Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Independent polling shows 'No on 1' leading in Maine

From Americablog Gay comes this awesome news:

Jesse Connolly, the campaign manager for No on 1/Protect Maine Equality posted new poll results over at DailyKos:

A new public poll from Democracy Corps was released yesterday, showing us with a slight lead this race 50% to 41%, a significant jump from kos's numbers from the other week of 46-48.

The numbers are encouraging, but it's that 9% undecided that will determine this race. The investment of our supporters has allowed us to get on TV before our opponents and counter every lie they have tossed at us.

Tonight at midnight is the end of the third quarter and all of you kossacks know what that means: we will need to turn in our fundraising report.

Our campaign will be judged on the strength or weakness of this report.

I suggest that everyone go to the link and see what they can do contribute to this campaign.

One thing I have to mention about this campaign is how much I like its consistency. From the very beginning, the No on 1/Project Maine Equality folks have defined the issue and hammered their message home.

And they weren't afraid to not only use actual families but also challenge the opposition on their lies.

That's how it's done.

The following commercial says it all:

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FRC's Tony Perkins caught in a distortion and other Wednesday midday news briefs

Perception as a weapon: We'd de-arm both employers and Tony P. - catches FRC's Tony Perkins in a distortion about his anti-ENDA testimony.

Federal Court Throws Out Suit Against Miami Hospital By Lesbian Barred From Dying Partner - This is a hot mess!

President Obama Must Speak Out On Maine Now - I have one problem with that. Mixner should say this to ALL lgbt spokespeople. The situation with Matt Foreman calling AIDS a "gay disease" comes to mind. Foreman meant that lgbts should take a bigger role in AIDS/HIV prevention just as Julian Bond meant when he called AIDS a "black disease." However, Foreman's words were misconstrued by the religious right.

Ex-Gay Group Calls Hate Crime Laws “Anti-Ex-Gay” - This is funny.

Many Maine Catholics Supporting Marriage Equality, Despite Bishop's Efforts - This is good news!

Focus on the Family Seeks to Exempt Alabama Gays from Antibullying Protection - Why of why am I not surprised?

Doctors settle case for denying lesbian treatment - Good news for us usually means that One News Now and the rest of the religious right aren't pleased.

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I get bizarre, disturbing email regarding my Kevin Jennings coverage

Not everyone is happy with my coverage of the Kevin Jennings situation.

I received this email last night. Read it all at your own risk:

Isn't it great that we are in America, where we can all voice our opinions about anything? First of all, I and most people who have a problem with the conference at hand AND Mr. Jennings, are NOT from the "religious right" to use your terminology. We are ordinary Americans who are concerned about the direction of morality in society at large and in the public schools specifically. Do you find that offensive? You claim that, "The so-called fistgate attack was pitiful because neither Jennings nor GLSEN had anything to do with the questions asked." True but very misleading. Mr. Jenning's organization, GLSEN, DID SPONSOR THE EVENT! Your reasoninbg is totally fallacious. You make it sound like GLSEN and Jennings had NO idea what was going to be said in the conference. If so, why hasn't Jennings come out and publicly denounce the conference and the remarks and teachings that were made there? To me, that is the most telling feature of the story. Jennings, by his silence, is condoning the disgusting behavior described in detail by the panel. Just because the gay community finds certain behaviors normal and appropriate for the youth of today does not make it so. By continuing to push your agenda in the public schools, you are opening yourself up to a backlash that will set your program back 100 years. Just as many straight people were beginning to have some sympathy for the gay people and starting to perhaps be a little more inclined to support some of the gay agenda, you ram "queerness" down the throats of their kids (pun intended) in PUBLIC school.That alone makes you an idiot. These feelings are shared by many of my gay friends who found the behavior of the panel to be "totally outrageous" as one friend put it.
I am not against homosexuality in general terms. What people do behind closed doors in their bedroom is their own business. It becomes mine when my child is given instruction in the deviant details ( how to enjoy fisting) of sex without my knowing or my permission. It doesn't matter if we are talking gay or straight sex, it is still inappropriate! It is unbelievable that the public school system allows these type of conferences. My tax dollars go to pay the salaries of the 3 administrators who led the conference, as did yours. The only difference is that my position is supported by about 85% of the population. I understand that as a gay man you feel that you have been treated unfairly in life. You also feel that it is important to teach children to be accepting of the gay lifestyle from a young age. The problem is for you that most Americans disagree and if you think ACORN being torn to shreds was something, wait until you see what happens to gay rights group who continue to push their agenda in our schools. Call it a threat if you want to, but it is reality. The American people are truly fed up and they will not stand for the type of garbage that went on in that conference any longer.

Now I don't regard the person's comments as a threat. But the comments were a challenge to me on my blog. And I don't take challenges lightly. I hope you found my response to be sufficient. Even though I was tempted to use profanity, I decided to take the high road:

I found your long response somewhat amusing. Let me address your silly points one by one.

1. I never said that GLSEN did not sponsor the event. But I did call into question the notion that this was a GLSEN event. It was also co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Dept. of Education.

2. Jennings was not present at the time of the incident. He was not aware of what happened. The person who talked about fisting was fired but was rehired with back pay by an arbitrator for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that the taping of the incident was misleading. As I recall, Jennings did criticize the conversation but he also criticized the illegal taping of the event.

3. I think that you are under some silly impression about a few things. First of all, not all gays are into fisting but some heterosexuals are.

Secondly, I alway find it funny that ignorant people have to pull the bandwagon technique. Your platitudes about "Americans are getting tired of having so-and-so shoved down their throats" only reveal just how weak your argument is in that you have to invent back up. Can't your argument stand on its own merits? Don't you have any guts to stand on your own rather than call an invisible posse?

4. Try to take this in and deal with it - lgbts are not going to live our lives in accordance to your ignorance. There is more to our lives than bedroom behavior. We have families, jobs and yes pay taxes also. Those tax dollars you alluded to belong to us also.

We have children in schools and our children will not be taught that their families are inferior just to suit your silly notions of superiority.

In addition, this country does not solely belong to you or folks who believe as you. You don't run a damn thing. You do not dictate policy. And you need to get over yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this verbal asswhipping as much as I enjoyed giving it to you.

I'm ashamed to admit it but that was fun. It is clear that my work is having an effect on some people.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Let's not be so quick to blame Obama if Kevin Jennings is dismissed

The echo chamber of attacks on Kevin Jennings is intensifying regarding the alleged approval of statutory rape. My guess is sooner or later we will hear the fraudulent phrase of "anger is swelling over an education pick of President Obama" despite the fact that very few people who are not lgbt or are not of the right ever heard of Jennings.

But I am viewing some disturbing things from members of the lgbt community.

Now I am not saying that I agree with statutory rape, period. Nor am I trying to drum up defense for Jennings solely due to the fact that he is gay.

I sincerely believe that Jennings is getting a bad deal and I also believe that he is the best person for the position that he has been appointed to.

And it is with that same sincerity that I am calling out some folks for throwing in the towel already. I am hearing a few lgbts claiming that Jennings committed a crime and he has to go.

Now I have stated my opinion on Jennings and the alleged incident involving supposed statutory rape but in all honesty, none of us know the facts.

We don't know what was said exactly between Jennings and Brewster.

We don't know just how old the alleged adult was in the case.

And we don't know what exactly the law dictates in the matter.

But we do know that the forces involved don't like President Obama, Jennings, or lgbts in general.

We do know that these folks have been known to lie and distort.

We do know that they lied when they said Jennings "encouraged" the relationship. Hell, we don't even know if it was a "relationship" rather than a one-time mistake.

And we do know that they not only distorted the tape of Jennings talking about the incident, but have been enveloping Jennings with a tissue of lies from the very beginning in sleazy attempts to derail his appointment.

Now they are whining about a double standard regarding Jennings and Roman Polanski despite the fact that Polanski was convicted of a crime and we still are not aware that Jennings did anything wrong.

So why in the hell are some of us so quick to give in? Why are we so quick to give their distortion credibility? Shouldn't our loyalty be to Jennings?

I sincerely hope that this situation doesn't end like I think it will - with Jennings' dismissal and another embarrassment for the Obama Administration.

But if this happens, perhaps it will teach us something.

Maybe before we start whining about how Obama isn't doing enough for us, why don't we concentrate on doing for ourselves.

You can't expect loyalty for perceived allies if you are not willing to give it to members of your own community.

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Warren G. shows the hypocrisy/homophobia of rap music

I was going to pull out some news briefs but something via Vanity Fair caught my eye.

Rap artist Warren G said the following in an interview:

I ain’t against gay people. I’m just against it being promoted to kids. . .
I know people that’s gay. My wife’s got friends that are gay. I got family that’s gay. Cousins and shit. He cool as fuck. He cool as a motherfucker. He’s my homie. I just mean that on some of these TV shows, they got dudes kissing. And kids are watching that shit. We can’t have kids growing up with that. . . .but let’s keep it behind the scenes. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with it if that’s what two dudes wanna do. Cool. But that’s not bring that out into the world, where the kids can see that. We don’t want all the kids doing that. ‘Cause that ain’t how we was originally put here to do. Like I said, I ain’t got no problem with the gays.

What? Excuse me? Is this the same guy who spent a considerable amount of time rapping about "money 'n' bitches." Isn't this the same guy who got arrested last year for drug posession?

Who the hell appointed him as a moral spokesperson? I guess when you reduce the worth of black people to the lowest common demoninator of sex, that means all black people get reduced, lgbts of color included.

Well speaking for myself and so many lgbts of color he has insulted (and many of them lead households that include children), I want to school Mr. G. on a few things.

With all due respect to Warren G, maybe he should stop obsessing over what he thinks is gay sexual behavior and start focusing on heterosexual sexual behavior. Since he has a problem with two men kissing, I would sincerely hope that he has an equal problem with songs and videos that objectify women as sex objects, that teaches black children to be underacheivers, and that romanticize the selling of drugs.

Or have I just described the contents of his last albums?

Just to be clear about things - homosexuality is not a "lifestyle." Putting on a skin tight dress or wearing your pants down past your ass, drinking and hitting on each other in a club, and then having wild sex that leads to illegitimate births is a lifestyle.

Why don't folks like Warren G. ever criticize that?

You see this is the problem that lgbts of color face in the black community. This open hypocrisy that we are supposed to say nothing about.

I am so sick and tired of members of black community who will screw each other till the cows come home without the courtesy of a wedding ring and then have the absolute nerve to pass judgment on lgbts of color just because we want a little affection from each other.

I am so sick and tired of black pastors who will say nothing about the depressing rate of black men in prison and black girls with babies but will break each other's necks to get camera time in order to dehumanize lgbts of color.

I am so damn tired of being treated like a dog being allowed to come in a house as long as he doesn't pee on the furniture. "Oh I don't have a problem with gay people as long as they are not in my face about it."

What the hell is that supposed to mean anyway?

I am sure the entire African-American community does not feel the same way as Warren G. but damn his comments get me angry.

Can black folks have a serious conversation about lgbt issues? Is it totally impossible?

Lgbts of color are not objects to be pointed at or referred to as dogs or "the other."

We are contributing members of society and especially the black community.

And I don't think it's asking too much for the black community to gives us the respect we are entitled to.

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Brian Camenker, Matt Barber create anti-gay hot mess

People for the American Way has clips from last weekend's Take Back America conference.

The clips are interesting to say the least. Most particularly interesting are the clips from the Countering the Extremist Homosexual Movement seminar co-moderated by Brian Camenker of the hate group Mass Resistance and Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel.

First let's take a look at Camenker:

He does project a certain aura of creepiness, doesn't he? Is it just me or is Camenker practically drolling while enthralling the audience with pseudo-salacious material about the transgender community.

And here I thought Peter LaBarbera was spooky.

Now let's look at Matt Barber:

Barber is no slouch in the weird department as his rapid fire delivery of lies is just incredible. He seems to be going through his routine with the urgency of a good actor who realizes that he is trapped in a abysmal film.

And he also makes it a point to call President Obama “a secular humanist, a radical socialist moral relativist.”

Perhaps it would have been more to the point for Barber to have taken a page from former wrestler Dusty Rhodes and say something like "he doesn't like Obam or his mama."

For the record, despite what Barber says, remember three things:

Adding sexual orientation to hate crimes legislation does not give lgbts an unfair advantage. Both the heterosexual and lgbt orientation will be protected.

No employer should have the right to fire a capable employee even if said employer has a "deeply held belief" that homosexuality is wrong.

No researcher or physician has ever called homosexuality a "dangerous lifestyle." Someone should tell Barber that Paul Cameron doesn't count.

But making bad generalizations about the lgbt community is nothing new to Barber as this piece regarding him and lgbt families proves.

What are these people? Dedicated students to the National Organization for Marriage's School of self sabotage?

All I can say that if these are the folks who have been picked to adequately teach others how to attack lgbts, then let's not waste any time grinding them in the dust.

I don't believe in the concept of playing with your prey.

Related posts:

The anti-gays are encouraged to get more militant and disgusting

Mike Huckabee and Congressional leaders to attend conference with hate group

Dissecting a One News Now article

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Washington Times publishes ugly hit piece on Kevin Jennings

I had a bad feeling about this last weekend and now it is coming to fruition.

For months, the right have been lobbing bombs at Kevin Jennings, President Obama's Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.

They have levied ridiculous charges against him - he wants children to be "taught" gay sex, he uses profanity, he hates Christians, he has said nasty things about God.

The charges are easily kicked aside. But then comes the most serious one - Jennings allegedly approves of pedophilia because he supposedly didn't report an relationship between a 15-year-old and a older man.

Based upon what I have seen and read over the past few days, it is this charge which the right will try to make stick.

And today came a huge hit piece via the Washington Times by way of Fox

A teacher was told by a 15-year-old high school sophomore that he was having homosexual sex with an "older man." At the very least, statutory rape occurred. Fox News reported that the teacher violated a state law requiring that he report the abuse. That former teacher, Kevin Jennings, is President Obama's "safe school czar."

. . . According to Mr. Jennings' own description in a new audiotape discovered by Fox News, the 15-year-old boy met the "older man" in a "bus station bathroom" and was taken to the older man's home that night. When some details about the case became public, Mr. Jennings threatened to sue another teacher who called his failure to report the statutory rape "unethical." Mr. Jennings' defenders asserted that there was no evidence that he was aware the student had sex with the older man.

Knowing Fox News' "track record" when it comes to the Obama Administration, I would like to hear this tape.

As luck would have it, Media Matters heard the tape. And there are a lot of distortions with what is being claimed.

In addition, there are a more few things that I find disturbing about this Fox News/Washington Times gang-up on Jennings.

Let me break down the distortions as I and Media Matters sees it.

In the first place, Jennings is not a "czar." He was appointed to his position by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

In using the term "czar," the Washington Times is using the Glenn Beckish code word for supposed "corruption" in the Obama Administration as a way to weave a narrative of "Jennings is indicative of Obama appointees."

Then there is the claim that Jennings encouraged the young man to "use a condom" in the relationship:

In 2000, Mr. Jennings gave a talk to the Iowa chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an advocacy group that promotes homosexuality in schools. On the tape, Mr. Jennings recollected that he told the student to make sure "to use a condom" when he was with the older man.

According to Media Matters, the Washington Times distorted the condom quote:

JENNINGS: And I said, "Brewster, what are you doing in there asleep?" And he said, "Well, I'm tired." And I said, "Well, we all are tired and we all got to school today." And he said, "Well, I was out late last night." And I said, "What were you doing out late on a school night?" And he said, "Well, I was in Boston." Boston was about 45 minutes from Concord. So I said, "What were you doing in Boston on a school night, Brewster?" He got very quiet, and he finally looked at me and said, "Well, I met somebody in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him." High school sophomore, 15 years old. That was the only way he knew how to meet gay people. I was a closeted gay teacher, 24 years old, didn't know what to say. Knew I should say something quickly, so I finally -- my best friend had just died of AIDS the week before -- I looked at Brewster and said, "You know, I hope you knew to use a condom." He said to me something I will never forget. He said "Why should I, my life isn't worth saving anyway."

And then comes the huge misrepresentation - that Jennings encouraged the relationship. From the Washington Times piece:

That he actively encouraged the relationship is reinforced by Mr. Jennings' own description in his 1994 book, "One Teacher in 10." In that account, the teacher boasts how he allayed the student's concerns about the relationship to such a degree that the 15-year-old "left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated."

But nowhere in the book does it say that Jennings actually encouraged the relationship. Here is the portion in question mentioned by the Washington Times in its exact context:

On a hunch, I suddenly asked "What's his name?" Brewster's eyes widened briefly, and then out spilled a story about his involvement with an older man he had met in Boston. I listened, sympathized, and offered advice. He left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years,until he graduated.

Now while there no longer seems to be a question of whether or not "Brewster" was of age, the situation is still not as clear cut as the right is trying to make it.

Jennings never saw any relationship and it was a judgment call whether or not he should have told anyone what Brewster told him. What if he had? I tend to think that the story would have had a very negative denouement- Brewster's suicide.

And I think that Jennings had the same feeling, which was why he kept silent about what Brewster told him.

Instead of attacking Jennings, we need to ask ourselves what would possess a young man like Brewster to put himself in a situation like that. Why would a young man feel so depressed about his God-given sexual orientation that he doesn't care about putting himself in danger?

How often does this continue to happen and what can we do to stop it?

Attacking Jennings for dealing with the situation the way he did is a classic case of ignoring the forest for the sake of the trees.

Because he had to deal with a situation like this one, Jennings is exactly the right person to deal with issues of school safety. He knows the reasons why youngsters, particularly lgbt youngsters, exposes themselves to danger and based on his track record with GLSEN, he can work to stop this behavior

But neither Fox News, the Washington Times, nor any other party on the right seems to care about because they are determined to put Jennings' head in their trophy case.

They don't care about the safety of lgbt children because they have a more practical purpose for zeroing in on Jennings.

If their charges can get him dismissed, it would look bad for the Obama Administration. In addition, the religious right can refer to this situation for a long time when they want to push the lie that "gays recruit children."

Lastly, it would also be another thing to get the lgbt community mad at the President.

So attacking Jennings may turn out to be a win-win situation for the right.

But it may also be death for America's children.

You can go here to give some support to Jennings.

Related posts:

The new attack on Kevin Jennings - he said something ugly about God

The continuing attacks on Kevin Jennings - now Fox News gets involved

The possible attack on the President's lgbt appointees

The tea party idiots - will they go after the lgbt community next?

Traditional Values Coalition attacks Kevin Jennings and . . . Tom Cruise?

Support Sean's Last Wish and Kevin Jennings

The religious right thinks that character assasination is a Christian virtue

The war against Kevin Jennings - now it's getting pathetic

Attacks on Kevin Jennings sleazy, un-Christian

More right wing lunacy on Kevin Jennings courtesy of Kevin McCullough

More attacks on GLSEN'S Kevin Jennings - Now the Family Research Council gets in the act'''

'Fistgate' and President Obama - religious right pushes a pitiful attempt of guilt by association

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Facebook poll asks should Obama be killed, Judy Shepard called a liar, and other Monday midday news briefs

Gay Good Samaritan Acquitted of Kidnapping - I'm putting this post from Box Turtle Bulletin on my page because it tees me off. A case where heterosexual parents don't do their job and a gay man who stepped in gets attacked physically and also by the police.

Facebook poll up now - Should Obama be killed? - TELL me again how this isn't about race. I dare you!

Exodus’ Hired Researcher Counters Own Study’s Claim of Ex-Gay ‘Change’ - Just another day in the bizarro world of "ex-gay" thought.

Salt Lake City Man Calls Judy Shepard a Liar to her Face - This is why we must make a point to beat down religious right lies at every turn. There is actually a school of thought out there which claims that Matthew Shepard's murder had nothing to do with his sexual orientation. Despite the fact that it has been proven continuously, as long as the headless monster of that "20/20" special is out there (and as long as religious right groups pump it up), this nasty school of thought will continue.

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Black gay gospel singer gives exclusive interview, dispels myths

We are now seeing that the idea of a black president seems to drive some white folks crazy.

In comparison, the quickest way to drive the black community nuts is to mention the subject of the lgbt community.

African-American gospel singer Tonex recently became the first black gospel singer to come out publicly.

Granted, he is not the first African-American gay gospel singer (i.e. James Cleveland and others), but he is the first to have the guts to be honest about his sexual orientation.

These are his words in an exclusive interview with Black Voices:

I'm studying daily on the subject of same-sex matters. I'm tired of echoing what I've been told. I want to know for myself the true interpretation of scriptures in Biblical text and well as scientific documentation.

You know, it's not easy growing up in a Pentecostal/Evangelical church, where everyone is pretty much anti-gay, although it's common knowledge that some of the most anointed musicians and singer-songwriters have, or have dealt with, same-sex attraction at some point. For me, it was particularly taboo because of my upbringing and the ministerial call on my life. I then had to think about the repercussions of this revelation. But I knew I had to get free.

. . . There was so much more in that interview that I thought was, unfortunately, overlooked. So much more to my story then the sexuality part, but most church folks are sexually repressed anyway, so they naturally gravitate right toward that type of subject matter. I noticed parts one and three weren't juicy enough for the church or the public, yet they were the key to the whole puzzle. I talked about my same-sex attraction. I don't think that there was any new information here. I've addressed this issue in my music for years. But for many, I guess, it was a shock of sorts. But believe me, it wasn't for shock value. The real story is not cute, ladies and gentlemen. Freedom, my friends, is not for cowards.

There is a sad part to this entire situation as far as I am concerned. Tonex says that 96 percent of the responses he received have been positive. That enough confirms a belief I've had about the black community.

Approval or disapproval of gays and lesbians in the black community is far more complex than folks realize.

The simplistic belief that the black community automatically does not approve of homosexuality is driven by three factors:

- The religious right's eagerness to exploit the ignorance of the African-American community regarding its lgbt members.

- The cowardice of influential black leaders who tackle the issue with the force of a baby licking the tip of icing off of a cake.

- And the self absorption of the lgbt community at large which refuses to acknowledge that the lgbt struggle for self-determination is present in some form or another in every ethnic group, every culture, and every country.

It's a question that deserves far more attention than it is getting (hello Advocate magazine!).

However, I know that waiting for a major lgbt magazine to do a serious story on gay issues in the black community is like waiting for BET or Ebony or Jet to do a serious story on the issue.

I'll probably be waiting so long for this to happen that my credit will become good.

Still, Tonex should be commended for his pioneering step. It's not his fault that both of his communities are way behind on the issue.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Revisiting the false 'Kevin Jennings approves of pedophilia' claim

Of all the charges the religious right and it's cohorts have launched against Kevin Jennings, the deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, the claim that he did not report the alleged between an underaged child and an older male is the most scurrilous.

I've seen it spoken of in a few places lately, such as Fox News and Free Republic. And of course, several of these places (i.e. Free Republic) have added dramatic license to the tale.

According to them, Jennings "approves of pedophilia."

On June 10th of this year, I talked about the claim in a post, Attacks on Kevin Jennings sleazy, un-Christian. I am now reprinting that post.

I would ask that folks take a look at the comments section from the original post. It raises some questions about whether the youth was of legal age at the time of the alleged incident.

Ever since Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), was appointed by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to be Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, religious right groups, bloggers, columnists, and spokespersons have been impugning him and the reputation of GLSEN.

Now the Family Research Council has sent out an email blast asking that folks tell Duncan to remove Jennings from office.

The charges lodged against Jennings have ranked from ridiculous to disgusting:

Jennings uses profanity

Big deal. Based on the audio tapes of former President Richard Nixon and what we know about former President Harry S. Truman, Jennings's use of profanity qualifies him as presidential material.

Jennings is prejudiced against religious conservatives.

Well not all religious conservatives. He only dislikes the ones who stigmatizes the lgbt community via lies, discredited studies, and anecdotes and legitimate studies taken out of context.

Jennings and GLSEN oversaw a conference where children were "instructed" how to have gay sex.

As I have said repeatedly, other than helping to sponsor this conference, neither Jennings nor GLSEN had anything to do with the alleged incident. Also because of illegal taping by a religious right group, a moderator lost her job. However, she was fully exonerated, rehired, and given back pay. In addition, the audio tape that supposedly proved the case against the conference was called misleading. My post on the situation (with links backing up what I say) is here.

Jennings talked about counseling a high school student who was in a relationship with an older man. However, he did not alert the authorities or the child's parents.

This is from the FRC email I received:

Jennings has spoken publicly about a high school student he once counseled who was in a sexual relationship with an older man -- yet Jennings never reported this abuse to the authorities, the school, or the child's parents.

I've heard this claim made by various religious right sources and they are all vague on the incident. Through some digging, here is what I found out.

The alleged incident came from One in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories. Jennings was recounting an incident in 1988:

I remember Brewster, a sophomore boy who I came to know in 1987, my first year of teaching at Concord Academy, in Concord, Massachusetts. Brewster was a charming but troubled kid. His grades didn't match up with his potential, his attendance could be irregular, and he often seemed a little out of it. He was clearly using some substance regularly, and was not very happy with himself. But I didn't have a clue as to why--at least not at first.

. . . Toward the end of my first year, during the spring of 1988, Brewster appeared in my office in the tow of one of my advisees, a wonderful young woman to whom I had been "out" for a long time.

"Brewster has something he needs to talk with you about," she intoned ominously. Brewster squirmed at the prospect of telling, and we sat silently for a short while. On a hunch, I suddenly asked "What's his name?" Brewster's eyes widened briefly, and then out spilled a story about his involvement with an older man he had met in Boston. I listened, sympathized, and offered advice. He left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated.

. . . I remember April 3, 1993, when I went to Club Cafe, a gay restaurant in Boston, for the annual awards dinner of the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights. An organization I had helped found, GLSTN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network), was being honored that night, and I had come to accept the award on our behalf. I sat with some friends, my back to the center of the room, and soon got engaged in conversation. From behind me, I heard a familiar voice. "Care for a drink, sir?"

I turned and it was Brewster. Shocked, we were both speechless for a moment, before we hugged each other and caught up. He was now twenty-two, taking time off from college, and living with his boyfriend. His smile showed that he had found his way to a happy adulthood. In that moment, I remembered why I had gone into teaching in the first place.

So should Jennings have alerted the police and Brewster's parents?

I honestly don't know. It's a judgment call.

He only knew what Brewster had told him and didn't see any particulars. Also, 1987 was a different time when it came to lgbs. I attended high school back then and I remember that even a notion that you were gay would warrant a "beatdown."

And who knows what would have happened to Brewster? Would he have been angry at Jennings for betraying his trust? Would his parents have kicked him out for the alleged relationship? Would Brewster have gotten so depressed that he would contemplate suicide?

Jennings was in a touchy situation and he choose to act in a way that he felt would best benefit Brewster.

But here is the one thing I am sure of.

If anyone read the Jennings excerpt or the entire book in general with more in mind than scandalizing someone, they would truly understand why Jenning did what he did.

When I read the Jennings excerpt, I see a young man wanting to reach out to lgbt children and counsel them when they are going through the same hell he did as a child. He made a judgment call. That's something we all do from time to time.

And I see that there is a serious problem facing our lgbt children when they come out to an unsupportive world. It's the same thing Jennings saw, which was the reason he founded GLSEN.

In the long run, FRC and others who use the Brewster incident to demonize Jennings are proving that they don't really care about Brewster or any other lgbt child having to deal with potential violence and isolation because of their sexual orientation.

They only care about their agenda.

And to me, that's the real crime.

The entire point of this attack on Jennings is now to weave a narrative that President Obama is trying to harm our nation's children. Media Matters breaks down the situation in an excellent piece documenting not only the echo chamber of false charges against Jennings but also other claims of the right regarding our President and our nation's children.

You can go here to give some support to Jennings.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

The anti-gays are encouraged to get more militant and disgusting

According to People for the American Way, the rightwing "Take Back America" conference got very interesting during a workshop on the supposed gay agenda.

The workshop was led by Brian Camenker, head of the anti-gay hate group Mass Resistance and the Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber (seen here on the right):

About 100 activists at the How to Take Back America conference attended the workshop on “How to Counter the Homosexual Extremist Movement.” Workshop speakers Matt Barber and Brian Camenker urged people to be loud rabble-rousers when opposing the teaching of tolerance or sex ed in public schools. They said not to worry about being nice or polite or liked, but to push God’s anti-gay agenda forcefully. “Christ wasn’t about being nice,” said Barber. Camenker bragged about having once sent two congregations to scream outside a targeted legislator’s home.

. . . There was some small disagreement about how much people should rely on religious arguments in the public sphere, with Matt Barber urging people to focus on the “ick” factor around gay sex and on claims that homosexuality is a health threat, which he called the movment’s “Achilles heel.”

Brian Camenker is a nut, plain and simple. The very fact that he was actually asked to lead this workshop displays desperation on the part of the religious right and an admittance that they are losing this so-called culture war against us.

Now Barber's talk about of the "ick factor of homosexuality being the 'Achilles heel' of the movement" deserves a little more scrutiny.

His statement reminds me of a story about an ancient Grecian king who was told by a prophet that if he invaded a neighboring country, he would destroy a great empire. He proceeded to invade the neighboring country and was defeated so badly that he did in fact destroy a great empire; his own.

In that same vein, Barber is right about the "claim that homosexuality being a health threat being the movement's 'Achilles heel.'"

But he is wrong about the which movement it could hurt.

For one, trying to reduce every argument regarding lgbt equality (i.e. marriage equality, gay adoption, gays in the military, etc.) to talks of gay sex is ridiculous. It may be successful at the begining but if you continue to do it, people will stop paying attention to what you are saying and will spend more time playing armchair psychologist on why you seem to be obsessed with gay sex.

If Barber doubts this, he only has to look to a friend of his, Peter LaBarbera. There is a reason why he is called Porno Petey.

Secondly, being relatively new on the religious right scene, Barber is probably unaware of the history of the religious right relying on the "ick factor" of gay sex.

In the past, organizations like the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, etc. relied on it a lot.

But they slowly and slyly moved away from it because they received most of their data about how supposedly gays have sex from the discredited Paul Cameron.

They were fully aware of the fact that Cameron's data was highly fallacious, but they used his work because not too many other people were aware of his lies. As folks, gays in general, became more savvy of Cameron, these group discovered that an overtly continued reliance on Cameron's work would reveal just how dishonest they are.

Or if you to make it more general, these religious right groups are like a drug dealer who converted his monies into a legitimate business.

What Barber is suggesting is they return to the scene of their crime. He is suggesting that old bones be dug up, bones which it would be in the religious right's self interests to stay buried.

Personally I'm all for it. I've got a graveyard of information just ready for a time like this.

For a full report on the Take Back America Conference, including the Congressmen and public figures who try to legitimize this nonsense of a conference, go here.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Know your lgbt history - Taxi (Elaine's Strange Triangle)

Taxi (1978 to 1982) was a highly successful ensemble situation comedy that looked at the goings on with cab company.

It set a standard in situation comedies, winning 18 Emmy Awards, including Best Comedy, Best Actor in a Comedy Series, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Best Supporting Actor in Comedy Series at one one time or another.

And it launched a few careers, including that of Danny DeVito (who played the sleazy dispatcher Louie DePalma), Tony Danza (who played the not too bright boxer Tony), and Judd Hirsch (who played the unofficial leader of the group Alex).

The episode I am focusing on today, Elaine's Strange Triangle won Emmys in 1980-81 for Best Direction and Best Editing. (Hirsch and DeVito later won Emmys for Best Actor in a Comedy Series and Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy, respectively).

Elaine's Strange Triangle involved the female of the group, Elaine (Marilu Henner). When she and the dimwitted Tony are approached in a bar by a stranger, Kirk, she makes a play for him. She and Kirk goes out a few times but as turns out, he was interested in Tony and not her.

Through the twists and turns of the plot, Alex tries to defuse the situation, but turns out it is not necessary. But Alex's attempts puts him in an interesting situation involving a gay bar and a dance contest.

The following is the full episode. Go to 20:20 to see the dance contest.

Past Know Your LGBT History postings:

Know your lgbt history - Come Back Charleston Blue

Know your lgbt history - James Bond goes gay

Know your lgbt history - Windows

Know your lgbt history - To Wong Foo and Priscilla

Know your lgbt history - Blazing Saddles

Know your lgbt history - Sanford and Son

Know your lgbt history - In Living Color

Know your lgbt history - Cleopatra Jones and her lesbian drug lords

Know your lgbt history - Norman, Is That You?

Know your lgbt history - The 'Exotic' Adrian Street

Know your lgbt history - The Choirboys

Know your lgbt history - Eddie Murphy

Know your lgbt history - The Killing of Sister George

Know your lgbt history - Hanna-Barbera cartoons pushes the 'gay agenda'

Know your lgbt history - Cruising

Know your lgbt history - Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones

Know your lgbt history - I Got Da Hook Up

Know your lgbt history - Fright Night

Know your lgbt history - Flowers of Evil

The Jeffersons and the transgender community

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'Gay Exorcism' victim speaks out - claims that he is 'cured'

Two sides: black teen exorcism victim tells Tyra he's no longer gay; gospel singer Tonex comes out - Pam Spaulding breaks the situation down with her usual excellence and candor. Basically my feelings are this - unless the black community comes to grips with the fact that lgbts of color exist and talk with us instead of looking at us as outsiders, expect more nonsense like this.

And for anyone who thinks that the lgbt orientation is an 'affliction,' check out the links on the side of my blog about the lgbts of color who proudly made a difference in the world.

From Bayard Rustin to Barbara Jordan to Paul Winfield to Mandy Carter to Audre Lorde, the list of out and proud lgbts of color making an impact go on and on.

Affliction my ass!

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Yet another lesson on the similarities between homophobia and racism

For those who push the whine that there are no similarities between the struggles of the African-American community and the struggles of the lgbt community, I present another lesson.

Submitted for your perusal are two videos; one is anti-gay, the other is racist. Both either distort legitimate studies or rely on junk science (i.e. the discredited work of Paul Cameron) to make their case:

The racist video:

The anti-gay video:

I've said it once and I will say it again. In the long run, it doesn't matter who is forced to sit in the back of the bus, who gets called a derogatory name, or who is left for dead hanging on a fence.

The reasons and the justifications as to why people are treated less than human are just as bad as the treatment itself.

Hat tip to Fritz on Pam's House Blend.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

The new attack on Kevin Jennings - he said something ugly about God

The religious right continues their attack on Kevin Jennings, President Obama's director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.

After everything else they have thrown at him, the new thing is silly. From the Washington Post's religion blog:

Christian conservatives are up in arms over the appointment of Kevin Jennings as "safe schools czar." Or, more technically, director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.

Why the fuss? Well, it seems that Jennings wrote a remarkably frank book in 2007, "Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son: A Memoir," where he said some rather explicit things about homosexuality and some nasty things about God:

"What had He done for me other than make me feel shame and guilt? Squat. Screw you buddy--I don't need you around anymore, I decided." For years, he says in his book, he "reacted violently to anyone who professed any kind of religion."

Cue the controversy.

Americans for Truth About Homosexuality calls him a "vicious, anti-religious bigot." Catholic League President Bill Donohue calls Jennings' remarks about homosexuality and God "perverse." The Family Research Council has launched a "Stop Kevin Jennings" campaign, saying he is a "radical homosexual activist."

So Jennings has ugly words for God while having to deal with his sexual orientation . . . just like a lot of lgbts.

I guess if doubting God is reason to dismiss Jennings, then a lot of folks, along with lgbts, should be fired from their jobs.

The attacks on Jennings's reputation have ranked from the sublime (he said mean things about the religious right, he uses profanity) to downright ugly (he believes that children should be taught about gay sexual intercourse, he didn't tell the authorities about an alleged relationship between a supposedly underaged young man and an adult).

But this has to be the dumbest.

I hear there are now videos of him squeezing the Charmin and pulling tags off of mattresses. And if that doesn't cause a reaction, the religious right have witnesses who can place him at the grassy knoll on that fateful day in November of 1963.

Give me a break, people.

The most ironic thing is that these folks are implying that Jennings has indoctrinated children, i.e. turning them from God.

But if children and adults for that matter are being turned away from God because of this situation with Jennings, then maybe it's because they are bothered by the behavior of those claiming to be acting in God's service.

Since when is self-righteous and hypocritical character assasinations tenents of God's work? I never heard Jesus talking about tripping up your fellow man with lies and innuendo.

It's a lesson so bizarre that it sounds like an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents - the surprise ending being that the devils are the ones pretending to have the halos and wings.

The bottom line - Kevin Jennings is a good man whose struggle with his sexual orientation led him to found an organization that helped a great number of lgbt children with their struggles.

In any normal society, he would be hailed as hero.

I've written a lot about Jennings and the personal attacks against him; so much so that no doubt some folks may start asking questions about why I am so personally bothered by this story.

Well let me put it succinctly - it is very important to me that lgbt children be physically and psychologically protected so that they can grow into responsible adults.

If GLSEN had been around when I was in school, then maybe a person whom I loved dearly would be alive right now.

Related posts:

The continuing attacks on Kevin Jennings - now Fox News gets involved

The possible attack on the President's lgbt appointees

The tea party idiots - will they go after the lgbt community next?

Traditional Values Coalition attacks Kevin Jennings and . . . Tom Cruise?

Support Sean's Last Wish and Kevin Jennings

The religious right thinks that character assasination is a Christian virtue

The war against Kevin Jennings - now it's getting pathetic

Attacks on Kevin Jennings sleazy, un-Christian

More right wing lunacy on Kevin Jennings courtesy of Kevin McCullough

More attacks on GLSEN'S Kevin Jennings - Now the Family Research Council gets in the act''
'Fistgate' and President Obama - religious right pushes a pitiful attempt of guilt by association

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The dishonesty of some in Maine, possible AIDS vaccine, and other Thursday midday news briefs

Lies never change unless we stop them.

AIDS breakthrough as vaccine cuts infections - No big cause for celebration yet but hopefully we are close.

Huckabee and Five Members of Congress Will Attend Radical Right Wing Conference - People for the American Way have picked up on this bizarre happening. And I would advise all lgbts read what the organization has to say about this. We may get angry at President Obama as we should be. But never forget the alternative because it's scaary as hell.

Coming Out in Middle School - The children coming out of the closet these days are getting younger.

Muslim Prayer Rally Sets Off a Full-Blown Right Wing Crusade - From the Department of "See, I Told You That The Religious Right Are Hypocrites" comes news of what they really think of prayer. It's okay for them to do it but not for anyone of another religion.

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The continuing attacks on Kevin Jennings - now Fox News gets involved

People for the American Way are reporting that now Fox News has published a long article detailing the attacks on Kevin Jennings, President Obama's appointee in the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools (OSDFS) and GLSEN founder. To make a long story short:

(It) is basically a collection of the greatest hits of right-wing attacks against him and features quotes from the likes of Peter LaBarbera and Peter Sprigg.

You know Fox News is desperately reaching if they are citing Porno Petey and Peter (gays should be deported) Sprigg.

I read the article and of course the same lies are repeated about Jennings, including:

Jennings encourages children to learn about gay sex (and yes the article does mention the alleged "fistgate" controvesy but inaccurately labels the conference which it took place as a GLSEN conference. The article also fails to mention that other than co-sponsoring the conference, neither Jennings nor GLSEN had anything to do with the alleged controversy. The article also seems to go for shock, making sure to give a verbatim account of the offending quote, but does not go into detail as to what happened afterwards. The official, Margot Abels, who gave the definition of "fisting" was fired but was reinstated with full back pay after an arbitrator ruled in her favor. Those interested in the full story can go here. )

Jennings hates religion,

Jennings has said ugly things about the religious right (which when you really think about who the religious right is composed of - Sprigg, LaBarbera, Matt Barber, etc - can you really blame him if he did).

But then there is a new lie courtesy of Peter Sprigg:

Sprigg countered that nobody has adequately answered the questions that are being raised about Jennings.

Speaking of Jennings' job, he said: "I think it's unfortunate that [it] is a position that did not require any sort of confirmation process, because there are a lot of serious questions about Jennings and there has not been any forum in which Jennings has been required to answer the questions."

I'm confused as to Sprigg's definition of adequately answering questions because several sources have addressed the "concerns" about Jennings's credibility.

Most specifically was this piece very long, very thorough piece by ThinkProgress which broke down all of the lies against Jennings. It was published on July 3rd of this year.

And while some folks may not think of my blog being in the "big leagues," I've run a series of posts addressing the lies thrown at Jennings (you can see my list of posts talking about the situation at the end of this piece.)

Let's break this down to the brass tacks. The only reason why the religious right opposes Jennings is because he is a gay man in a high level position that deals with the future of our nation's children; a position which he deserves based upon his successful past work.

They are willing to do and say anything to defame him and eliminate him from the Obama Administration.

Now while some folks may say that it is up to President Obama to not back down, I say let's take it further.

It's also up to us, the lgbt community, to defend him. It's up to us to make sure that Jennings keeps his position and President Obama doesn't blink in this rising tide of nonsense.

Related posts:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Snippets from today's ENDA hearing

Today's Congressional hearing on ENDA went well.

There was so much testimony on why ENDA is needed, but to me, the testimony that stands out is this one:

Vandy Beth Glenn was fired from her Georgia state legislative job when she told her supervisor she was transitioning from male to female.

With last year's ugly and unnecessary disagreement about whether or not ENDA should be trans-inclusive fresh in the mind, Glenn's testimony brought it home for me. If we don't fight for all the rights of everyone in our community, then our fight is in vain.

Hearing clearinghouse page with links to PDF testimony, Chairman’s statement, archived webcast, and a photo slideshow of today's ENDA testimonies -

The Committee on Education and Labor's blog post with plenty of comments -

The Committee on Educaton and Labor's YouTube playlist with more ENDA testimony-

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Phony public school teacher in Maine ad has no problem with distorting studies

As the fallout from the second Maine anti-gay marriage ad continues, we are learning more about the misrepresented public school teacher, Charla Bansley.

These are the facts about Bansley via

Bansley serves as the Maine state director of Concerned Women for America, an anti-gay group I have talked about numerous times on this blog.

In 2005, she joined anti-gay spokespeople such as Peter LaBarbera, Diane Gramley, Gary Glenn, Scott Lively, and Brian Camnker (among many others) on a group letter to the Southern Baptist Convention, which called on them to pass a ‘Resolution on Homosexuality in Public Schools.' And in that letter, she's not credited as a teacher. She's one of the "leaders of almost 50 statewide pro-family organizations from around the country" who are "involved in public policy on a daily basis.

The letter criticized steps schools were taking to ensure the safety of lgbt students under false claim of "indoctrination."

But the thing that caught my attention was the words she delivered at delivered at the recent, media-closed Stand For Marriage event in Augusta. The speech was the usual nonsense about "marriage is needed to rear children, etc. etc." Then she makes this statement:

A study in the Netherlands found that the average duration of a homosexual marriage was just one and a half years certainly nothing to build a society upon. The same study found that committed homosexual couples were also intimate with an average of eight extra marital partners per year . . .

That statement is a lie.

The study Bansley was speaking of was conducted by one Maria Xiridou of the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service. Her study did not look at gay marriage but was to "access the relative contribution of steady and casual partnerships to the incidence of HIV infection among homosexual men in Amsterdam and to determine the effect of increasing sexually risky behaviours among both types of partnerships in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy."

For this study, Dr. Xiridou received her information from the Amsterdam Cohort Study of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and AIDS Among Homosexual Men. To gain this information, researchers studied 1,800 gay men between the years of 1984- 2001. Same sex marriage was legalized in the Netherlands in 2001. More about the study from Box Turtle Bulletin here.

But basically this means that it is impossible for any gay man in the study Barnley mentioned to have been married at the time the study was conducted.

This means Bansley, whether intentionally or unintentionally, misrepresented the study.

So far, the Maine anti-marriage equality folks have lied about "homosexual marriage being taught to children," misrepresented studies, and misrepesented the professions of their spokespeople.

Okay, who is on God's side again?

Huge hat tip to and Box Turtle Bulletin.

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The anti-gay marriage forces tell another BIG lie in Maine

Today is the hearings for ENDA. I hope to have video and commentary later. Keep your fingers crossed.

Via and Americablog Gay comes the news of lazy anti-gay marriage folks in Maine.

It appears that they are running the same fear stories about gay marriage and children with the same ad used in California's Proposition 8 fight:

California ad:

Maine ad:

And from Jeremy from comes the news that the woman in the Maine ad doesn't even teach in public schools:

Ms. Bansley is the state director of the Concerned Women For America of Maine, and has appeared onstage at many Stand For Marriage Maine rallies. She has made her interest clear time and time again.

And while she is a teacher, she doesn't teach at a public institution. She teaches at Calvary Chapel Christian School. A Christian school where she is already freely stifling pro-gay speech, at least according to one of her very own students. To identify Ms. Bansley as merely a "teacher" is like simply calling Barack Obama a CEO of an important entity.

In truth, Ms. Bansley is one of Stand For Marriage Maine's own (paid?) staffers who is motivated almost exclusively by her faith. It is almost unbelievable that the campaign would use her, a private Christian school teacher, to speak on this civil matter and and think that nobody would notice.

And by the way, the Wirthlins (the man and woman in the commercial) joined 'Mad Dad' David Parker in his ridiculous losing lawsuit against Massachusetts. I did not talk about them as much because Parker's antics attracted so much attention.

But don't be fooled because they are being as deceptive as Parker, especially in the part of the commercial when the father said:

"The courts said we had no right to object or pull him out of class."

Actually that is a clever misconception. Yes the courts did say that the reading of King and King was not an issue of human sexuality, therefore it had nothing to do with the opt-out policy.
But Mr. Wirthlin is clearly deceiving people when he said the courts said the parents could not pull their children out of class. The courts actually advised parents who object to do just that:

In the 38-page decision, Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf, of the U.S. District Court, said that families who don’t agree with the teachings of the public school, have the choice of private schools or homeschooling.

And no their case had nothing to do with gay marriage in Massachusetts. The courts affirmed the idea that not all families are the same two-parent heterosexual model.

It's good to remember that both the Wirthlins and Parker lost at every avenue of the courts. But now I am beginning to see why the religious right pushed the case to the limits despite losing at every turn. It has provided them with huge dividends in the court of public opinion.

It's religious right distortion technique #2 - repeat a lie no matter how many times it has been refuted.

Will the lies win in Maine? Let's hope not.

But like Americablog Gay says:

. . . if this pisses you off, donate to the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality here.

Related posts:

The Maine anti-gay marriage forces tell a huge lie in its first ad

What are the top religious right lies about the gay community?

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Something sure to turn a gay man straight - Tom DeLay shakes his butt

Whatever you do, close your eyes at 3:24 or at least hold a cross tight.


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Witnesses announced for tomorrow's ENDA hearing and other Tuesday midday news briefs

List of witnesses for tomorrow's ENDA hearing - This list of witnesses is very interesting. I'm almost disappointed in the witnesses/witness who will be speaking against ENDA.

Referendum 71 opponents use divorcees as poster children and insist they're not about hate - My God. Opponents of Washington's domestic partnership law actually used Ozzie and Harriet Nelson in their flyer. And then they pulled a deception about social science studies that claim to say that children suffer from not being in a home with a mother and a father. None of those studies even looked at same sex households.

They who remedy boo-boos are now working to prevent a historical one - Maine pediatricians stand for equality.

Judge Jerry Buchmeyer (1933-2009)- Just who is Judge Jerry Buchmeyer you ask? Why one of the greatest men in the world. He verbally bitchslapped discredited researcher Paul Cameron in court.

Ariz. Slashes Partner Benefits for 800 Workers - This is just wrong.

Census releases data on same-sex marriages for the first time in history - But on the flipside, this is good news.

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