Rev. Amy Delong, tried by Methodists for being a lesbian, to preach at Bering Memorial Methodist Church

Rev. Amy DeLong

Paperwork can be the bane of any job. For Rev. Amy Delong a simple annual report catapulted her into the maelstrom of the United Methodist Church’s debate on accepting LGBT people. DeLong visits Houston’s Bering Memorial United Methodist Church (1440 Harold) on Sunday, Feb. 12 to preach at both the 8:30 and 10:50 service.

In 2009 DeLong was approached by two women who wanted to get married. After conducting premarital counseling with the couple Delong agreed to perform the ceremony. As a clergy person, DeLong was required to report on her activities at the end of the year, including any weddings she had performed. She knew that the Methodist Church did not allow same-sex marriage but thought “I don’t know if anybody even reads these.” Boy, was she wrong!

With-in three days she was hauled into the her boss’s (the bishop) office. DeLong’s relationship with her partner Val was well known to her colleagues. “I’ve never had a bishop or a leader in the church or a pastor who didn’t know that I was gay,” says DeLong. “Everyone knows Val.” But the church was determined now to make an example of her, and DeLon’s relationship would now be an issue.

In 2011 DeLong was tried in the church’s court with violating the Methodist “Book of Discipline” by being in a same-sex relationship and by performing a same-sex wedding. During the trial she refused to answer pointed questions about her and her partner’s sex life. “No heterosexual couples are ever asked if they
still engage in genital contact in their marriages,” says DeLong. That refusal left the court with no evidence against her on the first charge.

She was convicted of performing the wedding and suspended from ministry for 20 days. The court also required DeLong to work with a group of ministers to prepare a statement on how to “help resolve issues that harm the clergy covenant, create an advesarial spirit or lead to future trails.” “This sentence is complicated,” says DeLong. “It doesn’t lend itself well to media soundbites. So a lot of folks have been saying to me ‘I can’t tell, is this penalty good?'” DeLong responds with a resounding “Yes!” Saying that she welcomes the opportunity to write, teach and study on a topic dear to her heart.

DeLong recalls that during that initial meeting in the bishop’s office one of the bishop’s assistants referred to her as a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” To which she responded “Val and I aren’t practicing any more… we are pretty good at it by now.” The assistant laughed. More than anything that is the impression one gets of DeLong: someone with a lot of humor and aplomb who is unwilling to back down from a fight for justice.

After the jump watch a clip of DeLong talking about her experience.

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Chick-Fil-A’s President Responds

Dan Cathy, president and COO of Chick-Fil-A, has just posted this video to the company’s Facebook page in which he responds to the recent publicity surrounding his company’s years-long history of supporting anti-gay groups. Cathy says that while “marriage has always been a priority for Chick-Fil-A,” just because his company provides sandwiches to an anti-gay hate group, that doesn’t mean they don’t respect all their customers. A sample comment from the company’s FB page, where pro-gay messages are being scrubbed: “Sodomy isn’t love. Calling sin sin is not hypocrisy. Supporting what is right and good is not evil.”

Joe. My. God.

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NOM Responds To Being Told To FCK Off: Is This How Gay Advocates Will ‘Indoctrinate Our Kids’?

Guess who's got a problem with Luke Montgomery's promo videos? The National Organization for Marriage, of course. Letting kids tell haters to FCK off is a gross exploitation of children, you see, and their attacks on Christian fundamentalists just makes things worse. But if you sign NOM's petition, there will be sunshine and butterflies in the world again.

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Bristol Palin Responds To Cho With Odd ‘Indigo Girls’ Logic

Bristolpalindwts Margaretchodwts

Margaret Cho's assertion this week that Bristol Palin's mother pressured her onto Dancing With the Stars prompted a response from Ms. Palin, one that has people wondering if the 20-year old took a jab at Cho's bisexuality.

Though insistent she and Bristol are friends, Cho wrote on her blog that "someone who should really know" told her Bristol was forced onto the hit ABC show, and asserted, "The only reason Bristol was on the show was because Sarah Palin forced her to do it."

"Sarah supposedly blames Bristol harshly and openly (in the circles that I heard it from) for not winning the election," Cho claimed. "And so she told Bristol she 'owed' it to her to do DWTS so that 'America would fall in love with her again' and make it possible for Sarah Palin to run in 2012."

Well, Bristol responded on Facebook last night and, following Cho's suit, reiterated that the women are friends, but remains "taken aback" by the comedienne's comments.

"I will give my friend credit for creativity, and extra points for getting so many 'facts' wrong in so few sentences," wrote Palin. "Let me be blunt: my mom did not 'force' me to go on DWTS.  She did not ask me either. The show approached me."

Palin goes on to declare "politics had nothing to do with [my decision]." She also argued, "I seriously doubt anyone who considers herself a student of American politics truly believes I impacted even one vote in that election."

It's a pretty politically worded letter for a non-political person, and fairly persuasive. Bristol's end note, however, brings the entire thing back into partisan light, and it's distinctly lavender.

Writes Palin, "You say you 'don't agree with the family's politics at all, [but] if you understood that commonsense conservative values supports the right of individuals like you, like all of us, to live our lives with less government interference and more independence, you would embrace us faster than KD Lang at an Indigo Girls concert."

In light of Palin sister Willow's recent anti-gay remarks, it's not surprising people are reading Bristol's missive as a below-the-belt attack, although it's far too illogical to be read as a directly homophobic hit. Why would Cho embrace KD Lang at an Indigo Girls concert? Or is KD Lang just a stock lesbian?

Maybe the line was meant to be "faster than a girl embraces KD Lang at an Indigo Girls concert?" Or, rather, "Faster than KD Lang embraces a lady at an Indigo Girls Concert?"

I'm confused, and I suspect Palin may be, as well.

Towleroad News #gay

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Palin Responds to Willow’s Antigay Rant

SarahPalinSeanHannityx390 (Screengrab) | Advocate.comIn rare public comments on the incident, Sarah Palin appeared to think it was no big deal that her daughter Willow called a young man a “faggot” during a recent Facebook exchange. Daily News

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Italy’s PM Silvio Berlusconi Responds to Stripper Controversy: ‘Better To Like Beautiful Girls Than To Be Gay’

Italy's prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has already battled allegations tying him to the mob, accusing him of unfairly wielding too much control of the media with his ownership stakes, and denouncing Islamic cultures. Now he's being assailed for allegedly trying to cover up his pressuring Italian police to release the granddaughter of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who appeared at one of his infamous parties at his mansion. But it's not big deal, says the PM, because having a fondness for beautiful girls is better than being a fag.


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Dan Choi responds to using the ‘P’ word

It’s not often that we get to talk about p*ssy, huh? In my post about the expansive, no-holds-barred profile of Dan Choi by Steven Thrasher in the current Village Voice, I cited this paragraph:

“Harry Reid is a pussy,” Choi angrily said after the failed vote in the Senate last month, vowing to speak out about the Democratic leader, “and he’ll be bleeding once a month.”

I left it hanging out there without any comment on my part, save “That won’t get him a job as a Beltway mouthpiece, lol.” It wasn’t that I didn’t have an opinion; I didn’t want to lead the conversation in any particular direction. However, it was no surprise that the maelstrom of responses (in the comments, my inbox, and on Twitter), decided to take on the misogyny embedded in Dan’s choice of words.

Obviously Dan, saw many of them and he responded in the blunt fashion that I would have expected from him:

Go ahead: call me a ‘misogynist.’ I’m still pro-choice, pro-ERA. I also happen to think @HarryReid is a #DADT #FAIL.

I appreciate your criticism; I apologize for using the slur, and resolve to educate others in any capacity I’m afforded in the future.

What do I think about the whole dustup? It’s good to have the conversation about misogyny within the community and how it manifests itself. But if you read the entire Village Voice piece, which digs a lot deeper into Dan’s foibles, his earnestness, and off-the-cuff manner, I was not surprised that a military guy would “go there” – it’s part of the military culture, for good or ill and there it was in black and white. It actually didn’t offend me as I read the article; it was contextually right in line with Dan’s lack of inner politically correct censor at times.

I’m not going to defend a military culture that denigrates women as part of daily conversation (not to mention institutionalized slaps on the wrist for sexual assaults by men against their female service member colleagues). The Voice profile is enlightening precisely because our heroes are flawed, and all too human. The last time I checked, we all have the capacity to learn from mistakes; those in the public eye don’t have the latitude to go private when they screw up. Dan did say something boneheaded. misguided – and he apologized.

So the misogyny discussion is important, one of those teachable moments, but it does also raise the question of how often are our own chosen words in private that reflect bias against women, people of different ethnicities, religions, etc.? How often do we think about those choices, and if they are something you wouldn’t say in public, examine why the ease in saying them privately? Good essential topic, but way far astray than the impression I was left with about Dan Choi, his activism and commitment to the movement after reading the entire Village Voice piece.

For two completely different takes on Dan:

* Rachel K at Autostraddle: Dan Choi is People

* Derek’s Big Fat Democratic Adventure: Dan Choi: Media Bully – Or It Doesn’t Get Better
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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LCR responds to DOJ on DADT stay

Today, the Log Cabin Republicans filed their response to the Department of Justice’s Emergency Order for a Stay. As we all know, the Ninth Circuit temporarily granted the DOJ’s motion last week. LCR had until today to respond.

Here’s the introduction:

The district court’s prohibitory permanent injunction was entered following a full two-week trial on the merits and supported by an 85-page Memorandum Opinion, an 84-page set of Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and a 15- page reasoned Order Granting Permanent Injunction. It does not require the appellants to take any affirmative steps, nor does it require them to refrain from taking any of the steps they argue that they must take if they are to avoid irreparable injury. The district court’s injunction requires only one thing: that the government discontinue all investigations and discharge proceedings that have been commenced under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” statute, 10 U.S.C. § 654, and its implementing regulations (“DADT”).

The government made no showing to the district court, and makes no showing here, either that it is likely to succeed on the merits on appeal, or that it would sustain irreparable injury if the district court’s judgment remains in place pending determination of this appeal. By contrast, the district court conducted a careful, extensive analysis of the law, at every stage of the proceedings below. It concluded, after a full trial at which it heard testimony from over 20 witnesses and received over 100 exhibits in evidence, that DADT causes irreparable harm to servicemembers by its very existence and implementation, subjecting them to investigation and discharge, and chilling their First Amendment rights of free speech and petition, while actually impairing unit cohesion, morale, and discipline – the very factors that supposedly justify DADT. The district court’s decision was not a political one, nor an instance of “judicial activism”: it was compelled by the evidence before it, presented at a full trial conducted under our adversarial litigation system.

Every day that the government remains free to implement the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, American citizens’ Constitutional rights are violated. The emergency stay of injunction that the government requests would perpetuate this unconstitutional state of affairs with no countervailing benefit to the government that outweighs the deprivation of rights such a stay would entail. The motion does not meet any of the factors for a stay pending appeal, and it should be denied.

SLDN, Servicemembers United and Lambda Legal have filed an amicus brief supporting LCR’s position.

DOJ’s actions in this case have caused a huge backlash — and this issue has certainly captured the attention of the traditional media. The Obama administration and its DOJ do not have to defend DADT. They know it. We know it. They’ve lost control of this issue.


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Watch: Dan Savage Responds to Obama’s ‘It Gets Better’ Message


CNN's American Morning spoke with Dan Savage, who started the 'It Gets Better' project, about President Obama's message to bullied gay youth.


Towleroad News #gay

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LCR responds to DOJ: ‘Full relief here requires nothing less than a worldwide injunction’

Yesterday, the Log Cabin Republicans legal team filed its response to the Obama administration objections to LCR’s proposed injunction. I posted DOJ’s objections here. The first line of the response sums it up:

The government’s objections fail to recognize the implication of its loss at trial.

LCR wants a worldwide injunction on the enforcement of DADT because that law has been found unconstitutional after a facial challenge. Nothing less.

Karen Ocamb has an interview with LCR’s lead attorney, Dan Woods, which includes this exchange:

KO: I just posted a piece on how upset folks are about the DADT Senate vote – and how now folks are turning to you guys. Do you have ANY idea of what a timeline for this case might look like?

DW: In terms of a timeline, I can only guess but I estimate that Judge Phillips will issue a permanent injunction, in one form or another, by the end of the next week. After that, the government has 60 days to appeal. In the meantime, they are likely to ask her to stay enforcement of the judgment, she is likely to refuse, and the government would then have to seek a stay from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Sorry it is so complicated.

So, the judge will soon issue her final order. At that time, DOJ will probably ask for a stay pending an appeal — and may even have to appeal to get the stay.

The Obama administration is aggressively defending DADT when the Obama administration doesn’t have to defend DADT. We’ve been saying making this point for over a year, since the DOMA brief debacle. See here, here and here. It’s not just us. Senators and House members are asking Obama not to appeal. But, every indication we’re getting is that DOJ will appeal.

LCR response to DOJ in DADT case


—  John Wright