What’s Brewing: Maryland Senate kills gender identity bill; anti-gay hate crime at UNC

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.

—  John Wright

More entries for your Foote fetish

We review two of the entries in the Foote Festival in the Voice this week — Uptown Players’ The Young Man from Atlanta and WaterTower Theatre’s The Traveling Lady, as well as a review several weeks back of Dallas Theater Center’s Dividing the Estate — but the fest continues with a number of productions coming soon. Some today!

WingSpan Theatre Co. and One Thirty Productions are doing four performances of their staged reading of The Carpetbagger’s Children today and Saturday, with two shows each: 1:30 p.m. matinees and 8 p.m. evening perfofoamnces. Performances take place at the Bath House Cultural Center.

Contemporary Theatre of Dallas opens The Trip to Bountiful, directed by Rene Moreno, tonight at the Greenville Center for the Arts off Lower Greenville Avenue.

Theatre 3 is in previews of its production of The Roads Home, a collection of one-acts. Official opening night is Monday.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

UDPATE: MD Senate committee to vote on passed marriage bill today

UPDATED and bumped by Joe @ 5:57 PM: The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee just passed the marriage bill. Via Equality Maryland:

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7-4 to favorably report the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB 116) today. This legislation would end the exclusion of committed gay and lesbian couples from marriage. This is the first time the legislation has passed committee and is scheduled to be voted on by the Senate next week.

Marriage Equality news continues to rapidly develop in states across our nation.

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings committee is scheduled to vote on the marriage equality bill Thursday, which would advance the measure to a vote by the full senate.

The bill has support from seven of the committee’s 11 members, according to the Associated Press.

“A vote by the full Senate is expected to be close: 23 senators have pledged their support, 24 are needed to advance the bill to the House. Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, has said he would sign the measure into law if it reaches his desk,” the AP reports.

The article also reports that among the Senators who have decided to support the bill is one that was “galvanized by what he called the ‘appalling’ testimony of antigay witnesses.” That would be our beloved Maggie Gallagher. Thanks Maggie!


—  David Taffet

Today In Frivolous Lawsuits

A New Jersey woman has filed a $ 5M class action lawsuit against NYC-based discount retailer Century 21 because when she returned items for a cash refund, she didn’t get 80 cents in credit for the coupon she’d used when making the original purchase.

In Manhattan federal court papers, Tova Gerson claims she used a coupon, good for $ 5 off a $ 50-or-more purchase during a Jan. 10 shopping spree at Century 21’s Paramus, NJ, store. Gerson plunked down a total of $ 106.82, before tax, for items that included faux-suede moccasins, a child’s dress, stuffed toy and little girls’ lace tights, underwear and T-shirts, according to the filing. But then, on Jan. 19, Gerson returned a $ 17.97 kid’s ensemble, claiming it was the wrong color, the filing states. Century 21 refunded her money — minus the 80 cents she’d saved, on a pro-rated basis, by using the discount coupon. Gerson, a hat designer who sells her creations from her suburban home, flipped her lid. Century 21’s take-back, she claims, deprived her of the “full benefit” of the $ 5-off coupon.

Gerson’s suit was filed by her lawyer father, who makes his living suing retailers over similar “coupon schemes.” According to the above-linked story, some retailers have settled out of court rather than deal with the lawsuits.

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Final passage of Hawaii civil unions bill delayed, expected today

Out of “an abundance of caution,” the Hawaii Senate is delaying the final vote for civil unions until Wednesday.

The Senate was poised Tuesday to pass civil unions legislation and send the bill to the governor for his signature, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Clayton Hee proposed the delay to make sure there was adequate public notice after the bill reached the Senate.

The measure had passed the House on Friday.

Hee called for the delay out of “an abundance of caution,” although he said he believed the two-day notice period had already passed.

If the bill is signed into law, as expected, then Hawaii will become the seventh state to grant same sex couples essentially the same rights of marriage without authorizing marriage itself.

Sure, I would rather it be gay marriage, but I’m going to celebrate passage of this bill into state law with the understanding that every time we move a step closer we are that much nearer to realizing “The Big Kahuna,” or full marriage equality. Our enemies know this, as well, and it is why they gnash their teeth, and howl, every time another state approves gay civil unions.


—  David Taffet

Today, Love Doesn’t Matter

Not for Anton Tanumihardja and his partner, Brian Andersen. Not to the United States Government. Anton and Brian are among the 30,000 LGBT binational couples struggling to stay together, while the Department of Homeland Security works to tear them apart.

Crossposted at Daily Kos. Please rec if you can.
Anton and Brian’s story came to my attention via Newsworks yesterday. There’s is a common story I hear in my immigration advocacy. Visitor comes to America, finds a life, find love, options run out, faces deportation. In Anton’s case, he came from Indonesia, and that makes his imminent return especially dangerous. He’s applied for asylum, but has not yet had it granted and the clock is ticking down. From Newsworks:

“He is triply vulnerable as a gay man who is ethnically Chinese and non-Muslim, he’s less likely to be able to get any kind of protection from police or any authorities, all of whom are members of the dominant ethnicity and dominant religion,” says Soloway, who noted that Anton has no criminal record.

The simple solution for a heterosexual couple is get married, start the paperwork. That’s not an option for Anton and Brian or any gay people. Even if they got married in a state that allows it, the Federal Government will not respect that marriage as valid. They remain, in the eyes of the law, strangers.

Not every country is eligible for LGBT asylum applications as Indonesia is, and even among those countries who are DHS can be stingy about granting them. For many gay immigrants there are few legal options. A comprehensive look at the legal options can be found here.

His Representative Bob Brady has sent a letter of support to immigration services. These cases sometimes find relief in extraordinary measures, as when Senator Kerry went to bat for a couple in Massachusetts and obtained a stay. But usually, they do not. Most couples do not have the means or the connections to fight. So many must give up. So many American LGBT cititzens bid farewell to their home country.

Ironically, many can find themselves welcomed in other countries as the gay partner of a citizen, another example of the US’s lagging behind other western nations in recognizing gay rights. This is the case with Glenn Greenwald, who cannot bring his partner here, but would find himself, as a gay partner, welcomed by Brazil. Glenn was recently hospitalized and my first thought was, “And if he’s in the US right now, his partner can’t even come up to visit.” I was struck by a profound sadness imagining they were thousands of miles from each other at a time a crisis. This are times you want, need and crave the love and support of your partner.

My friend at Daily Kos, SmellyBeast, faces such a choice. She has chronicled her own struggle with this issue, here: “Desperate Measures” and “Planning my Ta-Ta For Now Tour.” She is making the difficult choice between love and country.

Which brings us back to our title. Love doesn’t matter to these individuals. Love doesn’t conquer all. State marriage certificates don’t matter. The United States Government turns a blind eye to both love and marriage. The partner you may have shared years with, raised children with, shared a home, is legally a stranger, and has no right to petition for your residency in this country.

But of course, outside DC’s bubble where the sole seems to be to mandate serve the corporations, love does matter. It matters above all else to every one of these 30,000 couple struggling to keep their families intact. LGBT relationships do matter and it’s past time our Government caught up to that reality. It isn’t OK for it to keep continuing doing this because, well, that’s the way it is, that’s the way it’s always been.

Send a Valentine to Congress today. Immigration Equality makes it easy, if your rep isn’t on your speed dial.

Tell them the love that binds LGBT families is no different than the love that binds every family. Get rid of the Defense of Marriage Act that forbids the DHS to recognize these couples, some lawfully wedded. Pass Uniting American Families Act that would allow LGBT citizens to petition for residency status for their partners.

The blog Stop the Deportations is an excellent source for keeping tabs on this and other stories as well.

Also: Help us out, by taking just 120 seconds to Click This Link and vote for Rhode Island to be the next state polled by Public Policy Polling. We could use some good news coming out of a reputable pollster right now about marriage equality, just as they are about to vote. Ask your friends to do so too. We’re behind Maine, but not by much.

“It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.” –Helen Keller

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Anti-Gay Singer Buju Banton Wins Reggae Grammy, Faces Drug and Gun Trial Today

Anti-gay 'murder music' singer Buju Banton won a Grammy award last night:

Bujubanton "Banton won the prestigious award for Best Reggae Album for his project, Before The Dawn. This was his first Grammy award, having been nominated in previous years for Rasta Got Soul in 2009; Too Bad in 2007; Friends For Life, 2004; and Inna Heights, 1999. "He is elated, man," one member of Banton's entourage told the Observer. The announcement of the Reggae Grammy was made hours before the Grammy Awards show in Los Angeles, California last night."

The controversy surrounding Banton stems primarily from a song called "Boom Boom Bye" in which he sings about shooting gay men in the head, pouring acid on them and burning them alive.

Banton's drug trial resumes this morning in Tampa. He faces up to 20 years if convicted:

Just last week, Judge Jim Moody ruled against a motion by Buju’s legal team seeking to dismiss a superseding indictment. As a result of the ruling by Moody, who will preside over the trial, Buju will now be facing four counts instead of the two for which he was originally tried last September.

The five-time Grammynominated artiste, whose real name is Mark Myrie, had originally been tried on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking offence.

He will now be tried for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine; attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drugtrafficking offence; and using the wires to facilitate a drugtrafficking offence.

The Miami Herald reports that Banton has gays in mind when he references his troubles:

In Jamaica, some fans have theorized Banton was framed by the U.S. government or gay activists who have protested violent, homophobic lyrics from early in Banton's career as a brash dancehall singer. Shows in several U.S. cities were canceled on his 2009 tour because of the protests.

Banton jabbed at his detractors during his Jan. 16 performance in Miami, referencing one of his controversial songs and the messiah of his Rastafarian faith.

He said: "Why they want to see Buju Banton cry? Is it because I said 'Boom Bye Bye'? Is it because I say Selassie I? Is it because I'm black and not shy?"

Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

Today In Loving Christianity

Just added to the YouTube channel of Pastor Donald Spitz, whose Army Of God ministry usually spends its time defending the murderers of abortion providers. Clip labels:

Criminalize Homosexuality, Homosexual activist, Scott Lively, Abiding Truth Ministries, Pink Swastika, Donald Spitz, sodomite, Jesus Christ, Holy Bible, gay, queer, faggot, sexual deviant, lesbian, moffie, pink, Christianity, inspirational.

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Today In Hilarious Hypocrisy

This week Porno Pete paid for a full-page ad in the Washington Times denouncing fellow conservatives for allowing GOProud to attend CPAC. Ignore all THAT. Actually, it’s “hateful rad gay lefties” that don’t want conservatives talking with gays. Whatever works in the name of feeding Petey’s new love affair with the homocons at Gay Patriot, who enthusiastically tweeted back “TRUTH! LOL!” Just so we’re clear, Peter LaBarbera can take out full page ads against you, but if anybody else doesn’t like you too, they’re “hateful radical lefties.” OK, then.

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Rally for equality today in Cheyenne, WY, 11am

Be there or be square, cowgirl.


—  admin