I simply loved the recent South Park episode where the plot would become so convoluted that Morgan Freeman had to step in to let viewers know where everything stood. From South Park to Antarctic penguins, Morgan Freeman is America’s voice of authority — when he speaks, people listen. It’s not his celebrity so much as his clear and commanding delivery that makes people pay attention.
His narration of this advertisement, beginning rotation this week on the web and on television, makes clear that America has turned the page on marriage equality. A new day aborning, indeed.
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 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.
This means that organizations that use the church’s fellowship hall for fundraisers need to seek new venues that will welcome their previous MCs, and soon:
A local gay recovery group will not be holding its annual fall fundraiser in the social hall of the Castro neighborhood’s Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church after officials said that no drag queens would be allowed.
For the past couple of years the Castro Country Club has held its event in the church’s social hall and had drag queens as entertainment.
MHR has always seemed incredibly tolerant and inclusive, located as it is in the heart of The City’s Castro neighborhood. Its congregation has walked a fine line, sometimes criticized for The Pope’s hateful language on homosexuality and condom use, as well as having to defend the Church in its pedophilia scandal. But the congregation is full of good gay citizens. If their drag queen friends and organizations that love them are excluded, what will congregants do? Must they choose between the the Pope they must obey, and the community they love? Because the new drag queen rule comes from the top:
Most Holy Redeemer’s new pastor, the Reverend Brian Costello, confirmed over telephone on Monday, August 6, that drag queen performers and emcees are no longer permitted to participate in events at the church.
Costello said that during a telephone conversation with a Castro Country Club representative, when the topic of drag queens came up, he told the person, “That is not going to work under the present circumstances.”
“I am the new pastor,” Costello added. “There is a new archbishop. The archdiocese told me straight out, ‘No drag queens.’”
The change of policy at Most Holy Redeemer was greeted with charges of discrimination, homophobia, and calls for compromise, even reconciliation.
Reconciliation is certainly going to be necessary for one group that frequents MHR. One wonders what those men in dresses employed at Most Holy Redeemer — as priests — will wear to work now, since drag isn’t permitted.
But now an actual news organization is on the spot: NBC News will broadcast a GOP presidential debate — you remember, that Wednesday conflict that required President Obama to move his JOBS speech to the following evening before a joint session of Congress. And still Fred Karger won’t be permitted to participate.
… and the walls come tumbling down: The Department of Justice yesterday asked a federal District Court to grant Edith Windsor her estate tax refund because the section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that required her to pay $351,000 on her deceased same-sex spouse’s estate is unconstitutional.
Back on July 1, the Department of Justice took a big step in defining what its Feb. 23 decision that the federal definition of marriage found in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional would look like. In Karen Golinski’s case seeking equal health benefits for her wife, DOJ argued that the case should not be tossed out of court and should be allowed to proceed.
On Aug. 19, DOJ went a step further, telling a judge in the Southern District of New York that Edith Windsor — who is seeking a refund of the more than $350,000 estate tax bill that she had to pay because her marriage to her deceased wife, Thea Spyer, was not recognized by the federal government — should be granted that refund because DOMA’s federal definition of marriage is unconstitutional.
This is the first affirmation by the federal Department of Justice that a case brought against DOMA should succeed because Section 3 is unconstitutional.
In concluding its brief filed on Friday in Windsor’s case, DOJ — led by Assistant Attorney General Tony West and signed by DOJ senior trial counsel Jean Lin — argues, “Section 3 of DOMA fails heightened scrutiny, and this Court should deny the motions to dismiss Plaintiff’s constitutional claim and grant Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.”
This is a very exciting step forward for married same-sex couples everywhere who seek to be treated the same as other married couples by our federal government.
In many of the federal appellate circuits across the country, the courts have ruled at some point on the level of scrutiny to be applied to classifications based on sexual orientation. In Friday’s filing, however, DOJ notes — as Holder had noted on Feb. 23 — “The Second Circuit has not ruled on the appropriate level of scrutiny for sexual orientation classifications.” The Second Circuit includes New York, where Windsor filed her case, and Connecticut, where the GLAD Pedersen case was filed.
DOJ’s Aug. 19 brief then lays out its case for heightened scrutiny to apply to sexual orientation classifications, arguing that “careful consideration of the factors the Supreme Court has identified as relevant to the inquiry demonstrates that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny.”
Of course, John Boehner’s Bi-Partisan Legal Advisory Group’s (BLAG) objections still stand in the way of this case:
In addition to DOJ’s filing, Windsor’s lawyers also filed a response to BLAG, arguing in part that DOMA should be found unconstitutional — even should the court decide that rational basis applies.
The court had set a timeline earlier this year for exchange of evidence among the parties and for the briefing that took another step forward on Friday. BLAG’s reply is due by Sept. 2.
Making history, 200 LGBT servicemembers — reserve, active duty, and veterans alike — marched openly in the San Diego Pride Parade yesterday. This marks the first time in America a contingent of serving military members participated openly in a gay pride event.
As you can see in the video, the Honoring Servicemembers contingent of 200 military men and women from all branches of the US military received almost universal approval and recognition from the crowd of San Diegans out on yet another lovely parade day (one does wonder why San Diego doesn’t simply have parades every single day, looking at that weather).
“This is a dream come true,” retired Marine Capt. Kristen Kavanaugh told CNN. “It’s the beginning of something where we can be proud about who we are and about the job that we’re doing to help this nation.”
“This is one of the proudest days in my life. It’s time for it (the policy) to be gone,” National Guard member Nichole Herrera told NPR. “I’m a soldier no matter what, regardless of my sexual orientation.”
San Diego Pride says this is the first time in its history, and believed to be in the history of Pride anywhere, a contingent of active duty service members and veterans.
Of course, the “all deliberate speed” with which DADT is being certificated for repeal made for some compromises regarding those handsome uniforms and caught others across the country off-guard:
After Pride announced the military group’s participation, and after local media picked up the story (including the San Diego LGBT Weekly), interest spread across the country. Sala said response was amazing and that he received “many e-mails from service members and (had) conversations with veterans who tell me that they never expected to see this in a Pride parade in their lifetime, and they think this is pretty amazing,” Sala said before the parade. “It’s a huge reference that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has caused so much pain and such a stereotype, and it’s finally time that America is moving on. It’s a sign that the social norm in America is moving toward more acceptance of the LGBT community.”
With DADT still being debated, the marchers following all appropriate military protocols, Sala said. For example, they did not march in formation and did not wear any uniforms. Instead, the service members wore T-shirts representing their respective branch.
Let’s hope next year every Pride parade, all across America, has some snappy formations and drills from in-uniform active duty, reservists, and veterans. Just keep the dang Blue Angels in the hangars, please!
Hillary told staff that she could not fathom how an army private, Bradley Manning, with psychological problems and a drag-queen boyfriend could single-handedly cause the United States unprecedented embarrassment just by labeling massive downloads as Lady Gaga songs.
Clearly we need to go back to the days when gays were labeled security risks and drag queens ran the FBI. There may be lots of reasons why Manning should have been kept far from classified materials and the easy theft thereof, but his sexual orientation and the flamboyance of his partner have nothing to do with it. Clinton should direct her annoyance where it belongs: at a Defense Department that failed to safeguard her department’s communications. I mean, if gay drag-queen-loving Bradley Manning could steal your cables, Madame Secretary, think who else had read them long before Wikileaks released them. That’s your problem, not one caused by Bradley Manning’s sexual orientation. Oh, and Happy Pride, Hillary. I guess we’ll have to start judging people by their partners’ indiscretions again. How’d that work out for YOU, by the way?
The New York State Senate is voting tonight on marriage equality; the Assembly has passed same-sex marriage four times, and Governor Cuomo has made it his first-year signature issue, so the Senate is key. Once signed into law, if passed by the State Senate, marriage equality will be the law of the Empire State, which has no residency restrictions, so book your Niagara Falls wedding ceremonies and honeymoons based on tonight’s outcome for 30 days from the Governor’s presumed signature tomorrow — also the first day of Pride Weekend in New York City.
Watch the livestream below, we need 32 votes in favor of marriage equality to pass the 62-member state Senate.
Someone really screwed this one up in Obama’s speech tonight to the New York City LGBT crowd. Sudbay:
One thing I thought was very odd for this particular crowd was referring to Election Night 2008 as “a perfect night.” Maybe for him, but we lost rights that night when Prop. 8 passed in California.
My partner and I, who never married in the 2008 window between the California Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality and Election Night 2008, became second-class California citizens that night, along with thousands of other LGBTs who hoped, someday, to marry the person we love.
There was nothing “perfect” about that night for us.
Let’s hope someone in the speechwriting department at the White House omits this characterization by our Evolver-in-Chief before he takes his LGBT fundraising to California. New Yorkers may have let him get away with it, but I don’t think Californians will.
Must be nice to have an almost unlimited number of bigoted rubes willing to open their wallets whenever h8 comes calling. Case in point: Charles Cooper, losing lead attorney guiding the ProtectMarriage consiglieres to defeat at every single stage of the Prop 8 trial, announced Oh, Hell Yes, They Will Appeal Chief Judge James Ware’s eloquent, swift beatdown of their horrific motion to order Judge Vaughn Walker to recuse himself because, you know what — he’s Ghey! And he has a long-time partner! And he probably, therefore, wants to marry!
“The ProtectMarriage.com legal team obviously disagrees with” the ruling, Charles Cooper, lead counsel for the measure’s sponsors, said in an e-mailed statement. “Our legal team will appeal this decision and continue our tireless efforts to defend the will of the people of California to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”
Appeal such a wholehearted beat down? Does he think he will get any more sympathy from a panel of Ninth Circuit judges who have known Judge Walker for years and have, in any event, already invested their court’s own time and effort into this case?
Bonus! National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Kate Kendell perfectly describes what was at risk in the proponents’ request that Judge Walker’s ruling be vacated based on his orientation and relationship status, here:
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