Houston’s State Rep. Garnet Coleman applauds Prop. 8 decision

State Rep. Garnet Coleman

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, took to his blog today to applaud yesterday’s decision by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declaring Proposition 8  unconstitutional (Prop. 8, passed in 2008, prohibited marriage equality in California):

“Yesterday’s 9th Circuit decision, just like the decision in Lawrence v. Texas, is a stepping stone on the path to marriage equality for all. As Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the opinion, ‘Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.’ The same holds true for the marriage equality ban in Texas. That is why I continue to fight for marriage equality and continue to file the repeal of the ban of same sex marriage. Denying gay couples the right to marry is unconstitutional and a blatant denial of human rights. “

Coleman has a long history of filing pro-LGBT legislation in the Texas House. Last year he introduced historic legislation that, had it passed, would have called for a state-wide vote to repeal the section of Texas’ constitution prohibiting same-sex marriage, so he’s no stranger to the battle for marriage equality.

Coleman is seeking re-election to his District 147 seat. He will face long-time local LGBT activist Ray Hill in the Democratic Primary. No republican candidate has filed for the seat.

Read Coleman’s full statement on his blog.

—  admin

Kiss-in seeks domestic partner benefits for U of H

Pucker up!

Valentine’s Day is next Tuesday, while some battle the supermarket crowds for chocolate and champagne and others battle  that soul-sucking feeling that they will be alone forever, students at the University of Houston will be battling for equal benefits for LGBT employees.

“Our LGBT faculty and staff at the University of Houston are not given the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts,” says James Lee, one of the student organizers. “This rally is an issue campaign to let administration know we care about our professors, directors and advisers and we think they all deserve to be treated equally.”

Lee explains that the event is not just for same-sex couples, the organizers want opposite-sex couples to participate to help demonstrate that straight and LGBT relationships are the same.  Got no one to kiss? No problem, says Lee, “We will have rally signs and other goodies you can show support with.”

The smooch-fest kicks off at 12:30 pm in Butler Plaza (in front of the MD Anderson Library).

—  admin

Show vs. Show

In this installment of Show vs. Show, we take a look at two bands both welcome at any party. It’s the battle of young and not-so-young as The B-52s bring out their campy tunes and CSS turn on their Brazilian beats for Dallas audiences.

Despite a healthy discography, we might always know The B-52s for “Love Shack,” but there are worse tunes on which to hang a legacy. Now a classic party anthem, the song has held up for more than 20 years.

The band’s talent shouldn’t be overlooked for its camp factor. When the late Ricky Wilson threw down that riff for “Rock Lobster,” he made music history with a strong sound. It’s easy to blow off, but over the years, has proven unforgettable. Guitarist Keith Strickland stepped in and filled those shoes with the perfect blend of musicality and whimsy.

Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson always keep our attention with their mod outfits and high-to-heaven ’dos, but Fred Schneider symbolizes the band most with his outrageous flair.

But don’t count out CSS for party ’peal. The Brazilian popsters may be the heirs apparent to The B-52s (if not LMFAO), infusing a comic touch on their songs. They don’t offer as much of a punchline as The Bs do, but with tunes like “Let’s Reggae All Night” and “City Grrrl,” they add their own panache. Another point in their corner is opening dance band and performance artists MEN, led by lesbian JD Samson.
This should be more like Party vs. Party. All that’s missing are the party favors, confetti and punch bowl.

— Rich Lopez

Artist: The B-52s

Concert-2

The B52's

 

Known mostly for… being the premiere party rock band veterans, churning out hits “Rock Lobster,” “Love Shack” and “Roam.”

Good for the gays? As gay as it can get. Their camp factor is off the charts.  And of course, there’s queer singer Fred Schneider.

What to wear? Anything but beige or gray. And lots of hairspray.

Relevance: The B-52s haven’t delivered big since 1989’s Cosmic Thing, but their songs are timeless fun.

Reason to be there: This is one resilient band that wholeheartedly still delivers. And how awesome is “Love Shack” going to sound live?

Reason to not: It’s in Frisco.

Deets: Dr. Pepper Arena, 2601 Avenue of the Stars, Frisco. Nov. 3
at 7:30 p.m. $27–$77. Ticketmaster.com.

Artist: CSS

Concert-1

CSS


Known mostly for… their Brazilian dance pop. Hipsters party out to this band
that wants nothing more than to have a good time.

Good for the gays? With openers MEN, both are queer-centric with refreshing
but catchy tunes.

What to wear? Ironic T-shirts and colorful Converse Chuck Taylors.

Relevance: Their latest album, La Liberacion, strikes an unusual dance chord that’s also infectious and irreverent.

Reason to be there: While CSS has a strong fan base, they are still off the gaydar. You can be the one to tell all your friends about them.

Reason to not: With this one-two punch of catchy alterna-pop, there really isn’t a reason not to be there.

Deets: With MEN. House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. Oct. 28
at 8 p.m. $18–$20. HouseOfBlues.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 28, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Is The Battle For Marriage Costing Us The War For Full Equality?

Queerty contributor Daniel Villarreal spent most of the Creating Change conference in the hotel bar meeting committed queer activists. This week we'll be sharing his audio interviews with LGBT folks working in marriage equality, political activism, new media, sexual freedom, and transgender representation.

WHO: Michael Crawford, a Texas-native, long-time LGBT activist, and new media director at Freedom To Marry, an organization dedicated to overturning DOMA, winning marriage in more states, and educating the public about why same-sex marriage matters to everyone. He helped get marriage equality passed in DC and can throw quite a bit of shade when he wants.

WHAT: We discussed whether the DADT repeal will lead to marriage equality nationwide, the likelihood that we'll ever see gay marriage legalized in the deep south, and how he responds to those who call marriage equality is an attack on religion and say it shouldn't be at the top of the LGBT political agenda.

QUOTE: "LGBT people place importance on different issues at different times. For some people that's gonna be freedom to marry, for other folks that's gonna be focusing on around safer-schools and anti-bullying legislation. For other people it's gonna be focused around HIV and AIDS. And I think it's not so much about which issues are quote-unquote 'at the top of the LGBT agenda,' it's about how we can leverage the work that we're doing around all of those issues to help move forward the entire range of LGBT equality issues."


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—  David Taffet

NYDN: ‘The battle over same-sex marriage is about to heat up again in the state Senate’

The first line of the article in today’s New York Daily News says it all. The battle for marriage is on in New York:

The battle over same-sex marriage is about to heat up again in the state Senate.

Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan), the Senate’s biggest booster of gay marriage, said he’ll introduce legislation “within weeks” to legalize same-sex marriage – and will push for a vote before the end of June.

“I think everyone is aware that we have to make the lives of New Yorkers better in every way – economically, as well as to provide equality to New York families,” Duane said Monday.

Although a similar bill was soundly defeated in the Senate in 2009, Duane and other supporters believe Gov. Cuomo’s support can finally tilt the political landscape.

Cuomo, whose favorable rating reached a soaring 70% in this week’s Siena poll, called for the legalization of gay marriage in his State of the State address earlier this month.

“I think the governor is starting in a strong political place with the people on his side and the wind at his back,” said Ross Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.

“That is helpful.”

Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan), the Senate’s biggest booster of gay marriage, said he’ll introduce legislation “within weeks” to legalize same-sex marriage – and will push for a vote before the end of June.

“I think everyone is aware that we have to make the lives of New Yorkers better in every way – economically, as well as to provide equality to New York families,” Duane said Monday.

Although a similar bill was soundly defeated in the Senate in 2009, Duane and other supporters believe Gov. Cuomo’s support can finally tilt the political landscape.

Cuomo, whose favorable rating reached a soaring 70% in this week’s Siena poll, called for the legalization of gay marriage in his State of the State address earlier this month.

Marriage equality legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell, has passed twice in the New York Assembly. The bill failed in the State Senate on December 2, 2009 by a vote of 38 – 24. Republicans now control the Senate (Again. The GOP controlled the Senate for decades until the 2009-2010 session.) But, the GOP leader won’t prevent a vote on the bill, we’re told:

Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau), said his boss opposes gay marriage, but would not block the measure from coming up for a vote.

This one is going to be intense. Having a supportive Governor with strong polling numbers on our side should help.

And, thanks to Fight Back NY, a lot of the state’s politicians know there’s a political price to pay for opposing equality.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

NOM in Rhode Island: ‘The battle that He began over evil and darkness’

More Catholic-steeped resistance to our civil equality from NOM’s Rhode Island wing:





(*headline quote comes in this clip, around 4:00):



***

*EARLIER: NOM’s Rhode Island head admitted he/they see gay lives as ‘tragic’. But that doesn’t poll well, so… [G-A-Y]

What next, NOM — gonna ask people to tithe rather than donate? [G-A-Y]

We the papal: Rhode Island ring finger edition [G-A-Y]




Good As You

—  admin

Help Counter NOM’s 2011 Battle Plan – Become a NOM Watcher Today

It’s not earth-shattering news to the LGBT community that the so-called National Organization for Marriage is anti-gay. It’s obvious to us that the group eats, sleeps, and breathes homophobia.

But it’s not so obvious to lawmakers, media, and straight America. NOM does a pretty good job of *sounding* reasonable, even (sort of) tolerant. That’s where you come in.

Help us–HRC and the Courage Campaign–expose what this group is all about. Sign-up to be a NOM Watcher in your community. Expose NOM’s inflammatory rhetoric, hardball tactics, and secretive funding–all of which they use to stop committed LGBT couples from getting married. (And to stop civil unions.)

As we head into 2011, your participation is more important than ever given the number of states where NOM has indicated it’s going to stop or repeal marriage equality.  You can see NOM’s battle plan here. Even if they’re not planning on coming to your state, you can still tell your friends who live in those states.

NOM’s president, Maggie Gallagher, has called being gay a sexual disability. Louis Marinelli, a strategist aligned with the organization, has tweeted things like “#nevertrust activists of the homosexual agenda – they are deceitful people who care only about themselves and not what’s best for society.” And Pastor Bob Emrich, who participated in NOM’s 2010 Summer for Marriage Tour, supported the legislation in Uganda that would have made being gay a crime punishable by death in some cases.

In the next few weeks, we’ll have more specifics on what you can do locally. (Here in DC we just demanded and received NOM’s previously undisclosed 2009 tax returns).

Our goal this week is to create a network of folks across the country who can help us fight back against one of the obstacles to marriage equality. Thanks for any help you could offer.

It’s going to be a good year.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Custody Battle Heads to Top Mich. Court

RENEE HARMON X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMThe Michigan supreme court will decide next month whether it will hear
a case from a lesbian who is requesting joint custody of her
nonbiological children that she and her former partner raised together
until September 2009.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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What was missing during the DADT battle

David Michael Green:

[T]hat would require Democrats to do what has come naturally to Republicans for decades, but is more or less anathema for the helpless, hapless Dems.

It’s called playing hardball. It’s called playing to win.

The lame duck Congress brought some surprises and some notable victories. It’s fair to say, for instance, that repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell may the biggest single civil rights leap forward we’ve seen in half a century. That’s no small thing, of course, but it’s well to remember two caveats there. The first is that what we’re talking about is essentially a negative victory -” the undoing of what was a really bad idea to start with, going back to its beginning nearly two decades ago. That may be progress of a sort, but it’s kinda like somebody reaching into your pocket and pulling out a hundred dollar bill, then later handing it back to you. You might feel like you’re that much richer, but you really shouldn’t.

The other missing ingredient here is that the president, who may not have even worked particularly hard behind the scenes for this legislation, surely didn’t get out front on it. That is to say that he -” unlike Lyndon Johnson or Jack Kennedy -” never used the bully pulpit to make the moral case for why this is the right and essential task for the nation at this time. Civil rights legislation and moral haranguing go hand in hand, each reinforcing and further advancing the other. Barack taking a powder on one of the great moral causes of our day doesn’t exactly help make life in America better and safer for gays and lesbians. Indeed, it’s worse than that. By stating that he still opposes gay marriage, he is absolutely part of the problem, not the solution.

My guess is that we’re going to be seeing more of that. The last two years have been disappointing and arguably quite disastrous for the country. That produced a lovely vicious cycle, which gave us Election 2010, the results of which are now likely to produce even more disastrous politics over the coming two years.

This was all ridiculously unnecessary, but that’s how it works with Obama and his party.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Elizabeth Edward Dies at 61 After Cancer Battle

Ee Elizabeth Edwards, a mother to four who very publicly faced the infidelity of her senator husband in the last years of her life, and a vocal ally of gay rights, died at 61 this morning after a battle with cancer.

"Her family confirmed the death, saying Mrs. Edwards was surrounded by relatives when she died. A family friend said Mr. Edwards was present. On Monday, two family friends said that Mrs. Edwards’s cancer had spread to her liver and that doctors had advised against further medical treatment."

RIP.

Watch Chris Matthews discuss Edwards' life on CNN, AFTER THE JUMP

You may have missed…
Elizabeth Edwards Declares Support for Gay Marriage [tr]
John Edwards on Wife's Gay Marriage Position: "She Actually Says What She Thinks" [tr]
Elizabeth Edwards to Ann Coulter: Stop the Personal Attacks [tr]
Coulter's Hate Speech a Financial Windfall for Edwards Campaign [tr]



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin