SMU sends 18 to Midwest LGBT conference

Iowa State University is hosting the 2012 Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay Transgender Ally College Conference Feb. 10-12. One student from Texas Women’s University, 17 from Southern Methodist University’s LGBT group Spectrum and an SMU professor are attending, according to the Daily Campus. Spectrum Co-President Harvey Luna put the group together after attending last year’s conference, according to the SMU newspaper.

Karen Click at SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives called it a national conference for student leaders. She said this is the second year SMU has participated.

“They come back inspired to create change on campus,” she said.

Registration for the event is $80 per person and the group chartered a bus from Dallas.

“The SMU Student Senate paid for them to go,” Click said.

The MBLGTACC conference began in 1991 and takes place annually in the upper Midwest. The goal is to learn new strategies to face problems LGBT students face on campus daily.

Two weeks ago, Youth First Texas hosted a conference of North Texas gay-straight alliances.

—  David Taffet

HRC Sends Open Letter on DADT to President Obama

Today we released an open letter from HRC President Joe Solmonese to President Barack Obama regarding the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and the necessity of administration action to end the discharges this year.  The full text is below:

Dear Mr. President:

Years from now, students of the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality (LGBT) will no doubt see this fall as a pivotal period in the history of our struggle for fundamental fairness.  In January, we were all inspired by your State of the Union pledge to end our nation’s discriminatory ban on open service by gays and lesbians.  Equally inspiring was the testimony in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  We have come so far, but the only true measure of success is whether the thousands of brave gay and lesbian Americans who are serving their country, and the many more who want to serve their country, can do so openly and honestly.  We have not yet met that goal, and without your leadership and unparalleled efforts, this historic opportunity to remove a stain of discrimination from our nation will pass all of us by. 

Last week, lawyers for your administration asked for an emergency stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, seeking to end a worldwide injunction of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law while they work to overturn a federal judge’s conclusion that this law – one that you have called discriminatory and contrary to our national security on many occasions – offends the protections of our Constitution.  I continue to struggle with how your administration can defend a law you oppose, and how it could be even remotely constitutional for a statute to single out one group of brave Americans, because of who they are and who they love, and order them serve in silence and deception.  How can our government have a duty to defend a statute that is clearly so contrary to our Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all? 

The Ninth Circuit’s decision to stay Judge Phillips’s decision further frustrates repeal advocates and puts a bright spotlight on you to reconcile this endless legal wrangling with your public promise to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  While we continue to call on your Administration not to appeal, if the Justice Department does insist on defending this discriminatory law, I strongly urge you to instruct government lawyers to inform the appellate court that the Executive Branch believes that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is unconstitutional. I agree with the esteemed lawyer and former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, Walter Dellinger, that such a move would send the Ninth Circuit a critically important message.  

Furthermore, the litigation strategy challenging “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is made all the more critical by the challenges a legislative repeal has faced in Congress.  While the House approved repeal by a wide margin, the Senate’s first and second attempts to move forward on the critical Defense Authorization bill were stymied by Republican obstructionists looking to score political points before the midterm elections.  There is still an opportunity for the Senate to send the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to your desk in the lame duck session, but it will not happen if you do not put the full weight of the Office of the President of the United States behind it.  Republican opponents would rather see the Defense Authorization and everything in it – military pay raises, critical armor and equipment for our troops, health coverage for their families on the home front – fail than let gays and lesbians serve their country openly.  This is an outrageous insult to our troops, to their Commander-in-Chief, and to the Defense Department charged with their operations and their care.  You and Secretary Gates must be full partners in making clear to Senators that it is doubly unacceptable to hold hostage the needs of every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine in a desperate attempt to preserve a law that flies in the face of the American ideals they sacrifice to protect every day. 

It is because “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is contrary to our core values as a nation that it must end.  And we must have a durable solution – legislative repeal or a solid judicial decision.  But if those fail, you must not allow another day to go by in which a brave gay or lesbian service member is discharged based simply on sexual orientation.  HRC has urged your administration, privately and publicly, for more than a year to use every tool at your disposal as Chief Executive to at least significantly reduce discharges, if not end them entirely.  More can be done in this regard.

You can and should issue a stop-loss order suspending enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  This discriminatory law has already deprived our military thousands of service members, many with critical skills in fighting terrorism.  You have acknowledged that it harms our national security.  If we fail to achieve legislative repeal this year, and if you will not abandon the defense of this discriminatory law in court, then it is imperative that you use your clear authority as President to end the discharges.  Anything less is unacceptable.    

We have fought long and hard to get this close to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  We pledge to continue that fight, every step of the way, until this unjust law is gone for good.  Future generations will look back at this moment – we must not let it become a setback in the long march toward full equality, but instead make it the turning point it is poised to become. 

Sincerely,

Joe Solmonese
President


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

HRC Sends Open Letter on DADT to President Obama

HRC hasn’t directly scolded this President regarding his inaction on our issues, so this is a change in approach as the clock is winding down. This just landed in my inbox… Too soft? too little, too late? Or does it strike the right balance given the org’s position?

The Human Rights Campaign today released an open letter from HRC President Joe Solmonese to President Barack Obama regarding the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and the necessity of administration action to end the discharges this year.  The full text is below:

Dear Mr. President:

Years from now, students of the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality (LGBT) will no doubt see this fall as a pivotal period in the history of our struggle for fundamental fairness.  In January, we were all inspired by your State of the Union pledge to end our nation’s discriminatory ban on open service by gays and lesbians.  Equally inspiring was the testimony in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  We have come so far, but the only true measure of success is whether the thousands of brave gay and lesbian Americans who are serving their country, and the many more who want to serve their country, can do so openly and honestly.  We have not yet met that goal, and without your leadership and unparalleled efforts, this historic opportunity to remove a stain of discrimination from our nation will pass all of us by.

Last week, lawyers for your administration asked for an emergency stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, seeking to end a worldwide injunction of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law while they work to overturn a federal judge’s conclusion that this law – one that you have called discriminatory and contrary to our national security on many occasions – offends the protections of our Constitution.  I continue to struggle with how your administration can defend a law you oppose, and how it could be even remotely constitutional for a statute to single out one group of brave Americans, because of who they are and who they love, and order them serve in silence and deception.  How can our government have a duty to defend a statute that is clearly so contrary to our Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all?

More below the fold.

 

The Ninth Circuit’s decision to stay Judge Phillips’s decision further frustrates repeal advocates and puts a bright spotlight on you to reconcile this endless legal wrangling with your public promise to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  While we continue to call on your Administration not to appeal, if the Justice Department does insist on defending this discriminatory law, I strongly urge you to instruct government lawyers to inform the appellate court that the Executive Branch believes that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is unconstitutional. I agree with the esteemed lawyer and former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, Walter Dellinger, that such a move would send the Ninth Circuit a critically important message.  

Furthermore, the litigation strategy challenging “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is made all the more critical by the challenges a legislative repeal has faced in Congress.  While the House approved repeal by a wide margin, the Senate’s first and second attempts to move forward on the critical Defense Authorization bill were stymied by Republican obstructionists looking to score political points before the midterm elections.  There is still an opportunity for the Senate to send the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to your desk in the lame duck session, but it will not happen if you do not put the full weight of the Office of the President of the United States behind it.  Republican opponents would rather see the Defense Authorization and everything in it – military pay raises, critical armor and equipment for our troops, health coverage for their families on the home front – fail than let gays and lesbians serve their country openly.  This is an outrageous insult to our troops, to their Commander-in-Chief, and to the Defense Department charged with their operations and their care.  You and Secretary Gates must be full partners in making clear to Senators that it is doubly unacceptable to hold hostage the needs of every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine in a desperate attempt to preserve a law that flies in the face of the American ideals they sacrifice to protect every day.

It is because “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is contrary to our core values as a nation that it must end.  And we must have a durable solution – legislative repeal or a solid judicial decision.  But if those fail, you must not allow another day to go by in which a brave gay or lesbian service member is discharged based simply on sexual orientation.  HRC has urged your administration, privately and publicly, for more than a year to use every tool at your disposal as Chief Executive to at least significantly reduce discharges, if not end them entirely.  More can be done in this regard.

You can and should issue a stop-loss order suspending enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  This discriminatory law has already deprived our military thousands of service members, many with critical skills in fighting terrorism.  You have acknowledged that it harms our national security.  If we fail to achieve legislative repeal this year, and if you will not abandon the defense of this discriminatory law in court, then it is imperative that you use your clear authority as President to end the discharges.  Anything less is unacceptable.    

We have fought long and hard to get this close to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  We pledge to continue that fight, every step of the way, until this unjust law is gone for good.  Future generations will look back at this moment – we must not let it become a setback in the long march toward full equality, but instead make it the turning point it is poised to become.

Sincerely,

Joe Solmonese                                                

President

After all…


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Judge sends NOM to study hall to clean up their homework

Can you say embarrassing?  A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit NOM filed to challenge Rhode Island’s campaign finance laws because their briefs were incomprehensible garbage.

U.S. District Judge Mary Lisi said that the lawsuit from the National Organization for Marriage is disorganized, vague and poorly constructed. The judge said the relevant allegations were “buried” in the lawsuit.

Lisi dismissed the lawsuit, but said the group has the option to refile it by Wednesday.

Up to its usual tricks, NOM is attempting to run political ads against pro-equality candidates without having to play by the rules like everyone else.  Namely, they refuse to report expenditures and mind the spending limits set by law for political action committees.  Just another example of how the anti-family crowd is trying to remodel the Klan hood into a 21st century configuration.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

NEW YORK: Teabagger Gov Candidate Carl Paladino Sends Out Stinky Mailer

Tea Party candidate for New York governor Carl Paladino has sent voters a mailer that stinks. Literally. Via the New York Times:

“Help Carl Paladino turn Albany upside down and take out the trash!” the mailer concludes. The mailer may be a bit much for some. Even before you open it, you notice an odor, according to a reporter who tested the mailer at Mr. Paladino’s campaign headquarters in Buffalo. It isn’t awful at first. Garlic or onions? Or maybe cloves or really bad perfume? But after a few minutes, the smell gets worse and worse, and eventually, you realize that it smells like a landfill. That is not a coincidence; the smell was “captured,” technically speaking, at a landfill, according to the campaign.

The latest poll shows Paladino tied with GOP candidate Rick Lazio. New York’s primary is tomorrow.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright