Rev. Amy Delong, tried by Methodists for being a lesbian, to preach at Bering Memorial Methodist Church

Rev. Amy DeLong

Paperwork can be the bane of any job. For Rev. Amy Delong a simple annual report catapulted her into the maelstrom of the United Methodist Church’s debate on accepting LGBT people. DeLong visits Houston’s Bering Memorial United Methodist Church (1440 Harold) on Sunday, Feb. 12 to preach at both the 8:30 and 10:50 service.

In 2009 DeLong was approached by two women who wanted to get married. After conducting premarital counseling with the couple Delong agreed to perform the ceremony. As a clergy person, DeLong was required to report on her activities at the end of the year, including any weddings she had performed. She knew that the Methodist Church did not allow same-sex marriage but thought “I don’t know if anybody even reads these.” Boy, was she wrong!

With-in three days she was hauled into the her boss’s (the bishop) office. DeLong’s relationship with her partner Val was well known to her colleagues. “I’ve never had a bishop or a leader in the church or a pastor who didn’t know that I was gay,” says DeLong. “Everyone knows Val.” But the church was determined now to make an example of her, and DeLon’s relationship would now be an issue.

In 2011 DeLong was tried in the church’s court with violating the Methodist “Book of Discipline” by being in a same-sex relationship and by performing a same-sex wedding. During the trial she refused to answer pointed questions about her and her partner’s sex life. “No heterosexual couples are ever asked if they
still engage in genital contact in their marriages,” says DeLong. That refusal left the court with no evidence against her on the first charge.

She was convicted of performing the wedding and suspended from ministry for 20 days. The court also required DeLong to work with a group of ministers to prepare a statement on how to “help resolve issues that harm the clergy covenant, create an advesarial spirit or lead to future trails.” “This sentence is complicated,” says DeLong. “It doesn’t lend itself well to media soundbites. So a lot of folks have been saying to me ‘I can’t tell, is this penalty good?’” DeLong responds with a resounding “Yes!” Saying that she welcomes the opportunity to write, teach and study on a topic dear to her heart.

DeLong recalls that during that initial meeting in the bishop’s office one of the bishop’s assistants referred to her as a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” To which she responded “Val and I aren’t practicing any more… we are pretty good at it by now.” The assistant laughed. More than anything that is the impression one gets of DeLong: someone with a lot of humor and aplomb who is unwilling to back down from a fight for justice.

After the jump watch a clip of DeLong talking about her experience.

—  admin

Girl Scout cookie boycott may backfire, if Twitter is any indication

The Huffington Post reports on an effort to boycott girl scout cookies in response to the organization’s trans affirming positions. Last fall, after a Colorado troop leader initially refused to allow Bobby Montoya to participate because she was identified as male at birth, Girl Scout leaders in that state with the support of the national organization quickly responded by re-enforcing their policy of allowing all girls to participate. “If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl,” said the GSC statement, “Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”

That act of common decency inspired this video:

If the initial response on Twitter is any indication, however, the burgeoning boycott may backfire, begetting a bumper year for Tag-a-longs, Thinmints and Trefoils (those yummy shortbread cookies).

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Early voting results in Houston Races

At 7 pm the polls closed. The Harris County Clerk’s office must now count and tabulate the votes cast today in Houston’s 769 voting precincts. While we wait for the final results, let’s take a look at the numbers from early voting:

City of Houston, MAYOR, with 46,333 ballots counted:
Kevin Simms   7.55%
Amanda Ulman  1.60%
Dave Wilson  10.40%
Fernando Herrera  14.31%
Annise D. Parker  52.76%
Jack O’Connor  13.38%

Dave Wilson’s 10.4 percent is surprising, considering he’s been poling at less than 1%.  General wisdom is that conservatives are more likely to vote early than left-leaning voters. In my opinion his strong early showing is likely to dramatically decrease as the evening progresses.

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 1,
Stephen C. Costello 51.80%
James Partsch-Galvan  7.88%
Scott Boates  21.77%
Don Cook  18.54%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 2,
Kristi Thibaut 16.75%
Elizabeth C. Pérez 10.41%
Andrew C. Burks, Jr. 20.69%
Gordon R. Goss 1.75%
Bolivar “Bo” Fraga 9.51%
Eric B. Dick  7.44%
Jenifer Rene Pool  7.55%
M. “Griff” Griffin 7.25%
David W. Robinson  11.84%
Roslyn “Rozzy” Shorter 6.81%

With such a crowded field this race is still anybody’s game, fewer than 6,000 votes separate the early leader Burks from ninth position shorter.

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 3,
Melissa Noriega 56.67%
Chris Carmona  24.19%
J. Brad Batteau  19.15%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 4,
Louis Molnar 10.65%
Amy Price 18.43%
C. O. “Brad” Bradford 70.92%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 5,
Laurie Robinson 18.43%
Jolanda “Jo” Jones  42.16%
Jack Christie 31.46%
Bob Ryan 7.94%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT A, with 3,125 votes counted:
Brenda Stardig  43.06%
Helena Brown 47.01%
Bob Schoellkopf 9.93%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT B, with 4,710 votes counted:
Kenneth Perkins  8.87%
James Joseph 4.04%
Kathy Blueford-Daniels16.98%
Phillip “Paul” Bryant 5.66%
Alvin Byrd  28.27%
Jerry Davis 26.22%
Charles A. Ingram  6.63%
Bryan Smart 3.33%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT C, with 7,492 votes counted:
Randy Locke  3.88%
Josh Verde 17 2.47%
Ellen Cohen 55.28%
Karen Derr11.17%
Brian Cweren 27.20%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT D, with 6,498 votes counted:
Larry L. McKinzie  14.60%
Wanda Adams 85.40%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT E, with 4,283 votes counted
Mike Sullivan 100.00%

City of Houston, DISTRICT F, with 2,789 votes counted:
Al Hoang  56.72%
Hoc Thai Nguyen (Nguyen Thai Hoc) 20.84%
Peter “Lyn” René  22.45%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT G, with 5,917 votes counted:
Clyde Bryan  19.60%
Oliver Pennington 80.40%

Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT H, with 2,710 votes counted
Patricia Rodriguez 27.81%
Edward “Ed” Gonzalez  72.19%

Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT I, with 2,694 votes counted
Leticia Gutierrez Ablaza 31.28%
James Rodriguez  68.72%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT J, with 2,013 votes counted
Mike Laster 70.67%
Rodrigo Canedo 9.78%
Criselda Romero 19.56%

Out gay candidate Laster takes a commanding lead, but this heavily Hispanic district is likely to see significant election day voting, so this early number, based on so few votes, is likely very different than the final number we’ll wind up with.

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT K, with 4,102 votes counted:
Pat Frazier 22.68%
Larry Green 70.24%
Alex Gonik 7.08%

Houston I.S.D., Trustee, District III, with 1,981 votes counted
Manuel Rodriguez 52.95%
Ramiro Fonseca  47.05%

This race garnered national attention after Rodriquez mailed an anti-gay flier attacking Fonseca, and the Houston Chronicle subsequently pulled its endorsement of Rodriquez.  That information did not become public until after early voting closed on Friday, so any effect it had on the race would not be reflected in these numbers. Only 102 votes separate the candidates at this time.

Houston I.S.D., Trustee, District IV, with 5,881 votes counted:
Davetta Daniels 33.81%
Paula Harris 66.19%

Houston I.S.D., Trustee, District VIII, with 3,091 votes counted:
Dorothy Olmos 40.28%
Juliet Kathy Stipeche 59.72%

Remember that these are only the votes cast during early voting, the final numbers can, and often do differ dramatically from early voting totals.

—  admin

Southwest issues follow-up statement on Leisha Hailey incident

The Internet is out at the house (screw you, AT&T), so I’m attempting to post this from my phone (wish me luck). Below is a follow-up statement from Southwest Airlines regarding Monday’s incident involving Leisha Hailey. Note that the statement says the incident occurred in El Paso, as opposed to St. Louis, as previously reported. I can’t post the link here, but what is it about El Paso and same-sex kissing? Anyhow below is the statement. I’ll try to get more when I’m back on the grid in the a.m.

Updated Information Regarding Customers Removed from Flight 2274

Additional reports from our Employees and Customers onboard flight 2274 during a stop in El Paso on Sunday now confirm profane language was being used loudly by two passengers. At least one family who was offended by the loud profanity moved to another area of the cabin. Although we have reports of what Customers characterize as an excessive public display of affection, ultimately their aggressive reaction led to their removal from the aircraft. We do not tolerate discrimination against anyone for any reason. In this situation, their removal was directly and solely related to the escalated conversation that developed onboard the aircraft.

Our tenets of inclusion and celebration of diversity among our Customers and Employees—including those in the LGBT communities—anchor our Culture of mutual respect and following the Golden Rule. The more than 100 million people who fly Southwest each year reflect the great diversity of our country and our Company — and ALL are valued and welcome. In fact, we’ve been recognized as a leader in diversity throughout our 40 years of service.

Our Customer Advocacy Team reached out to extend goodwill and a full refund for an experience that fell short of the passengers’ expectation.

—  John Wright

Family Leader backs away from ‘Second-Hand’ program; but why did it happen on the firsthand?

The Iowa Family leader is now publicly distancing itself from the “gays are a public health hazard like smoking so they should ‘change’ their lifestyles” programs that its host organization, the Iowa Family Policy Center, proudly hosted. This from Iowa Independent:

A link to a seminar series that presents homosexuality and its “second-hand effects” as a public health threat has been removed from the website of The Family Leader.



Leader Screenshot-300X238Julie Summa, director of marketing and public outreach for The Family Leader, said the seminar series has not been offered for around two years. However, up until Tuesday, a link to the seminar’s website was made available to anyone who signed up for e-mail updates on the group’s 99-county “Capturing Momentum Tour.” The Family Leader’s phone number is listed as contact info for anyone interested in booking the seminar.

When asked by The Iowa Independent why, if the series has not been offered for two years, it continues to be advertised on The Family Leader’s website, Summa said it was a mistake.

“The Second Hand Effects link shouldn’t be on our ‘Capturing Momentum Tour’ web page, which was created from an old template,” she said. “We plan to remove it as you are correct, we do not currently offer the seminar and have not had a full seminar in about two years.”

The Family Leader has removed link to anti-gay seminars [Iowa Independent]

Right, the link should’t be on the Family Leader’s page. But here’s the thing: This particularly heinous anti-gay program shouldn’t be ON ANYONE’S PAGE, ANYWHERE, EVER! But it was part of this collective Iowa effort for quite some time: Created by the same staff, stewarded in the same mindset, and used to rally the same locals that the Family Leader is currently hoping to grab. So The Family Leader can’t just kill the link and expect it to be all better. They have done great damage to the discourse, while giving us all an open window into how this organization thinks.

Oh, and as for Bob Vander Plaats striving to put distance between himself and the program? Well yes, as we’ve mentioned before, the program does predate his official time with this organization. But the truth is that former candidate Vander Plaats has long been part of this movement. He was speaking with them long before he was speaking for them:

So yea, okay, good that they’re essentially repudiating this connection. But are they sorry they made it happen, or are they simply sorry they got caught?




Good As You

—  David Taffet

New CPAC Leader Already Turning Back On GOProud

Cpaclogo The gay conservatives of GOProud shouldn't get too comfortable at CPAC, because the newly selected chair of the American Conservative Union, which organizes the right wing gathering, has already started distancing himself from the group.

Al Cardenas, who replaced David Keene as Chair of the ACU this week, sat down for an interview with FrumForum today and lamented GOProud's public quarrels with anti-gay conservative groups, such as Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation.

 

I have been disappointed with their website and their quotes in the media, taunting organizations that are respected in our movement and part of our movement, and that’s not acceptable. And that puts them in a difficult light in terms of how I view things.

 Cardenas went on to say that it would be "difficult" for his organization to keep working with GOProud "because of their behavior and attitude."

Cardenas' comments were in direct response to an interview Christopher Barron, the Chairman of GOProud's board, and Jimmy LaSalvia, the group's executive director, did with LGBT publication Metro Weekly, in which Barron blamed ACU Foundation chairman Cleta Mitchell for divisive arguments among the conservative camp.

Read more about GOProud's tenuous relationship with CPAC, AFTER THE JUMP

"I think there's a couple people in Heritage who, at the behest of Cleta Mitchell – who is just a nasty bigot … she got some of the people at Heritage early on fired up about this," Barron said in the interview, which was published this week.

Barron has since apologized, telling FrumForum, "For the past six months, we have watched as unfair and untrue attacks have been leveled against our organization, our allies, our friends and sometimes even their families."

He continued, "Everyone has their breaking point and clearly in my interview with Metro Weekly I had reached mine. I shouldn’t have used the language that I did to describe Cleta Mitchell and for that I apologize."

An apology may not be good enough to sooth over tensions, though, because Cardenas doesn't seem that into the idea of gay inclusion, anyway.

"[Keene] invited these folks in an effort to be inclusive," Cardenas explained."Having friends of ours leaving… presents difficulties to me. There’s always going to be some tension, [but] there should never be any tension between time-tested values.”

Cardenas also insisted true blue conservatives can't support marriage equality: "Not a Ronald Reagan conservative… I will say this: we adopted a resolution unanimously at ACU advocating traditional marriage between a man and a woman, so that answers how we feel on the issue."

If Cardenas has already come out against GOProud, their future relationship with CPAC looks pretty grim.


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

Maryland’s GOP Senate leader quits after backlash over his support for civil unions

While 2010 was a banner year for GOPers around the country, the elections were a disaster for Republicans in Maryland. The pro-marriage Governor, Martin O’Malley, was reelected by a wide margin, defeating the anti-marriage former Governor, Bob Ehrlich. In this legislative session, there are only 11 Republicans in the 47-seat State Senate and 43 Delegates out of 141 seats in the House.

A couple weeks ago, their leader in the State Senate, Allan Kittelman, announced that he was sponsoring a civil unions bill that would cover straight and same-sex couples. That was a bold step to show that all GOPers weren’t homophobes. Didn’t work. Yesterday, Kittelman gave up his leadership post. GOPers in Maryland do want to be homophobes:

The ranking Republican in the Maryland Senate surprised his colleagues and the GOP establishment Tuesday when he announced that he will step down as minority leader because it had become apparent his colleagues did not want a “social moderate” as their leader.

The decision by Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard County) came two weeks after he announced plans to sponsor legislation allowing civil unions in Maryland for both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Kittleman’s position put him at odds with many Republican colleagues, who told him during a closed-door meeting last week that they were distressed by his civil-unions bill and would not be supporting the legislation, according to participants.

Kittleman’s civil union bill wasn’t going to pass. But, the GOP caucus couldn’t even go there. Their homophobia is too entrenched. Full marriage equality is probably to pass in Maryland this year, but face a referendum in 2012.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Sayonara, Michael Steele, say hello to new RNC Leader Reince ‘Execute Obama’ Priebus

It was an anyone-but-Steele RNC chair election today, and the victor was one Reince Priebus. (CNN):

The Republican National Committee tossed out controversy-plagued chairman Michael Steele Friday and tapped Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus to lead the debt-ridden party organization into the 2012 presidential election cycle.

Priebus managed Steele’s successful campaign in 2009 and went on to serve as RNC General Counsel, but he resigned the post in December to launch his own bid for the chairmanship after some arm-twisting by Steele critics eager to find a competent committee insider to replace their gaffe-prone leader.

Upon his election, Priebus was modest and promised to forge ahead for 2012:

“I am here to earn the trust and support of each and every one of you,” Priebus said, addressing the RNC following his win. “I am going to start working right now as your chairman. We all recognize that there is a steep hill here ahead of us, and the only way we will be able to move forward is if we’re all together.

My guess, however, based the rhetoric he used during a recorded conference call in 2010, is that the new call for civility is unlikely to be honored by Mr. Priebus, who earned himself Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person In The World on 10/08/10, dabbling in an endorsement of the execution of the President. And it wasn’t a slip of the tongue, as Keith points out.

The video is below the fold. The fun begins at 2:16 in.


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Tea Party Leader Has No Problem With People Bringing Guns To Political Rallies

Joe. My. God.

—  admin