What’s Brewing: Gay Marine from N. Texas reacts to court’s order halting DADT enforcement

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. In the wake of Wednesday’s order from a federal appeals court halting enforcmeent of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” we checked in with a gay active-duty Marine from North Texas whom we profiled last year to see what the development means to him. Here’s what he said:

“I was VERY happy to hear that. I’m not really sure about what will happen next. I hope that the president and justice department will leave it at this and not push it to the Supreme Court. This law has gone on entirely too long already. Why keep something hanging on by a thread that we know is so close to being over? It wouldn’t make any sense. But like I said before, I will not be satisfied until there is a full repeal. I have came out to most people in my unit. So I don’t think there will be too much of a change for me except that I won’t have the thought of discharge lingering over my head, and I won’t have to hide my partner (he isn’t currently open with his unit).”

2. New York City will open clerk’s offices in all five boroughs on a Sunday — July 24 — so same-sex couples can marry on the first day it’s legal, The New York Times reports. We kept waiting for the quote from some tea party homophobe about wasting tax dollars and defiling the Lord’s Day, but it never came.

3. Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill prohibiting workplace discrimination based on gender identity and expression on Wednesday, making Connecticut the 15th state to do so, Raw Story reports. As you can see from the map below, Texas remains one of about 30 states where you can still be legally fired for being gay or transgender. And let’s face it, that will never change until the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act is passed. Speaking of which, where the hell is ENDA?

—  John Wright

Obama to Connecticut AIDS Hecklers: Why Do You Think This Is A Useful Strategy?

The president’s speech was interrupted by AIDS hecklers at a stop in Connecticut yesterday, prompting him to address them directly.

‘Let me just say this,’ he said, addressing the hecklers. ‘You’ve been appearing at every rally we’ve been doing. ‘We’re funding global Aids,’ he continued defensively. ‘And the other [Republican] side is not. ‘So I don’t know why you think this is a useful strategy to take,’ he finished, jabbing his finger angrily in the direction of the hecklers. The crowds boos turned to cheers as Mr Obama – who was in the state campaigning for Democrat Richard Blumenthal – spoke. ‘So, what we would suggest,’ he added, ‘I think it would make a lot more sense for you guys to go to the folks who aren’t interested in funding global Aids and shout at that rally. Because we’re trying to focus on figuring out how to finance the things that you want financed.’

Then he turned to another group of hecklers on his other side, adding: ‘You guys same thing.’ As more chants filled the rally, he said: ‘Alright, you guys have made your point, now let’s go.’ Fighting to regain the momentum of the rally, he held his hands up saying: ‘Everybody – we’re alright. ‘Come on guys,’ he said. He then fell silent again, watching with pursed lips as the crowd booed the hecklers once more. The President waited nearly 20 seconds for the noise to stop, then attempted again to continue with his speech.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Connecticut Civil Unions became Civil Marriages Today!

H/T Ron

Here is a happy note to end the week on: Today, October 1st, 2010, all civil unions already entered into in Connecticut automatically become marriages.  The state stopped accepting CU applications on September 30th, so so from now on its the gold standard of marriage for all couples in Connecticut.

This upgrade is the result of the April 23, 2009 passage of “An Act Implementing the Guarantee of Equal Protection Under the Constitution of the State for Same Sex Couples” (Public Act 09-13) by the Connecticut Legislature.  The new law was the natural follow-on to GLAD‘s successful win in the Kerrigan & Mock v. Connecticut Dept. of Public Health case where the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to full marriage equality.  With the passage of Public Act 09-13, Connecticut does away with the inherently discriminatory part of the former two-tiered system.  In other words, once the court ruled that every couple must have the freedom to marry, it was time to retire the civil unions system and put all couples on the level playing field of marriage.

I want to thank Ron, who alerted me to today’s historic event, for illustrating so beautifully on his blog the difference between civil unions and civil marriage with these pictures:

Rocco & Ron, Civil Union, October 1st, 2005 Rocco & Ron Marriage, October 1st, 2010

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

WATCH: Texas natives wed after 40 years

Jean Eleanor McFaddin and Susan Elaine Falk first met in 1962 at the University of Texas in Austin. McFaddin was from Dallas, and Falk was from Lufkin. They’ve been together for more than 40 years, but were finally legally married in Connecticut last week, according to The New York Times.

“You come to weddings, and they’re about people making promises that they hope to keep in their marriage, and in truth, our marriage is an affirmation of a lifetime of promises that we’ve made and lived,” McFaddin says. “We have fulfilled our commitments.”

“She was the one, is the one and always will be the one,” Falk says.

—  John Wright

CONNECTICUT: Nine Dead In Workplace Massacre By Disgruntled Employee

Eight people were shot and killed this morning at a Manchester, Connecticut wholesale alcohol distributor, where a truck driver for the company opened fire on an office full of workers. The gunman is dead, but reports conflict over whether he was shot by police or took his own life.

Sources said Omar S. Thornton, 34, was a driver for Hartford Distributors and was described by a Teamsters Union official as a recent hire and a “disciplinary problem.” “The union was bringing him in to meet with the company to remedy the problem,” said John Hollis, a Teamsters official. “He started shooting.” Thornton shot a number of people and then shot himself with a .223 caliber semiautomatic rifle as police approached and is dead, sources said. Two people were shot outside the building and five were shot inside, police sources said. Hollis declined to describe the nature of the disciplinary problem, and he said he wasn’t certain if the meeting had taken place when the shooting started. A law enforcement source said Thornton had been suspected of stealing from the business.

Another sterling example of the Second Amendment in action!

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Gay legislators – we need to get us one

This state house has more LGBT legislators than any other
This state house has more LGBT legislators than any other

Yesterday, I wrote about a Utah state representative who is lesbian and acting as surrogate mother for a gay couple. What I thought was interesting was that she was one of three openly gay legislators in that very red state. Yet Texas has none. How are other states doing?

According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, 79 LGBT legislators serve in state houses across the country. Here are some of the stats I came up with:

28 states have at least one LGBT legislator.

The state with the most is no surprise: Massachusetts has six. Marriage equality. Sky not fallen. Even has an openly gay Republican running for lieutenant governor. Elaine Noble was the first open gay or lesbian elected to a state legislature in the United States. In 1975, she was elected to the Massachusetts State House.

States with five LGBT legislators are mostly no surprise: Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Washington state. Connecticut and Vermont have marriage equality. Washington has an equality law that gives domestic partners everything that marriage does, but with a different name. New York recognizes marriages performed elsewhere. Arizona is a purple state. John McCain is one of their senators. Republican John Kyl is the other. But Janet Napolitano was their governor and now serves in Obama’s cabinet. It’s only only state to have had three women governors in a row. (Jane Hull preceeded Napolitano and Jan Brewer is the current governor).

Three states have four LGBT legislators: California, Maryland and New Hampshire. New Hampshire has marriage equality. California has thousands of legally married couples and Prop. 8 currently is tied up in court. Maryland does not ban marriage equality and they tried but failed to pass it last session.

In addition to Utah, Rhode Island has three gay legislators. Despite a governor who killed marriage equality last year and vetoed a bill that would allow gays or lesbians to make funeral arrangements for their partners, the state is generally very blue. The legislature overrode the governor’s veto and the mayor of Providence is also gay.

Texas? Glen Maxey was one of the first openly gay state legislators nationally. But since he left office, we’ve had none.

—  David Taffet