Watch: Alec Baldwin is Angry He Can’t Marry Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Baldwin

Alec Baldwin responds to the announcement in August by Jesse Tyler Ferguson that they're getting married, in a new spot for Fight Back NY.

As you may recall Fight Back NY is the PAC targeting anti-gay lawmakers in the New York Senate. Their current target is Queens senator Frank Padavan. If you feel inclined to take Alec's advice, help them out here.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Congresswoman Baldwin Introduces LGBT Health Data Collection Bill

Yesterday, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Health Data Collection Improvement Act, a bill that would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that federal health surveys collect voluntary data on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Such data is critical to understanding the unique health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and ensuring that federal health programs and dollars are targeted to address them.  We already know that LGBT people experience significant health disparities – both due to health conditions that disproportionately affect our community and the widespread discrimination that continues to limit our access to quality healthcare.  The Center for American Progress detailed these disparities, and the need for health data to understand and combat them, in this 2009 report.

The bill is on the agenda for a broader hearing on public health legislation before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. HRC submitted a statement [pdf] on the Health Data Collection Improvement Act for inclusion in the record for the hearing.

Alongside Congresswoman Baldwin, the National Coalition for LGBT Health and other allies, HRC strongly supported the inclusion of LGBT data collection language in health reform legislation, but it was ultimately not included as part of the final bill signed by President Obama.  We applaud Congresswoman Baldwin for her continued leadership on this issue, working to ensure that the health needs of LGBT people are part of the federal government’s broad commitment to a healthier America.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Honoring lesbians who made history

In honor of Women’s History Month (today is the last day of the month, by the way), the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund made this video and posted it YouTube.

Check it out.

—  admin

Federal partner benefits bill headed to full Senate

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today voted 8-1 to send to the full Senate a measure that would give benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of federal employees.

The Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, and Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican. Lieberman is also chair of the HSGA Committee.

The House version of the bill is sponsored by  Reps. Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican.

—  admin

Get well, Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin

As Congress continues to debate health care reform, lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin has sit out some of the fight — because she has swine flu.

WISN.com
, an ABC affiliate, reported last Friday, Dec. 11, that Baldwin had been holed up in her D.C. apartment all week, trying to recover from H1N1, and to avoid spreading the virus to anyone else.

Baldwin told the station that she was feeling better and hoped “to be back to full strength very soon.”

Well, best wishes Congresswoman. Hope you are feeling better and back on the Hill soon.

If you want to see about getting the H1N1 vaccine here in North Texas, call the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services at 214-819-2000 or the Tarrant County Public Health Department at 817-321-4700.

—  admin

Federal DP bill set for consideration in Senate

D.C. Agenda — the new Washington, D.C. LGBT newspaper — reports today that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will consider a bill to provide domestic partner benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees next Wednesday morning, Dec. 16.

The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act is sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connectict independent who also chairs the committee that will consider amendments to the measure before voting on whether to send it to the Senate floor.

In the House, the Oversight and Government Relations Committee voted 23-12 last month to send its version of the DP bill to the floor for a vote, the D.C. Agenda notes. That bill is sponsored by lesbian Rep. Tammy Baldwin and has 138 co-sponsors.

—  admin

Federal domestic partners bill advances

Just got this press release from the office of U.S. Rep Tammy Baldwin, the lesbian Democrat from Wisconsin:

“The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today (Wednesday, Nov. 18)  passed the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act (H.R. 2517), authored by Congresswoman Baldwin (D-WI).  Under the legislation, same-sex domestic partners of federal employees living together in a committed relationship would be eligible for health benefits, long-term care, Family and Medical Leave, and federal retirement benefits, among others. The domestic partners of federal employees would also be subject to the same responsibilities that apply to the spouses of federal employees, such as anti-nepotism rules and financial disclosure requirements.”

There is a long way to go, but we are making progress. Wish I could vote for Tammy Baldwin.

—  admin

President Obama's speech at the hate crimes law reception

OBAMA ATTORNEY AT LAW

Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 28, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act. Later that same afternoon, he attended a reception at the White House to commemorate the passage of this historic law that includes special provisions for investigating and prosecuting crimes committed out of hatred based on the victim’s perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

At that reception, the president recognized the Members of Congress who were attending — including the three out lesbian and gay Congressmembers Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Jared Polis — and activists and community leaders in attendance. Those activists included Matthew Shepard’s parents and brother, Dennis, Judy and Logan Shepard, and James Byrd Jr.’s sisters, Betty Byrd Boatner and Louvan Harris.

Here is the text of the rest of his address:

“To all the activists, all the organizers, all the people who helped make this day happen, thank you for your years of advocacy and activism, pushing and protesting that made this victory possible.

“You know, as a nation we’ve come far on the journey towards a more perfect union.  And today, we’ve taken another step forward. This afternoon, I signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“This is the culmination of a struggle that has lasted more than a decade. Time and again, we faced opposition. Time and again, the measure was defeated or delayed. Time and again we’ve been reminded of the difficulty of building a nation in which we’re all free to live and love as we see fit.

“But the cause endured and the struggle continued, waged by the family of Matthew Shepard, by the family of James Byrd, by folks who held vigils and led marches, by those who rallied and organized and refused to give up, by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy who fought so hard for this legislation and all who toiled for years to reach this day.

“You understood that we must stand against crimes that are meant not only to break bones, but to break spirits — not only to inflict harm, but to instill fear. You understand that the rights afforded every citizen under our Constitution mean nothing if we do not protect those rights — both from unjust laws and violent acts. And you understand how necessary this law continues to be.

“In the most recent year for which we have data, the FBI reported roughly 7,600 hate crimes in this country. Over the past 10 years, there were more than 12,000 reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation alone. And we will never know how many incidents were never reported at all.

“And that’s why, through this law, we will strengthen the protections against crimes based on the color of your skin, the faith in your heart or the place of your birth. We will finally add federal protections against crimes based on gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. And prosecutors will have new tools to work with states in order to prosecute to the fullest those who would perpetrate such crimes.

“Because no one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love. No one in America should be forced to look over their shoulder because of who they are or because they live with a disability.

“At root, this isn’t just about our laws; this is about who we are as a people. This is about whether we value one another — whether we embrace our differences, rather than allowing them to become a source of animus.

“It’s hard for any of us to imagine the mind-set of someone who would kidnap a young man and beat him to within an inch of his life, tie him to a fence and leave him for dead. It’s hard for any of us to imagine the twisted mentality of those who’d offer a neighbor a ride home, attack him, chain him to the back of a truck and drag him for miles until he finally died.

“But we sense where such cruelty begins: The moment we fail to see in another our common humanity, the very moment when we fail to recognize in a person the same fears and hopes, the same passions and imperfections, the same dreams that we all share.

“We have for centuries strived to live up to our founding ideal, of a nation where all are free and equal and able to pursue their own version of happiness. Through conflict and tumult, through the morass of hatred and prejudice, through periods of division and discord we have endured and grown stronger and fairer and freer.

“And at every turn, we’ve made progress not only by changing laws but by changing hearts, by our willingness to walk in another’s shoes, by our capacity to love and accept even in the face of rage and bigotry.

“In April of 1968, just one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King, as our nation mourned in grief and shuddered in anger, President Lyndon Johnson signed landmark civil rights legislation. This was the first time we enshrined into law federal protections against crimes motivated by religious or racial hatred — the law on which we build today.

“As he signed his name, at a difficult moment for our country, President Johnson said that through this law “the bells of freedom ring out a little louder.” That is the promise of America.

“Over the sounds of hatred and chaos, over the din of grief and anger, we can still hear those ideals — even when they are faint, even when some would try to drown them out. At our best we seek to make sure those ideals can be heard and felt by Americans everywhere. And that work did not end in 1968. It certainly does not end today.

“But because of the efforts of the folks in this room — particularly those family members who are standing behind me — we can be proud that that bell rings even louder now and each day grows louder still.

“So thank you very much. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”

—  admin