proposition 8 case has now begun,” he said. “Should the United States Supreme Court decide to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision in our case, I am confident that the justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality.”

    The Supreme Court is widely thought to be divided 4-to-4 on the question of same-sex marriage, with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy considered the deciding vote. Both the California and Massachusetts rulings referred repeatedly and pointedly to two decisions by Justice Kennedy as justifications for their reasoning.

    And while many expect the Supreme Court to accept one or both of these cases, it is not obliged to do so. The requests for review are likely to arrive as early as months from now, with a review of the issue as early as next year.

    Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/us/court-wont-revisit-ruling-on-gay-unions.html

    Gay-marriage foes look to Supreme Court

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    SAN FRANCISCO — The sponsors of California’s same-sex marriage ban said Tuesday they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a landmark appellate court ruling that struck down the law as unconstitutional.

    Alliance Defense Fund lawyer Brian Raum said Proposition 8 backers “absolutely” would take the case to the high court now that it has run its course at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Raum said he expected to get a ruling from the Supreme Court sometime in the fall on whether it would take the case. He did not know if the Proposition 8 defense team would take the entire 90 days they have to petition the Supreme Court.

    The move followed the federal appeals court’s refusal to reconsider a decision by two of its member judges declaring the voter-approved ban to be a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians in California.

    Gay marriage supporters welcomed that news.

    “Our case has entered the final chapter. … The end is now in sight.” said Chad Griffin, president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is funding the effort to overturn Proposition 8.

    Backers of the ban petitioned the full 9th Circuit in February instead of appealing directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Same sex unions were briefly legal in California before voters passed Proposition 8 in November 2008. Due to the ongoing legal wrangling, it’s unlikely the practice will resume in the state anytime soon.

    The 9th Circuit said Tuesday a majority of its 26 actively serving judges had voted not to revisit a three-judge panel’s 2-1 decision declaring the voter-approved ban to be a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians in California.

    The 9th Circuit does not often agree to rehear cases, a procedure known as en banc review. Federal court rules reserve the practice for appeals that involve “a question of exceptional importance” or if the original decision appears to conflict with Supreme Court or 9th Circuit precedents.

    After voters approved Proposition 8, two unmarried couples sued to overturn the ban in May 2009, and their lawsuit gave rise the next year to the first federal trial to examine if states can prohibit gays from getting married without violating the constitutional guarantee of equality. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ultimately sided with the couples.

    The ban’s sponsors appealed, and the split 9th Circuit panel affirmed Walker’s finding that Proposition 8 violated those civil rights. But, instead of finding any gay marriage ban would be unconstitutional, the panel limited its decision to California, saying Proposition 8 improperly took away an existing right.

    Several other high-profile same-sex cases also are making their way toward the high court. A three-judge panel of the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared last week that the federal law that prohibits recognition of same-sex couples unconstitutionally denies Social Security and other federal spousal benefits to married gay couples.

    Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2012/06/04/20120604california-gay-marriage-ruling-expected-tuesday.html

    Calif. gay marriage case looks headed to Supreme Court

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012


    SAN FRANCISCO |
    Wed Jun 6, 2012 12:21am IST

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way on Tuesday for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider California’s gay marriage ban, declining an appeal to revisit the case.

    Supporters of the 2008 ban, Proposition 8, have lost two rounds in federal court but have made clear they will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and hope for a favorable response from the conservative-leaning court.

    The top U.S. court could agree to hear the matter in the session beginning in October, putting it on track to decide the case within a year.

    “We’re not at the end of the line yet, but we are vastly closer,” said Theodore Olson, an attorney for the two gay couples challenging the ban.

    An attorney for the ban supporters said that his team was preparing for the next round. “We will promptly file our appeal to the nation’s highest court and look forward to a positive outcome on behalf of the millions of Californians who believe in traditional marriage,” Andrew Pugno said in a statement.

    The Supreme Court could also take on a recent decision by Boston’s 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, and hear the two alongside each other, said Thomas Goldstein, a Washington D.C.-based attorney who practices before the top court.

    “The timing is too perfect,” Goldstein said, adding that the oral argument would resemble this year’s proceedings on legal challenges to President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

    President Obama last month turned gay marriage into a 2012 campaign issue, saying he believed same-sex couples should be able to marry. Republican Mitt Romney disagrees.

    The vast majority of U.S. states limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, and popular votes have consistently approved bans on widening those rights.

    But polls show growing acceptance of same-sex nuptials, which have been legalized in eight states and the District of Columbia, thanks to votes by legislators and court decisions.

    The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston last week ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denied benefits to same-sex couples in a state where gay marriage was legal.

    But appeals courts have so far declined to rule broadly on whether marriage is a fundamental human right for same-sex couples as well as heterosexuals.

    A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that California’s Prop 8 ban discriminated against gays and lesbians. It rejected the key argument by ban supporters that Proposition 8 furthered “responsible procreation.”

    Ban proponents appealed the ruling to the full 9th Circuit, which could hear it with a larger panel of judges. The court on Tuesday said it would not do so. It also kept the decision ending the ban on hold for 90 days, to allow for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    California is the most populous U.S. state and the home of Hollywood and hippies, but it has a socially conservative side as well. That leaning was clear in the 2008 ballot that enacted Prop 8 by 52.24 percent to 47.76 percent, or some 600,000 votes, ending a summer of legal same-sex marriage.

    A federal judge struck down Proposition 8 in 2010, although existing same-sex marriages are on hold pending appeals.

    (Editing by Sandra Maler)

    Article source: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/05/usa-gaymarriage-idINDEE8540ER20120605

    Gay Couples Face More Financial Obstacles Than Straight Couples

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    By Temma Ehrenfeld
    NEW YORK, June 5 (Reuters) – Christel de Vries, a Dutch outsourcing manager for Accenture, sealed her love for her female partner twice, once in 2001 in Amsterdam under Dutch law and again in 2007 in a civil union in New Jersey. Yet under U.S. federal law, she isn’t married – and that is creating obstacles in her divorce.
    The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act rejected federal recognition of same-sex marriages in the United States and abroad and declared that no state need recognize a same-sex marriage in another state. The conflict between state and federal law – and between states – creates double worlds for gay marrieds in nearly every area of their financial lives.
    Last week, the U.S. Appeals Court in Boston ruled that DOMA unfairly denies federal benefits to same-sex couples married under state law. The decision would apply to couples in the First Circuit, where Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut allow people of the same sex to marry.
    However, the court put a stay on its decision until the next step in the appeals process, most likely a Supreme Court ruling.
    “If this decision is upheld on appeal, it should pave the way for a wide swath of federal protections for married same-sex couples,” said Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation for Lambda Legal in New York.
    But in the meantime, and despite the broadening support from President Barack Obama and others for the rights of gay people to marry, they still face more paperwork and legal issues – and costs – than heterosexual couples.
    “A lot of gay couples are getting married because they can, not because they’ve thought through the legal consequences,” said Larry Jacobs, a Rockville, Maryland, estate and trust attorney specializing in same-sex couples. Jacobs often discusses pre- and post-nuptial agreements with clients to sidestep these knots.

    DIVORCE COSTS MORE
    When de Vries and her partner separated in 2009, a New Jersey judge ordered de Vries to pay spousal support. But unlike a federally-recognized spouse, she cannot deduct those payments from her federal taxes – costing her an extra $12,000 a year, she estimates.
    When their civil union is finally dissolved, a New Jersey judge will issue a qualified domestic relations order that will require de Vries to give her partner a chunk of her 401(k). But federal law governs these retirement plans, and de Vries says her company cannot distribute the money unless she leaves the firm. And her former partner cannot roll any such payment into a retirement account, so it, too, would be subject to taxes.
    “I guess we’ll have to assume that the discriminatory law will change,” de Vries said.

    FILING FOUR TAX RETURNS
    Gay marrieds usually prepare four tax returns. In most states, they file a joint state tax return. Because the joint state return requires certain federal numbers, “you prepare a federal joint return, pull the numbers off it and throw it away,” said Jacobs.
    Then they prepare two federal returns as singles. That’s often a good deal: A higher earner can take more of deductions like mortgage interest and real estate or claim a child and file as “head of household,” said Dana Levit, a financial planner at Paragon Financial Advisors in Newton, Massachusetts.
    However, since 2010, an Internal Revenue Service ruling has required that in states with both “community property” laws and same-sex unions, gay couples must split their earnings evenly on their individual tax returns.
    Los Angeles financial planner Carol Grosvenor and her spouse Marilyn, an Episcopal priest, saw a bump in taxes of $6,000 a year because of this rule, according to Grosvenor.
    Confusion reigns. “It’s hard to find a tax preparer in California that even understands the rules,” Grosvenor said.
    Karen Mateer, a Pasadena-based tax, trust and estate attorney, advised a gay couple who moved from California to Arizona at mid-year. “Their taxes were a mess because the rules were completely different in the two states,” she said. In California, they were married; in Arizona they weren’t.

    ESTATES TAKE MORE PLANNING
    Thom Johnston and Bob Gould moved from San Francisco to Fort Wayne, Indiana, nine years ago, to help Johnston’s mother and to cut their expenses. Selling their San Francisco home allowed them to buy a house in Fort Wayne mortgage-free.
    But at the time, Indiana’s estate tax law came down hard on “unrelated” heirs, and Indiana did not recognize the couple’s California civil union. So they’ve bought two pricey life insurance policies to cover those taxes if either man dies. “We watch our expenditures carefully for several months before we make the annual payments. They are painful checks to write, knowing that we wouldn’t be doing it if our marriage was recognized in Indiana,” said Johnston.
    That Indiana provision is now being phased out, but federal estate law still penalizes same-sex spouses who inherit property from their partners. Under federal law, a spouse can inherit an estate of any size without owing estate taxes. A same-sex partner must pay estate tax on an inheritance above $5 million, and unless Congress acts, that amount will drop to $1 million on Jan. 1, 2013.
    For Mateer’s gay clients, she said, “It may mean selling a home or business to raise cash to pay death taxes.”
    Men and women who are married can give each other money without considering taxes. Between gay spouses, gifts above the current $13,000 annual limit generally incur either a gift tax or reduce the lifetime exemptions before estate taxes apply.

    MOST VULNERABLE WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS
    Gays without income and savings of their own are especially vulnerable when a partner dies. They are ineligible for the Social Security “widow benefit,” which lets surviving spouses take the deceased’s full Social Security payment.
    And while state laws typically protect spouses from being cut out of a will, many of Jacobs’ gay clients live in houses they won’t inherit, he said. In one case, a client was kicked out of the house two weeks after her partner died – by the partner’s family. A Maryland probate judge ruled that she had no claim.
    Wills and trusts can help clarify and ease these situations, but gay couples get busy with life and procrastinate just like their heterosexual neighbors. “Lots of people with young kids don’t do estate planning and it’s a nightmare. It’s just worse for gay people,” Jacobs said.

    HOSPITAL CHALLENGES
    Straight couples have the right to make medical and financial decisions for each other if one is incapacitated. Washington, D.C., law gives same-sex spouses these rights, but if a same-sex spouse ends up in a hospital across the river in Virginia, a partner could be powerless. So Jacobs creates healthcare and financial proxies for both his D.C. and Virginia clients.
    Kat Morgan and Daena Petersen prepared proxies and wills years ago. Morgan, who directs training programs for Hostelling International, and Petersen, a doctor, entered into a civil union in 2001 in Vermont. In 2010, they legally wed.
    Now the tight job market is pushing Petersen to consider residencies around the country, some in southern states that would not recognize their marriage.
    “We always purposefully did not apply to southern programs,” Morgan says, “but the game has changed.” After waiting years for a legal marriage, it’s a blow to contemplate losing that status.

    Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/gay-couples-financial-obstacles_n_1570505.html

    Israel Presents Itself As Haven For Gay Community

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    Israel is now marketing itself internationally as welcoming to the gay community. Participants in the annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem are shown here on July 29, 2010.
    Enlarge Ronen Zvulun/Reuters/Landov

    Israel is now marketing itself internationally as welcoming to the gay community. Participants in the annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem are shown here on July 29, 2010.

    Israel is now marketing itself internationally as welcoming to the gay community. Participants in the annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem are shown here on July 29, 2010.

    Ronen Zvulun/Reuters/Landov

    Israel is now marketing itself internationally as welcoming to the gay community. Participants in the annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem are shown here on July 29, 2010.

    The sun is setting, gay pride flags wave next to the water, same-sex couples kiss and cuddle on the beach. This is Tel Aviv — which the government of Israel is now pushing as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world — and gay tourism is booming.

    “It’s a place you have to go, good parties, nice people, beautiful people and just different from all the other tourist destinations you can go to,” says Jorg Grosskopf, a German tourist who, together with his partner, Peter, is on his seventh vacation in Israel.

    Tel Aviv will host its annual gay pride parade June 8. The government and organizers say it’s expected to be the biggest one ever.

    The government of Israel is styling the country as a haven for the gay community. But it’s more than just beaches, parades and clubs. Israel has laws protecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community.

    “LGBT rights in Israel are truly an achievement,” says Itai Pinkas, a former Tel Aviv council member. “It’s an obligation to show to the world.”

    Pinkas notes that gays can openly serve in the Israeli army. Gay marriages from other countries are respected. However, Israel’s religious authorities, who control marriages in the country, do not sanction civil marriages, a prohibition that covers both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

    Drawing Comparisons In The Region

    The LGBT community has other protections as well, which is not the case in other parts of the Middle East, Pinkas says.

    “People should not forget that our neighborhood is not a good one for gays, as for women, as for anyone who is not religious or very conservative,” he says.

    Thousands of members of Israel's gay community and its supporters marched on June 11, 2010, in the annual gay pride parade in Tel Aviv. The parade began in central Tel Aviv and ended at the city's beachfront.
    Enlarge Kfir Sivan/Israel Sun/Landov

    Thousands of members of Israel’s gay community and its supporters marched on June 11, 2010, in the annual gay pride parade in Tel Aviv. The parade began in central Tel Aviv and ended at the city’s beachfront.

    Thousands of members of Israel's gay community and its supporters marched on June 11, 2010, in the annual gay pride parade in Tel Aviv. The parade began in central Tel Aviv and ended at the city's beachfront.

    Kfir Sivan/Israel Sun/Landov

    Thousands of members of Israel’s gay community and its supporters marched on June 11, 2010, in the annual gay pride parade in Tel Aviv. The parade began in central Tel Aviv and ended at the city’s beachfront.

    However, even within Israel, acceptance of the gay community is not universal. Jerusalem, for example, is just an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv, but is far more conservative, and there is less tolerance for the gay community.

    Not everyone in the gay-rights community agrees that the government should be taking credit for any progress that has occurred.

    “They don’t have the right to claim fame on that,” says Mike Hamel, who is on the board of Israel’s National LGBT Task Force, a private organization.

    “If Israel is a haven for the LGBT community, it’s because of the community, the organizations that are working very hard to make it a good place for LGBT people to live,” he says. “It’s not because of the government policies. It’s in spite of the government policies.”

    Generally speaking, Hamel says successive governments have not been supportive of gay rights, and it took legal challenges for there to be progress — a pattern that continues today.

    For example, a recent bid to include a specific clause barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in a student-rights bill was blocked by Israel’s justice minister, Yaakov Neeman, who is a member of a religious party.

    Israel’s current government is a coalition that includes several conservative religious parties that control sensitive ministries such as justice and the interior — ones that control what services and rights the gay community has, Hamel says.

    “When it comes to practical things, we still have a hard battle to fight,” he says.

    Other critics accuse the government of what they call “pinkwashing.”

    Gay groups that support the Palestinian bid for an independent state use the phrase to describe Israel’s public relations strategy. They charge that the Israeli government is highlighting the rights enjoyed by the gay community in Israel to obscure the occupation of the Palestinians.

    “Israel is a wonderful country in many ways. The sea is beautiful, it’s a wonderful country for high-tech, and they’ve made a lot of progress in terms of gay rights,” says Sari Bashi, who is with the Israeli human rights group Gisha, which advocates on behalf of the Palestinians. “It doesn’t change the fact that what is going on in the occupied territories is a severe violation of human rights that needs to be stopped.”

    Article source: http://www.npr.org/2012/06/04/154279534/israel-presents-itself-as-haven-for-gay-community

    West Hollywood parish leaves Presbyterian Church over gay rights

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    Well before the national gay-rights movement sprang from the Stonewall riots, West Hollywood Presbyterian Church started Los Angeles’ first gay men’s rap group. The year was 1965.

    The congregation launched the Lazarus Project in 1977, sending gay men and lesbians into Presbyterian churches across the country to share their stories of faith and family at a time when the denomination was poised to declare that “homosexuality was not God’s wish.”

    The small church just off the Sunset Strip was the faith’s first to hire an openly gay pastor — 27 years before the Presbyterian Constitution allowed homosexuals to be ordained. The Rev. Daniel Smith is still West Hollywood’s pastor.

    After decades spent trying to make the Presbyterian faith embrace its gay and lesbian members, West Hollywood has become a pioneer yet again.

    Hundreds of congregations have left or begun the process of leaving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the last five years, joining denominations they believe hew to a stricter interpretation of Scripture.

    West Hollywood was the first to leave for the opposite reason — because of what Smith described as the “core-level homophobia in the Presbyterian Church.” The congregation three weeks ago held its inaugural service as part of the United Church of Christ, which ordained its first openly gay minister in 1972.

    “We’re the first to go,” Smith said, “but we will not be the last, I guarantee you.”

    Even as they supported the move, many of the Presbyterian Church’s more progressive members called West Hollywood’s defection deeply troubling and a little perplexing, given the timing. A year ago, the church lifted its prohibition on gay and lesbian ministers. This summer, its governing body will vote on whether to allow same-sex marriages. The outcome is uncertain.

    “Just because there is a rule on the books that says we’re not restricting [ordination], the denomination is still pretty hostile to gay and lesbian folks,” said the Rev. Maria La Sala, who teaches Presbyterian governance at Yale Divinity School. “On the one hand, my heart is broken. On the other, I understand.”

    The Rev. Chris Glaser, who founded the Lazarus Project and now is a Metropolitan Community Church minister in Atlanta, wrote a three-page letter to his former congregation. He talked about the church’s history and how hard its members fought to become “good Presbyterians so that we could work within the denomination in terms of LGBT issues.”

    “We were a witness in that regard,” Glaser said. “I had hoped that the church would remain Presbyterian…. When all was said and done, I came to the conclusion that they were just tired of the fight.”

    West Hollywood’s departure was a long time coming.

    During the early part of its 99-year-existence, the church ministered to the neighborhood’s largely middle-class residents, many of whom worked as craftsmen in the entertainment industry. But around 1950, Smith said, the area became a magnet for immigrants. White families fled, and the church rolls dropped.

    The Rev. Ross Greek, Smith’s predecessor, started an after-school program to quell racial tensions and launched the Mary Magdalene Project, which ministered to prostitutes on the Strip. The West Hollywood church offered sanctuary to Vietnam War protesters seeking conscientious objector status. The gay men’s rap group gave rise to a worship service for gay men.

    “The church kept growing,” Smith said. In 1984, he became “the first gay pastor to serve a Presbyterian Church and be able to stay in the church.”

    By that point the most progressive congregations across the country had loosely banded together, calling themselves the More Light Churches and working for the ordination of gays and lesbians. But in 1985, the church ruled that More Light congregations could not even say publicly that they intended to defy official doctrine.

    Rather than leave the Presbyterian umbrella, the defiant congregations formed the More Light Church Network and kept working toward their goals. The kickoff meeting was at West Hollywood Presbyterian.

    The More Light debacle was the first time West Hollywood talked about leaving; it took another quarter-century for the conversation to turn serious.

    In early 2008, the Rev. Lisa Bove and Renna Killen sought to have their 10-year relationship blessed. Bove at one time had been an associate pastor at West Hollywood and headed the church’s HIV/AIDS ministry. The women weren’t asking for a wedding ceremony, which the denomination did not sanction. Just a blessing, which it did.

    Article source: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-weho-presbyterians-20120605,0,4028895.story?track=rss

    Exclusive: U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay to come back at New York GP

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012


    RALEIGH, North Carolina |
    Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:17pm EDT

    RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) – United States sprinter Tyson Gay will put aside the pain of a nagging hip injury and run his first race in nearly a year at this weekend’s Adidas Grand Prix in New York as he scrambles to be fit for Olympic trials, he told Reuters on Monday.

    Gay will not race Jamaican world champion Yohan Blake in the featured 100 meters event, however, and will instead compete in a preliminary race at the Diamond League meeting.

    “I still have a pain (in the hip area), but am managing it and I’ve got to get on with it,” Gay said in a telephone interview from Dallas, where he is currently training.

    His Olympic trials are less than three weeks away, “and I’ve got to see where my body is,” Gay said.

    Although a pre-Olympic showdown with Blake, one of the favorites for the London 2012 Games, would be ideal, it would not be helpful to Gay at this point, the sprinter and his agent said.

    “I am running in the B section because, competition wise, I am not ready yet,” Gay said.

    The separation will allow Gay to test himself without the pressure of racing the world champion, Gay’s agent, Mark Wetmore, said from New York.

    “It may not be ideal for everyone, with two athletes of that caliber in different races, but in an Olympic year we have to look after Tyson,” Wetmore said.

    “Blake, under the right conditions, could run 9.7. We don’t know what Tyson can run. Hopefully he can have a great race and run 9.9.”

    Jamaican triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt has the year’s fastest time at 9.76 seconds. His world record is 9.58 in 2009 with Gay the second fastest of all-time at 9.69 the same year.

    The competition will be Gay’s only race before the June 21-July 1 Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, where the 2007 double world champion will enter only the 100 meters.

    “I am nervous (about New York) because I have high expectations for myself,” Gay said. ” I don’t know what I can run, but my sprint coach (Jon Drummond) told me today he thought I could open decently.”

    Gay has not competed since pulling out of the 100 meters semi-final of the U.S. world championships trials in Eugene last June. He later had surgery on the hip and another procedure in March.

    The often-injured 2009 world silver medalist only began sprint training three weeks ago.

    “I usually open my season at a small meeting, but I decided in the past 48 hours to run in New York,” he said.

    (Editing by Ossian Shine)

    Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/05/us-oly-athl-atm100-ny-test-gay-idUSBRE85402F20120605?feedType=RSS

    Jason Alexander apologizes for calling cricket (the game) ‘gay’

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”

    That was the famous catch phrase spawned by Jerry and George (played by Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander) on an episode of ‘Seinfeld’ when they were denying that they were a gay couple.

    Now Alexander is having to apologize for calling the sport of cricket “gay” on a talk show.

    Alexander called the popular British sport a “gay game” Friday on the “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”

    “My daily life is filled with gay men and women, both socially and professionally”

    - Jason Alexander

    “It’s the pitch It’s the weirdest… It’s not like a manly baseball pitch,” Alexander said. “It’s a queer, British gay pitch.”

    The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) was not amused, and neither were many people who tweeted Alexander their distaste.

    The actor soon released a statement to GLAAD, explaining that the joke had been part of his stand-up routine years ago. He also said that after receiving the barrage of tweets, he still “truly did not understand why a gay person would be particularly offended by this routine.”

    Alexander said it was only after talking to friends and dissecting the joke and its implications that he came to understand the error of his ways.

    “I should know better. My daily life is filled with gay men and women, both socially and professionally. I am profoundly aware of the challenges these friends of mine face and I have openly advocated on their behalf….” he wrote in part. “I can only apologize and I do. In comedy, timing is everything. And when a group of people are still fighting so hard for understanding, acceptance, dignity and essential rights—the time for some kinds of laughs has not yet come. I hope my realization brings some comfort.”

    Comedian Vince Vaughn was came under similar fire a couple of years ago when his character called electric cars “gay” in the trailer for his film “The Dilemma.”

    “Let me add my voice of support to the people outraged by the bullying and persecution of people for their differences, whatever those differences may be,” Vaughn said in 2010. “Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together. Drawing dividing lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most importantly, where does it stop.”

    GLAAD did not agree.

    “Vince is right. Comedy does bring us together, unless one of us is the punch line,” GLAAD said on its website. “Then it pushes us apart.”

    Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/06/04/jason-alexander-apologizes-for-calling-cricket-game-gay/

    Gay marriage advocates gain corporate support

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    Gay marriage advocates have a new and powerful ally in corporate America.

    One by one, national corporations like Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing and Google are wading into the once-risky business of taking a position supporting gay marriage in states across the country.

    Continue Reading

    Nowhere is that more apparent than in the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which a federal appeals court called unconstitutional on Thursday. Forty-eight companies, including Nike, Time Warner Cable, Aetna, Exelon Corp., and Xerox had signed a brief arguing that the law negatively affected their businesses.

    But the real test will come in November, when voters in four states — Maryland, Minnesota, Maine and Washington — will head to the polls. To date, gay marriage advocates have yet to win a statewide ballot initiative but hope corporate support and money will help turn the tide.

    Last year, 25 executives including the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, Viacom and Alcoa lobbied New York legislators to approve same-sex marriage.

    In January, Microsoft, Boeing, Vulcan and RealNetworks were among those who voiced their support for a bill approving gay marriage in Washington state.

    The corporate activism is a change from as little as five years ago, when major companies shied away from same-sex marriage issues in order to avoid a backlash. Social conservative groups like the American Family Association systematically targeted companies like Home Depot and Ford for their support of gay rights organizations.

    “Earlier on there was more risk than reward,” said Bob Witeck, a consultant who works with corporations on gay, lesbian and transgender policies. “Now there’s far more talk about the reward and less about the risk.”

    The 48 businesses and nearly two dozen other employer organizations that signed on to a federal court brief opposing DOMA represent a “sea change” in the views of the business community, said Beth Boland, an attorney who worked on the brief.

    In the brief, the companies say DOMA, which defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman, is expensive to comply with and forces businesses to treat legally married couples of the same sex differently from couples of different sexes.

    “I see a seismic shift in the business community in the last five to 10 years,” Boland said. “I can’t even begin to state how different these issues are perceived within the business community.

    Article source: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77002.html

    Exclusive – Tyson Gay in NY return

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012


    RALEIGH, North Carolina |
    Tue Jun 5, 2012 2:22am BST

    RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) – United States sprinter Tyson Gay will put aside the pain of a nagging hip injury and run his first race in nearly a year at this weekend’s Adidas Grand Prix in New York as he scrambles to be fit for Olympic trials, he told Reuters on Monday.

    Gay will not race Jamaican world champion Yohan Blake in the featured 100 metres event, however, and will instead compete in a preliminary race at the Diamond League meeting.

    “I still have a pain (in the hip area), but am managing it and I’ve got to get on with it,” Gay said in a telephone interview from Dallas, where he is currently training.

    His Olympic trials are less than three weeks away, “and I’ve got to see where my body is,” Gay said.

    Although a pre-Olympic showdown with Blake, one of the favourites for the London 2012 Games, would be ideal, it would not be helpful to Gay at this point, the sprinter and his agent said.

    “I am running in the B section because, competition wise, I am not ready yet,” Gay said.

    The separation will allow Gay to test himself without the pressure of racing the world champion, Gay’s agent, Mark Wetmore, said from New York.

    “It may not be ideal for everyone, with two athletes of that calibre in different races, but in an Olympic year we have to look after Tyson,” Wetmore said.

    “Blake, under the right conditions, could run 9.7. We don’t know what Tyson can run. Hopefully he can have a great race and run 9.9.”

    Jamaican triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt has the year’s fastest time at 9.76 seconds. His world record is 9.58 in 2009 with Gay the second fastest of all-time at 9.69 the same year.

    The competition will be Gay’s only race before the June 21-July 1 Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, where the 2007 double world champion will enter only the 100 metres.

    “I am nervous (about New York) because I have high expectations for myself,” Gay said. ” I don’t know what I can run, but my sprint coach (Jon Drummond) told me today he thought I could open decently.”

    Gay has not competed since pulling out of the 100 metres semi-final of the U.S. world championships trials in Eugene last June. He later had surgery on the hip and another procedure in March.

    The often-injured 2009 world silver medallist only began sprint training three weeks ago.

    “I usually open my season at a small meeting, but I decided in the past 48 hours to run in New York,” he said.

    (Editing by Ossian Shine)

    Article source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/06/05/uk-oly-athl-atm100-ny-test-gay-idUKBRE85402820120605

    Arson suspected at gay Oak Park nightclub

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    As an arson investigation at a gay nightclub in Oak Park continued Monday, advocates for the gay and lesbian community were waiting for answers about how the fire started.

    The blaze Sunday morning gutted the Velvet Rope Ultra Lounge, at 728 Lake St. Oak Park officials say that arson is suspected, but that it’s unclear whether the business was targeted because it was a well-established gay club.

    A village trustee cautioned that there are unanswered questions.

    “I’m not aware of any widespread concern about this incident escalating or representing something broader,” said Trustee Ray Johnson, who also is a member of the Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association.

    The club’s owner, Frank Elliot, said he thought the blaze was suspicious because derogatory messages were scrawled on the wall inside the burned-out club. Authorities were seen removing a piece of concrete wall and loading it onto a truck.

    By Monday afternoon, the club’s windows were covered with boards and a restoration crew truck was parked in the back.

    Greg Raub, co-chairman of the village’s lesbian and gay association, said in an email that the association is “greatly concerned about speculation that the Velvet Rope may have been targeted because of its gay ownership and clientele.”

    The group, he said, isn’t planning any response or further comment until the investigation is completed.

    Rudy Medina, manager of Fuego Loco, a restaurant near the bar, said he would be surprised if an investigation concluded the arson was fueled by anti-gay sentiment.

    “It’s a very diverse community,” Medina said. “People of all walks of life walk in there. I’ve been in there before. It’s labeled as a gay club, but it’s a cool place. It’s a nice place.”

    Freelance reporter Joe Ruzich contributed.

    mmanchir@tribune.com

    Article source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-oak-park-nightclub-fire-20120605,0,4150687.story

    Utah gay pride parade draws hundreds of Mormon participants

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

    (CNN) – A gay pride parade in Mormon-heavy Salt Lake City drew thousands of participants, including a few hundred Mormons, whose church has been criticized by gay rights activists for its activism against same-sex marriage.

    The Mormon contingent for Sunday’s parade wasn’t made up of gay members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but rather straight Mormons who want to show support for gay and lesbians, according to CNN affiliate KSTU-TV in Salt Lake City.

    The Mormon group marched near the front of the parade, just behind the event’s grand marshal, Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter (“Milk”) who grew up in the church, according to KSTU.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that sex is only acceptable within heterosexual marriage. The church played a major role in passing California’s 2008 ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8.

    CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

    Since then, the church has been subtly softening its posture toward gays and lesbians, appointing an openly gay Mormon to an official role in the church in San Francisco. Individual Mormon bishops have addressed recent meetings of gay and lesbian groups.

    “I have a friend who asked me … why I wasn’t at church today and I said, ‘I’m going to the gay pride parade,’ ” said one Mormon who marched in Sunday’s parade, according to KSTU.

    “‘He said, ‘Don’t Mormons hate gay people?’ ” the marcher continued. “I said, ‘Some do, but I don’t.’”

    Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

    The Mormon group that marched in Salt Lake City was organized by Mormons Building Bridges, a group of lay Mormons who want to show support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community. The group is promoting Mormon participation in gay pride parades across the country this year.

    “This Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history,” the group says on its Facebook page. “Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex.

    “… Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment to love one another.”

    Article source: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/04/utah-gay-pride-parade-draws-hundreds-of-mormon-participants/

    I Do: How I, a Gay Black Man, Came Around on Same-Sex Marriage

    Monday, June 4th, 2012

    When New York City passed the right for gay couples to get married, it was definitely a happy and history-making occasion. The same rights were now being given to those who were previously denied them based solely on their sexuality. Finally New Yorkers, after many years of fighting and lobbying, were granted the same equality as others. Yet in that battle not all people in the LGBT community were on the battleground. In fact, there was a myth that the greatest detractors were those in the African-American community. Personally, I knew many African Americans were indifferent to the passage of the law, but there were also many who were in strong support. At the time I myself, a gay black man, was part of the choir that felt that there was little importance in marriage equality. Since then, I learned a very valuable lesson about what it means to have the right to marry.

    With Obama’s recent announcement and the NAACP following suit by throwing their support behind same-sex marriage, much has been said in the news regarding African Americans and marriage equality. You would think black America was no longer on the periphery and that all people of color had been swept through the flood gates of acceptance of gay unions. Yet there remain those who still want to remind you that God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. But that’s another conversation to be had, because if we truly looked at the words of the Bible, we’d realize that we’re all sinners. But again I digress.

    As I said, initially I was not behind the cause, but not because it wasn’t important or because I didn’t think that life-long partners should have equal rights. I just felt that at the time there were more pressing matters in the black community that should have taken precedence, such as the continued rise of HIV in the black community. If we had to stack the social ills faced by the gay black community, I didn’t believed marriage inequality would be in the number-one spot. Taking its place would be things such as unemployment, anti-gay hate crimes, continued racism, and mental health concerns such as depression. It seemed that the fight for gay marriage was more of a white gay agenda, and the train that was carrying it was going full-speed, but HIV, which was once prominent in the gay white community, was now an issue relegated to the caboose, being left far behind.

    So my support for marriage equality was not as strong. I wasn’t ready to climb that wedding cake, not with so many people of color getting infected with HIV. I truly felt that way up until last year, when New York passed the same-sex marriage bill. It was then that I had to reexamine my feelings on what gay marriage meant. It also made me look at my partner, as I was in a relationship, and think (probably like many other New Yorkers in same-sex relationships), “Is this the person I want to walk down the aisle with and be with all my life? Do I want to stay with one box of cereal when I can have a multipack of choices that NYC offers?” Choices — that was the key word. In New York City, why settle down with one person when you have choices? Why stay committed to a person and feel like you’re stuck? Why be in this Loch Ness Monster we call “relationship,” a beast you hear about but never truly see? And if you see it, it doesn’t last for long.

    But I wasn’t in that place. I had someone who loved me in spite of my HIV status, someone who was HIV-negative but accepted me unconditionally, HIV and all. Over the 13 years that we’ve been in a relationship with each other, things haven’t been all sunshine (there have been fights and arguments and even a period when we briefly took a break from each other), but during those times I learned two lessons: Sometimes we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone, and, most importantly, a relationship isn’t a relationship when everything is going well. A true relationship is one in which you have a disagreement or something bad happens, such as a breach of trust, and instead of running away, you both work on it until you fix whatever was broken. That is a relationship. And that sometimes the consequences of having so many choices is that you never get that chance to build a foundation of love, as your heart is always in transit to the next piece.

    But marriage is a strong commitment that two people can make to each other. And I’m aware that a piece of paper doesn’t mean that you’ll have eternal bliss or that you won’t end up in divorce court, but for me it says that I’m ready to take this next step in this relationship despite fully knowing what I’m walking into.

    And not to put myself on a pedestal, but maybe by seeing a gay black man in a relationship, other gay black men will see long-term relationships as something they can do, too. Maybe, in a weird way, blacks in relationships won’t seem like a myth, and perhaps, just perhaps, this can be the catalyst for driving down HIV rates among gay black men, as they’d now be giving themselves only to that special one. Or maybe I’m drinking too much of the Kool-Aid.

    So, on May 1, 2012, I popped the question. I had made my choice, a choice made from the heart, a choice based on knowing what was right, a choice built on the one thing that has sustained us all these years: a foundation of love.

    There are still issues in the gay black community and more work to be done, but taking away what separates us makes us stronger together. There’s a belief that gay marriage is only for some and not for others, but it actually benefits us all. It’s not a white thing or a black thing; it’s a rights thing. We all should have access to it. A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.

    So now, when someone asks me, as a gay black man, whether I support same-sex marriage, I’ll simply say to them two words that show my commitment: I do.


    Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aundaray-guess/same-sex-marriage_b_1560214.html

    Gay Rosenthal on Her New Show, ‘Push Girls’

    Monday, June 4th, 2012



    Sundance Channel
    ‘Push Girls’

    In the glamour-obsessed world of reality TV, producer Gay Rosenthal has carved out a unique and, to some, controversial niche by focusing on people with stark physical differences or disabilities. She created “Little People, Big World,” which chronicled the lives of dwarfs Matt and Amy Roloff and their children; it ran for six seasons on TLC. “Ruby” followed the weight-loss efforts of a Georgia woman who started the show at about 500 pounds; it aired for four seasons on the Style Network. Now comes “Push Girls,” premiering tonight on the Sundance Channel. It features four girlfriends, all paraplegic or quadriplegic, navigating life and love in Los Angeles via their wheelchairs.

    The show emphasizes the normal aspects of their lives as attractive, ambitious L.A. women, even as it spotlights the countless problems posed by their physical condition. In the first episode, Angela Rockwood, who unlike her paraplegic friends is paralyzed from the neck down, tries to restart her modeling career. But on a phone call with a modeling agency, she’s instructed to “just walk in,” and during a photo shoot she is wracked by leg spasms, a facet of everyday life for her. Mia Schaikewitz, the only woman whose injury didn’t occur in a car accident, had a blood vessel rupture in her spinal cord when she was 15 years old. She grapples with doubt about her long-term boyfriend, and decides to revisit a love of swimming predating her paralysis. Recently we spoke with Rosenthal, the executive producer of “Push Girls.”

    Was it difficult to find a network for “Push Girls”?

    It was definitely a challenge and it was important to find the right home. Obviously the subject was unfamiliar to a lot of people, and that was one of the reasons I picked Sundance. They’re very progressive.

    What were the negotiations with Sundance like?

    It was a very quick marriage. I had some tape to show them and, literally, within 24 hours, I got a call saying, “We want to explore this with you.” They got the idea and embraced it very quickly, the story of these four best girlfriends. The dramatic twist is that they’re in wheelchairs.

    Your subjects were already friends when you met them. Is it unusual for a concept and its characters to come along in one package like that?

    It’s very similar to when I found the Roloffs, who of course were all together. And Ruby [Gettinger] found me and she was living with her nephew. If I find a character that I really spark to, it’s very organic. I met Angela [Rockwood] first, and we talked a lot about what we might do together. But she was telling me about her three best friends, who were also in wheelchairs. I met them and that night changed my life. We had these intimate, open and real conversations, and I knew that this was the show.

    The first episode does a lot to answer questions some viewers may have about what it’s like to be paralyzed. Can they drive? Can they have sex? But once you sort of educate the audience, where does the show go?

    We don’t like to call it educational. We call it the little “L.” [As in learning.] The show is all about what’s going on in their lives. Everyone has their goals that they want to accomplish. Auti [Angel, a professional dancer] is trying to have a baby in her forties, and that is so relatable. Angela was married to Dustin [Nguyen, who starred on TV's "21 Jump Street"] for 10 years. He was with her before the accident and now they’re separated for the first time ever. We have an episode where they’re all skiing. The show is a balance between what’s going on in their lives and how they get by.

    Did you intentionally seek out these kind of stories to differentiate your shows?

    There’s so much reality television. My hope is that the show stands out. It is distinctive, and there are really good characters. I’m delighted that I’ve been able to carve out a brand, because that’s hard to do. It’s not easy to sell anything. But I’d also like to be able to make a difference.

    Have you been stung by any criticism that your shows are exploitative?

    Actually the opposite. I feel I’ve been recognized for doing it right. In the beginning, before “Little People,” some critics said it was going to be a gawk fest and it was exploitative. But I said, “just watch it.” The characters are the story. Sure, there’s a gawk factor, but that’s just because the shows present people who are different. The shows need to be entertaining, and they need complexity. But they can do all those things at the same time. Why do you ask, are you going to sting me?

    Follow John Jurgensen on Twitter: @johnjurg

    Article source: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/06/04/gay-rosenthal-on-her-new-show-push-girls/

    Gay Rights Groups to Join Others in Condemning Stop-and-Frisk

    Monday, June 4th, 2012

    National gay rights advocates plan to join other civil rights leaders on Tuesday in calling on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to end the Police Department’s current stop-and-frisk policy, which they argue constitutes harassment of young black and Latino men.

    Coming two weeks after the board of the N.A.A.C.P. voted to endorse same-sex marriage, the gay advocates’ move to significantly change the stop-and-frisk tactic reflects a new degree of cooperation between gay rights and other civil rights groups.

    In a news conference to take place at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar where in 1969 riots set off by a police raid became a watershed for the national gay rights movement, leaders of national rights groups for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people will draw a connection between the gay rights movement and the current campaign against stop-and-frisk.

    “We are all standing together against police harassment on the basis of a person’s identity,” Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in an interview.

    “There was no rational reason to raid the Stonewall Inn in 1969, and there is no rational reason to stop black and Latino men in 2012 and frisk them simply for being who they are,” she said.

    The gay rights groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal and the Empire State Pride Agenda, also plan to participate in a march on June 17 to protest the stop-and-frisk practice. The march is being organized by the N.A.A.C.P., the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, and 1199 S.E.I.U., a union of health care workers.

    In 2011, the police stopped and questioned New Yorkers 684,330 times; 87 percent of those stopped were black or Latino. The Police Department, its commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, and the Bloomberg administration have repeatedly argued that the practice has been effective at preventing crime and saving lives, and that crime prevention efforts particularly benefit minorities, because a vast majority of shooting and murder victims are members of minorities.

    Jeffrey Campagna, a national gay rights organizer who is coordinating the groups’ involvement in the June 17 march, said their participation was motivated by more than just a desire to reciprocate the N.A.A.C.P.’s embrace of same-sex marriage, although he acknowledged that that played a role.

    “Anybody who’s concerned with equality and justice can see these statistics” on stop-and-frisk “and see that this is abominable — this is clearly a wholesale violation of civil rights,” Mr. Campagna said.

    Mr. Sharpton, in an interview, drew a more direct connection between the two events.

    “We’ve stood with them with same-sex marriage, and they’re standing with us with stop-and-frisk,” he said.

    Benjamin Todd Jealous, the president of the N.A.A.C.P., said, “It just feels very hopeful to see the L.G.B.T. and civil rights communities repeatedly coming together these days.”

    He said that cooperation was even more important in light of efforts by groups like the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, to emphasize divisions between gays and blacks. The group, in an internal memorandum, had proposed recruiting blacks opposed to gay marriage to represent the group.

    “It’s a very cynical game that the far right wing is playing,” Mr. Jealous said, adding, “that’s why it’s important for us to stand up in ways that are visible to take the stands that we have.”

    Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, who played a role in persuading gay rights groups to join the march, said the addition of gay advocates to the array of groups already pushing reforms of stop-and-frisk would bring new pressure on the Bloomberg administration.

    “Ray Kelly and Mike Bloomberg need to recognize that the campaign against stop-and-frisk is now a major priority for the L.G.B.T. movement,” he said by e-mail. “The chorus of voices opposing the policy is getting louder and more diverse.”

    Article source: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/gay-rights-groups-to-join-others-in-condemning-stop-and-frisk/

    Gay couples no longer banned from adopting a child in Florida

    Monday, June 4th, 2012

    Q. We are a gay Florida couple, and contacted an adoption agency to start a family by adopting a child. We meet all guidelines for good parenting candidates. But they said we were barred by Florida law solely because we were gay. We assumed these legal obstacles no longer exist. Please explain.

    Prospective parents

    Florida’s 1977 legislative prohibition against gay adoption was enacted at the height of the Anita Bryant anti-gay crusade. Over the years similar laws in all other states were struck down as being discriminatory. But Florida resisted all legislative and judicial attempts at repeal.

    Florida Statute 63.042 allows any minor or adult to be adopted by married or unmarried adults. This includes anyone capable of “serving as an effective parent.” But it also states: “(3) No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual.”

    The law’s many critics pointed out its inconsistencies. Florida law doesn’t prevent gay persons from being foster parents, but bars them from adopting their own foster children. But courts refused to intervene, suggesting that the legislature had to resolve the situation.

    This finally changed in the landmark case known as In re: Gill, 45 So. 3rd 79 (Fla. App. 2010), when the 3rd District Appellate Court affirmed a Miami trial court ruling declaring Statute 63.042(3) unconstitutional, and granting adoption of foster children to their gay foster parent. The court ruled there was no rational relationship between the statutory ban and the best interests of children.

    “Under Florida law, homosexual persons are allowed to serve as foster parents or guardians, but are barred from being considered for adoptive parents. All other persons are eligible to be considered case-by-case to be adoptive parents, but not homosexual persons — even where, as here, the adoptive parent is a fit parent and the adoption is in the best interest of the children.”

    The effect of this decision was to overturn the long-standing statutory ban on gay adoption, and open the legal doors for all qualified gay persons, whether previous adoptive parents or not.

    What is new toll payment program?

    Q: We manufacture vitamin supplements. Our sales people sometimes visit health food stores statewide. They noticed that portions of the Florida Turnpike now offer a no-stop payment alternative without having to buy a Sun Pass. Please explain.

    Taking a toll

    You refer to the Toll – By – Plate electronic no-cash tolling program started by Florida Turnpike (FTE) in February, 2011. Its stated purpose was to provide drivers without a Sun Pass transponder the convenient option of not having to slow down or stop to pay their toll.

    It uses photographic images of the vehicle’s license plate to identify the registered owner and electronic sensors to determine the number of axles. A bill for the proper toll rate is then sent for payment.

    There is a toll surcharge above cash pay or Sun Pass pay for using this option. Electronic toll violation enforcement is by Florida Statute 316.1001.

    Failure to comply may result in assessment of a $100 or more civil penalty, assessment of court costs, suspension of vehicle registration and suspension of driver’s license.

    Toll – By – Plate electronic toll collection is only in effect for the southern 47 miles of the Florida Turnpike in Miami-Dade County, from milepost 47 at the Broward County line south to milepost 0 in Florida City. This is the heavily traveled route to the Florida Keys. Cash pay or Sun Pass is used on the rest of the Turnpike.

    Because of its popularity and ease of use, FTE may expand the program northward in the future.

    Ask Doctor Law appears every first Monday of the month in Business Monday. Send questions to askdoctorlaw@herald.com. Martin E. Segal, a licensed attorney, lectures in business law at the University of Miami School of Business Administration. Visit him at www.dr-law.com.

    Disclaimer: This column is not intended to be a solicitation of legal business or the furnishing of self-help legal advice. Laws vary from state to state. Readers are strongly urged to consult independent and qualified legal professionals before making any business decisions. The views expressed are those of the writer and not of The Miami Herald.

    Article source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/03/2831396/gay-couples-no-longer-banned-from.html

    Some Courts Are Ruling ‘Gay’ Is Not Slanderous

    Monday, June 4th, 2012

    One by one, courts around the country are deciding it’s no longer slander to falsely call someone gay — a measure of how attitudes are changing in the era of same-sex marriage and gays in uniform.

    While “gay” is still widely wielded as an insult, some judges have concluded that it is not damaging to anyone’s reputation, just as calling a white man black is no longer grounds for legal action as it was a generation ago.

    The latest ruling came from a midlevel New York state appeals court Thursday and was hailed by gay-rights activists as a small but meaningful victory.

    The case involved a woman who was sued for allegedly spreading a rumor that an upstate New York man was gay in the hope of breaking up his relationship with another woman. In a 4-0 decision, the New York Appellate Division’s Third Department threw out the lawsuit before it went to trial, noting changing attitudes about homosexuality.

    Reversing decades of legal precedents, the court said the defamation claim was “based on a false premise that it is shameful and disgraceful to be described as lesbian, gay or bisexual.”

    “This word has been sort of de-fanged in some ways,” said Curtis Houlihan, a consultant from New York City who is gay. “I suppose some would say this is empowering … but that is not going to change the level of bigotry and discrimination in this country.

    “But we’ll take every little victory,” Houlihan said Friday. “We can move slowly because the country is still filled with men living in the ’50s.”

    Legal experts and gay rights activists say judges in other parts of the country have made similar rulings over the past several years, but tracking them is difficult because there are relatively few slander or defamation lawsuits brought and laws vary from state to state.

    In 1994, for example, North Carolina’s Court of Appeals said a person can sue over being called a homosexual only if he or she can prove actual damages. The court said the law cannot automatically assume such remarks inflict damage.

    “The courts are all over the place on whether it is defamatory to refer to a person as gay,” said W. Wat Hopkins, a professor in Virginia Tech’s communications department. “In some jurisdictions, a court would hold that such a reference is defamatory, and in others courts would rule as you say the judge did in New York.”

    He said judges would probably consider public opinion within their jurisdiction and other factors, such as whether the state has legalized gay marriage, something New York did last year.

    In the past, being called gay could cost people their jobs. For decades, homosexuality was considered akin to having a loathsome disease or being a criminal, especially since sodomy was a crime in most places.

    A decade ago, actor Tom Cruise successfully sued for millions of dollars in the U.S. and Britain over false claims he was gay, arguing that the story threatened his career playing straight leading men.

    In the New York case, the plaintiff, Mark Yonaty, had argued he suffered real damage from the false rumor that he was gay or bisexual. He said it cost him his relationship with his longtime girlfriend and caused him emotional distress.

    But much has changed in recent years. Six states, beginning with Massachusetts in 2004, allow gays to wed, President Barack Obama has endorsed gay marriage, the U.S. military now allows gays to serve openly, and most polls show growing acceptance of gay marriage and equality, especially among the young.

    “At its core, defamation is about disgrace,” said Thomas W. Ude Jr., a staff attorney for the gay rights organization Lambda Legal, which submitted a friend-of-the-court brief asking that Yonaty’s lawsuit be thrown out. “Saying that someone is gay is not an insult.”

    Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/ny-court-rules-calling-gay-slander-16470366

    U.S. marriage law unconstitutionally denies benefits to gay couples, appeals panel rules

    Monday, June 4th, 2012

    BOSTON — A federal appeals court declared Thursday that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a groundbreaking ruling all but certain to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In its unanimous decision, the three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman deprives gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples.

    The court didn’t rule on the law’s more politically combustible provision, which said states without same-sex marriage cannot be forced to recognize gay unions performed in states where it’s legal. It also wasn’t asked to address whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry.

    The law was passed at a time when it appeared Hawaii would legalize gay marriage. Since then, many states have banned gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, led by Massachusetts in 2004.

    By a 59%-41% margin, Michigan voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as only between one man and one woman. The state Legislature also passed a bill last year that bans health care benefits for the unmarried partners of public employees.

    The Massachusetts court, the first federal appeals panel to deem the benefits section of the law unconstitutional, agreed with a lower court judge who ruled in 2010 that the law interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns.

    “For me, it’s more just about having equality and not having a system of first- and second-class marriages,” said plaintiff Jonathan Knight, 32, a financial associate at Harvard Medical School who married Marlin Nabors in 2006.

    “I think we can do better, as a country, than that,” Knight said.

    Knight said DOMA costs the couple an extra $1,000 a year because they cannot file a joint federal tax return.

    Opponents of gay marriage blasted the decision.

    Last year, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. Department of Justice would no longer defend the constitutionality of the law. After that, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, convened the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend it. The legal group could ask for the case to be reheard by the full 1st Circuit, which typically sits six judges, or could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take on the case.

    White House spokesman Jay Carney said the appeals court ruling is “in concert with the president’s views.” Obama, who once opposed gay marriage, declared his unequivocal personal support on May 9.

    The 1st Circuit said its ruling wouldn’t be enforced until the Supreme Court decides the case.

    Although most Americans live in states where the law is that marriage can only be the union of a man and a woman, the power to define marriage always had been left to the individual states before Congress passed DOMA, the appeals court said in its ruling.

    “One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity of governance based on local choice, but this applies as well to the states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage,” Judge Michael Boudin wrote for the court.

    Two of the three judges who decided the case Thursday were Republican appointees, including Boudin, while the other was a Democratic appointee.

    In California, two federal judges have found this year that DOMA violates the due process rights of legally married same-sex couples.

    Article source: http://www.freep.com/article/20120601/NEWS07/206010363/U-S-marriage-law-unconstitutionally-denies-benefits-to-gay-couples-appeals-panel-rules

    Gay Bullying: Schools Ignore At Their Own Peril

    Monday, June 4th, 2012

    Gay Teens Sue Minnesota School District Over Bullying Policy – TIME NewsFeed


    Boy, 14, ‘found dead outside home over gay bullying ‘ – Telegraph


    AntiGayBullying RT PLEASE

    Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/02/gay-bullying-schools-igno_n_1564919.html?ref=school-bullying

    Alexander Apologizes For ‘Gay’ Cricket Remark

    Monday, June 4th, 2012

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor Jason Alexander has apologized for joking during a TV talk show that he considers cricket to be a “gay” sport.

    In a blog post, the former “Seinfeld” star explained Sunday what led to his remark on CBS’s Late Late Show. He writes that he at first didn’t grasp why some might object to the comment, but that subsequent conversations with his gay friends led him to realize his insensitivity.

    Alexander’s remarks came in Friday’s show in which he tells host Craig Ferguson that aspects of cricket make it a “gay game” compared to other sports.

    The actor’s 1,000-word-plus “message of amends” said that the joking remark plays into “hurtful assumptions and diminishments” about people. Alexander also writes that as an actor with many gay friends, he “should know better.”

    Article source: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=154248618

    Gay coach sues Charter Oak Unified, alleging wrongful termination

    Monday, June 4th, 2012

    A corn dog and a few drag queens were never meant to wreak such havoc.

    But there they were, captured in photos deemed inappropriate because of their “sexual content.”

    It was an August afternoon and Mitch Stein was asked to see the principal of Covina’s Charter Oak High School, where he worked as an assistant water polo coach. Someone had anonymously dropped off printouts of Stein’s Facebook and Myspace pages. The envelope included a photo of Stein wearing eyeliner and surrounded by men decked out in bustiers, wigs and makeup. Another showed him at the L.A. County Fair, pretending to take a large bite of a batter-dipped hot dog.

    Harmless photos taken in good fun, Stein insisted. But administrators weren’t amused. Stein was fired.

    The 36-year-old has since filed a wrongful termination suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accusing Charter Oak Unified School District of “animus toward gay and lesbian employees” and of holding him to a different standard because he is gay. He seeks an unspecified amount of money in damages and wants the incident expunged from his personnel record. Stein also wants his coaching job back.

    In the wake of Stein’s dismissal, parents and students have rallied around the former assistant coach, who still helps raise funds for the team. At the same time, the case has revived old accusations of anti-gay sentiments within the school district’s administration.

    Taking the position seemed a no-brainer to Stein when he began in May 2011. Charter Oak was his alma mater, he knew the head coach, and his daughter would be attending as a freshman. He had a lucrative and flexible job as a producer in the TV industry and years of experience coaching water polo.

    He led the boys junior varsity team through an undefeated summer season and was preparing to continue his role in the fall when he was summoned by the school’s principal, Kathleen Wiard. In her possession was the corn dog photo and one of Stein among drag queens. Stein said Wiard called the photo “obscene” and asked whether he would approve of a male teacher posing with his daughter in a swimsuit.

    “I was like, ‘Now you’re calling me a pedophile?’ ” Stein said. “How does one have anything to do with the other?”

    Wiard declined to comment for this article, saying it was a personnel matter.

    Stein had posted the photos online several years earlier and never worried that they might cause problems. The corn dog photo had been a joke. The drag queens had an act in a weekly variety show he used to produce at a gay bar in Long Beach. One night they gathered around Stein, who made the devil horns sign with one hand and grinned as the camera flashed.

    “I just didn’t feel there was anything to hide,” said Stein, who made his pages private only in the hopes of being reinstated. The photos in question merely represented gay culture, he argued.

    Terry Stanfill, an assistant superintendent of Charter Oak Unified, said that the district follows a non-discrimination policy and that teachers and coaches are held to a “higher standard.” He said there were no specific policies about social media and declined to discuss the matter further.

    It’s not the first time the district, which serves a dozen schools in Covina and Glendora, has faced accusations that it harbors an anti-gay sentiment. In 2003, a gay male teacher filed a sexual orientation discrimination complaint saying he was harassed by an administrator. Stanfill said a thorough investigation was conducted and there was nothing to substantiate the claim.

    That teacher, who has left the district, wrote a letter to Stein recently saying he believed administrators expected him to conceal his sexual orientation. The teacher wrote that he has since worked in other districts and that the social climate was more welcoming than at Charter Oak.

    According to Stein, other gay employees at Charter Oak Unified have also reached out. Stein said one had told him that he, Stein, had not been “the right type of gay” because he spoke openly about his fiance, Hugo, and never hid his sexual orientation. Another described the climate as toxic, Stein said.

    Stein grew up in Covina and graduated from Charter Oak in 1993. Back then, he kept his relationships quiet. Upon his return to the school last year, he was impressed that there was a gay student association on campus. But he said he learned quickly that the administration was a different matter.

    “It was a lot like the military, very ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ” Stein said. “You don’t feel welcomed.”

    Since his termination, Stein has been offered coaching jobs from three other districts. But he wants to stay near his daughter Devynn, a swimmer and ranked water polo player.

    He has remained a fixture at the school despite being stripped of his title. Still referred to as “coach” by students, he coordinated a beach clean-up that netted $3,500 in corporate donations, shopped for items for the snack bar, hauled tubs of nacho cheese to the matches and manned the refreshments station. The $900 he made as a summer coach was donated back to the team.

    Parents voted him in unanimously as president-elect of the aquatics booster board.

    “I’ve seen the photos and I don’t think they’re inappropriate at all,” said Raymond Adams, 43, who has two sons on the water polo team.

    “I don’t agree with homosexuality, but at the same time we shouldn’t be judging anybody,” Adams said. “His private life has nothing to do with coaching the water polo team. I believe the school made a huge mistake, and they should just come forward and admit it and stop wasting the school district’s money. I see Mr. Stein as a servant to the community and the kids more than people that I go to church with, including myself.”

    Stein said he is pursuing the lawsuit for current and past employees who are afraid that making waves would jeopardize their livelihoods.

    “I don’t have to worry about it affecting my profession,” Stein said. “I’ll take this all the way. There’s only one outcome and that is that I get put back on the pool deck.”

    corina.knoll@latimes.com

    Article source: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-mitch-stein-20120604,0,256325.story