GLAD To Launch Second DOMA Suit

Tomorrow the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) will launch a DOMA lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of a Connecticut lesbian couple. Earlier this year, GLAD won a similar suit in Massachusetts in a ruling that the Obama administration is appealing. The New York Times reports:

Joanne Pedersen tried to add her spouse to her federal health insurance on Monday. She was rejected. Again. The problem is that while Ms. Pedersen is legally married to Ann Meitzen under Connecticut law, federal law does not recognize same-sex unions. So a health insurance matter that is all but automatic for most married people is not allowed for them under federal law. Ms. Pedersen and Ms. Meitzen plan to file a lawsuit Tuesday against the government in an effort to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples.

GLAD will be issuing a press release on the new lawsuit tomorrow.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Anti-Gay Hate Groups Launch Bus Tour Targeting Pro-Equality Judges in Iowa

Judgebus

Last week I wrote a lengthy post on the new hate-a-palooza bus tour in Iowa, meant to drive up support for the campaign to oust state Supreme Court justices who approved marriage equality, and sponsored by a coalition of anti-gay hate groups like NOM and the AFA.

NOM's Brian Brown tweeted the photo above of the bus at its first stop, revved up and ready to hate.

The WaPo covers the kick-off:

At a Statehouse rally Monday to kick off a bus tour, gay marriage opponents pleaded their case for why voters on Nov. 2 should opt not to retain Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, and justices David Baker and Michael Streit. Iowa voters have never ousted a state Supreme Court justice.

"I can't overstate the significance of what is about to happen in Iowa," said Brian Brown, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage. "The whole country is looking at you. This cannot be overstated."

At a counter rally about 100 yards away, organizers argued that anti-gay rights groups that have been spent more than 0,000 to oust the justices are only focused on the one issue and don't care about the damage they'll do to the state's judicial appointment process.

****

"We are going to send a message all the way across America. These judges are rogue judges and they're arrogant," Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King told the crowd Monday, standing in front of a bus emblazoned with the justices faces with the word "No," superimposed on them.

The campaign is well-funded: "Thus far, the campaign to remove the justices has spent more than 0,000 and those who want to retain them have spent 7,000, much of it on television ads. The National Organization for Marriage has been the biggest spender, contributing 5,000 to efforts to remove the judges. About 0,000 has come from the AFA Action Inc., the political arm of the Mississippi-based American Family Association. The Campaign for Working Families, a Washington-based group, also spent 0,000, and the Washington-based Family Research Council added ,000. The Iowa-based Iowa Family Policy Center has spent roughly ,000."

Another group, Fair Courts for Us, is holding a series of press conferences and events around the state meant to counter the Judge Bus' hateful message.

Watch its first press conference, held today in Des Moines (tomorrow in Sioux City, Carroll, and Mason City, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

NOM To Launch Iowa Bus Tour Against Pro-Marriage Supreme Court Justices

Next Monday NOM launches their third bus tour, this time in Iowa to support the Christianist campaign to defeat the state’s Supreme Court justices.

In one sweeping decision unelected judges decided that it is all right to purposefully deny a child a mother and a father and that millennia of tradition and the views of a large majority of Iowans, that marriage is and always should be between one man and one woman, is irrelevant. This is not their role. The Legislature makes the law. The Governor executes the law. And, only “we the people” can amend our constitution. If the Iowa Supreme Court will do this to marriage, every one of our freedoms, including gun rights and private property, is in danger of being usurped by activist judges who are unelected officials. Most Americans believe that government is out of control. Now is the time to take a stand against the radical judicial activism of the Iowa Supreme Court.

Hopping on board the NOM Hate Bus will be Family Research Council execudouche Tony Perkins, former Sen. Rick “Spreading” Santorum, and local asshat Rep. Steve King. The bus is scheduled to make 20 stops over four days. Hopefully the Courage Campaign will be trailing them again to document the bigotry.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

ManCrunch dating site sticks it to DADT with unlimited membership for gay servicemen

The last we heard from ManCrunch was the ruckus they caused with their banned commercial from this year’s Super Bowl. Two guys watching the game followed by an impromptu makeout fest. You know, the one below?

Well, they’re back on the radar. I just received a press release announcing the following:

ManCrunch.com Offers A Lifetime of Free Online Dating to Those Affected By DADT — The World’s Fastest Growing Male Relationship Service Hands Out Unlimited Memberships To Gays in Military

With the recent brouhaha over “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the U.S. Senate, ManCrunch is offering its moral support for the military with a complimentary lifetime membership to the dating service to our gay men in uniform. The ladies, well, they just miss out. The lifetime membership even extends to those servicemen relieved of their duty because of DADT. All these guys have to do is suit up, take a pic and get it in under the deadline. Here’s how ManCrunch puts it.

