NoH8 takes on bullying, with the help of Cindy McCain

Way back in January, I posted this piece about Cindy McCain, wife of anti-gay Arizona senator and failed presidential candidate John McCain, participating in the NoH8 campaign in support of same-sex marriage. The McCains’ daughter Meghan also posed for a photo in the NoH8 campaign and has been outspoken in her support of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights in general.

Now comes this video about bullying from NoH8, and once again Cindy McCain is speaking out.

The video includes appearances by a long list of celebrities (including another of my favorite blondes, Bridget Marquadt of Girls Next Door fame) who are all talking about how serious bullying is and how everyone needs to step up and do their part to end the epidemic. I was especially impressed by what Cindy McCain said about how anti-gay laws — things like “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act — are also a form of bullying and must end, along with religious persecution of LGBT people.

Makes me wonder how tense the situation must be right now in the McCain household, since John McCain supports both DADT and DOMA.

Anyway, let’s hear a cheer, once again, for Cindy McCain and all the others who took the time to participate in this video and make a stand for our rights — and our lives. And check out this “It Gets Better” PSA No H8 did, that includes Meghan McCain, Tori Spelling, Pauly Perrett and many others.

—  admin

North Texas’ Danny Hernandez now opening for Lady Gaga on ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ speaking tour

We’ve told you about Marine Cpl. Danny Hernandez, the North Texas native and Texas A&M University graduate who was discharged from the Marines under “don’t ask don’t tell” after being outed by a fellow Marine.

Hernandez, who’s from a small town northwest of Fort Worth, is now working with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and he spoke at the rally Monday in Portland, Maine, where Lady Gaga would later deliver her “Prime Rib of America Address.” Watch video of Hernandez’s remarks at the rally here.

Hernandez was also interviewed by MTV for a story about the rally yesterday. Video from the MTV interview is above.

Hernandez told MTV that he was initially skeptical about Lady Gaga’s advocacy for DADT repeal, until he got a chance to meet her and tell her his story.

“It was then that I realized she’s serious about making this an issue that people learn about,” Hernandez says. “People were not that aware about ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’ There was a group of people that thought it was repealed already. … She definitely brought light to an issue that many people had no idea was still going on in this county, and so I think a lot of that support has come form the Little Monsters that are so adamant about supporting Lady Gaga. If it’s something she supports, then of course they’re going to support her 100 percent behind that as well.”

And on that note, here’s the latest advisory from SLDN that hit our Inbox at 9 a.m. Dallas time Tuesday:

The final hour has arrived. Today at 2:15 PM ET, the full Senate will determine whether “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) repeal will move forward this year. For repeal to happen, we need 60 votes to break Senator John McCain (R-AZ)’s expected filibuster. All supporters must call their senators now.

Call both your senators at the Capitol switchboard right now and urge them to vote to end the filibuster and move on to a real debate on the Defense bill.

(202) 224-3121

These senators are currently uncommitted on breaking the filibuster and particularly need to hear from us today:

–Susan Collins (R-ME);
–Olympia Snowe (R-ME);
–Mark Pryor (D-AR);
–Richard Lugar (R-IN);
–Judd Gregg (R-NH);
–Jim Webb (D-VA);
–George Voinovich (R-OH);
–Kit Bond (R-MO)

Don’t let opponents of open service hold up critical funding for our troops and prospects for repeal. Supporters of open service must make their voices heard today. If you have already called your senators, call both of them again.

Call the Capitol switchboard and tell both your senators to follow the lead of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) to stop the filibuster and begin debating passage of the Defense bill.

(202) 224-3121
Speak up for all our service members today and spread the word to your friends: www.sldn.org/gaga
We are almost out of time to contact senators before the vote today. We must call now.

Thank you.

Aubrey Sarvis
SLDN Executive Director

—  John Wright

WATCH: A new message from Lady Gaga to the U.S. Senate on ‘don’t ask don’t tell’

The video was apparently recorded Thursday night and posted early Friday morning on Lady Gaga’s official YouTube channel. Looks like she may have sent out this Tweet while recording the video:

Gaga addresses her 7 ½-minute video message to her fellow Americans, to the Senate and specifically to Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. She notes that 14,000 servicemembers have been discharged under DADT since it was passed in 1993.

“In short, not only is the law unconstitutional, but it’s not even being properly or fairly enforced by the government,” Gaga says. “Our fight is a continuum of the ever-present equal rights movement. Every day we fight to abolish laws that harbor hatred and discriminate against all people, laws that infringe on our civil liberties.

“I am here to be a voice for my generation, not the generation of the senators who are voting, but for the youth of this country, the generation that is affected by this law and whose children will be affected,” Gaga says. “We are not asking you to agree with or approve the moral implications of homosexuality. We’re asking you to do your job, to protect the Constitution. As Majority Leader Harry Reid said, anyone who is willing to fight for this country should have the same civil opportunity to do so as anyone else. It’s my belief that no one person is more valuable than another.”

Gaga goes on to talk about some of the veterans discharged under DADT she’s met through the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

“The most shocking discovery for me was to hear them all say how much they miss serving and protecting our nation, how they joined the Armed Forces because they believe in America,” Gaga says. “Senators, when you’re sending your men and women into war, when you’re sending our wives, husbands, sons and daughters into combat, will you honor their service? Will you support repealing this law on Tuesday and pledge to them that no American’s life is more valuable than another?”

At the end of the video Gaga calls the Capitol Switchboard and asks for the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. After a dozen or so rings, she gets a busy signal. Then she tries Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, whose voice mailbox is full.

“I will not stop calling until I reach them and I can leave them this message,” Gaga says. “I am a constituent of the senator. My name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, also known as Lady Gaga. I’m calling to ask the senator to vote with Sens. Harry Reid and Carl Levin to repeal ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ and oppose John McCain’s shameless filibuster. We need to do this for our gay and lesbian soldiers and finally repeal ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’

“Try calling after 9 a.m. tomorrow morning,” Gaga says. “I’ll be on the phone, too. Thank you. God bless.”

The number for the Capitol switchb0ard is 202-224-3121.

—  John Wright

If Senate doesn’t vote on DADT repeal in September, it may not happen for several years

Both the Human Rights Campaign and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network issued action alerts Thursday warning that if the Senate doesn’t take up the National Defense Authorization Act soon, the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” will be in serious danger.

“If the defense budget bill doesn’t move to the Senate floor by the end of this month, DADT repeal may not happen for several more years,” SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said.

HRC on Thursday announced a National Call-In Day for DADT Repeal on Friday:

“While many believe repeal of this odious law is a foregone conclusion, the real truth is that this is not yet a done deal,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “If the more than 75 percent of fair-minded Americans who recognize this as a failed law do not speak up, a small group of Senators with their own narrow political agendas could win out.”

Congress returns Monday from their August recess and will have only several weeks of work before breaking again for the upcoming November elections.  Senate leaders have indicated that the defense bill — to which “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal is attached — is on a list of possible bills on which they may vote.

“We’ve had to fight to the end for every victory we’ve won, and this is no different,” added Solmonese. “If we don’t speak up now, our window for repeal could close.”

HRC will launch a full national action alert tomorrow encouraging members and supporters to contact their Senators immediately and ask that they push for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the next four weeks.

Here in Texas, we know that calling our senators is futile. As an alternative, SLDN suggests for everyone to call these key senators:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
(202) 224-3542

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
(202) 224-2541

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
(202) 224-2235

—  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

McCain changes his excuses on DADT

Sen. John McCain changed his tune
Sen. John McCain changed his tune

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before Congress yesterday about Don’t ask, don’t tell. He said:

“I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me personally, it comes down to integrity — theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates testified,

“The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it. We have received our orders from the commander in chief, and we are moving out accordingly.”

And John McCain said,

“I honor their sacrifice, and I honor them.”

But not enough to allow them to serve openly, even though in 2006, McCain said,

“The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it.”

Because after hearing the leaders of the military tell Congress to drop the policy, McCain now says,

“At this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.”

—  David Taffet

I didn't vote for John McCain …

Cindy McCain
Cindy McCain

but I might be willing to vote for his wife Cindy McCain or their daughter Meghan McCain!

Politics Daily reported today that Cindy MCain, wife of the Republican from Arizona who lost the 2008 presidential race to Barack Obama, has joined the list of celebrities (and average folks) who have posed for Adam Bouska’s NoH8 photo collection (you know the ones, where the subjects have their mouths covered in silver duct tape and NOH8 painted on their cheek in red and black).

The “tattoo” is, of course, a reference to California’s Proposition 8, that ballot initiative passed by voters in November ’08 that repealed marriage equality for same-sex couples there, and participating in the ever-growing project is a sign of support for marriage equality. So, apparently Mrs. McCain disagrees with her husband on at least this one issue, and good for her!

Sen. McCain’s office has released a statement saying that he respects differences of opinion among his family members, but that he still “believes the sanctity of marriage is still defined as between one man and one woman.”

Well, there’s obviously a lot of differences of opinions in the family, because daughter Meghan McCain has been talking since the first of 2009 about the need for the Republican Party to move away from divisive social issues — like gay marriage and gay rights in general — and away from hateful extremists like Ann Coulter. Meghan, in fact, has been quite vocal about her own support for gay marriage (and gay rights in general), and posed for her own NOH8 portrait some time ago (see below).

Perhaps the McCain women will be able to have some influence on the senator and get him to change his stance on the issue. Hey, it happened in the Cheney family: Former Vice President Dick Cheney — who has a lesbian daughter, Mary, who has had a child with her lesbian partner — came out in support of gay marriage last summer. Hmmm, maybe if Meghan came out as a lesbian, John would change his mind?

Meghan McCainMeghan McCain

—  admin