Letting it REGISTER • Pride Weddings & Celebrations 2011

Gift registries can be intimidating. Dean Driver makes them easy

FASHION. PLATE. | Dean Driver knows how to make a tabletop pop — and how to make it easy on you to choose your gifts. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

BY RICH LOPEZ

Perhaps the one wedding tradition same-sex couples might waffle on is signing up for that beg-a-thon, the gift registry. Forget whether to do so (you should); the real question is, where can you find that particular china pattern you once saw in a magazine?

The answer to that question is probably Dean Driver. With his new company, Consilium Lifestyle Collections, Driver makes what could be a daunting (even intimidating) task for same-sex couples possibly the easiest  job out of all the wedding planning.

“I don’t know if the average gay couple feels comfortable going into stores,” Driver says. “They may, but many retailers just aren’t reaching out to gay couples.”

Teaming up with Consilium Creative Marketing, Driver created what may be the first by-appointment source of its kind in Dallas to provide a wedding gift registry for same-sex couples. While the services are for everyone, Driver believes that this personal touch can bring comfort to any gay newlyweds hesitant about how to sign up for gifts. It also gives them a home field advantage when looking for fine tabletop products and more.

“The way we do business is changing, and this has afforded me the ability to do in-home consultations and also wedding registries,” Driver says. “I come to the client with samples to get an idea of their lifestyle and suggest products and can see what will work with what’s already in the home.”

The affable Driver knows his stuff. After working with tabletop industries for years in large markets like New York, he has access to many luxury brands and even unique home products. The usual china and crystal items are no problem, but items like linens and household accessories are more easily available through him.

Driver’s first piece of advice on getting started with a registry: Don’t be intimidated.

“I demystify all that for you,” he says. “That’s what I’m here for. I’ll make it easier for you. And people shouldn’t think that everything offered in a registry costs so much. We do have some unique options that are moderately priced.”

Consilium has only been around for a few months, but it has burst out of the gate with a selection of up to 50 brands, some exclusive to them. And with Driver’s knowledge and background, he can pretty much get anybody anything they want.

“I’m a sort of an expert in tabletops, and I have my finger on the pulse of the industry,” he says. “I go to Paris, to Milan and see all the new patterns. And if you saw a plate in a magazine and brought it to me,  I could pinpoint what it is. When I say anything, I mean anything — and you may be only person in the country to have it.”

Something his company can guarantee is the death of that most dreaded wedding tradition: The return. Once items are selected for the registry, gift givers don’t have to worry about buying an item that’s already been purchased. Instead, the company does gift cards only, which are beautifully packaged for the giver to present.

“This prevents exchanges or duplicates,” he says. “Plus, clients may change their minds and gift cards give them an opportunity to get something else. And it’s a little more green without all that wrapping paper and shipping to worry about.”

Driver and company seems to have gotten rid of all the excuses couples can make to partake in registering for gifts. Being that a wedding is a life-changing event, Driver mostly wonders why not go all out?

“Couples shouldn’t shy away from getting nice things,” he says. “This is the one time to get the nice stuff, so why not? Anything you want, I can get.”

The only caveat — Driver encourages people to use the nice stuff everyday.

“Yeah, don’t pack it away in a cabinet like our parents did,” he says.

Of course, if there’s one thing gays know how to do it’s merchandise.

For more information, visit ConsiliumLifestyleCollections.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

S.F. Gives Female Condoms to Gay Men

SAN FRANCISCO FEMALE CONDOM CAMPAIGN X390 (GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COMOn Valentine’s Day, San Francisco became the
first city in the U.S. to distribute free female condoms to gay men, KGO
News reports.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  David Taffet

There’s an opp. for that: Robert George gives us another chance to show what Manhattan Declaration’s really about

This from Focus on the Family/National Organization for Marriage founder Robert George:

( click to play audio clip)

*AUDIO SOURCE: Apple Again Rejects Manhattan Declaration App [FoTF]

So okay, since these folks keep insisting on talking about “Christian values” and the debate associated with the so-called Manhattan Declaration, we’ll keep bringing up some of the real reasons why an American corporation like Apple might make the logical business decision to limit this particular offering:

(A) The Manhattan Declaration publicly and proudly touts signatures from Scott “the gay movement is a nuclear bomb” Lively, someone who this year earned considerable attention for his belief that the Uganda “kill gays” bill is a “step in the right direction.”

(B) Two other people listed on the Manhattan Declaration’s “Religious leader’s [sic] signatories” list are Peter Akinola, a man who says “homosexuality does violence to nature“, and Rev. Emmanuel Musaba Kolini, who has referred to homosexuality as “moral genocide.

(C) Major Declaration backer Tony Perkins has come right out and said the document represents “a struggle between good and evil.” Hint: We’re not the ones he puts in the “good”category:



Perkins.mpg [YT user: ptrvns47]

(D) Five SPLC-designated hate groups (Traditional Values Coalition, Abiding Truth Ministries, American Family Association, Family Research Council, Watchmen on the Walls) have at least one associate on one of the two signatories lists. Now, of course the “pro-family” folks are all attacking the SPLC as being agenda-driven and therefore without credence. But not a one of them has even attempted to (much less succeeded at) refuting the documented claims that got these groups on the highly selective list. Which is particularly odd, considering it’d be in the outraged non-listees’ interests to note that SPLC does make careful distinctions. But I digress.

(E) The most major voice behind the Declaration, Chuck Colson, has all kinds of nasty, hurtful comments on the record that more than belie NOM’s “reasonable and civil debate” claims. Like the time Chuck warned about gays’ marriages leading to “Cultural Armageddon,” for instance:

Or when he compared Manhattan Declaration supporters’ mission as constituting “non-cooperation with evil,” for another:

“This kind of principled non-cooperation with evil won’t be easy—there are signs of a reduced tolerance for that most basic of American values, religious freedom. As we’ve discussed many times on BreakPoint, Christian organizations are losing tax-exempt status for refusing to buy in to homosexual “marriage.” Some are going out of business rather than cave into immoral demands—such as placing children for adoption with homosexual couples. Conscientious medical personnel are being sued or being fired for obeying their consciences.

I say, enough is enough. The Church must take a stand. And with the release of the Manhattan Declaration, that’s exactly what we are doing.”

The Manhattan Declaration

Or perhaps our favorite: The time when Chuckles admitted just how he sees the tens of thousands of soul-crushed people who took to the streets in the national, almost entirely peaceful protests against Proposition 8

When I watched the violence on television, memories came back of earlier generations of thugs: Bull Conner, who, with the help of brutal cops, used violence and intimidation to chase African Americans out of the public square. Or roving gangs of Nazi brownshirts who ruled the streets of Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. Do opponents of Proposition 8 who attacked Mormons and their churches think they’re any better than Bull Conner, or nicer than Nazi thugs? I don’t.” [SOURCE]

Civil, huh?

(F) The app in question was also offensive to “reasonable and civil debate” on a purely intellectual level, with the in-app survey pretending to query users on their support for marriage equality and reproductive choice, but then proceeding to tell them they were just plain incorrect if they fell out of evangelical lock-step. If we want to talk about 1984, let’s start with this “agree with us or else” survey.

(G) The Declaration repeats (as did the app) the oft-bastardized claim:

In New Jersey, after the establishment of a quasi-marital “civil unions” scheme, a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions.

The reality is that the church pavilion was receiving a SPECIAL tax benefit under the Green Acres tax-exemption. This tax break was always a bonus — a privilege bestowed upon eligible non-profits that open their private lands and/or accommodations up for public usage. Public, as in ALL of the public, not some. And since LGBT people are part of New Jersey’s public and civil unions are the law, A PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION MUST EITHER ACCOMMODATE THE PUBLIC OR STOP RECEIVING THESE KINDS OF PUBLIC HANDOUTS! A church can ABSOLUTELY keep gay couples from marrying in their own pavilion. However, they cannot receive special state, federal, and local tax breaks if they are going to pick and choose which kinds of couples are allowed to use the pavilion! In this NJ case, they still received the tax-exemption for the rest of their properties, which weren’t found to be in violation. But the pavilion in question was acting outside the rules for this particular state program.

(H) The Declaration refers to gays who are seeking civil fairness as really seeking “a right to engage in immoral sexual practices.

(I) need not say more. Apple is not the American government with the power to stifle free speech — it is a company with its own right to make its own decisions. The technology behemoth pulled the app not because they or gays are out to shut down speech, but rather because gay activists gave attention and light to the offenses contained within the app and larger Declaration, and Apple saw fit to make a corporate decision that led to the app’s removal. The merits (or lack thereof) are what did the Declaration supporters in.

But of course, yet again, these same supporters take no responsibility for what they have said and done, since the victim strategy makes the seem so much more sympathetic. Or so they think.




Good As You

—  admin

There’s an opp. for that: NOM gives us another chance to show what Manhattan Declaration’s really about

New from the National Organization For Marriage:



(H/t: J.M.G.)

You done? Okay, good. Now it’s our turn.

Here are some real reasons the app was pulled:

(A) The Manhattan Declaration publicly and proudly touts signatures from Scott “the gay movement is a nuclear bomb” Lively, someone who this year earned considerable attention for his belief that the Uganda “kill gays” bill is a “step in the right direction.”

(B) Two other people listed on the Manhattan Declaration’s “Religious leader’s [sic] signatories” list are Peter Akinola, a man who says “homosexuality does violence to nature“, and Rev. Emmanuel Musaba Kolini, who has referred to homosexuality as “moral genocide.

(C) Major Declaration backer Tony Perkins has come right out and said the document represents “a struggle between good and evil.” Hint: We’re not the ones he puts in the “good”category:



Perkins.mpg [YT user: ptrvns47]

(D) Five SPLC-designated hate groups (Traditional Values Coalition, Abiding Truth Ministries, American Family Association, Family Research Council, Watchmen on the Walls) have at least one associate on one of the two signatories lists. Now, of course the “pro-family” folks are all attacking the SPLC as being agenda-driven and therefore without credence. But not a one of them has even attempted to (much less succeeded at) refuting the documented claims that got these groups on the highly selective list. Which is particularly odd, considering it’d be in the outraged non-listees’ interests to note that SPLC does make careful distinctions. But I digress.

(E) The most major voice behind the Declaration, Chuck Colson, has all kinds of nasty, hurtful comments on the record that more than belie NOM’s “reasonable and civil debate” claims. Like the time Chuck warned about gays’ marriages leading to “Cultural Armageddon,” for instance:

Or when he compared Manhattan Declaration supporters’ mission as constituting “non-cooperation with evil,” for another:

“This kind of principled non-cooperation with evil won’t be easy—there are signs of a reduced tolerance for that most basic of American values, religious freedom. As we’ve discussed many times on BreakPoint, Christian organizations are losing tax-exempt status for refusing to buy in to homosexual “marriage.” Some are going out of business rather than cave into immoral demands—such as placing children for adoption with homosexual couples. Conscientious medical personnel are being sued or being fired for obeying their consciences.

I say, enough is enough. The Church must take a stand. And with the release of the Manhattan Declaration, that’s exactly what we are doing.”

The Manhattan Declaration

Or perhaps our favorite: The time when Chuckles admitted just how he sees the tens of thousands of soul-crushed people who took to the streets in the national, almost entirely peaceful protests against Proposition 8

When I watched the violence on television, memories came back of earlier generations of thugs: Bull Conner, who, with the help of brutal cops, used violence and intimidation to chase African Americans out of the public square. Or roving gangs of Nazi brownshirts who ruled the streets of Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. Do opponents of Proposition 8 who attacked Mormons and their churches think they’re any better than Bull Conner, or nicer than Nazi thugs? I don’t.” [SOURCE]

Civil, huh?

(F) The app in question was also offensive to “reasonable and civil debate” on a purely intellectual level, with the in-app survey pretending to query users on their support for marriage equality and reproductive choice, but then proceeding to tell them they were just plain incorrect if they fell out of evangelical lock-step. If we want to talk about 1984, let’s start with this “agree with us or else” survey.

(G) The Declaration repeats (as did the app) the oft-bastardized claim:

In New Jersey, after the establishment of a quasi-marital “civil unions” scheme, a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions.

The reality is that the church pavilion was receiving a SPECIAL tax benefit under the Green Acres tax-exemption. This tax break was always a bonus — a privilege bestowed upon eligible non-profits that open their private lands and/or accommodations up for public usage. Public, as in ALL of the public, not some. And since LGBT people are part of New Jersey’s public and civil unions are the law, A PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION MUST EITHER ACCOMMODATE THE PUBLIC OR STOP RECEIVING THESE KINDS OF PUBLIC HANDOUTS! A church can ABSOLUTELY keep gay couples from marrying in their own pavilion. However, they cannot receive special state, federal, and local tax breaks if they are going to pick and choose which kinds of couples are allowed to use the pavilion! In this NJ case, they still received the tax-exemption for the rest of their properties, which weren’t found to be in violation. But the pavilion in question was acting outside the rules for this particular state program.

(H) The Declaration refers to gays who are seeking civil fairness as really seeking “a right to engage in immoral sexual practices.

(I) need not say more. Apple is not the American government with the power to stifle free speech — it is a company with its own right to make its own decisions. The technology behemoth pulled the app not because they or gays are out to shut down speech, but rather because gay activists gave attention and light to the offenses contained within the app and larger Declaration, and Apple saw fit to make a corporate decision that led to the app’s removal. The merits (or lack thereof) are what did the Declaration supporters in.

But of course, yet again, these same supporters take no responsibility for what they have said and done, since the victim strategy makes the seem so much more sympathetic. Or so they think.




Good As You

—  admin

Wells Fargo Gives $150K to AIDS Program

MARK ANTON GARY HALL X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COMMark Anton (pictured, left), the executive director of Palm Springs,
Calif.’s AIDS Assistance Program, happily received a 0,000 check for
his organization from Wells Fargo Bank, presented by executive Gary Hall
(right) this week.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Meet the Face of Hate: Midland School Board Member Gives Voice to Bigotry

WARNING: The following contains offensive language that has not been censored to illustrate the outrageous nature of the comments.

Anyone who questions whether we need to do more to create schools that welcome every student need not look any further than Clint McCance – a Midland School Board Member from Arkansas who unleashed an anti-gay tirade on Facebook recently.  Reacting to Spirit Day that encouraged people to wear purple in honor of young LGBT lives lost to suicide and to raise awareness of the bullying behaviors that contributed to those deaths, McCance wrote: “Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed therselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE.”

“Clint McCance has put a face on the hate that devastates our young people,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese in a statement. “McCance and his hate shouldn’t be allowed near children, let alone managing their education.  We call for his immediate resignation from the school board.”

He responded to commenters on his original post by further writing, “No because being a fag doesnt give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then dont tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that shit to yourself. I dont care how people decide to live their lives. They dont bother me if they keep it to thereselves. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die. If you arent against it, you might as well be for it.”  He further writes, “I would disown my kids if they were gay. They will not be welcome at my home or in my vicinity. I will absolutely run them off. Of course my kids will know better. My kids will have solid christian beliefs. See it infects everyone.”

The messages were first brought to HRC’s attention by R. Anthony Turner, a 1998 graduate of Midland High School.

A PDF of the Facebook page with the message is available.

Already a Facebook page has been set-up calling for McCance’s removal.  HRC further calls on Facebook to take appropriate action regarding McCance’s hateful language on the site.

To help stop the name-calling, bullying and gender stereotyping that so many students face every day, the HRC Foundation has also developed the Welcoming Schools initiative.  This innovative program gives elementary school administrators, teachers and parents across the country the tools to prevent bias-based teasing and harassment among elementary school students.  It helps kids learn respect and tolerance early on, to prevent violence later in middle and high school.

HRC recently published a series of guest posts on our blog about the importance of school boards on LGBT-friendly policies.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

TX: Joel Burns, gay councilman, gives emotional testimony against bullying

WFAA:

Burns began by showing photographs and names; suicide after suicide of young teenage boys who are dead because of bullying about their perceived homosexuality.

His voice thick with emotion, Burns told their stories:

Asher Brown, a 13-year-old Cypress, Texas boy who shot himself.

Justin Aaberg, a 15-year-old Minnesota boy who hung himself.

Seth Walsh, 13, whose mother found him hanging by a rope from a tree at their California home. Doctors couldn’t save him.

And then, Council member Burns talked about what happened to him when he was 13… years before he came out as a gay man.

“I was cornered after school by some older kids who roughed me up. They said that I was a fag, and that I should die and go to Hell where I belonged,” Burns said, adding that he had never told anyone before that moment that he had considered taking his own life.

Hat tip, GayPolitics.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Cornyn gives thumbs up to anti-gay Christine O’Donnell despite his attendance at LCR fundraiser

My friends at the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud have now been placed in a very awkward position by the social conservatives in the Republican party. The GOP strategy has been to stay away from the social issues that haunt the GOP, but it’s terribly hard for these gay conservatives to explain away the comments and associations that are blooming in the 2010 primaries.

Take anti-masturbator and anti-gay winner of the GOP primary in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell. She has been endorsed by well-known homophobe Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). It’s the same John Cornyn who will be mingling among the homosexuals at a fundraiser for the Log Cabin Republicans. He also offered up a check to O’Donnell for K. (Igor @ The Wonk Room):

“I reached out to Christine this morning, and as I have conveyed to all of our nominees, I offered her my personal congratulations and let her know that she has our support,” Cornyn wrote in an email. This support includes a check for ,000 — the maximum allowable donation that we have provided to all of our nominees.” Later in the day, he appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show to clear up any confusion about his commitment:
CORNYN: Well, really I don’t know the source of the rumors that were attributed to the Republican National Senatorial Committee. I’m the Chairman as you know and certainly without my authorization I corrected the record, talking to Christine this morning. Told her we will support her, in fact we send her some money already…I’ve encouraged my other colleagues to send money from their leadership PAC funds. We’re going to do everything we can to help her get elected in November.

Igor went the extra mile and asked for comment from the LCR — no one has replied to his inquiry about Cornyn’s disconnect. The issue is that social conservative orgs have denounced Cornyn for attending the LCR fundraiser, but the pro-LGBT conservative orgs like GOProud have not commented on Cornyn’s remarks with any criticism at all. Jimmy LaSalvia of GOProud dodges the crux of the matter:

“if you look at it, O’Donnell wasn’t elected on social issues. She was elected nominated for the same reason that a lot of other candidates are bing nominated and that’s to call an end to the status quo in Washington.”

This does not answer the question of whether support will be withheld from candidates who are anti-gay, and this case quite openly. Where is the line drawn in the struggle for equality? We can’t reform the GOP if their promised bigotry when legislating is a factor. Just playing it down is not the problem — we have to know where a pol stands when it’s time to cast a vote regarding equality matters.

***

Dem voters in Purple and Red states are often left with poor choices — the active homophobe (R) and the less-active/homophobe or spine free (D). The point is you have to try to change the moveable candidate and start grooming more equality-positive candidates to unseat the spine free one down the line.

The problem for the LCR and GOProud is they are far away from cultivating actual prospective pols  to run who are neutral or pro-equality. What isn’t acceptable is a PR campaign to present something that does not exist yeta few more allies and actual gays coming out of the closet doesn’t outweigh the boatload of conservatives already in the electoral pipeline who are flat-out anti-LGBT. I wish them luck on effecting change, but until they can openly criticize when there are bigots on the ballot, it only delays accountability.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

How Come Nobody Gives Sally Kern Credit For Her Education Platform?

Sally Kern, the Republican Oklahoma state senator and warrior of homosexual terrorists, is facing off Nov. 2 against Brittany Novony, the transgender attorney who has a smidge less of a problem with queers. But can't everybody stop talking about the statement she made two years ago (which sooo wasn't gay bash-y) and focus on what she's going to do for school children. You know, besides letting them get taught about what Jarrett Barrios and his husband haven't been doing in the past year.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  John Wright

Anita Staver gives new meaning to ‘tree hugger’

Anita-StaverThe following piece of “satire” comes from the mind and pen of Anita Staver, president of the anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel (and wife of Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver):

The Tree and I

Why I Want to Marry a Ficus

a satirical poem by

Anita L. Staver, Esq.

Oh how I love my ficus tree

It’s one with whom I long to be

I rub its bark and shine its green

It’s calm and never makes a scene

We’re quite content and never shout

When I stay out late it doesn’t pout

Or tell me how to spend my money

It leans toward me and I call it “honey”

It fills a special place in my heart

I promise that we will never part

I can even quote a Bible verse

Of the fig tree that Jonah loved first

Now there’s a judge on the west coast

I know he’ll give what I want most

To marry my precious ficus tree

Me, a ficus and baby makes three

This may never become a trend

So I may tire of my woody friend

And if I decide to give up my Mister

The judge would then let me marry my sister!

Yup, you read that right: She just compared gay people’s marriages to that which might exist between a human and a topiary tree, as well as that which could possibly go down between a person and his or her sibling. Plus she reduced a judge’s 136-page, completely thought out and reasoned opinion to little more than an activist whim that will allow any sort of request regardless of demonstrated merit. Which of course makes it sound as if pro-equality lawyers haven’t had to do their hard work, as well as excuses the piss poor anti-LGBT court showing that both we and Liberty Counsel have criticized. All off-base attack positions, slipped in under the cover of “satire.”

Not to mention, Anita totally offended our taste. I mean a ficus? Really? Pscha! Everyone knows that we gays only pine for oaks! Or the occasional Willow, in the case of lesbians.

But hey, this is just one fringe voice. It’s not like Anita is someone who gets booked on mainstream television programs or anything, right?

Oh.

***

*One more thing: It’s probably not the smartest thing for an evangelical Christian to attack tree love, considering that religion’s most major holiday is centered around making a Fraser Fir look all pretty and sparkly. This writer lives in New York City not far from Rockefeller Center: I see this major tree fetish up close!




Good As You

—  John Wright