The attorney who represents John Katehis,
the accused killer of gay journalist George Weber, says he may offer an
extreme emotional disturbance defense during the second trial for
the 18-year-old. Advocate.com: Daily News
Any bets as to who will be invited to the signing ceremony — Joe Solmonese? Dan Choi? Victor Fehrenbach? Who do you think should be there?
Though the schedule is being finalized, Gibbs said he expects a formal White House signing ceremony Wednesday morning to sign the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal.
“I think there are a lot of people who are interested in attending,” Gibbs said.
And in terms of how the military might roll out a repeal, the Palm Center released this information…
New Study: Pentagon Can Train Entire Force Rapidly
Politico.com’s Morning Defense column is reporting today about a new Palm Center study that concludes that the Pentagon could easily train the entire force in preparation for the elimination of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” http://www.politico.com/morningdefense/ According to the study, “any claim that DADT cannot be repealed until after the completion of exhaustive training is inconsistent with actual military needs.” The Palm Center provided a preliminary copy of the study to Politico.com and will publish a final version this week.
The new study reviews tools that the Pentagon uses to rapidly train the entire force, including troops deployed in combat zones, and offers case studies in which the Defense Department provided force-wide training within a matter of days or weeks. The study shows as well that in most cases, the Pentagon implements new policy concurrent with training, rather than waiting for the completion of training before implementing new rules. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to demand a delay lasting through most of 2011 to train the forces in preparation for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Palm Center scholars argue that training for the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is an uncomplicated task. Aaron Belkin, Palm’s Director, said that “the troops already know how to interact with gays because they do so every day.” The RAND Corporation concluded in 1993 that the “new policy should be kept as simple as possible,” and lessons from foreign militaries confirm the same point. Belkin added that, “When you read the Pentagon’s 87-page implementation plan, you see that the transition requirements can be boiled down to just two things: strong leadership and simple rules. This really isn’t rocket science.”
However, Fox gets right to the heart of what DADT repeal really means (via StopBeck)…
UPDATE: The final Senate vote on DADT is expected at 3pm Eastern. We should easily win that. Then the bill goes straight to the White House for the President’s signature, from what I understand.
And here’s the vote count. We got all the Ds, exception Manchin, who chickened out and didn’t vote at all (history repeats itself and West Virginia takes a proud stand against the major civil rights bill of the day, again). And we got the following Rs: Snowe; Collins; Murkowski; Voinovich; Brown; Kirk.
There’s a lot of thanks to go around for today’s incredible and somewhat surprising, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” victory. Please join us in thanking the troops, from Leonard Maltovich to Dan Choi, who made today possible. You can add your name to our open letter of thanks to all of them, and we’ll deliver it to our friends at SLDN and Servicemembers United.
Now, it’s true that this isn’t over. The Senate still has two more votes on DADT before this bill passes the Senate (but those are simple majority votes, so we expect no problem). Then the bill goes to the President for his signature. But even then it’s not over. The President will need to work with the Pentagon to come up with the new regulations lifting the ban, and even then Republicans in Congress may try to stop implementation of the repeal. We’ll need to watch this like a hawk every step of the way, and we will, but today we celebrate.
Everyone at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Servicemembers United. Especially their leaders, Aubrey Sarvis and Alex Nicholson, both proud vets. Then there are the vets. Leonard Matlovich, Perry Watkins, Tracy Thorne, Zoe Dunning, Justin Elzie, Michelle Beneke (and Dixon Osborn, who isn’t a vet, but set up SLDN 17 years ago with Michelle), Grethe Cammermeyer, Joe Steffan, Keith Meinhold, Eric Alva, Victor Fehrenbach, and Dan Choi… and so many more.
And let’s not forget the activists who weren’t willing to take no for an answer. Robin McGehee at GetEqual and the entire gay Netroots. Our friends in the White House who have been pushing this for two years, in the face of some serious internal challenges. Our friends on the Hill, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid – who both got this done. Senator Udall of Colorado. Senator Gillibrand. Senator Lieberman (yes, he actually busted his butt for us). Senators Snowe and Collins, and every other Republican and Democrat who finally came our way. And Congressman Patrick Murphy, who went the extra mile for us. And even the President, who finally got into gear (albeit a tad late) and made the calls necessary to make this happen.
I’m sure I’m forgetting far too many people, all the way back to my friends at the Campaign for Military Service back in 1993, and Michael in Senator Kennedy’s office who spent far too much time with me figuring out how to responds to the evil Sam Nunn.
So thank you all. It’s not over. But it’s a hell of a start, and a hell of a Christmas gift.
PS Okay, more folks coming to mind who helped out immensely. Kerry Eleveld at the Advocate who held Robert Gibbs’ feet to the fire, Richard Socarides who singlehandedly became one of our community’s top spokesmen on CNN and MSNBC. Trevor at SLDN and Brad Luna, the best PR folks you can find. And then there’s Paul Yandura and Jonathan Lewis, who went the extra mile, and then some, to make sure we all got equal. And the blogswarmers, from Pam Spaulding to Mike Signorile, Dan “It gets better” Savage, Andy Towle, Bill Browning, Joe Jervis, Adam Bink,and Jeremy Hooper.
It’s beginning to feel like the Oscars
Then there are the straight blogs, as we affectionately call them. Markos, a vet who earned his “honorary gay” medal years ago, Jane Hamsher who is about as dangerous a weapon on TV as any soldier in the field, and really everyone – Joe and I have remarked to ourselves numerous times how supportive the straight blogs have been to us and our issues over the years, so thank you, all of you. And not a blogger, but still a member of the Netroots, Jon Soltz at VoteVets, another vet who earned his honorary gay medal years ago, tirelessly fighting for us on TV far better than most of our groups.
And even OFA, while not yet quite earning their honorary gay medal, came through in the end and did some real work phone-banking and visiting Senate offices, so thank you.
UPDATE (7:30 PM): From today’s press gaggle with Robert Gibbs:
Q Robert, I just want to make sure we ask about “don’t ask, don’t tell” because there’s a big vote in the Senate tonight. What kind of calls is the President making? Is he talking to senators who are on the fence and –
MR. GIBBS: The President — I’m not going to get into a list of whom, but the President has over the course of the past several days made calls to Democrats and Republicans on two very important issues to him: passage of the DREAM Act and repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.
I think we are — on “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I think we are very, very close to seeing that repeal pass. You’ve had important endorsements over the past few days. And I think, in many ways, as a result of the process and the survey that the Pentagon issued last week, the President is hopeful and encouraging Democrats and Republicans to get behind that repeal.
On many previous occasions, I have said that I would oppose repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell until I had heard from our servicemen and women regarding this policy. I have now carefully reviewed all of the findings, reports, and testimony from our armed forces on this matter and I accept the Pentagon’s recommendations to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I also accept the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs’ commitment that this policy can be implemented in a manner that does not harm our military’s readiness, recruitment, or retention. We have the strongest military in the world and we will continue to do so by ensuring our troops have the resources necessary to carry out their missions. Therefore, I support the 2011 Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate Armed Services Committee and will support procedural measures to bring it to a vote this year.
PHONE CALLS TODAY COULD BE CRITICAL- so here is a ‘call to action’ list of phone numbers:
This is a list of key Senators. Please call them if you are one of their constituents. Please feel free to share this event with others who are willing to step up and do their part. Call your senator and thank them if they support repeal.
Collins spokesman Kevin Kelley emails me (The Plum Line):
Senator Collins has maintained that the Senate should be focused on taxes and the economy (especially since the tax provisions expire on January 1) and obviously we need to pass a bill funding the government before Friday.
These are top priorities and there is limited time.
However, she believes there is time to consider other issues as well, and she has made it clear that if the Majority Leader brings the Defense Authorization bill to the floor, for example, and allows sufficient debate and amendments, she would vote to proceed to the bill.
Asked for further clarification, Kelley confirmed that this could happen even if the Bush tax cuts have not yet been extended. Collins, you will recall, has long said she will support repeal of DADT if Harry Reid allows an extended and open debate and amendment process. If Reid goes through with this, Collins could very well buck McConnell and vote for repeal.
Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department’s general counsel and co-author of the Pentagon’s repeal study, says that despite pushback on repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” from some lawmakers and military leaders, history shows that “the predictions about what is going to happen overestimate the negative consequences.” Advocate.com: Daily News
I hope this is a joke. Putting one of the lead opponents of repealing DADT as Secretary of Defense? Yeah, that would be a wise move.
But speculation for the top Pentagon job in recent days has included two respected veterans on military matters, both with bipartisan credentials and hands-on experience: John J. Hamre, a deputy defense secretary in the Clinton administration who now leads the Center for Strategic and International Studies while running the Defense Policy Board, an advisory panel to Mr. Gates; and Ike Skelton, the Missouri congressman who lost his seat last week, and with it the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee.
Asked about her warning earlier this year that a “Second Amendment solution” may result if the teabaggers don’t get their way, Sharron Angle told a reporter that she hopes it doesn’t come to that, “but anything is possible, I suppose.”
We are very excited for the groundbreaking of Fox News host Greg Gutfeld's new Ground Zero gay bar aimed at Muslim men. So while Greg finds the space, a manager, and secures a liquor license, we consulted with some of the branding industry's finest experts (read: UrbanDictonary.com) to find out what sort of semi-offensive names he could use to name the place.
TRANS FRIENDLY? | Judge Lynn Cherry, right, is shown alongside drag performer Chanel during Stonewall Democrats’ 2008 holiday party at the Round-Up Saloon. A few months later, Cherry ruled against a transgender DART employee and overturned a gender-marker change. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)
DART stands accused of bigotry and transphobia after attorneys for the local transit agency intervened in family court last year to challenge a gender-marker change granted to an employee.
According to court records, a transgender DART employee obtained a court order in February 2009 directing all state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female, including on her birth certificate.
As Dallas Voice reported last week, many Dallas County judges have been routinely granting gender-marker changes to transgender people who meet set criteria — including documentation from licensed medical personnel — since the Democratic sweep of 2006.
The DART employee, who’s name is being withheld to protect her anonymity, later presented the court order to the transit agency’s human resources department and requested that her personnel records be changed to reflect her new gender.
But DART’s attorneys objected to the gender-marker change and responded by filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court. DART’s objections prompted 301st Family District Court Judge Lynn Cherry to reverse her order granting the gender-marker change.
“Where does this stop when an employer can start interfering with your personal life and family law decisions?” said longtime local transgender activist Pamela Curry, a friend of the DART employee who brought the case to the attention of Dallas Voice. “She was devastated. This should be a serious concern to a lot of people — everybody — and I just think this story needs to be told.”
Judge Cherry, who received Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ Pink Pump Award for her support of the group last year, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.
Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for DART, noted that Cherry reversed her order before the agency actually filed its motion for a rehearing. However, Curry alleges that DART’s attorneys met with Cherry privately and pressured her into reversing the order.
As is common with gender-marker changes, the case file has been sealed, but Dallas Voice obtained copies of some of the court documents from Curry.
In their motion for a rehearing, DART attorneys Harold R. McKeever and Hyattye Simmons argued that Texas law grants registrars, not judges, the authority to amend birth certificates. They also argued that birth certificates could be amended only if they were inaccurate at the time of birth.
“It’s not a DART issue, it’s a point of law,” Lyons told Dallas Voice this week, in response to the allegations of bigotry. “The lawyers concluded that the birth certificate could not be altered by law, unless there was a mistake made when the birth certificate was completed, and again, the judge changed the order before we even wound up going into court with it.”
Asked about DART’s LGBT-related employment policies, Lyons said the agency’s nondiscrimination policy includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression. The agency, which is governed by representatives from Dallas and numerous suburbs, also doesn’t offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees.
Lyons didn’t respond to other allegations made by Curry, including that the agency has fought the employee’s transition from male to female at every step of the way.
Curry, who helped the employee file her pro se petition for a gender-marker change, said the employee has worked for DART for more than 20 years and has an outstanding performance record.
The employee began to come out as transgender in 2003 and had gender reassignment surgery more than three years ago, Curry said. Curry said DART supervisors have at various times told the employee that she couldn’t have long hair, couldn’t wear skirts to work and couldn’t use women’s restrooms at work.
The employee has responded by showing up at work in her uniform so she doesn’t have to change and using public restrooms on her bus route, Curry said.
Supervisors have also told the employee she can’t talk to the media and can’t join political groups, such as Stonewall Democrats, Curry said.
“She’s intimidated and she’s scared,” Curry said. “One supervisor even suggested to her that if she doesn’t lay off it, they will mess up her retirement.”
Elaine Mosher, a Dallas attorney who’s familiar with the case, also questioned why DART intervened. Mosher didn’t represent the employee in the case but has handled gender-marker changes for other clients.
Mosher said the employee’s gender doesn’t have any bearing on her ability to do her job at DART.
“My argument in any gender marker matter is, the birth certificate was wrong, that’s why they had to go through the transition surgery, in essence to put them in the correct gender,” Mosher said. “All I can tell you is that it seems strange to me that DART would care one way or another what the gender marker of anybody that works for them is.”
Moster added that she believes someone at DART may have been “freaked out” by the employee’s transition from male to female and developed a “vendetta” against her.
“I wish I had a good explanation for why [DART got involved] other than the fact that I know there are people out there who are utterly blind and prejudiced for no other reason than they are,” Mosher said. “I compare it to some of the nonsense African-Americans had to live through in the ’60s.”
Mosher also said she’s “very surprised” that Cherry reversed the order granting the gender marker change.
Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats, said she’s heard “bits and pieces” of the story but isn’t sure of all the facts.
Moore said in response to her questions about the case, Cherry told her she couldn’t talk about it because it’s still within the timeframe for a possible appeal.
“Lynn is a longtime supporter of Stonewall and I would think she would be fair in the case,” Moore said. “I’m confident she’s an ally to this community.”
RIGHT AT HOME: Owner Wayne Falcone polished a gem of Oak Lawn history by rescuing and reinventing the Daisy Polk House. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice
BEST BED AND BREAKFAST
Daisy Polk Inn
2917 Reagan St., Dallas.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Daisy Suite and Reagan Suite: $150 a night.
Dickason Suite: $129 a night. DaisyPolkInn.com
The Daisy Polk Inn is every bit the grand dame that its namesake was. Built in 1904 and fully restored by 2002, the home was first owned by, who else, Daisy Polk — an “up and coming” star (according to the Dallas Press) of the Dallas opera scene who also taught at Hockaday School for Girls and passed away in 1980.
She lived at the Reagan Street address for 60 years. The gorgeous arts and crafts home now belongs to local pharmacist Wayne Falcone, who purchased the property in 1996. He lovingly restored it to its natural and historically correct beauty with the help of Dallas antiques expert and interior designer Gerald Tomlin.
Once the home was granted historical status and licensure to become a bed and breakfast, Falcone decided to open its doors to the public.
Guests can rent any one of the three rooms or the whole place if they prefer. Unlike typical B&Bs. Falcone turns over the keys to his guests, and they have the place to themselves until morning, when breakfast is served. And breakfast at the Daisy Polk Inn is no simple affair. From the china to the home-baked goodies, it is a lavish meal that guests won’t soon forget.
A little more than two years ago, most of America seemed to have written off New Orleans — it was destined to become a modern-day Atlantis, swallowed up by the sea and passed away into legend.
But the residents of the Crescent City would have none of that. They persevered, rehabilitating the city as quickly as possible and welcoming back tourists — especially gay tourists — with enthusiasm. (It helps that the French Quarter, the center of gay life, is above sea-level and was largely spared when the levees broke.)
Certainly bachelor revelers into great partying and easy hookups don’t have to find a reason to frequent the Big Easy other than Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, but the city’s old antebellum charm makes it a romantic getaway for couples, too.
For exploring together, there’s the fabulous architecture, much of it spared from the hurricane: elaborate wrought iron, ethereal churches, sprawling plantations on the outskirts (including one, Houmas House, where “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” was filmed).
So yes, New Orleans is a great party town for solos, but we love to go there as pairs. After all, even couples know how to party.
— Arnold Wayne Jones
BEST AIRLINE American Airlines
Corporate headquarters: 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas.
Mon.-Sat. 24 hrs. aa.com or American Airlines Rainbow
BEST NATIONAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE Travelocity
Corporate headquarters: 3150 Sabre Drive, Southlake, Texas.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs. Travelocity.com
BEST LOCAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE Best Gay Cruises
P.O. Box 59994, Dallas.
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. BestGayCruises.com
BEST BUDGET HOTEL CHAIN La Quinta
Corporate headquarters: 909 Hidden Ridge, Suite 600, Irving, Texas.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs. LQ.com
BEST LUXURY HOTEL CHAIN Hilton Hotels
Eight hotels in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs. Hilton.com
BEST DALLAS HOTEL W Dallas-Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs. WHotels.com/Dallas
BEST AIRPORT SHUTTLE SERVICE SuperShuttle
SuperShuttle local office: 3010 N. Airfield Drive, Suite 100, DFW Airport, Texas.
With service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Love Field and Fort Worth Meacham International Airport.
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs. SuperShuttle.com