Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a Democrat, on why she’s going to the Log Cabin Republicans Convention

Sheriff Lupe Valdez

The Log Cabin Republicans will hold their National Convention in Dallas this coming weekend, and we’ll have a full story in Friday’s print edition. But because the convention actually begins Thursday, we figured we’d go ahead and post the full program sent out by the group earlier this week.

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the program is a scheduled appearance by gay Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who is of course a Democrat.

Valdez, who’ll be one of the featured speakers at a Saturday luncheon, contacted us this week to explain her decision to accept the invitation from Log Cabin (not that we necessarily felt it warranted an explanation). Here’s what she said: 

“We have more things in common than we have differences, but it seems like in politics we constantly dwell on our differences,” Valdez said. “If we continue to dwell on our differences, all we’re going to do is fight. If we try to work on our common issues, we’ll be able to accomplish some things.”

On that note, below is the full program. For more information or to register, go here.

—  John Wright

How can you tell a gay Republican is self-loathing? (Hint: His lips are moving)

No, not all gay Republicans are self-loathing. And of late, a number of Republicans, both gay straight, have really done a great job advancing marriage equality – a shockingly good job, really. But then, there’s always guys like this one to remind us of how far they still have to go.

It’s always fun when someone who comes off totally gay complains about guys who come off totally gay. (About 2:15 into the video – Ebone Bell of Metro Weekly does a good job of hosting the video.)


—  David Taffet

February’s ‘Whistleblower’ is a Convenient Guide to Lies, Gay-Bashing, and Distortions Surrounding ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal


WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah has published the February issue of his side project Whistleblower, which is a contains all the lies and distortions about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal in one tidy edition.

And it has the proud endorsement of several bigoted veterans.

Check it out online here.


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

Gays’ radical drive to be treated like equals forced conservatives to tell us why we’re not

This from Jennifer Roback Morse of the NOM-affiliated Ruth Institute:

We (Maggie [Gallagher], David [Blankehorn], and others more so than me) just about had people convinced that kids needed their dads, and that marriage is a social good. Then same sex marriage errupted [sic] onto the public stage and took up all the air in the room. And incidently [sic], same sex marriage advocates called into question all the arguments and data about the significance of marriage for childern [sic] and society.

We, Maggie, David and I, got dragged into the debate over same sex marriage kicking and screaming. We care about same sex marriage because we believe that redefining marriage as the union of any two persons will harm the institution of marriage, not particularly because of anything same sex couples do or don’t do. In the past, the legal and social institution of marriage has provided structure to people’s lives, helping them to avoid some socially destructive actions and steering them toward socially constructive actions. We think that the legal redefinition and all the social practices that will inevitably follow, will reduce to near nothing the capacity of marriage to structure people’s lives and shape their decision-making

Pro-Marriage, not anti-gay [Ruth Institute]

The nerve never fails to astound. Because here we have someone who, of her own free will, chose to step in and convince society that gays and their families are supposedly outside of God’s plan for life:

NOM Tour Tracker

And yet Jennifer’s suggesting she and Maggie and others were drug into this fight by the uppity, tax-paying, decent gay people who decided that they too deserved an equal shake?! As we said: The nerve is simply astounding!

In reality, the conversation of gay people and how we protect their families in our body of civil law should have had no bearing on Maggie or Jennifer’s work in other areas. In a world that’s rife with divorce and marriage mockeries that fill the news on daily basis, Jennifer and Maggie and David and [insert self-appointed ‘marriage protector’] could’ve chosen to see more marriages as a good thing (especially when factoring in the common conservative canards about gays’ supposed lack of stability). But instead, they made the lifestyle choice to turn gays’ marriages into this insane bogeyman that threatens heterosexuals and their children in every way imaginable. They did so for the sake of electability. They did so for the sake of fundraising. They did so for the sake of the conservative movement. They did so for their own career$.

Had these conservatives not obfuscated so, we might be beyond this ridiculous “culture war.” But muddy the waters they did and continue to do. The kicks and screams are on them, not us.

Good As You

—  admin

Senate Passes Compromised Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Bill 65-31

With a few votes to spare, the Senate this morning passed the procedural hurdle — voting for cloture — on the standalone Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal bill. The full Senate will now vote, without risk of filibuster. From there, it's sent to the president's desk in time for a pre-Christmas signature. Keep in mind, kids: Signing the bill does not repeal the law. Military brass must "certify" the armed forces are ready for gay troops to serve openly, and there is no set timeline for them to do so. Repealing DADT, once Obama signs off on it, is then in the hands of Sec. Gates. So keep your sexuality to yourselves for the time being. But ya know what this means? According to Andrew Sullivan's timeline, Joe Solmonese gets to keep his job. And isn't that what everyone wanted Santa to give them this year? UPDATE: And it's off to the president. Around 3:30pm EST, the Senate wrapped it up with a 65-31 vote to pass the bill.


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Zack Ford – We Made It Through: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “Repealed”

Crossposted on ZackFord Blogs.

 Rainbow FlagIf you haven't already heard, today was a very important victory in repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell provision. With an impressive 63 votes, the stand-alone bill achieved cloture in the US Senate this morning, and picked up 2 more Republican votes to pass this afternoon. It's a proud moment in LGBT history, and it's a credit to every individual and every organization who advocated for this change!

Still, I find myself not as excited as I thought I would. While many in the movement are rightfully celebrating a victory lap, my reaction feels a lot more like "It's about damn time." You might say that sounds ungrateful. I'd say you're right.

My point of view is that this is good, but it's still not good enough. My bar is high; nothing short of full equality is good enough. I look at this, and it's an important victory, but it also feels like the smallest possible victory we could have gotten. DADT isn't off the books yet. We took a compromise way back in the Spring (remember? when the President didn't want Congress to pursue any legislative repeal efforts) such that the bill doesn't actually repeal, it just allows for repeal. It'll still be a couple months (at least) before our LGB servicemembers can finally serve with integrity. We still have to advocate for that day to come, and then we have the long haul of education to diminish the prejudice throughout the ranks that made this such a tough obstacle.

I actually worry that the movement might be overly gracious. It certainly has a history of giving lots of credit to leaders when they grace us with every little accommodation or amount of visibility. I've heard plenty of folks ready to give President Obama credit for being so committed (and even spending political capital) to make this happen. I'm not sure I'm inclined to agree anymore than I gave him credit for signing the hate crimes bill last year. If he was actively calling Senators this month, it'd be nice to know about it. He didn't even make a public appearance to comment on today's passage.

Let's not forget the very cruel public condemnation we had to listen to before we could get to this point. I think Senator McCain sincerely believes that Marines are going to lose legs because they're so distracted by all the gay sex that's going to happen around them. How a servicemember's freedom to email their partner back home inhibits the capability of other troops to perform at 110% is beyond me. We also heard plenty of people say that DADT has "worked." It is impossible to defend DADT without defending homophobia, but that's what we heard. It's too much trouble to allow gays and lesbians to be honest because it's better that they suffer than to disturb the homophobia of some of the other troops. This is nasty, demonizing language that reminds us how inhuman many still find us to be. Even once we achieve full legal equality, we will have a LONG way to go.

Another disappointing reality of the day is how it feels that DADT repeal was passed on the back of the DREAM Act. It reminded me of how bittersweet I felt about the election of Barack Obama and the passage of Proposition 8. There are thousands of young people who are eager to give back to the only nation they've known, but because they are undocumented, they have no pathway to citizenship. They are being punished for doing nothing, which strikes me as being cruel and unusual. The DREAM Act would have been good for them, good for the military, good for education, and good for the economy. Unfortunately, xenophobia won out, and thanks to Republicans, these young people continue to exist without real options for their lives. There was incredible cross-support between DADT and DREAM, and the inability of DREAM to proceed is a crushing reminder of the overall ineffectiveness of the Senate, the potential for Republicans to politically obstruct, and the importance of us all advocating outside our own communities and issues.

We mourn the indefinite death of the DREAM Act.

Now more than ever is when we have to push forward. We can be grateful for every step of progress, but every step of progress should support the next. If our leaders are willing to say one form of discrimination against the LGBT community is wrong, then so too should they be ready to say the same of other forms. We must hold them to that and not permit a "that's enough for now" attitude.

Is it as likely to happen with a Republican-controlled House? No. But I don't think the movement is going to cave on ENDA or DOMA-repeal because of that alone.

I just feel like today's victory doesn't erase the conflicts and complaints that we've had. We won in the end, but the criticism from every step of the way is still warranted. The Democratic Party and Gay, Inc. still have to own and learn from their missteps. And ultimately, we all still have a lot of work ahead of us. I totally agree that some folks have worked incredibly hard and earned this victory and deserve a break, but that means they sub out and we press on.

Am I a Debbie Downer? Maybe. But we're not done, and I'd rather keep my eye on the ball.

Game on. 

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Sen Kirsten Gillibrand introduces the standalone bill to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

About an hour ago, as Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wrapped up his heroic 8-hour speech about the GOP-Obama tax proposal, Sen Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced S. 4022, “A bill to provide for the repeal of the Department of Defense policy concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.”  

The bill’s sponsor is Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), with co-sponsors Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Mark Udall (D-CO).  Official text and other bill information is here.  

Although the bill is thought to have enough support to pass, there are two major hurdles to success.  First, it is uncertain whether enough cloture votes can be found to override a filibuster challenge.  Second, there is little time to act on this bill before the Congress adjourns for the year.  Although Sen. Reid has promised to expedite the bill by using “Rule 14” to prevent it from dying in committee, he has also vowed to adjourn the Senate for the year on Friday, December 17th.  The Senate is now in recess until Monday.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Senate Votes 57-40 To Keep Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Is Alive And Well. So How About A Separate Vote?

In a 57-40 vote, the Senate failed to reach the necessary 60 votes move to block Republican opposition to debate (and vote on) the National Defense Authorization Act (aka the Pentagon's spending bill), which had DADT repeal language attached. Democrats will point the fingers at Republicans (but not Susan Collins, who voted for the bill). Republicans will point the fingers at Democrats (but not Joe Manchin, who voted against it) for not giving them enough time for open debate. And then everyone will say it's Harry Reid's fault. And also the Human Rights Campaign, because that Joe Solmonese promised you! But here's something interesting: Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins are telling the media right now they'll hold a separate, standalone vote on repeal that won't be attached to the NDAA. You know, because the sixty votes are there, but not here. It's like whack-a-mole, but with people's lives.

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Take Action: Tell the President that he needs to literally call Senators about DADT

It’s been a busy day. The President hosted at meeting with the leaders of Congress to talk about priorities for the lame duck session. Doesn’t sound like they gave much thought to the Defense bill, which includes the DADT language. Also, today, as you know, the Pentagon released its long awaited report on DADT.

We need the direct involvement of the President if we’re going to pass the DADT language this year, as promised. A short time ago, the White House issued a statement from the President on the DADT report, which included this line:

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.

We need more than a statement on paper from the President. Here’s an idea: The President could start calling Senators to make sure he can sign the law this year. And, how about standing in front of t.v. cameras and using the bully pulpit to call for repeal. Put some skin in the game, Mr. President. You promised.

We sent out the following appeal to our AMERICAblog list. We’re still asking the President to start calling Senators directly. That will have more impact than a White House statement:

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s study on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was just released, and it is better than our wildest dreams. The study concluded that repeal would have a “low risk” to the military’s mission capability.

With congressional debate beginning as early as Monday, the calendar is our biggest obstacle — there is no time to lose. Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen have already said they’ll be talking to the Senate about the report. The grassroots will be doing our part. But the White House is still on record saying the President’s made no calls to Congress on this issue!

Join thousands in telling President Obama to start calling senators in support of repealing DADT now. Click here.

Add your name to our open letter, and we’ll personally deliver it to the White House for you. Then share this email with others.

More results from the study:

* 70% of servicemembers believe repeal would have little or no effect on their units
* 92% of respondents had a positive or neutral experience with a gay servicemember
* 74% of military spouses are not concerned about repeal
* Secretary of Defense Gates strongly urges that the Senate repeal DADT based on the findings of this report

We can not afford for the President to be MIA on this issue yet again. We need his fierce advocacy right now.

Click here to join over 2,500 people in telling President Obama to put some skin in the game and call Senators in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — now.

The stakes are high. Thanks for joining us in this fight.

Obama can call on the Senate to act — and call Senators to make sure they do.

More and more people are signing the letter. We’ve passed our initial goal of 2,500 signatures and have doubled it to 5,000. The President just told us how important the Senate is. Let’s make sure he’s doing his part.

And, everyone should call their own Senators today or tomorrow. The switchboard at the Capitol is: 202-224-3121.


—  admin

Statement by President Obama on DOD Report on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell


Office of the Press Secretary



November 30, 2010

Statement by President Obama on DOD Report on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

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.  

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin