Starbucks art auction to benefit homeless youth charity

There are times in life when the strangest ingredients can come together to make something wonderful: wasabi and chocolate, curry and cranberries, peanut butter and pickles… That’s the case with Montrose Grace Place, a charity serving homeless youth in the Montrose area. Take one part 90 year old Lutheran Church willing to help without preaching, add a desire to serve homeless youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, mix with a passel of volunteers of all religious backgrounds (Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and more than a few Atheists), let steep in a community desperate to help queer homeless youth and voilà, a vibrant charity that has provided food, clothing and, most importantly, interaction with adults who give a damn to dozens of kids over the last two years.

Of course all that doesn’t happen without expense. Despite Grace Lutheran Church donating space and volunteers donating hundreds of hours of labor Grace Place still has some expenses. The employees of the River Oaks Starbucks (the one at 2050 West Gray, not the one at 2029 West Gray or the one at 2030 West Gray) wanted a way to pitch in so they organized an art auction tomorrow evening, January 1 starting at 6 pm. The auction features donated works by local artists as well as works by the Grace Place kids themselves. Stop by for a latte and some art to go.

—  admin

Expect Senate vote on Defense Authorization at around noon tomorrow

The Senate’s orders for Thursday:

∙The Senate will convene at 9:30am and proceed to consideration of the motion to proceed to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2010 (S.3992), with ten minutes reserved for Senator Durbin, and the remaining time until 11:00am equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders, or their designees.

∙At 11:00am, the Senate will proceed to a series of up to three roll call votes on the following:

o The motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2010 (S.3992).

o The motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (H.R.847).

o Reconsideration of the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (S.3454).

The key players have until noon tomorrow to figure out how to make this work. I just hope everyone is operating in good faith — and I do worry whether Mitch McConnell is even going to let Susan Collins cut a deal. He runs a tight ship.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Homework for the Prop 8 Hearing Tomorrow

If you want to do a little homework to prepare for the Prop 8 hearing tomorrow, I recommend that you have a look at the papers filed by the Olson-Boies team and the proponents of Prop 8. I’m providing links below to the three key filings from AFER’s website. (AFER is the organization sponsoring the federal challenge.) The filings are probably too lengthy to read in their entirety, but you can get a gist of the arguments by reading the introductions and some of the summaries. I’ve indicated the page numbers for those sections below. Here are the briefs:

Prop 8 Proponents Opening Brief The defenders of prop 8 are looking to establish that (1) they have standing to pursue an appeal of Judge Walker’s ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger; (2) Imperial County (a county in Southern California east of San Diego) also has standing to pursue the appeal; and (3) Prop 8 should be upheld. The Introduction (pp. 1-8) and Summary of Argument (16-18) provide a good outline of what they are arguing.

Main Response Brief filed by the Olson-Boies team In this brief, our people are asking the court (1) to deny standing to the proponents of Prop 8 and (2) to strike down Prop 8 as unconstitutional. Pages 1-28 encompass the Introduction, the Statement of Facts and the Summary of Argument. If you only have time to read one thing, read this.

Response regarding Imperial County filed by the Olson-Boies team. This is the response to the argument that Imperial County should be permitted to pursue appeal. You might want to look at pages 1-2. They contain the Introduction and Statement of the Issues.

Although not strictly necessary for understanding what’s going on tomorrow, you should also read Judge Walker’s ruling when you can.

As a reminder, the hearings will be televised on C-SPAN at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time (1 p.m Eastern). We’ll be live-blogging them here. USC Constitutional Law scholar David Cruz will be joining us. Don’t miss it!




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

DADT report will be released tomorrow as lame duck schedule presents a major impediment

During the White House press briefing, Robert Gibbs responded to questions about the Pentagon’s DADT study from Chris Johnson from the Washington Blade:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday confirmed that Obama was meeting the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Oval Office to discuss “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Pentagon report on the matter.

“I think the president right now is in the Oval Office meeting with the Joint Chiefs about the issue and about the report,” Gibbs said in response to questioning from the Blade. “We look forward to the presentation by [Defense] Secretary [Robert] Gates and [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Adm. [Mike] Mullen tomorrow and then their testimony later in the week.”

Gibbs said he believes the president has seen “parts of” the report on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which is due for release Tuesday. Still, Gibbs said he would need to double-check whether Obama has indeed seen the study and doesn’t “want to ahead of” the release of report “in terms of commenting.”

The Obama administration agreed to the schedule for the Pentagon’s DADT report. The geniuses in the White House wanted it released after the midterms, hence the December 1st release date. Given the time crunch in the lame duck, Secretary Gates magnanimously agreed to release the report one day early. You do recall that on April 30th, Gates told Congress in a “strongly worded letter” that he didn’t want any votes on DADT repeal before the report was released. That provided a key talking points for opponents of repeal. Now, timing is the enemy. Unless things move seamlessly in the Senate over the next few weeks (and that never happens), passage of the DADT language is in big trouble.

The President really needs to step up his game here. He’s meeting with Congressional leaders tomorrow, but the President did not list the Defense Authorization bill as one of his priorities, according to The Hill. We need to put pressure on the President. Sign our letter to Obama, which asks him to start calling Senators, here.

And, via SLDN, Senators need to hear from all of us, too. If you live in any of these target states (or contributed to any of these Senators), call them:

UPDATED LIST: KEY SENATORS WHO NEED TO HEAR FROM REPEAL SUPPORTERS NOW:

–Harry Reid (D-NV);

–Susan Collins (R-ME);

–Olympia Snowe (R-ME);

–Mark Pryor (D-AR.);

–Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)

–Richard Lugar (R-IN);

–Judd Gregg (R-NH);

–Scott Brown (R-MA)

–George Voinovich (R-OH);

–Kit Bond (R-MO);

–Joe Manchin (D-WV)

–Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

–Mark Kirk (R-IL)

–James Webb (D-VA)

ACTION ALERT BY REPEAL ADVOCATES: http://bit.ly/dBKRcd

The Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Tomorrow In NYC’s Washington Square: Glowstick Vigil For LGBT Youth

Sunday at 9pm thousands will gather in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park for a You-Are-Loved vigil for LGBT youth. (No candles, open flames are strictly forbidden.) Facebook event page:

The vigil will start promptly at 9:00pm in Washington Square Park underneath the arch. Please bring your own glowstick if you have one as there will be a limited amount available. We will have at least 1,000 glowsticks to provide. The event will culminate in a chalking session in honor of the 2nd annual “You-Are-Loved Chalk Messaging Project.” This project is meant to provide uplifting messages as well as shed light on the amount of bullying, harassment, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts that disproportionately affect queer youth.

Confirmed guests include the Trevor Project, Ali Forney Center, GLAAD, and Heritage of Pride. I will attend and document the event for JMG. Now where does one buy a glowstick in NYC?

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Webinar for LGBT Parents Tomorrow at 3 PM Eastern

Tomorrow, HRC is hosting a webinar for LGBT parents entitled, “Creating Positive Change in Your Elementary Schools: Strategies and Tools for LGBT Parents.” Parents and educators will offer participants information on advocating for their families in their school community. This is the first of a series of Welcoming Schools webinars.

During this seminar, we will discuss bringing Welcoming Schools into your school, getting involved in your child’s school community, giving your child the vocabulary needed to talk about your family and many more topics.

RSVP and share this event on Facebook!

What: “Creating Positive Change in Your Elementary Schools: Strategies and Tools for LGBT Parents.”

When: Thursday, September 30th, at 3 – 4 PM EST.

How to Join:

Prior to the webinar: ensure that you either (a) have the Microsoft LiveMeeting client already installed on your computer or (b) have Java installed on your computer so that you can run the LiveMeeting Java application. If you are a Mac user, you will have to join using the Live Meeting Java application.

Join Webinar by clicking here on Sept. 30th a few minutes before 3 PM EST.

  • Meeting ID: WSwebinar
  • Entry Code: WS0930
  • Call in to audio portion: (888) 315-1021, passcode: 2022161588


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

NY Primary Elections Tomorrow – Support Sens. That Support Us

The following is from HRC Regional Field Director Sultan Shakir:

For the past few months, I’ve been working across the state of New York, talking with our members in targeted state Senate districts about our Campaign for New York Marriage. The goals of the campaign are focused; to defeat state senators who voted against marriage and to elect candidates who support equality.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting up with state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (Queens) who was hard at work in Bay Terrace campaigning for re-election.  Stavisky, who was a co-sponsor of the marriage equality bill, is running a solid campaign for re-election.

It’s been amazing to see the growth in excitement and activism since 2007 when I worked with our members to help elect Craig Johnson on Long Island in his special election.  From that tipping-point race to tomorrow’s primary, our members have been out in force helping to elect candidates who support equality.  Thank you to all of our members who are helping to advance equality and here’s to victory!


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Judge Walker to Rule Tomorrow on Stay in Prop 8 Ruling

We'll know tomorrow morning whether gay couples can begin marrying again in California, the AP reports:

"Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said he would issue his decision Thursday by noon on requests to impose a stay that would keep Proposition 8 in effect while its sponsors appeal his decision."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Prop 8 Stay Ruling Tomorrow

The announcement will come between noon and 3pm EST.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker will issue a Thursday morning ruling on whether to stay a decision in the Proposition 8 federal case pending appeal, according to a late Wednesday e-mail from the court. The ruling will be issued between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. Pacific Time. If Walker rules against the stay, the state of California will presumably allow same-sex couples to wed once again. Such unions have been illegal since voters in the state passed Prop. 8 in November 2008.

Here we go again!

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Prop 8 Stay Ruling Tomorrow

The announcement will come between noon and 3pm EST.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker will issue a Thursday morning ruling on whether to stay a decision in the Proposition 8 federal case pending appeal, according to a late Wednesday e-mail from the court. The ruling will be issued between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. Pacific Time. If Walker rules against the stay, the state of California will presumably allow same-sex couples to wed once again. Such unions have been illegal since voters in the state passed Prop. 8 in November 2008.

Here we go again!

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright