LGBTQ Equality March on Washington DC
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LGBT National News Update
NYC Pride March Will Make TV History
More Than One Million Americans Now Identify as LGBTQ
Why We Won't Go Back
How to Be a Better Ally in 2017
Obama Leaves Monumental Legacy on LGBTQ Rights
Obama's Record on LGBTQ Rights
Obama's LGBTQ Legacy
George Michael Dies
Ellen DeGeneres Receives
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Mass Shooting at
Gay Bar in Orlando
National LGBT News Updates
Washington Blade: Trump to Appear at Anti-LGBT Event
Right Wing Watch: Trump to Address Extremist Anti-LGBT Summit in Orlando
LGBTQ Nation: Trump to Address Anti-LGBT Group
Voice of America: The LGBT Debate
Health and Religion Discussed at LGBT Forum
US News: American Culture War
Millennials Support Full LGBT Rights
Rolling Stone: Worst States for LGBT People
Yahoo News: Mass Shooting in Orlando
CNN: Orlando Shooting Act of Hate
NY Times: Massacre at Gay Nightclub
USA Today: Orlando Nightclub Shooting
National Political News: Clinton Vs. Trump
Ballotpedia: Hillary Clinton's Stand on LGBT Rights
Ballotpedia: Donald Trump's Stand on LGBT Rights
Hillary Clinton and LGBT Equality
HRC: Donald Trump Opposes Nationwide Marriage Equality
HRC Endorses Hillary Clinton for President
National LGBT News Reports
US Post Office Unveils Harvey Milk Stamp
The Wasted Life of Fred Phelps
Public Statement From Fred Phelps' Estranged Son
Kentucky Attorney General Refuses to Defend Gay Marriage Ban
Federal Judge Rules Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional
Kansas Anti-Gay Segregation Bill
First Openly Gay Boy Scout Becomes Eagle Scout
US Justice Dept Extends Benefits to Same Sex Couples
GMA Host Robin Roberts Comes Out as Lesbian
Charlie Crist Apologizes for Backing Gay Marriage Ban
Boy Scouts Change Policy and Membership Drops
Facebook Adding New Gender Options and Preferred Pronouns
Challenge to Nevada Gay Marriage Ban
Harvey Milk Postage Stamp
The US Postal Service issued a new stamp honoring Harvey Milk, the first openly gay public official to be featured on a US stamp. In 1977, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, making him one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States. His career was tragically cut short nearly a year after he took office, when he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated. The stamp art centers on a photo of Milk taken in front of his camera store in San Francisco. The colors of the gay pride flag appear in a vertical strip in the top left corner.
A commitment to serving a broad constituency, not just gay people, helped make Milk an effective and popular leader. He was an eloquent speaker with a winning sense of humor and was able to build coalitions between diverse groups. His achievements gave hope and confidence to gay people at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility. Milk believed that government should represent all citizens, insuring equality and providing needed services. In the years since his death, there have been hundreds of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender public officials in America. In 2009, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Milk the Medal of Freedom.
Huff Post: US Post Office Unveils Harvey Milk Stamp
US Post Office: About Harvey Milk Stamps
Yahoo News: Harvey Milk Honored With Us Postage Stamp
Fred Phelps is Dead
Fred Phelps -- the founding pastor of the hateful
church known for its virulently anti-gay protests at public events --
has died. The 84-year-old died of natural causes on March 19.
Phelps founded Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, in 1955 and
molded it in his hate-filled, fire-and-brimstone image. Many members of the small
congregation are related to Phelps through blood or marriage.
In a statement, the church chided the "world-wide media" for
"gleefully anticipating the death." In deed, many
articles and blogs have been less than sympathetic. The TMZ
website has posted a music video of Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" to
commemorate Phelps' passing.
It is estimated that the church has picketed more than 53,000 events. Typically, a dozen or so church members -- including small children -- brandished signs that said "God Hates Fags." Phelps was often called "the most hated man in America," a label he seemed to relish. "If I had nobody mad at me," he said, "what right would I have to claim that I was preaching the Gospel?" Under Phelps' leadership, Westboro members have preached that every calamity -- from natural disasters to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut -- is God's punishment for the country's acceptance of homosexuality. Phelps had advocated for gays and lesbians to be put to death.
"Fred Phelps will not be missed by the LGBT community, people with HIV/AIDS and the millions of decent people across the world who found what he and his followers do deeply hurtful and offensive," the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said in a statement. Phelps began his hateful anti-gay protests in Wichita in 1991 after complaining that the city refused to stop gay activities in a public park. He rose to national notoriety in 1998, when Westboro members picketed at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming man who was tortured and murdered because he was gay. Phelps and his church carried signs that said Shepard was rotting in hell. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Westboro Baptist Church "arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America."
CNN: Westboro Baptist Church Founder Dies
Huff Post: Fred Phelps Dead at 84
NY Times: Anti-Gay Preachers Dies
Leonard Pitts: The Wasted Life of Fred Phelps
Public Statement From Fred Phelps' Estranged Son
Anti-Gay Segregation Bill in Kansas
The Kansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a measure designed to bring anti-gay segregation—under the guise of “religious liberty”—to the already deep-red state. The bill, written out of fear that the state may soon face an Oklahoma-style gay marriage ruling, will now easily pass the Republican Senate and be signed into law by the Republican governor. The result will mark Kansas as the first state, though certainly not the last, to legalize segregation of gay and straight people in virtually every arena of life.
When passed, the new law will allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse to serve gay couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Private employers can continue to fire gay employees on account of their sexuality. Stores may deny gay couples goods and services because they are gay. Hotels can eject gay couples or deny them entry in the first place. Businesses that provide public accommodations—movie theaters, restaurants—can turn away gay couples at the door. And if a gay couple sues for discrimination, they won’t just lose; they’ll be forced to pay their opponent’s attorney’s fees.
Slate: Kansas Anti-Gay Segregation Bill is an Abomination
National LGBT News Reports
LGBT Rights and Civil Rights
First Openly Gay Circuit Court Judge
US Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA and Dismisses Prop 8
Exodus International Ex-Gay Ministry Apologizes & Shuts Down
Boy Scouts Lift Ban & Churches React
You Tube Tribute to Gay Pride
Todd Hughes is First Openly Gay Federal Circuit Court Judge
By a unanimous vote, the Senate confirmed the nation’s first openly gay federal circuit judge. The vote was 98-0 to approve Todd Hughes, previously a Department of Justice lawyer, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He will be the highest-ranking openly gay judge in the nation's history.
Gay rights groups praised the Senate’s approval of the nomination. “Judge Hughes is a remarkably qualified jurist who has served his country tirelessly, and today that commitment to service made history,” said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin. “As an openly gay man takes to the federal appellate court bench for the very first time, barriers to achievement for the next generation of LGBT young people are crumbling every day.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy also lauded Hughes’ confirmation. “I am proud that today the Senate is finally taking this critical step to break down another barrier and increase diversity on our Federal bench,” he said. Hughes will be the eighth openly gay federal judge with a lifetime appointment. Seven openly gay judges have previously been confirmed to serve on district courts.
(From Carrie Dann, NBC News)
Huffington Post: First Openly Gay Circuit Court Judge in History
Washington Post: Senate Confirms Todd Hughes
Buzz Feed: No Opposition to Todd Hughes
50 Year Anniversary March on Washington
I commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, President Obama correlated the civil rights movement to the overall human rights movement. And he made specific reference to LGBT rights. "Because they marched, America became more free and more fair, not just for African-Americans but for women and Latinos, Asians and Native Americans, for Catholics, Jews and Muslims, for gays, for Americans with disabilities." "And I believe that spirit is there, that true force inside each of us. I see it when a white mother recognizes her own daughter in the face of a poor black child. I see it when the black youth thinks of his own grandfather in the dignified steps of an elderly white man. It's there when the native born recognizing that striving spirit of a new immigrant, when the interracial couple connects the pain of a gay couple who were discriminated against and understands it as their own. That's where courage comes from, when we turn not from each other or on each other but towards one another, and we find that we do not walk alone. That's where courage comes from."
Pres Obama Compares LGBT Rights and Civil Rights
50 Year Anniversary of March on Washington
PBS News: 50 Years Later
WSJ: March Remember's King's Dream
Washington Post: Commemorating 5oth Anniversary
Transcript of President's Speech
Boy Scouts Will Now Allow Openly Gay Youth
The Boy Scouts of America voted to lift a ban on allowing openly gay youth in the organization, approving a proposal made earlier this year that has fueled heated debate. More than 60 percent of the 1,400 voting members of BSA’s National Council cast ballots to approve the proposed rules at the annual meeting at a conference center near BSA headquarters in Dallas. A similar ban on openly gay adult leaders, however, was not part of the proposal and will remain. "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone," says the resolution. The new rules take effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Equality Alabama issued a statement in which they commended the Boy Scouts of America for finally choosing to include openly gay youth in its ranks. This is a major victory for gay youth across the county. However, EA said that they were saddened to learn that the Scouts will continue their discriminatory practice of banning gay adult leaders. America has a long history of leadership in military and civil service from its LGBTQ civilians — many of whom grew up in scouting. The Boy Scouts would be better served to be more inclusive of all types of people.
NBC News: Scouts Lift Ban and Churches React
LA Times: Baptist Church Abandons Boy Scouts
ABC News: Churches Sever Ties with Boy Scouts
US News: Scouts Lift Ban, A Good First Step
President Obama Addresses Morehouse College
President Barack Obama made sure that his speech
during the spring 2013 commencement ceremony at Georgia's Morehouse
College was inclusive. The Atlanta-based historically black
private college is exclusively for men, but Obama spontaneously
referenced gay and lesbian Americans.
Pointing to a Morehouse student who struggled through college while
supporting his family, the president advised students to be the best
that they can be in their romantic relationships, no matter what their
"Keep setting an example for what it means to be a man," he said. "Be
the best husband to your wife, or your boyfriend, or your partner. Be
the best father you can be to your children. Because nothing is more
The president then went on to correlate the struggles of African-Americans to other minority groups such as Hispanic Americans and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. "As Morehouse Men, many of you know what it’s like to be an outsider; know what it’s like to be marginalized; know what it’s like to feel the sting of discrimination. And that’s an experience that a lot of Americans share. Hispanic Americans know that feeling when somebody asks them where they come from or tell them to go back. Gay and lesbian Americans feel it when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love that they share. Muslim Americans feel it when they’re stared at with suspicion because of their faith. Any woman who knows the injustice of earning less pay for doing the same work — she knows what it’s like to be on the outside looking in."
President Obama Delivers Graduation Speech at Moorehouse College
On a Black Queer Moorehouse Commencement
National LGBT News Reports
Nevada Governor Signs Transgender Hate Crimes Bill
Cutest Prom Couple
NYC Hate Crimes Sparks Protest
Baltimore Mayor to Preside Over Pride Fest & Mass
Anti-Gay Candidates in Virginia Politics
Puerto Rico Governor Signs Gay Rights Bill
Most Gay Friendly Cities
Churches Cut Ties with Boy Scouts
Pride Protest and Revelry
Obama Mentions LGBT Rights at Inauguration
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law."
President Obama didn't just make history by
becoming the first president to refer to "our gay brothers and sisters"
in an inaugural address. Of course, that alone was a stunner -- he put
gay rights on the agenda for his second term in a way that no other
president had committed to before -- but by referring specifically to
the Stonewall riots of 1969 in the same sentence as Seneca Falls and
Selma, he put the LGBT rights struggle within the context of the great
civil rights movements in American history.
Standing before Republican leaders, who are fighting against gay rights; the Supreme Court, which will be deciding on gay rights this year; and the American people, who are fast embracing gay rights, the president made it clear that there is no separating LGBT rights from the struggles for equality by women and people of color. The following passage, in which the president casts the individuals who stood up to the police at the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar that was raided in the summer of '69 -- the drag queens and the lesbians, the gay men and the transgender people -- as our "forebears," is truly amazing and powerful:
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths, that all of us are created equal, is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall, just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone, to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. And by proclaiming that "our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," and that "the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well," the president challenged all Americans to support marriage equality.
(From Huffington Post, Gay Voices)
History-Making Gay Rights Inaugural Speech
President Obama's Inauguration Speech
Video & Text: Richard Blanco Reads Inauguration Poem
Letter to President Obama from a Gay Family
Transcript: President Obama's Inauguration Speech
CBS News Video: President Obama's Second Inauguration
CNN: Obama Sworn in Again
Alabama Reaction to President Obama's Speech
National LGBT News Reports
In Memory of PFLAG Founder Jeanne Manford
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles: Dedication to Sandy Hook Victims
Time Mag: Pres Obama Reflects on LGBT Progress
Barney Frank: Reflection on Current Political LGBT Issues
LGBTQ Nation: National Headlines and News Reports
The State of Equality & Human Rights
College Applications Asking About Sexual Orientation
Henry Rollins on LGBT Equality
She’s Marrying Her Sorority Sister
Services Denied: Anti-Gay Tour Company in Maryland
Military Couples and Their Families
New York Times: Generation LGBTQIA
Newt Gingrich Says Legalized Gay Marriage Inevitable
On gay marriage, meanwhile, Gingrich argued that Republicans could no longer close their eyes to the course of public opinion. While he continued to profess a belief that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, he suggested that the party (and he himself) could accept a distinction between a "marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state" -- the latter being acceptable. "I think that this will be much more difficult than immigration for conservatism to come to grips with," he said, noting that the debate's dynamics had changed after state referenda began resulting in the legalization of same-sex marriage. "It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to ... accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states -- and it will be more after 2014 -- gay relationships will be legal, period."
Stepping back from the political, Gingrich noted that he has a personal stake in the gay marriage debate. His half-sister works at the Human Rights Campaign. He has gay friends who've gotten married in Iowa. The man who once compared same-sex marriage to paganism is now worried that the Republican Party could find itself trapped in a bygone era on the matter. "I didn't think that was inevitable 10 or 15 years ago, when we passed the Defense of Marriage Act," he said. "It didn't seem at the time to be anything like as big a wave of change as we are now seeing."
Newt Gingrich Interview
Obama Letter to T10 Year Old Girl
Ten-year-old Sophia Bailey Klugh penned a letter to President Barack Obama in which she told the president how happy she is that he agrees with her on the topic of marriage equality. You see, young Sophia has two dads. She went on to ask the president an important question:
I am so glad that you agree two men can love each other because I have two dads and they love each other, but at school kids think that it's gross and weird, but it really hurts my heart and feelings.... If you were me and you had two dads that loved each other and kids at school teased you about it, what would you do?
President Obama sent a reply to Sophia and took some of his important time to share a little advice with a little girl:
Dear Sophia, Thank you for writing me such a thoughtful letter about your family. Reading it made me proud to be your president and even more hopeful about the future of our nation. In America, no two families look the same. We celebrate this diversity. And we recognize that whether you have two dads or one mom what matters above all is the love we show one another. You are very fortunate to have two parents who care deeply for you. They are lucky to have such an exceptional daughter in you. Our differences unite us. You and I are blessed to live in a country where we are born equal no matter what we look like on the outside, where we grow up, or who our parents are. A good rule is to treat others the way you hope they will treat you. Remind your friends at school about this rule if they say something that hurts your feelings. Thanks again for taking the time to write me. I'm honored to have your support and inspired by your compassion. I'll be sure to tell Sasha and Malia you say hello. Sincerely, Barack Obama.
Obama Responds to Young Girl’s Heartfelt Letter About Her Dads
Remembering Mark Bingham on Sept 11 Anniversary
September 11, 2011
Mark Bingham,31, a gay passenger on United
Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania,
helped to thwart the plane's hijackers.
September 16 is officially designated Mark
Bingham Day in San Francisco.
died Sept. 11,
lives. Just how
many will never
be known. The openly
gay rugby player
was one of the
led a revolt
Flight 93. The
planned to slam
the plane into
the White House
or the U.S.
according to the
crashed into a
Pa., killing the
passengers – but
The most visible torchbearer of Bingham’s legacy is Alice Hoagland, his mother. After losing Bingham -- her only child -- Hoagland became a tireless advocate for issues that were important to her son. Now 61, the retired United flight attendant is a proponent of aviation safety, a spokesperson for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, and an avid supporter of rugby. Flight 93 passengers learned from cell phone conversations that the World Trade Center and Pentagon had already been attacked. Bingham – along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett, and Jeremy Glick – formulated a game plan of sorts to overtake the hijackers, according to accounts from the phone calls. All four men were athletes.
Bingham stood 6-foot-4, weighed roughly 225 lbs., and played rugby. Beamer was 6-foot-2 and was a former basketball player. Burnett, 6-foot-3, played quarterback in high school and college. And Glick, also 6-foot-3, was a national collegiate judo champ. Hoagland is convinced that their ability to think quickly, coupled with their physical strength, made a difference in stopping the plane from hitting one of its targets. “Competitive sports and athletic ability really made a difference for America on that day,” she says. That’s one of the reasons Hoagland has become the spiritual force behind the Bingham Cup -- a rugby tournament that’s become the “World Cup of gay rugby,” as she describes it. Hoagland feels the sport helped shape her son into the person he became, and she wants others to enjoy the sport as much as Bingham did. The cup started in 2002 with less than 10 teams. Now, 40 to 50 teams participate in the biennial event, which alternates between happening in the United States and the United Kingdom. Members of the San Francisco Fog, a club that Bingham helped found in 2001, gave Hoagland a team jacket bearing the nickname “Mom” embroidered across the front. “I may have lost a son but I’ve gained a very huge family and it makes me feel good every time I see them,” she says.
Unexpected Legacy Left by Sept 11 Hero
Mark Bingham's Phone Call from Flight 93
United Heroes: Mark Bingham
Tribute to Mark Bingham
Angelfire: Sept 11 Gay Victims & Heroes
Wikipedia: Mark Bingham
Gay Bears: Mark Bingham
Mark Bingham: Real American Hero
Father Mychal Judge: Saint of Sept 11
September 11, 2011
Also among the openly Gay people known dead at the World Trade Center is New York Fire Department Catholic chaplain Father Mychal Judge. Judge, 68, was killed while ministering to a fallen firefighter at Ground Zero. Judge's helmet was presented to the Pope, and Judge was chosen Grand Marshall of the 2002 Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade. There is also an initiative to elevate Fr. Mychal to sainthood. In June 2002, the president signed the Mychal Judge Act, granting federal money to certain survivors of victims of 9/11, including same-sex partners.
Saint Mychal Judge
Wikipedia: Father Mychal Judge
About Father Mychal
Anti-Gay Rant by School Board Member
November 1, 2010
Clint McCance, a school board district member in Arkansas who came under fire for an anti-gay post on the FaceBook social networking site, regrets his comments and will resign his seat, he told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday. "I'm sorry I've hurt people with my comments," Clint McCance, vice-president of the Midland School District in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas said. "I'm sorry I made those ignorant comments and hurt people on a broad spectrum."
McCance wrote on his personal Facebook page that he wanted gay people to commit suicide, according to The Advocate, an LGBT news magazine. McCance used the terms "queer" and "fag" repeatedly, promised to disown his own children if they are gay and stated that he enjoys "the fact that [gay people] give each other AIDS and die." He said, “Being a fag doesn’t give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives… If you get offended by being called a fag, don’t tell anyone you’re a fag… It pisses me off that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags can’t procreate.”
"I would never support suicide for any kids," he said. "I don't support bullying of any kids." "I'd like to extend apologies to those families that have lost children, for all those children who feel that suicide is the only way out, especially for the five families who have already lost children," he said, referring to a rash of recent suicides by gay teens. "I brought more hurt on them... they didn't deserve that and I do feel genuinely bad for them." Though he disapproves of homosexuality, McCance said that "I give everyone a chance and try to love everyone."
McCance said that he has received an outpouring
of criticism over his comments, including
"thousands of phone calls, hate mails, people
threatening to kill my family and me."
He said he has sent his wife and two kids out of
the state because of fears for their safety and
that he is installing a security system at his
"I'm reaping what I've sown," he told CNN. "I've
had a lot of hate speech thrown at me and my
family on every level."
He said he would resign from the school board to
spare the district the bad press and
distractions of dealing with the fallout from
his comments. "If they decide after five or ten
years to vote me back in, then I'll run again,"
Anderson Cooper Report: School Board Member Quits Over Anti-Gay Post
Anderson Cooper Blog: Read Report and View Video
CCN: School Board Member Resigns Over Anti-Gay Remarks on FaceBook
USA Today: School Board Member Quits After Anti-Gay Comments
On Top Mag: Protest Over Anti-Gay Rant
She Wired: Gay Bashing Clint McCance
Daily Mail: Clint McCance Apologizes
Arkansas News: We're Sorry World
George Takei's Humorous Response to Clint McCance
Gay Georgia Teen Brings Boyfriend to Prom
Derrick Martin, a senior at Bleckley County High School in Cochran, Georgia, was permitted by school officials to take his boyfriend, Richard Goodman, to the prom. But the high-profile decision divided his small town, prompted his parents to kick out their only child, and even resulted in death threats for the college-bound 18-year-old. Martin, an honor student who tutors at-risk elementary and middle school students after school, knew the move would be controversial for the rural town of 5,200 residents. School officials said there was no policy against bringing a same-sex date to the prom. Superintendent Charlotte Pipkin said: "Students are allowed to bring their date to prom. There’s nothing in our policy that says who the date is." Some of Martins classmates were supportive, others were not. Some members of the community expressed favor while others expressed objection.
The Macon Telegraph reports: "When Martin, 18, and his boyfriend Richard Goodman, also 18, stepped onto a makeshift 'red carpet' and their names were announced, a few parents whispered but many in the crowd gave him a loud cheer. No one yelled out in protest. 'I wonder if they realize what they’ve done,' said Arturro Beeche, a San Francisco professor who flew into Georgia on Friday and drove Martin and Goodman to the prom. 'Once it happens in small-town America, it will inspire so many,' he said." Martin's parents, who already knew their son was gay, kicked him out of the house after news broke that he was taking a gay date to his prom. Their religious views and the increased publicity prompted their actions.
Mississippi High School Cancels Prom After Lesbian Student's Date Request
A Mississippi county school board announced Wednesday it would cancel its upcoming prom after a gay student petitioned to bring a same-sex date to the event." Due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events, the Itawamba County School District has decided to not host a prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School this year," school board members said in a statement. Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba, recently challenged a school policy prohibiting her from bringing her girlfriend as her date to the April 2 prom.
McMillen, who is a lesbian, and the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union urged school officials to reverse the policy both on McMillen's choice of date and attire. She also wanted to wear a tuxedo to the dance. ACLU attorney Christine Sun said her organization receives requests for help every year from students facing anti-gay prom policies. The complaints are especially prevalent in the South where attitudes toward sexuality are more conservative, she said. In the announcement, the school board encouraged the community to organize a private prom. "It is our hope that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors. "We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this causes anyone," the statement concluded. Constance McMillen was also banned from the school yearbook for wearing a tuxedo on picture day. She said, "it's a small town in Mississippi, and it's run by an older generation with money. Most of them are more conservative and they don't agree with [homosexuality]."
American Bar Association Backs Gay Marriage
California Gay Marrage Ban
California voters have adopted a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, The Associated Press reported, joining voters in two other states who went to the polls in the last national election to overturn such unions. Elections returns showed that the same-sex marriage ban initiative known as Proposition 8 won 52 percent of the vote. Some provisional and absentee ballots remained to be counted, but based on trends and the locations of outstanding votes, the initiative’s margin of support was secure, according to the A.P.
In Massachusetts, meanwhile, a proposal to eliminate the state income tax was rejected as voters nationwide considered a wealth of ballot initiatives. Voters in 36 states weighed in on 153 ballot measures, including 59 initiated by citizens. Colorado had 14 ballot questions, more than any other state, including whether to ban race- and gender-based affirmative action. Early results showed that proposal would not pass, nor another that would define human life as beginning at fertilization, effectively giving fertilized eggs the same constitutional rights and protections as people. Only three states this year had ballots that included bans on same-sex marriage, compared with 8 in 2006 and 11 in 2004.The ban passed in all three states — the other two being Florida and Arizona — but its success in California, a trend-setter in so many arenas, was seen as major defeat for gay rights activists.
A total of $73 million was spent on the race there, a record for a ballot measure on a social issue, resulting in incessant television and radio commercials from both sides. Advocates of the ban played up their belief that without it, children could be taught about gay marriage in schools, while opponents likened approval to denying fundamental civil rights. The measure came only months after California’s highest court ruled it constitutional, spurring thousands of gay couples to marry there. “We pick ourselves up and trudge on,” said Kate Kendall, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “There has been enormous movement in favor of full equality in eight short years. That is the direction this is heading, and if it’s not today or it’s not tomorrow, it will be soon.” Opponents of same-sex marriage had expressed hope that a convention could lead to a ballot initiative to ban the practice, which the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled legal last month. Connecticut is the third state, after Massachusetts and California, to allow marriage between people of the same sex. Early results showed voters in Arkansas supporting a proposal to ban unmarried couples from adopting or acting as foster parents, which critics said was unfairly aimed at gay men and lesbians.
Read various news reports on the California Gay Marriage Ban:
Ellen DeGeneres Speaks Out
"It is okay if you are gay."
and old, men
at the Santa
an Oxnard boy who was shot and killed
Ellen Degeneres took
a moment on her show
was shot and killed
who he'd asked to be
his Valentine, on
Ellen got choked up
discussing it and
made a plea to stop
the hate. "Larry is
not a second-class
citizen. I am not a
citizen. It is okay
if you are gay."
She also made a call
for voters to look
at the candidates
extra closely this
election season. "We
must change our
country. We can do
it with our
behavior... We can
do it with our
vote... Fight hate."
Response to Mark Foley Incident
By ALGBTIC President
In response to homophobic statements made by Mr. Paul Weyrich on NPR equating gay males to pedophiles, the leadership of AGLBIC has collaborated with ACA administrators to form this response (see below). Many thanks to Karen Eriksen (Florida International University) for taking the lead on this matter.
The American Counseling Association (ACA) unequivocally supports the equal rights for and nondiscrimination towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. It also supports the rights of children, women, and others to be free of the abuses of power implied in unwanted sexual advances by those in authority over them. We thus share concerns currently being expressed in reaction to Congressman Mark Foley's sexually inappropriate emails to congressional pages.
However, we must strongly protest statements made by the Arlington Group's Mr. Paul Weyrich on National Public Radio that gay men, because they are "preoccupied with sex," are not suited for leadership in public service positions that involve child safety. To pair Mr. Foley's inappropriate behavior and breach of the public trust with discussions about homosexuality, merely because he is a gay male, is offensive and inconsistent with the beliefs of every major mental health professional, including psychiatry, psychology, and social work. Further, to imply in a national forum that gay men are more likely to be sexual predators, when research clearly finds otherwise, is irresponsible and only serves to fuel divisive politics and homophobia. While this issue involves sexuality, it is NOT a matter of sexual orientation. One must certainly ask what political ends are served, at this point in history, by a focus on a gay man's misuse of power in the absence of outrage about the rather frequent occurrence of heterosexual politicians' abuse of power in their advances on young women.
(From Brian J. Dew / AGLBIC National President)
By HRC President
With all that’s going on in Washington this week, I felt it was important to update all of you on the role that HRC has played in this unfolding story concerning Mark Foley. Congressman Mark Foley’s sexually-charged communications with young congressional pages was reprehensible and we have strongly condemned it. We have also been equally quick to condemn some in the GOP for their attempts to blame this scandal on the GLBT community.Just hours ago, following Speaker Hastert's press conference, I sent a letter to him expressing outrage at the efforts of some in his party to scapegoat gay people for this unfortunate situation.
You can read the full letter here. At the beginning of the week, I issued the following statement to the press: “Gay or straight, Democrat or Republican, it is completely inexcusable for an adult to have this kind of communication with a minor. Congressman Foley brought shame on himself and this Congress by his horrible behavior and complete lack of judgment. We strongly condemn his behavior.”
On Tuesday, we issued a press release condemning the Republican leadership for avoiding responsibility and for trying to blame our community. On Wednesday, HRC Vice President, David Smith, appeared on MSNBC to combat Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council. Her group has been saying that the House Republican leaders were afraid to investigate the Foley matter because they were afraid of being labeled “homophobic.” That’s right! - the same members of Congress who have been trying to write our community out of the Constitution were supposedly unwilling to stop Foley because they were worried about their image as gay bashers. This is some of the most convoluted nonsense out there. David did an excellent job of going after FRC’s illogical and inflammatory statements.
Yesterday, I also submitted an editorial to Huffington Post, the popular online website run by Arianna Huffington. We need to get the focus of this debate back on topic. It has nothing to do with Mark Foley’s sexual orientation and everything to do with the fact that the pages were teenagers entrusted to the care of Foley and the entire House of Representatives. Last night, I continued HRC’s full-on offense against the scapegoating and half-truths permeating this debate, when I appeared on CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.” Donny had an excellent show looking at how the media continues to perpetuate and exacerbate the more outlandish excuses for the scandal. (Foley was molested as a child; he was in the closet; and, so on. All of these issues are beside the point.)
Keep up-to-date on developments
and HRC’s aggressive response to the smearing and
vilifying of our community by visiting
please feel free to forward this message.
(From Joe Solmonese / HRC President)
Homophobic Speech on TV News Show
On the July 27 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, host Chris Matthews gave a free pass to a guest's use of a defamatory anti-gay slur, the second time in the past year that the NBC News commentator has tacitly offered an on-air embrace of anti-gay prejudice. In an interview with Ann Coulter, Matthews prodded his guest to revisit her previous comments on CNBC claiming that former President Bill Clinton is gay. Coulter told Matthews, "He may not be gay, but Al Gore, total fag. No, I'm just kidding." Rather than confront his guest's use of the word "fag," Matthews continued to ask his guest whether she thought Clinton and Gore were gay.
It took a responsible audience member to do what Matthews, in his pursuit of ever more outrageous soundbites from his guest, failed to do. The audience member said: "I'm just wondering how you can call yourself a Christian or even look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and use words like the one you just used to describe Al Gore. Just curious." She added, "I think pure hatred, spewing hateful rhetoric violates a lot of Biblical commands."
GLAAD reached out to MSNBC's Senior Vice-President for Communications Jeremy Gaines to express concern about its host's silence in the face of an on-air expression of bigotry. Gaines' response was only that, "Just like many guests on our air, Ann Coulter's views are not those of MSNBC."
MSNBC's statement avoids the important question: why is NBC News placing its brand on a program where these kinds of slurs are acceptable?
refusal to confront and address on-air use of the word
"fag" — and its repeated willingness to provide a
platform for crude expressions of bigotry — raises
serious questions about the network's standards and
practices and, with regard to Matthews, the standards of
conduct for its hosts.
On the Jan. 18 edition of MSNBC's "Imus in the Morning," Matthews initiated a homophobic exchange with host Don Imus regarding "Brokeback Mountain," saying that another radio host had called the film "Bareback Mounting." Imus then tried to one-up him, claiming that one of his staff had titled it "Fudgepack Mountain."
Message From PFLAG Director
There’s been much talk this week about language. We’ve
heard about Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic tirade after a
long evening of drinking. We’ve seen Ann Coulter’s
appalling interview with Chris Matthews in which she
refers to former Vice President Al Gore as a “fag.” We
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s
reference to the troublesome Boston tunnel construction
project as a “tar baby.” And last week, a reporter
called PFLAG for comment about the less than tasteful
gay-related remarks that
made as the emcee of the ESPY Awards on ESPN.
So what’s up with some of the movie stars, politicians,
political pundits and mega-athletes these days? And is
it really just those who live in the limelight that we
should be concerned about?
Last weekend, in San Diego’s Balboa Park, three men were
beaten with baseball bats and a knife after leaving that
city’s gay pride festivities. Their attackers were
yelling anti-gay epithets throughout the attack. Earlier
last week, in Colorado, John Graham, a local student,
was soliciting signatures in Boulder in support of
Colorado’s domestic partnership bill. Graham approached
a pedestrian and asked him if he would like to sign the
petition. The pedestrian,
allegedly responded, "I fight faggots . . . I kill
faggots . . . Are you a faggot?" A few minutes later,
Spitzer approached Graham and proceeded to punch him in
Those of us who have GLBT loved ones or are gay ourselves know all too well how scary it can be when we hear hate language. In 1989, while leaving the Houston pride festival a car load of young men, probably in their twenties, drove past me yelling, “hey faggot” and threw two beer bottles in my direction. I ran as fast as I could to my car and drove around for over an hour to be sure that they weren’t waiting to follow me home. There’s a growing amount of research about what moves people from benign and blissful kindergartners to instigators capable of vicious hate-motivated crimes. I won’t recite any research findings here, but we know that as humans, we learn quickly from the examples of those around us—we can be greatly influenced by the images, the actions and the language to which we are exposed.
I wonder if the attackers in San Diego or Kerry Spitzer in Boulder have heard movie stars, politicians, political pundits and mega-athletes use racist, sexist, anti-gay remarks and other disparaging language in their jokes. I wonder if they caught the broadcast of the ESPY Awards earlier this month and laughed along with Lance Armstrong when he peppered his monologue with jokes where homosexuals were the punch line. Maybe they’ve seen Ann Coulter caustically refer to Al Gore as a “fag” and Bill Clinton as “homosexual” while onlookers laugh hysterically at what she calls a “joke.” I think it’s a good thing that the media has been vigilant in covering the story on Mel Gibson this week, including dissecting his two rounds of attempts at an apology. Because of all the coverage, more people are talking this week about language - what is acceptable? What should (and should not) be tolerated? How does one ever really “take back” what they say? How do we respond when we hear those words that we know hurt the people who we love?
The words in PFLAG’s vision statement are clear. It reads in part that “Only with respect, dignity and equality for all will we reach our full potential as human beings, individually and collectively.” Let’s all make a special effort this weekend and next week to pay attention to the language we use and the language we hear around us. We must let people know how hate-filled and bigoted language truly offends and hurts. Part of moving equality forward includes stopping bigotry and discrimination, both in word and deed, in language and in action.
Let’s all keep moving equality in the right direction!
(From Jody M. Huckaby, PFLAG Director)
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