BREAKING: Pentagon to certify DADT repeal

Secretary Panetta

Reports are coming in from sources including the Wall Street Journal and Fox News that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen are going to announce Friday that they are ready to certify repeal of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Once they have signed off on repeal, the measure goes to President BarackObama for his signature, and he will send it back to Congress. Then there is a 60-day waiting period before repeal is officially implemented.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, issued a statement shortly after 6 p.m. Central time today saying the Pentagon’s certification of repeal is “is welcomed by gay and lesbian service members who have had to serve their country in silence for far too long.”

Sarvis added: “The troops and their commanders are ready. Our nation’s top military leaders have testified that commanders see no significant challenges ahead. The official certification to Congress that the armed forces are prepared for the end of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’  should go to Capitol Hill tomorrow with the President’s signature.”

But Sarvis also warned closeted servicemembers that it’s not safe to come out yet. SLDN has posted a warning to lesbian and gay servicemembers here. He also advised LGBT servicemembers with questions to call the SLDN hotline at 202-328-3244, ext. 100, to speak to a staff attorney.

—  admin

Agree or not, free speech is protected

Earlier today, David Taffet reported on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the right of those right-of-right-wing loonies at Westboro Baptist “God Hates Fags” Church to stage their protests outside the funerals of U.S. servicemen and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Westboro protests, the court said, are a form of speech and they are protected under the First Amendment.

Just as a reminder, the Phelps Clan of Westboro Baptist stages protests outside the funerals to, basically, cheer God on for letting these servicemen and women get killed. The Westboro nuts say that the war and the deaths of the servicemembers is God’s punishment on this country for being too liberal, especially when it comes to gay rights. The case started in 2006 when the father of a Marine killed in Iraq sued the Westboro group and won an $11 milllion judgment in trial court. But the appeals court overturned the trial court decision, and the Supremes upheld the appeals court.

Now, in a similar situation, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that officials at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Ill., cannot prohibit students from wearing slogan T-shirts to school, even if those slogans might hurt some students’ feelings. Those shirts are a form of free speech, the court said, and are protected under the First Amendment, according to reports on the Wall Street Journal’s “Law Blog.”

—  admin

Now that he’s screwed 200 out of health benefits, El Paso bigot Tom Brown wants to be left alone

Pastor Tom Brown

Pastor Tom Brown robbed hundreds of people of health insurance when he spearheaded a ballot measure that overturned domestic partner benefits for El Paso city employees. But now Brown wants the LGBT community and its supporters to just forget about it and stop protesting outside his Word of Life Church. KFOX Channel 8 reports:

After the council passed the ordinance, Pastor Tom Brown quickly gained enough signatures to send the decision of whether or not domestic partners should get health care benefits to the voters and the majority sided with him.

“Let’s all move on,” said Brown.

The group of protesters Tuesday, mostly composed of radio talk show hosts, said that is not going to happen.

“Don’t you think it’s a little late; the election’s over with,” said Brown.

The group said it’s never too late and this is just the beginning of what they call “Love” rallies.

“To me that’s not love when you mock other peoples’ lives,” said Brown.

The pastor said he hopes the protesters pick a better and more respectful location next time.

“This is a place where people have their particular views, and they shouldn’t be put to ridicule because a particular church doesn’t correspond to the public view,” said Brown.

Even The Wall Street Journal has taken notice of the DP benefits controversy in El Paso. The WSJ story posted Monday says the ballot initiative could eventually threaten health benefits for up to 6,000 people,, including retirees, because it was so vaguely worded. You see, Brown’s group couldn’t find an attorney to work on the initiative, so they just wrote it themselves. Now, the city’s labor unions are preparing a lawsuit, and the City Council is looking at ways to overturn the initiative:

The pastor, Tom Brown, is threatening to fight officials if they attempt to reinstate the benefits for gay partners. He has proposed another ballot initiative which would strip the city council of its power to amend or rescind voter-approved measures.

“I’m feeling a call from God to get more involved in our government,” Mr. Brown said in an interview.


—  John Wright

Letters • 11.19.10

Fox not a credible news source

I read with interest the column written last week by Matthew Tsien (“Gay vote for GOP shows change in trend,” Dallas Voice, Nov. 12), formerly public affairs director for the Washington, D.C., chapter of Log Cabin Republicans.

I find the statements made by Mr. Tsien to be somewhat incredulous, however. He stated that 31 percent or more of self-identified gay voters voted Republican in 2010. Later he suggests that this is probably 5 to 10 percent higher, which would mean that almost half of the GLBT voters in this election cast Republican ballots.

Before we can ascertain whether or not this is an accurate number, we must “consider the source” of the data. My mother taught me a long time ago to always “consider the source” whenever you hear information or are presented with data.

Well when we look into Mr. Tsien’s source of information, we find that it is none other than Fox News, a notoriously biased network that is owned by conservative billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who also owns and controls the Wall Street Journal.

This American does not consider Fox News to be a credible news source. Fox News is what I refer to as “infotainment.” They inflame, exaggerate and basically present blatantly false information to their viewers on a regular basis. How can anyone cite this news source as being “credible?”

In all fairness, Mr. Tsien does disclose his source at the beginning of his column —  “According to Fox News….” — which puts his whole article in context to the truly discerning reader.

I recognize that there are gay conservatives, but long-studied electoral statistics have said that the only demographic group that is more loyal to the Democratic Party than the GLBT community is the African-American community.

Those numbers typically run around 85 percent.

So it is much more likely that about 15 percent of GLBT voters — or one out of seven — cast a GOP ballot.

Further, there are legitimate, credible and objective conservative sources of information, like The Economist of London. Fox News, or as we on the Left call it, Faux News is not one of them.

I agree that Democrats aren’t doing enough to advance GLBT civil rights.

But to suggest that the GOP will do so is truly preposterous.

Mom is right: “Consider the Source.”

Jay Narey
Outgoing vice president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas

……………..

‘A little suspect’

Does anyone else find it a little suspect that Matthew Tsien, when claiming that 31 percent or more of self-identified gay voters said in exit poles that they voted for the Republican Party, cited Fox News as his source (“Gay vote for GOP shows change in trend,” Dallas Voice, Nov. 12)?

Just sayin’.

Mikael Andrews
Dallas

……………..

Dems top GOP in money matters

There are many ways to measure the superiority of the Democratic Party over the GOP. Look at one that affects nearly everyone: Money.
During the Bush years, the Dow Jones went from about 11,000 to about 8,000 when he left office.

This decline of more than 27 percent proves the fiscal irresponsibility of the Republican Party. Bush left the nation in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Enter Obama and the Democrats: Dow goes from about 8,000 to over 11,000, an increase of more than 37 percent in less than two years, indicating fiscal responsibility seen by corporations and investors alike. Bush recession ends.

Don’t be fooled by GOP protestations. They have proven inept at governing.

David A. Gershner
Dallas

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 19, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

SLDN board member Dave Guy-Gainer makes sense of all the latest developments on DADT

Dave Guy-Gainer

The Raw Story has posted a nice recap of the many developments of the last few days concerning the possible repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” during the lame-duck session of Congress – otherwise known as the possible repeal of DADT anytime before 2013.

In a nutshell, there are reports that Senate leaders plan to remove the amendment that would repeal DADT from a Defense spending bill, to facilitate the spending bill’s passage. And those reports from The Advocate and The Wall Street Journal have prompted some to conclude that DADT repeal is dead as a hammer. Meanwhile, on the same day that the new commandant of the Marine Corps spoke out against DADT repeal (Saturday), Defense Secretary Robert Gates reiterated his desire to see the ban lifted. So what gives?

To make sense of it all, we turned to Dave Guy-Gainer, aka “Chief,” a local board member for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Here’s what Gainer said:

“It seems like in this week between the elections and the reconvening of the lame duck Senate, pundits and talking heads are coming out of the woodwork. Let me stick to the facts of today and avoid speculation. The bill to repeal DADT is still attached to the National Defense Authorization Act. The president has said that he wants the legislative branch to act. Secretary Gates has repeated that he would like to see the ban lifted. Well over 70 percent of the nation says that repeal is needed. The DOD report is due Dec. 1.  The newly elected members of the House and Senate won’t be seated in this session. Those who will be leaving are still there. None  of the advocacy groups who have fought for repeal have folded up tent and left the battlefield. For repeal to happen, we still need existing Republican Senators to do the right thing and vote for passage. We especially need our Log Cabin Republican allies, of whom I am most proud in the courts, to bring the Republican vote to the table. Surely, there are Republicans who would do the right thing and vote for repeal. DADT has been declared unconstitutional in lower federal courts and is winding its way through appeal. Congress could end it all in the next six weeks. The question is — will it?”

UPDATE: We asked Guy-Gainer whether there’s any hope that Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison would break ranks and provide one of the needed Republican votes in favor of repeal. Guy-Gainer’s response, and this is a direct quote, was, “<expletive deleted>.” Gainer went on to note that Texas isn’t on the list of states where SLDN is targeting key senators. Below is the list, and SLDN is again urging people to contact these folks by calling the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

–Harry Reid (D-NV);
–Carl Levin (D-MI);
–Susan Collins (R-ME);
–Olympia Snowe (R-ME);
–Mark Pryor (D-Ark.);
–Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark)
–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)


—  John Wright

Haggard claims he over-repented, but evangelist has never apologized for the harm he caused

Ted Haggard

The Wall Street Journal reports that disgraced minister Ted Haggard says he over-repented.

And apparently 200 people have over-forgiven him.

Haggard was the head of the National Association of Evangelicals who got caught over-using meth with a Denver rentboy four years ago. He’s returned to Colorado Springs (after being run out of town by his former organization) and started a new church. The WSJ reports that the church’s band of losers have outgrown Haggard’s barn and are looking for a new, bigger church where they can pray together, but hopefully not over-pray.

How Haggard “over-repented” is not explained by the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper. The preacher has not over-apologized — or ever apologized — for his years of gay-bashing or for the harm he caused children growing up in evangelical homes who may have listened to his hate speech or had parents who took his message seriously.

He’s renamed his years of hiring prostitutes and doing drugs his “crisis.” He refers to his encounter with former prostitute Mike Jones as a “massage gone awry.”

Why would anyone go to a church and give money to a meth addict who cheats on his wife?

Members of his new congregation told the newspaper they can relax and be themselves with the imperfect pastor. Maybe the members of his church just like knowing that he’s an even bigger loser than they are.

—  David Taffet

Dallas' Lynnie Henderson: If Kagan were a lesbian, she wouldn't play softball in Keds

KlaganLappin-1
AfterEllen.com

There’s been a lot of talk, including on Instant Tea, about the Wall Street Journal’s decision this week to publish a 17-year-old photo of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan playing softball. But Dallas’ own Lynnie Henderson, who goes by “thelinster,” has now provided us with a definitive analysis. Read it by going here.

—  John Wright

Wall Street Journal publishes front-page photo of Kagan playing softball 17 years ago

wsjkagancover-1

Amid all the speculation and debate concerning Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s sexual orientation (see here, here and here), the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal opted to publish a photo of Kagan playing softball 17 YEARS AGO on its front page today. Personally I think the newspaper, which happens to have the largest circulation of any in the U.S., might as well have gone with a headline that said, “Lesbian or switch-hitter?”

UPDATE: Politico has more on this.

—  John Wright