Early Voting for Harry Reid in the Silver State

HRC Field Orgainzer Adrian Matanza with UFC fighter Chuck Liddell

This week has been full of energy and excitement as supporters turn out for Nevada’s loudest voice for LGBT and progressive communities, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

On Saturday, Reid was at the kick-off event for a Las Vegas call center  with 22 stations that can make thousands of call an hour, reaching voters across the state. I jumped on the call system  as soon as I could and was able to turn out hundreds of voters for Senator Reid, reminding them how important this election  is.

This week was also the first week of early voting out here in Nevada. In this first week, Nevadans have been eager to go out to make their voices heard by voting for those who have stood up for equality in Nevada.

One of the places that we are seeing this early voting is from students voting at Lied Library at University of Nevada Las Vegas. We’ll be on campus talking to students about how much Senator Reid has done and will continue to do once he returns to the Senate. Yesterday, Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Chuck Liddell, one of Senator Reid’s biggest fans, was on hand to help remind students to go out and vote.

Perhaps most exciting, President Obama arrived in town today for some events here in southern Nevada. He will be joined by special guest Sara Bareilles tomorrow for the last leg of the “Moving America Forward” rallies. The rally will be held tomorrow at Orr Middle School in Las Vegas at 4:30 pm. For more information about this rally or any of the events going on around the state, contact me at Adrian.Matanza@hrc.org

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC and authorized by Friends for Harry Reid.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Angle, O’Donnell’s Campaign Lawyer Repped Harry Jackson’s Group In DC Gay Marriage Fight

Sangleroses If voters needed more proof that the Tea Party's leaders have ingrained themselves in Washington politics, they need look no further than Senatorial hopefuls Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell's lawyer, Cleta Mitchell.

A former Oklahoma state representative, Mitchell has previously worked for power players like the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, as well as high profile conservative Bishop Harry Jackson's group Stand4Marriage, which sued the District of Columbia for a public referendum on gay marriage

Mitchell remarked at the time, "The Home Rule Charter gives D.C. residents the right to the initiative and the referendum process and authorizes a citywide vote on this issue if petitioned to do so by the people."

As for working with Angle and O'Donnell, two anti-gay candidates who have attempted to play the "outsider" card, Mitchell told Talking Points Memo: "These candidates didn't have all of the infrastructure that a campaign normally has because they are outsider candidates, and they need all the things they should have had but couldn't afford."

Now that O'Donnell and Angle are rising stars, however, they have the money it takes to play side by side with the Republican party, which Angle insulted over the weekend, and their anti-equality comrades.

Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

On the Ground in Las Vegas to Reelect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Rep. Dina Titus

After Senate Republicans blocked the motion to proceed on the National Defense Authorization Act, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal supporters here in Las Vegas were even more fired up to get involved. Two of our community’s biggest allies are up for reelection and both are facing tough battles. Both Senator Reid and Rep. Titus have been strong supporters of the LGBT community, voting in favor of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill and being committed to making sure DADT repeal happens this year. After Tuesday’s partisan vote, Senator Reid voted ‘no’ on the cloture vote, procedurally, to be able to bring up the motion to recommit and allow the Senate to reconsider the bill containing, DADT Repeal.

I’ve been on the campaigns for the last two weeks, reaching out to LGBT allies and HRC members, reminding them of the importance of this year’s election and how much Sen. Reid and Rep. Titus have done for the community. It’s important to reelect the two to make sure that we continue our fight to pass fair-minded legislation.

Last night, the HRC Las Vegas steering committee joined me in calling Nevada voters, reminding them that this is an important election that no one should sit out of. They mentioned that no one could do more for Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada than Sen. Reid and Rep. Titus. Both have represented the state well and will continue to once we work our hardest to get them reelected.

As the weather in Las Vegas is cooling down, the race to November is just starting to heat up. To join us for our weekly LGBT and ally phonebank, contact Regional Field Organizer Adrian Matanza at Adrian.Matanza@hrc.org.

Paid for Human Rights Campaign PAC and authorized by Friends of Harry Reid and Dina Titus for Congress.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

News: Margaret Witt, R.E.M., Harry Shum, Volcano, Harry Reid

Road Judge to rule Friday in Margaret Witt DADT case: "A lawyer for a decorated flight nurse discharged for being gay urged a federal judge Tuesday to reinstate her to the Air Force Reserve, and the judge indicated he might have no other choice."

Outnyc RoadWindows of NYC's new gay urban 42nd street resort will spell "OUT".

RoadHooray for Hillary's hair clip.

Road Glenn Beck calls Colbert/Stewart rally a "progressive plot": "They are going to activate the youth to try to get them to vote with the labor unions apparently."

RoadLog Cabin Republicans to give awards to Senators John Cornyn and Jeff Sessions: "Neither Cornyn nor Sessions are in favor of same-sex marriage or repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' both of which the Log Cabin Republicans support. But last week, Cornyn defended his scheduled appearance at the reception, after the president of a social conservative group urged Cornyn to cancel."

Kluchevskoy RoadVolcano on Russia's Kamchatka peninsula gets active.

RoadJackson High School students "generally showed sensitivity" on 'Opposite Gender Day': "They said members of the group were split on whether the day was a good idea, and some of them raised concerns beforehand."

RoadListen: Adam Lambert discusses attack on paparazzo.

RoadMLB Fanhouse columnist doesn't want to see men kissing on the kiss cam: "I’m not ready to discuss same-sex relationships with my 3-year-old. I don’t think she’s ready, either."

RoadWatch: Glee teases Britney Spears episode.

Shum RoadGlee's Harry Shum gets set on fire – for art.

RoadHigh-priced hooker squeals on alleged affairs with David Beckham.

RoadGay Toronto man missing since September 6: "'We have contact almost every single day. He's like my little brother,' says Cloutier, who notes that Navaratnam has no family members in Canada. Navaratnam's brother in Dubai has not heard from him. Cloutier says there was one time, two years ago, when he didn't hear from Navaratnam for four days. When Navaratnam returned, the two friends made a pact: if they ever couldn't reach other after three days, they should be worried."

RoadR.E.M. finish new album.

RoadJim Burroway: Harry Reid botched the DADT vote on purpose. "This was never a serious attempt to pass legislation in the best interests of the American people. It was nothing but political theater, and everyone on both sides were eager actors in the drama."

Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Jim Burroway: Harry Reid set up DADT for failure

Over at Box Turtle Bulletin, Jim Burroway has little patience for those trying to place the blame solely on Republican obstructionism for the failure on Tuesday to move DADT repeal forward.

He points a good deal of the blame in the direction of Sen. Harry Reid, portrayed as the master of stagecraft (at our expense) in Jim’s post, “The DADT Repeal Repertory Theater.”

In the days leading up to today’s vote, Reid announced that he would allow a vote on only three amendments to the appropriations bill. One proposed amendment, which would have removed the DADT repeal language from the bill, would almost certainly not have garnered the sixty votes needed pass muster. A second proposed amendment, which would have provided a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who served in the U.S. military or who graduate from college, also likely would have failed due to Republican opposition and discomfort among some Democrats. A third proposed amendment would have placed limits on Senators being able to place holds on nominations.

Those were the only amendments that Reid would allow to come up for a vote, all of which were chosen by Reid for the political advantage they would give the Democrats in tough mid-term election campaigns. His gamble wasn’t really a gamble at all. In fact, his gambit was a win-win for Democrats, at least in how they see their strategy unfolding. If Republicans upheld the filibuster, then Reid could go home and say that it was the Republicans who blocked DADT’s repeal and immigration reform. If the Dems had prevailed on the filibuster, then Reid would have been able to get the Republican caucus on record on these two issues ahead of the November elections. Either way, what Reid actually sought to accomplish was political gamesmanship, not Senatorial statesmanship.

…So if Reid had the votes to break the filibuster but squandered them in this procedural maneuver, why did he do this? The answer is simple. This was never a serious attempt to pass legislation in the best interests of the American people. It was nothing but political theater, and everyone on both sides were eager actors in the drama. All the Senators had a role to play, and everyone played to the audience. Even the White House was given a bit part. They issued a statement calling for an end to the filibuster, but according to SLDN’s Trevor Thomas, there was no lobbying behind the scenes.

…And what role do we in the gay community play? It’s the same role we always play. We’re the interesting and colorful plotline. It’s not much of a speaking part, but the dance moves are fabulous. And why should it be otherwise? It’s a role we’ve played so well over the years that it’s just expected of us. And we are happy to oblige. This time, we even have Lady Gaga making a guest appearance.

The bottom line is that 7 million Lady Gaga fans on their cell phones dialing the Hill couldn’t move any of the players on stage; the majority leader was making the moves, Jim’s conclusion is that the fix was in.

In this scenario, how does that make you feel? There certainly was enough ego-laden on-the-record and off-the record things going on that support the notion that the stagecraft was designed to play us. The Republicans were always in the obstructionist mode – what else should we expect? Why make it easier? Reid made it easy for them to do excel “on stage” in Jim’s thesis.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

In case you want some comic relief: Dan Choi to debate ‘Bishop’ Harry Jackson on live TV

Let’s see…we have in one corner a patriot fighting for equality, and in the other corner, a carpetbagging tool of color for Family Research Council head Tony Perkins.

Tonight at 10PM ET, you can surf over to the WTTG Fox 5 (DC) web site for the evening broadcast to see the face off.

Charletan Jackson will hit the mat hard.


* AC 360: Dan Choi takes on anti-gay automaton Elaine Donnelly
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Majority Leader Harry Reid is moving the Defense bill with DADT language

This afternoon, I went to the Capitol to hear the Majority Leader and Minority Leader address the media about what’s ahead in the Senate over the next couple weeks. Reid made it clear that he is moving ahead on the Defense bill, which includes the DADT language. He said DADT is a critical piece of that legislation. He expects the GOP to try to block the bill — and he even told McConnell that the GOPers could have a separate vote to try to take the DADT language out of the Defense bill. Reid also said he wanted to add the DREAM Act to the Defense bill.

Reid also said:

I think we should choose common sense over discrimination. We’re going to match our policies with our principles and finally say that iin our country, everyone who steps up to serve our country should be welcome.

Here’s Reid:

Reid will file a cloture motion this week, setting a up vote to end the McCain-led filibuster. Reid was asked by by Kerry Eleveld if he has the votes to proceed on Defense bill. He answered,”we’ll sure find out.”

During his remarks, McConnell kept saying that the Defense authorization bill was “controversial.” McConnell did say that DADT is one reason that the Defense Authorization is “controversial” in response to a question from the Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson.

So, game on. A vote is coming. Call your Senators: 202-224-3121. You know the homophobes are in overdrive.


—  John Wright

Updates from SLDN, including news that Lady Gaga and Harry Reid exchanged Tweets over DADT

While I’m glad that Twitter (via number of followers) has shattered the myth that the 140 character social networking tool cannot affect the political landscape in this case. Via SLDN release, we learn:

THIS MORNING GAGA SENT HER NEAR 7 MILLION FOLLOWERS: “@ladygaga http://twitpic.com/2ocx9i – Gay Veterans were my VMA dates. Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. CALL HARRY REID to Schedule Senate Vote

MOMENTS AGO SEN. REID RESPONDED: Via @HarryReid – @ladygaga There is a vote on #DADT next week. Anyone qualified to serve this country should be allowed to do so http://bit.ly/9ucdIj #nvsen

This does make me wonder what it says in our culture about the celebrity vs. activist factor in effecting change. No amount of grassroots organizing trumps a committed celeb’s influence over his/her large fan base to break up a political logjam. Sheer volume alone can triumph if that base is handled correctly – even if the fans aren’t particularly knowledgable about the issue, note below). It’s not a complaint, just an observation that it is something to take note of and discuss. More…

PEOPLE TAKING ACTION: www.LadyGaga.com continues serving as an action page to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — The message to Senators: Vote on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal the week of Sept. 20!


GAGA TO ELLEN ON SEASON PREMIERE SHOW: Take action and support DADT repeal http://bit.ly/9GpBFL

YAHOO SEARCH CONFIRMS GAGA IMPACT: “After the [VMAs] aired, Web searches soared on everything from “lady gaga guests” to “what does SLDN stand for” (it stands for “Servicemembers Legal Defense Network”). The official site for SLDN has posted a message encouraging those who feel “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should be repealed to call their representatives in Washington. Lady Gaga is an outspoken supporter of gay rights.” http://yhoo.it/bDPc4J

BREAKING LAST NIGHT: SENATOR REID ANNOUNCES HE INTENDS TO HOLD VOTE ON REPEAL: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) confirmed last night that he intends to bring the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to the senate floor next week. The NDAA contains the amendment to allow for the repeal of DADT.

STATEMENT FROM AUBREY SARVIS: “We applaud the Senate Majority Leader’s courage and his statement tonight to bring the defense bill to the floor. Now, we must deliver.”

–“Repeal proponents may well need 60 votes in the Senate to get to this important debate in September. We are now in the final stretch and we must prevail. Repeal supporters should not stop calling their senators.

–Sen. John McCain has been a strong and vocal opponent from the start and it is critical that we beat back any filibuster threat, defeat attempts to strike repeal, and defeat any crippling amendments.”


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

DADT Repeal “In Harry Reid’s Hands”

Kerry Eleveld reports at the Advocate that unless the Senate acts on DADT before the midterms, proponents fear its repeal will be delayed by a year or more. Activists are pushing Sen. Harry Reid to schedule a September vote on the defense funding bill to which the compromise DADT repeal is attached.

“I’m a little anxious,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “The reality is the number of legislative days in this Congress are rapidly dwindling, and we need to see that the defense authorization bill up on the Senate floor in September.” When Congress returns to Washington next week, the Senate will have until October 8 when they leave for the midterms to take the crucial vote on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, which contains the provision to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

But one political operative and repeal advocate noted the bill will be competing for attention with new legislation Democrats are pushing that would provide tax breaks for businesses. “The Democrats are trying to figure out what they can effectively do in those four weeks to distinguish themselves from Republicans before the midterm elections,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The tax cut issue may provide that contrast.”

The source wagered that if the Senate floor vote does not take place before the midterms, the defense funding bill would have a “50-50” shot of passing before the end of this Congress. If it is not finalized by year’s end, the repeal effort will die. Reid’s spokesman, reiterating statements he made last month, told The Advocate the defense authorization bill stood a chance of being addressed upon lawmakers’ return next week. “It’s on the list of things we would like to do in the next few weeks,” said Jim Manley.

NOTE: The above photo was taken at Netroots Nation by Pam Spaulding after Lt. Dan Choi bounded on to the stage to shake Reid’s hand and hear his promise to repeal DADT.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Harry Jackson doesn’t like same-sex families

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

jackson It has been fun to watch members of the religious right spin themselves into oblivion as they try to deal with the Prop 8 decision handed down last week.

But once in a while, one of them says something which makes you angry. For me, it is this piece by Rev. Harry Jackson which appeared on CNN's webpage.

Jackson, probably the most prominent African-American in religious right circles (probably because he is one of a scant few African-Americans in those circles) is claiming that gay marriage will damage families and society.

Jackson repeats the same anti-gay nonsense channeled by the religious right – and dismissed in the Prop 8 decision. But then he says this:

. . .if same-sex marriage becomes legally recognized across the country, our kids will be told that gay marriage is a civil rights issue and that those who oppose it are akin to the racists of history who opposed interracial marriage and supported slavery.

We can teach our children at home that marriage is between a man and a woman, but our children's public schools will teach them that marriage includes same-sex couples. Both would be “equal marriages” under the law.

What might this look like? In Massachusetts, where a ruling legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, kids in public schools are reading books depicting same-sex families. At a California charter school in 2008, kindergartners' parents objected when a school newsletter alerted them to “National Coming Out Day;” a parent told a local ABC-TV affiliate that a teacher at the school screened a film to kindergartners the previous year showing gay families.

While I disagree with Jackson's assessment that those who oppose gay marriage will be thought of as bigots, he makes a good case of why this could happen.

Usually when religious right figures list anecdotes about incidents which happen when lgbts gain marriage rights, non-discrimination rights, etc, the incidents end (albeit not truthfully) with the implication being that if we gave lgbts rights, someone would be deprived of their rights, put in jail,  having to unfairly pay a fine, etc.

But not so in this case.

Jackson is saying that allowing gay marriage would make school acknowledge the presence of lgbt families.


What's wrong with that? Schools should be doing this all along because lgbt families exist and children who are in these households attend our nation's schools. Why should they have to be ashamed of their families just to suit the ignorance of others?

According to a report by Gary Gates, Lee M.V. Badgett, Jennifer Ehrle Macomber, Kate Chambers of the Urban Institute:

* More than one in three lesbians have given birth and one in six gay men have fathered or adopted a child.

* An estimated 65,500 adopted children are living with a lesbian or gay parent.

* More than 16,000 adopted children are living with lesbian and gay parents in California, the highest number among the states.

* Gay and lesbian parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the United States.
* An estimated 14,100 foster children are living with lesbian or gay parents.

* Gay and lesbian parents are raising three percent of foster children in the United States.

But in Harry Jackson's world, simple acknowledgment of these families is akin to the war, famine, or plague; scourges that have wiped out past societies.

Sounds like bigotry to me.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright