You are browsing the archive for lgbt rights.

Tommy v Tammy: The Gay-Bashing Begins in Wisconsin (updated)

2:16 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

The Senate race in Wisconsin took an ugly turn last week. A GOP staffer to Tommy Thompson’s Senate campaign dredged up a more-than-two-year-old video of Tammy Baldwin dancing on an outdoor stage at a Pride performance at the University campaign in Madison, and link/tweeted, just before the Congresswoman spoke at the DNC last week:

Clearly, there’s no one better positioned to talk ‘heartland values’ than Tammy

Divisive antics meant to separate voters from one another based on their inborn characteristics is a long-time GOP tactic, but Russ Feingold is having none of it:

In Wisconsin, we reject divisive personal attacks. It’s time for Tommy Thompson to both take responsibility for the harmful divisiveness of his campaign and to squarely reject it.

Tommy Thompson should probably distance himself from his campaign’s political director, Brian Nemoir.

Nemoir’s message was first reported by WisPolitics.com. He’s admitted sending out the tweet. Spokespeople from both campaigns have declined questions from the media about the incident.

I don’t know how much better anyone expected W’s former HHS director to act; gay-baiting is probably a deeply held value in his campaign, just as it was in W’s 2004 re-election campaign run by then-closeted Ken Mehlman. Will Tommy Thompson reject this homophobic attack on a sitting Congresswoman, which implies that her values don’t match Wisconsin’s because — what? Because she dances onstage at a Pride Celebration

with the disco band VO5, whose members are dressed up in Wonder Woman costumes and playing the theme to the comic-based television series.

Hide the children, here’s the video (totally SFW btw):


UPDATE

Thompson has apparently called his aide’s message a mistake and he’s no longer a spokesperson for the campaign, although still employed there:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson said Tuesday that it was a mistake for one of his aides to send a disparaging email and Twitter messages about Democratic opponent Tammy Baldwin dancing at a gay pride event.

The email and tweets were sent in advance of Baldwin’s speech at the Democratic National Convention last week.

“I thought it was a mistake, I’m sorry, and he’s apologized, I believe,” Thompson told reporters after a luncheon of the Milwaukee Rotary Club. “He shouldn’t have done it.”

The emails were sent by aide Brian Nemoir from his campaign account. It also included his title and the campaign’s web address.

The message accompanying the video said, “Clearly, there is no one better positioned to talk ‘heartland values’ than Tammy” and told the viewer to take note of the gay pride event.

The theme of Baldwin’s speech at the convention was heartland and Wisconsin values.

Nemoir’s email and tweets were the first time that Baldwin’s sexual preference has become an issue in the campaign. If elected, Baldwin would be the nation’s first openly gay senator.

Even though Nemoir sent the email from his campaign account , another Thompson aide, Darrin Schmitz, said that Nemoir “acted on his own” and called his actions “unauthorized.”

“He was not representing the Thompson campaign in this matter,” Schmitz said.

In making his first comments about the matter on Tuesday, Thompson said he wasn’t aware of Nemoir’s email before it was sent.

“I was very upset,” said Thompson. He said that a person’s sexual preference is “absolutely not an issue.”

As a result of the emails, Thompson said Nemoir is no longer the spokesman, but remains with the campaign.

I do not, incidentally, find any record of a public apology from Brian Nemoir, as referenced by former Governor Thompson. Perhaps he is referring to a private apology? In any event, he’s still on Thompson’s campaign payroll, so there’s that.

2012 DNC: Gayest Ever

12:09 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

This year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, beginning September 3rd, will be the gayest ever. The sheer number of LGBT delegates is at its highest yet, according to Stonewall Democrats in the Washington Blade:

The upcoming Democratic National Convention is set to have a record number of openly LGBT delegates, although goals for some states aren’t being met, according to new data from the National Stonewall Democrats.

The organization as of Wednesday evening identified at least 470 openly LGBT delegates that are set to attend the convention, but more data is expected to become public at a later time. A total of 5,963 delegates are set to come to Charlotte, N.C.., for the event during the week of Sept. 3.

Having 470 delegates exceeds the goal of 418 delegates at the convention and is already higher than numbers from 2008, when 277 delegates participated.

(For those comprehension-challenged readers who question any discussions of historic LGBT representation, please note no one is being outed here. These are “openly gay” Democrats.)

The DNC itself has not issued exact counts yet, although these are expected sometime before the convention is gaveled to order. In the meantime, we have the numbers crunched by Stonewall Democrats:

Jerame Davis, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, said the numbers “for sure” mean Democrats are on track to have the highest number of openly LGBT delegates ever at the convention.

“We’re finally getting to the point where we get closer to appropriate measure of representation as compared to the population at large, although we’re not quite to that point,” Davis said.

It’a also important to note that official delegates are not the only attendees in Charlotte.

Additionally, Davis has identified a total of 518 official LGBT participants at the convention. In addition to the 470 identified LGBT delegates, these participants include 23 alternate delegates, 20 standing committee members and five pages. That’s also higher than the 365 LGBT participants who went to the 2008 convention in Denver and the 282 LGBT participants who went to the 2004 convention in Boston.

For exact counts, including lists of states which exceeded their goals (Yay!) and those which did not meet their own targets (Try harder!) and those states for which exact data is not yet available, please see here.

White House on Same-Sex Marriage: Obama = Santorum?

2:36 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

“I have no updates for you on the President’s position on same-sex marriage.”

I think, Chris, you know very well what the President’s views are on LGBT issues and civil rights. The President’s very proud of this Administration’s record on those issues. The question is — [interrupted -- 'about marriage'].

I don’t — I have no updates for you for you on the President’s position on same-sex marriage. I think that you know, and others here know, that his position broadly on LGBT issues is quite significantly different that that particular candidacy.

Except, of course, it isn’t: Rick Santorum is right. His position and Obama’s on same-sex marriage are identical. This Democratic president cannot provide daylight to his official spokesman between his own views on same-sex marriage and the views of the most radical aspirant for the GOP’s nomination.

In other words, despite the “quite significant” but unnamed differences between President Obama and Rick Santorum on same-sex relationships, White House press secretary Jay Carney won’t compare Obama’s views (“God’s in the mix”) on marriage between same sex couples to Rick Santorum’s.

Because they are, um, exactly the same.

Let’s see…. what else was true when our Constitution was written, Mitt?

10:25 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Mitt Romney, stepping knee-deep into the Santorum while speaking with a gay Viet Nam veteran in New Hampshire as he tries to save his floundering campaign:

Yesterday, the so-called “moderate” or quasi-”mainstream” candidate from the Republican Clown Car, Willard, told a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire, he favored repealing that state’s marriage equality law. He told a 63-year old gay Vietnam vet– remember, Romney was a draft-dodger who fled to Paris to preach Mormonism during the war– that “Actually, I think at the time the Constitution was written marriage was between a man and a woman and I don’t believe the Supreme Court has changed that.”

Lots of folks have pointed out that at the time the Constitution was written slavery was legal.

But you know what hadn’t even been invented when the Constitution was written?

Mormons.

Best Marriage Equality Commercial Ever

12:35 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Leave it to the Aussies to come up with the ad that LGBT activists have clamored for throughout all our fights with the fundie-bangelicals over our basic human right to marriage equality. Every time our own USA organizations launch a marriage equality advertising campaign, their ads focus on straight allies, supportive relatives of LGBT couples, or members of the political class: hardly ever do we see affected couples.

This was the strength at the heart of the plaintiffs’ argument in the Prop 8 federal case: in Judge Vaughn Walker’s courtroom, we got to know the two couples as if they were neighbors or work mates. And America learned they are just like everyone else.

This ad takes a novel approach: the camera is on only one member of the couple in a budding (and then committed) relationship until the very last frame. We see them meet, date, grow together, live life precious and mundane, then visit family and — finally — propose. It could be any couple; it could be a diamond ad, a travel commercial, it could be selling insurance. Try to imagine how this ad, or one like it, might play on the American airwaves, especially for viewers who don’t know how it turns out or even what it’s for.

Would it catch your attention? Would it change minds? Would it engage voters on the fence?

Oh — and would you like a tissue?

Rep John L Lewis Joins 100+ House Members to Define Dissent from Boehner’s DOMA Effort

2:41 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Rep. John L. Lewis, D-GA (photo: Philocrites)

Congressman John Lewis (D_GA), who knows a thing or two about the civil rights struggle firsthand, has joined 110 of his House colleagues in a brief opposing John Boehner‘s expensive legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DODOMA).

“The stories of people in long-term relationships who are denied the right to act on their partners’ final requests are heartbreaking,” Lewis said in a press statement today. “If a state provides the right for gay and lesbian citizens to marry, the federal government should not bar their ability to receive any of the rights and privileges given to any other married citizen.

“To do so seems discriminatory on its face. We must get to the place in our society where we see beyond our own biases and accept each other as one human family,” Lewis said.

Lewis and his fellow briefers made clear they will file in any court Boehner intervenes in to defend DOMA in order to correct any misapprehension that the Speaker speaks for the entire House in this case:

Some 110 members of Congress have submitted an amicus brief “to indicate that the Boehner suit does not represent the views of the entire House, and that the legislative body is in fact split on this issue,” the press release from Lewis states.

Why We Call It “Marriage Equality”

1:55 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

(photo: bugmonkey)

The correct term for the goal same-sex couples are fighting for — the recognition of our intimate unions by the state on the same terms, entirely, of the relationships of opposite-sex couples — is “Marriage Equality.” There’s actually no such thing as “Gay Marriage,” which is the preferred term of American homobigots, sometimes accompanied by the disparaging prefix so-called. Besides ensuring fundamental accuracy — we want Equal access to Civil Marriage as it’s defined by the state — one recent poll in one state indicates why the better words are actually the politically smart, and popular, words.

Fifty-two percent of New Jersey voters believe same-sex marriages should be legal, according to today’s Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

While it is very heartening that a clear majority of Garden State voters support same-sex marriages, here’s the framing argument:

Support for legalizing gay marriage jumps to 61 percent when the issue is framed in terms of “marriage equality,” the favored description of advocates for same-sex couples.

A nine-point jump in favorability; and a twelve-point drop in opposition:

Almost four-in-10 respondents (39 percent) oppose legalizing gay marriage while 9 percent are unsure. Twenty-seven percent are against marriage equality, while 3 percent are unfamiliar with the term and 9 percent have no opinion.

Don’t call yourself a proponent of “gay marriage” or an advocate for “same-sex unions.” Don’t say you want to “legalize gay marriage.” Instead, tell people you favor Marriage Equality. It’s the far more accurate term for what we want and deserve. And it polls much better, too — probably because most patriotic Americans do not oppose equality in any form!

Marriage Equality is the right way to describe what we want. Use this more accurate (and less loaded) term, and you’ll find more allies with you for Marriage Equality wherever you go.

Arthur Evans, Gay Liberation Hero, Dies in SF

4:41 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Arthur Evans - photo via GayToday

Arthur Evans - photo via GayToday

True to form, well-prepared and well-thought-out as always, Arthur Evans, a historic and heroic figure from the Gay Liberation days, wrote his own obituary and provided it to Michael Petrelis, with whose permission I reprint it here. I hope, especially, that young people will read it and understand how long this battle has been fought for our rights in America. It’s entirely possible we’ll lose all our surviving LGBT pioneers to death of natural causes before we achieve full civic equality under the law in America, and isn’t that a sad thing?

Here’s what Arthur had to say for himself, on his passing:

==================================================

Arthur Evans, long-time San Francisco community activist and writer, died quickly from a massive heart attack in his Haight Ashbury home early in the morning on Sept. 11.

Diagnosed with an extraordinarily large aortic aneurysm in October of 2010, and not expected to live more than a few months, Evans refused risky surgery, opting instead to live out his remaining time on his own terms. This was consistent with a lifetime of challenging convention and honoring his own intuition. Though he became weaker over time, he successfully managed the occasional pain and to his delight, rarely saw a doctor.

He spent his last year pursuing his pleasures: translating ancient Greek, playing chess with his best friend, going to the Castro Theater, dining out, writing letters to the editor and visiting with friends. He remained chipper to the end, often joking about his situation.

Evans lived in San Francisco since 1974. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he played a pivotal role in the newly emergent gay liberation movement in New York City. Read the rest of this entry →

Jury Unable to Reach Verdict in Gay Student’s Killing — UPDATE: Mistrial

1:10 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

"Remember Lawrence King"

"Remember Lawrence King" by KaroliK on flickr. A handful of No on Prop 8 people representing. Lawrence King was murdered in cold blood by a classmate in his homeroom class here in Oxnard in February 2008. He was 14 years old.

Score another victory for blame-the-victim gay-panic defense strategy.

A jury has been unable to reach a verdict in the murder trial of Brandon McInerney, the 17-year-old accused of shooting a gay classmate to death in 2008.

The jury began deliberating Friday, weighing eight weeks of testimony in a trial that included nearly 100 witnesses. Many of those testifying were students and teachers at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard who saw tensions on campus rising after 15-year-old Larry King began coming to school dressed in makeup and girl’s boots.

Because, you know, wearing makeup and girl’s boots means you deserve two bullets in the back of your head, point-blank range.

Over eight weeks of testimony, the prosecution laid out a case of premeditated murder by McInerney, who prosecutor Maeve Fox described as a bright boy from a broken and violent home who knew what he was doing when he brought a .22-caliber gun to school.

McInerney was upset that King had come up to him at school the day before and said, “What’s up, baby?” Fox said.

He told a defense psychologist that he found King’s attentions “disgusting” and “humiliating” and that King would have to pay for it. He told a school friend that he was going to bring a gun to school the next day, and he did, Fox said.

I fail to see what is unpremeditated about this pre-planned crime. Read the rest of this entry →

What Fierce Advocacy Looks Like: “I want to be with my family, in my country”

7:42 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Current TV/Countdown‘s guest host David Shuster interviewed Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk on Wednesday to discuss their immigration situation.

Shuster: The Obama Administration, which refuses to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, is now using that to split a gay couple apart. After seven years of marriage, Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk may be forced to separate as soon as August the 25th. Our number one story on the Countdown: Wells, an American citizen, has AIDS. Makk, an Australian, is Wells’ husband and primary caregiver. Both live in San Francisco. And, while Makk has crossed the US border for years on legal visas, the US government recently told him he is no longer eligible to do that because the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, denies all federal benefits, including immigration benefits, to same-sex couples. Makk was also told he was not eligible to stay as Wells’ spouse, his application for permanent residency denied because of DOMA. And, by the way, the couple was married in Massachusetts. The couple has sought the help of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, their representative in Congress, and Immigration Equality, a gay rights group, has said they will take this particular case to the White House. Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the group, told Countdown:

“I would think the White House would get political points. Do you want a dying American to be here with his caregiver or not?”

Shuster: Joining us from San Francisco tonight are Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk, and gentlemen, thanks for joining us this evening.

Wells/Makk: Thank you. Read the rest of this entry →