What’s Brewing: Slavery dropped from ‘Marriage Vow’; Presbyterian Church celebrates gay clergy

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is the only major GOP presidential candidate who’s spoken out against the Family Leader’s “Marriage Vow.”

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The “Marriage Vow” pledge that a right-wing Iowa group is asking presidential candidates to sign continues to make headlines. Over the weekend, the group, called the Family Leader, removed a portion of the pledge’s preamble which suggested blacks were better off during slavery. But this wasn’t before GOP candidates Michele Bachmann — who, alarmingly, leads one recent Iowa poll — and Rick Santorum had already signed the pledge, which also says homosexuality is a choice and calls for banning all pornography. Thus far, only one GOP presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, has spoken out against the pledge, although Jon Huntsman has also confirmed he won’t sign it.

2. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s new policy allowing ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians took effect Sunday. Many congregations marked the change with a national day of prayer organized by More Light Presbyterians, which pushes for LGBT equality within the church. The 2.8 million member Presbyterian Church joins other Protestant denominations including the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in allowing gay clergy.

3. Six police officers have been fired for lying about what happened during a September 2009 raid of the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. More officers face hearings this week following the release of a 343-page report showing they lied or destroyed evidence in the wake of the raid. Eight men were arrested during the raid, but charges were dropped and the city later paid the men more than $1 million to settle a federal lawsuit.

—  John Wright

If ‘Easy A’ is up for best pic, that means the GLAAD Award nominees are here

I would have mentioned Burlesque, but the Golden Globes beat GLAAD to the punch. Anyhow, those are just two of the nominees GLAAD has announced for this year’s media awards. Unfortunately the Dallas Voice missed out on all the journalism nominations, but you know, the Atlanta Journal Constitution does a great job on LGBT issues?! Congrats are in order. GLAAD’s fetish of pissing on the gay press continues, but really, who are we compared to nominee People Magazine in regards to covering the gay stuff? And hey, what about Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives?

But seriously, I am pretty stoked about the music nominations. The nominees for outstanding music artist (LGBT music artists who released an original album in 2010) are:

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Antony and the Johnsons
Swanlights (Secretly Canadian)
Big Freedia
Big Freedia Hitz Vol. 1 (Big Freedia Records)
Chely Wright
Lifted Off the Ground (Vanguard Records)
Kele Okereke
The Boxer (Glassnote Records)
Scissor Sisters
Night Work (Downtown Record

I’ll go out on a limb and predict Chely Wright as the clear winner, but wouldn’t mind a Big Freedia upset. Nothing against Wright, but Freedia’s was definitely the most exciting of this bunch and took us to places many haven’t been to much before.

GLAAD also announced its Spanish-language nominees.

—  Rich Lopez

Atlanta Eagle’s $1 million settlement stands in sharp contrast to Rainbow Lounge outcome

Stephen V. Sprinkle  |  Unfinished Lives

The Atlanta City Council has voted 14-0 to award the Atlanta Eagle Bar $1 million in response to a federal lawsuit filed by a private attorney on behalf of 19 clients unjustly arrested in a botched police raid last September, according to a report by WTVM News 9 and the Associated Press.

The night of Sept. 10, 2009, four dozen police crashed the Underwear Night special event at the Atlanta Eagle, slamming patrons to the floor, using homophobic slurs, and arresting and detaining 62 people. Police targeted the gay bar on the pretext of illicit sex and drugs, allegations that were never proven.

The owner of the Eagle, Richard Ramey, went immediately on the offensive against the raid, saying to The Atlanta Journal Constitution on Sept. 12, 2009, ”Our problem is with the way our customers were treated.”

Nick Koperski, a bar patron present at the time of the raid, said in the same article: “I’m thinking, this is Stonewall. It’s like I stepped into the wrong decade.”

The Atlanta Police Department refused to cooperate with an investigation by the Atlanta Citizens Council. Charges brought against employees and patrons either failed to win convictions, collapsed for lack of evidence, or were otherwise dismissed, according to a report by EDGE.

Last March eight employees of the bar were found not guilty of trumped up charges by the Atlanta Police Department in a ruling handed down in Municipal Court.

Investigations into the raid found that the Atlanta Police Department did not have a warrant to raid the bar on the night in question. Mandatory revisions to police procedures will be carried out in response to the settlement.

The vindication of the Atlanta Eagle stands in sharp contrast to the outcome of the Fort Worth Police Department’s infamous raid on the Rainbow Lounge just months before the Atlanta debacle. Like the Georgia raid, all charges against patrons arrested at the popular Fort Worth gay bar have been dropped without comment from the city.

Unlike the Atlanta outcome, however, the Fort Worth Police Department has never issued an apology or admitted any wrongdoing in the illicit raid on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion.

This has been in spite of the public action disciplining officers of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) for their part in the raid, and a formal apology issued by the executive of the TABC. Factors contributing to the non-resolution of the Fort Worth police raid may include a less-than-robust defense of bar patrons by the Rainbow Lounge ownership at the time of the bust, and the less aggressive approach Fort Worth gay leaders employed to bring the city and the police department to account.

Justice for Atlanta, but how about for Fort Worth? We guess the mayor of Fort Worth has more control over the courts, the press, and the gay establishment in North Texas than the mayor of Atlanta. A good thing? You be the judge.

—  admin

Commenter: ‘The only thing a disgusting faggot has a right to is a six foot hole in the ground’

We’re really starting to like this game, and we’re hoping a few of our tech-savvy readers will play along.

Joe Jervis at Joe.My.God. has confirmed, using an Internet Protocol (IP) address, that a comment left on his blog under a post about Tuesday’s DADT vote saying, “All Faggots Must Die,” originated in the office of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia. And now Chambliss’ office is conducting its own internal investigation to determine the person responsible for the comment, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“We have seen the allegations and are moving quickly to understand the facts. This office has not and will not tolerate any activity of the sort alleged,” Chambliss spokeswoman Bronwyn Lance Chester said. “Once we have ascertained whether these claims are true, we will take the appropriate steps.”

Which brings us to a comment that was left here on Instant Tea on Tuesday, below a post about Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Pete Sessions receiving awards from the Log Cabin Republicans. The comment posted by someone calling himself “BillyBob” said: “the only thing a disgusting faggot has a right to is a six foot hole in the ground.”

We’re no experts, but using Google alone we’ve managed to trace the source of the comment to the area of Brady, Texas. So what we’re wondering is, can any of our readers figure out who posted it? If so, shoot us an e-mail. We’d like to know.

Here’s the full IP address: 71.116.4.78

—  John Wright