Suspense builds over State of the Union

The gay suspense continues to build over tonight’s State of the Union Address, which begins at 8 p.m. Dallas time. The question is, will President Barack Obama say anything about repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and if so, what will he say? As Adam Bink notes at Open Left, if Obama merely states that he wants to repeal the 17-year-old ban on openly gay servicemembers, it would be nothing new and should be viewed as a huge disappointment. Instead, Obama needs to say when and how he plans to repeal DADT, and then actually do it. Chris Johnson of DCAgenda, formerly the Washington Blade, offers a nice primer. And then there’s this. Anyone hosting a gay watch party?

—  John Wright

Federal DP bill set for consideration in Senate

D.C. Agenda — the new Washington, D.C. LGBT newspaper — reports today that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will consider a bill to provide domestic partner benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees next Wednesday morning, Dec. 16.

The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act is sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connectict independent who also chairs the committee that will consider amendments to the measure before voting on whether to send it to the Senate floor.

In the House, the Oversight and Government Relations Committee voted 23-12 last month to send its version of the DP bill to the floor for a vote, the D.C. Agenda notes. That bill is sponsored by lesbian Rep. Tammy Baldwin and has 138 co-sponsors.

—  admin

All 3 newspapers shut down by Window Media are re-emerging under new ownership

Eight days ago we learned that Window Media had abruptly shut down LGBT publications including the Washington Blade, Atlanta’s Southern Voice and The South Florida Blade. Miraculously, the employees at The Washington Blade managed to put together a new publication in just one week, and the first issue of DC Agenda hit the streets last Friday. Meanwhile, editor Dan Renzi says the South Florida Blade and its sister publication, 411 Magazine, barely missed a beat because they had long anticipated the collapse of Window Media. The South Florida publications have also relaunched under a new owner, Multimedia Platforms. Finally, just today, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Southern Voice editor Laura Douglas-Brown and the woman who founded the newspaper 21 years ago, Chris Cash, are working to start a new LGBT publication in that city. Cash sold the newspaper to Window Media in 1997 and now lives in Texas. She and Douglas-Brown have received a matching grant of $12,000 to launch the yet-to-be named publication.

All of this is great news for those of us in the gay press and for the LGBT community as a whole, particularly in those cities. At the risk of sounding self-important, I think it’s fair to say that gay newspapers have played and will continue to play a crucial role in the struggle for equality. Besides, if it weren’t for actual reporters, what would bloggers (myself included) have to steal?

—  John Wright

A new paper for D.C.

DC Agenda

When news broke Monday morning that Window Media had closed up shop — and in doing so folded the Washington Blade and Southern Voice among several other LGBT newspapers and magazines — Blade editor Kevin Naff, speaking for the newspaper’s stunned staff, vowed they wouldget another D.C. paper up and running as soon as possible.

And they have.

At 9:30 this morning, E.S.T., the DC Agenda hit the streets, providing “critical coverage of local and national LGBT issues along with much needed community news,” according to a press release. It was hand-distributed by 17 former Blade staff members.

Publisher of the new paper is Lynne Brown, who was the Blade publisher and had worked for the D.C. institution for more than 23 years, according to the press release. She said: “The power and effectiveness of the Washington Blade did not die with the name. That strength actually came from the spirit and intensity of those who wrote the stories and reached out to the community. It’s those same people who are the backbone of this new venture, a group that is the true definition of grit and resilience.”

Former Blade editor Kevin Naff is now DC Agenda editor. He said the staff has been “buoyed by the outpouring of support from our colleagues, our community, people all over the city and even beyond DC,” and that he expects DC Agenda to “grow and evolve and to eventually include a larger and more diverse group of voices.”

—  admin