Thursday, May 28

Is the GLBT Community Splitting up over the Marriage issue?

Lately I've been meeting a lot of folks on Twitter, some of whom (a lot of whom!! LOL) are really good bloggers/writers. One of them is a lesbian duo called Hersband and Wife. (Yes, I said HERSBAND)They are really awesome; activists in the LGBT community and the fight for equal rights, while also being advice columnists, which is an arena where we are sadly trailing the hetero world in representation. This article is from their blog at www.hersbandandwife.com


Is the GLBT Community Splitting up over the Marriage issue?
May 28th, 2009 by hersbandandwife

DON’T DIVIDE UNIFY!

In case you missed all the discussions last night about the push to take the prop 8 fight to the national stage we decided to re-post them today for all to see.

The statements by the attorneys that are taking this to the supreme court are great and will help you understand their arguments.

Larry King hosts Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, George Takei and Husband Brad Altman to discuss the ramifications and legalities of the recent decision by the California’s Supreme court on Prop 8 as well as the push to take the fight to the United States Supreme Court.

We are very encouraged after listening to their arguments. We are only hopeful that the GLBT groups that have spoken against them will decide to work with them on a unified front.

A statement released by the group Freedom to Marry states the following ;

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 27, 2009, New York, NY

PRESS CONTACT:
Evan Wolfson
Executive Director, Freedom to Marry
Tel: 212-851-8418; Mobile: 646-263-5552
Email: evan@freedomtomarry.org

New York, May 27, 2009 — In response to the California Supreme Court decision allowing Prop 8 to stand, four LGBT legal organizations and five other leading national LGBT groups are reminding the LGBT community that ill-timed lawsuits could set the fight for marriage back. The groups released a new publication, “Why the ballot box and not the courts should be the next step on marriage in California.” This publication discourages people from bringing premature lawsuits based on the federal Constitution because, without more groundwork, the U.S. Supreme Court likely is not yet ready to rule that same-sex couples cannot be barred from marriage. The groups also revised “Make Change, Not Lawsuits,” which was released after the California Supreme Court decision ending the ban on marriage for same-sex couples in California. This publication encourages couples who have legally married to ask friends, neighbors and institutions to honor their marriages, but discourages people from bringing lawsuits.

The groups working together with this statement are:

ACLU
GLAD
LAMBDA LEGAL
NCLR
Equality Federation
Freedom to Marry
GLAAD
Human Rights Campaign
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force

These are the groups against the federal lawsuit for marriage equality.

Our question to these groups is what if these two lawyers win?

Do you all think you will loose your GLBT community support because you all came out against what apears to many of us as progress? Wouldn’t it be easier to work with the lawyers to help them in their fight rather than against them?

Sometimes the perfect case never comes and you have to just step out on a limb and try to go “all in” and pray that the legal argument is sound and will stand.

With what is being said and done with these groups right now is making it apear that exactly what the prop 8 supporters wanted has happened. We have gone in one 24 hour period from being compleetly unified on this issue to a smattering of different opinions. These groups were all formed to unify our community but in fact what they are doing now is dividing us.

Yes on this issue we are standing on the opposite side of these groups, We have always stood with them on issues but in true H&W style we are not followers but we are learned writers who delve deep into an issue and form our own opinion. We may anger some by coming out against such high regarded GLBT rights organizations but we believe that they are playing it safe and the die has already been cast with the fileing of this lawsuit so why come out against something that was filed on May 22, 2009 prior to that of the prop 8 decision being made public? Why not unify with the lawyers and help them get this issue not only heard but a favorable decision.

This is too importand an issue to be devided on!

Our community has waited too long (since 1974) to be heard on this issue on the federal level, so we say You Go Boys and take it to the feds. The justices may not be ready but our President, Congress and House are. So we may just have enough pressure on the justices on this issue for them to not only hear this case but rule in true rainbow favorability.

It is about time someone had the guts and the knowledge to be able to push this issue.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE (all you groups against them) UNIFY WITH THESE LAWYERS!!

*This may be political suiside for us but this is what everyone loves about us we dont follow we lead, and we are real not a watered down version of something else. So no appologies, only real opinion’s from a couple with a civil union who are tired of being treated like seccond class citizens.

Tuesday, May 19

Partner and Children Denied Visitation of Dying Woman


Aggrieved Janice Langbehn, with her children, Danielle, 15; David, 13; and Katie, 12 (back to camera), has sued the hospital that treated her partner.

When a loved one is in the hospital, you naturally want to be at the bedside. But what if the staff won’t allow it? That’s what Janice Langbehn, a social worker in Lacey, Wash., says she experienced when her partner of 18 years, Lisa Pond, collapsed with an aneurysm during a Florida vacation and was taken to a Miami trauma center. She died there, at age 39, as Ms. Langbehn tried in vain to persuade hospital officials to let her visit, along with the couple’s adopted children. “I have this deep sense of failure for not being at Lisa’s bedside when she died,” Ms. Langbehn said. “How I get over that I don’t know, or if I ever do.” The case, now the subject of a federal lawsuit in Florida, is being watched by gay rights groups, which say same-sex partners often report being excluded from a patient’s room because they aren’t “real” family members.

To read the whole story… Kept From a Dying Partner's Bedside

Vigilante who filmed men cottaging is spared jail

If he'd been in there filming straight couples having sex, they would have called him a pervert and thrown him in jail quicker than he could blink; they were homosexual so now he's a vigilante trying to protect his neighborhood, and he gets a suspended sentence and community service. What's wrong with this picture?


A self-styled 'protector of morals' who filmed gay men having sex in a woodland was spared jail yesterday.

Colin Haw, 47, led a group of men who dressed in balaclavas and combat kit to patrol a wood near Sleaford in Lincolnshire.

They would film men meeting and post the footage on a local website, often accompanied with music such as YMCA by the Village People and the nursery rhyme Teddy Bear's Picnic.

Haw was caught after he confronted a motorcyclist in a lay-by on the A17 in June last year. The rider said he had been going to the toilet and it was none of Haw's business. Two days later, he found footage of himself on Haw's website and called the police.

Liz Harte, defending, described Haw's actions as a 'misguided enterprise'.

She added: "Mr Haw thought he was doing the right thing. The thinking was that he was a protector of morals and a guardian of children."

Prosecutor Stephen Hill said: "It's very clear that the behaviour of this group is homophobic and at times it's quite aggressive."

Pat Walsh, chairman of the bench, told Haw: "Your actions were premeditated and quite deliberate in targeting a group of people we would describe as vulnerable. Our thoughts were to send you to custody but we are not going to do that today."

Haw was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for a year and a half. He was also ordered to do 200 hours community service work but escaped an anti-social behaviour order requested by Lincolnshire Police.

He was ordered to pay the motorcyclist he had filmed £400 and costs of £120.

Speaking outside court, Haw, a father of two, said: "We didn't go in there to cause people harm. We reported it on several occasions to the police. We tried to name and shame them but we didn't have any intention of causing them distress. We didn't put up any pornographic material.

"In our videos in Boston we have also brought attention to all the rubbish and the drug users who have thrown their syringes on the floor.

"We were not out to cause any trouble. The police wanted it covered up.

"I've got nothing against homosexual people but what gives them the authority to do it in public?"

Saturday, May 16

10 Council members back same-sex marriage bill


Stances contradict Washington Times report

May 15, 2009
By: Lou Chibbaro Jr.

One week after D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty signed a bill authorizing the city to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions, at least 10 of the City Council’s 13 members indicated they would vote for a separate bill allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in the District.

A Washington Blade survey of Council members this week found that 10 members were prepared to vote for full legalization of same-sex marriage in the city if a marriage equality bill were to come before the Council later this year.

The Blade’s survey contradicts a Washington Times article last week that reported five Council members were undecided on a full same-sex marriage bill and that Council Chair Vincent Gray (D-At Large) was “likely” to vote for such a measure.

Gray spokesperson Doxie McCoy told the Blade on Tuesday that Gray would vote “yes” on a full same-sex marriage bill if it were to reach the Council floor.

Gay D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At Large) has said he would introduce such a bill if the current Council-approved measure allowing the city to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries clears its required review by Congress.

The Council passed that bill 12-1 on May 5 and Fenty signed the bill the following day. The Council’s legislative clerk sent the measure to Capitol Hill on Monday, when the clock began for its congressional review of 30 legislative days. The bill automatically becomes enacted into law if Congress takes no action to overturn it.

At Blade deadline, the offices of three of the 13 Council members — Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5), Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) — had not responded to the Blade survey on their plans for a full marriage rights bill.

Alexander, who voted for the same-sex marriage recognition measure last week, said during the debate that she was undecided on whether to vote for a full, same-sex marriage rights bill if such a measure would come before the Council.

Barry was the only Council member to vote against the marriage recognition measure. He told a rally last month organized by ministers opposed to same-sex marriage that he would vote against any same-sex marriage bill introduced into the Council, citing his religious beliefs. Barry said he supports civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

Thomas, who also voted for the same-sex marriage recognition legislation last week, could not be reached for comment before deadline on whether he planned to vote for a full, same-sex marriage equality bill. During his Council election campaign two years ago, Thomas told the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance in a questionnaire that he supported full, same-sex marriage equality in the District.

The Washington Times story, published May 6, reported that Council members Kwame Brown (D-At Large), Michael Brown (I-At Large), Thomas, Alexander and Barry indicated through staff members that they were each undecided on whether to vote for the full, same-sex marriage measure expected to be introduced by Catania later this year.

Michael Brown told the Blade on Tuesday that he reserves the right to read the full text of Catania’s marriage bill but, barring any unexpected provisions, he plans to vote for it.

“I don’t know where that came from,” Brown said of the Washington Times report. “They never talked to me. I’ve been pretty much on the record in support of this for quite a while.”

Michael Price, press secretary for Council member Kwame Brown, said he, too, was surprised by the Washington Times story, and noted he doesn’t believe the Times contacted Kwame Brown or Brown’s office.

“He supports it and he will vote for it,” Price said in discussing Kwame Brown’s position on a same-sex marriage bill for D.C.

Other Council members said through spokespersons that they remain firmly in support of Catania’s planned legislation on same-sex marriage later this year.

“We’ve heard from a few constituents who are opposed to this,” said Charles Allen, chief of staff for Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). “But we’ve heard from 10 times more Ward 6 constituents who support it.”

“I don’t think anyone would be surprised to know that I will support it and vote for it,” said gay Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1). “But I want to hear what people say and I’ll devote a lot to the hearing and hear people out,” Graham said, in referring to an expected Council committee hearing on the bill before it’s brought up for a vote.

As of Wednesday, gay rights advocates said they were pleasantly surprised that more opposition from a wider range of clergy had yet to surface in D.C. Activists and political observers noted that a large majority of black churches and ministers have not participated in two rallies called so far by Rev. Harry Jackson, the Prince George’s County, Md., minister who is leading efforts to oppose the D.C. same-sex marriage recognition measure approved by the Council last week.

Other developments that have surfaced since the Council passed the marriage recognition measure last week included:

• The D.C. Democratic State Committee, the governing body of the city’s Democratic Party, voted May 7 to endorse legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in D.C.

• As of Wednesday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was the only member of Congress to issue an official statement in opposition to the D.C. same-sex marriage recognition bill. His press secretary, Alisia Essig, told the Blade that he had yet to decide whether he would introduce a resolution to overturn the D.C. marriage bill.

Friday, May 8

"God hates fags" preacher joins calls to block gay Scottish minister


Fred Phelps, the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church which picket dead soldiers' funerals with chants of 'God hates fags', has said the ordination of openly gay minister Scot Rennie to a Scottish church would be an "abomination".

Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper were banned from entering the UK this week by home secretary Jacqui Smith for their extremist views.

Phelps weighed in on the row over Rennie's ordination after a prankster added his name to a petition calling for the Kirk's decision to be overturned.

Eight thousand people, including a fifth of Church of Scotland ministers, have signed the petition.

Rennie was elected to Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen by more than 80 per cent of his congregation but 12 members of the Aberdeen Presbytery complained over his lifestyle as an openly gay man. The Church's General Assembly will debate the appointment on May 23rd.

Speaking on her behalf of her father, Phelps-Roper said he was relaxed about his name being added to the list as he agreed that Rennie should not be appointed.

“God has set a standard for who can be a preacher in a church of the Lord Jesus Christ and they would be kicked to the kerb if this man, Scott Rennie, is appointed.

“We don’t need a petition to say this is an act of disobedience and rebellion against the standards of God," she said.

Phelps and his daughter are on a list of 16 individuals banned from entering the country since October due to their extremist views.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith said she had decided to make the list public in order to make clear what behaviour would not be tolerated in the UK.

Tuesday, May 5

California Supreme Court backs private school in bias case

By declining to review the case, the high court lets stand a lower court ruling that California Lutheran High School in Riverside County did not have to comply with a state anti-discrimination law.

By Jessica Garrison
May 2, 2009


The California Supreme Court has let stand a lower court ruling that allowed a private religious school to expel two 16-year-old girls for having a "bond of intimacy" that was "characteristic of a lesbian relationship."

The girls had sued California Lutheran High School, contending that the Riverside County school had violated a state anti-discrimination law.

An appeals court ruled in January that the private religious school was not a business, and therefore did not have to comply with a state law that prohibits businesses from discriminating.

The California Supreme Court this week declined a request from the girls' attorney to review the case; one justice, Kathryn M. Werdegar, disagreed.

Casey Mattox, litigation counsel for the Virginia-based Center for Law and Religious Freedom, called it "the correct decision."

"We think it preserves religious freedom," he said.

But the girls' attorney, Mike Grace of the San Diego firm GraceHollis, said it was "particularly disappointing . . . on a lot of levels."

He said he feared the decision would give a "green light" for private schools to discriminate not just against gay students, but against children in other legally protected classes, such as race, as long as religious beliefs were offered as a justification.

In ruling in favor of the school, the appeals court cited a 1998 California Supreme Court decision that said the Boy Scouts of America was a social organization, not a business establishment, and therefore did not have to comply with the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

jessica.garrison@latimes.com

Monday, May 4

Jury reaches verdict in Colo. transgender slaying

Apr 22, 2009

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — Jurors have reached a verdict in the trial of a Colorado man charged with beating a transgender woman to death with a fire extinguisher.

The verdict was expected to be read Wednesday afternoon in Greeley. Jurors deliberated for only about two hours.

Thirty-two-year-old Allen Andrade is charged with murder and a bias-motivated crime in the death of 18-year-old Angie Zapata.

Prosecutors say Andrade knew for 36 hours that Zapata was biologically male and killed her out of his dislike for homosexuals. Andrade's attorneys argue Zapata deceived him, and that he snapped when he discovered Zapata was biologically male.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — The case of a Colorado man charged with beating a transgender woman to death with a fire extinguisher has gone to the jury.

Prosecutors and the defense made their closing arguments Wednesday in the trial of Allen Andrade, who is charged with murder and a bias-motivated crime in the death of 18-year-old Angie Zapata.

Attorneys for the 32-year-old Greeley man say Zapata deceived him, and that Andrade snapped when he discovered that Zapata was biologically male. But prosecutors say Andrade had known for 36 hours that Zapata was biologically male before he killed her out of a dislike for homosexuals.

The trial is believed to be the first under Colorado's bias-motivated crime law involving a transgender person.

Friday, May 1

NC rep calls gay student slaying case a 'hoax'



By ESTES THOMPSON

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina congresswoman said Thursday she chose her words poorly when she called claims that a Wyoming college student was murdered because he was gay a "hoax." Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx said during debate in the House that Matthew Shepard's 1998 death wasn't a hate crime and shouldn't be invoked by supporters of a bill to expand the definition of such crimes to include violence motivated by sexual orientation.

"We know that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay," Foxx said during debate. "The bill was named for him, the hate-crimes bill was named for him, but it's really a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills."

Shepard died several days after he was found tied to a remote fence in Wyoming, severely beaten and robbed of $20. Prosecutors said he was lured from a bar by two men, including one whose defense attorney said reacted violently after Shepard made a sexual advance.

The House approved the bill Wednesday despite Foxx's comments. On Thursday, after Foxx drew heated reaction from several gay rights groups and others upset by her comments, she said her words didn't convey what she meant to say.

"The term 'hoax' was a poor choice of words used in the discussion of the hate crimes bill," Foxx said in a statement. "Mr. Shepard's death was nothing less than a tragedy, and those responsible for his death certainly deserved the punishment they received."

Still, it wasn't enough to quell the firestorm.

"I haven't ever heard anyone say before that Matthew Shepard's death wasn't a hate crime," said Becky Dansky, federal legislative director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

She said her organization was surprised by the comments and noted the House version of the bill doesn't even reference Shepard's case. The Senate bill carries Shepard's name.

Foxx spokesman Aaron Groen said the congresswoman relied on articles that she later realized were faulty and especially regrets upsetting the Shepard family. He said she declined further comment.

"Calls to her office have been mostly from outside North Carolina," Groen said. "We've gotten our share of death threats and the like but that's to be expected on such an emotional issue."

The University of Wyoming student's slaying became a rallying point for the gay rights movement.

The two men who killed him are serving life in prison. Prosecutors' cases included evidence with elements of robbery, drugs and hatred against gays. The court found the men guilty of murder, but did not determine their motivation.

Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said Foxx's comments might help encourage discussions favorable to equality.

"She should know better," Giuliano said Thursday. "Her research is a little shoddy. The good thing is it has exposed yet another very anti-equality, anti-gay elected official at a time when public opinion is moving more and more toward equality."

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.