Vulture.com: Before visiting Texas, read this book

borderlands_la_frontera_anzaldua_book

If you’ve ever wondered what to read before visiting a state, Vulture.com, the online entertainment portal owned by New York Magazine, just made the list for you. In choosing 50 nonfiction books to read about 50 states, the website includes both national treasures like James Agee and Walker Evans’ Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Alabama), Zora Neale Hurston’s Dust Tracks on the Road (Florida) as well as some kitschier choices like Vice President Joe Biden’s Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics (Delaware).

Before even scrolling down, I assumed their choice would be kitschier, if not dismissive. (Think Rick Perry’s presidential manifesto Fed Up.)

Nope.

If you want to learn about Texas, Vulture.com suggests the groundbreaking Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by the late Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua, a well-known Chicana lesbian activist and writer born in the Rio Grande Valley. Released in 1987, the semi-autobiographical book challenges and explores, through poems and prose, concepts like borders and identity.

If you’re interested, the book is available at Amazon.com and if you’re lucky, your neighborhood library.

—  James Russell

Obama signs executive order banning discrimination

Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama signed an executive order this morning barring federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law estimates that the order would protect nearly 34 million employees nationwide, or about one-fifth of the nation’s workforce.

A fact sheet provided by the White House cites wide-ranging public support for barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

You can read the full text of the order here.

Check out the video here:

—  James Russell

BREAKING: Obama will sign executive order banning discrimination

Barack ObamaPresident Obama announced today he will sign an executive order on Monday that bars federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The president said last month that he planned to sign the two orders.

The announcement follows the recent collapse of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — ENDA — in Congress. LGBT groups withdrew their support for the bill in opposition to its sweeping religious exemptions, which many feared would basically gut protections  following the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. The Huffington Post’s Gay Voices editor-at-large Michelangelo Signorile has more on the collapse here.

UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute’s research suggests that up to 34 million employees, or one fifth of the national workforce, will be included.

Senior White Officials noted that President Obama will not include exemptions for contractors based on their religious beliefs, as many activists initially feared. But he will keep intact an amendment signed by George W. Bush in 2002 allowing religiously affiliated contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion.

—  James Russell

Bipartisan bill would protect global LGBT rights

Rep. John Tierney introduced a bipartisan bill to protect LGBT people worldwide.

Rep. John Tierney introduced a bipartisan bill to protect LGBT people worldwide.

A bill recently introduced by a bipartisan group of representatives in Congress would protect and advance the global rights of LGBT people if passed.

Reps. John F. Tierney, D-M.A., Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., and Richard, R-N.Y., introduced the International Human Rights Defense Act Wednesday, July 16. Sen. Edward Markey, D-M.A., introduced the bill in the Senate on June 3.

If passed, the bill would direct the Department of State to prioritize protecting LGBT people worldwide. The bill would require the department to develop a strategy to promote and protect LGBT rights worldwide and also appoint a “Special Envoy on the Human Rights of LGBT People” to oversee the strategy.

According to American Jewish World Service, a chief proponent of the bill, 77 countries jail people for having same-sex relations. Five of those countries allow LGBT people to be put to death.

“Defending the rights of LGBT people worldwide is crucial, as many governments are passing punitive laws and sanctioning acts of hate against LGBT people,” said Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS. “As American Jews, we are members of a minority whose rights have been trampled in the past, and we understand fully that neither nor our government can stand by as the rights of vulnerable minorities are trampled in other parts of the world.”

—  James Russell

Longview Pride

Longview held its first Pride celebration on June 21.

—  David Taffet

When Gov. Perry makes homophobic comments, it’s not news

Perry.Rick_

Gov. Rick Perry has oral sex with a corny dog

I’ve had a number of people send me copies of articles about Gov. Rick Perry making homophobic comments in San Francisco this week. They wondered: Did I miss it?

Nope. Didn’t miss it. Just didn’t think Perry making stupid comments rated as news anymore.

We’ve covered Perry’s self-hating homophobia. Former state Rep. Glen Maxey, who served in the Texas House of Representatives with Perry, even wrote a book about Perry’s closet. For anyone interested, the book’s still available on Amazon.

So when Perry equates homosexuality to alcoholism, we have to wonder. He was in San Francisco. Was he once again that tempted? Overwhelmed? Unable to control either his drinking or his libido?

But is Perry’s stupidity news? No. But we are excited about another Rick Perry run for president. Please run. Please. It’ll be so much fun. Even if you don’t run, could you please, please at least have a debate with Hillary?

Perry

Gov. Rick Perry’s Brokeback Mountain ad from his last presidential bid

—  David Taffet

Houston passes equal-rights ordinance

CITY_OF_HOUSTON_LOGO-325x294After nearly nine hours of chanting and tears from seas of opponents and supporters in color-coded T-shirts, Houston City Council passed an ordinance on Wednesday extending equal rights protections to gay and transgender residents, The Houston Chronicle reported.

Despite weeks of discussion and dissent over the measure, the final vote was 11-6, a count that matched guesses made months ago, when Mayor Annise Parker— the first openly lesbian mayor of a major American city — said she planned to bring forward such a measure.

The approval was greeted with thunderous applause from the audience, largely full of supporters, and chants of “HERO,” for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

“While much of the debate has centered around the gay and transgender section of the ordinance, it is a comprehensive ordinance,” Parker said after the vote. “It is a good step forward for the city of Houston.”

The measure bans discrimination based not just on sexual orientation and gender identity but also, as federal laws do, sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status.

The ordinance applies to businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions would be exempt. Violators could be fined up to $5,000.

—  Steve Ramos

Florida curriculum designed to make your children as homosexual as they possibly can

Florida state Rep. Charles van Zant

Florida state Rep. Charles van Zant

I love it when crackpots come from other states rather than Texas. I feel we’re overrepresented. Today’s crackpot is Florida state Rep. Charles van Zant.

Florida’s adopting a new educational curriculum called Common Core. The latest Common Core curriculum Florida adopted is in mathematics.

Van Zant completely opposes Common Core because it’s trying to “attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can.”

Van Zant warns, “If you just go look on their website, AIR.org, you see that they’re very much in support and say on their website that they’re supportive and provide all sorts of research data and things regarding the LGBT agenda, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender agenda. I don’t believe that that has any place being introduced into Florida’s schools. I further do not believe that we have a place to make that a part of Florida’s curricula.”

If you do a search for LGBT, a number of articles appear on “gay agenda” items like protecting LGBT kids from bullying. From reading a few of them, it seems research proves that when kids aren’t bullied, they perform better in school.

But who wants that? Certainly not Rep. Van Zant. That’s turning kids as gay as possible.

Search the website for other topics like “inner city,” and you’ll find 10 times the number of articles than those on LGBT. Search for “rich kids” and you’ll also find 15 times as much. That’s because AIR, the American Institutes for Research, is looking for ways to teach all kids. Even LGBT kids.

Van Zant said he only wants things like history and civics taught. I guess he thinks there are no gay historical figures. I guess he’d ban singing “America the Beautiful,” since it was written by a lesbian. Or visiting the Statue of Liberty with its inscribed poem also by a lesbian. And civics. As long as you don’t teach about nondiscrimination laws, I guess we’re fine there. Or mention some of our state representatives. Or sheriff. Or district clerk. And if you live in Houston, just don’t ever mention you have a mayor.

Even math’s not safe. Van Zant must be imagining this as the representative gay agenda Common Core algebra question:

The last train to Fort Worth leaves Victory Station at midnight. If a gay man is walking 1.5 miles from JR.’s to the train, and he can walk four miles an hour while drunk, what time should he order his last drink, assuming he can down it in 5 minutes and already has his train ticket purchased, yet still make the train?

I only regret I never got a Florida education. Who knows what my full homosexual potential might have been?

—  David Taffet

Open carry group will be on Cedar Springs looking for allies

Martin.Laura

LGBT liaison police Laura Martin

LGBT police liaison Laura Martin called to give the community a heads up about a group planning to be out on Cedar Springs Road on Sunday afternoon looking for allies.

The folks supporting the right to carry guns in public openly plan to gather at Walgreens at about 2 p.m. and walk the streets in the neighborhood for an hour or two. Martin assures they will be there only to hand out literature, talk to people and educate.

She said 15 to 30 people usually participate in these events, but there may be fewer because they have several planned rallies this weekend. Many carry long guns openly, which is already legal.

She also wanted everyone to understand the group is there to enlist support for their cause. They are looking for allies in the community and assured us there’s nothing hostile intended. Two plain clothes officers will be with them.

They’ve been doing this in other areas of the city including Downtown and Bishop Arts.

—  David Taffet

A week of the worst reasons to deny marriage equality ever

Steve Brashear

Gov. Steve Brashear

Last week proved to be a week of stupidity for those arguing for discrimination against same-sex couples. The excuses are becoming both more inane and ridiculous and more hateful than ever.

In Kentucky, Gov. Steve Brashear will defend the marriage ban because equality threatens “long-term economic stability through stable birth rates.”

He didn’t explain what that means. Only straight couples who are married have children? If Kentucky continues to ban same-sex marriage, gay people will marry people of the opposite sex and procreate? If gay people marry, straight people will no longer be able to have sex?

The governor’s office said it had no comment. In the original ruling overturning the state’s marriage ban, the judge ruled that using procreation as an argument for discrimination against same-sex couples “makes just as little sense as excluding post-menopausal (heterosexual) couples or infertile couples.”

In Oregon, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has ordered new marriage license documents to reflect the expected change in the state’s marriage laws, should that occur. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that covers Oregon has already expressed how it feels about marriage discrimination in its Proposition 8 ruling, which upheld a lower court ruling that overturned California’s marriage ban. In that circuit, Hawaii, California and Washington are marriage equality states.

So what Rosenblum did was prepare the state for a smooth transition to equality, if that occurs.

The National Organization for Marriage chimed in last week asking to defend the law. They charge Rosenblum with “dereliction of duty” for not finding arguments to support discrimination.

The Supreme Court’s Prop 8 decision that plaintiffs must have standing and be directly affected should preclude NOM from replacing Rosenblum as the defendant.

Oral arguments in the Oregon marriage case will be heard in U.S. district court on Wednesday. Rosenblum is not defending the state’s marriage ban, and the state is not expected to appeal should it be ordered to issue marriage licenses this week.

While Kentucky and Oregon defenders of discrimination displayed how stupid the arguments can get, Indiana showed just how contemptible a state can be.

Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, an Indiana couple, sued to have their Massachusetts marriage recognized by their home state. Quasney has terminal stage 4 ovarian cancer. They have young children, and they want to make sure their kids get the death benefits they’d be entitled to if the parents were straight.

“The current rule of law does not allow for a hardship exception from the statute for one person or two people, as that would create inconsistency for all other citizens of Indiana,” the state attorney general wrote in a statement.

Wait, it gets worse.

The state argued gay people can get married as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex. In other words, you can marry whomever the state tells you to marry.

But the most disgusting statement was this one. In court documents, the attorney general said recognizing this marriage could raise false hopes for others because courts might eventually uphold the state’s gay marriage ban.

Since the Windsor decision last June that overturned parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, no court has upheld a state’s marriage ban. That’s the naive part. But that statement is truly one of the most hateful things said in this debate about the LGBT community.

The basis for refusing to recognize the marriage of one couple with a dying partner who want to protect their children is that gays and lesbians are narcissistic, greedy, selfish pigs. We only care about ourselves, and if we can’t have something personally for ourselves, no one else should, either.

Personally, I can’t imagine going through multiple surgeries followed by chemotherapy and having to deal with courts and attorneys and an attorney general spewing hate at me. But that’s exactly what Quasney did. Not because she’s selfish, but because she wants to make sure her two children are taken care of after she dies. She’s guilty of being a mom who loves her kids and wants to make sure they get what every other kid is entitled to.

I can’t imagine anyone in the LGBT community not sending her our love and prayers or good thoughts. I can’t imagine any gay or lesbian being as hateful and hurtful as Indiana’s attorney general paints us.

How did he come up with such a scenario? The only thing I can imagine is that he’s describing himself. He wouldn’t allow anyone to have something he can’t have.

On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that Indiana will comply with his order to list Sandler as Quasney’s spouse on her death certificate when the time comes.

On Friday, the state announced it will appeal.

—  David Taffet