What’s Brewing: Maryland Senate kills gender identity bill; anti-gay hate crime at UNC

Quinn Matney was attacked and severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime at the University of North Carolina.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. For a third straight week, LGBT advocates plan to speak during the Dallas County Commissioners Court’s meeting today and call on commissioners to add transgender employees to the county’s nondiscrimination policy. Last month, commissioners voted to add sexual orientation but not gender identity to the policy. The Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. in the County Administration Building, 411 Elm St.

2. The Maryland Senate on Monday voted to kill a measure that would have protected transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and credit — but not public accommodations. The vote marks the second major disappointment this year for LGBT advocates in Maryland, where the House thwarted a marriage equality bill last month.

3. A University of North Carolina freshman says he was attacked and severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime on the school’s campus last week. The UNC administration, which failed to notify students until a week after the attack occurred, now says it plans to report the incident as an anti-gay hate crime to the federal government.

—  John Wright

NORTH CAROLINA: Killer Says Mucinex Overdose + Gay Panic Made Him Do It

Nineteen year old Michael Anderson (left) has confessed to the murder of Stephen Starr, 35, in Hickory, North Carolina, telling a police dispatcher that it was an overdose of Mucinex combined with Starr’s unwanted advances that caused him to shoot and hack Starr to death.

Starr was found in bed in what law enforcement has described as one of the most gruesome crime scenes they’ve seen in years. Anderson was charged with Starr’s murder Monday afternoon and has his first court appearance Wednesday morning. Anderson called 911 while next to Starr’s body in the master bedroom, with a gun still in his hands, according to the 911 call. Anderson was holding the pistol, Fish said. In the call, Anderson says he took some pills that “made me go mad.” He tells the woman at the communications center that he shot his roommate three times and then used an ax and mutilated his body. “I Od’d on Mucinex DM. Dextromethorphan makes me feel a little weird and I took too many,” Anderson said.

About 4 minutes and 30 seconds into the call, the telecommunicator asks what sparked the attack. Anderson said it was because he was straight, and Starr was gay. According to him, the two met at a gay club. Anderson said he was straight, but went to the club to experiment. “I met him and went to his house and he took me in and I turned straight again. And he wanted to touch me and stuff and I wouldn’t let him, and he kept trying. And I waited until he went to sleep and then I shot him three times. And I mutilated him very badly and I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Oh God, please help me.”

The comments on the above-linked newspaper article are predictably filled with citations of Leviticus and kindly Christian admonitions that the deceased had it coming. Here’s Anderson’s 911 call to report having committed the murder.

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Ready for secession (again): South Carolina may adopt its own currency

When I saw the headline at TPM, I had to email our resident Palmetto State barista, Alvin McEwen to ask: “Alvin, what is going on in your state?!”

Picking up on the ancestral tradition, South Carolinians have spent much of the last two years asserting various forms of independence from the federal government and attempting to block different federal laws. Now a state senator from the Palmetto State has decided it’s time for South Carolina to create its own currency.

State Sen. Lee Bright (R-Roebuck) says that federal spending and increased monetary intervention by the Fed have placed the entire US Federal Reserve system on a path to monetary collapse. And when the crash comes, state residents will need to rely on the stable South Carolina currency to weather the storm.

“If folks lose faith in the dollar, we need to have some kind of backup,” Bright told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal on Friday.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

7PM ET: PHB liveblog with candidate for North Carolina Democratic Party chair David Parker

The URL for the liveblog is: http://tinyurl.com/parkerPHB.



The election of state party chairs is quite relevant because of the circumstances we find many states in — they have lost control of their legislatures to teabaggers and GOP fringers because of the wealth of dissatisfaction over the economy last fall. Incumbents took the hit from the voters at all levels and the NC GOPers in the Gen Assembly are already flexing their bigoted muscles: Republicans file bill to prohibit anyone not in U.S. legally from attending NC community colleges or universities. And yesterday the Republicans elected proud bigot eruption-prone Sen. Jim Forrester as deputy president pro tempore. This is the man who refused to meet with P-FLAG and files a marriage amendment year after year as his first act as a legislator. We’ll see how soon he puts this on the agenda. He (in)famously said last year: “I’m not against homosexuals.” He said he has gay patients who see him in his medical practice “and I treat them like everyone else.”

In the case of North Carolina, a regrouping and fresh ideas are necessary, but in an emerging socially moderate state, the selection of a party chair for Democrats is particularly crucial. And if you’re LGBT, you want to see the party not willing to run away from equality issues.

Attorney David Parker is running for NC Democratic Party Chair (the election is on Jan 31). He wanted to hold a short live blog on the Blend to share his vision of leadership in the North Carolina Democratic Party, which is now facing a challenging landscape as the General Assembly here is now Republican controlled, the first time since Reconstruction. The LGBT community in NC faces the prospect of a marriage amendment that will be heard on the floor of the state House and Senate. Parker seeks LGBT support as an ally. Right out of the box, he’s in favor or transparency and participation for the community and is frank about it:

I am committed to creating an LGBT Caucus in NC and have an endorser who wants to lead the effort at the breakout sessions that I will convene within 30 Minutes of being elected Chair – I have attached my “First 30 Minutes Plan” and Breakout group agenda to show you my vision for that day. There is a “First 30 Days” Plan that dovetails with those efforts as well.

I would very much like your readers’ input and suggestions on how to make this work and not be a flash in the pan. For instance, I would like to see Caucuses and Roundtables in those counties where they can be formed. All three components of Members (organization), Message and Money come into play and need to be worked. We need to be aggressive on our messaging.

In reading through your site, I am committed to the Dallas Principles – they are sensible and should be a part of our Platform with “personal individual dignity” as “core value” to be at the top of our Platform in a Preamble. Part of what has sparked my email to you is seeing where the GOP will be going with the repeal of DADT as indicated by Bill James remarks in Charlotte about gays being “sexual predators”.

My most important action in the gay rights area has been as a part of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. I have worked closely with Chris and Lou East from Greensboro (she is the minister for Epiphany – you can read about her at http://www.covenantnetwork.org/news/east.html ; Chris is also an ordained Presbyterian Minister and works as a Counselor at Replacements, Ltd.). I have not just given money and attended meetings, I wrote and performed the solo anthem for the national Covenant Network gathering in Davidson several years ago.

I next was a member of the PUP task force that worked through the changes arising out of the General Assembly’s passing of scrupling protocols as a way to permit the ordaining of gays in our Church. Stewart Ellis of Winston-Salem can tell you about my involvement there. We were able to get a protocol adopted in our Presbytery without objection – a signal accomplishment done with a lot of good dialogue.

As a PC(USA) General Assembly Commissioner this past summer, I argued in front of the roughly 2,000 folks there assembled for expanding pension and beneficiary benefits to gay partners. We passed the new enabling policy. You can read about the pension changes at https://www.pc-biz.org/IOBView.aspx?m=ro&id=3271 We have come a ways, but still have a long way to go….We are faced with the prospect of the Bill James of the world being in control – scary, scary stuff – no telling what will come out of this General Assembly. We can expect a Marriage Amendment and other acts to be presented to Gov. Perdue with a challenge to veto them – and a challenge to the State House to sustain her veto. With a 4 vote “cushion”, we may have issues.

This work is based on my belief that sexual orientation is a gift from God.

One of other candidates running for the post, Bill Faison, has had to contend with an interview he gave a few years ago in the Independent Weekly where he stated that he was not a supporter of marriage equality.

Gordon Smith, an ally on the Asheville City Council, did Q&As with Parker (and Bill Faison as well as the third candidate in the race, Dannie Montgomery). You can see all of their answers at Gordon’s blog, Scrutiny Hooligans.

It’s an interesting opportunity for Blenders to think about how the political parties in their state are considering LGBT issues in 2011, particularly if you’re in a state with few or no protections and have to contend with reluctant party leadership.

I hope you’ll join me as David and I discuss the future work a party can do to move equality forward. Video is below the fold.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

7PM ET: PHB liveblog with candidate for North Carolina Democratic Party chair David Parker

The URL for the liveblog is: http://tinyurl.com/parkerPHB.



The election of state party chairs is quite relevant because of the circumstances we find many states in — they have lost control of their legislatures to teabaggers and GOP fringers because of the wealth of dissatisfaction over the economy last fall. Incumbents took the hit from the voters at all levels and the NC GOPers in the Gen Assembly are already flexing their bigoted muscles: Republicans file bill to prohibit anyone not in U.S. legally from attending NC community colleges or universities. And yesterday the Republicans elected proud bigot eruption-prone Sen. Jim Forrester as deputy president pro tempore. This is the man who refused to meet with P-FLAG and files a marriage amendment year after year as his first act as a legislator. We’ll see how soon he puts this on the agenda. He (in)famously said last year: “I’m not against homosexuals.” He said he has gay patients who see him in his medical practice “and I treat them like everyone else.”

In the case of North Carolina, a regrouping and fresh ideas are necessary, but in an emerging socially moderate state, the selection of a party chair for Democrats is particularly crucial. And if you’re LGBT, you want to see the party not willing to run away from equality issues.

Attorney David Parker is running for NC Democratic Party Chair (the election is on Jan 31). He wanted to hold a short live blog on the Blend to share his vision of leadership in the North Carolina Democratic Party, which is now facing a challenging landscape as the General Assembly here is now Republican controlled, the first time since Reconstruction. The LGBT community in NC faces the prospect of a marriage amendment that will be heard on the floor of the state House and Senate. Parker seeks LGBT support as an ally. Right out of the box, he’s in favor or transparency and participation for the community and is frank about it:

I am committed to creating an LGBT Caucus in NC and have an endorser who wants to lead the effort at the breakout sessions that I will convene within 30 Minutes of being elected Chair – I have attached my “First 30 Minutes Plan” and Breakout group agenda to show you my vision for that day. There is a “First 30 Days” Plan that dovetails with those efforts as well.

I would very much like your readers’ input and suggestions on how to make this work and not be a flash in the pan. For instance, I would like to see Caucuses and Roundtables in those counties where they can be formed. All three components of Members (organization), Message and Money come into play and need to be worked. We need to be aggressive on our messaging.

In reading through your site, I am committed to the Dallas Principles – they are sensible and should be a part of our Platform with “personal individual dignity” as “core value” to be at the top of our Platform in a Preamble. Part of what has sparked my email to you is seeing where the GOP will be going with the repeal of DADT as indicated by Bill James remarks in Charlotte about gays being “sexual predators”.

My most important action in the gay rights area has been as a part of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. I have worked closely with Chris and Lou East from Greensboro (she is the minister for Epiphany – you can read about her at http://www.covenantnetwork.org/news/east.html ; Chris is also an ordained Presbyterian Minister and works as a Counselor at Replacements, Ltd.). I have not just given money and attended meetings, I wrote and performed the solo anthem for the national Covenant Network gathering in Davidson several years ago.

I next was a member of the PUP task force that worked through the changes arising out of the General Assembly’s passing of scrupling protocols as a way to permit the ordaining of gays in our Church. Stewart Ellis of Winston-Salem can tell you about my involvement there. We were able to get a protocol adopted in our Presbytery without objection – a signal accomplishment done with a lot of good dialogue.

As a PC(USA) General Assembly Commissioner this past summer, I argued in front of the roughly 2,000 folks there assembled for expanding pension and beneficiary benefits to gay partners. We passed the new enabling policy. You can read about the pension changes at https://www.pc-biz.org/IOBView.aspx?m=ro&id=3271 We have come a ways, but still have a long way to go….We are faced with the prospect of the Bill James of the world being in control – scary, scary stuff – no telling what will come out of this General Assembly. We can expect a Marriage Amendment and other acts to be presented to Gov. Perdue with a challenge to veto them – and a challenge to the State House to sustain her veto. With a 4 vote “cushion”, we may have issues.

This work is based on my belief that sexual orientation is a gift from God.

One of other candidates running for the post, Bill Faison, has had to contend with an interview he gave a few years ago in the Independent Weekly where he stated that he was not a supporter of marriage equality.

Gordon Smith, an ally on the Asheville City Council, did Q&As with Parker (and Bill Faison as well as the third candidate in the race, Dannie Montgomery). You can see all of their answers at Gordon’s blog, Scrutiny Hooligans.

It’s an interesting opportunity for Blenders to think about how the political parties in their state are considering LGBT issues in 2011, particularly if you’re in a state with few or no protections and have to contend with reluctant party leadership.

I hope you’ll join me as David and I discuss the future work a party can do to move equality forward. Video is below the fold.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

North Carolina Pol: Gay People Are “Sexual Predators” 

BILL JAMES NC COMMISSIONER X180An antigay commissioner in North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County called gay people “sexual predators” in an e-mail response to a letter from a fellow commissioner asking her colleagues to sign a thank-you note to the state’s officials who voted to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Hate Crime Suspected at East Carolina University

BryanBergx180 (NC Jail) | Advocate.comOne woman remained hospitalized with a broken jaw after an attack Friday at East Carolina University that police suspect may have been motivated by the victims’ perceived sexual orientation.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Pushing for Workplace Protections in North Carolina

Last week, members of the Charlotte community and I met with the Legislative Correspondent of U.S. Representative Larry Kissell from the 8th District of North Carolina to talk about supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Kissell voted in favor of the the hate crimes law, which passed last year, and voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We were excited to meet with Kissell’s team to remind him of the importance of passing ENDA and let him know that our community cannot afford to take things for granted at this critical time in the fight for equality.

Our diverse group included Randy Floyd, Co-chair for the local HRC Steering Committee and Roberta Dunn, a leader in the local transgender community who sits on the steering committees of HRC and the Mecklenburg Gay and Lesbian Political Action Committee (MeckPAC).

Jennifer Roberts, the Chairwoman of the Board of County Commissioners for Mecklenburg County, was there with constituent and straight ally Jacqueline Galante.

Everyone at the meeting shared stories about workplace discrimination in Charlotte with Legislative Correspondent John Trippi. The staff in Kissell’s office were told about a transgender woman who worked as a mechanic for the city in the Department of Auto Maintenance that lost her job shortly after letting her supervisor know of her desire to begin transitioning. They also shared a story about a grade school teacher who was fired once parents got wind of her sexual orientation and called the principal.

Roberts spoke to the staff about the economics and family benefits of ENDA. She talked about Mecklenburg County passing an employment non-discrimination policy five years ago that did not protect transgender people. This past December, MeckPAC and Roberts teamed up to pass domestic partner benefits and this year they teamed with Mayor Anthony Foxx and City Manager Curt Walton to create a non-discrimination policy in Charlotte. They are still working to include gender identity in the policy.

Charlotte is an up and coming city and there have been great strides to improve the livelihood of the LGBT community, but there is still much more work to be done. I hope that everyone will contact their lawmakers tell them to support and pass ENDA.

Visit our Pass ENDA Now website to find out more about ENDA and contact your members of Congress at countdown2010.hrc.org.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright