Controversy over GSA at Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi scares away faculty sponsor

Nikki Peet

Undoubtedly you’ll recall that earlier this month, Corpus Christi’s Flour Bluff Independent School District reluctantly agreed to allow a chapter of the Gay Straight Alliance.

When the district initially refused student Nikki Peet’s application for the GSA, the ACLU threatened legal action and hundreds of people protested outside Flour Bluff High School.

Almost a month later, KZTV Channel 10 reports that although the district ultimately voted to allow it, the GSA chapter still has not met because the faculty sponsor has backed out:

Peet says the student Gay Straight Alliance did have a sponsor, but the sponsor backed out after the controversy started getting attention. Peet also says Flour Bluff’s Superintendent Julie Carbajal is organizing a committee on Friday to review the policy created in 2005 that does not allow limited open forums at the school.

We’ve got a message in to Peet to get more information. You can sue to force a school or district to allow a GSA, but what do you do when faculty members are scared to sponsor it because they’re afraid of backlash? The irony of this whole saga, of course, is that it demonstrates precisely why the GSA is so badly needed.

—  John Wright

Gov. Rick Perry won’t join anti-gay boycott of CPAC — in fact, he’ll be a keynote speaker

Gov. Rick Perry

As we’ve mentioned before, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has apparently opted not to join the growing anti-gay boycott of this year’s “Republican Woodstock” — the annual Conservative Political Action Conference next week.

In fact, according to the Dallas Morning News, Perry has landed a keynote speaking slot at CPAC, where he may be rubbing elbows with people like Lt. Dan Choi. (Note that the first and only comment below the DMN post is this: “Why no mention of the speakers not coming to CPAC this year because of the presence of Gay Republicans?”)

Lawmakers boycotting CPAC this year over the inclusion of the gay Republican group GOProud include Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. And the boycott is being led by some of Perry’s favorite groups — such as the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation.

Alas, it appears politics and ego will always trump conviction and loyalty for Perry, who may have his sights set on the White House in 2012. But again, why no backlash from the right-wingers in Texas who’ve been so supportive of Perry?

Anyhow, we’re hoping Perry seeks the Republican presidential nomination next year. If nothing else, a national campaign will undoubtedly mean a much closer look at those pesky gay rumors.

UPDATE: Perry will make it to CPAC, but he won’t make it to the Super Bowl in his own state. Plus, he wasn’t around for Texas’ cold weather emergency this week. He’s in Southern California. What a douche.

—  John Wright

Maryland’s GOP Senate leader quits after backlash over his support for civil unions

While 2010 was a banner year for GOPers around the country, the elections were a disaster for Republicans in Maryland. The pro-marriage Governor, Martin O’Malley, was reelected by a wide margin, defeating the anti-marriage former Governor, Bob Ehrlich. In this legislative session, there are only 11 Republicans in the 47-seat State Senate and 43 Delegates out of 141 seats in the House.

A couple weeks ago, their leader in the State Senate, Allan Kittelman, announced that he was sponsoring a civil unions bill that would cover straight and same-sex couples. That was a bold step to show that all GOPers weren’t homophobes. Didn’t work. Yesterday, Kittelman gave up his leadership post. GOPers in Maryland do want to be homophobes:

The ranking Republican in the Maryland Senate surprised his colleagues and the GOP establishment Tuesday when he announced that he will step down as minority leader because it had become apparent his colleagues did not want a “social moderate” as their leader.

The decision by Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard County) came two weeks after he announced plans to sponsor legislation allowing civil unions in Maryland for both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Kittleman’s position put him at odds with many Republican colleagues, who told him during a closed-door meeting last week that they were distressed by his civil-unions bill and would not be supporting the legislation, according to participants.

Kittleman’s civil union bill wasn’t going to pass. But, the GOP caucus couldn’t even go there. Their homophobia is too entrenched. Full marriage equality is probably to pass in Maryland this year, but face a referendum in 2012.


—  admin

The Predictable Backlash To The Obama Admin’s Go Slow Approach To Repealing DADT, Other LGBT Issues

Politico has a six webpage long article up on their website, entitled Obama’s Go-Slow ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Plan Backfires. Image: Military veterans Autumn Sandeen, Dan Choi, Evelyn Thomas, Jim Pietrangelo II, Mara Boyd, and Larry Whitt handcuffed to the White House FenceThe piece recounts how when President Clinton first took office, one of his first acts was attempting to remove the barrier to gays serving openly in the military services. The attempt failed, and from this we ended up with the federal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) compromise.

When President Obama took office, he appeared to have taken a lesson from the Clinton Administration: Go slow on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or face Congressional backlash.

Unfortunately for President Obama, LGBT community members want him to live up to quickly live up to his campaign promise to repeal DADT, and allow gay, lesbian, and bisexual servicemembers to serve openly.

Politico‘s Josh Gerstein is indicating in his piece that there is a backlash from the LGBT community that is hurting him not only with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, but hurting him with the Democratic base.

From the piece:

Obama now faces his own political crisis over the issue that threatens his support from key Democratic constituencies, undermines his relationship with the Pentagon and puts him in the odd position of defending a practice he has denounced as discriminatory and harmful to national security.

“It’s crazy that all this is happening 2½ weeks before a national election,” said Richard Socarides, an adviser to Clinton on gay issues during the ’93 fiasco. “The timing could not be worse for them, but it was fairly predictable that their strategy of postponing and delaying getting into this stuff was, at some point, going to come back to haunt them.”

Obama’s current predicament is a result of a collision between a go-slow White House strategy that deferred to Pentagon and military leaders on the pace of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the progress of a stuttering federal lawsuit that a small group of gay Republicans filed more than six years ago.

The Obama White House, led in large part by Clinton veteran Rahm Emanuel, sought to avoid a showdown with the military over the issue. Particularly as Obama, a relative neophyte on national security, faced critical decisions on Iran and Afghanistan, he didn’t want the process derailed by the culturally freighted gays-in-the-military fight.

Socarides adds:

The part of this that was smart was that they figured the only way to get this done was to get the Pentagon’s buy-in. That is informed by the Clinton experience. You cannot outsmart the Pentagon on this kind of thing.

The timing could not be worse for them, but it was fairly predictable that their strategy of postponing and delaying getting into this stuff was, at some point, going to come back to haunt them.

Thumbnail Link to Politico article 'Obama's go-slow DADT plan backfires', which used the iconic DADT photograph of Autumn Sandeen, Dan Choi, Evelyn Thomas, Jim Pietrangelo II, Mara Boyd, and Larry Whitt handcuffed to the White House FenceAnd, of course, there’s a place in this where I played a part in this story on DADT:

While many organized gay groups deferred to a greater or lesser extent to the White House’s strategy and timeline, bloggers like John Aravosis and in-your-face protesters like Dan Choi did not. The online activists and upstart groups never bought into the wait-for-the-Pentagon approach, even after Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented historic testimony in February endorsing an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

I literally stood next to Dan Choi when Dan Choi, Evelyn Thomas, Jim Pietrangelo II, Mara Boyd, Larry Whitt, and I chained ourselves to the White House Fence in a bid to encourage President Obama to propose repealing of DADT in his Defense Department budget request. From the GetEqual press release at the time:

The Defense Authorization Bill (DAB) provides funding for all military operations, and it will soon be up for renewal.

President Obama knows that the DAB provides a way to repeal DADT immediately. And he knows that repealing the policy quickly and decisively is the right thing to do for LGBT servicemembers and for all of the armed forces. But recent reports suggest that the Administration is trying to delay any law change until December or even later.

Yes. That delay plan has been going on awhile, and now many in the LGBT community are dissatisfied with the Obama Administration’s and the Democratic Congress’ failure to not only to successfully repeal DADT, but also failing to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and pass into law the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Personally, I can’t tell you how odd it is to see that a photo by AP photographer Pablo Martinez Monsivais has turned into the iconic DADT photo, in the sense that and that I’m one of the six LGBT veterans in that iconic photo. It’s also kind of odd to me to be in a photo that has become that iconic, but is one where no one in the mainstream media is highlighting that I’m a transgender military veteran.

But beyond it just being about Dan Choi and me being in a photo, there were four others in that photo working for the freedom, equality, and justice of LGBT community members. That image captures a microcosm of how it’ not just one or two activists that are working on LGBT issues, but it’s diverse population of folk within the LGBT community who are working on LGBT issues.

And, that diverse population of LGBT folk (as well as LGBT folks’ friends, families, and allies) are, as stated so many times (and even in this piece), dissatisfied with the Obama Administration’s and the Democratic Congress’ failure to not only to successfully repeal DADT, but also failing to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and pass into law the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

The Obama Administration apparently believed their was a danger of moving to quickly on LGBT issues — including DADT — because of possible backlash from the Pentagon and Congress. I don’t think the Obama Administration was acutely aware that there was another danger regarding LGBT issues — moving so slowly on LGBT issues that many in the LGBT community don’t believe that The President delivered on the change we can believe in. In other words, there may have been a backlash from some quarters regarding moving to quickly on LGBT issues — such as DADT — but there is now a backlash from many LGBT community members because they see him moving too slowly on LGBT issues.

Since a major constituency of his party and to his presidency are LGBT community members, he should have perhaps paid much more attention to that LGBT constituency then he has done in the first two years of his presidency.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

The Power Rangers Backlash Against David Yost Begins

While Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers's Red Ranger (Austin St. John) might've done porn for a certain amateur website (as Sean), we learned this week Blue ranger, played by the now openly gay David Yost, quit the show over rampant homophobia. But what's this about Yost being a "pain in the ass" and there being no anti-gay atmosphere on set?


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—  John Wright

Liberal group buys TV ad decrying Target donation

Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A new TV ad from the liberal advocacy group goes after Target Corp. for making a political campaign donation in Minnesota.

A spokeswoman said Tuesday, Aug. 17 that the group will spend $35,000 to air the ad for a week on three networks in Minnesota and on the MSNBC cable channel nationally.

The ad urges consumers to boycott the retail chain for getting involved in elections.

Minneapolis-based Target has faced a backlash from gay rights groups and liberals after giving $150,000 to a business-oriented political fund supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer in Minnesota.

The company has apologized for the donation and promised to carefully review future political giving.

The ad is below.

—  John Wright