Catholics For Equality urging support for marriage equality bill in Maryland

The Maryland House of Delegates is expected to take up consideration of the same-sex marriage bill there about 11 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time, I assume) on Friday, and according to Maryland Catholics for Equality, “out-of-state anti-gay calls are flooding Annapolis” to try and get the bill defeated.

So the organization is urging pro-equality Maryland residents to be sure and call their delegates to counteract the anti-gay forces.

In an e-mail that just hit my inbox, Maryland Catholics for Equality say: “Call NOW and let your Delegates know three important things: you are an actual constituent (not out of state), you are Catholic, and that you stand with the majority of Catholics in Maryland in support of HB175 — Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. Ask them not to bow down to out of state pressure.”

The measure has already passed the Maryland Senate and Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he will sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk. But things are close in the House of Delegates, where the bill was initially expected to pass easily.

If you aren’t a resident of Maryland, don’t cheat by calling the delegates and saying you are. But keep an eye on Instant Tea tomorrow, and we’ll let you know what happens.

—  admin

DADT rally planned Thursday on Cedar Springs

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and other groups are planning a rally — either a protest or a celebration — on Cedar Springs on Thursday night following a possible Senate vote on the Defense spending bill that includes a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” From the e-mail we just received:

The Senate will be voting on DADT 12/09/10. We are going to join other LGBT community organizations tomorrow for either a celebration or a protest according to how the vote goes tomorrow.

Here is what we need the membership to do:

1. Call Senator Hutchison (202) 224-5922 or (214) 361- 3500 and/or FAX (202) 224-0776

2. Call Senator Cornyn (202) 224-2934 or (972) 239-1310 and/or FAX (202) 228-2856

Just tell them your name and that you are a voting constituent. Then tell the staffer you URGE the Senator to vote to REPEAL DADT. While you’re at it you can also urge them to vote in favor of the DREAM ACT! Both legislations effect our LGBT brothers & sisters.

3. Show up at the rally at 7 p.m. on 12/09/10. We will meet at the Oak Lawn Library and then march down Cedar Springs to the Monument of Love and have our celebration or protest rally! Bring your PRIDE Flags, banners, signs, or just yourself! History will be made tomorrow. Be a part of it! Please forward this rally email to everyone you know. Please post in your Facebook and/or Twitter statuses! Thank you to Equality March Texas (EMT), LULAC 4871, HRC, and Out & Equal groups that are already on board for the rally!

—  John Wright

WATCH: A new message from Lady Gaga to the U.S. Senate on ‘don’t ask don’t tell’

The video was apparently recorded Thursday night and posted early Friday morning on Lady Gaga’s official YouTube channel. Looks like she may have sent out this Tweet while recording the video:

Gaga addresses her 7 ½-minute video message to her fellow Americans, to the Senate and specifically to Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. She notes that 14,000 servicemembers have been discharged under DADT since it was passed in 1993.

“In short, not only is the law unconstitutional, but it’s not even being properly or fairly enforced by the government,” Gaga says. “Our fight is a continuum of the ever-present equal rights movement. Every day we fight to abolish laws that harbor hatred and discriminate against all people, laws that infringe on our civil liberties.

“I am here to be a voice for my generation, not the generation of the senators who are voting, but for the youth of this country, the generation that is affected by this law and whose children will be affected,” Gaga says. “We are not asking you to agree with or approve the moral implications of homosexuality. We’re asking you to do your job, to protect the Constitution. As Majority Leader Harry Reid said, anyone who is willing to fight for this country should have the same civil opportunity to do so as anyone else. It’s my belief that no one person is more valuable than another.”

Gaga goes on to talk about some of the veterans discharged under DADT she’s met through the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

“The most shocking discovery for me was to hear them all say how much they miss serving and protecting our nation, how they joined the Armed Forces because they believe in America,” Gaga says. “Senators, when you’re sending your men and women into war, when you’re sending our wives, husbands, sons and daughters into combat, will you honor their service? Will you support repealing this law on Tuesday and pledge to them that no American’s life is more valuable than another?”

At the end of the video Gaga calls the Capitol Switchboard and asks for the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. After a dozen or so rings, she gets a busy signal. Then she tries Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, whose voice mailbox is full.

“I will not stop calling until I reach them and I can leave them this message,” Gaga says. “I am a constituent of the senator. My name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, also known as Lady Gaga. I’m calling to ask the senator to vote with Sens. Harry Reid and Carl Levin to repeal ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ and oppose John McCain’s shameless filibuster. We need to do this for our gay and lesbian soldiers and finally repeal ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’

“Try calling after 9 a.m. tomorrow morning,” Gaga says. “I’ll be on the phone, too. Thank you. God bless.”

The number for the Capitol switchb0ard is 202-224-3121.

—  John Wright

Local gay veteran offers $500 for meeting with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to discuss DADT

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, apparently doesn’t give a damn what her constituents think about repealing “don’t ask don’t tell.”

Dave Guy-Gainer, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant who lives in Tarrant County, is offering $500 in cold hard cash to anyone who can set up a face-to-face meeting for him — pronto — with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

Gainer, a board member for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network who made the offer Monday morning, wants to speak with Hutchison about the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell,” which — God willing — will be voted on by the full Senate later this month. Hutchison has indicated she plans to vote against DADT repeal. But Gainer lamented that she’s seemingly made up her mind without ever even discussing the issue with constituents like himself who support repeal:

“Despite many attempts over the years, we have never been able to discuss the issue with her face to face,” Gainer wrote to Instant Tea. “During SLDN Lobby Day last spring, we had a meeting arranged with a DC staffer. Myself, three other constituents and a retired Army Major General arrived at the appointed time. The staffer was not there. After a two hour wait in her lobby, we were told that ‘oh, we forgot you were here.’ Other Texans have attempted to meet with her and have met with a brick wall as well. In my one voter opinion, I am not represented by a Senator who refuses to even hear what a constituent has to say about a topic as impacting as is DADT. I am certain of her vote against repeal. That is, unless she chooses to have discourse with constituents who  might convince her that repeal is warranted.

“My $500 bounty stands,” Gainer added, “but I doubt that I’ll ever have to award it.”

—  John Wright

Pushing for Senate DADT Repeal Vote, HRC Delivers Thousands of Constituent Signatures

For many months, HRC organizers have been crisscrossing the country working in priority districts and states on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” With a good vote behind us in the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee, we are now pushing for the Senate to take a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains DADT repeal language. This week, we shipped off thousands of postcards, petition signatures and handwritten letters that we have generated during our repeal DADT campaign. Every United States Senator will receive a package with contacts from constituents in their home states, reiterating that there is broad, national support for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Yesterday’s shipment comes off of the heels of an earlier delivery on Capitol Hill, and is in addition to the over 20,000 hand-signed postcards that were delivered by veterans to priority U.S. Senators on that day.

While the defense bill is on a list of possible votes in September, it is important to keep the pressure on your senators and remind them that you want to see a speedy vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, and that they should keep repeal language in this bill. For more information on how to contact your representatives, visit our interactive Countdown 2010 website.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Arlington councilman dismisses constituents’ concerns about gas drilling with a gay joke

Mel LeBlanc

Arlington City Councilman Mel LeBlanc recently responded to a constituent’s concerns about gas drilling in the city by making a joke about gay sex, according to e-mails obtained by Instant Tea.

LeBlanc couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

According to copies of the e-mails, Arlington residents Ken and Kim Feil sent LeBlanc a copy of an article from The Advocate, a newspaper in Baton Rouge, La., about an oil and gas well blowout in that state. Arlington is considering changes to its gas drilling ordinance.

LeBlanc, who reportedly supports gas drilling, responded to the Feils’ e-mail by saying he thought The Advocate was a national gay publication — which it is; there is more than one Advocate — and asking what this has to do with “drilling holes in the … .” Then LeBlanc added, “oh, wait, I see” in an apparent attempt at humor. Here’s the e-mail:

___________________________

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So, should we be offended by this bad juvenile joke? From a gay standpoint, probably not. But if we were the Feils we’d probably be a little annoyed that LeBlanc is making light of their concerns about gas drilling. We’d say LeBlanc’s e-mail might also raise the question of how he knows about the gay Advocate.

We spoke with Kim Feil about the e-mail on Friday, and she said LeBlanc has already called her to apologize. But Feil, who calls herself an environmental activist, said based on her past experience with LeBlanc, she wasn’t surprised by his joke.

“It was expected,” Feil said. “He just evades facing the issues. He’s pretty consistent with being offensive.”

UPDATE: LeBlanc has posted a response in the comments below.

—  John Wright