AIDS housing funding survives challenge in Houston city council

Helena Brown

The city funding for four Houston nonprofits providing housing to at-risk populations living with HIV/AIDS survived a challenge from city council member Helena Brown last Wednesday. Under consideration by the council were ordinances to dispense almost $2.5 million in federal funds managed by the city to the SRO Housing Corporation, Bering Omega Community Services, Catholic Charities and SEARCH Homeless services.

Brown initially used a parliamentary procedure known as a “tag” to delay the funding for the Houston SRO Housing Corporation and Bering Omega. Any council member may tag an item under consideration, delaying the vote on the item for one week. Brown explained that she objected to government funding of charitable entities:

“I spoke last week on this very issue on grant funds and the idea that we are, you know, fighting with other entities and other governments for grant funds that really isn’t there. The federal government is in a worse condition than the city of Houston and to continue to try to milk the system where there’s no milk, is just, I mean, we’re fighting with our brothers, as I said last week, to get credit for who is going to push a friend over the cliff… We need to continue to look at the private sector and the business sector. Because even, I attended this event where this wonderful speaker was talking about the generosity of Americans and 80% of donations to nonprofits come from private individuals, not even corporations, and we need to continue to rely on that right now because the government right now, we’re broke – we need to face that reality.”

Other council members spoke passionately of the need for continued funding, arguing that by assisting people living with HIV/AIDS in achieving independence, particularly those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness,  the programs added to the tax based and help insure long-term stability.

“We don’t live in a perfect a world,” said freshman council member Mike Laster (the first out gay man to serve on the Houston City Council). “These organizations do their very best to raise money to care for the people among us, but they still need to reach out to entities that have that kind of capital, and by the grace of God this city and this government as an entity has some of that capitol, and I’m very proud that we’re able to provide those kind of services to some of my community members.”

Council member Wanda Adams, who serves as chair of the council’s Housing and Community Development Committee, also spoke in favor of continuing funding. Council member Ellen Cohen, whose district contains both SRO Housing and Bering Omega, spoke of how her life had personally been touched by AIDS:

“One of the first young men to pass away in New York City was a cousin of mine of something [then] called a very rare form on pneumonia… which we now realize was not. So I understand the need for these kinds of services. On a personal note I worked with Bering and I know all the fine work that they do, I’m addressing all the items but I’m particularly addressing [the Bering Omega funding] and feel it’s absolutely critical that we provide the kind of funding items, and that we are, in fact, our brother’s and our sister’s keepers.

After Laster asked Mayor Annise Parker the procedure for overriding a tag Brown removed her tag, but raised a new concern about HIV/AIDS housing, saying that her office had requested a list of the owners of apartment units where those receiving rental assistance lived. City Attorney David Feldman explained to Brown that federal law prohibits making public information that could be used to identify people receiving assistance through the housing program. Feldman said that, in his legal opinion, revealing the names of the owners of the apartments would violate federal law. Brown said that she was concerned that their might be a “conflict of interest” with apartment owners that needed to be investigated, claiming that as the reason for her tag.

Brown eventually removed her tag, rather than have it overturned. All four ordinances providing funding passed with only Brown voting “nay.”

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Globes had ‘offensive agenda’, says group that finds glee in denying gay kids are all right

The Family Research Council’s assessment of last night’s Golden Globes:

Wu11A14 Normal

As in past years, the Globes proved that studios are far less concerned about entertaining people than they with indoctrinating them. Last night’s awards were a celebration — not of America’s values, but of Hollywood’s. Projects like The Kids Are All Right, Black Swan, “Glee,” and others were rewarded for pushing the cultural envelope or advancing a liberal political agenda.


Ooh, someone’s bitter their script about a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated “hate group” choosing to call for the exportation or criminalization of the minority population whose love lives they compare to that which might exist between a man and a horse is stalling in production turnaround!

But don’t worry, FRC: We’re sure your film will eventually get made. Many future civil rights documentarians are collecting B-roll…

*SOURCE: Gays seek immigration reform [Medill Reports]


…even as we speak.

Good As You

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In NH, House GOP’s ‘legislative agenda will not include repealing gay marriage’

Interesting development from the Granite State, which I first saw via Joe.My.God:

The House Republican’s legislative agenda will not include repealing gay marriage.

House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that jobs and the economy will be the top priorities that Republicans will use as their scorecard to measure themselves by for the next two years.

This is fascinating, if it proves to be true. As Joe says:

Stand by for NOM’s hissy fit.

This sure gives all those anti-gay GOP presidential hopefuls something to talk about. Good thing Fred Karger is campaigning in New Hampshire to provide some sanity.


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For Blenders’ consideration: GOProud Unveils 2011 Legislative Agenda

This just landed in my inbox. Submitted without comment, save I don't see anything that will help prevent discrimination against LGBTs in states where there are no state-level ENDAs or general anti-discrimination laws. You think the free market will fix the problems in those states? That seems more than a tad out of touch for those of us in “fly-over country.” Anyway, I'm sure you will have plenty to say about it.

Today GOProud, the only national organization representing gay conservatives and their allies, unveiled their 2011 Legislative Agenda. “Historic wins by conservatives last November mean new opportunities to move forward on critical legislative priorities,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director. “The stale failed big government agenda of the gay left is dead. Now is the time for the gay community and those who care about gay people to embrace conservative solutions to the challenges facing gay and lesbian families.”

In these past mid-terms, according to exit polls, 31% of self-identified gays and lesbians voted Republican. “The gay left would have you believe that gay conservatives don’t exist. The truth is that almost a third of self-identified gay voters cast ballots for Republican candidates for Congress in the mid-terms,” continued LaSalvia. “This should be a wake-up call for the out-of-touch so-called leadership of Gay, Inc. in Washington, D.C., which has become little more than a subsidiary of the Democratic Party. Your agenda has not only been rejected by the American people, it has been rejected by a substantial and growing portion of the gay community.”

…“It is time for a new approach for the gay community, which is why GOProud is unveiling our 2011 legislative agenda,” said Christopher R. Barron, Chairman of the Board. “We believe that this agenda offers common-sense conservative solutions that will improve the lives of all Americans, but especially gay and lesbian Americans.”

…“Our agenda is simple. We reject the big government approach of every other national gay organization,” said Barron. “We aren’t looking for special treatment or special carve outs for gay people – we support conservative legislative solutions that will help all American families – and that includes gay and lesbian families.”

“Our agenda is unlike that of any other national gay organization. We are unabashedly conservative and committed to the conservative movement. We look forward to convincing more Americans – gay and straight – of the need for real conservative policy solutions in the months and years ahead,” concluded Barron.

GOProud’s Conservative Agenda

The so-called “gay agenda” is defined by the left through a narrow prism of legislative goals.  In contrast to the approach of the left, GOProud’s agenda emphasizes conservative and libertarian principles that will improve the daily lives of all Americans, but especially gay and lesbian Americans. 



 – We support replacing the current tax code with the Fair Tax.  Until then, we support death tax repeal; domestic partner tax equity; cuts in the capital gains and corporate tax rates to jump start our economy and create jobs; and a fairer, flatter and substantially simpler tax code. 



 – Free market healthcare reform.  Allow for the purchase of insurance across state lines – expanding access to domestic partner benefits; emphasizing individual ownership of healthcare insurance – such a shift would prevent discriminatory practices by an employer or the government.



 – The only way to permanent solvency in the Social Security system is through the creation of inheritable personal savings accounts.  Personal savings accounts would give gay and lesbian couples the same opportunity to leave their accounts to their spouse as their straight counterparts. 





 – Standing up for all tax payers against wasteful and unnecessary spending to protect future generations from the mounting federal debt.



 – Standing strong against radical regimes that refuse to recognize the basic human rights of gays and lesbians, women and religious minorities.



 – Opposing any anti-gay federal marriage amendment.  Marriage should be a question for the states.  A federal constitutional amendment on marriage would be an unprecedented federal power grab from the states.



 – Package of free market reforms to encourage and support small businesses and entrepreneurship.  Such reforms would create jobs for all Americans – including gay Americans.



 – A package of urban related reforms; expanding historic tax preservation credits; support for school choice.



 – Protecting 2nd amendment rights.


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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NH GOP Tells AP: Marriage Equality Repeal Off the Agenda for 2011

Nh Marriage equality advocates and foes were gearing up for a big battle in New Hampshire this year, but it appears that may be off the table, according to the AP:

"House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that jobs and the economy will be the top priorities on an agenda to be announced Thursday. Bettencourt says there's widespread agreement that social issues will have to take a back seat."

NOM must be so disappointed!

More on this as it develops…

Towleroad News #gay

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Marriage Equality Top Agenda Items in Three States

As legislatures begin convening around the country, marriage equality was front and center today in the two of the three states on the brink of enacting equal marriage.

Today in his State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reiterated his call for marriage equality in the Empire State.  The newly inaugurated governor said, “Make New York the progressive capital of the country.  If you believe in social justice, then let’s pass marriage equality in New York.”

With Governor Cuomo in office, marriage equality could soon be reality in New York.  HRC’s work around the state resulted in important victories on November 2 and a net pick up of two pro-equality votes in the state Senate.  With the possibility of marriage equality looming, New York is one of HRC’s priority states in 2011.

HRC’s Brian Ellner was at Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address and has been on the ground in New York heading our Campaign for New York Marriage.  He reported:

“It was inspiring today hearing Cuomo pledge to once again make New York the progressive capital of the nation and achieve the social progress that made the State famous.  This statement from one of our most stalwart allies sends a clear signal and gives us momentum as we move into the legislative fight.”

Marriage equality is also a possibility in two other East Coast states.  In Rhode Island, Governor Lincoln Chaffee today mentioned the marriage bill in his inaugural address saying, “I urge the General Assembly to quickly consider and adopt this legislation. When marriage equality is the law in Rhode Island, we honor our forefathers who risked their lives and fortune in the pursuit of human equality. Rhode Island today must be as welcoming to all as [the state’s founder] Roger Williams intended it to be.”

In Maryland, several pro-equality lawmakers were elected November 2, increasing the chances of a marriage equality bill.  Governor Martin O’Malley has said publically that he would sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Barney Frank on the radical homosexual agenda


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Barney Frank Reveals Gay Agenda

BARNEY FRANK DON'T ASK DON'T TELL X390 (CNN GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COMIn the wake of President Barack Obama signing the repeal of “don’t ask,
don’t tell” into law, Barney Frank reflected on fears that the so-called
radical homosexual agenda would be enacted if Rep. Nancy Pelosi became
House speaker. Daily News

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Barney Frank Reveals Gay Agenda

BARNEY FRANK DON'T ASK DON'T TELL X390 (CNN GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COMIn the wake of President Barack Obama signing the repeal of “don’t ask,
don’t tell” into law, Barney Frank reflected on fears that the so-called
radical homosexual agenda would be enacted if Rep. Nancy Pelosi became
House speaker. Daily News

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