Hitting the ground running in Minnesota

Terry and I arrived in Minneapolis on Monday evening and in the ensuing 36 hours have settled into our roles with the Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) campaign here in Minnesota.  We’re working with Spencer Cronk from the DFL to mobilize the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to vote for fair-minded candidates up and down the ballot.  In a year when our friends are likely to have difficult challenges, it’s important for us to turn out the LGBT community to put them over the top.

Starting off, Terry and I will be hosting weekly phone banks at Service Employees International Union in St. Paul.  If you would like to help assure marriage equality succeeds in 2011, we need you to volunteer to elect those candidates who will make it happen!  Join HRC staff and our local leaders at weekly Equality Night phone banks to support Mark Dayton and other fair-minded candidates. We’ll be calling HRC supporters and talking to them about how important this election is to moving forward with a pro-equality agenda in St. Paul in 2011.

HRC “Equality Night” Phone Banks
Every Tuesday, beginning September 28 | 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
SEIU Headquarters

2233 University Ave., W | Suite 422 | St. Paul, MN

To sign up to volunteer for Mark Dayton or other fair-minded candidates in your area, please email Terry.McGuire@hrc.org for more information.

Prepared and paid for by Human Rights Campaign Minnesota PAC, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington D.C., in support of the Minnesota DFL Party.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Broadway comes to Minnesota!

The Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota campaign is kicking off the fall in true style.  Senator Mark Dayton and Broadway superstar Gavin Creel will be starring in a fundraiser geared towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community this Friday, September 24th at the Women’s Club in Minneapolis.  Come join HRC and Outfront Minnesota for a night of music and community bonding as we ramp up our activities before November 2nd.

September 24 | 6:00 – 9:30 p.m.
The Women’s Club of Minneapolis
410 Oak Grove St. | Minneapolis, MN

Tickets range from – 0 and may be purchased here.

Prepared and paid for by Human Rights Campaign Minnesota PAC, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington D.C., in support of Mark Dayton for Governor.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Minnesota Archbishop: ‘There is no difference between the civil and religious definition of marriage…’

Minnesota Catholics’ aggressively anti-gay DVD campaign is currently traversing the state, mailbox to mailbox, marking the biggest waste of postage since the time its publishers mistakenly sent Guns & Ammo magazine to the Illiterate Pacifist Society’s entire mailing list. But regardless of how wasteful, cruel, unprovoked, and unnecessary this anti-civil rights campaign may be, it is now out of the proverbial barn, hoping to lay the same kind of groundwork that the Catholic community, egged on by the National Organization For Marriage, has built in several other states prior to putting gays’ basic equality to a public vote. So that means we have to deal with it.

That being the reality, we’re now going to ask you to listen to a man who’s already proving himself to be the Catholic figurehead of any potential anti-equality campaign that may arise, St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt. Here he walks to Minnesota Public Radio’s Tom Crann about why, exactly, he thinks that he and his fellow followers of the Catholic faith have a right to define the CIVIL marriage contract for everyone else:



*Full Transcript: Archbishop John Nienstedt on Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage [MPR]

No no — this attempt to stop civil marriage licensing based on the ancillary component of religious ceremony is not political. Except, of course, for the fact that it TOTALLY IS!

Seriously — How can this man sit here and act like this, a push for a referendum in a largely partisan fight that attempts to misguide citizens on the proper role of the legislature and/or judiciary and that always relies on political consultants and strategists for its fear-mongery “success” at the polls, is not a political action!? You don’t hear this writer, focused almost exclusively as I am on civil law and politics, trying to have it both ways by saying that I’m part of the Catholic Church, since every time I eat saltines with grape juice I take a de facto Holy Communion. If Nienstedt is gonna have his wafer and his conference calls with Maggie Gallagher too, then the least the Archbishop could do for all us gay folk is to honestly assess his own faith-based AND poll-based actions!

***

*This part, edited out of the above audio but included in the transcript, certainly piqued our interest:

Crann: Your position at the end of your statement on the DVD is remarkably like an email I received today telling me about an ad that’s been released by the National Organization for Marriage supporting Republican candidate Tom Emmer and his position. And so I’m wondering how is this position not partisan politics, especially timed as it is, six weeks before the election?

Nienstedt: Well, we, and I’m particularly, are very scrupulous about not endorsing any candidate of any party. That’s not our position. That’s not our right. We would certainly never tell people who to vote for, but the issues themselves are critical issues. And as a religious leader in this state, as a pastoral leader, I have a right to raise the issues and bring that to the attention of my people.

Interesting that Crann notes the similar language, because we’d be willing to bet considerable money that whatever “anonymous person” financed this DVD campaign has extremely cozy or even direct ties with NOM. We all know that NOM, already with a shocking number of ethics investigations surrounding them, will be nothing but cagey about whatever ties they might have. It’s up to us to pry.

***

*NOTE: If anyone has a connection to the Minnesota Catholic church, please get us a copy of the DVD, pronto!




Good As You

—  John Wright

HRC May Focus On Bringing Marriage Equality To Minnesota

The Human Rights Campaign recently announced that it will distribute 0,000 three ways in a push to make marriage equality a reality in Minnesota.

Ta According to the AP, "The Human Rights Campaign will give 0,000 to WIN Minnesota, a political fund backing Democrat Mark Dayton; ,000 to the gay rights group OutFront Minnesota to mobilize voters; and ,000 to state candidates, including Dayton. The group announced its plans to give the money last month after Target declined to match its initial donation with another donation to help candidates who support gay rights."

Joe Solmonese says that the donation is more than just a response to Target's own donation to help fund an anti-gay a political candidate. It believes that marriage equality could come to Minnesota very soon.

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that the donation is partly a response to Target's donation to a group helping Republican Tom Emmer in the governor's race. Emmer opposes gay marriage, and the Target contribution set off a national backlash among liberals and the retailer's gay employees and customers.

The Washington-based gay rights organization may spend more in Minnesota, which Solmonese said he views as one of the next states that could legalize gay marriage. Solmonese will deliver the keynote speech at the Human Rights Campaign's annual Twin Cities dinner in Minneapolis on Saturday. "We've understood long before the Target situation that Minnesota was poised, as is New York, to be the next state to win marriage equality," Solmonese said.

You may remember that last month The HRC recently said that it would remove Target from its Buyer's Guide list.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

The Minnesota GOP Would Like You To Know That Female Democrats Are Dogs

I looked at this yesterday and dismissed it as typical teabaggery. But today HuffPo reports this bit of assholery is actually the work of the Minnesota Republican Party.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

News: Sea Turtles, Fever Ray, Florida, Minnesota, Steve Cooley

RoadSenator John McCain wants us all to thank Bush for winning the Iraq war.

Reno RoadRepublican Party of Minnesota web ad says vote for the GOP because our women are hotter, compares Republican hotties to Democratic 'dogs'.

RoadGuess who's hosting the VMAs this year?

RoadFirst oiled turtles released in Gulf following rehab: "Even though oil spill rescue crews have brought more sea turtles and birds to shore in the month since BP capped its broken well than the previous month, wildlife officials said both kinds of animals have suffered less damage than originally projected."

RoadFairfield Weekly: Are Connecticut politics getting more gay, or just more out?

RoadBecause it's "time" for Cristiano Ronaldo to take his shirt off again?

RoadBetty White signs two-book deal with Putnam.

RoadMark Wahlberg producing one-hour HBO drama about the porn industry.

Jonlee RoadFormer S Club 7 band member Jon Lee: I'm gay.

RoadFirefighter charged with attacking transgender woman during online sex hook-up: "The firefighter initially told police he was just trying to help the woman when he was robbed, but he declined to explain why her online personal ad seeking sex was on his internet history."

RoadMen arrested in NYC gay porn shop stings agree to gag order: "The order allows Michael L. Spiegel and James I. Meyerson, the lawyers handling the four cases, and the five plaintiffs, including Robert Pinter, the gay man who in 2008 blew the whistle on the arrests, to show confidential material only to staff at their firms, experts they may hire, and the plaintiffs."

RoadSeparated baby humpback whale dies after mistaking buoy for its mother.

RoadTexas authorities treating HIV as deadly weapon in case involving sex with an underage male during a Grindr hook-up.

RoadAn interview with longtime porn star Dean Phoenix.

RoadCNN: gay rights attitudes shifting across globe. "Research indicates younger people are beginning to see sexual orientation as "benign variation, so that the differences between gay and nongay couples are simply not so interesting…Once that happens, societies have less interest in distinguishing between relationships of gay and nongay couples."

Firefighters  RoadThe NY firefighters calendar is back.

RoadSan Jose Rabbi Joseph Gitin dies at 104: "Rabbi Joseph Gitin, considered one of the oldest Reform rabbis in the world, who presided over San Jose's oldest Reform temple for the longest tenure of all its rabbis, died Monday in San Francisco…His family said in a written statement that Gitin fought hard for the passage of the civil rights, equal voting right, and equal housing bills. He also worked to protect the civil rights of the gay and lesbian communities."

Road Listen: Fever Ray covers Peter Gabriel's "Mercy Street".

RoadFlorida candidates Scott Galvin and Justin Flippen hopeful in upcoming primaries: "Primary elections set for Tuesday could yield two milestones if Florida voters elect a gay candidate to Congress and another man to become the first openly gay member of the state’s legislature."

RoadCalifornia Attorney General candidate Steve Cooley says he would defend Prop 8 in court, unlike Jerry Brown: "Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who's the Republican candidate for California Attorney General, would defend Proposition 8 in court if given the opportunity, says his campaign spokesman Kevin Spillane.

'The role of the attorney general is to defend the will of the people,' says Spillane. 'He would defend (Prop. 8) and appeal' U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that found the anti-gay marriage ballot measure to be unconstitutional."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Target Won’t Undo its Harm in Minnesota BUT YOU CAN

Over 100,000 people signed our open letter calling on Target to make it right after they donated 0,000 to support a Minnesota candidate with ties to a group that condoned the execution of gays.

As we reported yesterday, Target told us that they won’t be taking ANY corrective action to repair the harm they’ve caused. If that initial donation was a slap in the face, Target has now delivered a punch in the gut.

The stakes are too high in Minnesota to just sit back. The next governor will likely have the opportunity to either sign or veto marriage equality legislation – so HRC will devote 0,000 of our own resources to elect a pro-equality governor and lawmakers in this critical state.

To compete with unlimited amounts of corporate cash, we need your help. Will you help us counter Target’s donation by chipping in to aid that effort?

Donate to the HRC Minnesota PAC now to support marriage equality in these key races.

We expected more from these companies. Target has – and no doubt will continue to have – model employment policies for LGBT people.  We will continue to support those efforts, but our sights are now set on the election. With full marriage equality hanging in the balance in Minnesota, it’s important that we send a message that we will work tirelessly to elect pro-equality candidates.

So with Election Day just over two months away, we’re springing into action in the key state of Minnesota in order to advance marriage equality legislation and boost its supporters. With a donation to the HRC Minnesota PAC, you can help.

Fight for marriage: Contribute today to back our efforts in the critical state of Minnesota.

We all feel the sting of disappointment deeply, but our passion for change and equality runs even deeper.

Prepared and paid for by HRC Minnesota PAC, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036. This publication is not circulated on behalf of any candidate or ballot question.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Openly gay Minnesota State Sen. Paul Koering has dinner with porn star — and so what?

Sen. Paul Koering
Sen. Paul Koering

There’s been no shortage of scandals in recent years involving elected officials. It’s a long, long list, and one I’m not even gonna try to repeat it here.

Usually when it happens, the person that got caught responds in one of two ways: They issue blustery denials or they issue tearful apologies and beg forgiveness. Wait, okay, they respond in one of three ways, the third being blustery denials followed by tearful apologies.

But rarely — if ever — do we see a response like the one Minnesota State Sen. Paul Koering offered up after it hit the news that he had dinner with gay porn star Brandon Wilde, as reported by AVN Media Network. Basically, Koering answered with what amounts to a shoulder shrug and a “So what?”

Koering, who is a Republican and openly gay, said: ““I don’t see anything wrong with going out with him. Do I think that being a porn star is the best thing? No. But that’s his choice. I think he’s a nice guy.”

—  admin

Franken introduces anti-bullying measure

Sen. Al Franken
Sen. Al Franken

Al Franken, the comedian turned U.S. senator, this week introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act. The measure would add LGBT students — and those perceived to be LGBT — to existing federal laws protecting students from bullying.

Openly gay Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., introduced a similar bill in the House in January.

The topic of anti-gay bullying and harassment in public schools has made headlines in recent months due to some highly publicized cases of young people committing suicide after being bullied and harassed. And the popularity of social networking sites, like MySpace and FaceBook, has helped make what was once primarily a problem during the seven-hour school day into a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week problem.

In introducing the bill, Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said: “Our nation’s civil rights laws protect our children from bullying due to race, sex, religion, disability and national origin. My proposal corrects a glaring injustice and extends these protections to our gay and lesbian students who need them just as badly.”

Franken’s bill has 22 co-sponsors.

Even though Polis’ bill was introduced more than four months ago, there has been little action on it since then, notes the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. In fact, the newspaper points out, Minnesota Republican Rep. John Kline, the ranking Republican on the Education and Labor Committee, suggested that the bill isn’t needed because anti-LGBT bullying isn’t a problem in public schools (despite numerous studies showing just the opposite).

Kline said: “We should do what we can to prevent any student from being bullied. But I have serious concerns about any bill that turns our educators into ‘thought police’ and opens the door to endless lawsuits and litigation against our schools.”

—  admin

Minnesota governor vetoes 'Final Wishes' bill because he supports 'traditional marriage'

tim_pawlenty_mn_gov
Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Minnesota’s Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, on Saturday vetoed a bill passed by the state’s lawmakers that would have given same-sex partners control over the dispensation of their partners’ remains after death. Pawlenty said he vetoed the bill because it “addresses a non-existent problem” (same-sex couples can draw up living wills, he said) and because domestic partners should not be treated the same as married spouses.

In Minnesota, only surviving legally married spouses have the right to decide what to do with the remains of a deceased spouse. And of course, only opposite-gender couples are allowed to be legally married there.

Marriage — defined as between a man and woman — should remain elevated in our society at a special level, as it traditionally has been. I oppose efforts to treat domestic relationships as the equivalent of traditional marriage. Accordingly, I am opposed to this bill,” Pawlenty said.

The legislation, known as the Final Wishes Bill, would also have allowed surviving same-sex domestic partners to sue for recovery of hospital and funeral costs in the event of a wrongful death.

Pawlenty has said he won’t seek re-election as governor and has been rumored as a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2012.

You can read more about it at OnTop Magazine.

—  admin