—  Rich Lopez

Target flap helps inspire ‘GroupOn for the gays’

Cooper Smith Koch, the local entrepreneur whose Gay List Daily e-mail service has 10,000 subscribers for its Dallas edition alone, has launched an offshoot called Gay List Deals, which is just what it sounds like. The current deal, for example, is $10 to spend at Urban Dog Coffee for the price of $5, available for purchase directly on the site:

“We launched the Deals initiative to help support our community by encouraging our readers to buy from local gay-owned or gay-friendly local businesses,” Koch wrote to Instant Tea. “We’re highlighting these businesses at no upfront cost to them and allowing them exposure to our nearly 10,000 Dallas edition readers. … Some folks are jokingly calling us GroupOn for the gays. That’s a great compliment if you ask me!”

Koch added that his team is taking it slow with the launch, posting only one or two deals per week initially until they can work out the kinks. He said surveys and research showed people wanted something like Gay List Deals but didn’t want to receive a second e-mail about it.

He also said the new site was inspired in part by the recent Target controversy:

“This is really part of a bigger crusade for me, if you will,” he wrote. “As the owner of two businesses myself, I know the struggles that small businesses face, especially with this recession that just won’t seem to end. Many of us who have survived this long are coming out of it bruised and bloodied, and we need to band together to help each other get through the Great Recession’s final throes. It’s definitely more convenient to pop into Barnes & Noble or to have Bank of America ATMs on every corner, but at what cost to local businesses? And now that Target has shown its true stripes, the biggest companies aren’t much more supportive of us than some conservative small businesses.”

Koch said he eventually plans to expand Gay List Deals to other cities where Gay List Daily is well established.

“We’d been tinkering with it since early this year, but what happened at Target really pushed it forward more quickly,” he said of Gay List Deals.

UPDATE: If you’d like to give Koch some in-person feedback, Gay List Daily’s August Mixer is Wednesday night at the Brick.

—  John Wright

Gay Marine from N. Texas talks about life, having a relationship while on active duty

DADT makes life stressful and risky for closeted servicemember

John Wright  |  Online Editor wright@dallasvoice.com

Kevin is from a small town northeast of Dallas. He says he loves Big D and plans to move here eventually.

Right now, though, Kevin is on active duty with the Marines, stationed overseas and deployed to a classified location.

He joined the Marines a few years ago, before he had accepted the fact that he was gay.

Kevin is a member of OutServe, formerly Citizens for Repeal, which was launched last month and bills itself as the first-ever organization for actively serving lesbian, gay and bisexual troops.

The group began in October 2009 as a Facebook page and has grown to 450 members.

“We are active duty and veteran gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and members of the Coast Guard who are currently serving and who have served — some in silence, some with the open support of our comrades — in defense of our nation,” the group said in a statement announcing its launch. “We include service men and women who graduated at the top of our classes at the service academies and enlisted at recruitment centers around the country. Some of our members have lost their lives in service to their country.”

Kevin, whose real name is being withheld to protect him from being outed under “don’t ask don’t tell,” talked with Dallas Voice via personal e-mail.

………………………..

DV: Are you single or do you have a partner at home?

KEVIN: I am in a committed relationship with my fiancé who is also active duty.

DV: How did you manage to develop a relationship while both on active duty under DADT?

KEVIN: We met online, we met up at Starbucks and really just hit it off from the beginning. We started hanging out on the weekends, then after work off base.

The more time we spent together, the more we realized that we couldn’t be apart. It is really risky to be in a homosexual relationship and be in the military. But once you have found that special someone you realize what really matters in life. There is a great risk, and we both realize that, but the love that we have for each other outweighs that risk.

We are stationed at the same place. While I am deployed we try and keep in contact as much as possible. While talking on the phone, we have to speak in code to make sure that no one finds out. We never know who is listening. We mainly connect through personal e-mail.

DV: How long have you been out as gay in your private life? Did you know you were gay when you enlisted?

KEVIN: I came out of the closet to myself, my family and friends about two or three years ago. I knew that I was different at the time that I joined the military, but I wasn’t ready to accept that yet. I didn’t want to be different. I wanted so much to live a normal life, to not have people judge me, to not take the chances of my family disowning me — which by the way didn’t happen, my family is completely supportive and are my biggest fans.

DV: What is it like to have to hide who you are on a daily basis? Do you frequently worry about being outed?

KEVIN: It is extremely stressful knowing that if the wrong person finds out about me, my career is over. I love being in the military. I love serving my country. I take great pride in knowing that by me doing what I am doing, I am helping to ensure that my family is able to continue to live their lives the way that they want to.

There was one time that one of my friends and I were out and her supervisor showed up at the same place. He was a little intoxicated and started to make inappropriate sexual remarks to her.  She felt extremely uncomfortable and let someone know. What she did was the right thing, but because this individual knew that I was gay, I wasn’t allowed to help my friend by telling the proper chain of command what I knew, for fear that he would tell on me — which he eventually did end up doing. But there was nothing that could be done because he didn’t have proof. To make sure that the wrong people don’t find out about my private life it has to stay just that.

Me and my fiancé aren’t allowed to go to lunch together during the duty day for fear of being caught. We don’t e-mail each other on our work computers, because we never know who is reading them. We can’t call each other’s office; we don’t go to special functions of each other’s that normal families would go, such as promotion ceremonies.

DV: How did you get involved with OutServe and what is your role with the organization? What do you hope to accomplish with the group?

KEVIN: I met [OutServe co-director] J.D. Smith through mutual friends, and got involved in Outserve through him. I guess my role wouldn’t be any more important than anyone else’s. We all have the same goal, to end DADT.

We want the public to know that we demand equal rights. Some people seem to think that if DADT is repealed then there will be some mass coming out party, where we run around in skirts and have sex at the office. But what these people don’t understand is that the Uniform Code Of Military Justice will still be in effect. We will be held to the same standards of professionalism as anyone else.

We are in the military in the first place for one reason: to do our job, accomplish the mission. That’s what will still be done once DADT is repealed. We at Outserve are working to make sure that the thoughts and views of actual military members currently serving under DADT have a voice in the decision making process.

DV: Have you taken or seen the survey that was sent to the troops as part of the Pentagon study? What are your thoughts on it?

KEVIN: I have seen it. I wasn’t one of the ones chosen to take the survey, but I did find it online. I was completely outraged. First of all, I don’t understand why we need the survey to make sure that every man and woman in the United States is treated equally. Second, I feel that the survey was completely biased.

DV: What are your thoughts on what’s happening with the DADT repeal process overall?

KEVIN: I think that the process is taking way too long; the policy is unconstitutional and should be stopped now.
All we are trying to do is serve our country and live our lives without fear of losing everything that we have worked for. The only crime that is being committed is falling in love and not being ashamed of admitting it.

I feel President Obama made a lot of promises that sounded great while he was running for president. I completely applaud him for taking on issues that others were scared to take on. I do, however, wish that he would make good on those campaign promises and do the right thing. Put a stop to DADT.

I am unsure if the policy is going to be repealed at this point. All I can do is hope for the best, and promise not to give up the fight until every man and woman in the United States has equal rights.

DV: So you think Obama should issue an executive order?

KEVIN: I definitely think that President Obama should issue an executive order ending DADT, at least at a very minimum to stop discharges and investigations until the policy is repealed.

DV: If it is not repealed, will you re-enlist?

KEVIN: I will not continue to live a lie. I can’t take that. I don’t believe in lying and hate the fact that I have to. So if DADT is not repealed, then I will not be re-enlisting. It’s not worth the stress that it puts on my relationship and my conscience.

DV: What would you say to senators who are undecided about whether to vote for DADT repeal?

KEVIN: I have made contact with my senators and congressman. I got the same reply from all. I was told they all are planning on voting against repeal due to the concerns of military leaders. This answer really frustrates me.

I was under the impression that once a congressman/senator is elected, they are supposed to represent the views of the people who voted them into that office, not the military leaders. I have just about completely lost faith in my congressman and senators.

If I could talk to them I would ask them, “How would you feel if you were completely in love with one person and had to hide it from the world for fear of losing your job? How would you feel if the day you were elected into office, you couldn’t share that moment with your spouse because your relationship was illegal? How would you feel if you had to lie to everyone you came into contact with on the daily basis?

“This policy is affecting people’s lives. Please do the right thing and vote to repeal.”

And I would want them to know that at night when they lay down to go to sleep next to the person that they love, that I am not able to do that because I am currently deployed fighting for that right which, legally, I am not afforded. That my partner is in his bed worried sick about me every night, hoping that something doesn’t happen to me. If something did happen he would not be notified.

DV: What can the LGBT community in your hometown/state and across the country do to support you? What is your message to them?

KEVIN: I would encourage everyone to get involved, to stand up for what is right. Flood your congressman and senators with calls and letters urging them to vote for repeal. Get educated on the topics. Anything that you can do to help is greatly appreciated by those of us who can’t openly do it.

For more info about OutServe, go to OutServe.org or www.Facebook.com/OutServe.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens