Gay teens win ‘cutest couple’

CutestCouple

We all remember those “senior superlatives” in the high school yearbook — you know, “most likely to succeed,” “class clown,” “best dressed.”

“Cutest couple.”

And wasn’t your cutest couple always the hunky quarterback and his perky blonde cheerleader girlfriend?

Well, at one high school, Brad Taylor and Dylan Meehan, two gay teens, won the title “cutest couple.”

After one of their classmates posted a screen capture of the yearbook item on her Tumblr account, the photo went viral.

Its widespread popularity, especially after appearing on the Huffington Post (here), is great. But I’m really more impressed by the school — its leadership and its student body — that this could happen without controversy. It’s an inspiring little story no matter how you look at it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

HRC says Jeb Hensarling of Dallas could pose major threat to gay rights in new Congress

The Human Rights Campaign says Jeb Hensarling is “extremely connected and close to a lot of the right-wing religious groups.”

Following the release of a Human Rights Campaign report showing an anti-LGBT majority in the new U.S. House — which we mentioned earlier — we requested a full list of which lawmakers the group considers anti-LGBT, pro-LGBT and mixed.

“Sorry but the list is proprietary and we aren’t releasing the names publicly,” HRC spokesman Michael Cole told us moments ago.

Naturally, we were interested to see how HRC categorizes various Texas lawmakers. And while HRC isn’t releasing its secret list, we do know about one member of the GOP leadership from Texas whom the group considers a major threat — our old buddy Jeb Hensarling of Dallas, who chairs the House Republican Caucus. From The HuffPo’s piece about the HRC report:

“I think they’re going to have to give some red meat to their base, and I assume it’s either going to be anti-gay, anti-choice, or anti-immigrant, or all of the above,” said [HRC legislative director Allison] Herwitt. “So I just think that when you have someone like Jeb Hensarling, who is chairman of the House Republican Conference, he’s extremely connected and close to a lot of  the right-wing religious groups, so there’s going to be pressure on the leadership to deliver on some of these issues.”

—  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