Houston Aeros’ Justin Fontaine suspended for anti-gay tweet

Justin Fontaine

Houston’s American Hockey League team, the Aeros, has suspended player Justin Fontaine for two games after a homophobic tweet from the right winger.

The suspension was handed down from the Aeros’ parent NHL team the Minnesota Wild, who issued a press statement apologizing for Fontaine’s “inappropriate” comment.

Fontaine has since removed the offending tweet and tweeted an apology, saying “Twitter rookie and it came out totally wrong. It was a roommate battle, nothing more.” Missing from Fontaine’s apology was any recognition that it is cruel to use a term for queer people to deride something.

The issue is not that Fontaine used a naughty word, or that he did it in a public venue. The issue is that Fontaine seems to think that words meaning LGBT people are synonyms for “a thing I don’t like.” It’s hard to imagine that that equation does not stem from a dislike for LGBT people.

—  admin

‘Perform or provide’

DADT repeal gives progressive chaplains a chance to counter evangelical clergy in the military

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CATCH-ALL CHAPLAIN | Chaplain Chris Antal (Lt.) attended the meeting of the Forum on Military Chaplaincy at Cathedral of Hope in October. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com
When a soldier recently came to Chaplain Chris Antal, a lieutenant in the Army National Guard in New York and a Unitarian Universalist minister, and asked if he’d pray with her even though she was a pagan, he said he replied, “Of course I will, but you’ll have to show me how.”

Several weeks later, when he saw her again, she told him that the day she had come to visit him, she had hit rock bottom. He had, she told him, saved her life that day.

But Antal said he was only doing his job — helping any soldier who comes to him.

“I’ve earned the nickname, the Catch-all Chaplain,” he said, explaining that it means he takes everyone the other chaplains don’t want to deal with.

Carpenter.Dodd

Capt. Tom Carpenter (ret.) and Col. Paul Dodd (ret.)

Being there to help a soldier in need is what it’s all about for a military chaplain, said Col. Paul Dodd, a retired chaplain who now lives in Austin.

“The duty of a military chaplain is to perform or provide,” said Dodd, adding that he once sponsored an Islamic conference.

Dodd said that no chaplain can perform every service needed by every member of the military. But if a chaplain can’t perform the service requested, he or she must provide that soldier with a referral to someone else who can.

Antal said that chaplains who enlisted knew what they were getting into — to some extent. But none of them really expected the repeal of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And for many, that repeal was a game changer.

In October, a group of active and retired chaplains and military personnel and other people of faith, such as the Rev. Steve Sprinkle from Brite Divinity

School in Fort Worth, met at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope to begin looking at ways of addressing the issues that arose for military chaplains around DADT repeal.

Dave Guy Gainer said The Forum on Military Chaplaincy is not exactly new. It formed in 2005 as a project of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and worked under the radar until DADT was repealed.

Sprinkle said people in the Pentagon, up through Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, knew about their work and considered their statements throughout the DADT repeal process.

And now, with repeal complete, the group met to “come out.” At their meeting in Dallas, forum members considered ways to become an independent organization helping to ensure newly out service members receive the pastoral care they need while serving in the military.

Susan Gore, principle of The Mentor Group and editor of the book Coming Out In Faith, moderated the Dallas conference. She said the group started with several retired military officers “who wanted to push back against the far-right skew.”

Sprinkle has been part of the forum for four years and said he was recruited to participate because of his work on hate crimes.
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sprinkle said, more and more members of the Chaplain Corps have come from just one school — Liberty

University, founded by far-right evangelical Jerry Falwell. Today, Sprinkle estimated, one-third of military chaplains come from Liberty University.

“They instituted a program that barely meets minimum requirements,” he said of the evangelical school. “It’s an online course.”

And, Sprinkle said, Liberty University’s goal is to take control of the Chaplain Corps and use the military as a pool for religious recruits.

“This is fertile ground to bring people to Jesus at taxpayer expense,” said Tom Carpenter, a retired Marine captain and one of the forum’s founders.

“I’ve heard stories of them holding the hand of someone who’s dying and trying to bring them to Jesus.”

And although such actions contradict military policy, no one in the corps has been disciplined or dismissed for it.

“They give chaplains a lot of leeway,” Carpenter said.

Gainer said the military is looking for well-rounded ministers who bring experience with them to the military.

According to the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School in Fort Jackson, S.C., candidates must be endorsed by their denomination or faith group and be “sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work for the Army.”

But Sprinkle said that Liberty University is transparent about its goals, and those goals do not line up.

“They’re not committed to pluralism or serving all the troops,” he said.

Gainer said that the greatest opposition to repealing DADT came from the Chaplain Corps because military chaplains answer to two groups — the military and their denomination. Those chaplains that didn’t adhere to a strict stance of maintaining the ban on gays and lesbians were threatened with losing their accreditation from their endorsing religious body — and with it their livelihood and their pensions.

But that contradicts the stated goals of the Chaplain Corps.

“Someone has to say, ‘Either you comply and serve all the troops all the time or get out,’” Sprinkle said.

Gore said that one of the goals of the newly public forum is to “rebalance the Chaplain Corps by bringing in more mainstream faiths.” She said that for many who come from more liberal traditions, questions of what’s a just war make it hard to serve in the military. Antal, for example, is one of just four Unitarian Universalists in the Chaplain Corps.

During its push for repeal of DADT, members
said, the forum had several successes working behind the scenes.

Despite the assumption of confidentiality between parishioner and clergy, that wasn’t always the case between gay soldier and chaplain. Dodd said that a number of discharges under DADT occurred after a soldier talked to a chaplain and the chaplain turned them in.

In fact, he wrote a white paper on the practice. After he submitted it, the military tightened up on chaplain confidentiality, Dodd said.

Carpenter, an attorney, wrote an amicus brief for the Log Cabin Republicans’ lawsuit against DADT. The court found in favor of declaring DADT unconstitutional, but Congress repealed the law before the decision could be enforced.

Carpenter said that the repeal allows gays and lesbians to serve with no protection. The legal decision, had it not been vacated upon repeal, would have allowed gays and lesbians to serve equally.

Now that DADT is gone, the forum is examining how to ensure LGB personnel receive the same services as other troops from chaplains.

Dodd said that right-wing chaplains charge that allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military will force them to act in ways that go against their beliefs. Some have said they would be required to perform same-sex weddings.

Dodd called that ridiculous. Chaplains are never asked to perform duties that go against their religious beliefs, he said.

“I turned down weddings,” he said. “An officer came to me who wasn’t divorced.”

He said the officer tried to pull strings and force the issue, but Dodd wasn’t going to discuss marrying someone who was still married to someone else.

“But we’re insisting chaplains have the authority, if it’s in keeping with their faith, to marry same-sex couples,” he said.

Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, the repeal provides no family benefits. For some issues, Dodd and Carpenter suggested work-arounds.

Issuing ID cards would be extremely helpful, especially to same-sex couples with children, Carpenter said, noting that “That way either parent could get on base to get a child to the hospital.”

In another example, joint assignments can be offered at the discretion of a commanding officer, and married couples are often assigned together when they both qualify for positions that are available at the same base. Same-sex couples could be given the same priority.

As the forum looks ahead, rebalancing the Chaplain Corps with members from a more diverse background to reflect the membership of the military is a priority.

“And we need to take care of our trans brothers and sisters,” Carpenter said.

The repeal of DADT did not address any transgender issues and does not allow transgender men or women to serve in the military.

Gainer believes representatives of the forum need to sit down with far-right members of the Chaplain Corps and agree to disagree. He said that before the repeal of DADT, they talked to people at Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. While both groups testified against the repeal, they met with some success.

“The president of the VFW in Pflugerville said it was the right thing to do,” Gainer said.

That dialogue, he believed, would help chaplains perform or at least provide a useful referral, rather than doing more damage to a soldier seeking help.

Gore thought that the focus of discussion should be with the majority of chaplains “who want to do a good job and are part of the moveable middle.”

“We have to convince administrators and educators in divinity schools to encourage some of their best and brightest to serve,” Sprinkle said. “So many schools dropped what they were doing during the Vietnam era.”

Antal thinks that gays and lesbians will gain more acceptance as they tell their stories in non-confrontational settings and others see “their identity as professional service members is primary.”

While the work of the forum will concentrate on helping LGB military personnel, creating a more diverse Chaplain Corps may help a majority of service members. Recent polls show that a majority of troops find the chaplaincy irrelevant.

Sprinkle called the work of the forum a gift from the LGBT community to the nation.

“You wouldn’t think we’d be the ones opening the doors so that all troops will be served with dignity, integrity and respect,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

What’s Shakin’ – Wolfman at Wortham, Vampires on Pacific St.

The Wolfman1. If you got your hard-core Halloween partying out of the way this weekend, why not curl up under the stars (and a blanket) for the 1941 horror classic “The Wolfman,” at the Miller Outdoor Theater in Herman Park. Show starts at 7:30 pm. In this version the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr.) has an estranged father, frequents antique stores, caries an ornate walking stick for no particular reason and (of course) engages in nocturnal behavior of a hairy and bestial sort. Sounds like some of my friends. Admission is free, but prime spots on the lawn fill up quickly so arrive early.

2. If you didn’t get your hard-core partying out of the way then you’ll be glad to know that the clubs of Pacific street are still going strong. JR’s Bar‘s “Anytheme Goes” party (808 Pacific) and Meteor‘s “True Blood” festivities (2306 Genesee) continue tonight with a costume contests at 11 pm, while South Beach‘s “Twilight” fete (810 Pacific) waits till midnight for its contest . Cash prizes are up for grabs at all three for best costume, best couple or group and most outrageous costume.

3. Broadway World reports that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D – NY, plans to introduce the Senate companion to the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” introduced by Rep. Pete Stark, D – CA, last May. The bill would remove barriers to otherwise qualified LGBT parents servings as foster parents or adopting. “By removing all barriers for LGBT families to serve as foster parents, New York City has increased its foster parent pool by nearly 26,000 prospective parents,” said Gillibrand. This legislation would open thousands of new foster and adoptive homes to children ensuring they are raised in loving families.” So far only three of Texas’ thirty-two congressional representatives, including Houston’s own Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, have signed on as cosponsors.

 

—  admin

As we prep our Family Life section, another non-bio lesbian mom loses access to child

We here at Dallas Voice are hard at work this week getting ready to publish our first-ever Family Life special section. That’s why this news story about a non-bio lesbian mom in Ohio losing access to her child had a special resonance for me this week.

Michelle Hobbs and Kelly Mullen had a child together in 2005, with Mullen as the biological mother who conceived through in vitro. But even though Mullen had signed a health-care power of attorney, a general durable power of attorney and will where she nominated Hobbs as the child’s guardian, when the two women split up, Mullen still decided to cut off contact between Hobbs and her child. And on Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court said Mullen could get away with that.

(By the way, the two women took out a second mortgage on the home they owned to pay for the in vitro fertilization process.)

Justice Robert Cupp, writing the opinion for the majority in the 4-3 decision, said, “Hobbs was a nonparent under Ohio law despite her active role in raising and caring for the child.” The court also said that because Mullen never finalized Hobbs’ parental rights in a legally binding contract, she had the right to end Hobbs’ parental role with the child when the two women split.

This, of course, isn’t the only case where a biological parent decided to cut off a non-bio parent’s access to children the two had raised together. But it seems especially timely to me, given the special section we are getting ready to publish. So if you and your partner have — or are considering having — children, be sure and check out Friday’s issue of Dallas Voice. We’ll have information in that issue on legal ways to protect yourself, your partner and your children, as well as other articles pertaining to various aspects of “family life” in all its forms in the LGBT community.

—  admin

GUEST POST: Adventures in Being a Single Gay Parent

The following post comes from Brian Tessier, Esq. in celebration of National Adoption Month. Brian is the President and Chief Executive Officer of We Hear The Children Inc. and a member of the All Children – All Families Advisory Council. This post also appears in the Proud Parenting’s blog.

There are only two things I ever wanted to be in this life, a husband and a father. Now, imagine watching men run for the next county, when you tell them. To shorten a very long story, I decided to become a father as becoming a husband was proving much more difficult. I was beginning to think I had a better chance at pregnancy. So after a period of interviews and navigation through the complex legal and emotional process I got a call on the day before Thanksgiving 2004, telling me that there was a little boy who was two years old.

So begins the saga: In the initial visit with my son, I witnessed a child who was bright, smiled, yelled, stomped his feet and screamed. It was not that he could not talk, he would not talk. He had his own language, created in his mind to get his needs satisfied as a result of them not being met prior. I was told that he could only say 7 words, all in Spanish. I went to a corner on this initial visit and sat there with a book and a stuffed bear and waited. Ever so slowly, he approached me, would touch me and run away and giggle. Eventually, he sat in my lap and looked at me for a while, with his social worker, the foster mother and my adoption worker looking on he put his hand on my face and said “daddy”. This was not one of the words that he knew and it was not in Spanish……so it began.

We finalized the adoption in July of 2005, after paternity leave, teaching him to speak, potty training (I would gladly take any bar exam again to never have to potty train again) where he would sit on the toilet and sing and practice his words when he thought I was out of ear shot. I sat around the corner from the bathroom and cried as I listened to his words, imagination and person come alive. Now, we are deep in the threes and he talks constantly, questions everything and wakes each morning with ‘Love you Daddy” and leaves me each night with what we call a “forever” hug, as he knows I will be his daddy forever. Every night my son picks a book to read, recently he asked for a book with a mommy in it. You are never quite prepared to answer certain questions and despite all my best efforts to be as prepared as possible to counter the mind of a toddler, I am inevitably stumped at times.

We found a book with a mommy in it and climbed into his big boy bed to read. Once in bed, he asked me if he would have a mommy (the lump in my throat and holding back tears) I started that there are families out there who have mommies, daddies, and all various combinations but a family is about all the people who love you. My son started to recite all of the people who are in and who touch both his and my life….the list is rather long but I let him go on. He finished with “all people”, “yes, all people” I said, “Love me” he said, “My family” he stated. I held my son against my chest and he gave me a forever hug, I cried as I heard “love you daddy”.

I am sure this is not the last time I will be asked about this issue, but never did I think I would be asked about it at three. Knowing my son, had I not satisfied his need for an answer he would have pressed me for a better answer. However, in his mind his family is all the people who love him. There is much to be learned from children, I learn daily and for that I am thankful.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

The Florida Gay Parent Adoption Ban Has Gone The Way Of The Dodo

Anita Bryant would probably be rolling in her grave — if she were dead, that is. That’s because Florida’s longstanding gay adoption is now as extinct as the dodo bird.

From The Advocate‘s Fla. Gay Adoption Ban No More:

Image: Florida Attorney General Bill McCollumFlorida attorney general Bill McCollum announced Friday that he will not that he will not appeal last month’s ruling by a state appellate court striking down a state law barring gay people from adopting.

McCollum’s announcement puts a final end to the law after 33 years on the books. Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) had already announced they would not challenge the decision.

The attorney general had until today to decide whether he would challenge the decision.

“This law, by baselessly branding gay people unfit parents, was one of the most notorious anti-gay laws in the country, and we are delighted that it has been ended once and for all,” said Leslie Cooper, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project, who argued the case before Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal. “This victory means that the thousands of children in Florida who are waiting to be adopted will no longer be needlessly deprived of willing and able parents who can give them the love and support of a family.” …

Gee, an Attorney General choosing not to appeal what he considers unconstitutional. A lesson for the Obama Administration and its Department of Justice on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, perhaps? Well, not a lesson the Obama Admin will likely take away from this Florida decision by McCollum’s office.

But, the big winners in this decision not to appeal is for children in that state’s foster care system. A larger pool of loving,  potential parents means a better chance for these children experience love, and to develop stable lives.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Adoption now official: NOM the proud parent of one over-the-top Facebook wall

For months now we’ve been telling you how the National Organization For Marriage has been slowly incorporating Louis “gays want pedophilia, polygamy, and prostitution” Marinelli‘s online initiatives into their strategy. Now they have made it even more official, declaring that Louis’ often incendiary “Protect Man One Woman” Facebook page is now NOM’s organizational home:

Screen Shot 2010-09-28 At 9.55.25 Am

[NOM's official Facebook wall]

So it’s now one billion percent official, folks: The incredibly eye-opening, “ex-gay”-backing “Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman” Facebook page that was created by newfound NOM strategist (and bus driver) Louis Marinelli is NOM’s “new home on Facebook.” Just a reminder: This is the same Louis J. Marinelli who has used Paul Cameron’s research to say that “gays have shorter life spans,” who thinks that all gays are single even if they are married or in a committed relationship, who thinks that Peter LaBarbera and his fringe “Americans For Truth” group is merely “tell[ing] the truth about homosexuality,” who says that marriage equality is “a mockery and a hijacking of the civil rights movement,” who flat-out calls gays an abomination, who says that “Deviance” describes actions or behaviours that violate cultural norms – homosexuality is far from a cultural norm. Therefore, it is deviant,” who claims that “Homosexuality and gay marriage are wrong and harmful to society,” who thinks that “there shouldn’t be any recognition of homosexual relationships because that is saying that homosexuality is OK,” who says that “what they do is blantantly [sic] immoral. :) [smile his own], ” who has compared our unions to that which might exist between a sterile brother and sister, who resorts to blanket character assassination in saying that one should “#nevertrust activists of the homosexual agenda – they are deceitful people who care only about themselves and not what’s best for society,” and who has made an egregious video declaring that modern LGBT rights activists want the “3 P’s: Prostitution, pedophilia, and polygamy“:

This is the same Marinelli who has also hit up this site’s comment threads, continuing his attempts to link gays to pedophilia and polygamy. And also remember: This Marinelli-crafted Facebook wall is the same one where a commenter recently suggested that California should be “glassed with nuclear warheads,” one where gays have been called “victims of mental illness,” where commenters pose questions about whether or not “gays are heterosexuals misguided by satan,” and where jaw-drops are a daily occurrence. All adopted by NOM.

We remain shocked that folks as politically savvy as Maggie Gallagher and Robert George would allow this to happen. But whatever — they have. So use it. And spread it widely.

**

**UPDATE: Among the pages that this newly official NOM Facebook page counts as a favorite? Regina Griggs’ incredibly fringe “ex-gay” advocacy group:

Screen Shot 2010-07-13 At 5.05.07 Pm-1

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**EARLIER: Reliably volatile messaging’s on the wall, but NOM doesn’t seem to care. Seems to like it, even. [G-A-Y]

Who needs a militant agenda? NOM has allowed selves (and message) to be hijacked [G-A-Y]




Good As You

—  John Wright

Towleroad Interview: Archie Comics’ Dan Parent

A few months ago, Archie Comics writer and artist Dan Parent announced that the comic book publication giant will introduce it's first openly gay character in the pages of Veronica. Dan chatted with me about the character Kevin Keller, who will make his debut next month, and how he went about creating him.

Dp SP: What sparked the idea of introducing a gay character into the Archie Comics world?

DP: It all started in an editorial meeting.  I had an idea about Veronica going bonkers over a guy who was gay, and the powers that be liked it.  It coincided with our desire to expand diversity in Riverdale, so before long the idea became a reality.

SP: How did you come up with the final visual design of Kevin?

DP: Well, I tried to give him characteristics that some of the other guys didn't have, like wavy hair.  And there aren't many blonde guys in the group either. He's good looking, but has to be to catch veronica's eye. 

SP: How much did you think about stereotypes when creating Kevin?

DP: I was aware of them.  I didn't want him to be clichéd, but I also didn't want to run in the other direction either.  He's the boy next door. He's just gay.

SP: Were any gays or lesbians consulted during the creation of Kevin?

Yes, some gay friends of mine and Archie's were shown early versions of the story.

SP: What kind of feedback did they give?

DP: My gay friends liked where we were going with the story.  They felt that it was important to use the word "gay", and not skirt around the word.  Of course we used the word, thankfully, without hesitation.

Read the rest of the interview, AFTER THE JUMP.

Kk SP: How did the higher ups at Archie Comics react when they learned you wanted to introduce a gay character to the series?

DP: They were fully on board.  This couldn't have happened without them.

SP: Is there talk of giving Kevin a romantic interest?

DP: Right now, I'm still getting Kevin through the door in Riverdale!  He still has to start school and meet a lot more or our cast of characters.  And he does have friends from his hometown that may be brought in.

SP: You've said that you're trying to showcase the contemporary and diverse world of Archie. What other kinds of diverse people can we expect to see introduced in the pages of the comic book series in the future?

DP: Everybody.  Different nationalities, faiths. The door is open to everyone.

SP: Have you or anyone at Archie Comics received criticism since the news was released that a gay character would be introduced into the Archie Comics world?

DP: The response has been extremely positive.  For every negative comment, there are a hundred positive ones.  We seem to be in a much more accepting place in society, which is a step forward for every kid out there who may feel like an outsider.  There's a place for you in this world, including Riverdale!


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright