Exclusive: New Hampshire’s leading ‘protect marriage’ group pushing gay ‘cures’

Earlier this morning we let you hear a clip wherein the president of New Hampshire’s leading “pro-family” group, Kevin Smith of Cornerstone Policy Research, revealed that he not only wants to get rid of the state’s marriage equality, but also its prior civil unions system. And while we were shocked that he’d admit that the group’s intent went beyond marriage and smack into basic rights and protections, it appears that maybe we didn’t even go far enough in terms of either shock or insight. Because check this out: We just found these “helpful links” listed on Cornerstone’s newly revamped website (which just relaunched today):

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Yes, that’s right: The group that’s seeking to roll back basic protections in the state is also pushing scientifically-discredited “ex-gay” programs and “research.” Four of the six of the above links (Love Won Out, NARTH, Exodus, and PFOX) are solely dedicated to changing/curing/praying away the gay. As in that’s all they do: Seek ways to keep the “gays can change” meme alive (or perhaps we should say “ex-dead”).

This is not about politics. Not about referenda or court battles. Not about “protecting marriage,” like Cornerstone and their allies at the National Organization For Marriage always claim. What this shows, with 100% certainty, is that the group that’s most prominently, most vocally hoping to reshape the marriage debate in the Live Free or Die State is also hoping to reshape gay people’s very cores of existence in ways that fly in the face of ALL credible science.

They have now put this into the debate. It’s up to us to make sure every single state lawmaker knows it.

Good As You

—  admin

‘OPERATION RENEWED ENGAGEMENT’: Gay vets and allies are on the Hill pushing for DADT vote

Servicemembers United is conducting “OPERATION RENEWED ENGAGEMENT” on Capitol Hill. The lobbying effort, which started yesterday and will continue through tomorrow, will hit 71 Senate offices. Via press release, we got this update:

“Despite the ongoing snow storm in Washington, DC right now, gay veterans and allies are storming the Hill for a second day in a row to demand that the Senate finish the job on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ before leaving for the holidays,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and the Servicemembers United Action Fund. “The fact that these advocates are braving the snow to fight for what they believe in should demonstrate that we will not accept any excuses from lawmakers for failing to get this done, including bad weather or time running out.”

I just talked to Alex who reports that Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) have joined as cosponsors of the DADT bill, which brings the total to 50. We’ll get more updates from him later today.

Alex is right: There are no excuses. And, while time is running out, there is time for the Senate to vote for the DADT bill.

As noted below, earlier today, Robert Gibbs said we have the votes to pass the DADT bill, adding “there’s an effort to get his done if we have time to do it.”

The message from SU and its allies is pretty clear: Make the time to do it.


—  admin

HRC Pushing in Virginia for DADT Repeal

With the November elections behind us and Congress back in just two days, HRC and our allies are working around the clock to make sure the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is repealed once and for all. It has been a long year and a hard fight for DADT repeal advocates and our end goal is in sight. In May, the House passed DADT repeal language in its version of the FY 2011 defense authorization bill, but Republicans in the Senate blocked the bill from coming up for a vote there. Now is our time for repeal. Congress MUST vote this year to repeal DADT, because it may be our last chance at legislative repeal for a long time.

After spending the spring in Florida for DADT, I hit the ground in Virginia this week to continue the work of my fellow HRC organizers and focus our year long efforts to ensure Senator Webb’s support. Webb previously indicated that he would defer to the Pentagon study before taking a position on repeal. With the release of the study just around the corner on December the 1st, and with early leaks indicating that our military is overwhelming in support or indifferent to repeal, it is time for Senator Webb to stand up in support of repeal.

If you are a family member of a veteran or Active Duty service member from Virginia, please call Senator Webb’s office today at 202-224-4024 and ask him to put aside politics and pass the National Defense Authorization Act with language that repeals “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Time is short; we need your help.

To get involved in our DADT efforts in Virginia, please call David Turley at 202-330-3790 or email me at David.Turley@hrc.org. Make sure that you also make it over to HRC’s online Action Center to make your voice heard.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Are Pop Songs Pushing Pro-Gay Messages About Acceptance, Or Marketing Vapid Artists?

Katy Perry, Adam Lambert, Pink, Ke$ha, and Lady Gaga are all making "songs of survival," declares the New York Times, epicenter of trend spotting. This is actually not a new trend! "I Will Survive," anyone? What is new, however, is that with The Gays having gone mainstream, it's completely kosher for pop stars to include messages for homos — and even feature them in the music videos — as part of their branding strategy. You think Katy Perry gives a bigger shit about fostering an environment of acceptance for gays, or about selling the hell out of that "Firework" single? And while there's some evidence the pro-gay lyrics are coming from more than the pop genre (see: Mista Majah P's anti-gay bashing tune), call me when Korn records a gay anthem.


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—  admin

Men’s Magazines Stop Pushing Unrealistic Twink Image. Now, For The Unattainable Muscled Image

Skinny twinks are so over, declare a whole slew of men's magazine editors. So goodbye to the Dior and Jil Sander prototypes and say hello to Jon Hamm, we're now being told to believes in a Times trend piece that gets recycled every 12 months. GQ's editor Jim Nelson (a homogay) claims "the twink thing seems over. When people open GQ, I don’t want them to feel like they’re looking at clothes on 16-year-olds." Adds Details editor Dan Peres (a heterostraight): "[W]e have a product to produce that, in the end, has to be relatable to a reader, a reader who wants to be able to see some vision of himself in the pages of a magazine." Because what guy doesn't wake up in the morning, do a set of push ups, and end up looking like Chris Pine? (Not that I have the frail body of Jared Leto, either.)

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—  John Wright

Credit for Reid? Who Cares. Just Keep Pushing.

Maybe this is bigger to me because I live and breath DADT repeal, but there’s this slight debate over why Harry Reid announced scheduling.  Was it the power of Gaga?  Was it Alex’s piece in The Hill?  Did the LCR case push it forward?

Here’s my contribution: I don’t care.  Nor should you.  This is the week to push, push, push for repeal this year, and yes, it really is that dire.

Today SLDN and HRC (and SU, for that matter) are respectively pushing for Senate phone calls.  Do it.  Pick up your phone and call.  Yes, you called on Monday.  Do it again.  Here’s the list, in case you don’t have it anymore: Senate Contact List.

Tomorrow is SU’s Final Assault lobby day.  Register and come to DC if you can make it.  Call again if you can’t.  

Friday is SU’s Beyond Repeal event, where we’ll be talking about where we are, what still needs to get done, and what’s next.  Again, in DC, so if you can make it, come.

Don’t be left behind.  Don’t let us lose this fight.  There’s a lot of work to get done, so do it.

United, we can do this.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Pushing for Senate DADT Repeal Vote, HRC Delivers Thousands of Constituent Signatures

For many months, HRC organizers have been crisscrossing the country working in priority districts and states on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” With a good vote behind us in the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee, we are now pushing for the Senate to take a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains DADT repeal language. This week, we shipped off thousands of postcards, petition signatures and handwritten letters that we have generated during our repeal DADT campaign. Every United States Senator will receive a package with contacts from constituents in their home states, reiterating that there is broad, national support for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Yesterday’s shipment comes off of the heels of an earlier delivery on Capitol Hill, and is in addition to the over 20,000 hand-signed postcards that were delivered by veterans to priority U.S. Senators on that day.

While the defense bill is on a list of possible votes in September, it is important to keep the pressure on your senators and remind them that you want to see a speedy vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, and that they should keep repeal language in this bill. For more information on how to contact your representatives, visit our interactive Countdown 2010 website.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Pushing for ENDA in Raleigh

District meetings with targeted members of Congress are a critical part of our field work as they’re an opportunity to show members of Congress that we as a community mean business.

We recently met with Sonia Barnes, the district representative for U.S. Representative Bob Etheridge.  This was our second meeting in North Carolina. The meeting was a success, and could not have been so without the amount of people who graciously lent us their time as well as their stories.

Included in this group was HRC Governor and Steering Committee member Madeline Goss, who shared her powerful story regarding her gender transition in the workplace. Once Madeline had decided to transition, she went and spoke with her HR director to explain her decision.  She was concerned that her position as an engineer at the company would not be secure. Initially, the company could not guarantee that Madeline’s transition would not affect her employment. After doing some research, Madeline found that her company did have a non-discrimination policy in effect that prevented her from being fired on the basis of her gender identity.  Policies like these exist to protect people like Madeline, who are brave enough to be true to themselves day after day while heading into work, unsure whether or not they will be fired at any moment. Sadly, for millions of Americas these protections don’t exist. They are forced to choose between their jobs and being themselves.

Ian Palmquist, the executive director of the statewide LGBT civil rights organization Equality North Carolina, also joined us for the meeting. Ian shared about his partner who was fired for filing a complaint of workplace discrimination. Ian’s partner is just one of the hundreds of victims of workplace discrimination that have contacted Equality North Carolina.

Also attending was Sarah Preston, Policy Director of the ACLU, and Gary Palmer, a representative from the Replacements Limited company. Palmer spoke powerfully about of the effects that discrimination has on LGBT youth and about ending discrimination for the next generation.

Jake Wheeler, an Intern with HRC, also spoke on the effects of discrimination on LGBT youth.  Wheeler has witnessed firsthand the hardship that goes along with being a young gay man looking for a job in today’s economy.

I think our stories truly touched Sonia Barnes. We asked her to thank Rep. Etheridge for voting for the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. I also took a moment to ask Sonia which way she thought Rep. Etheridge was going to vote on ENDA.  The fact that she could not give our group a definite answer made one thing clear to us; we have more work to do.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Pushing for Workplace Protections in North Carolina

Last week, members of the Charlotte community and I met with the Legislative Correspondent of U.S. Representative Larry Kissell from the 8th District of North Carolina to talk about supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Kissell voted in favor of the the hate crimes law, which passed last year, and voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We were excited to meet with Kissell’s team to remind him of the importance of passing ENDA and let him know that our community cannot afford to take things for granted at this critical time in the fight for equality.

Our diverse group included Randy Floyd, Co-chair for the local HRC Steering Committee and Roberta Dunn, a leader in the local transgender community who sits on the steering committees of HRC and the Mecklenburg Gay and Lesbian Political Action Committee (MeckPAC).

Jennifer Roberts, the Chairwoman of the Board of County Commissioners for Mecklenburg County, was there with constituent and straight ally Jacqueline Galante.

Everyone at the meeting shared stories about workplace discrimination in Charlotte with Legislative Correspondent John Trippi. The staff in Kissell’s office were told about a transgender woman who worked as a mechanic for the city in the Department of Auto Maintenance that lost her job shortly after letting her supervisor know of her desire to begin transitioning. They also shared a story about a grade school teacher who was fired once parents got wind of her sexual orientation and called the principal.

Roberts spoke to the staff about the economics and family benefits of ENDA. She talked about Mecklenburg County passing an employment non-discrimination policy five years ago that did not protect transgender people. This past December, MeckPAC and Roberts teamed up to pass domestic partner benefits and this year they teamed with Mayor Anthony Foxx and City Manager Curt Walton to create a non-discrimination policy in Charlotte. They are still working to include gender identity in the policy.

Charlotte is an up and coming city and there have been great strides to improve the livelihood of the LGBT community, but there is still much more work to be done. I hope that everyone will contact their lawmakers tell them to support and pass ENDA.

Visit our Pass ENDA Now website to find out more about ENDA and contact your members of Congress at countdown2010.hrc.org.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright