Focus now on Indiana Senate after House passed anti-gay constitutional amendment

While Hawaii moves forward in attempting to be more fair to its LGBT citizens, Indiana remains firmly entrenched in the past.

Yesterday, the Indiana House took the first step towards putting an anti-gay amendment into the state’s constitution. Hoosier Bil Browning reports:

The bipartisan vote of 70-26 took marriage equality supporters by surprise – especially with the defection of Minority Leader Pat Bauer.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, called on the Indiana Senate to rise above the actions of the House and to “reject House Joint Resolution 6, a constitutional amendment that would ban not only marriage, but any measure of protections or support for same-sex couples and their families in Indiana.”

“Freedom to Marry calls on the Indiana Senate to reject this punitive amendment, which would write discrimination into the state constitution. Government should be on the side of all families, not putting barriers in their paths as they seek to care for their loved ones,” Wolfson said.

The resolution would have to be approved by two consecutive legislatures and then go to the voters, so it would take three years. Unfortunately, this is the kind of legislative circus most states can ill afford when so many remain unemployed.

Indiana obviously doesn’t have enough on its plate with the state’s joblessness? Then again, maybe that is the motivation. Keep your eye on all the bills enacted to punish the gay scapegoats, and you won’t notice the fact you can’t afford to feed your kids.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

Anti-Gay Singer Buju Banton Wins Reggae Grammy, Faces Drug and Gun Trial Today

Anti-gay 'murder music' singer Buju Banton won a Grammy award last night:

Bujubanton "Banton won the prestigious award for Best Reggae Album for his project, Before The Dawn. This was his first Grammy award, having been nominated in previous years for Rasta Got Soul in 2009; Too Bad in 2007; Friends For Life, 2004; and Inna Heights, 1999. "He is elated, man," one member of Banton's entourage told the Observer. The announcement of the Reggae Grammy was made hours before the Grammy Awards show in Los Angeles, California last night."

The controversy surrounding Banton stems primarily from a song called "Boom Boom Bye" in which he sings about shooting gay men in the head, pouring acid on them and burning them alive.

Banton's drug trial resumes this morning in Tampa. He faces up to 20 years if convicted:

Just last week, Judge Jim Moody ruled against a motion by Buju’s legal team seeking to dismiss a superseding indictment. As a result of the ruling by Moody, who will preside over the trial, Buju will now be facing four counts instead of the two for which he was originally tried last September.

The five-time Grammynominated artiste, whose real name is Mark Myrie, had originally been tried on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking offence.

He will now be tried for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine; attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drugtrafficking offence; and using the wires to facilitate a drugtrafficking offence.

The Miami Herald reports that Banton has gays in mind when he references his troubles:

In Jamaica, some fans have theorized Banton was framed by the U.S. government or gay activists who have protested violent, homophobic lyrics from early in Banton's career as a brash dancehall singer. Shows in several U.S. cities were canceled on his 2009 tour because of the protests.

Banton jabbed at his detractors during his Jan. 16 performance in Miami, referencing one of his controversial songs and the messiah of his Rastafarian faith.

He said: "Why they want to see Buju Banton cry? Is it because I said 'Boom Bye Bye'? Is it because I say Selassie I? Is it because I'm black and not shy?"


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

WARNING: Anti-Gay States May Be Hazardous To Your Health

A new study proves what common sense has been telling us all these years. Lisa Keen reports:

Same-sex couples with adopted children living in states with anti-gay adoption laws and attitudes had more mental health issues in their first year of parenthood than couples with adopted children living in more accepting states, a new study has found. In addition, same-sex couples with adopted children who perceived higher support from their family and workplace and lived in more gay-friendly neighborhoods reported better mental health than those who did not.

Dr. Goldberg obviously knows what she is talking about:

Dr. Abbie Goldberg, assistant professor of Psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, co-authored the work with JuliAnna Smith at the Center for Research on Families of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Their report appears in the in February 2011 issue of the Journal of Counseling Psychology, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Psychological Association.

Bigoted legislators need to stop hurting our children.

While studies show that many people, including straight ones, show an increase in depressive or anxious symptoms in early parenthood, Goldberg explained, most recover later. But, she added, higher levels of depression or anxiety “could have negative effects beyond the individual,” including among their children, especially if the factors causing them—unsupportive workplaces, families, neighborhoods, or laws—don’t change.

I recommend reading the entire article to arm yourself with the facts the next time some Neanderthal conservative claims that they are “doing this for the children.” Although the point can always be made, “When have facts stopped conservatives from passing bad or injurious legislation?”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

MD Senator on anti-gay testimony: ‘What I witnessed from the opponents of the bill was appalling’

Yesterday, Tim did a post on how the testimony of Maggie Gallagher and other anti-gay leaders helped convince Maryland State Senator Jim Bronchin to support marriage equality.

Today, Bronchin issued a statement to announce his support for the bill, which we got from Equality Maryland:

“What I witnessed from the opponents of the bill was appalling.” Brochin said. “Witness after witness demonized homosexuals, vilified the gay community, and described gays and lesbians as pedophiles. I believe that sexual orientation is not a choice, but rather people are born one way or another The proponents of the bill were straightforward in wanting to be simply treated as everyone else, and wanted to stop being treated as second-class citizens.

Brochin added, “For me, the transition to supporting marriage has not been an easy one, but the uncertainty, fear, and second-class status that gays and lesbians have to put up with is far worse and clearly must come to an end.”

Keep it up, Maggie. Testify. You’re getting us votes. We need 24 votes in the Maryland Senate. Last week, the Washington Post whip count showed 20 votes on our side. Make that 21 now.

Maggie is zipping around the country to spew her gay-bashing. She was in Rhode Island yesterday. But, remember, when she had the chance, Maggie wouldn’t testify — under oath — during the Prop. 8 trial. That’s probably because, as David Boies noted, “a witness stand is a lonely place to lie.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

“Family” group sacrifices child security on the altar of anti-gay animus

The Washington state Legislature is currently considering a bill (HB 1267) that would update the Uniform Parentage Act of 2002 by “clarifying and expanding the rights and obligations of state registered domestic partners and other couples related to parentage“.  Here’s a proposed addition to the Act:

Sec. 4.  (2) The provisions in this chapter apply to persons in a domestic partnership to the same extent they apply to persons in a marriage, and apply to persons of the same sex who have children together to the same extent they apply to persons of the opposite sex who have children together.

The bill would put gay and lesbian parents on the same legal footing as straight parents.  This sticks in the craw of the so-called Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW), a local affiliate of Focus on the Family and Family Research Council.  FPIW’s latest e-mail tries to drum up opposition to the bill by warning:

HB 1267 would change rules regarding presumptions of parentage. Currently, if a married woman gives birth to a child, her husband is legally presumed to be the father of that child. HB 1267 would extend this presumption to same-sex relationships, so that a child could be legally presumed to have a second mother, for example, if the mother is in a domestic partnership with another woman.

Anti-child activist Joseph Backholm, E.D. of FPIW

FPIW was a major player in the 2009 effort to repeal Washington’s domestic partnership law via Referendum 71.  That mean-spirited effort failed, and the Washington electorate became the first in the nation to ratify a same-sex relationship recognition law at the polls.

So blinded are they by their anti-gay animus that FPIW would rather put a child at risk than sanction legal recognition of the second parent when the parents are gay or lesbian.  Children with only one legal parent are half as secure as children with two legal parents.  FPIW is punishing children who happen to have gay or lesbian parents by advocating against the legal status of both parents as parents.

This anti-child, anti-family activism comes from an organization that claims that it “believes strong families are the foundation of a strong and healthy state” and is not only “fully committed to promoting public policy that encourages families to form, grow, and endure,” but also “advocates for …parental rights”.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Naval IG: Ensign was ‘improperly punished’ after reporting anti-gay harassment

The Naval Inspector General has issued a finding in support of claims by Ensign Steve Crowston that he was improperly punished in reprisal for his reporting harassment based on his perceived sexual orientation. Via Navy Times:

A junior officer who accused his command of giving him anti-gay call signs was improperly punished with a bad fitness report when he complained about the environment in his squadron, Pentagon and Navy inspectors general have found.

The naval inspector general’s finding, cited in a Feb. 2 letter to the officer, Ensign Steve Crowston, substantiates Crowston’s claim of reprisal by Cmdr. Liam Bruen, former commander of Strike Fighter Squadron 136, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. Two weeks earlier, the Defense Department’s inspector general determined that the naval IG had come to the proper conclusion.

This case is another example of why we need to continue to push for inclusion in Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) protections. More from Navy Times:

However, Bruen, who transferred last summer to the Bremerton, Wash.-based carrier John C. Stennis as its the operations officer, has been temporarily reassigned to the staff of Naval Air Force Pacific “pending the outcome of the investigation,” Navy spokesman Lt. Myers Vasquez told Navy Times. A copy of the reprisal investigation has been forwarded to his chain of command aboard Stennis “for corrective action as they deem appropriate,” Vasquez said.

Crowston told the IG that Bruen and the unit’s then-executive officer, Cmdr. Damien Christopher, were in the unit’s ready room during an August 2009 all-officer review of squadron call signs, when Crowston was presented with suggestions such as “Fagmeister,” “Gay Boy” and the group’s final choice, “Romo’s Bitch” — a reference to the quarterback of Crowston’s favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys. Crowston was the squadron’s administration/legal officer.

We need a standard process afforded other minorities in order to ensure we are treated equally in the armed forces.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

Navy: Ensign Unfairly Disciplined After Anti-Gay Harassment Complaints

You may remember the story of Steve Crowston, an ensign in the US Navy, who filed anti-gay harassment complaints last year against his commanding officer after being taunted with nicknames such as “Gay Boy,” “Fagmeister,” “Cowgirl,” and “Romo’s Bitch.” Crowston claimed that, after filing the complaint, he was then unfarily reprimanded. An investigation by the US Navy has now concluded that he was indeed the victim of reprisal.

6a00d8341c730253ef013486374b72970c-800wi The The Virginian-Pilot reports:

"In a Feb. 2 letter to Crowston, the Navy IG said its investigation found that he was improperly punished because of his complaints. A letter from the Defense Department IG to the Navy IG, sent two weeks earlier, states that the Defense Department reviewed the Navy's investigation and supports its conclusions."

"'Based on our review, we agree that Cmdr. Liam Bruen, Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron 136, issued Ensign Crowston an unfavorable fitness report in reprisal for his protected communications,' the Defense Department letter says. Christopher, who is not named in either letter, is now the commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 136, which is deployed aboard the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier Enterprise. Bruen is assigned to the carrier John C. Stennis."

"Neither of them could be reached Wednesday. Crowston said he considers the IG findings an overdue victory. "I've always known it was reprisal," said Crowston, now at Naval Special Warfare Group 2 at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek. "There are rules against reprisal, and they were broken. It was time for the Navy to acknowledge that." The Navy IG letter says Crowston may now petition to have the bad performance report removed from his file."


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

PolitiFact catches anti-gay group NOM in a huge lie about gay marriage and children

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

The Pulitzer Prize winning site PolitiFact just called out the National Organization for Marriage for pushing a misleading statement.

And it's a huge lie – one that is central to the organization's argument against same-sex marriage:

In early January, just days after Lincoln Chafee replaced Donald Carcieri as governor of Rhode Island, advocates on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate ramped up their annual battle.

This year, the fight is taking on new intensity because, while Carcieri vowed for eight years to veto any bill to legalize gay marriage, Chafee supports it.

Recently, a leading opponent, the National Organization for Marriage, mailed brochures throughout the state that included the headline: “Imposing same-sex marriage has consequences.” The brochure listed four “real consequences” of “redefining marriage to a genderless institution.”

We chose to examine one of the claims: “Massachusetts’ public schools teach kids as young as kindergartners about gay marriage. Parents have no legal right to object!”

We contacted Christopher C. Plante, executive director of the Rhode Island chapter of NOM, who told us that many schools in Massachusetts — where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004 — have books on the subject in their libraries.The “poster child,” he said, is a picture book called “King & King,” by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland.

The book tells the story of a queen who decided it was time for her son, the prince, to marry. He rejects every princess she offers. Finally the last candidate enters, and the prince feels “a stir in his heart.” But it was for the princess’s brother, Prince Lee.

The two marry, and the book says “everyone lives happily ever after.” On the last page, the two princes kiss, with a red heart covering their mouths.

PolitiFact said that when they asked for examples of where this book is being taught to kindergartners, Plante referred them to Lexington, MA:

  . . .two couples — David and Tonia Parker and Robert and Robin Wirthlin — filed a federal lawsuit against Lexington school officials. The suit alleged that the Parkers’ son was given a book in kindergarten that depicts various forms of families, including one with parents of the same gender. And, the suit said, when the Wirthlins’ son was in first grade, he was read another book,  ”King &King,” in school.

PolitiFact went on to recount the Parker/Wirthlin lawsuit (a more in-depth version of the David Parker controversy is here) but was still not receiving any answers regarding the claim that “gay marriage is being taught to kindergartners in Massachusetts.”

 

Plante referred PolitiFact to Kris Mineau, executive director of the Massachusetts Family Institute. The Massachusetts Family Institute is another so-called pro-family group. This is what Mineau told Politifact:

Mineau said he has been fighting same-sex marriage advocates for eight years and he is certain their message is being spread in schools throughout Massachusetts.

But he acknowledged he could not cite any examples other than Lexington. “I don’t have documentation of everything going on,” Mineau said. “It’s very difficult to quantify.”

Mineau also claimed that the outcome of the Parker/Wirthlin case (Parker and Wirthlin lost) supposedly “discouraged” parents from complaining.

PolitiFact then spoke with Jonathan Considine of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and Thomas Gosnell, president of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts.

All of these groups and individuals said that they were not aware of any school, classroom, or situation in which gay marriage is being taught to kindergartners.

Politifact concluded thusly:

Bottom line: The National Organization for Marriage mailing says that Massachusetts public schools teach kindergartners about gay marriage. The wording, including the present tense verb, gives the impression this is happening now, in many schools.

But the group’s only evidence is two incidents five years ago. It’s possible that somewhere, in one of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, other kindergartners have been taught about same-sex marriage. But NOM couldn’t cite any other examples. We find its statement False.

PolitiFact is the same site which called out Sarah Palin for her “death panel” lie and also the Republican party for claiming that the Obama Administration was pushing a “government takeover of health care.”

Both of these claims received the PolitiFact Lie of the Year for 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Depending on the reach of its claim, it's obvious that NOM's lie regarding “gay marriage being taught to kindergartners in Massachusetts” may be a front runner for the 2011 Lie of Year.

My bottom line – NOM either needs to back up its claim with some suitable proof or take back what it said and apologize for misleading people.

Hat tip to my online buddy Bob Barnes for pointing the article out to me. I took the liberty in bolding the word “false” in the PolitiFact statement.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Video: Thomas More Law Center makes one truly nasty anti-gay video

Guess Elena Kagan hates repeal too, since she didn’t clap. And guess the Joint Chiefs hated every last thing said in the speech, since they didn’t clap once. Got it.

Wait, what’s that? You say it’s exceedingly rare for either the Joint Chiefs or the Supreme Court justices to ever clap, as they are supposed to be apolitical offices by design? And therefore these folks stoic expressions mean absolutely nothing in terms of either policy or feelings about gay “perversion”, much less enough of an indicator to necessitate a political hit video?

Weird, wonder why such a staid, principled, Christian organization like Thomas More would’ve tried to mislead me like this?




Good As You

—  admin

GOP’s anti-gay trifecta insures marriage will be an issue in 2012

Opponents of same-sex marriage have created a three-pronged effort that insures the issue will be a key topic in the Presidential election. There are efforts underway by Republicans legislators in Iowa, the first caucus state, and New Hampshire, the first primary state, to end their existing marriage laws. In Iowa, the GOP-controlled House has begun the process of passing a bill to put a ban on the ballot. In New Hampshire, both the House and Senate are now GOP-led and they could try to repeal the law later this year or in 2012. In Congress, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) indicated that he’s going to push legislation to block DC’s marriage law.

It’s like an anti-marriage perfect storm. These efforts guarantee that the GOP presidential candidates (except, of course, Fred Karger) who are traipsing through Iowa and New Hampshire will try to burnish their right-wing cred by engaging in the usual gay-bashing. And, the effort by GOPers in Congress adds fuel to the fire. We’ve already seen potential Republican candidates, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum, groveling before the haters. We can expect a lot more of that. And, just wait til the debates start. The GOP candidates will be doing contortions to show their base just how much they hate the gays.

Now, there’s something different about all three of the anti-gay efforts in DC, NH and Iowa. In each, it isn’t about preventing same-sex marriage. In those three jurisdictions, the homophobes are trying to take rights away from citizens. That should put these battles into a different light. If they can come for our rights, they can (and will) come for the rights of others.

In all three legislative bodies, Republicans vowed to create jobs and focus on the economy. But, they just can’t control their homophobia.

On the Democratic side, Obama needs to fully evolve on his support for marriage equality (or evolve back to his 1996 pro-marriage position.) It’s unclear if that will happen. As marriage becomes an issue for the GOP homophobes, Obama is going to have the chance to weigh in on efforts to strip away rights from citizens. Remember, despite repeated requests, Obama didn’t really say much about the 2009 ballot measures in Maine and Washington. Obama should take a very strong stand against these insidious, hateful efforts (and vow to veto any legislation on DC) — especially since it appears his Justice Department will still be defending DOMA in the courts. The President needs to stay true to what he said at the DADT bill signing, “We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.’” And, we can’t be a nation that takes away rights. Period.

One thing is clear: Marriage will be an issue in 2012. There’s no way to avoid it. The anti-gay forces and the GOP presidential candidates are insuring it.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin