WATCH: Bystanders lift vehicle, pull motorcyclist from beneath it after fiery wreck in Logan, Utah


I have no reason for posting this here other than it happened in a city where I once worked at the daily newspaper — Logan, Utah — and the victim is apparently the nephew of one of my former colleagues. Also, it’s a pretty amazing rescue. According to my old paper, The Herald Journal, the motorcyclist remains in intensive care but is expected to recover. Watch the rescue below.

—  John Wright

Utah Democratic Party elects openly gay chair

Jim Dabakis says he’ll try to get members of LDS church to join party

Associated Press

Jim Dabakis said his sexual orientation never came up during the nomination process.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Democratic Party has voted overwhelming in favor of electing as its new chairman an art dealer believed to be the first openly gay leader of a political party in the state.

Jim Dabakis, a co-founder of Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center, was elected Saturday during the party’s state convention in Salt Lake City.

Dabakis said his sexual orientation never came up during the nomination process.

“The whole gay thing just simply did not surface as an issue,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. “People are broad-minded in Utah, and they want to know if you can do the job or not.”

Dabakis also said he will go out of his way to make members of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints feel comfortable in the Democratic Party. He said Democrats believe in the inclusion of all people, even if they have some differing opinions, including Mormons who primarily vote Republican.

“I want to speak directly to the LDS people in our state,” he said. “I want you LDS people to participate in our party. We want your spirit, we want your contributions, and we want to earn your votes. I will do whatever I can as chair to see that our big tent is comfortable to LDS people because it’s the right thing to do.”

Dabakis said many Mormons want a chance to be part of the “normal, moderate, reasonable” Democratic Party in light of splintering in the GOP between the tea party and more moderate Republicans.

“People are looking for real life answers to problems,” said Dabakis, who replaces retiring three-term party chairman Wayne Holland. “I believe to my core Democrats can win in Utah.”

The Utah Republican Party controls both houses of the state Legislature. It also holds all statewide offices and two of the three congressional seats.

Democratic Party delegates noted Dabakis has been a successful businessman and radio talk show host, and has been involved Utah politics for 30 years, the Deseret News reported.

“He will bring energy,” said Tim Chambless, with the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. “He’ll bring a greater connection with the business community.”

Convention delegates also elected small-business owner Brian Doughty, who is openly gay, to replace state Rep. Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City. Biskupski resigned after buying a house outside the district.

—  John Wright

Study Finds “Pervasive” Antigay Bias in Utah

Poll x390 (Photos.com) | Advocate.comA new study to be distributed to state lawmakers in Utah shows that employees face significant discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

UTAH: GOP State Sen. Chris Buttars Wants To Repeal Anti-Bullying Rules

Republican state Sen. Chris Buttars has introduced a bill that would repeal the Salt Lake City school board’s recently instituted anti-bullying rules. Pride In Utah reports:

Speaking at a meeting for the anti-gay group Eagle Forum, Buttars said: “We’re in big trouble in our public education system. I didn’t realize how much until a month ago when I was asked to chair public education appropriations,” said Buttars. “We met and when we got done we were all so terrified we couldn’t believe it. This was right under our nose.” “By accepting that, there’s no God because he deals in absolutes,” said Buttars. “This is an entire program to bring America down and I want to tell you right now it’s well entrenched in Utah.” Other speakers at the Eagle Forum called the anti-bullying and non discrimination policies a “Socialist and Communist plot to take over children.”

Pride In Utah will stage a protest rally at the Utah Capitol Building on January 24th, the first day of the legislative session.

RELATED: We’ve heard from Buttars before. He has called the “sexual perversion” of homosexuality “the greatest threat to America I know of.” Buttars also wants to eliminate the 12th grade because kids know everything they need by then. And in 2008 when referring a bill that would increase funding to minority school districts, he said, “This baby is black. It’s a dark, ugly thing.”

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Utah: mean-ass state senator Chris Buttars seeks repeal of school anti-bullying laws

How petty, small, mean, and bigoted does someone have to be to want to roll back protections for children in schools? Look no further than Turd Extraordinaire Chris Buttars. (Pride in Utah):

Senator “black babies are dark and ugly things” Chris Buttars was recently named as chair of the State Public Education committee, despite his call in 2010 to eliminate the 12th grade as “unnecessary.” It appears he plans to use his latest position of power as much possible in his war against civil rights. His proposed resolution, SJR 1, strips the State School Board of the power to make changes to their policies unless they are already provided by statute. In other words, take away the protections for straight and LGBT kids from bullying, and the non-discrimination rules for district employees.

And here is the money quote from Buttars, who seems to have difficulty with church/state separation:

“We’re in big trouble in our public education system. I didn’t realize how much until a month ago when I was asked to chair public education appropriations,” said Buttars. “We met and when we got done we were all so terrified we couldn’t believe it. This was right under our nose.”

“By accepting that, there’s no God because he deals in absolutes,” said Buttars. “This is an entire program to bring America down and I want to tell you right now it’s well entrenched in Utah.”

You can read his bill here.

NOTE: PRIDEinUtah will hold a rally on the opening day of the Utah Legislative session –January 24th, at 5:30pm in the rotunda of the Utah State Capitol Building.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

News: Tron, Utah, Antoine Dodson, Double Rainbow, Zac Efron

Road Utah Senate president wants to repeal the state's LGBT anti-discrimination laws.

RoadCar crashes on to George W. Bush's lawn in Dallas: "Though officials initially classified the incident as an “executive threat” that summoned the attention of more than a dozen police cars, police and Secret Service officers concluded that the crash was accidental."

Castor RoadOne of many disappointing elements of Tron: Legacy. "At a moment when people around the country are celebrating the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the film also serves as a poignant reminder that the gays who remain the most marginalized may not be the ones who are "butch" enough to serve but the ones who aren't."

RoadWatch: Antoine Dodson performs holiday song "Chimney Intruder".

RoadDavid Mixner on yesterday's 'DADT' signing.

RoadParents of Tyler Clementi to sue Rutgers: "Joseph and Jane Clementi, parents of Tyler Clementi, filed notice Friday. They must wait six months to file the lawsuit over their son's Sept. 22 death, which became the rallying point of a national outcry over the bullying of gay people."

RoadZac Efron's buzz cut.

RoadChart: The rise an fall and rise of "gay".

Dadt RoadWoW looks back to June '96.

RoadEnrique Iglesias releases sexually provocative video.

RoadIn the wake of defeat of Pennsylvania anti-discrimination bill, towns are doing it on their own: "Allegheny County state Rep. Dan Frankel's bill attracted a record 71 co-sponsors, including two Republicans, and even passed narrowly out of the State Government Committee. But it again died at the end of the most recent legislative session. Some local municipalities and counties are acting in the absence of legislative action. So far 18 have passed their own local human relations ordinances, and about a dozen are actively considering it."

RoadJamaica: Student flees dorm after students spread video in which he says he's gay. "The tape, which made its rounds on the campus in late November into early December, was about 30 minutes long and involved the student sharing deep secrets and fantasies with the boy he thought was his new-found friend."

Doublerainbow RoadTwitter goes nuts for L.A.'s double rainbow.

RoadWATCH: Trailer featuring Colin Farrell and Jim Sturgess in The Way Back.

RoadLondon, Ontario community backtracks on censorship of gay art.

RoadJersey Shore's Ronnie gets a doctor's exam.

RoadWill Catholics rejoice the repeal of 'DADT'? "The fact that the gay and lesbian soldiers who were willing to give their lives for their country were unable even to admit their presence within the military, seems about as far as you can get from any reasonable definition of 'respect,' to quote the Catechism.  How respectful is it to say to someone: 'You cannot say that you are here with us.') Much less it is treating them with 'sensitivity and compassion.'  How compassionate is it to tell a soldier: 'Feel free to sacrifice your life; just don't expect us to admit that you're here'?"


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

HRC to Bring the Outcry to Utah

To answer the lack of response from Mormon church officials to the community outcry against recent statements calling same-sex attraction “impure and unnatural,” HRC will join with pro-equality groups in Utah next week to call on church officials to make it right and to present over 100,000 petition signatures to the church demanding them to do the same.

Add your name to our petition and tell them to make it right.

Earlier today, the Mormon Church changed one set of words and eliminated an entire passage from Elder Packer’s sermon online. They didn’t go far enough.

Elder Packer’s misstatement that sexual orientation can be changed has been debunked by both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Both organizations have concluded that same-sex attraction is normal and that “reparative” therapy – like the kind being advocated by the Mormon Church – is unhealthy and harmful. Elder Packer or Church representatives have not corrected their statements in spite of the fact that they are dangerous and can result in self-loathing and potentially suicide by those struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity.

On Tuesday HRC, Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, Equality Utah, and the Utah Pride Center will hold a press conference calling on Elder Packer to make it right and will then present the Church with over 100,000 petition signatures calling on them to correct the record.

WHAT:
Press Conference calling on Elder Packer to correct his statements and delivery of petition signatures to Church World Headquarters

WHEN:
Tuesday, Oct. 12th, 2010 11:00 a.m.

WHERE:
Utah Pride Center, 361 N. 300 West, Salt Lake City, UT followed by delivery of petition signatures

WHO:
Joe Solmonese, HRC President
Bruce Bastian, Utah Philanthropist
Dave Melson, Affirmation Executive Director
Brandie Balken, Equality Utah Executive Director
Valerie Larabee, Utah Pride Center Executive Director


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Vandals spray painted the f-word on Utah Pride Center

The f-word being “fags.” Via LGBT FYI, the LGBT blog of the Salt Lake Tribune:

Salt Lake City Police are investigating an instance of vandalism at the Utah Pride Center. Friday morning, employees of the center and its onsite coffee shop, Cafe Marmalade, discovered an anti-gay slur painted on the marquee in front of the building.

“We realize that often times the purpose of these actions are to cause widespread fear among the members of our community,” Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center, said in a statement. “That is why today we are speaking out. This will not be swept under the rug. We will not be scared into silence by acts of intolerance.”

The full statement from Larabee can be found here. Here’s more:

The Utah Pride Center board and staff acknowledge that in any social justice movement, the more progress that is made, the more resistance the targeted community will face. “We welcome civil, respectful dialogues with those who disagree with our mission, but this kind of hate language and vandalism will not be tolerated,” said Larabee.

The Utah Pride Center appreciates the work of the Salt LakeCity Police Department and the LGBT Public Safety Liaison Committee.

And, the Utah Pride Center posted a photo on its Facebook page:




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

News: Joaquin Phoenix, Utah, Rachel Maddow, True Blood, LCR

 road George W. Bush won't comment on the "Ground Zero mosque".

Phoenix  roadJoaquin Phoenix's cryptic documentary gets a trailer.

 roadTrue Blood fans, here's the magazine cover you don't want to miss (possibly nsfw).

 roadSafe schools chief and GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings on last year's right-wing attacks against him: "As the leading proponent of stopping bullying in America, I was not allowed to be bullied out of my job. I've been preaching for 25 years that bullying is not OK. There was no way I could then say, 'OK, you can bully me.' "

 roadMore reactions on the Ninth Circuit Court's stay of the Prop 8 ruling: Jerry Brown, California Assembly Speaker John Perez, NOM, Courage Campaign's Rick Jacobs, Maggie Gallagher.

 roadLog Cabin Republicans rarely delve into gay rights issues at chapter meetings.

Road MoveOn steps up boycott of Target.

 roadFacebook location set to face off with Foursquare: "As we’ve been saying for months, it seems highly likely the Facebook is going to take a platform approach to location. That is, they’re more likely to federate other location streams (such as Foursquare’s) while they themselves remain fairly cautious with their own location services."

 roadJoe Manganiello promises more nudity on True Blood.

Slater_bragman  roadSteven Slater hires gay PR honcho Howard Bragman.

 roadJonbenet Ramsey at 20?

 roadHere's a spreadsheet of every member of the House of Representatives and their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, addresses and RSS feeds.

 roadRachel Maddow and the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell to receive Walter Cronkite award from Interfaith Alliance: "The Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award, established by Interfaith Alliance in 1998, recognizes individuals who courageously promote democratic values, defend religious freedom and reinvigorate informed civic participation. The award recognizes individuals whose actions have embodied the values of civility, tolerance, diversity and cooperation in the advancement of public dialogue and public policy on traditionally controversial and divisive issues. Mr. Cronkite served as Honorary Chairman of Interfaith Alliance until his death in 2009."

Lebron  roadLeBron James flexes for GQ.

 roadSuspect in murder of D.C. gay man claims self defense. "'Defendant McLean alleged that the decedent was forcing him to be a male prostitute,' says the affidavit. 'According to defendant McLean, the decedent held a knife to the throat of defendant McLean in the early morning hours of August 8, 2010 and threatened to kill him. Defendant McLean claimed that he began to stab the decedent in the chest and then he (defendant McLean) blacked out and does not remember the remainder of the stabbing."

 roadGay activist launches campaign to oust gay executive director of the Utah AIDS Foundation Stan Penfold, who is also Salt Lake City's first openly gay city councilmember. "Matthews, a former UAF volunteer, complains that Penfold has eliminated HIV/ AIDS prevention and support programs even as Utah’s infection rates continue to climb — tripling from 2000 to 2009. Matthews also charges that Penfold’s role as a part-time City Council member has short-changed his full-time job.

'It has been detrimental, during skyrocketing HIV infections, to have the executive director of the Utah AIDS Foundation now have his attention split with the also very pressing business of the City Council,' Matthews said."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Because if we can pass LGBT protections in Logan, Utah, we should be able to pass ENDA

fc686300-620d-11df-85da-001cc4c002e0.image
(The Herald Journal)
UPDATE: The ordinance passed Tuesday night by a vote of 4-0, with one council member abstaining.

Sometime in a past life that now seems like only a dream, I spent two years working for the daily newspaper in Logan, Utah.

Logan, home to Utah State University, is in a mountain valley with stunning scenery and long, cold winters about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City.

The city’s population is roughly 50,000, and the vast majority of residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Which is why it’s so hard to believe that the Logan City Council will consider an ordinance tonight that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing.

—  John Wright