Are political leaders really paying any attention?

Sen. John Cornyn

Spend just a little time paying attention to the news coming out of Washington, D.C. — or any state capitol, or any city hall — and you’ll probably wonder, as I do, if anyone in the “halls of power” actually pays any attention to anything their constituents says — outside, of course, of the polls that tell them what they need to say to get re-elected.

Yesterday, Dallas Voice reader Ron Heath of Fort Worth reinforced my belief that the “leaders” don’t pay any attention when he forwarded to me an email he had received in response after writing to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, one of two Republicans that represent Texas in Congress.

Heath had written to his senator about DOMA — the Defense of Marriage Act. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against DOMA, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in any way, including those same-sex marriages conducted in jurisdictions where they legally recognized. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama instructed the Department of Justice not to continue to defend portions of DOMA in court, after which Republicans in the House of Representatives promptly decided to hire their own lawyers and pay them to defend DOMA.

Also, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote today on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would effectively repeal DOMA and give legally married same-sex couples the federal benefits, privileges and responsibilities they have so far been denied.

Ron Heath was encouraging Sen. Cornyn to vote in favor of repealing DOMA. Sen. Cornyn, or whoever reads his correspondence, apparently wasn’t paying any attention. Read Cornyn’s response to Heath after the jump:

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UNT scientists working to ID Gacy’s victims

More than 30 years after serial killer John Wayne Gacy was arrested, convicted of murdering 33 young men and boys and sentenced to death, scientists at the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification are working, at the request of Cook County, Ill.,  to identify the remains of eight of those victims who have remained anonymous all these years.

John Wayne Gacy

Arthur Eisenberg, co-director of the identification center at the UNT Health Science Center, located in Fort Worth, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that scientists at the have been successful in extracting DNA from the bones of the eight victims but that testing will continue for at least another month. But even after the DNA profiles are complete, Eisenberg noted, they won’t be useful in identifying the unknown victims unless the scientists have something to compare them with.

Family members of young men and boys who are believed to have fallen victim to Gacy but whose remains were not among those already identified are being asked to contribute DNA samples for comparison, and the DNA profiles from the unidentified remains will also be compared to a database of DNA profiles from family members of young men and boys who went missing during Gacy’s six-year killing spree.

Gacy first began molesting young boys in the late 1960s when he lived with his first wife and their two children in Waterloo, Iowa. Eventually, two of the boys reported him to police and in December 1968 he was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to 10 years in prison. His wife divorced him and he never saw her or their children again. He was paroled two years later and moved back to his hometown of Chicago. He killed his first victim in 1972.

Of the 33 young men and boys he is known to have killed, 26 were buried in the crawlspace under his home. Three more were buried elsewhere on his property, and the final four victims were dumped in a nearby river.

Gacy eventually became known as “The Killer Clown,” in reference to the fact that he had joined an organization that dressed as clowns to perform at charitable events and for hospitalized children. Gacy’s clown character was called Pogo The Clown.

John Wayne Gacy was executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994, at the age of 52.

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Baptists from Venus (Texas) crash LGBT tax day demonstration outside Dallas Main Post Office

Last-minute tax filers encountered two opposing groups while driving toward the Main Dallas Post Office on Monday: about a dozen queer activists protesting anti-gay tax laws, and an equal number of Kingdom Baptist Church members protesting the queer protesters.

The gay group’s hand-painted posterboards read, “Equal Taxes, Equal Rights,” “Love Knows No Gender,” and “With Liberty and Justice For ALL.”

Kingdom Baptist’s professionally printed signs read, “REPENT ABORTION AND MURDER,” “TURN OR BURN” and  “GAY IS NOT OK.” Over bullhorns the church members yelled ceaselessly about sin and sodomy while the gay folks occasionally shouted back about a loving God and the separation of church and state.

As it currently stands, federal law makes it illegal to lie on tax forms. But the Defense of Marriage Act requires legally married same-sex couples to file as two separate single individuals, which is, well, a lie. A recent campaign called “Refuse to Lie” urged wedded gays to file as married couples. Married gay couples pay higher taxes for filing separately and risk a potential IRS audit if they try to file as a married couple.

According to protest organizer Daniel Cates, “Today in America [marriage] brings with it 1,138 rights on a state and federal level. That’s what we’re after. We’re not asking [for people] to change what they believe religiously or to even to endorse our marriages in their churches. But we are asking for equality under the law.” The gay protesters want to reform the tax law through a DOMA repeal and full LGBT equality nationwide.

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Check out this butt sex travel reference guide

Following up on the magazine’s insightful story about efforts to remove Texas’ “homosexual conduct” law from the books, Mother Jones put together this handy-dandy map that can easily be printed out and used as a reference source as you travel around the country.

It turns out that a total of 14 states still have sodomy statutes on the books, despite the fact that these laws can’t be enforced because they were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas:

Since Lawrence, efforts to formally repeal laws in Montana, Kansas, Utah, Louisiana, North Carolina, and, most notably, Texas have all faced resistance before fizzling out in their respective state legislatures. Conservatives in those states know they can’t enforce the laws, but by keeping them in the code, they can send a message that homosexuality is officially condemned by the government.

As you can see, most of the 14 states with statutes still on the books — 10 to be exact — ban sodomy regardless of whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual. In other words, before Lawrence, butt sex was illegal in these states for mom and dad, too!

Texas, meanwhile, is one of only four states where sodomy is illegal — or was illegal — only for gay people. The others are Oklahoma, Kansas and Montana. Which is strange because if there’s any place where cornholeing should be legal, if not encouraged, it’s Kansas.

—  John Wright

Uganda’s Martin Ssempa Accused Of Faking A Sodomy Scandal Against Another Pastor

Uganda's Pastor Martin Ssempa, the "eat da poo poo" lead proponent of the country's Kill The Gays bill, is among eight individuals detained on allegations of conspiring to defame Pastor Robert Kayanja. Something about false allegations of forced sodomy?

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Queerty

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Va. legislator wants to ban gays from state National Guard

DENA POTTER  |  Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — A conservative Virginia legislator says he is drafting a bill to ban gays from serving in the Virginia National Guard following the vote by Congress to allow them to serve openly in the United States military.

Del. Bob Marshall said the repeal of the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would weaken military recruitment and retention and increase pressure for a military draft. The White House said Monday, Dec. 20 that President Obama plans to sign the repeal Wednesday, four days after the U.S. Senate approved it.

“He can’t tell us that we have to adopt his mission policy,” Marshall, R-Manassas, said in an interview Monday.

Opponents say a ban would be moot because the Guard is a subset of the military, and federal law would trump any state action. But Marshall argues the U.S. Constitution reserves the right to appoint a militia for the states.

Marshall said the policy of banning gays in the military dates back to the American Revolution, when Gen. George Washington discharged a soldier for attempted sodomy and perjury.

“He was more hard-up for troops than anybody,” Marshall said of Washington. “He did not relax his standards to allow behavior that is incompatible with military service.”

Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, called Marshall’s proposal mean-spirited and “absolutely abhorrent.”

“These brave men and women ensure our safety and security without regard to the color of our skin, our religion, our age or our sexual orientation,” McEachin said. “We owe them, at a minimum, the same respect.”

Both McEachin and Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, an attorney for the gay rights organization Equality Virginia, said even if Virginia passed such a bill it would be nullified because the National Guard is a federal military unit that is subject to federal rules.

“It is a shame that Delegate Marshall would dishonor the brave men and women serving in our National Guard by seeking to make political points at their expense and waste the time of his colleagues in the Virginia General Assembly,” Gastanaga said.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” has allowed gays and lesbians to serve, but only if they were silent about their sexual orientation. Before it was implemented in 1993, recruits who stated that they were gay on a questionnaire were denied entry into the military. More than 13,500 service members were dismissed under the law.

Marshall called the repeal a “social experiment with our troops and our national security” while America is at war.

“In countries where religions and cultures find homosexual acts immoral, the Obama Administration’s repeal policy will work to the detriment of all American troops in securing local cooperation with our nation’s foreign policy goals,” Marshall said in comments first reported by The Washington Times.

Marshall said the Constitution never would have been ratified if states were not reserved unqualified control of the militia. He also pointed out that sodomy was forbidden by the laws of the original 13 states that ratified the Bill of Rights.

Marshall, one of Virginia’s most conservative legislators, was the author of the 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that was approved by voters. He is considering another run for the U.S. Senate.

Marshall said attorneys were examining his proposal and that he would file it as soon as they are finished. The legislature resumes Jan. 12.

—  John Wright

Watch: Iowa ‘Judge Bus’ Supporters Decry ‘Sodomy Marriage’ and ‘Disease-Carrying Nasty Threats to Society’

Monkey

Check out a few interviews from the Courage Campaign's Iowa 'Judge Bus' tracker of Christian wingnut loonies outside various stops on the hate-a-palooza bus tour. 

Wingnuts If you're not familiar with what's happening in Iowa, check out a few of my previous links below.

According to an email provided to Towleroad by journalist Rex Wockner, from Justin Uebelhor, Director of Communications from gay rights group One Iowa:

"The latest poll results show the race deadlocked at 36-35, with still a large pool of undecideds. On one hand, this gives us confidence that things haven't moved much even after nearly 0,000 in ads. On the other hand, it worries us because there are often a block of voters who just vote no by default on retention races….We do feel the energy on our side is picking up with great attendance at our Homegrown Justice rallies to counter the NOM/FRC Judge bus. At many stops, we've outnumbered the opposition 2-1 – resulting in some good media coverage in each town."

Watch the wingnuts go crazy, AFTER THE JUMP

Previously…
Watch: Iowa NOM Supporter Equates Gay Marriage to Goat Marriage [tr]
Guide to the Tube: Iowa 'Judge Bus' Bigot Edition [tr]
Anti-Gay Hate Groups Launch Bus Tour Targeting Pro-Equality Judges in Iowa [tr]
Marriage Equality Under Attack in Iowa on Eve of Bus Tour [tr]






Towleroad News #gay

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