HGG 2011 Gift-A-Day: Last minute gifts and stocking stuffer roundup

COUNTING IT DOWN

Whether you need to give to the coworkers, neighbors or just add to the gift stock pile by stuffing the stocking, these might help out on your decision making.

SPIRITS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

Moon Mountain vodka makes this holiday season more “green” that is certified organic by the USDA. Made in America, the artisanally crafted vodka is made from Midwestern corn, but in small batches creating the right taste to make it the perfect spirit to toast the season. The vodka is priced at $19.99.

Available at major spirits retailers.

FORGET SANTA

These Biscoff cookies are a surprisingly addictive treat, that it may be hard to give away. The crispy biscuits with the caramel flavor are ideal with coffee or even on their own. And a welcome alternative to usual holiday sweets with their light touch. Made from Belgium, these treats are vegan and contain 0 grams trans fat and 0 cholesterol per serving. So your recipients will be quite happy about these. Coming in a variety of counts and packages, these Biscoff Cafe Totes house eight packages of two. So you can get one for yourself and then try to give the other one away. You could leave them out for Santa but try not to eat them before he does. Ten percent of the purchases of this item go toward Teach for America. A set of three is priced at $16.95.

Available through Biscoff.com.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

For the Star Wars gamer geek — er, loved ones — comes this quirky stylus set. Made for Nintendo DS products, Star Wars fans can have their very own Clone Wars with these character-designed stylus lightsabers.  The stylus can be used for DS Lite, XL and 3DS and is for ages six and up. Priced at $9.99.

Available at Best Buy, Walmart, Target and other major video game retailers.

 

GAY FILM FEST

Breaking Glass Pictures has made gift giving for your LGBT movie fan rather enticing. The company that distributed the locally-made Ticked Off Trannies with Knives is offering a 30 percent off purchases made during the holiday season. Stack up on indie gay movie faves like Violet Tendencies, The Big Gay Musical and the 30th anniversary edition of the gay classic Taxi Zum Klo. Head to the site withthe promotion code “holiday” and snag a bargain on the films. Hey, you might even get one for yourself.

Available at BreakingGlassPictures.com.

 

 

 

BRUSH AWAY

Expect an eye roll if you give kids a toothbrush, but once they start handling his Arm & Ammer Spinbrush Proclean, they might get more on board. The battery-operated brush is a simple, but effective way to keep those pearly whites, um, white, with the appeal of being a whirring gadget. Don’t talk about how better it is than a manual toothbrush and dental health. Yawn for days. Hype up the dual action technology, the durable body style and what a grown-up “toy” it is. Because, of course, adults can use it to. Retails between $8–9.

Available at retailers nationwide.

 

—  Rich Lopez

President Obama issues memorandum on protecting LGBTs abroad

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Four days in advance of  Human Rights Day on Saturday, Dec. 10,  President Barack Obama today issued a presidential memorandum “to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” according to a statement just released by the White House press office.

The statement sent out by the White House includes these comments by the president:

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.  I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.  That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, “no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”  Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.  Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”

The memorandum from Obama directs agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination, and report on progress.

I give the president credit for issuing the memorandum at the same time he’s gearing up for what will likely be a tough re-election campaign during which opponents will no doubt use his stance and actions on LGBT issues against him. But I still have to point out that we as LGBT people still face discrimination and inequality right here in the good old U.S.-of-A:

• Our marriages are legally recognized at the federal level and they aren’t recognized in the VAST majority of state and local jurisdictions. We want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed and local and state ordinances and constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of our relationships need to be overturned.

• There is still no federal protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/gender expression and gender identity. Congress needs to pass — the president needs to sign — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

• Even though there is now a federal hate crimes law that includes LGBT people, as well as similar laws at many state and local levels, those laws are not well enforced.

Anti-LGBT bullying remains a deadly problem in our schools and our workplaces and on the Internet. We’ve made progress in combating such bullying, but not nearly enough. Dedicate the resources necessary to address the issue effectively.

So let’s applaud our president for the steps he has — and is — taking. There’s no doubt Obama has been more open than any other president about addressing LGBT issues and we have seen great strides forward toward equality during his administration. But there’s a long way to go yet, and we need to make sure that the president — and all our elected officials — know they can’t just rest on their laurels.

—  admin

25 ways to fight AIDS

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day.

Wait! Before you click the ‘next’ button or scroll down your news feed hear me out: The LGBT community has been living with AIDS for three decades now. For people of my generation the message to get tested and use condoms has been stated and restated so many times that it has faded into the background with the result that, all too often, people do not take the steps they need to to protect themselves. Harris County is responsible for 30% of the new HIV/AIDS diagnosis in Texas and men who have sex with men account for 64% of newly diagnosed men statewide. The threat is not over, the fight is not over, AIDS still endanger the LGBT community.

But I don’t want to just talk about just condoms and testing (as important as they are). Fighting HIV/AIDS is easier than you might think. I present to you 25 ways, in no particular order, to fight AIDS in Houston.

25. If you’re over a certain age talk to a young LGBT person about how your life has been affected by HIV/AIDS. You might be surprised how eager we are to hear your stories.

24. If you’re under a certain age listen to an older LGBT person tell you how HIV/AIDS has affected their lives. I know you aren’t eager to hear their stories, but listen anyway. You may find that learning the history of your community is more empowering than you’d expect.

23. If you are a sexually active gay man or transgender woman participate in the Baylor College of Medicine’s HIV Vaccine Study.

22. Ask your local public or school library to put books about HIV/AIDS on the shelf, not just in the back room where they have to be requested. Access to accurate information is crucial in fighting the spread of the disease.

21. Post HIV/AIDS stories to facebook.

20. Ask your clergy person what your community of faith is doing to fight the pandemic.

19. Sign up for action alerts from the Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition at texashiv.org

18. Actually follow through when the action alerts from the Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition arrive in your in-box.

17. Volunteer for organizations that deal with communities at high risk for infection: high school dropouts, victims of sexual assault, the poor, the homeless and sex workers. Fighting AIDS means fighting the injustice in our society that all too often contributes to new infections.

16. Say AIDS out loud.

15. Ask political candidates what they will do to continue funding to fight HIV/AIDS.

14. Once they’re elected, ask those candidates why they aren’t doing more to continue funding to fight HIV/AIDS.

13. Remind yourself that it’s OK to be tired of hearing about HIV/AIDS.

12. Thank a person who volunteers their time to the fight.

11. Take a moment to remember the people we’ve lost.

10. Take a moment to think of the people we may loose if this pandemic isn’t stopped.

9. Take a HIV/AIDS healthcare worker to dinner.

8. Wear a red ribbon.

7. Recognize that wearing a red ribbon isn’t enough.

6. Work with communities other than your own. HIV/AIDS effects us all.

5. Get angry.

4. Get over your anger.

3. Donate to an HIV/AIDS Charity.

2. When you pass a mobile HIV testing center, thank the workers.

1. Don’t pretend the fight is over, and don’t let other people pretend it’s over either.

—  admin

Putting our children at risk

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents

Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.

As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.

Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.

With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.

The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.

Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.

His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.

It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.

If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.

Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.

In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.

Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or  money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.

Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.

Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.

Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.

The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.

But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.        

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

‘Bedpost Confessions’ tonight at The Kessler

‘Bedpost Confessions’ moves sex talk from the closet into Oak Cliff

What would you do if your friend admitted to  being a prostitute? Or if your sister talked about having sex outside of her marriage with a 21-year-old virgin? Sexual talk outside of the bedroom can still be taboo, even in today’s desensitized world of fast hookups and Showtime melodramas. Bring up intercourse (or something far more intense), and most people will cringe or shy away.

Tonight, it all comes out. The Austin-based stage show Bedpost Confessions features performers talking up their sexual adventures out loud all in good fun. Trying to break away from the taboo of talking about sex, co-founder Sadie Smythe and company bring their show to Dallas. Local writer and Dallas Voice contributor Jenny Block, pictured, gets in on the action which makes perfect sense. As the author of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage, she’ll have ideal material for the night.

Her thoughts on tonight’s show.

“It’s just sex. It’s supposed to be this happy, fun, sometimes even spiritual experience. It’s all gotten so twisted and tangled when really it should be so simple. Consenting adults doing something that our bodies were built to do. But somewhere along the line, people got confused. Outwardly we are this over-sexed society. But behind closed doors we don’t talk to our kids, we don’t communicate with our partners, and we’re lost when it comes to all things sex. The funny thing is, the fix is an easy one. We have to talk to one another and to our kids and to our partners. We have to strangle the taboo. We could have solved all of the world’s ills by now if we stopped worrying so much about such a natural thing and started putting our brain power to better use.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Block will also be signing copies of her book after the show. Along with Block, Smythe and the other performers, the audience gets to play as they are encouraged to write their sexual confessions to be read aloud. Don’t worry, it’s all anonymous. Read the original article here.

DEETS:


—  Rich Lopez

Take Action in Wyoming to Stop SJ 5 and HB 74

This week, the Wyoming House Judicial Committee passed 6 votes to 3, SJ 5, a measure to place a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot barring same-sex marriage. Passed by the full Senate last week, the bill is expected to be voted on by the full House in the coming days. Now is your chance to tell your representatives in Wyoming to do the right thing.

HB 74, which would prevent same-sex marriages performed in other states from being recognized in Wyoming has passed the House and is on its way to the Senate. Make sure your Senator knows that you support equality and urge them to do the same.

Both bills deny Wyoming families the dignity that comes from having their relationships recognized. No child of a same-sex family should have to grow up feeling that somehow their family is less loving or legitimate than their friends and neighbors.

If you or someone you know is in Wyoming, take action NOW by sending a letter to your legislators to defeat SJ 5 and HB 74. To send a letter to your legislators in Wyoming, click here.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

Netroots Action for Marriage Equality in Delaware

DE Right to Marry Header

This is Bill Humphrey, and he’s the statewide director for Delaware Right to Marry Political Action Committee. He’s got a little problem, really, just a little one. And I know we at the Blend and in the Netroots can help him out.

This has been Cross-Posted to the Daily Kos. Please Rec if you can.
First, here’s a special note to Pam’s House Blend from Bill:

We at Delaware Right to Marry are grateful for the chance to address readers of Pam’s House Blend directly today. If you read the “About” page by Pam, she cites “the right to marry” as one of the issues that led her to start the site in the first place. It’s an interesting choice of words: the right to marry. A lot of people don’t think marriage is a right. Having grown up in Massachusetts during the transition to marriage equality, I firmly believe that it is a right (as you can tell by our organization’s name), and it’s one of the reasons I started the organization last year here in Delaware, where I now live.

In April 2009, Nate Silver estimated that Delaware voters would be ready to accept marriage equality by 2011 if it were put to a vote. However, unlike in many states, there is no ballot initiative process (which is a good thing since people should not be able to vote on other people’s rights), nor is there an equal rights clause in the state’s constitution to allow for a court ruling in favor of marriage equality, as in Massachusetts or Iowa. So in Delaware we have to go the legislative route. That means appealing to legislators, by showing them that marriage equality is right and (we hope) popular. That’s where you come in.

A note to the transgender community: We are very supportive of promoting transgender rights in the state of Delaware, and members of our staff are heavily involved in other projects for transgender individuals outside our organization. For example, our assistant director is currently leading a project for gender-neutral housing options for students living on campus at the University of Delaware.

While, our organization right now is solely single-issue (marriage equality for same-sex couples), there are other organizations in the state with a broader policy agenda for LGBT people, and my assumption is that they are working to add transgender protections at some point in the near future. However, I can’t speak for those organizations, and we did not exist when the previous nondiscrimination legislation, which some of you may know about, came up for debate. I am personally supportive of transgender rights and in the future, it may be something we add to our mission.

See, Bill’s working to get marriage equality onto Delaware’s legislative agenda this session. And if it gets off the ground, its got a good chance of passing. The problem is, it’s been a long time since anyone checked in with good people of Delaware about how they feel about LGBT issues. And it seems, these issues are on an upswing, so there’s good reason to believe when the news comes back it’ll be good. And as he said, king of polling, Nate Silver agrees.

But, polls don’t conduct themselves. So, Bill needs just ,250 dollars to pay Public Policy Polling to conduct a poll on Delaware residents’ attitudes about marriage equality.

Big Money

I know, it’s gauche to ask for money. I personally believe I was made for better things. But the reality is the anti-gay hate industry is rich. Very rich. And they are powerful, and have the ears of some powerful folks. Just one group, National Organization for Marriage (NOM), is estimated in 2009 to have collected ,000,000, including a single donation of ,400,000 from Catholic Church affiliated Knights of Columbus. And they sunk millions into a variety of races around the country. In this last cycle they spent half a million dollars to go after those judges in Iowa.

NOM also sunk half a million dollars going after Governor Lynch in New Hampshire for signing a marriage equality bill. They didn’t get their prize. (Yay!) But they’re not backing down. They’re gearing up to spend at least 0k in Rhode Island.

They have lots of money. Fortunately, we have the arc of a just universe on our side. And, we also have facts. But Bill and his group just need the money to mine for those facts.

Little Money

When Bill’s request came to me I was struck by its quaintness. ,250 is not much, it’s pretty obtainable. I mean, I’m used to reading these budgets of six digits. So, I figure, if everyone donated just (the cost of a movie ticket!), we’d only need 225 nationwide to chip in. (Of course, if you give more, that’s great!) And we can help Bill and Right to Marry lay the a solid groundwork for a nice victory in Delaware. Let’s go to it.

Now, think carefully. And remember, the extremists in Delaware must be pretty dispirited that their teabagger Queen Christine O’Donnell got Royally trounced in the last election. They lost their chance to make masturbation illegal. I imagine the left scoring a marriage equality victory in 2011 would be a real kick in the pants, wouldn’t it? And wouldn’t that just be a shame?

Transcript for the video impaired.

Hi. My name is Bill Humphrey, and I’m the statewide director for Delaware Right to Marry Political Action Committee.

We are leading the effort to pass legislation this year for civil marriage equality in the state of Delaware. Our bill is modeled upon the 2009 New Hampshire marriage equality law and contains clear protections for unhindered freedom of religion. We believe we have a very strong draft law, which we hope to have introduced soon. [Read the proposal outline here.]

Today, I’m here with a pretty simple request. There hasn’t been a poll done in the state of Delaware on any LGBT issues for several years. We think that opinions have shifted significantly just in the last few years, and we’re ready to put that to the test. However, in order to do that, we still need about two thousand dollars for our poll by Public Policy Polling. We’re an all-volunteer organization, and we are absolutely counting on small-dollar donations from the netroots to help pay for the poll.

We also should note that we have to get this poll done in the next several weeks in order to be able to move our effort legislative ahead this year because the legislative session in Delaware is fairly short. Right now we also have a pro-LGBT Democratic governor, a Democratic supermajority in the House, and a Democratic Senate majority. We don’t know how long that situation might last, and we don’t want to fight this out in an election year either. That makes this period extremely critical.

Donations of any amount – big or small – are deeply appreciated.

If you would prefer to just write a check, there’s a link below with information on how to do that. Otherwise, you can just use the ActBlue link below to donate securely and instantly.

Thanks again for your support. It really makes a difference.

Donate on our ActBlue page to help pay for the poll:

Or How to donate by check.

Goal Thermometer

Thanks for watching, and reading. Two prior diaries by Bill:
? Why Does Marriage Equality Matter to You ? Help Us Bring Marriage Equality to Delaware

? You can follow the news of this story at Delaware Right To Marry’s Facebook page.

Special Note: Please welcome Bill to the Blend, he’s posting under the handle, Delaware Right To Marry and will be taking questions at 11:00 am EST on Wednesday.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Take Action: Please join us in thanking the troops who made today’s DADT victory possible

UPDATE @ 3:02 PM: Watch the Senate vote on final passage:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

UPDATE: The final Senate vote on DADT is expected at 3pm Eastern. We should easily win that. Then the bill goes straight to the White House for the President’s signature, from what I understand.

And here’s the vote count. We got all the Ds, exception Manchin, who chickened out and didn’t vote at all (history repeats itself and West Virginia takes a proud stand against the major civil rights bill of the day, again). And we got the following Rs: Snowe; Collins; Murkowski; Voinovich; Brown; Kirk.

There’s a lot of thanks to go around for today’s incredible and somewhat surprising, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” victory. Please join us in thanking the troops, from Leonard Maltovich to Dan Choi, who made today possible. You can add your name to our open letter of thanks to all of them, and we’ll deliver it to our friends at SLDN and Servicemembers United.

Now, it’s true that this isn’t over. The Senate still has two more votes on DADT before this bill passes the Senate (but those are simple majority votes, so we expect no problem). Then the bill goes to the President for his signature. But even then it’s not over. The President will need to work with the Pentagon to come up with the new regulations lifting the ban, and even then Republicans in Congress may try to stop implementation of the repeal. We’ll need to watch this like a hawk every step of the way, and we will, but today we celebrate.

Join us in thanking the troops, but really in thanking everyone who had a hand in this. Here a few who really led the way:

Everyone at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Servicemembers United. Especially their leaders, Aubrey Sarvis and Alex Nicholson, both proud vets. Then there are the vets. Leonard Matlovich, Perry Watkins, Tracy Thorne, Zoe Dunning, Justin Elzie, Michelle Beneke (and Dixon Osborn, who isn’t a vet, but set up SLDN 17 years ago with Michelle), Grethe Cammermeyer, Joe Steffan, Keith Meinhold, Eric Alva, Victor Fehrenbach, and Dan Choi… and so many more.

And let’s not forget the activists who weren’t willing to take no for an answer. Robin McGehee at GetEqual and the entire gay Netroots. Our friends in the White House who have been pushing this for two years, in the face of some serious internal challenges. Our friends on the Hill, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid – who both got this done. Senator Udall of Colorado. Senator Gillibrand. Senator Lieberman (yes, he actually busted his butt for us). Senators Snowe and Collins, and every other Republican and Democrat who finally came our way. And Congressman Patrick Murphy, who went the extra mile for us. And even the President, who finally got into gear (albeit a tad late) and made the calls necessary to make this happen.

I’m sure I’m forgetting far too many people, all the way back to my friends at the Campaign for Military Service back in 1993, and Michael in Senator Kennedy’s office who spent far too much time with me figuring out how to responds to the evil Sam Nunn.

So thank you all. It’s not over. But it’s a hell of a start, and a hell of a Christmas gift.

Please sign our thank you letter to the troops, and consider it a thank you to everyone, including all of you.

Not a bad day.

PS Okay, more folks coming to mind who helped out immensely. Kerry Eleveld at the Advocate who held Robert Gibbs’ feet to the fire, Richard Socarides who singlehandedly became one of our community’s top spokesmen on CNN and MSNBC. Trevor at SLDN and Brad Luna, the best PR folks you can find. And then there’s Paul Yandura and Jonathan Lewis, who went the extra mile, and then some, to make sure we all got equal. And the blogswarmers, from Pam Spaulding to Mike Signorile, Dan “It gets better” Savage, Andy Towle, Bill Browning, Joe Jervis, Adam Bink,and Jeremy Hooper.

It’s beginning to feel like the Oscars :-)

Then there are the straight blogs, as we affectionately call them. Markos, a vet who earned his “honorary gay” medal years ago, Jane Hamsher who is about as dangerous a weapon on TV as any soldier in the field, and really everyone – Joe and I have remarked to ourselves numerous times how supportive the straight blogs have been to us and our issues over the years, so thank you, all of you. And not a blogger, but still a member of the Netroots, Jon Soltz at VoteVets, another vet who earned his honorary gay medal years ago, tirelessly fighting for us on TV far better than most of our groups.

And even OFA, while not yet quite earning their honorary gay medal, came through in the end and did some real work phone-banking and visiting Senate offices, so thank you.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Ramping Up DADT Repeal Action in Ohio

We’re literally in the final stretch and even though we’ve been in Ohio for months, it’s now or never in convincing Senator George Voinovich to do the right thing and vote for repeal.  Not only is Congress about to adjourn for the session, but Voinovich is retiring from the Senate and elected office after a storied career as an Ohio public servant.

HRC has three staff on the ground in Ohio for this final push.  While I am coordinating our efforts in Cleveland, Adrian Matanza and Collin Burton are in Columbus.  We’re coordinating phone banks and letter writing activities to generate constituent contacts, as well as planning significant public forums with Ohio veterans, telling their stories about life under DADT and calling on Senator Voinovich to vote for repeal.

I arrived yesterday and immediately got to work.  While I began planning our veterans’ forum at the Cleveland City Hall for this Thursday at noon, Adrian and Collin were setting up a similar event in Columbus at the State Capitol for a Thursday at noon kickoff as well.  Voinovich cut his political teeth as the Mayor here in Cleveland before moving to the Statehouse as Governor and we want to remind him that he represents all Ohioans.

Last night, I was honored to be able to attend and speak with Cleveland PFLAG about our repeal efforts and mobilize them to take action by contacting the senator.  More than 30 people attended the meeting and all of them want Senator Voinovich to vote for repeal.

Voinovich has a reputation as somewhat of an independent thinker by Ohioans – someone who is not afraid to buck his party to do the right thing.  Now he has the opportunity to do just that and vote for the standalone repeal bill (S. 4023) and represent all Ohioans by allowing all our service members to serve with equal dignity and respect.  It’s time for the senator to stand up and make his position known on this bill.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

TAKE ACTION: Fate of Lesbian & Gay Service Members in President’s Hands

Moments ago, the Senate voted against bringing up debate on the National Defense Authorization Act — the bill to which “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal is attached.  That the Senate refused to take up the issue is certainly a failure of leadership by both parties.

Since it appears Congress won’t repeal the law this year, the fate of lesbian and gay service members now rests in President Obama’s hands. To make good on his commitment to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010, the President must stop defending DADT in federal court and issue a stop-loss order halting military discharges.

Tell President Obama right now: End the discharges under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and stop defending this unconstitutional law in court.

As HRC President Joe Solmonese outlined in an October letter, the Administration should call “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” what it is – an unconstitutional and discriminatory law that hurts our national security – and cease its legal defense of the statute.  Separately, the President needs to immediately use his powers as Commander in Chief to issue a stop-loss order halting discharges.

As Joe Solmonese said in a statement today:

“The Senate’s apparent refusal to act on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal makes Presidential action imperative in order for him to fulfill his state of the union promise. The only measure of success is an end to the discharges and anything less is unacceptable.  Every day that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is in force, Americans are losing out on the best and brightest service members defending our country.  If Congress won’t act, it’s up to the President to clean up the mess they made when they enacted this discriminatory and unconstitutional law nearly two decades ago.”

Take action right now by sending an email to President Obama reminding him that millions of Americans will stand with him when he asserts his leadership on this issue. And taking action today will add crucial pressure for President Obama to act before 2010 ends in just a few weeks.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin