WATCH: Is this Bud for us? New Budweiser ad appears to support gays in the military

Budweiser has released a new military-themed ad that some folks are saying is also a “pro-gays-in-the-military” ad.

The ad starts off with a soldier calling another guy and saying, “Hey man. I’m coming home.” Then in a split-screen, continues with scenes of the soldier making his way home while the other guy goes about planning and organizing a welcome home party, and then being the first one to step forward and hug the soldier when he gets home.

If it is a “gay” ad, it isn’t, well, flamboyantly gay. And that’s perfectly fine, since there are many, many, many LGBT people out there — including many of our men and women in uniform — who are definitely not flamboyantly gay themselves. We deserve to have our diverse community portrayed (and honored and celebrated) realistically in all our diversity.

Is this a gay ad? Did Budweiser mean for it to be a gay ad? Huffington Post has a poll up, and readers there are pretty evenly split, with 33 percent saying it is totally gay, 25 percent saying no way it’s gay, and 41 percent saying probably not but I can see why some folks think it is.

And AfterElton.com points out that “if you substituted a woman for [the guy the soldier calls first], it would read pretty much exactly like a heterosexual relationship.”

Only Budweiser knows for sure, of course. But — again, as AfterElton notes — this is a mega-big company with some pretty experienced advertising folks working for them, and do you really think they would let something so very obviously possibly gay slip through inadvertently?

Watch the ad yourself (below) and see what you think. All I know for sure is that I don’t drink beer of any kind, but if I did drink beer, I think I’d probably drink Bud.

—  admin

Is Obama the ‘MLK for the gays’?

As you’ve probably heard, the Justice Department filed another brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act on Thursday, prompting criticism from gay rights advocates who say the Obama administration should allow the law to be struck down instead of defending it. Indeed, less than a month after signing a bill to repeal  “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Obama again finds himself under fire from the LGBT community. With the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday coming Monday, Equality Matters President Richard Socarides drew this analogy in The Huffington Post:

“The repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was a breathtaking accomplishment. President Obama will get credit. But from this point forward he has a choice. If he builds on it, he could become the MLK for the gays. But if he continues to allow the Justice Department to file these briefs opposing full equality, he will squander an historic opportunity.”

—  John Wright

Sarah Palin’s 16-year-old daughter cyberbullies Facebook user by calling him a ‘faggot’

Sarah Palin’s 16-year-old daughter, Willow, went all anti-gay on Facebook the other night after someone criticized her mom’s new TV show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” Read all about it at The Huffington Post and check out the full Facebook thread at TMZ.

—  John Wright

Gay backlash over Robert Rowling’s donations spreads from Gold’s Gym to Omni Hotels

We’ve been saying all along that if the LGBT community is going to get pissed off at Gold’s Gym over Robert Rowling’s political contributions, the community should be equally pissed at Omni Hotels. Rowling is the CEO of TRT Holdings, which owns both Gold’s Gym and Omni Hotels. Well, it appears as though some media outlets that have been covering this story are finally beginning to pick up on this fact. The Huffington Post even points to our coverage of Omni’s decision to offer domestic partner benefits at the city of Dallas’ convention center hotel:

But TRT Holdings also owns the Omni Hotels, which may be facing increased heat in the coming days.

“We’re concerned about the massive infusion in corporate money being poured into campaigns in an effort to influence the governance of the country,” says Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “This is extremely disturbing to many, including ourselves. As for the Omni Shoreham, we have used it in the past as an event venue, but have no current plans to do so. We do take such issues into consideration when looking at venue options.”

The Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C. is a popular hotel and venue for conferences and events, and just one of several dozen of the brand’s locations.

This is not the first time the Omni Hotels have been embroiled in controversy over LGBT issues. Last year, a Dallas Omni chain agreed to offer domestic partner benefits in response from city officials and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce.

“The Human Rights Campaign has not used an Omni Hotel in a long time,” said Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president of communications and marketing. “We also have no plans to boycott the hotel chain. We generally don’t agree with boycott as they impact people well beyond the owners of the hotel.”

While HRC didn’t go as far as the Task Force, it did stress it was “concerned about the influx of a lot of anonymous money into this election.” Omni did not return The Huffington Post’s request for comment.

—  John Wright

Gold’s Gym franchises respond to Bob Rowling’s donations to group backing anti-gay candidates

Earlier we told you about the LGBT community’s apparent outrage over Highland Park billionaire Robert Rowling’s contributions totaling $2 million to the Karl Rove co-founded American Crossroads, which is working to help elect several anti-gay candidates this election cycle. Well, the reaction has been swift from four Gold’s Gym franchises in the San Francisco area, which announced today that they’re severing ties with the brand over the contributions. Via The Huffington Post, here’s a statement from Don Dickerson, director of operations for Gold’s Gym Bay Area:

We were as surprised by [CEO] Mr. [Robert] Rowling’s action as anyone but because our company believes in and lives up to the ideals of equality for all we are going to take the following actions:

1: Our contractual obligation with Gold’s Gym expires on September 15th, 2012 and on or prior to that date (our legal counsel is reviewing our options) we will leave the Gold’s Gym brand. It is a major initiative to create a new brand and leave Gold’s Gym which has been our identity for over 20 years but we will begin that process today.

2: For every dollar we pay Gold’s Gym in franchise fees we will donate an equal or greater amount to LGBT charities. While we donate much more than this to charities and community groups that support the LGBT community we want to make a commitment to match or exceed this amount until our relationship with Gold’s Gym can be severed.

3: Our management and staff will continue to support LGBT causes in every way possible and we will use our business as a platform to fight for change and equality for everyone. We have always taken great pride in being a leader in the LGBT community and we will continue to.

Also, Gold’s Gym International released a statement to The Huff Po saying Rowling’s contributions were totally independent from the company. Rowling serves as CEO of the ownership group for Gold’s Gym, TRT Holdings, which also, as we noted before, owns Omni Hotels. Below is an excerpt from the Gold’s Gym International statement, which you can read in its entirety here:

Gold’s Gym did not make a donation to American Crossroads (or any other political organization) and in no way supports anti-gay causes. Quite the contrary, the Gold’s Gym family has been strong supporters of the LGBT community over the years. This includes supporting PRIDE events, sponsoring LGBT media outlets and donating to various LGBT charities in the communities we serve.

Clearly these folks recognize that their customer base is heavily LGBT, and they’re worried about the response to Rowling’s donations. Stay tuned. On Tuesday, we’ll see if we can talk to some representatives from Gold’s Gym locations in North Texas. Who ever said boycotts, or at least the threat of them, doesn’t work? Are you listening, Mr. Rowling?

—  John Wright

Anyone up for a little hand-to-hand combat?

WORST-TROPHY-EVER

This is both the “worst trophy ever” and the “best trophy ever” in Huffington Post rankings. According to OutFront Colorado, it also seriously undermines arguments for keeping “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

—  John Wright

U.S. Senate candidate says gay marriage could lead to marriage between people, horses

And you thought Sen. John McCain was bad on LGBT issues. McCain’s challenger in the Republican primary, former Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth, is the new Rick Santorum. Hayworth told a Florida radio station over the weekend that he believes the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s decision authorizing same-sex marriage could lead to marriages between people and horses, according to The Huffington Post:

“You see, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, when it started this move toward same-sex marriage, actually defined marriage — now get this — it defined marriage as simply, ‘the establishment of intimacy,’” Hayworth said. “Now how dangerous is that? I mean, I don’t mean to be absurd about it, but I guess I can make the point of absurdity with an absurd point — I guess that would mean if you really had affection for your horse, I guess you could marry your horse. It’s just the wrong way to go, and the only way to protect the institution of marriage is with that federal marriage amendment that I support.”

—  John Wright

Huffington Post takes offense at ABC references to Napolitano as lesbian

Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano
Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano

The Huffington Post took offense at an ABC News report that referred to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano as “Big Sis.”

Well, it wasn’t really ABC that referred to her that way. It was Drudge. ABC was just mentioning the fact that “a conservative blogger” calls her that. Of course, that’s as legitimate as my writing something like this: Surprise was expressed as Dick Cheney survived another heart attack. Cheney, whom some liberal bloggers claim have no heart, has been suffering from heart disease since his 30s. Of course, I didn’t say that.

And, of course, in the ABC report, when they mention Joe Lieberman, they don’t snidely say, “Who many Democrats call a traitor” or “Whose whiny voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard.” Or when referring to Susan Collins, they don’t refer to her as a Senator that can’t be trusted to support either side in the health care debate.

Nope, the only snide reference is to Napolitano to imply that she is a lesbian. But I’m glad they did. Even though Napolitano has never confirmed or denied her sexual orientation, I feel much safer believing she is a lesbian. Even if she’s not. Which isn’t really my business because it has nothing to do with the way she does her job.

—  David Taffet

Huffi Po exclusive – 'TV Shows The Networks Didn't Want To Admit Were About Gay People'

Today, Alex Leo at Huffington Post takes an in-depth look (OK, not really)  at TV shows hiding in the closet. No real big surprises, but it helps to pass the afternoon.

I do think they missed a few. Hello? The old Batman? Clerks: The Animated Series? You know it.

—  Rich Lopez

2 N. Texas companies among 10 worst for LGBT employees, according to HRC

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Given the saga involving Dallas-based AT&T, I’ve written a lot lately about the Human Right’s Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index, which rates businesses according to their LGBT policies. As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, AT&T was one of 305 businesses nationwide that received a perfect score on the CEI last year. It was also one of eight North Texas-based companies to receive a perfect score, along with AMR Corp. (American Airlines), Brinker International Inc., Texas Instruments Inc., Haynes and Boone LLP, GameStop Corp., Kimberley-Clark Corp. and Sabre Holdings Inc. But North Texas also happens to be home to two companies that appear on another list yesterday from The Huffington Post — the 10 Worst Companies for LGBT Workers, according to HRC. Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp., which again received a zero from HRC last year, is tied atop the list with the Laclede Group Inc. Meanwhile, Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway Corp., which received a 20, is in a tie for No. 4. Unfortunately, while it’s easy to avoiding spending your money at ExxonMobil, I’m not sure how you’d boycott BNSF.

—  John Wright