Quinn Matney was attacked and severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime at the University of North Carolina.
Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:
1. For a third straight week, LGBT advocates plan to speak during the Dallas County Commissioners Court’s meeting today and call on commissioners to add transgender employees to the county’s nondiscrimination policy. Last month, commissioners voted to add sexual orientation but not gender identity to the policy. The Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. in the County Administration Building, 411 Elm St.
2. The Maryland Senate on Monday voted to kill a measure that would have protected transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and credit — but not public accommodations. The vote marks the second major disappointment this year for LGBT advocates in Maryland, where the House thwarted a marriage equality bill last month.
3. A University of North Carolina freshman says he was attacked and severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime on the school’s campus last week. The UNC administration, which failed to notify students until a week after the attack occurred, now says it plans to report the incident as an anti-gay hate crime to the federal government.
“Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.
“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.
“It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”
…”But outraged Dublin victim Andrew Madden last night insisted that child abuse was not considered normal in the company he kept.
“Mr Madden accused the Pope of not knowing that child pornography was the viewing of images of children being sexually abused, and should be named as such.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that UK equalities minister Lynne Featherstone will announce in the new year that gay men who have had consensual sex with a male partner over the age of 16 prior to the increase in the age of consent 10 years ago will have their crimes wiped from their records.
The move will benefit thousands of men who were prosecuted for gay sex with someone over 16 during decades when the practice was against the law.
Currently, they must disclose the information as part of the programme of Criminal Records Bureau checks if they apply to work or volunteer for charities and other organisations. Getting such a conviction expunged currently requires a lengthy process involving a personal application to a local chief constable.
As the Telegraph explains: "Consensual sex between two men over 21 was decriminalised in 1967. It was not until 1994 that the homosexual age of consent was reduced to 18, and 2000 when it was finally brought into line with the law for heterosexuals by being cut to 16."
Right Wing Watch brings us today’s Matt Barber bigot eruption – Liberty Counsel: DADT Keeps “Moral Perverts” Out Of The Armed Services. The sad fact is in his desperation to make an argument to keep DADT in place, he makes an ass out of himself, using the talk that Wikileaks-leaker Bradly Manning is gay, which of course says, um, nothing about the merits of the discriminatory DADT.
The topic came up in the Liberty Counsel’s “Faith and Freedom Radio” program today as Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the issue and cited a reportfrom the 1950s claiming that gays were “moral perverts” and therefore a national security risk:
Staver: According to news reports, Manning decided to turn traitor after a fight with his boyfriend, which somehow motivated him to send hundreds of thousands of confidential documents to WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange, who’s alleged also by some to be gay.
But at any rate, if you go back and look at this, go back to the reports of the 1950s when a series of Senate committee reports concluded that “moral perverts are bad national security risks because of the susceptibility to blackmail” and that homosexuals are “vulnerable to interrogation by a skilled questioner” due to emotional instability or moral weakness.
And that comes from The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, October 1, 2001. So this is not some ancient document, but it looks back at what happened in the 1950s with regards to why homosexuality was automatic excluder for someone in a national security position.
Barber: This shows specifically why, this highlights why we have the policy in place that seeks to keep sexual deviancy out of the ranks of the armed services.
As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law because it weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness and equality by preventing patriotic Americans who are gay from serving openly in our armed forces. At the same time, as Commander in Chief, I am committed to ensuring that we understand the implications of this transition, and maintain good order and discipline within our military ranks. That is why I directed the Department of Defense earlier this year to begin preparing for a transition to a new policy.
Today’s report confirms that a strong majority of our military men and women and their families-more than two thirds-are prepared to serve alongside Americans who are openly gay and lesbian. This report also confirms that, by every measure-from unit cohesion to recruitment and retention to family readiness-we can transition to a new policy in a responsible manner that ensures our military strength and national security. And for the first time since this law was enacted 17 years ago today, both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have publicly endorsed ending this policy.
With our nation at war and so many Americans serving on the front lines, our troops and their families deserve the certainty that can only come when an act of Congress ends this discriminatory policy once and for all. The House of Representatives has already passed the necessary legislation. Today I call on the Senate to act as soon as possible so I can sign this repeal into law this year and ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally. Our troops represent the virtues of selfless sacrifice and love of country that have enabled our freedoms. I am absolutely confident that they will adapt to this change and remain the best led, best trained, best equipped fighting force the world has ever known.
The Pentagon’s Comprehensive Working Group studying how to implement repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has found few hurdles to implementation of open service by gays and lesbians, according to their report released today. The news provides tremendous momentum for upcoming Senate action on repeal.
“This issue has been studied for fifty years, including by the military itself, and the results from over twenty-two studies are uniform: open service does not harm effectiveness,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The small handful of Senators blocking repeal no longer have any fig leaves behind which to hide. The time for repeal is now.”
A survey of troops – while not a referendum on repeal but rather a tool to gauge attitudes about repeal – showed that seventy percent of service members thought having an openly gay or lesbian colleague in their unit would have either a positive, mixed or no effect. For those who believe they have already worked with a gay or lesbian service member, ninety-two percent say their unit’s ability to work together was very good, good or neither good nor poor.
“America’s men and women in uniform are professionals who already serve with gays and lesbians and repeal will do nothing to change their dedication to protecting our nation,” said Solmonese. “Senators who said they want to hear from military leaders and troops now have their answers. Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will allow every qualified man and woman to serve without sacrificing the high standards that have made our military great.”
Twenty-five nations allow open service by gays and lesbians and all of them have implemented repeal of their bans without major disruptions – including close allies such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Israel. Further, a failure of Congress to act now will tie the hands of military leaders who have asked for the power to implement the changes that today’s report lays out.
TAKE ACTION NOW and tell the Senate it’s time to get rid of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
During the White House press briefing, Robert Gibbs responded to questions about the Pentagon’s DADT study from Chris Johnson from the Washington Blade:
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday confirmed that Obama was meeting the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Oval Office to discuss “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Pentagon report on the matter.
“I think the president right now is in the Oval Office meeting with the Joint Chiefs about the issue and about the report,” Gibbs said in response to questioning from the Blade. “We look forward to the presentation by [Defense] Secretary [Robert] Gates and [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Adm. [Mike] Mullen tomorrow and then their testimony later in the week.”
Gibbs said he believes the president has seen “parts of” the report on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which is due for release Tuesday. Still, Gibbs said he would need to double-check whether Obama has indeed seen the study and doesn’t “want to ahead of” the release of report “in terms of commenting.”
The Obama administration agreed to the schedule for the Pentagon’s DADT report. The geniuses in the White House wanted it released after the midterms, hence the December 1st release date. Given the time crunch in the lame duck, Secretary Gates magnanimously agreed to release the report one day early. You do recall that on April 30th, Gates told Congress in a “strongly worded letter” that he didn’t want any votes on DADT repeal before the report was released. That provided a key talking points for opponents of repeal. Now, timing is the enemy. Unless things move seamlessly in the Senate over the next few weeks (and that never happens), passage of the DADT language is in big trouble.
The President really needs to step up his game here. He’s meeting with Congressional leaders tomorrow, but the President did not list the Defense Authorization bill as one of his priorities, according to The Hill. We need to put pressure on the President. Sign our letter to Obama, which asks him to start calling Senators, here.
And, via SLDN, Senators need to hear from all of us, too. If you live in any of these target states (or contributed to any of these Senators), call them:
UPDATED LIST: KEY SENATORS WHO NEED TO HEAR FROM REPEAL SUPPORTERS NOW: