Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a Democrat, on why she’s going to the Log Cabin Republicans Convention

Sheriff Lupe Valdez

The Log Cabin Republicans will hold their National Convention in Dallas this coming weekend, and we’ll have a full story in Friday’s print edition. But because the convention actually begins Thursday, we figured we’d go ahead and post the full program sent out by the group earlier this week.

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the program is a scheduled appearance by gay Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who is of course a Democrat.

Valdez, who’ll be one of the featured speakers at a Saturday luncheon, contacted us this week to explain her decision to accept the invitation from Log Cabin (not that we necessarily felt it warranted an explanation). Here’s what she said: 

“We have more things in common than we have differences, but it seems like in politics we constantly dwell on our differences,” Valdez said. “If we continue to dwell on our differences, all we’re going to do is fight. If we try to work on our common issues, we’ll be able to accomplish some things.”

On that note, below is the full program. For more information or to register, go here.

—  John Wright

Local Briefs

GAIN holding monthly meeting

GAIN, the GLBT aging interest network that is a program of Resource Center Dallas, will meet Thursday, April 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Resource Center, 2701 Reagan.
Educator, public speaker and writer Deneen Robinson, BSW, will present the program on Alzheimer’s and dementia in the aging LGBT community.
Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.

Students seeks study participants

Cindy Chwalik, a clinical psychology student at Walden University who is interning with Youth First Texas, is looking for natal females (those who were born biologically female) who were born in the South and came out as lesbians while living in the South to participate in a research project she is conducting. She is particularly looking for women born in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina.

Participation involves a 60-to-90-minute interview. Chwalik said there is no compensation for participating, but the information will help those who come out in the future.
Contact her via email at cindychwalik @aol.com.

TDWCC to hear from candidates

Texas Democratic Women of Collin County will hold their next general meeting Monday, April 25, at 6:45 p.m. at the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College, 9700 Wade Blvd. in Frisco, Founders Hall, Shawnee Room F148.

The program will feature a forum of candidates in the upcoming non-partisan municipal elections. Confirmed thus far from Plano are Judy Drotman, campaign manager for City Council Place 3 candidate Andre Davidson; City Council Place 5 candidate Matt Lagos; City Council Place 5 candidate Jim Duggan, and City Council Place 7 candidate Pat Gallagher.

Candidates in the Frisco elections who have confirmed so far are Mayor Maher Maso, City Council Place 5 candidate Bart Crowder, and Frisco ISD candidated Anne McCausland and Dody Brigadier.

—  John Wright

California Supreme Court will hold hearing on standing issue in Prop. 8 case

Twitter is abuzz with the news that the California Supreme Court will hold a hearing on the standing issue in the Prop. 8 case.

From AFER:

BREAKING: Calif. Supreme Court to hear #Prop8 case with expedited schedule. Oral arguments as soon as Sept 2011.

One thing is clear: this case about marriage equality will be front and center during the 2012 presidential campaign. Background on what all of this means here. And, we’ll post more as we get more info. I expect we’ll see a statement from AFER — and that’s the one that matters.

UPDATE @ 6:16 PM: And, here’s that statement from AFER:

Statement by the American Foundation for Equal Rights on California Supreme Court Response to Ninth Circuit

Los Angeles, CA – American Foundation for Equal Rights Board President Chad Griffin issued the following statement regarding the California Supreme Court’s response to the question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case:

“More than six months ago, the federal district court declared unequivocally that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional and that it causes grave harm to gay and lesbian couples and their families each day that it is in effect. We look forward to assisting the California Supreme Court reach an answer to the question before them as soon as possible so that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals can affirm the district court’s ruling and end the state-sanctioned discrimination of Prop. 8. We are hopeful that the California Supreme Court will also consider further expediting this matter so that it could be argued before the summer.

“The American Foundation for Equal Rights is committed to achieving the freedom to marry for all Americans. We look forward to taking this case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which 14 times before has declared that marriage is a fundamental right for every American.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

LGBT Activists Hold First Authorized Rally in Minsk

Minsk

Authorities in Minsk, Belarus approved an LGBT rally in the city for the first time ever. KyivPost reports that authorities directed demonstrators not to use the rainbow flag.

UK Gay News supplies the above photo, and writes:

The rally was seen to have created history in the country where events organised by the gay community up to now have always been banned.

And the result was that there were twice as many journalists on hand to cover the event than those taking part.

“For the first time the only thing that we feared was neither the police nor the homophobe hooligans but the cold,” said Sergey Praded, organiser of the event and co-chair of IDAHO Belarus.

“In the last six months, we have submitted dozens of applications to hold a rally.  We appealed to the court. But it seems that the dialogue that we also started to initiate with the authorities paid off.

“This is a very good first step for all of us and I hope that it will help us collect more participants to future actions.”

In addition to condemning homophobia, activists also called for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

You may have missed…
Riot Police Violently End Gay Pride Parade in Belarus [tr]


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

LCR’s response to Motion to Hold Appeals in Abeyance re: DADT

The Log Cabin Republicans have issued a response to “Motion to Hold Appeals in Abeyance.”

ARGUMENT

Although a bill to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” statute, 10 U.S.C. §654, has been passed and signed by the President, this legislative “repeal” is not yet effective. It is undisputed, and the government’s motion acknowledges, that repeal will not take effect for 60 days following certification by three officials that several requirements have been met – a certification for which there is no deadline or expected timetable. The repeal also may not take effect at all if threatened Congressional action to “repeal the repeal” proceeds. In the meantime, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell continues in full force. Homosexual Americans who wish to enlist in the armed forces may not do so openly; current homosexual servicemembers must continue to lie about their identity and serve under ongoing threat of investigation; and servicemembers identified as homosexual continue to be subject to discharge.

More good stuff in there, but touché, LCR, touché.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

McConnell, GOP Senators Hold DADT Repeal, Dem Initiatives Ransom in Letter to Harry Reid

All 42 GOP Senators have signed a letter from Mitch McConnellto House Majority Leader Harry Reid threatening to block all initiatives, including the Defense Authorization Act with DADT attached, until Republicans get their way on Bush tax cuts.

McconnellExcerpt from letter from GOP Senators to Harry Reid, via The Plum Line:

Dear Leader Reid,

The nation's unemployment level, stuck near 10 percent, is unacceptable to Americans. Senate Republicans have been urging Congress to make private-sector job creation a priority all year. President Obama in his first speech after the November election said "we owe" it to the American people to "focus on those issues that affect their jobs." He went on to say that Americans "want jobs to come back faster." Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents' priorities become the Senate's priorities.

For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.

****

We look forward to continuing to work with you in a constructive manner to keep the government operating and provide the nation's small businesses with economic certainty that the job-killing tax hike will be prevented.

However, Greg Sargent says that there's a good possibility that certain GOP Senators would abandon McConnell on this:

"Senator Susan Collins confirms to me that she could still vote for cloture for the Defense Authorization Bill containing repeal of DADT if ample time is alloted for floor debate and amendments…This wouldn't be the first time a tactic like this from McConnell has failed to maintain GOP unity, despite his threats to the contrary. On Wall Street reform, Dems were able to break the GOP filibuster despite McConnell's bluff…Someone should ask senators Richard Lugar, Olympia Snowe, and John Ensign whether they are willing to rule out a vote for DADT repeal if the Bush tax cut standoff isn't yet resolved. My bet is their answers might be surprising."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Senate to Hold DADT Hearings on Pentagon Report Next Week

The Senate Armed Services Committee is planning two days of hearings on December 2nd and 3rd regarding the Pentagon's report on repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', which is scheduled for release on Tuesday, the WaPo reports:

Dadt "The panel, led by Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), will hear from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates; Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen; and the co- chairmen of the Pentagon Working Group, Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham on Thursday. The next day, in a nod to McCain's wishes to hear from the military's top brass on the issue, the committee will hear testimony from Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James E. Cartwright, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Naval Chief of Operations Adm. Gary Roughhead, Marine Commandant Gen. James F. Amos and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz."

Earlier…

Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade notes the tight timeframe on DADT repeal:

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said he’s “hopeful” that Congress will be able to enact repeal, but acknowledged that “the clock is our enemy.”

“I’m fearful of time running out on the bill before it’s finished or the prospects of strong opposition from a core group of senators who don’t want to see anything happen in the lame duck,” Sarvis said.

Debate on the defense authorization bill traditionally takes about two weeks in the Senate. Given that slightly more than one month remains in the legislative session this year, time for a debate and vote in the Senate — as well as time for conferencing the legislation — would have to be compressed to move forward.

And Americablog has posted an online 'open letter' to Obama, urging him to call Senators on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

GetEqual, DADT repeal supporters (including Blenders) hold vigil at the grave of Leonard Matlovich

From GetEqual’s release:

The vigil, held to coincide with the starting day of the lame-duck session of Congress, will send a clear and frank message to the United States Senate – repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” now. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Barack Obama, and other Democratic leaders have continually reassured the LGBT community that the legislation would be repealed during the current session of Congress.

The vigil is set to center around the gravesite of gay Vietnam Veteran Leonard Matlovich. Matlovich, a recipient of both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, made headlines in the 1970s after he came out as openly gay and fought to stay in the U.S. Air Force – landing him on the cover of Time Magazine. Matlovich’s tombstone at the Congressional National Cemetery is meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans and is inscribed with the well-known phrase: “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”

The vigil will be one in a series of actions GetEQUAL will engage in throughout the week to pressure the Senate to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.  The lame-duck session begins on Monday, November 15, and is expected to run approximately two weeks – or until leadership has the votes to call adjournment.  With Congressional leaders such as John McCain and Carl Levin in discussions over the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, national activists across party lines are making their voices heard.

Lt. Dan Choi preparing Sgt. Leonard Matlovich’s grave before this morning’s vigil.

“Paying respects to the memory and legacy of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich – and re-dedicating ourselves to the movement focused on repealing DADT” –

Blenders at today’s event include Autumn Sandeen, Scott Wooledge (Clarknt67) and Michael Bedwell. Note that this is one of a few actions planned — so stay tuned.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Watch: Activists Hold ‘Homophobia Kills’ Die-In at Boston South Station

Southstation

Members of 'Join the Impact' Massachusetts held a die-in on Friday at Boston's South Station.

Said David Mailloux, co-organizer of this event, and co-chair of JTIMA: "There are so many examples of legalized homophobia and transphobia that give people in our country the perception that members of the LGBT community are second or even third-class citizens. Such perception leads to bullying in our schools as well as the suicides of those young men and women who are bullied. Sometimes, the result of this perception is grisly bias-motivated crimes where LGBT people are maimed or killed in unspeakable ways. We recognize that discriminatory laws are the root of the issue, and know that repeal of those laws, or enacting laws that protect the LGBT community, is the only way to change the conversations surrounding LGBT people, and make these crimes against our community stop."

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

SHOCKING: Home Depot gave — hold on to your hats for this one — FRISBEES to parade attendees!

The American Family Association is now lashing out at the Home Depot for, among other benign things, passing out this goody bag to attendees of the 2010 Atlanta Pride Festival:

Hdatlantagiftbag

The Home Depot gives gifts to thousands of homosexual activists [AFA]

Protect the sanctity of corporate branded swag! Someone has to think of the children of heterosexual parents, the only ones who can enjoy a backyard frisbee toss with a clean conscience.

Next week, expect the AFA to go after banks who give lollipops to little boys who are dressed in pink.




Good As You

—  admin