What’s Brewing: Daniel Hernandez, Fort Worth Episcopal diocese; marriage battles intensify

1. In a victory for LGBT-affirming Episcopalians, a conservative Fort Worth group that left the church over its acceptance of gays has been ordered to surrender the property it tried to steal from the six-county diocese. A state district judge on Friday ordered the group to turn over the property — which includes 55 parishes and missions as well as several schools — within 60 days. The group says it plans to appeal the decision, but hopefully this ruling will mean schools like St. Vincent’s can no longer discriminate against 4-year-olds like Olivia Harrison (above) who happen to have lesbian parents.

2. Daniel Hernandez Jr., the gay intern credited with saving the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, will sit next to first lady Michelle Obama during Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Tuesday also happens to be Hernandez’s 21st birthday.

3. Battles over same-sex marriage are intensifying in Maryland, Wyoming and Iowa.

—  John Wright

The Nooner: Rebecca Drysdale, Log Cabin Republicans, next week’s deep freeze

Your gay lunchtime quickie from Instant Tea:

• Lesbian comic Rebecca Drysdale releases must-see, profanity-laden “It Gets Better” video. (Above, NSFW)

• Cross-dressing suspect charged in Houston-area bank robbery.

• Log Cabin Republicans welcomes 112th Congress: “The 2010 election was an historic victory for the GOP, and Log Cabin Republicans is committed to moving forward as part of a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party focused on the issues that unite us as Americans.•

Deep freeze headed to N. Texas: “Record lows aren’t in the forecast, but the frigid weather is expected to arrive Monday and stick around through at least Friday, with highs hovering near freezing and lows in the teens, said meteorologist Jason Dunn of the National Weather Service’s Fort Worth office.”

• Gay-friendly Dallas-based dating website Match.com sued over fake profiles.

—  John Wright

Victory!

This historic morning, President Obama signed into law the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This is 17 years in the making, and it’s about time. Soon, gay and lesbian service members will be able to wake up and go to work without the fear of getting fired for their sexual orientation. The stain on American ideals is gone, forever.

In speaking before a massive crowd of repeal supporters, including many troops discharged under the law, the President thanked both Democrats and Republicans who voted for repeal, putting “conviction ahead of politics.” He also made clear that in his discussions with the service chiefs all of whom agreed to implement the new policy “swiftly and efficiently.”

Although HRC continues to warn service members that repeal is not effective immediately, this no doubt is the best holiday gift for our gay, lesbian and bisexual troops.  Congratulations and happy holidays


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Gay Vets Speak on DADT Repeal Victory

Today’s momentous victory would not have been possible without the help of veteran advocates from across the country.   They told their stories, contacted lawmakers and traveled the country to keep up the heat on repeal.

Today, after the president signed into law the historic bill that begins the process of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”  two veteran advocates who spent the past year working with HRC stopped by our offices to record a special thank you message:

SPANISH LANGUAGE VIDEO


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

A victory: UN adds sexual orientation to resolution on executions

There’s a lot of buzz about international relations today, mostly focused on START Treaty. But there was another significant development when the United Nations:

U.N. member states have restored a reference to sexual orientation that was dropped amid much controversy last month from a resolution opposing the unjustified killing of minority groups.

Some additional info. on the vote from San Diego Gay and Lesbian News:

The vote was 93-55 with 27 abstentions.

The opposition mostly came from Arab and African nations where human rights are limited.

Via tweet from UN Ambassador Susan Rice:

We went “all out” and WON.#UN vote sends strong message that human rights apply to all,regardless of sexual orientation http://bit.ly/i4tdbF

Rice linked to this official statement from the U.S. government, made by Ambassador Rick Barton, U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Rick is an old friend. We worked together in the mid-80s when both of us lived in Maine. I’m posting his full statement after the break.

Here’s the statement:

Mr. President,

Thank you for this opportunity to take the floor after the vote.

The United States would like to thank countries for their support. We applaud those member states that have stood with us to oppose efforts seeking to block language on “sexual orientation” from this resolution.

Along with many countries in this room today, the United States was deeply disappointed by the vote in the third committee, which eliminated any mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals from this resolution condemning extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people around the world.

The voices of civil society and human rights defenders around the world have indeed been heard by the member states of the United Nations – and for that my delegation is especially grateful. The General Assembly has sent a clear signal today that justice and human rights apply to all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.

As Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said this year on Human Rights Day, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to all human beings without exception and that “violence will end only when we confront prejudice.”

Having just celebrated the 62nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, today’s vote ensures that the principles enshrined in that Declaration are put into practice and indeed live on in the 21st century. We have reaffirmed that “all human rights apply to all.” We hope that we can continue to make progress on this at the UN and that all member states will consider signing the statement on LGBT human rights before the UNGA.

We thank the member states of the General Assembly for their support today.

Thank you Mr. President.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Rachel Maddow: DADT Is The President’s Victory

Rachel

Interviewed on MSNBC this afternoon were former U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall, who was ousted from the military under DADT in 2002, and the network's talk show host Rachel Maddow.

Said Maddow: "Politically, the thing to not lose touch with here is that this is the President's victory. This is something about which the President took a lot of criticism, a lot of abuse, a lot of skepticism from his otherwise most loyal supporters. He continually insisted that this was possible that it would get done."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Take Action: Please join us in thanking the troops who made today’s DADT victory possible

UPDATE @ 3:02 PM: Watch the Senate vote on final passage:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

UPDATE: The final Senate vote on DADT is expected at 3pm Eastern. We should easily win that. Then the bill goes straight to the White House for the President’s signature, from what I understand.

And here’s the vote count. We got all the Ds, exception Manchin, who chickened out and didn’t vote at all (history repeats itself and West Virginia takes a proud stand against the major civil rights bill of the day, again). And we got the following Rs: Snowe; Collins; Murkowski; Voinovich; Brown; Kirk.

There’s a lot of thanks to go around for today’s incredible and somewhat surprising, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” victory. Please join us in thanking the troops, from Leonard Maltovich to Dan Choi, who made today possible. You can add your name to our open letter of thanks to all of them, and we’ll deliver it to our friends at SLDN and Servicemembers United.

Now, it’s true that this isn’t over. The Senate still has two more votes on DADT before this bill passes the Senate (but those are simple majority votes, so we expect no problem). Then the bill goes to the President for his signature. But even then it’s not over. The President will need to work with the Pentagon to come up with the new regulations lifting the ban, and even then Republicans in Congress may try to stop implementation of the repeal. We’ll need to watch this like a hawk every step of the way, and we will, but today we celebrate.

Join us in thanking the troops, but really in thanking everyone who had a hand in this. Here a few who really led the way:

Everyone at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Servicemembers United. Especially their leaders, Aubrey Sarvis and Alex Nicholson, both proud vets. Then there are the vets. Leonard Matlovich, Perry Watkins, Tracy Thorne, Zoe Dunning, Justin Elzie, Michelle Beneke (and Dixon Osborn, who isn’t a vet, but set up SLDN 17 years ago with Michelle), Grethe Cammermeyer, Joe Steffan, Keith Meinhold, Eric Alva, Victor Fehrenbach, and Dan Choi… and so many more.

And let’s not forget the activists who weren’t willing to take no for an answer. Robin McGehee at GetEqual and the entire gay Netroots. Our friends in the White House who have been pushing this for two years, in the face of some serious internal challenges. Our friends on the Hill, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid – who both got this done. Senator Udall of Colorado. Senator Gillibrand. Senator Lieberman (yes, he actually busted his butt for us). Senators Snowe and Collins, and every other Republican and Democrat who finally came our way. And Congressman Patrick Murphy, who went the extra mile for us. And even the President, who finally got into gear (albeit a tad late) and made the calls necessary to make this happen.

I’m sure I’m forgetting far too many people, all the way back to my friends at the Campaign for Military Service back in 1993, and Michael in Senator Kennedy’s office who spent far too much time with me figuring out how to responds to the evil Sam Nunn.

So thank you all. It’s not over. But it’s a hell of a start, and a hell of a Christmas gift.

Please sign our thank you letter to the troops, and consider it a thank you to everyone, including all of you.

Not a bad day.

PS Okay, more folks coming to mind who helped out immensely. Kerry Eleveld at the Advocate who held Robert Gibbs’ feet to the fire, Richard Socarides who singlehandedly became one of our community’s top spokesmen on CNN and MSNBC. Trevor at SLDN and Brad Luna, the best PR folks you can find. And then there’s Paul Yandura and Jonathan Lewis, who went the extra mile, and then some, to make sure we all got equal. And the blogswarmers, from Pam Spaulding to Mike Signorile, Dan “It gets better” Savage, Andy Towle, Bill Browning, Joe Jervis, Adam Bink,and Jeremy Hooper.

It’s beginning to feel like the Oscars :-)

Then there are the straight blogs, as we affectionately call them. Markos, a vet who earned his “honorary gay” medal years ago, Jane Hamsher who is about as dangerous a weapon on TV as any soldier in the field, and really everyone – Joe and I have remarked to ourselves numerous times how supportive the straight blogs have been to us and our issues over the years, so thank you, all of you. And not a blogger, but still a member of the Netroots, Jon Soltz at VoteVets, another vet who earned his honorary gay medal years ago, tirelessly fighting for us on TV far better than most of our groups.

And even OFA, while not yet quite earning their honorary gay medal, came through in the end and did some real work phone-banking and visiting Senate offices, so thank you.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Victory Fund Supports Fort Worth’s Burns

JOEL BURNS X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMThe Victory Fund made its first endorsement for 2011 — getting behind
the reelection effort of Joel Burns, the gay Fort Worth city councilman
who in October made an impassioned speech in council chambers on LGBT
youth suicides.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Focus on the Family clinches ‘victory’ from jaws of [procedural obstructionism]

Two ridiculous reactions to DADT repeal’s failure, both printed by Focus on the Family:

#1:

“The U.S. Senate did not allow itself to be bullied into passing legislation that would be harmful to our military,” said Elaine Donnelly, founder and president of the Center for Military Readiness. “This was not just a procedural vote, this was a substantive vote. It’s time for President Obama and his administration to let this issue go.” [SOURCE]

How can Elaine seriously deny that this failure was largely procedural? There were several votes on the 40 “nay” side who said they would’ve voted Donnellyfor repeal under different procedural circumstances. Who openly support repeal SUBSTANTIVELY, but who would not follow the PROCEDURE before them. We only needed three of them (two, if Blanche Lincoln’s vote had counted) to put this conversation to rest FOR GOOD. Unfortunately, partisan obstructionism won out.

So sorry, Elaine — we’re not putting a near-victory to bed. Instead, we’re going to lay out the procedure that will cut through contrived political allegiances and lead to a free and clear 60 who’ll join the 2 OUT OF 3 AMERICANS WHO SUPPORT REPEAL!

#2:

Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst at CitizenLink, said family advocates are to thank for the historic vote in the Senate.

“Today’s vote was an absolute victory for family values,” she said, “and it was due in large part to constituents all across the country who were calling in, saying, ‘We don’t want this to happen.’ ”[SOURCE]

A win for family values. FOR FAMILY VALUES?!? Are you kidding me right now?! Even under the most generous read, how is booting otherwise Hornequalified solders any kind of a “family value”?! Unless, of course, your family values telling some family members that they are more than qualified to fight and possibly die for his or her country, but not call out to a most cherished love one when wounded in the field.

And again: It wasn’t even a “victory” on its merits. This “pro-family” crowd loves a nice majority. Well guess what: We had one, just didn’t achieve the 60 needed to proceed. Plus, as stated: We had the supermajority, if not for procedure. And, because it can’t be repeated enough: A VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT REPEAL!

So it’s pretty arrogant for Ms. Horne to act like this was some sort of a mandate from the American people. The truth is that groups like Focus on the Family are too obsessed with man dates to even see what is right, fair, free, and American.

***

*SEE ALSO: Why repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is still viable, and perhaps even more so than earlier today [P8TT]




Good As You

—  admin

WATCH: Why last night’s DISD victory shouldn’t lead to complacency on anti-gay bullying

On the heels of last night’s approval of an LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying policy by the Dallas school district, comes this sobering reminder that the LGBT community’s work has just begun.

For one thing, these policies don’t mean squat without training and enforcement. And for another, only a fraction of students even in North Texas attend DISD schools.

Fox 4 reports on one North Texas mom who says the Keller ISD is failing to protect her son from anti-gay bullying:

The boy’s mother said he has been roughed up more than half a dozen times at school. He’s been punched, pushed and had his head slammed into a locker. FOX 4 has agreed not to identify her to protect the boy’s identity.

“I don’t want him to be physically assaulted anymore. I want him to get an education, that’s all,” the boy’s mother said.

The woman said her son is depressed and suicidal because of bullies.

“They say to him you’re gay, you’re a faggot or you’re retarded,” she said. “A boy told him you need to go get a gun and shoot yourself.”

—  John Wright