Though wintry weather threatened some travel plans, it could not stop two dozen women from coming to HRC’s headquarters in late January for the third annual Women and Leadership Retreat.
Women are already key leaders in all aspects of HRC’s work. The retreat is just one opportunity for rising stars to develop new skills, and for current leaders to build on their abilities to help move us all closer to winning equality for all.
All of the attendees are current HRC Board and Steering Committee members who came from places like Houston, Chicago, Phoenix, New York and Los Angeles. Utah had representation – two attendees, in fact – for the very first time!
A key theme of the four-day retreat was diversity. Of course, the attendees brought much diversity to the table, in terms of age, background, gender history, race, ethnicity and more. They learned how to navigate through these intersections to unite people around common goals.
The retreat “allowed me to be vulnerable and helped me identify my strengths and growth opportunities to becoming a true leader,” said Cathy Sarky of the Greater Cincinnati Steering Committee. “It inspired me to allow my voice to be heard and empowered me to achieve my hope for true equality for all.”
The women explored topics such as effective communication and the impact of gender bias on the individual. Small discussion groups – which were named for and drew inspiration from innovative leaders such as Jane Addams, Margaret Chung and Sylvia Rivera – allowed the retreat attendees to work on applying what they learned to situations they face in their local HRC communities.
“The most valuable part of the W&L Retreat was meeting the other women and marveling at their tenacity, dedication and spirit in developing into productive passionate leaders in their community,” said Marilyn Abalos of the Greater New York Steering Committee. “Their struggle and survival in life are examples to emulate.”
Interested in attending next year’s retreat? Keep your eye on www.hrc.org/women for details on the application process.
In a 70-26 vote, the Indiana State House has approved an amendment to the state constitution that would allow voters to ban recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions. Sponsored by Republican Rep. Eric Turner, who believes "marriage is, and should be, the union of one man and one woman," the bill supposedly won't impact domestic partnerships or gay adoption. There's still time to fix things: The bill heads to the Senate, and even if it passes there, both chambers would have to approve the bill once more in a successive legislative session before going in front of voters in a statewide referendum.
We’ve covered under-the-radar conservative Steve Malzberg several times, frankly because his willingness/desire to use the most churlish anti-gay talking points possible makes him one of the most strident anti-LGBT voices on mainstream talk radio. So now, here’s another one for the files, with Steve and guest Jeff Kuhner (of the Unification Church-funded conservative spinsheet The Washington Times) proudly acting like particularly dramatic children who have had their G.I. Joes taken away:
HRC is keeping up the fight as the momentum continues in favor of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Our repeal efforts have reached all corners of the country, but in the waning days of the lame duck Congress, we have focused closely on a handful of states, whose Senators are considered key votes for repeal. Those states are: Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, and West Virginia.
HRC field staff has been on the ground in these states creating grassroots support for DADT repeal. We have mobilized veterans to speak out in favor of repeal, generated thousands of phone calls and written communications to Senators, and generated earned media. This week we’ll be launching targeted action alerts to those states to generate even more grassroots contacts.
Today Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Rep. Patrick Murphy, two champions of repeal, introduced a stand-alone repeal bill in the House on the heels of an identical bill introduced in the Senate by Sens. Lieberman and Collins last week. Our work isn’t over yet. We must make sure we have 60 votes in the Senate to move forward on debate of the bill and that House members know this is a priority for fair-minded Americans as well. Contact your Senators now and tell them to support repeal. If you live in one of the seven key states, send a message to your Senators here. Our voices are more important now than ever before.
Does not! Does too! Nuh uh! Yeah huh! The founder of Tea Party Nation, GOProud’s Chris Barron, and the botoxed death mask of Penny Nance form a hilarious circular firing squad over who is more teabaggery. Wheel out the clown car, cuz we got us a circus! Hey Penny, “encrouchment”? Really?
A coalition of insurance companies donated over M to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to fight the passage of health care reform. The Chamber is notoriously run by GOP-insiders.
The spending exceeded the insurer group’s entire budget from a year earlier and accounted for 40 percent of the Chamber’s 4.6 million in 2009 spending. The expenditures reflect the insurers’ attempts to influence the bill after Democrats in Congress and the White House put more focus on regulation of the insurance industry. The .2 million paid for advertisements, polling and grass roots events to drum up opposition to the bill that’s projected to provide coverage to 32 million previously uninsured Americans, according to Tom Collamore, a Chamber of Commerce spokesman. The Chamber used the funds to “advance a market- based health-care system and advocate for fundamental reform that would improve access to quality care while lowering costs,” it said in a statement.
“Grass roots.” Right. The companies in the coalition include UnitedHealth and Cigna.
Speaking of awesome kids like Michigan's Graeme Taylor, let's meet Sabrina Schlichting. She's a fellow 14-year-old from Minnesota, and rather than let anti-gay bullying at Lincoln High School go unnoticed by administrators, she's organizing "Blue Days" where she and classmates wear blue (not purple?) tees in support of bullied kids. The 4-foot-11 freshman had her first one on Wednesday. This girl rocks.
Didn't see this coming. Dan Woods, partner at White & Case, the firm representing the Log Cabin Republicans have asked the Supreme Court of the United States to consider reversing the stay imposed on Judge Virginia Field's worldwide injunction of the military's implementation of the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” law.
From the Log Cabin Republican's press release:
Dan Woods, White & Case “We have today filed an application with the United States Supreme Court asking it to vacate the Ninth Circuit's order staying Judge Phillips's injunction pending appeal. We argue in this application that the Ninth Circuit order was arbitrary and an abuse of discretion and should be vacated immediately. We continue to look forward to the day when all Americans can serve in our military without regard to their sexual orientation,” said Dan Woods, White & Case partner who is representing Log Cabin Republicans.
Q: Will the entire Supreme Court be involved in considering whether to vacate the Ninth Circuit order? A: That is up to Justice Kennedy. He may decide himself or he may refer the application to the full court.
Q: How long will the review take? A: That is also up to the court. The Court may allow the government the opportunity to respond to our application.
Q: What are the next steps if the Court vacates the ruling/doesn't vacate the ruling? A: If the Court vacates the stay order, DADT is dead pending the appeal, and we have for all inteappeal from Judgnts and purposes won. If it doesn't, we will next move in the Ninth Circuit to expedite the e Phillips's decision.
Now THAT's Fierce Advocacy.
R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director, Log Cabin Republicans “It is unfortunate the Obama Justice Department has forced the Log Cabin Republicans to go to the Supreme Court.”
The Log Cabin move appears to face long odds at the Supreme Court, at least right now. In major cases, justices usually refer such applications to the full court. In this instance, Justice Elena Kagan would be expected to recuse since she played some role in strategizing about the case. In the eyes of many observers, that would leave four conservative justices (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas) likely hostile to a legal challenge to “don't ask” facing down three liberal justices (Breyer, Sotomayor, Ginsburg) who might be open to it. Supreme Court handicappers consider Kennedy the possible swing vote in such a case, but even if he joined the liberal wing, the Log Cabin application would likely fail on a 4-4 tie vote.
Still, you can never win a battle you never don't show up for. Good luck, Log Cabin Republicans. (I still can't get used to this.) Win or lose, Politico author Josh Gerstein makes an excellent point:
However, filing the application would possibly have the effect of drawing the White House and President Barack Obama further into a fight they don't have their heart in and which has caused strife between the Obama administration and gay activists who traditionally support Democrats.