Study: Gays earn less, suffer more in Oklahoma

Men in same-sex couples in Oklahoma earn 26 percent less than their straight married counterparts, according to a new study on employment discrimination against LGBT people in the Sooner State.

The study, released today by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, also concludes that LGBT Oklahomans are frequently subject to harassment and discrimination in the workplace because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The study estimates that there are between 43,000 and 57,000 LGB people working in Oklahoma, along with as many as 6,800 transgender people.

Expanding the state’s nondiscrimination law to include sexual orientation and gender identity would have little impact on state agencies, resulting in only 21-29 additional complaints per year, according to the study.

“Laws that provide protection from discrimination not only benefit employees, but also help businesses recruit and retain highly-skilled employees,” said study co-author Lee Badgett.

To read the full study and press release, go here.

—  John Wright

Queer Music News: Melissa Etheridge does Broadway; Elton John shows off new baby

Billboard reports that Melissa Etheridge will step into Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s role in the Broadway rock musical American Idiot. The show is based on the band’s landmark album. Armstrong agreed to do the show himself for a run of 50 dates in spurts, but is now taking a small break:

Etheridge, best known for her song “Come to My Window,” will play drug dealer “St. Jimmy” from Feb. 1 to Feb. 6. Armstrong, the composer and co-author of the musical, returns Feb. 10.

The high-octane show follows three working-class characters as they wrestle with modern life. One joins the Army, one becomes a father and one descends into a drug-fueled life – thanks to St. Jimmy.

Says director Michael Mayer: “This character is seductive, thrilling and dangerous. Melissa Etheridge is all that and so much more.”

Elton John and David Furnish grace the cover of Us Weekly showing off their new family pictures. Ain’t that cute?

On the cover of the new issue out Wednesday (Jan. 19), John and Furnish are photographed with their new bundle of joy, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John.

“I’ve never felt anything like it in my life,” says John of holding his son for the first time. “You’re so awestruck. What can you say? You take it in. The feeling, the joy, the warmth of his body, his breathing … I will never forget that experience ever.”

—  Rich Lopez

Anne Heche’s mother’s new homophobic book

Nancy Heche has written The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality” with co-author Joe Dallas. Great. Couldn’t he have found a different last name?

Heche’s hatred of gays goes back before her daughter Anne’s relationship with Ellen. Mother Heche’s husband was a closeted gay man who died of AIDS in 1983. Her bitterness comes through in the first few pages of the book that is available on Google Books.

What a load of crap.

Her co-author is a self-hating gay man who has been “struggling” with his homosexuality since the 1970s. He’s apparently been in and out of the closet for years. What’s most horrifying about this man is that he now counsels other gay men, causing them the same distress and guilt he feels, induced by some warped religious teaching.

You want to be miserable? Fine. You want to cause other people misery and counsel them into committing suicide? He should be arrested.

They should have stopped after their third sentence.

“If it doesn’t matter to God, it needn’t matter to us.

“There are, after all, countless issues for Christians to be concerned about. So in an age marred by terrorism, poverty, violence, and corruption at every level, some would assume that sexual morality is, by its nature, a secondary matter.”

Obviously their answer is no. It doesn’t matter what God thinks. Even though there are countless issues that people should be concerned about, this one makes money by pandering to bigots.

The book helps good Christians deal with vexing moral dilemmas. What should you do if a relative you love who is gay wants to visit with his partner? They give advice to “Christian” counselors who are treating gays and lesbians who have come to them for help. Why would any gay or lesbian go to a counselor who would take advice from this bitten woman and her self-hating gay partner?

I always enjoy when bigots misquote the Bible for their own purposes.

In a footnote, they cite 1 Corinthians 6:11.

The line I found was:

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Their translation:

Former homosexuals are nothing new.

We can all translate. I’d interpret the line to mean that after being cleansed, even hateful people like Heche can become loving, accepting people.

In case you’re wondering about transgender issues, Heche devotes the entire last three pages of the book to the issue. Just find the right pastor and, despite surgery, you can begin living as the sex you were born.

Who really cares what this woman says? The only reason for her celebrity is her famous daughter’s bisexuality and that daughter’s relationship with someone America actually loves.

Sally Kern could use this book for some new rants if she ever runs out. It should become a best-seller.

—  David Taffet