Southwest issues follow-up statement on Leisha Hailey incident

The Internet is out at the house (screw you, AT&T), so I’m attempting to post this from my phone (wish me luck). Below is a follow-up statement from Southwest Airlines regarding Monday’s incident involving Leisha Hailey. Note that the statement says the incident occurred in El Paso, as opposed to St. Louis, as previously reported. I can’t post the link here, but what is it about El Paso and same-sex kissing? Anyhow below is the statement. I’ll try to get more when I’m back on the grid in the a.m.

Updated Information Regarding Customers Removed from Flight 2274

Additional reports from our Employees and Customers onboard flight 2274 during a stop in El Paso on Sunday now confirm profane language was being used loudly by two passengers. At least one family who was offended by the loud profanity moved to another area of the cabin. Although we have reports of what Customers characterize as an excessive public display of affection, ultimately their aggressive reaction led to their removal from the aircraft. We do not tolerate discrimination against anyone for any reason. In this situation, their removal was directly and solely related to the escalated conversation that developed onboard the aircraft.

Our tenets of inclusion and celebration of diversity among our Customers and Employees—including those in the LGBT communities—anchor our Culture of mutual respect and following the Golden Rule. The more than 100 million people who fly Southwest each year reflect the great diversity of our country and our Company — and ALL are valued and welcome. In fact, we’ve been recognized as a leader in diversity throughout our 40 years of service.

Our Customer Advocacy Team reached out to extend goodwill and a full refund for an experience that fell short of the passengers’ expectation.

—  John Wright

White House reaction to the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato

LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights. My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad. We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

— President Obama, reacting to news of the murder of Ugandan activist David Kato

Earlier today, Alvin blogged about this horrific development in Uganda, which is an example state-sanctioned homophobia (Did Scott Lively’s homophobic ‘nuclear bomb’ cause a death in Uganda?)

Photobucket Last week, anti-gay activist Scott Lively whined in a local Boston newspaper that he is being unfairly criticized for his stances against the lgbt community, including playing a huge role in the creation of the infamous “kill the gays” bill in Uganda.

After an incident in Uganda yesterday, he may want to keep his mouth shut:

An outspoken Ugandan gay activist whose picture recently appeared in an anti-gay newspaper under the headline “Hang Them” was beaten to death in his home, Ugandan police said on Thursday.

David Kato, the activist, was one of the most visible defenders of gay rights in a country so homophobic that government leaders have proposed to execute gay people. Mr. Kato and other gay people in Uganda had recently warned that their lives were endangered, and four months ago a local paper called Rolling Stone published a list of gay people, and Mr. Kato’s face was on the front page.

This level of violence has not gone unnoticed by the Obama administration — and the President himself.


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release January 27, 2011

Statement by the President on the Killing of David Kato

I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David Kato. In Uganda, David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate. He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom. The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to David’s work.

At home and around the world, LGBT persons continue to be subjected to unconscionable bullying, discrimination, and hate. In the weeks preceding David Kato’s murder in Uganda, five members of the LGBT community in Honduras were also murdered. It is essential that the Governments of Uganda and Honduras investigate these killings and hold the perpetrators accountable.

LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights. My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad. We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

And Rep. Tammy Baldwin released a statement:

Statement of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin on the Murder of Ugandan LGBT Advocate David Kato

January 27, 201

“I am deeply saddened and greatly angered by the brutal murder of Ugandan LGBT advocate David Kato.  I extend my condolences to David’s family, friends, and brave colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and pledge that their work, for which David gave his life, will not be in vain.  I stand with them in the quest for LGBT equality in Uganda and around the world.”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Discharged sailor Tim Beauchamp: My Reaction to the Overturning of DADT

Note from Joe: Tim served for four years in the US Navy. He was discharged from the Navy for being gay in 1988. That was even before the DADT law took effect. An August 2001 AP article, which can be read here, explained provided details on Tim’s military career and discharge while noting how one of Tim’s poems was included in a Smithsonian exhibit on Submarines the Cold War.
I was asked to speak at my faith community, yesterday, regarding the overturning of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I shared my story of serving as Protestant Lay Reader on submarines, and my outing and discharge just in case those in attendance were unaware of my history. I then added:

I heard someone claim on a cable news network that as a member of the LGBT community that this repeal is a small step where they felt just a little more equal today as an American citizen. I respectfully disagree with that particular take. What has happened can not be underestimated. It is huge. Our enemies have used that particular argument that gays can not serve alongside straight troops to effectively argue against the recognition of our equality and civil rights. We have also learned, as a community, that even though we have been promised by our friends to work on our behalf that we can not afford, for one moment, to allow them to rest on those promises alone. Action must be demanded in order for our friends to be motivated to follow through on those promises.

Yesterday was a great day for us in the history of the civil rights movement for the LGBT community. Yesterday was just one step on our march to recognition of our full equality. Yesterday was just the beginning but yesterday, was absolutely huge in our struggle! Mark yesterday as the beginning of the end of institutionalized discrimination by our government towards our LGBT community. Our enemies know this, as evidenced by McCain’s meltdown, and we know this. We must use take this win and inertia provided to move us forward to full inclusion in the promises enshrined in our constitution.

I have to thank John and Joe for providing me this forum as a writer for AMERICAblog Gay, and allowing me to be part of this change in my small way. It takes every single one of us to achieve these victories.


—  admin

‘Jubilant’ reaction to Prop. 8 and an ‘Agitated’ response to its political aftermath

Newsweek posted some reactions to the Prop. 8 decision. You might recognize a couple of them:


Don’t take this as gloating, gay blogger Alvin McEwen writes, but it’s pretty clear that Prop 8 was overturned because the claims of supporters, though effective in scaring paranoid voters, simply don’t withstand the scrutiny of the judicial system.

Alvin McEwen:

“In the courts, you must defend your position … Your leaders spun false images of avenging hordes for their reluctance to be questioned in the courts about the unprovoked lies they said in pulpits, in speeches, and on commercials. This time, it didn’t work. The court saw through the phony claims and realized something, which I hope that many of you now do—you have no logical reason to either deny us the right to love or to deny us the ability to protect the ones whom we love.”

Alvin McEwen, Pam’s House Blend

If you don’t know my friend, Alvin, you should. He keeps track of the right-wing’s anti-gay rhetoric and calls them out on their lies all the time. Besides writing at the Blend, he’s got his own blog: Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters.



Like many advocates, gay journalist John Aravosis of the progressive AmericaBlog isn’t buying the White House’s statement on the ruling, which says Obama opposes both Prop 8 and gay marriage. The time for wishy-washy equivocating is over.

John Aravosis:

“Did the White House just say that they agreed with the federal court’s reasoning that ‘no rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.’ Really? I doubt it. I think the White House just tried to have its cake and eat it too—sound supportive, but not dare embrace the decision itself … It’s time for the White House to answer the question, do they agree with the ruling or not?”

John Aravosis, AmericaBlog

That “agitation” from John was before we heard what David Axelrod on Thursday morning:

The president does oppose same-sex marriage, but he supports equality for gay and lesbian couples, and benefits and other issues, and that has been effectuated in federal agencies under his control. He’s supports civil unions, and that’s been his position throughout. So nothing has changed.

That’s so wrong. A lot has changed, much of it because of Prop. 8. There’s going to be a lot more agitation if Obama keeps defending separate, but equal for LGBT Americans.


—  John Wright