PHOTOS: Response to ‘The Response’ begins

Riki Miller, Zombie McZee and Britney Miranda.

The responses to “The Response” are under way in Houston. First out of the gate was Friday night’s LGBT Texans Against Hate Rally.  Despite temperatures that had barely come down from the triple digits, Houstonians thronged to Tranquility Park in downtown. Beyond commenting on the temperature, the common theme of most of the speakers was that the American Family Association and Gov. Perry’s rally is not representative of Houston and is not welcomed.

Robert Shipman, president of the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats, said: “I kinda think Rick Perry chose the wrong city!”

He continued “They are the bigots, we are not … we are Houston.”

“I guess we should take comfort in the fact that, except for some of his staffers, [Gov. Perry] couldn’t find enough homegrown bigotry in the state of Texas to put on the event himself,” said Mike Craig, co-chair of Out & Equal Houston. “He had to bus them in from Tupulo, Miss., and Colorado Springs, Colo.” Craig was referring to American Family Association (based in Tupulo) and Focus on the Family (based in Colorado Springs), both co-sponsors of “The Response.”

State Rep.  Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, provided the closing address. He criticized Gov. Perry for using divisive religious rhetoric for political gain. “Being here today I’m proud that we are fighting back against a narrow, theocratic view of the world that we live in and of our country that says that people are not welcomed — that says that people are bad because of who they are. That is not America,” said Coleman. “That is what is dividing our city, our state and our country.”

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for more coverage of the LGBT community’s response to “The Response.” More photos from the LGBT Texans Against Hate Rally below (click to enlarge):

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Momentum Grows for Stand-Alone DADT Repeal Bill; Now 40 Co-Sponsors

The effort to pass “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal legislation as a stand-alone measure is gaining momentum with 40 bipartisan cosponsors already.  Last week after the Senate failed to take up the Defense Authorization Bill to which DADT repeal language is attached, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) led a group of Senators in proposing an alternative legislative strategy that would pass repeal language apart from the defense bill.  The new measure is S.4023.

The following is a list of cosponsors as of December 13:

  • Sen. Daniel Akaka, (D-HI)
  • Sen. Michael Bennet, (D-CO)
  • Sen. Jeff Bingaman, (D-NM)
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D-CA)
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D-OH)
  • Sen. Maria Cantwell, (D-WA)
  • Sen. Benjamin Cardin, (D-MD)
  • Sen. Robert Casey, (D-PA)
  • Sen. Susan Collins, (R-ME)
  • Sen. Chris Coons, (D-DE)
  • Sen. Chris Dodd, (D-CT)
  • Sen. Richard Durbin, (D-IL)
  • Sen. Russ Feingold, (D-WI)
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA)
  • Sen. Al Franken, (D-MN)
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY)
  • Sen. Kay Hagan, (D-NC)
  • Sen. Tom Harkin, (D-IA)
  • Sen. John Kerry, (D-MA)
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, (D-MN)
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu, (D-LA)
  • Sen. Frank Lautenberg, (D-NJ)
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-VT)
  • Sen. Carl Levin, (D-MI)
  • Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (I-CT)
  • Sen. Blanche Lincoln, (D-AR)
  • Sen. Robert Menendez, (D-NJ)
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley, (D-OR)
  • Sen. Barbara Mikulski, (D-MD)
  • Sen. Patty Murray, (D-WA)
  • Sen. Harry Reid, (D-NV)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT)
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-NY)
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, (D-NH)
  • Sen. Arlen Specter, (D-PA)
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow, (D-MI)
  • Sen. Mark Udall, (D-CO)
  • Sen. Tom Udall, (D-NM)
  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-RI)
  • Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-OR)

“The already large and growing number of my colleagues who are quickly signing on to this bill shows the high level of continuing commitment to repealing DADT before Congress goes home this year,” said Senator Lieberman.

“Like our closest allies, the United States’ Armed Forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country,” said Sen. Collins.  “After hearing powerful testimony from Secretary of Defense Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, and reviewing the results of the Pentagon report, I remain convinced that the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,’ implemented under President Clinton, should be repealed.  And, I agree with Secretary Gates that the issue should be decided by Congress, not the courts.”

“The strong list of initial co-sponsors adds momentum to getting legislative repeal of DADT done this year,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “Now the question is whether the Senate and House will take up this measure quickly and get it to the President’s desk.  There should be no excuses for inaction. The one true measure of success is allowing patriotic men and women the opportunity to lend their talents in service to their country.  We’ll soon find out if promises made will be promises kept.”

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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