Keeping Up the DADT Pressure in Illinois

The following is from HRC field organizer and military veteran Lee Reinhart:

With the passage of civil unions legislation in Illinois last week, there was much to celebrate and rightly so. But here in the Land of Lincoln, we’ve quickly returned to our work generating constituent contacts with newly elected Senator Mark Kirk in support of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. Illinois voters are getting involved by making phone calls, writing letters and attending organizing meetings.

From up north in Chicago to downstate in Carbondale, from Champaign in the east to Quincy in the west, Illinoisans are making their calls to our new Senator Mark Kirk.  With recent reports stating that Senator Kirk still hasn’t made a final decision on support for DADT repeal, now is not the time to let up.

This past week, I was at Elmhurst College working with members of the school’s gay-straight alliance, Straights and Gays for Equality. (SAGE)  SAGE members made the call to Senator Kirk, as did local LGBT high school students who took the additional step of asking their friends and family to make the call.

I also met with members of American Veterans for Equal Rights and the Chicago chapter of Log Cabin Republicans.  AVER member and retired Navy Captain Ann Bidwell, who served 27 years, not only made the phone call but also wrote a personal letter that’s ready to be hand-delivered to Senator Mark Kirk this week.   Below is a small excerpt of her letter:

“Simply put, Honor, Courage and Commitment require truthfulness.  DADT requires hiding, misrepresentation, and lies.  For thousands of gay United States service members in uniform, this creates an untenable and unsustainable state.  How can one have honor, yet be required to lie on almost a daily basis?  It is exhausting.”

There is still so much more to do. To get involved in Illinois, please contact me at or (773) 680-0620.  To take action wherever you live, visit

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Increased chatter about keeping the Senate in session longer to get DADT done

No one has been able to tell us why it would be “bad” for the Senate to stay in a little longer in order to get DADT done. From Sam Stein at Huff Post:

Top Senate Democrats are willing to keep the chamber in session longer than expected in order to overturn the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. But leadership is not yet ready to commit to working up to — or even through — the Christmas break.

A Senate aide told The Huffington Post on Monday morning that Majority Leader Harry Reid has been “supportive” of the idea that lawmakers be kept in D.C. to pass a defense authorization bill that has, attached to it, language that would allow gays to serve openly in the armed services. That same procedural strategy is being pushed by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), one of the chief advocates for overturning DADT.

Just heard that Senator Udall (D-CO) agrees about staying in session until we finish the people’s work, including DADT.


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SPLC hate groups list: Focus on the Family punts to God; we advise keeping at least half an eye on more grounded facts

In light of the recent additions to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-gay hate groups, we asked Focus on Family’s Communications Director, Gary Schneeberger, if the Colorado Springs mega-gelicals still plan to reach out to groups like the American Family Association and the Family Research Council (two of the five groups added to SPLC’s dishonor roll). Here is Schneeberger’s on record reply:

We have some substantive differences with the way the SLPC defines ‘hate,’ so we’ll continue to base our partnerships on biblical criteria such as adherence to God’s truth and extension of His grace.

Interesting. This writer’s first reaction: That Focus on the Family really needs to reconsider some of the “God’s truth” that comes from people like the AFA’s Bryan “only homosexuals were savage enough for Hitler” Fischer, who pretty much single-handedly got the American Family Association on the SPLC’s list (*see more of what Fischer’s all about here). Or the godly gospel that comes from folks like the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, who has called for both the exportation and criminalization of gays (which SPLC specifically cited as reason for FRC’s addition to the hate groups list). If that’s grace, then we’d hate to see God’s inelegance.

Second reaction: This reply seems counterproductive to FOtF’s wants and needs. After all, the SPLC’s criteria clearly sees Focus on the Family in a different light, which is why they are not on the list. In fact, in two different points of her write up regarding these new additions, SPLC writer Evelyn Schlatter was careful to note how Focus on the Family has adopted a more moderate stance in the days post-Dobson. And even though we’d say that FOtF’s “ex-gay” advocacy often belies this moderate desire, clearly SPLC, using their own organizational standard, sees Focus on the Family as failing to meet or exceed the “hate” bar. One would think Focus on the Family, especially in this “softer” Jim Daly era that they’ve been working so hard to cultivate, would want to embrace the higher standards that keep them from getting such negative notice. One would think they’s wish to repudiate the harsh words that seem to be growing harsher with every passing LGBT victory. But no. Instead of criticizing the fully documented realities that got these other groups on the list, they are opting to go after SPLC for simply noting the same? Hmm. Perhaps that’ll work out for ’em, but I’m failing to see how.

Why would it be in Focus’ interest to taunt the SPLC’s discerning bar, saying that they have “substantive differences” with the SPLC’s definitions? And why would they stick their necks out to challenge the SPLC’s work when, again: All of this stuff is fully documented, most of it on audio or video (much of it brought to light by yours truly). All Schneeberger’s response will do is highlight the “pro-family” community’s all-too-common refusal to take responsibility for what comes from the religious rights stable, as well as force groups like SPLC (and sites like this one) to publicly wonder why on-message unity seems so much more important to these Colorado Springs kids than does responsible discourse.


*NOTE: Focus on the Family’s Stuart Shepard was on AFA Radio just yesterday.

*NOTE2: After another member of the SPLC’s incoming freshman class, Americans For Truth’s Peter LaBarbera, posted my wedding picture with the word “perversion” written on top of it, I wrote Schneeberger to see why he and his fellows never step up and criticize beyond the pale nonsense like that. I got no response.

Good As You

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FDA Panel Says Yes to Keeping Little Gay Boys From Developing Anal Cancer As Sex-Crazed Adults

Back in February we were wondering whether the FDA was going to get behind a HPV vaccine for boys to prevent HPV-causing anal cancer, the same way it does for girls and cervical cancer. Good news!


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This and that open thread…on auto-pilot, but keeping up with some newsworthy items

As I mentioned on Facebook and Twitter today…

Apologies, all. Pre-surgery pain has rendered me w/little motivation to write/email. #fibro + #fibroids=bad combo. On auto-pilot.

I’ve reached the point where I’m in physical pain so that my fibromyalgia has flared up to sing in concert with my fibroid-laden uterus. Lovely. Anyhow, now that I’ve hit the wall, you may not see many blog posts from me for a while.I’ll keep up my posting on Facebook and Twitter as it saps less from me.

On that note, what I’ve been Facebooking and Tweeting about:

* Anti-Gay Bullying Blamed in Suicide of Pennsylvania Teen (via Towleroad):

Students at Midd-West High School cried out against bullying Friday as they mourned the loss of a classmate who in the early morning hours walked about 13 miles from his home to Routes 11-15, where he ran in front of a southbound tractor-trailer after leaving a suicide note at his home. Freshman Brandon Bitner, 14, of Mount Pleasant Mills, ran in front of the truck at 3 a.m. near Liverpool, according to state police at Newport. “It was because of bullying,” friend Takara Jo Folk wrote in a letter to The Daily Item. It was not about race, or gender, but they bullied him for his sexual preferences and the way he dressed. Which,” she said, “they wrongly accused him of.”

* Mullen surprised at Amos’ stand on DADT. Apparently talking out of school got Amos a rebuke.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he thought the top brass had agreed to make recommendations privately to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos. Amos had said that with forces fighting in Afghanistan and still deployed in Iraq, now is the wrong time to lift the ban.

“I was surprised by what he said and surprised he said it publicly,” Mullen told reporters in Australia, where he attended meetings of defense and diplomatic chiefs.

He said the heads of the military services had committed to “look at the data and then make our recommendations privately.”

* DADT: Democrats ready to stand for nothing, fall for anything (The American Prospect). Fabulous piece by Adam Serwer.

Look, if Democrats can’t repeal a policy more than two thirds of the American people, including a majority of conservatives want gone then they can’t expect people to vote for them…That Democrats would cave on this now shows how far the party of Harry Truman has fallen.

* HRC Hits Back Against “Background Noise” On DADT Repeal. (MetroWeekly):

In the past 24 hours, several media outlets have reported on the possibility of a version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) moving forward in the Senate with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal provision stripped from it – discussions the leadership at the Human Rights Campaign struck back at today as “background noise” that does not have the support of Democratic leaders in the Senate.

On Monday, Fred Sainz, HRC’s communications vice president, called the reports “interesting background noise,” but added, “At this point, this is nothing more than a rumor that has always been a possibility.” …In what he called a sign that HRC truly does believe that talk of DADT repeal’s demise to be just talk, HRC sent staff out across the country today to eight states important for Senate repeal. Sainz said that staff had been dispatched to Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

* Major lawsuit announcements at pressers tomorrow. On Tuesday, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) will announce the filing of a major federal lawsuit.

* Challenge To So-Called “Defense Of Marriage Act” To Be Announced At Press Conference Tuesday.

On Tuesday, November 9 at 11:00 a.m., the American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP will host a press conference to announce a lawsuit filed that day challenging the constitutionality of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). DOMA is a federal statute that defines marriage as a “legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

* Nightline Tonight – WTF is this?! From Gay to Straight? Controversial Retreat Helps Men Deal With ‘Unwanted Attraction’.

When Preston met up with a bunch of his friends in New Caney, Texas, for a guys’ weekend at a secluded camp, it wasn’t for hunting or fishing. These men traveled here to attend emotional counseling sessions to cope with unwanted sexual attraction towards other men.

The retreat called “Journey to Manhood” offers therapeutic peer counseling over 48 hours to help men like Preston, who voluntarily come to learn how to deal with what they call “same-sex attractions.” For the first time ever, the retreat allowed cameras inside their controversial organization and ABC News was granted exclusive access.

* Pentecostal minister calls on christian faithful to use the word ‘fag’. Nothing like a dose of bestiality and teh crazee to keep you awake…

James Manning, a New York City-based Pentecostal minister has recently released a video in which he states that use of the homophobic epithet, “Fag” is biblically acceptable and needs to be employed frequently when referring to any LGBT person. Manning also stated that equality rights for LGBT Americans who practice the “biblical abomination” of homosexuality will lead to the legalization of bestiality, citing an example of the potential for the video’s viewership to possibly have a loved one desire to marry a dog or a goat.

* Stalker Asst AG Andrew Shirvell Suspended Pending Hearing. (via LezGetReal). BTW, the University of Michigan has lifted the ban on Shirvell being on campus.

Andrew Shirvell has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an investigation into his conduct. The Michigan Assistant Attorney General is still being investigated for harassing and blogging about University of Michigan’s class president Chris Armstrong, which Shirvell accuses of having a “radical homosexual agenda”…According to a spokesman for Attorney General Mike Cox, “because we are extending the hearing, we placed him on administrative paid leave.”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Why Keeping Your Sexuality ‘Private’ On Facebook Is a Farce (Or, How To Find Out If Anybody Is Gay)

We already know Facebook is leaking your sexuality to advertisers through its data-rich demographic targeting system. And there's the possibility Facebook's check-in platform Places could let your friends reveal you're a big homo without your consent. And there was that time Facebook let any of your friends spy on your person IM chats, possibly reading in real-time about your steamy gay affair. And there was that computer script some college students built that could pretty accurately guess if you're gay simply by seeing what kind of company you keep in your social network. Let's add one more potential means of Facebook outing to the list.


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