Burns honored for anti-bullying efforts

Fox 4 News is reporting that Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief tonight presented gay Councilman Joel Burns with a special award in honor of his efforts on ending bullying.

Joel Burns

Moncrief said: “I salute Joel’s courage. It takes someone that has a little something extra to be able to share their personal pain in order to benefit others.”

Burns made national headlines last October after video his emotional speech during a Fort Worth City Council meeting about his own experience as a gay teen bullied by schoolmates went viral.

I don’t have any other details about tonight’s award, but I will update this post when I find out more.

—  admin

Video: The courage to stand against Nazis, Gulags, and — gay equality?!




Good As You

—  admin

Obama administration blocking Courage Campaign site, while Teabagger site is okay

Can’t wait to hear the excuse for this one.

From the Hill:

A progressive activist group in California is complaining that the Pentagon has prevented soldiers from accessing its web site in Iraq.

The group argues that Californians serving in Iraq who will vote on a series of ballot measures on Tuesday do not have access to the Courage Campaign “voters guide,” which might help them make decisions.

The Hill independently confirmed that the Tea Party Express site can be accessed on Defense Department computers while the Courage Campaign site cannot be accessed. Courage campaign said it has received information that web sites affiliated with the Traditional Values Coalition, California Election Forum and Christian Voter Guide through the Defense Department computers in Iraq.

And this had better not be the reason:

However, there could be other possible explanations for the blocked site, such as an automatic filter that sifts through specific words. The Courage Campaign site uses multiple references to “sex” (as in same-sex marriages) and “gay” (as in anti-gay, or gay rights). The site also contains information and action items on the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members.

And I don’t want to hear “it’s the Pentagon, not the President.” Is he in charge of his own administration or not?  We’d never have given George Bush a pass for something nasty “an agency” did to us.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Courage Campaign calls on NBC Universal to end affiliate relationship with KETK in Tyler

Courage Campaign, the grassroots LGBT equality network based in California, has launched an online petition calling for NBC to ends its affiliate relationship with KETK in Tyler.

The petition comes in response to a report that aired on KETK on Wednesday morning (above), in which the station asked viewers whether the acceptance of homosexuality will be the downfall of America. From the Courage Campaign:

The video is shocking. But the lack of response from NBC Universal — KETK’s parent network — is even more shocking. That’s why we need you to watch the video now and then sign our petition to NBC Universal executives Jeff Zucker and Steve Burke asking them to end NBC’s affiliate relationship with KETK immediately

Sign the petition by going here.

—  John Wright

Human Rights Campaign, Courage Campaign Call on IRS to Investigate National Organization for Marriage’s Charitable Arm

IRS complaint demonstrates that Ruth Institute, a project of the NOM Education Fund, has flagrantly violated federal tax law by intervening in political campaigns

The Human Rights Campaign and the Courage Campaign, a 700,000-member online activist network, announced they are filing a formal complaint with the Internal Revenue Service asking it to immediately investigate the Ruth Institute, part of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Education Fund. The complaint, found here, requests the IRS revoke the Ruth Institute’s tax-exempt status and seek an injunction to prevent future violations by either the Ruth Institute or the NOM Education Fund.

The complaint makes clear the Ruth Institute “has repeatedly and flagrantly violated the political campaign activity prohibition of section 501(c) (3) by intervening and participating in multiple candidate campaigns.  In the past year Ruth Institute resources have illegally been used to advocate for a U.S. Senate candidate as well as local and statewide judicial candidates.” HRC and the Courage Campaign cite the repeated involvement of the Ruth Institute in Carly Fiorina’s Senate race and in judicial elections in California and Iowa as clear violations of federal law.

“The evidence that the Ruth Institute and the NOM Education Fund repeatedly stepped over the line into illegal activity is indisputable,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Even fringe groups like NOM, its associates, and its affiliate groups must abide by federal law. Is the Ruth Institute nothing more than a front and funnel for NOM’s political activities? We trust the IRS can unveil the truth.”

“Time and again, NOM has shown itself as a radical extremist group bent on attacking families and undermining election laws,” said Courage Campaign Chairman and Founder Rick Jacobs.  “By openly flouting IRS regulations governing charities, NOM is effectively forcing taxpayers to subsidize its political activities. This is not just the height of arrogance, it’s against the law.”

Pursuant to the federal tax code, as a charitable organization, the Ruth Institute may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.  Violation of this prohibition can result in stiff penalties against the organization and its officials as well as potential revocation of its tax exempt status by IRS.

The Ruth Institute and Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, in her capacity as president of The Ruth Institute, have participated in activities advocating the election of Carly Fiorina to the United States Senate in coordination with NOM, which has already spent close to 0,000 on the race through multiple independent expenditures.  Evidence of the Ruth’s Institute’s participation in these activities includes:

  • A NOM-issued press release titled “National Organization for Marriage and Ruth Institute Join Bus Tour Supporting Carly Fiorina in California.”  The September 28th release stated that “Brian Brown, president of NOM, and Jennifer Roback Morse, president of The Ruth Institute, a project of NOM’s Marriage Education Fund, will both be supporting the “Vota Tus Valores” bus tour as it makes its way around California” and that Morse would appear at a San Diego campaign event on October 4. (NOM has since removed their press release from its web site. It can be found here.)
  • Videotape of the October 4th appearance by Morse at the campaign event for Fiorina. Speaking in front of a bus emblazoned with “Vota Fiorina,” Morse said, “We’re the Ruth Institute … if you go and look at ruthinstitute.org, you’ll find out all about us… We’re here, and we’re here to serve, we’re here to serve the whole body of Christ… That’s what we’re here for, and we’re very proud to be part of this electoral effort (4:50 into the videotape).”
  • A Ruth Institute podcast containing Morse’s speech on behalf of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Values, described on the Ruth Institute website as “an independent expenditure group supporting Carly Fiorina’s bid for California Senator.” (This, too, has been scrubbed. It can be found here.)
  • Ruth Institute website content promoting Fiorina’s candidacy and Morse’s involvement in the campaign effort.

The Ruth Institute has also intervened in campaigns to elect San Diego County judges as part of a candidate slate supported by an organization called Better Courts Now.  Better Courts Now endorsed a slate of four judicial candidates in the California primary election on June 8, 2010. The evidence includes Ruth Institute website content and video endorsing Better Courts Now and encouraging readers to support its candidate slate.

In Iowa, three of the justices of the state Supreme Court face a retention election this November. The Ruth Institute has advocated their recall, which is political intervention in violation of Section 501(c)(3). The Ruth Institute website made the case for “Why the Iowa Judges Have to Go” two days after NOM reported spending 5,000 on independent expenditure television ads calling for the rejection of the justices.

Today’s complaint follows a September 20th Washington Independent story that suggested NOM had funneled millions more in tax-exempt donations from charitable groups into other political campaigns.

NOM is fighting campaign finance laws in a number of states, including New York, Washington, California and Maine, where it remains under investigation by the Maine Ethics Commission for failing to register with the state as a ballot question committee and refusing to disclose the donors to its campaign to overturn Maine’s marriage equality law in 2009.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

BD Wong’s ‘It Gets Better’ video – and news about the 2010 Courage Awards

Blenders know I’m a big Law & Order: SVU fan. I am a big fan of BD Wong, and it was a privilege to meet him when I was honored, along with Bil Browning, Andy Towle and Joe Jervis, with the The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) Award in 2009.

We’ve seen the high-profile violence against our community and the tragic suicides by our youth who don’t see a future for themselves because of bullying. They have to know that is worth living and that being “different” is OK. it’s essential that the messages of hope and resources are available to those affected by violence and discrimination —  the work of AVP, The Trevor Project and efforts like Dan Savage’s It Gets Better make it possible

BD contributed this touching video for the It Gets Better series:

***

In related news, among this year’s recipients of the Courage Award is the Village Voice’s staff writer Steven Thrasher, who will be with us on Monday at 8PM to liveblog about this award and his much-talked about piece, “White America Has Lost Its Mind“:

Congrats to Voice staff writer Steven Thrasher, who has been awarded the 2010 Courage Award by the New York Anti-Violence Project — the oldest organization in the nation that combats violence toward and within the LGBT community. We are proud to have this amazing writer (and human) in our midst!

Stapel continued, “Your work at the Village Voice, particularly your coverage of proposed state funding cuts for domestic violence, has been exemplary. In recognition of your work as a community activist, advocate and journalist, we would like to honor you with a 2010 Courage Award. In accepting this award, you will join the distinguished company of past awardees including: progressive LGBTQ bloggers — Bill Browning, Joe Jervis, Pam Spaulding and Andy Towle, Tony Kushner, Emil Wilbekin and George C. Wolfe to name but a few.”

Kudos, also, to Thrasher’s co-honorees, journalist Duncan Osborne of Gay City News and the Paul Rapoport Foundation.

The event will be hosted by BD Wong, and will take place will on October 18 at the Prince George Ballroom on East 27th Street.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

HRC, Courage Campaign Take Aim at NOM

Nomexposed

Human Rights Campaign joined forced with the Courage Campaign to unveil a new website, NOM Exposed, which delves into the dark stories and machinations behind the right wing National Organization for Marriage.

"NOM and its leaders project a message of tolerance yet NOM Exposed shows that behind the well-trained talking points is an anti-gay animus and moneyed connections that it is loath to reveal," explained Joe Solmonese, HRC President, in a press release. "This website is not static.  Working with the Courage Campaign, we will be watching the campaign trail and documenting NOM's political buys and bedfellows. We will connect the dots for voters."

Courage Campaign founder Rick Jacobs, meanwhile, had this to say: “With a majority of Americans and a growing number of conservatives now standing up for equality, NOM Exposed takes this important work a step further by bringing to light the nefarious connections, shadowy finances, and dubious ethics at the heart of NOM’s brand of political extremism.

Read the entire press release, AFTER THE JUMP.

WASHINGTON – As the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM,
embarks on a fall election campaign to defeat candidates who support
full marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign, in collaboration with
the Courage Campaign, unveiled “NOM Exposed,” a live, interactive
website which reveals NOM's deep anti-gay affiliations, its long
connections to the Mormon and Catholic churches and its quest to keep
voters in the dark about its financing.  The site is at
www.NOMexposed.org.

At the same time, HRC announced the formation of the NOM Project to
follow the ongoing political work and propaganda of NOM as it attempts
to influence elections and legislative campaigns across the country. 
The project will be led by Kevin Nix, a longtime LGBT advocate and
political and media consultant.  A former communications director at
both Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Family Equality
Council, Nix also worked at Media Matters in the 2004 presidential
cycle.

"NOM and its leaders project a message of tolerance yet NOM Exposed
shows that behind the well-trained talking points is an anti-gay animus
and moneyed connections that it is loath to reveal," said HRC President
Joe Solmonese.  "This website is not static.  Working with the Courage
Campaign, we will be watching the campaign trail and documenting NOM's
political buys and bedfellows. We will connect the dots for voters."

NOM Exposed builds off the success of Courage Campaign’s NOM Tour
Tracker – a blog of first-hand accounts, photos and videos chronicling
NOM’s “2010 Summer for Marriage—One Man, One Woman” bus tour of 17
states.  The Courage Campaign deployed three staffers to follow NOM’s
tour and file reports from the road, generating more than one-million
page views and more than 15,000 comments.  During the course of the
tour, federal courts declared two of NOM’s top policy priorities –
California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act –
unconstitutional.

The NOM Tour Tracker showed NOM’s summer tour consistently outnumbered
three-to-one by pro-equality counter rally participants organized by
Freedom to Marry and state LGBT organizations.  It also showed NOM staff
attempting to limit public access to their events and NOM’s sparse
supporters doing everything from speaking in tongues, to comparing
marriage equality to genocide and advocating the murder of LGBT
families
.

“The NOM Tour Tracker unmasked the so-called 'National Organization for
Marriage' as a small and secretive fringe group devoted to attacking
families, spreading lies, and sowing fear,” said Courage Campaign
Founder and Chairman Rick Jacobs.  “With a majority of Americans and a
growing number of conservatives now standing up for equality, NOM
Exposed takes this important work a step further by bringing to light
the nefarious connections, shadowy finances, and dubious ethics at the
heart of NOM’s brand of political extremism.  We are proud to work with
the Human Rights Campaign on this important initiative.”

NOM Exposed, the result of several months of research and collaboration, reveals the following:
    * At a time of the country's greatest economic crisis since the
Great Depression, NOM's financial growth has been explosive.  NOM has
amassed huge resources – estimated to reach or exceed M in 2010 –
from modest beginnings in 2007.
    * NOM is a highly secretive organization that tries to not only hide
the identity of its political donors from the voting public in state
after state, but operates in a way to discourage people from knowing who
its key players and associates are.
    * NOM has deep connections to the Catholic Church hierarchy, to the
Mormon Church, to evangelical right-wing pastors and churches and to
those who have a long history of anti-gay rhetoric and activity.  These
are individuals and organizations which not only oppose same-sex
marriage, but oppose domestic partnerships, civil unions, hate crimes
protections and even fertility treatments for women because some of
those women could be lesbians.
    * Since 2008, NOM and its allies have engaged in a radical,
nationwide plan to flout long-established campaign finance disclosure
laws.  This is nothing short of a strategic, coordinated plan to hide
NOM's political activities from voters.  This effort has prompted
several state investigations and resounding legal defeats for NOM.

In addition to the rich archive of information, NOM Exposed features a
blog where the latest on NOM’s activities will be tracked.  LGBT leaders
will also contribute guest posts to the blog with their own research
and experiences with NOM.  Freedom to Marry, which organized the Summer
For Marriage tour in response to NOM, has the inaugural guest post up
today.

"NOM Exposed gives voters a comprehensive look at an organization that operates largely in secret, yet plays a super-sized role in campaigns from California to Maine," added Solmonese. "By releasing this site and dedicating resources to NOM Project, we will confront this web of secrets and lies wherever NOM seeks to spread its political propaganda."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

HRC & Courage Campaign Reveal the Real National Organization for Marriage

As the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM, embarks on a fall election campaign to defeat candidates who support full marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign, in collaboration with the Courage Campaign, unveiled “NOM Exposed,” a live, interactive website which reveals NOM’s deep anti-gay affiliations, its long connections to the Mormon and Catholic churches and its quest to keep voters in the dark about its financing.  The site is at www.NOMexposed.org.

HRC also announced the formation of the NOM Project to follow the ongoing political work and propaganda of NOM as it attempts to influence elections and legislative campaigns across the country.  The project will be led by Kevin Nix, a longtime LGBT advocate and political and media consultant.  A former communications director at both Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Family Equality Council, Nix also worked at Media Matters in the 2004 presidential cycle.

About the site, HRC President Joe Solmonese said: “NOM and its leaders project a message of tolerance yet NOM Exposed shows that behind the well-trained talking points is an anti-gay animus and moneyed connections that it is loath to reveal. This website is not static.  Working with the Courage Campaign, we will be watching the campaign trail and documenting NOM’s political buys and bedfellows. We will connect the dots for voters.”

NOM Exposed builds off the success of Courage Campaign’s NOM Tour Tracker – a blog of first-hand accounts, photos and videos chronicling NOM’s “2010 Summer for Marriage—One Man, One Woman” bus tour of 17 states.  The Courage Campaign deployed three staffers to follow NOM’s tour and file reports from the road, generating more than one-million page views and more than 15,000 comments.  During the course of the tour, federal courts declared two of NOM’s top policy priorities – California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act – unconstitutional.

The NOM Tour Tracker showed NOM’s summer tour consistently outnumbered three-to-one by pro-equality counter rally participants organized by Freedom to Marry and state LGBT organizations.  It also showed NOM staff attempting to limit public access to their events and NOM’s sparse supporters doing everything from speaking in tongues, to comparing marriage equality to genocide and advocating the murder of LGBT families.

Courage Campaign Founder and Chairman Rick Jacobs said: “The NOM Tour Tracker unmasked the so-called ‘National Organization for Marriage’ as a small and secretive fringe group devoted to attacking families, spreading lies, and sowing fear.  With a majority of Americans and a growing number of conservatives now standing up for equality, NOM Exposed takes this important work a step further by bringing to light the nefarious connections, shadowy finances, and dubious ethics at the heart of NOM’s brand of political extremism.  We are proud to work with the Human Rights Campaign on this important initiative.”

NOM Exposed, the result of several months of research and collaboration, reveals the following:

  • At a time of the country’s greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, NOM’s financial growth has been explosive.  NOM has amassed huge resources – estimated to reach or exceed M in 2010 – from modest beginnings in 2007.
  • NOM is a highly secretive organization that tries to not only hide the identity of its political donors from the voting public in state after state, but operates in a way to discourage people from knowing who its key players and associates are.
  • NOM has deep connections to the Catholic Church hierarchy, to the Mormon Church, to evangelical right-wing pastors and churches and to those who have a long history of anti-gay rhetoric and activity.  These are individuals and organizations which not only oppose same-sex marriage, but oppose domestic partnerships, civil unions, hate crimes protections and even fertility treatments for women because some of those women could be lesbians.
  • Since 2008, NOM and its allies have engaged in a radical, nationwide plan to flout long-established campaign finance disclosure laws.  This is nothing short of a strategic, coordinated plan to hide NOM’s political activities from voters.  This effort has prompted several state investigations and resounding legal defeats for NOM.

In addition to the rich archive of information, NOM Exposed features a blog where the latest on NOM’s activities will be tracked.  LGBT leaders will also contribute guest posts to the blog with their own research and experiences with NOM.  Freedom to Marry, which organized the Summer For Marriage tour in response to NOM, has the inaugural guest post up today.

“NOM Exposed gives voters a comprehensive look at an organization that operates largely in secret, yet plays a super-sized role in campaigns from California to Maine,” added Solmonese. “By releasing this site and dedicating resources to NOM Project, we will confront this web of secrets and lies wherever NOM seeks to spread its political propaganda.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

LAUNCHED: HRC & Courage Campaign Collaborate On “NOM Exposed” Site

The Human Rights Campaign and the Courage Campaign today launched NOM Exposed, a site devoted to unmasking the players, major backers, and strategies of the National Organization for Marriage. Via press release:

As the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM, embarks on a fall election campaign to defeat candidates who support full marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign, in collaboration with the Courage Campaign, unveiled “NOM Exposed,” a live, interactive website which reveals NOM’s deep anti-gay affiliations, its long connections to the Mormon and Catholic churches and its quest to keep voters in the dark about its financing.

At the same time, HRC announced the formation of the NOM Project to follow the ongoing political work and propaganda of NOM as it attempts to influence elections and legislative campaigns across the country. The project will be led by Kevin Nix, a longtime LGBT advocate and political and media consultant. A former communications director at both Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Family Equality Council, Nix also worked at Media Matters in the 2004 presidential cycle.

“NOM and its leaders project a message of tolerance yet NOM Exposed shows that behind the well-trained talking points is an anti-gay animus and moneyed connections that it is loath to reveal,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “This website is not static. Working with the Courage Campaign, we will be watching the campaign trail and documenting NOM’s political buys and bedfellows. We will connect the dots for voters.”

NOM Exposed is one of the most extensive takedowns of the enemies of the LGBT movement that I’ve seen on the web yet, and I’ve only just begun to dig in. Take note of the site’s “Rogue’s Gallery” and start from there.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

‘The Call’? Oh here, it’s for you, Courage Campaign

Tonight and tomorrow, this will happen:



And fortunately, our dutiful (masochistic?) pals over at the Courage Campaign will be on site live to cover the whole thing! Follow their constantly updated coverage here:

Prop 8 Trial Tracker

We’re gonna also try to bring you as many sights and sounds and whatnots as possible. But not gonna lie: It’s Labor Day Weekend, and this writer has a whole lotta summer breeze to suck up before I move on to long pants and pumpkin-flavored everythings. So don’t waste too much time hitting that refresh key.

***

*FLASHBACK: At least Mike Huckabee’s speaking from experience. Back in the early ’70s, he was a youth attendee of Explo ’72, which was kind of like “The Call” of its day:

Screen Shot 2010-07-13 At 3.14.51 Pm

Huck has quite a long reputation of “recruiting kids,” huh?

***

**SEE ALSO: Sounds from 2008′s pre-Prop 8 “Call”: Eavesdropping on the ‘The Call’ [G-A-Y]




Good As You

—  John Wright