CommunityPam's House Blend

LGBT News Roundup, 1/24/2005

[NOTE: This is an early release on the House Blend of a weekly Daily Kos roundup diary that I post.]

Let’s start off with the good news…

  • Opposing anti-gay amendments didn’t hurt state-level incumbents. State lawmakers who opposed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage fared extraordinarily well at the polls even though all the states where the proposed amendments were on the ballot voted to bar gay marriage a new national poll shows. The survey released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign is almost identical to a smaller survey of five key states that was released last week. The HRC found that only 1.7 percent of 640 legislators in 28 states, including Massachusetts where gay marriage became legal last year, were voted out of office because they opposed measures banning marriage for same-sex couples. Eleven of the 28 states had constitutional amendments on the ballot in November. Of the 640 legislators for whom the issue of marriage could have factored into their election, 604 or 94 percent won. In the races of the 36 legislators who lost, the legislator’s vote against discrimination was cited as a factor in only 11 races. Only 1.7 percent of state legislators running for re-election lost their race because of their vote against banning marriage for same-sex couples.
  • Same-sex partners of Montana university system employees to get insurance coverage. Commissioner of Higher Education Sheila Stearns said it’s more likely that the university system will open its policy to include gays and lesbians, rather than restrict it to heterosexuals who are legally married. A constitutional ban on gay marriage in Montana, as well as a state “Defense of Marriage Act,” prevent gays and lesbians from marrying here. Regent Lynn Hamilton of Havre said expanding the policy to include gays and lesbians could boost the university system’s ability to recruit and retain employees. She said she’s been surprised to discover that many large corporations do offer partner benefits to their employees. Mercer, however, is calling the debate an “insurance question.” He said it could make sense to allow more people into the self-funded health insurance pool, since a larger pool tends to be more stable.



Montana State Senator Ken Toole is sponsor of the anti-discrimination bill 1999.

  • Montana bill outlawing bias toward gays, lesbians moves forward, draws fire. Ken Toole is the sponsor of Bill 1999, which would add sexual orientation to anti-discrimination laws. He’s catching heat from some serious wingnuts, including our friends at Concerned Women for America.We have another candidate for state of the week — Montana — and the unhinged homo-bigots in Big Sky country don’t mince their words…Montanans should be able to discriminate against gays and lesbians because their way of life threatens society and should be kept at bay, some critics said Monday in attacking a bill that would outlaw such discrimination under human-rights laws. “We want the right to say no to something we really think is wrong,” said Jeanette Zentgraf, representing Concerned Women of America. Backers of the measure said it is long past time to extend anti-discrimination laws to a minority routinely subjected to mistreatment in many facets of life. “It’s time to lift our gay and lesbian neighbors up to the same level where non-gay and lesbian residents live,” said Karl Olson, executive director for PRIDE, a gay-lesbian advocacy group.
  • Senate Bill 1999, sponsored by Sen. Ken Toole, D-Helena, would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, public accommodations, housing, financial transactions, education, job referrals, licensing, training programs, government services and funding, and public contracts.

    Dallas Erickson of Stevensville, spokesman for Montana Families for Decency, said employers should he able to fire or not hire a person they consider dangerous based on the sexual aspect of his or her lifestyle.

    He said extending human-rights protection based on sexual orientation would extend rights beyond gay and lesbian Montanans, to include people who engage in other “kinky or perverted” practices such as pedophilia, incest, bestiality, exhibitionism and necrophilia. “It is a terrible bill that, in itself, is discriminatory against those who feel homosexuality and other sexual orientations are unsafe and dangerous,” Erickson said.

  • Why Canada is more civilized than the U.S. – Military OKs gay unions. The Canadian Forces has quietly drafted a policy calling for military chaplains to formally bless same-sex weddings. The guidelines — considered “interim” until the federal government passes a law redefining marriage — outline the process for pre-nuptial counselling and using the on-base chapel for same-sex ceremonies. Col. Stan Johnstone, a military chaplain who helped draft the policy, said the guidelines reflect the primary role of ministering to all forces members and their families. He said chaplains vary on personal convictions and points of theology, but don’t discriminate against anyone in need of counsel. “It’s essentially a statement of the way the law is going. We don’t put any expectations on people. We expect them to function as we always do, according to the tenets of their church, their own conscience and the laws of the province,” Johnstone said. “No one is being put under any constraint to do something they wouldn’t normally do,” he said.
  • Patty vs. “good Christian” Ned Flanders?! And we had our money on Marge’s sister Patty.

  • Ned Flanders is the gay Simpson?. Rumors have been circulating since last summer on who it might be, but in recent weeks the debate and speculation have turned into big money wagers. “It appears that many of our customers have an opinion on who the gay character is,” says Mike Foreman, spokesperson for BetUS.com. “We’ve taken more than 900 bets, mostly on Patty and Smithers. According to Foreman, Marge’s sister Patty was the favorite at 4/5 with Smithers trailing at 4/1 to be “outed.” Ned Flanders is posted as 15/1, making the devout-Christian character a long shot; however, several large wagers have been placed on his character, which has come as a surprise to the bookmaker. “We were positive that Patty would be the bettors’ favorite, seeing that she has been identified in many online sources as the gay character thanks to a leak at Fox,” says Foreman. “Nevertheless, it seems that our customers believe that Patty is just a rumor planted by the network to throw viewers off.”



Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

  • Illinois Gov. signs GLBT rights law. Blagojevich, bucking trend, signs protections. Governor Rod Blagojevich has signed into law legislation that bans discrimination against gays and lesbians. The governor’s signature today makes Illinois the 15th state in the nation to do so. The law prohibits discriminating against people because of sexual orientation in housing, employment, credit and other areas. Blagojevich says Illinois won’t tolerate discrimination of any kind. He calls the new law “a critical step forward in the struggle for equality.”
  • Big IL court ruling for moms. A 5-year-old boy and his lesbian foster mothers can breathe a sigh of relief now that the Illinois Supreme Court has reversed a lower order on Friday that would have sent the boy to live with his allegedly abusive grandparents. Because of the efforts of Lambda Legal, among others, the boy has been living with Rosemary Fontaine and her partner during the last two years of litigation. Now, with the high court’s decision, the boy officially becomes a ward of the state once more, and will be adopted by his foster family in short order.

Headlines…

***

Rabid religious wingnuts, Freepers and homo-bigot preachers on the loose.


  • Religious wingnuts, Freepers react to Mehlman naming pro-choice, gay-friendly co-chair of RNC. Jo Ann Davidson’s pick by Mehlman has raised the Right’s hackles. Do you think an outing campaign on him is not far behind? I did a little surfing over to a Christian news site I hadn’t visited before, Crosswalk, to see the reaction to the news about Mehlman naming Jo Ann Davidson as RNC co-chair. I knew there would be a predictable eruption. Quote from Christian News site Crosswalk:

  • [self-loathing homo alert…(Please go this link for Quinlan…he must be self-flagellating each and every night)]
  • Her positions are completely opposed to the rank and file of the Republican Party,” said Greg Quinlan, executive director of the Pro-Family Network. Quinlan, a self-described former homosexual activist, said Davidson’s positions would certainly influence the Republican Party’s platform and negatively impact President Bush’s goal of amending the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as an act between one man and one woman.


    Actual Freeper Quotes”“i got a bad feeling about this. first spectre, now davidson — nothing like flipping off your most energetic supporters to sabotage the party’s prospect for the futre.”

    “Abortion and homosexuality are not “lifestyles” that we need to reach out to. Rather, we should be seen to recoil from them. It’s about having moral values, and being unashamed of those values.”

    “The time for the the conservative core to jump to a third party is NOW. In four years it will be too late, when for the health of the country all have to put on a happy face and pull the lever for the whichever anti-Hillary candidate the RNC dredges up. The RNC still thinks we have nowhere else to go and have arrogently played that card for decades- before and after Reagan. It’s time to put some pressure on NOW by jumping to the Constitution Party or elsewhere, and letting it be known the RNC will have to change its direction to win us back.”

    “If we wanted homosexuality and baby killing, we’d vote for Democrats.”

    “I’ve had enough of all this Big Tent garbage. The Right needs to rid itself of the Kumbaya wing.”

    “Majorities are tenuous things, easily frittered away by stupidity. I’ve never voted 3rd party in my life, but I’m telling you right now, if the GOP goes soft on Pro-Life and continue to put pro-baby killing individuals into leadership positions, I’ll vote 3rd party and not even think twice about it. I vote principle over party and Pro-Life is one principle I won’t sacrifice. Sorry.”



What a hoot. Ripped from
Oliver Willis. Click to enlarge.



Left: Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. Right: Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, archbishop of Toronto. The cardinal is using the talking points right out of the Falwell handbook.

  • Canadian religious wingnuts rise up against gay marriage as vote nears. The Canadian “Right” is trying the same tactic as the American Taliban, going after religious minorities for support, and attacking judges. The difference here is that legislative leaders opposed to redefining marriage are not against recognition of equivalent rights for same-sex couples. “Prime Minister Paul Martin is staring down a backlash over his plans to legalise gay marriage, as Roman Catholics, Sikhs and his domestic political foes mobilise to thwart him. The Roman Catholic archbishop of Toronto, who represents more than a million believers here, warned Martin, himself a Catholic, that his plan would trigger serious, and unpredictable shocks to society. “The conjugal partnership of a man and woman is the beginning and basis of human society,” Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic wrote in an open letter to Martin Wednesday. “Tampering with marriage and family poses significant social risks.” Party leader Stephen Harper has said he will vote against Martin’s bill, arguing that the traditional definition of marriage should stand, though he has also pledged to safeguard the rights of same sex couples.



Usually unhinged William Donahue of the Catholic League actually emits less wingnuttery than the other person in this article, Stephen Brady of “Roman Catholic Faithful.

  • Right wing Catholics about children of gays: ‘Pawns of the Homosexual Agenda’. There was a recent story about a group of holier-than-thou parents that were pressing for a gay couple to remove their child from their Catholic school because of their homosexuality. The diocese slapped the parents down. The always-belligerent Catholic talking head William Donohue of the Catholic League actually commented in the article on behalf of the family. I always think the guy is going to have a stroke when he gets asked questions about homos on shows like Hardball. You’d think his doctor would tell him to stop doing these gigs because he just may have a stroke on the air. “There is a moral principal, expressed in Judeo-Christian thought,that the innocent should not be punished for the transgressions of the guilty.” But then AgapePress quotes a truly unhinged f*cktard, Stephen Brady of some organization called Roman Catholic Faithful. “Clearly, these homosexuals — these sodomites, if you will — are using these poor children as a political pawn,” he says. “What father in his right mind would place his children in a school that is so hostile to their very way of life? And that’s what they’ve done,” Brady continues. “The spiritual well-being of these children is in no way benefited by keeping them in a Catholic school that is going to someday tell them their whole life is a lie. I mean, it’s going to be so traumatic to these children that God only knows what the result will be to their personalities and their faith in general.”
  • In fact, the Roman Catholic Faithful spokesman contends that a priest should never have baptized the two children in the first place, and should certainly not have permitted the two homosexual “parents” to enter the Catholic school and print their names in a parish directory. “The ones doing real harm to using these children,” Brady says, “are the priest and the nun who allowed this to happen.”

  • “My Ten Days in Prison” – Bible beater wigged out by lesbians in the clink. A group of evangelical Christians is facing hate crimes prosecution for assaulting attendees at a Philadelphia Pride festival. After they were arrested one of the women, Linda Beckman, a 67-year-old grandmother from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, gave a first-hand account of life behind bars to Concerned Women of America. Here is an entertaining excerpt that proves a religious wingnut in your cell is as scary as a big BD prison warden!

    Out of the five people in my cell, three were lesbians. Oh, how my heart grieved! I called out to God and said, “I know you created them to be women, but they act like animals.” Their language and actions were more than I could bear. It was much, much worse than when I was imprisoned in the early ’90s for doing rescue work…After two nights of no sleep, due to the noise from the women in my cell and their vulgar language, I called out to God to bind the spirits of lesbianism and vulgar language. After I returned from a court hearing, I knew that I still had a few more days to spend in jail. One of the women in my cell said, “Now tonight we’re going to be quiet and let ‘mom’ [me] sleep. â€ÂÂ? And another thing, we’re going to stop this foul language.” When one would slip, another would say, “Watch your mouth.” God is so faithful!

General corporate, legislative, legal and community activism by your jolly neighborhood homophobes…





why…Why…WHY is this jackass president? Please stop the madness.

Pretty boy Nathan, and the source of his factoids about homosexuality, discredited “scientist” Paul Cameron.

  • The Tar Heel State can claim a homo-bigot of the week – Nathan Tabor. Nathan Tabor has a problem. He has an obsession with homosexuals. He thinks a lot about them in his essay “Homosexuals should pay more insurance,” spewing forth a diatribe of nonsensical lies and hysterically insecure commentary. The Kernersville, NC-based Tabor considers himself a “conservative political activist” and is a contributing editor at The Conservative Voice. He also worked with Focus on the Family and BC04 on GOTV campaigns, and made a bid of his own for the Fifth Congressional District here in NC. He thankfully missed the runoff by 8 points. This is the future of the GOP? “Some would say it is a known fact that most homosexuals, and especially gay men, are promiscuous. Their rhetoric is carefully crafted to give the impression they are in “committed, caring relationships” while research suggests that the vast majority of gays are neither celibate nor monogamous. (All heterosexuals are not celibate or monogamous either.) Some may say, so what? Well, the corollary to this homosexual health hypothesis is another proven fact: most sexually active homosexuals simply don’t live a very long time. The heartier they party, it seems, the shorter the time that party lasts.”He reasons that gays should be charged more for insurance because of the higher incidence of AIDS in gay men. “The conclusion is simple. Homosexual activists say they want equal rights and treatment. Fine. Let’s use their own arguments against them here. Let’s start by having them pay their fair share of the healthcare costs that accompany their lifestyle.”
  • Last time I looked there was a skyrocketing rise in the the transmission of AIDS to black, heterosexual women who did nothing more than sleep with their seemingly monogamous partners. Are they engaging in risky behavior?

  • Disney World Accused Of Segregating Transsexual Intern. This is pathetic, and completely discriminatory…and legal. Disney, as one would expect, isn’t commenting on this story. A transsexual student from the University of Maine says she is being segregated in a student intern program at Orlando’s Disney World. The woman, who wants to be identified only by her first name, Claire, was accepted last fall to the Walt Disney World College Program for a seven-month internship. The 23 year old tells the Bangor Maine News that when she told Disney officials she is transsexual they said they offer only single-sex housing and gave her two options: Cut her hair and go back to living as a male, or live alone in a two-person apartment and pay double the amount of rent. Claire told the paper that the internship is important to her, and rather than fight the directive she opted to live alone and pay double rent. It is a decision that has left her nearly destitute. As an intern, Claire will make $6.35 an hour, working 30 to 35 hours a week at a job to which she has yet to be assigned. That adds up to about $200 a week, and rent alone will eat up at least $160, she explained.
  • Note: there is no federal bill on the horizon to protect the transgendered/transsexual against discrimination. The failed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) included sexual orientation but not gender expression. Some organizations, including PFLAG want to include trans-inclusive language in ENDA, but this is deemed political suicide for any chance at future passage.

  • Florida judge rules legal gay civil marriages do not have to be recognized. In what is believed to be the first ruling of its kind, a judge on Wednesday upheld the federal law letting states ban same-sex marriages, dismissing a lawsuit by two women seeking to have their Massachusetts marriage recognized here. Attorneys for conservative groups hailed the ruling by U.S. District Judge James S. Moody as an important first step, but the plaintiffs promised to appeal. “This is a legal shot heard “round the world,” said attorney Ellis Rubin, who filed the lawsuit on the women’s behalf. “But we are not giving up. … This case is going to be resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court, and I have said that since the day I filed it.” Although several federal cases are challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, attorneys said Wednesday’s ruling was the first by a federal judge on a direct challenge to the law.
  • Extreme LA anti-gay marriage amendment ruled constitutional. Another state falls. The Louisiana super-DOMA has been ruled constitutional by the state Supreme Court. This amendment, which was passed last September, not only defined marriage as between one man and one woman, but also “specifically prohibits recognition of same-sex “marriages” from another jurisdiction as well as any legal arrangement “identical” or “substantially similar” to marriage.” So it’s no to civil unions, and yet another state goes for the Virginia/Ohio severe slap-down of gay rights. It’s not clear whether this affects private businesses and their ability to provide same-sex spousal equivalent benefits. The sad thing is 78% of voters cast a ballot in favor of this bigoted law. “This is a tremendous victory for the family,” said Stephen M. Crampton, Chief Counsel of the AFA Center for Law & Policy, which has been involved in drafting and defending similar amendments. “For too long, efforts to protect the family have been thwarted by activist judges. We applaud the Louisiana court for deferring to the will of the people,” added Crampton.


Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family think fighting gay marriage is more important than say, war and poverty.

  • Bush still upsets some homo-bigot supporters after FMA “correction”. They’re not happy with the “family”-focused Mehlman either. Even as the White House scurried back to soothe the wingers that Bush will push FMA, the usual suspects crawl out from under their rocks to scream anyway. President Bush came under fire from some social conservatives yesterday for saying he will not aggressively lobby the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage during his second term.
  • Prominent leaders such as Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and many rank-and-file Bush supporters inundated the White House with phone calls to protest Bush’s comments in an interview published Sunday in The Washington Post. “Clearly there is concern” among conservatives, Perkins said. “I believe there is no more important issue for the president’s second term than the preservation of marriage.”

    Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family said, “I am sure [White House] phone lines are lighting up all over…[Bush’s stance on the issue] was not articulated that way in the campaign.” Perkins complained.

Ralphie, the religious Right wonder-boy — is he following Zell’s lead?

  • Former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed may run for Georgia Lt. Gov. in 2006. Republican political consultant Ralph Reed is considering a run for Georgia lieutenant governor in 2006, the Washington Times said Tuesday. A former wonder-boy of Republican electoral politics, Reed ran the South for President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. Bush carried the region by a large margin, helping the GOP to post wins in five open U.S. Senate contests. The lieutenant governor’s office has served as the launching pad for more than one prominent elected official. Retired U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., held it for 16 years before becoming Georgia’s chief executive. If Reed can win the No. 2 spot, he would already have a campaign organization, a donors list, a campaign kitty and four years of statewide elected office experience by the time the 2010 gubernatorial contest roles around, at which time Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue — if he wins re-election in 2006 — would have to leave office because of term limits. I guess the only good news about this head case is that he’s only aiming for Lt. Gov. For now.
  • Georgia HS Gay Straight Society Could Incite Violence, Parents Claim. Well, if you’re that homophobic and hell-bent on punishing innocent people because you are insecure in your sexual orientation, I guess it could. A parents group is demanding that the Gay Lesbian and Straight Society at Berkmar High School in Gwinnett change its name because the mere mention of the word gay could incite violence at the suburban Atlanta school. “I submit to you the name itself is very sexually explicit, provocative and inflammatory,” the group’s spokesperson Faye Caldwell told the school board. “People have very strong opinions about homosexuality. . . . There could be a confrontation. We must protect the well-being of the students.” The GLSS was recently formed at the school. Last week, two opinion pieces on the club were pulled from the student newspaper after principal Kendall Johnson felt they would disturb students during exam time.



As I’ve said before, George Wallace would be Alabama’s first choice again for gov, but he’s uh, dead.

  • Alabama wingnut Roy “Ten Commandments” Moore leads the polls for gov. Ace bigot, homophobe and representative of the nostalgia movement for Jim Crow days, former Judge Roy Moore, has a huge lead in initial polls for governor of Alabama. A Mobile Register-University of South Alabama poll of likely Republican primary voters shows Moore with a lead of 8 percentage points over Riley in a hypothetical primary matchup. Moore drew support from 43 percent of respondents, while the governor garnered 35 percentOusted from the Alabama Supreme Court over his refusal to follow a federal judge’s order to remove a Ten Commandments office from the court building, Moore has been traveling the country speaking to conservative organizations and religious groups. The poll found that Moore had a favorable rating of 72 percent – a number University of Alabama political scientist William Stewart described as potentially “intimidating to the governor.”
  • In a diary on DKos about this, there was an excellent post by Corncam, that I want to repeat here…

    I am an Alabama native, and I can remember when George Wallace was governor of our fair state. I hope that y’all will forgive me for such a negative posting, but I am virtually certain that Roy Moore will win, and I’m afraid that he will bring back the reign of terror that characterised our state for nearly 100 years, up until 1964.
    When I moved out of state twenty years ago, I thought that racism was a dying way of life, and that Alabama would soon rejoin the rest of the modern world, but I have begun to doubt that conclusion. The rejection of Amendment 2 in November was especially alarming, because I know how sensitive Alabamians are to any suggestion that they are intolerant rednecks.

    Roy Moore’s hatred of gays, and extreme religious intolerance are, unfortunately, right in tune with Alabama’s mainstream. If he is elected, I expect to see police raids on known same-sex families, and increased profiling & harassment of religious minorities, especially Muslims. I wouldn’t even be surprised if lynchings started up again.

    The idea that a Democrat might win is just a forlorn hope, and anyway, no one to the left of Zell Miller could possibly be elected. Gov. Riley has been the best man to hold that office in 20 years, and he is a far better man than Alabama deserves right now.

    The fact is that most Southern conservatives don’t believe in the US Constitution, and once they are confident that Washington won’t step in to enforce its provisions, then they will begin to flagrantly violate the basic rights of their fellow citizens, just like they did during the Jim Crow era.



Arkansan wingnut Rep. Bob Adams, D-Sheridan.

  • Arkansas bill seeks to prevent gay people from becoming foster parents. Guess the wingnuts there want to jump into the race to reach the bottom of the tolerance list along with Alabama and Virginia. Here is the summary of the bill from the Arkansas Legislature web site: “To clarify that the Department of Human Services shall not place a child with an adoptive or foster parent who is homosexual or in a home where an adult homosexual resides.” Last month, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox declared unconstitutional a regulation being enforced by the Child Welfare Agency Review Board that prohibited gay people or any family with a gay member from becoming foster parents. Fox said in his ruling the board has the legislative authority to “promote the health, safety and welfare of children,” but not morals. House Bill 1119 by Rep. Bob Adams, D-Sheridan, attempts to give the board the authority.
  • Ohio’s Gay Marriage Amendment Being Used in Domestic Violence Cases. You knew the bozos voting for this amendment had no idea that it was a blunt club that could be used to knock out more than gay people. The Ohio amendment, aside from defining marriage and outlawing civil unions: ends domestic partnership benefits offered by private companies; and results in the loss of certain rights for unmarried couples, such as property rights, power of attorney, hospital visitation and inheritance. The latest mess affects domestic violence victims. Ohio’s new gay marriage amendment is being used by some attorneys to defend unmarried clients against domestic violence charges. In at least two cases last week, the Cuyahoga County public defender’s office asked a judge to dismiss domestic violence charges against unmarried defendants. The attorneys say the charges violate the amendment by affording marriage-like legal status to unmarried victims who live with those accused of attacking them.

A new LGBT news/commentary site launched last week, RawStoryQ, a project of Mike Rogers (BlogActive and John Byrne (The Raw Story and The Blue Lemur). The format is much like The Raw Story. Information on the site is here. Disclaimer/good news: Features from my blog, Pam’s House Blend, will be on the site from time to time.

Headlines…

Some Related diaries this week…

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding