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About that liberal Judge who is persecuting poor Kim Davis

Timothy Kincaid

September 2nd, 2015

(not Harry Potter)

Kim Davis is finding that her personal beliefs make it physically impossible for her to perform the task of issuing marriage licenses. And she’s going to court tomorrow to tell Federal Judge David Bunning so.

What she might not be considering is that Judge Bunning also has strong personal beliefs and has already determined whether an individual can find within themself the ability to do things with which they may not fully agree.

Cininatti.com has a profile on Judge Bunning.

David Bunning is the youngest of nine children of Hall-of-Fame pitcher and former [uber-conservative, anti-gay, GOP] U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning and his wife, Mary Bunning. He grew up in Fort Thomas and was nominated by President George W. Bush for federal judge for the eastern district of Kentucky in 2001. The Senate confirmed the nomination in 2002.

Bunning Sr. was narrowly reelected in 2004 by attaching his campaign to Kentucky’s anti-gay marriage amendment. If any family is vested in opposition to same-sex marriage, it is the Bunning family.

But as for Judge Bunning,

“David is an honest person,” his mother Mary Bunning said. “He doesn’t agree with the Supreme Court but has to obey the law.”

Davis contempt defense: it’s impossible to comply

Timothy Kincaid

September 2nd, 2015

Kim Davis simply cannot comply with the orders of Federal Judge Bunning’s order to do her job. She just isn’t physically able to do so. It’s impossible, you see. (Response in Opposition)

Davis should not be held in contempt because she “is presently unable to comply with the court’s order” enjoining her to authorize SSM licenses bearing her name. See Elec. Workers Pension Trust Fund of Local Union #58 v. Gary’s Elec. Serv. Co., 340 F.3d 373, 379 (6th Cir. 2003) (emphasis in original); see also U.S. v. Rylander, 460 U.S. 752, 757 (1983) (“[w]here compliance is impossible, neither the moving party nor the court has any reason to proceed with the civil contempt action.”); Tate v. Frey, 673 F. Supp. 880, 883 (W.D. Ky. 1987) (“The court’s power to impose coercive civil contempt is limited by an individual’s ability to comply with the court’s coercive order. A party may defend against a contempt by showing that his compliance is factually impossible.”) (internal citation omitted). To prove the impossibility defense to contempt, a person “must show categorically and in detail why he or she is unable to comply with the court’s order.” Elec. Workers, 340 F.3d at 379 (citation omitted).

Impossible? How distressing! But what makes it impossible for Davis to comply with the court’s ruling?

Have all the pens run out of ink? Is there a shortage of documents? Did Kim Davis’ arms fall off?

No. Not that kind of “impossible”.

Davis and her legal team may have a different definition of “impossible” than do you, I, Judge Banning and all other rational people. By “impossible”, Davis means “it irreparably and irreversibly violates her conscience”.

She goes on to list several other reasons why she shouldn’t be held in contempt. I don’t find them very convincing. Maybe that’s because she started with an absurdity.

Mike Huckabee on Kim Davis

Timothy Kincaid

September 2nd, 2015

GOP Presidential pretender and Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee has called Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to offer her prayers and support. He’s also opined on the legality of the situation.

“Because Congress has made no law allowing for same sex marriage, Kim does not have the Constitutional authority to issue a marriage license to homosexual couples,” Mr. Huckabee said.

As they say on So You Think You Can Dance, sorry Mike but your lack of technical training is showing.

Why Kim Davis won’t resign

Timothy Kincaid

September 1st, 2015

Rowan County has about 24,000 residents in about 8,300 households. The median income per household (a blend of single-earner and double-earner) is $35,000. The median income for female workers is around $20,000. The average price of houses sold recently in Rowan County is $95,000.

Kim Davis makes almost $80,000.

Davis issues a statement

Timothy Kincaid

September 1st, 2015

Here is Kim Davis’ explanation as to why she is entitled to thwart the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky.

I have worked in the Rowan County Clerk’s office for 27 years as a Deputy Clerk and was honored to be elected as the Clerk in November 2014, and took office in January 2015. I love my job and the people of Rowan County. I have never lived any place other than Rowan County. Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well. This year we are on track to generate a surplus for the county of 1.5 million dollars.

In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God.

I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people’s religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned – that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.

You see, she has the religious liberty to cause the County to deny civil rights to gay couples. That’s all she’s asking. Why are you so unaccomodating?

After all, our Founders intended that civil servants use their own religion to deny services to those of other beliefs. That’s what the Second Amendment is all about: Congress cannot establish religion; that’s the role of County Clerks.

Kim Davis defies rule of law

Timothy Kincaid

September 1st, 2015

Kim DavisIt appears that at some point over the night, the Creator of the Universe took a few minutes for a very special meeting with Kim Davis, the Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky. And at that meeting God deputized Davis as Deputy Deity and gave her special duties and powers, among which is the right to determine whose marriage is recognized by the state of Kentucky.

Or so Davis seems to believe. Because this morning when two same-sex couples turned up to get their marriage licenses, they were again turned away. (WaPo)

When Davis emerged, she declared that she was not issuing any licenses.

“Under whose authority?” she was asked.

“Under God’s authority,” she said.

Now, I tend to question the faith of those who jump to claim the authority of God. Surely if you believe that an omnipotent deity sees all you do, you’d hesitate a bit before stepping into His shoes and using His authority to push your will on His other children. The consequences of being wrong are so great.

So too are the consequences of defying a federal judge. (NBC)

Couples who have sued the clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, quickly asked a federal judge to hold her in contempt. They sought a fine but not jail time.

The contempt request was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky on behalf of couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex, who sued Davis.

“Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform,” lawyers wrote, “plaintiffs urge the Court to impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous to compel Davis’ immediate compliance without further delay.”

A hearing on the contempt case is set for Thursday. I think that Davis will discover there that “My God trumps your legal authority” is a position that judges view askance.

And I think that the request for fines and not jail is a smart one. The imagery of Davis being dragged to jail would feed her martyrdom narrative while levying her salary may serve to incentivize her just as well.

Decision point for Kim Davis

Timothy Kincaid

August 31st, 2015

Kim DavisRowan County Clerk Kim Davis is now out of stalling tactics.

Today the US Supreme Court denied Davis’ request for a stay on Judge Bunning’s ruling. Also today, the most liberal interpretation of Bunning’s stay runs out. Tomorrow Davis will have to decide whether to comply with the orders of the Federal judge or whether she will choose to be in contempt of court. (wkyt.com)

Mat Staver, a lawyer representing Davis, told the Associated Press “she’s going to have to think and pray about her decision overnight.”

Davis’ decision is complicated by a growing pressure on her from several sides. A couple who were denied a licence have requested Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins to prosecute Davis for official misconduct. Watkins referred the issue to Attorney General Jack Conway. (courier-journal.com)

The Kentucky attorney general is mulling whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether she violated the state official misconduct statute when her office refused to issue a license to a Rowan County gay couple.

Official misconduct is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 365 days in jail.

A public servant is guilty of it when, “with intent to deprive another person of a benefit,” he or she refrains “from performing a duty imposed upon by law or clearly inherent in the nature” of his office or “violates any statute or lawfully adopted rule or regulation” relating to it.

The couple has also filed a lawsuit against Davis. And it does not appear that she has the support of the Rowan County Government.

Amidst all of this, Davis continues to misstate her intent. She claims that she does not wish to be forced to issue marriage licenses that contravene her religious beliefs.

That is inaccurate. The task is one easily passed to an assistant.

In truth, Davis wishes to prohibit same-sex couples from receiving marriage licenses in Rowan County Kentucky, in effect forcing the citizens of the county to live how she deems appropriate. She is a petty bureaucrat heady on her own limited authority and determined to use her dollop of power to the greatest extent.

No, no, the rentboy raid didn’t target any specific population

Timothy Kincaid

August 27th, 2015

You will no doubt be delighted to learn that when the Federal Department of Homeland Security raided and shut down Rentboy.com it had nothing to do with it being a gay site. No, sirree. (NYTimes)

Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which participated in the investigation, said in an email that “any insinuation that a specific population was targeted is categorically false.”

Yes, it may be true that the last time anyone went after a straight escort site included charges of money laundering and child pornography, neither of which is cited in the Rentboy case. Merest coincidence.

And it may also be true that the complaint filed by special agent Susan Ruiz includes the following language:

A profile for “Brandon,” advertising services in Brooklyn, New York stated that he is “hairy handsome versatile & uninhibited.” The profile noted that he was willing to have Brooklyn incalls and had a “sling and rim chair.” Based on my investigation, I have learned that a sling, also known as a “sex sling,” is a device that allows two people to have sex while one is suspended and a rimchair is a seat resembling a raised toilet seat designed so that that anus is accessible while someone is sitting on the seat. I have also learned that “rimming” refers to the touching of the tongue to the anus.

But that isn’t included for any sort of titillating or shocking factor. And definitely not to suggest that Homosexual Acts Are Icky Icky Icky. Nope. That was necessary valuable information.

And in case all of this reminds you a bit of bar raids and police stings on gay people, please be assured that your government would never do that. No. Such an idea is categorically false.

Kentucky county clerk toys with contempt

Timothy Kincaid

August 27th, 2015

Kim DavisKim Davis should not be forced to give out marriage certificates to same-sex couples. Davis has a right to her beliefs, religious or otherwise, and a constitutionally protected freedom to live by the dictates of her conscience.

However, governmental entities do not have the right to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court of the United States has determined that to do so is a violation of constitutional protections of equality.

And Kim Davis is the County Clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky. Which might seem to set up a conundrum. Davis cannot be forced to violate her conscience, and yet the County cannot deny equality. Quite the paradox.

But not really. Because Kim Davis does not issue marriage licenses; the Rowan County Clerk issues marriage licenses. The marriage certificates bear the Seal of the State of Kentucky, not the Seal of Kim Davis.

Davis merely performs tasks as the physical representative of the county. Her official actions do not originate in Davis’ will nor are they performed for Davis’ benefit. What Davis believes is irrelevant and when she speaks on behalf of the county, “the relevant speaker is the government entity, not the individual”.

So said the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday when denying stay to Davis in her legal challenge to her obligation to perform the duties of the county.

Two weeks ago Federal Judge David Bunning ordered Davis, in her official capacity, to issue a marriage licenses, including to same-sex couples. He had stayed his ruling so that Davis could appeal to the Sixth Circuit. But the Court’s response leaves no ambiguity.

In light of the binding holding of Obergefell, it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court. There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.

Which means that Davis and other employees of Rowan County cannot thwart the County in performing its duties to its residents. The County Clerk must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who request them without discrimination.

Yet the Clerk’s Office continues to refuse to do so. (Kentucky.com)

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis continued to withhold marriage licenses from local residents Thursday, a day after a federal appeals court upheld an order telling her to end her protest.

James Yates and William Smith Jr. were turned away by a deputy clerk in Davis’ office Thursday morning when they asked for a marriage license. The deputy told the men Davis thinks she can legally withhold marriage licenses until Monday, Aug. 31, under an order issued earlier this month by U.S. District Judge David Bunning.

August 31st is the deadline Judge Bunning gave for Davis to appeal to the Sixth Circuit. Obviously the temporary stay given by Bunning expired upon the Sixth Circuit response and this is all but a game. Kim Davis is opening herself up to charges of contempt (though I doubt that happen).

Nevertheless, in a few days time there may be a showdown. Davis will need to decide whether the County Clerk’s Office will fulfill its duties, whether she will defy the orders of the court, or whether she will resign.

I suspect that Davis will continue to obstruct the operations of the county. Davis and her attorney, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, are using this situation as a form of public activism against same-sex marriage. Their desire is twofold: to carve away at the rights of gay citizens and to rally public support for their ‘religious freedom’ political endeavors.

But, as is so often true, Liberty Counsel and other anti-gay activists appear to have selected the wrong case to rally around.

Kim Davis is a particularly unsympathetic “victim”, one with whom it is difficult to empathize. She lacks a groomed appearance and her manner appears abrupt and harsh.

But, more importantly, her cause is not one that appeals to anyone other than those who are fiercely opposed to equality for gay people. The great middle population, that to which a thoughtful appeal for religious liberty could be effective, will likely not find “I want to block the county business because of my personal beliefs” to be compelling.

This just sounds to many people like another self-important bureaucrat seeking to interfere in others’ lives. Most people find dealing with governmental entities to be annoying enough without having to worry whether the person responsible for issuing fishing licenses is a vegan or if the county planner is an old hippy that favors quonset huts or if the person issuing business licenses is a teetotaler. Davis’ religious quest to obstruct marriages because of her religion feels like more of the same sort of nonsense.

Personally (though I know many here disagree) I think that there is a valid argument to be made for the religious liberty of individuals to operate their personal business according the their conscience. And that is an argument that can appeal to a broad spectrum, left or right, gay or straight.

But Staver and crew may turn off the public with their defense of the indefensible that they poison the well for any other more legitimate claims.

UPDATE

Staver says that he is going to appeal to the Supreme Court tomorrow for a stay until the case can reach them. I am not anticipating that said stay will be issued.

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The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, September 2

Jim Burroway

September 2nd, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Atlanta, GA (Black Pride); Calgary, AB; Duluth, MN; Grimsby, UK; Leicester, UK; Québec City, QC; Reading, UK; Stavanger, Norway.

Other Events This Weekend: Splash Days, Austin, TX; Show-Me State Rodeo, Kansas City, MO; Southern Decadence, New Orleans, LA; Gay Ski Week, Queenstown, NZ; Bears on Ice, Reykjavik, Iceland; Sitges Bears Week, Sitges, Spain.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Body Politic (Toronto, ON), May 1982, page 45. (Source.)

From The Body Politic (Toronto, ON), May 1982, page 45. (Source.)

Did anyone think to look in South Beach?

TODAY IN HISTORY:
 “Perverts Vanish” from Miami: 1954. By now, the media-driven anti-gay hysteria gripping Miami for the past month (see Aug 3Aug 11Aug 12Aug 13 (twice that day), Aug 14Aug 15, Aug 16Aug 26, Aug 31, and yesterday) began taking on a Keystone Kops mentality. On August 26, Miami mayor Abe Aronovitz blasted City Manager E.A. Evans and Police Chief Walter Headley — who were both out of town on vacation — for “coddling homosexuals” in the city, and said that he would give Evans just one week rom the time he returns to “clean out certain pervert nests in Miami proper.” Evans returned on August 31 and met with Aronovitz, promising to “put pervert hangouts out of business by tomorrow.” Tomorrow came yesterday, and Evans was forced to clarify that no, they weren’t going to put anyone out of town that day, but that what he was really going to do was meet with Chief Headley to come up with a plan. Headley, for his part, threw up his hands, saying that he was hamstrung by the law. “We can’t put those places out of business unless someone passes a law that it’s illegal to serve homosexuals,” he told a reporter for The Miami News. His detective, Benjamin Palmer, suggested that maybe there was another way to get rid of all the homosexuals. “Practically all of the homosexuals work in Miami. If people wouldn’t hire them, they’d go away.”

That long review of increasingly comical events brings us to today, because it turns out that while Chief Headly didn’t have a new plan up his sleeve, he could at least put into practice the plan they always had: try another round of pointless police checks at known gay bars. They did exactly that later that evening, and on September 2, City Manager Evans claimed success. As The Miami News reported:

Miami’s many perverts have been chased “underground or out of town,” City Manager E.A. Evans declared today. Evants said his edict to the Police Department to harass bar owners catering to these characters had resulted from their disappearance from downtown streets.

“They have just disappeared,” said Evans. “Extra men have been added to police details and a check reveals only a few customers at bars where the homosexuals gather.”

Evans admitted that giving the city’s gay community a week’s notice through public arguments in the newspapers probably tipped them off to the coming raids, but he promised that the patrols weren’t “just for a few days. This is a long range proposition.” Neighboring Miami Beach’s Police Chief Romeo Shepard, who had long taken a much harder line on gay bars and the beaches, reacted to his larger neighbor’s crackdown. “We don’t want Miami’s homosexuals running over here. We’re making special plans to keep them out.”

Miami’s crackdown continued that night, but the results were paltry. The following day, The Miami News reported that four bartenders were arrested for liquor law violations — two for serving minors, one for “serving a drunk,” and one for having a “noisy juke box” — along with a 20-year-old Marine who as found drunk and turned over to military authorities and another man arrested at Bayfront Park. Meanwhile, police complained that they didn’t have enough laws to keep gay people in check. Chief Headley repeated his call for  a new law “forbidding them to congregate or buy drinks.” But they did claim success in one area. Police told The News that “the notorious Moulin Rouge bar, formerly the Singing Bar, was closed down some time ago, and its new operators reportedly plan to reopen the place for ‘normal’ trade.” Other bars cited that night included the Champagne Girl (559 W. Flagler Street, for having a “noisy juke box”), Samba Bar (249 N.E. First Street, for “serving a drunk”) and Vic’s Bar and Restaurant (39 N.E. Second Street, for serving a minor).

Evelyn Hooker

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS:
 Evelyn Hooker: 1907-1996. Dr. Hooker, the psychologist who is widely credited for establishing that gay people are not inherently mentally ill, knew what it meant to overcome long odds. Born the sixth of nine children in North Platte, Nebraska, she had to overcome uncountable barriers to women in academia and psychology throughout the first half of the 20th century. In 1942 while a teacher at UCLA, one of her students introduced her to other members of the gay community and challenged her to study “people like him” — homosexuals who were neither troubled by their homosexuality and who had none of the features commonly associated with mental illness. Among those she came to know was noted author Christopher Isherwood, who rented a guest house from her. “She never treated us like some strange tribe,” he recalled later, “so we told her things we never told anyone before.” Hooker quickly became convinced that most gay men were socially well-adjusted, quite unlike the homosexuals that had been written about in the scientific literature until then. By 1953 — at the peak of the McCarthy “lavender scare” period — she decided that this could be proven through psychological testing.

For her groundbreaking study, she gathered two groups of men. The first were gay men, many of them members of the local Mattachine Society, and the second were heterosexual men. She administered three sets of psychological tests, and presented the 60 unmarked sets of data to a team of three expert evaluators. The independent evaluators were unable to tell the difference between the members of the two groups. When she presented her paper, “The adjustment of the male overt homosexual“, at the 1956 annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Chicago (see Aug 30), her results were met with incredulity. It was a well-established orthodoxy in psychology that all gays were mentally ill, and that the disturbances would have been obvious in the test results. But until Hooker’s study was published, there was no scientific data available about non-imprisoned, non-patient homosexuals. For the first time, Hooker’s peer-reviewed study — it would soon appear in the March 1957 edition of the Journal of Projective Techniques and Personality Assessment — would prove that there were well-adjusted, normal and healthy gay men, and lots of them.

Hooker’s research into the subject didn’t end with just that single paper. In 1958, her paper “Male Homosexuality in the Rorschach” challenged whether the Rorschach inkblot test could weed out gays from straights as claimed by its backers. In 1959, she published “What Is A Criterion?”, in which she again reiterated that the three most popular tests then in use for personality assessments were incapable of picking gay men out of a crowd, despite claims to the contrary. She argued that part of the problem was that “we need to get beyond the fact that the individual is homosexual, to the kind of homosexual that he is,” adding:

It will have become evident by this time that I am not greatly disturbed by the fact that projective techniques diagnosing homosexuality are not demonstrably valid means for diagnosing homosexuality. In fact, I am rather encouraged by this because I hope it will force us to re-examine the much over-simplified picture we have had and encourage us to remind ourselves that the first goal of science is understanding, with prediction and control as secondary to it.

Her 1969 paper, “Parental relations and male homosexuality in patient and non-patient samples,” refused the widely accepted claim that parents were the cause of their children’s homosexuality.  That same year, she chaired the National Institute of Mental Health’s Task Force on Homosexuality, which recommended the decriminalization of homosexuality and its removal from the APA’s list of mental disorders. The APA finally acted on that recommendation in 1973, but it would take another thirty years before the U.S. Supreme Court would finally eliminate the remaining sodomy laws across the nation.

In 1991, the American Psychological Association honored Dr. Hooker with its Award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in the Public Interest, saying: “Her research, leadership, mentorship, and tireless advocacy for an accurate scientific view of homosexuality for more than three decades has been an outstanding contribution to psychology in the public interest.” She died in 1996.

[Sources: Evelyn Hooker. “The adjustment of the male overt homosexual.” Journal of Projective Techniques and Personality Assessment 21, no. 1 (March 1957): 18-31.

Evelyn Hooker. “What is a criterion?” Journal of Projective Techniques and Personality Assessment 23, no. 3 (September 1959): 278-281.

Evelyn Hooker. “Parental relations and male homosexuality in patient and nonpatient samples.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 33, no. 2 (April 1969): 140-142.

Evenly Hooker. “Reflections of a 40-year exploration: A scientific view on homosexuality.” American Psychologist 48, no. 4 (April 1993): 450-453.]

 Billy Preston: 1946-2006. As a three-year-old, little Billy began playing the piano while sitting on his mother’s lap. By age ten, the child prodigy was playing the organ for such noted gospel singers as Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland (who, it was later revealed, was also gay — which is a different story for another time). At age eleven, he appeared on Nat King Cole’s national TV program singing Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill, and at age twelve, he started with Cole in the film St. Louis Blues, playing a younger W.C.Handy. In the 1960s, he became a much sought-after studio musician, playing organ for Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and the Beatles, whom he had met while performing in Hamburg in 1962.

When Preston joined up with the Fab Four again in 1969, the four weren’t quite so fab. In fact, they were on the verge of breaking up and were struggling to complete Abbey Road and Let It Be. George Harrison brought Preston in, and his gregarious personality and musicianship briefly calmed the tensions in the studio, so much so that John Lennon proposed making Preston an official “Fifth Beatle.” (Paul reportedly countered that it was bad enough with four.) Preston did join the band for its final rooftop concert at Abbey Road studio, and his prominent eclectic piano solo on “Get Back” earned him a credit on the resulting single as “The Beatles with Billy Preston.”

Preston didn’t join the Beatles, but he did join their record label, Apple Corps, which released his 1969 album That’s the Way God Planned It... His 1970 release, Encouraging Words included Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr as guest musicians. After his departure from Apple for A&M, Preston continued his collaboration with George Harrison in The Concert for Bangladesh and toured with Harrison during his 1974 North American tour. Meanwhile, Preston’s start as a solo artist began to shine, with his 1972 instrumental “Outa-Space” winning a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. That was followed by his number one hits “Will It Go Round In Circles” in 1972 and “Nothing from Nothing” in 1974.

While Preston continued released solo albums throughout his career, his spotlight as a solo artist was relatively short-lived. But his collaborations with other musicians remained strong, including an extended stint with The Rolling Stones for several albums and concert tours through the seventies. Keith Richards, in his recent autobiography Life, recalled, “He was gay at a time when nobody could be openly gay, which added difficulties to his life. Billy could be, most of the time, a bundle of fun. But sometimes he would get on the rag. I had to stop him beating up his boyfriend in an elevator once. Billy, hold it right there or I’ll tear your wig off. He had this ludicrous Afro wig. Meanwhile, he looked perfectly good with the Billy Eckstine look underneath.”

Some of Preston’s difficulties undoubtedly was rooted in his background in Gospel music. While his main success came in secular music, he remained in touch with the Black Gospel world, including playing organ for Donny McClurkin’s self-titled debut album in 1996. That was before McClurkin announced in 2002 that he was gay but had “experienced God’s power to change my lifestyle.” Preston’s remaining foot in Gospel only added to the pressure to remain publicly closeted. As a close friend said, “Billy was gay. He didn’t wear it on his sleeve. How could he? He was a black man that came from the church. The church would have destroyed him. [But] he wasn’t ashamed of who he was.” While Preston keenly felt the need to remain closeted, there is a good reason why he may have felt at home in the Gospel world. He once quipped to a friend in Gospel music that the Black church choir was “the original gay-straight alliance.” Here, Preston plays “How Great Thou Art” at Gospel Celebration 1988:

Preston continued collaborating with other musicians through the remainder of his life. When George Harrison died, Preston played for the 2002 commemorative Concert for George in London. He also collaborated with Johnny Cash for 2002’s American IV: The Man Comes Around and on Ray Charles’s 2004 Genius Loves Company. Preston died in 2006 of complications from malignant hypertension and kidney failure, despite having undergone a kidney transplant in 2002.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, September 1

Jim Burroway

September 1st, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Calendar (San Antonio, TX), August 23, 1985, page 8.

From The Calendar (San Antonio, TX), August 23, 1985, page 8.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
“If People Wouldn’t Hire Them, They’d Go Away”: 1954. Just yesterday, Miami mayor Abe Aronovitz demanded that city manager E.A. Evans and police chief Walter Headley begin an immediate purge of homosexuals in the city (See Aug 31). Aronovitz even went so far as to threaten to fire Evans. Feeling the pressure, Evans promised to “put pervert hangouts out of business by tomorrow.” But there was a hitch: Chief Headley was still out of town on vacation. As Evans told The Miami News, what he really meant to say that he would relay orders to Headley by tomorrow  — tomorrow now being today — to do something. Evans added that he didn’t intend to tell Headley how to do his job. “It’s a police matter,” he told the reporter.

Once Chief Headley got word of what was going on in Miami, he told The Miami News that he was somewhat hamstrung by the law. “We’ll redouble our efforts to harass the perverts,” he said, “but we’ve been working on that. We can’t put those places out of business unless someone passes a law that it’s illegal to serve homosexuals.”

Detective Benjamin Palmer backed his boss: “We go into these places about every night,” he told the reporter. “We make every customer stand up and give his name and address, which certainly doesn’t make them happy. If one of them looks even half drunk we throw him in jail, and charge the bar operator with serving drunks. It doesn’t seem to me there’s much more we can do.”

Palmer did offer one solution though: “Practically all of the homosexuals work in Miami. If people wouldn’t hire them, they’d go away.”

Bill Slimback and Bob Sullivan were married in one of a handful of midnight weddings in Vermont.

Bill Slimback and Bob Sullivan were married in one of a handful of midnight weddings in Vermont.

Vermont’s Marriage Equality Law Goes Into Effect: 2009. In 2000, Vermont made history when it became the first state in the U.S. to recognize same-sex marriages through a civil union law that was signed by Gov. Howard Dean. That first law came about after the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples were entitled to “the same benefits and protections afforded by Vermont law to married opposite-sex couples,” but the court stopped short of requiring the legislature provide marriage equality. Mary Bonauto, one of the lawyers who represented the couples suing the state, found the ruling strange. “They had this beautiful language in there about the humanity of gay people, but I couldn’t believe they had done something that I thought was a political judgment. I had never heard of segregating the word marriage from its rights and protections.”

But for the next three years, civil unions were the best that same-sex couples could expect in the U.S., and Vermont was the only place they could get it until the Massachusetts Supreme Court ordered that state’s legislature to provide same-sex marriages in 2003. For the remainder of the decade, a number of states instituted domestic partnerships, civil unions, and full-on marriages, while Vermont went along with its civil unions. In 2009, the state Senate approved a marriage equality bill in a lopsided 26-4 vote, which drew a veto threat from Gov. Jim Douglas (R). The House approved the bill a week later in a vote that fell just shy of a veto-proof majority. But at least two of the Democratic House members who voted against the bill announced that they would switch their vote if the Governor vetoed the legislation. Douglas vetoed the bill, as promised, and the Senate sailed through its override vote the next day, and the House followed through with the minimum 100-49 vote needed to reach the magic two-thirds mark. When law went into effect on September 1, it became the fifth state to provide marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the first state to do so without being ordered to do so by a court.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
200 YEARS AGO: Emma Stebbins: 1815-1882. If you’ve ever walked past the bronze statute of Horace Mann outside the State House in Boston, or paused to take in the refreshing sight of the Angel of the Waters fountain at Bethesday Terrace in Central Park, you’ve seen some of the more visible works by one of the first notable women sculptors in America. While those bronze works are her most visible, Stebbins’s greatest pleasure came from working with marble or clay, where she could work alone in her studio, undistracted from the hassles of working with patrons, foundries, and the general public. Born to a wealthy New York family, she took up painting and sculpting while in her twenties, and then moved to Rome in 1856 to study with sculptor Harriet Hosner. That relationship quickly ended when both women competed for the affections of the famous actress Charlotte Cushman (see Jul 23), who was also in Italy at the time. Stebbins won, and the two quickly became fixtures in lesbian circles in Europe.

Because women sculptors were something of a novelty, male critics charged that their works were actually products of their students or assistants. Hosner, in particular, came under that charge in 1863. Cushman confided to a friend that the controversy had driven Stemmins “almost wild.”

Marble bust of Charlotte Cushman by Emma Stebbins, 1859.

That she should be classed among those who would be believed to have their work done for them makes her too miserable, and to struggle along without the material help which all sculptors must have has become so entirely a necessity to her that she is assuming labor for which she has neither physical nor mental strength. … I never saw such crucifixion as Emma Stebbins. … because she cannot accept these helps and tries to shuffle on to do all her own work. I sometimes thing she ought not to do it and I should be doing right to take her away and not let her come back to it.

While Cushman worried about Stebbins’s health, it would be Cushman’s illness which would bring a pause to Stebbins’s career. When Cushman was being treated for breast cancer in 1869, Cushman set aside her work to nurse her lover. When Cushman died of pneumonia in 1876, Stebbens stopped working altogether. She later wrote, “I lived with the embodied principle of love so many years that it became a part of being and has grown intensive more and more since it was taken away form me, so much so, that I have an ever-present consciousness that her spirit is still suggesting to me the beautiful principle by which she loved and wrought.” In 1878, Stebbins published Charlotte Cushman: Her Letters and Memoires of Her Life. She died four years later at the age of 67.

[Source: Elizabeth Milroy. “The Public Career of Emma Stebbins: Work in Marble.” Archives of American Art Journal 33, no 3 (Fall 1993): 2-12.]

Baron Adolf de Meyer: 1868-1949. Hr was born in Paris and raised in Dresden, the son of a German Jewish father and a Scottish mother. Whether de Meyer was actually a baron was open to question; some say he inherited the title from his grandfather, others say that there’s no evidence to support his noble claims, others still maintained that he obtained his title by marrying, for convenience’s sake, Donna Olga Caracciolo, the divorced Italian god-daughter (some say daughter) of Edward VII. Regardless, wherever the elite could be found, he was there, photographing such celebrities as Mari Pickford, John Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Vaslav Nijinsky, King George V and Queen Mary. He was named the first official fashion photographer for American Vogue in 1913 after a appearing in Alfred Stieglitz’s quarterly Camera Work. In 1922, de Meyer became Harper’s Bazaar’s chief photographer in Paris until 1938, when he returned to the U.S. as war loomed in Europe. But upon returning to the U.S., his style was considered passé. By the time de Meyer died in Los Angeles in 1949, he was remembered more for his famous friends than for his photography, as relatively few of his original prints survived the war.

 Lily Tomlin: 1939. She began her comedy career as a stand-up comedian in the 1960s when she quickly landed a spot on NBC’s Laugh-In. Her many memorable characters quickly became the stuff of pop culture: Ernestine, the nasal, nosy, and obnoxious telephone operator who epitomized the bureaucratic condescension of the old Ma Bell monopoly (“We don’t care, we don’t have to…we’re the phone company.”); Edith Ann, the five year old girl sitting in an oversized rocker with her observations of the crazy crap the adults around her were pulling (and always ending her monologues with “…and that’s the truth. Phhhht!”); And Mrs. Judith Beasley, the prim and proper “tasteful lady.” In 1977, she became the first woman to appear solo on Broadway with Appearing Nitely, and in 1985, she starred in another one-woman Broadway show, The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, written by her long-time partner, writer-producer Jane Wagner. In 1980, Tomlin appeared in the hit movie Nine to Five, with Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Dabney Coleman, and she hit movie pay dirt again in All of Me with Steve Martin.

Tomlin and Wagner have been together since 1971, and while their relationship was never much of a secret, the press remained pretty mum. When Tomlin officially came out in 2001, it hardly seemed necessary. “Everybody in the industry was certainly aware of my sexuality and of Jane… In interviews I always reference Jane and talk about Jane, but they don’t always write about it.” After the upreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and reversed California’s Prop 8 in 2013, she and Wagner are thinking about tying the knot. “You don’t really need to get married, but marriage is awfully nice,” Tomlin said. Indeed, it is. They married on New Year’s Eve of that year. Her latest film, Grandma, is in theaters now

Babydaddy

Babydaddy: 1976. The future guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist for Scissor Sisters was just Scott Hoffman when he graduated from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Kentucky. Trough a mutual friend, Hoffman met Jake Sellards while Sellards was passing through visiting a former classmate. Hoffman and Shears hit it off and they moved to New York a year later. Hoffman attended Columbia University to study writing and music production, specializing in dance music. He and Sellards took stage names — Babydaddy and Jake Shears respectively — and became the first two members of Dead Lesbian, then Fibrillating Scissor Sisters, then just Scissor Sisters.

Babydaddy is the multi-instrumentalist of the group, playing keyboards, bass and rhythm guitar, banjo and saxophone. He’s not only the bear of the band, but he and Shears are the main lyricists. They also wrote “I Believe in You” and “White Diamond” for Kylie Minogue. In 2012, Scissor Sisters released their latest album, Magic Hour and went on a world tour. In October of 2012 at a gig in North London, the Sisters announced that they would be taking an indefinite hiatus.

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The Daily Agenda for Monday, August 31

Jim Burroway

August 31st, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Weekly News (Miami, FL), October 21, 1987, page 52.

From The Weekly News (Miami, FL), October 21, 1987, page 52.

Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz

Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Miami’s Mayor Grows Impatient Over “Deviates”: 1954. Five days had passed since  Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz went on the radio to blast city manager E.A. Evans and police chief Walter Headley for failing to drive all of the homosexuals out of town (see Aug 26). Never mind that both Evans and Headley themselves were out of town on vacation when Aronovitz took to the airwaves. But both of Miami’s daily newspapers were pressing for action against the gay community ever since the murder of an Eastern Airlines flight attendant (see Aug 3) and the subsequent discovery, according to the papers, of “a colony of some 500 male homosexuals, congregated mostly in the near-downtown northeast section and ruled by a ‘queen’.” The papers demanded that steps be taken to drive the gay community out of town and Miami’s “Powder Puff Lane” closed for good. It didn’t help matters that, in contrast to the aggressive raids staged by the Miami Beach police department and the Dade County Sheriff’s office,  Miami’s police chief’s policy of allowing a handful of bars operate in one centralized location to make it easier to “keep an eye on them” had earned the praises of ONE magazine earlier that year. Eight months later, the city’s papers were throwing ONE’s praises back in the city’s faces, and Aronovitz was feeling the heat.

So now that Evans was back (Headley was still on vacation), Aronovitz called Evans on the carpet and threatened to introduce a resolution in city council for his dismissal if the city manager failed to get rid of the city’s known gay bars. The mayor demanded that homosexuals be prevented from congregating in the bars, but he said it wanted it done within the existing legal framework and without violating anyone’s constitutional rights. Clearly, these instructions were impossibly contradictory, and Evans asked the mayor for instructions on how to accomplish this. “You are the director of public safety,” Aronovitz replied. “This is a law enforcement matter.” Evans, who was clearly feeling the heat, promised to get right on it and “put pervert hangouts out of business by tomorrow.” Tune in tomorrow to see how that went.

Del Marquis

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Del Marquis: 1977. Jake Sheers had already formed Scissor Sisters when they were looking for a guitarist, and the guy Jake was dating had a friend who was looking for the gig. Derek Gruen answered the call, adopted the stage name of Del Marquis, and the rest of history. Scissor Sisters went on to fame on the strength of their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” That was followed by their own string of hits in 2004 which did well mainly on the British charts, but their popularity in the U.S. was blunted by Wal-Mart’s refusal to stock their eponymous debut album. They objected to the single “Tits On the Radio,” which they called a “snarling, swaggering attack on conservatism.” Which Wal-Mart took as a Very Bad Thing from which their bargain-hunting customers needed protection. The band refused to record a “clean” version. Since 2008, Del Marquis began releasing his own solo material, which you can hear on his web site. In 2012, Scissor Sisters released their latest album, Magic Hour, and they promptly went on a world tour. In October of that year, while performing in North London, the Sisters announced that they would be taking an indefinite hiatus.

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The Daily Agenda for Sunday, August 30

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Cornwall, UK; Derry/Londonderry, UK; Erfurt, Germany; Erie, PA; Lansing, MI; Manchester, UK; Münster, Germany; San Jose, CA; Toledo, OH.

Other Events This Weekend: Michigan March to the Capital, Lansing, MI; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; Gay Ski Week, Queenstown, NZ.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Dallas Voice, August 24, 1984, page 13. (Source.)

From The Dallas Voice, August 24, 1984, page 13. (Source.)

Dr. Evelyn Hooker

TODAY IN HISTORY:
The Adjustment of Male Overt Homosexuals: 1956. As the annual American Psychological Association Convention got underway in Chicago, the body heard UCLA’s Dr. Evelyn Hooker read a paper which, over time, would shake the foundation of the mental health professions’ collective insistence that homosexuality was a mental disorder. Psychiatry’s opinion of homosexuality was both clear and curt: the first edition of the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual (DSM), which defined mental illnesses for the American Psychiatric Association, defined “Sexual Deviation” as a Sociopathic Personality Disturbance, and included “pathologic behavior, such as homosexuality, transvestism, pedophilia, fetishism and sexual sadism (including rape, sexual assault, mutilation).” The APA’s dim view of homosexuality was, at that time, backed up with more than a half-century’s worth of serious study of the subject. Unfortunately, all of those series studies were of those exhibiting homosexual behavior in prisons and reform schools or among psychiatric patients, many of whom also suffered other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. Until 1956, not one paper or research project looked systematically at gay men and women who were living contented and productive lives. As far as the mental health professions were concerned, such people didn’t exist, mainly because the vast majority of the so-called experts had never seen them (at least, that they knew of).

But Dr. Hooker had an altogether different view of gay people. As a research assistant at UCLA’s psychology department, Hooker’s social circle had already widened to include a number of prominent gay people in Los Angeles (Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy were neighbors) and a student in her classroom, who challenged her: “We have let you see us as we are, and now, it is your scientific duty to make a study of people like us.”

This was at the peak of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s Red and Lavender scare, and when Hooker applied for a grant with the National Institute of Mental Health, her chances of getting funding was considered a long shot. An NIMH representative personally flew to L.A. to make sure she was legitimate (and not a lesbian). Finding backing for her project at UCLA was similarly challenging. When she met with the chair of the Psychiatry Department to discuss her proposed study of “normal male homosexuals,” he rose from his desk and said, “What do you think you are doing? There is no such person.” He referred her to another colleague to review her proposal. His reaction was similar, but more positive. “I have never seen such persons, but I sure would like to.”

After winning the NIMH grant (miraculously, she later said, given the subject matter), she began assembling a group of thirty gay men who had never been in therapy or in trouble with the law, through contacts with the Mattachine Society, the staff of ONE magazine, and through her own social circle. Finding thirty gay men willing to participate during the McCarthy era proved exceptionally difficult. As she later recalled in 1992:

It will be obvious to you that the absolute sine qua non of research into behavior thought to be “a sin, a crime, and a disease” is confidentiality. …The triple stigma was never far from the minds of the men whom I came to know nor was it far from mine. …Building confidentiality with the gay community at that time was not an easy task. I could not lightly, if at all, share these confidences with another. Informal applications to be a coinvestigator were numerous, but I continued to work alone until the data gathering phase was complete. …I hasten to make clear that, when I characterize conducting research with gay men as stressful, I am only referring to the McCarthy era when the penalties were barbaric.

She also found thirty straight men with whom she could painstakingly match to the gay men according to age, education, and IQ. Once she assembled her study samples, she administered three psychological tests: the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), which was used to provide information about a subject’s views of the self, the world, and interpersonal relationships; the Make-A-Picture-Story (MAPS), in which subjects were asked to describe a story based on cut-out figures they selected and placed in a setting; and the Rorschach test, in which subjects are asked to identify what they saw in a series of abstract inkblots. All three tests were popular methods in the 1950s for assessing personality and mental disorders — and they were used particularly for diagnosing homosexuality. But rather than assessing the test results herself — after all, she knew who was gay and who wasn’t — she turned them over to a panel of three judges, each of them known experts in each of the tests. (One of the examiners was Edwin Shneidman, who was the creator of the MAPS test.) To everyone’s surprise, none of them could find any differences between the members of the study. As Hooker wrote in her groundbreaking paper:

As a judge compared the matched protocols, he would frequently comment, “There are no clues;” or, “These are so similar that you are out to skin us alive;” or, “It is a forced choice;” or, “I just have to guess.” The difficulty of the task was reflected not only in the comments of the judges but also in the results. Judge “A” correctly identified 17 of the 30 pairs, and Judge “B” 18 of the 30. Thus neither judge was able to do better than chance. In seven pairs both judges were incorrect, that is, identifying the homosexual as the heterosexual, and vice versa; in twelve pairs, correct; and in the remaining eleven they disagreed.

The degree to which the judges disagreed or got their diagnoses wrong was very entertaining. Man #16, depending on the judge and the test he was evaluating, was identified as a “strong, superior and wise” straight man, and by another as “the most heterosexual-looking homosexual I have ever seen.” A judge said of Man #50, “Except for a little too much emphasis on conquest in heterosexual relations, he is well adjusted and smooth.” Both men were gay.

When she presented the results of the study to the APA in Chicago, the findings came under withering criticism. Some criticized her for studying members of homophile groups who were probably were better adjusted than those who weren’t. Others criticized her for relying on such a small sample. But to Hooker, such criticisms actually supported her point:

But would we not, in this case, be dealing with a different question, namely, “How many homosexuals, as compared with heterosexuals, are average or better in adjustment, and how many were worse than average?” It seems to me that for the present investigation the question is whether homosexuality is necessarily a symptom of pathology. All we need is a single case in which the answer is negative.

Her paper, Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual, was published the following March in the Journal of Projective Techniques and Personality Assessment, and she would follow that with a number of other follow-up papers reinforcing these findings. In 1972, Dr. Marvin Siegelman of City College of New York used similar methods and a larger study sample of men — and women — and found results nearly identical to Hooker’s study of gay men. Meanwhile, Hooker had chaired the NIMH Task Force on Homosexuality in 1967, which recommended the decriminalization of homosexuality and its removal from the APA’s list of mental disorders. But the APA would not act on that recommendation until 1973, and it would take another thirty years before the U.S. Supreme Court would finally release gay men and women from the threat of imprisonment.

[Sources: Evelyn Hooker. “The adjustment of the male overt homosexual.” Journal of Projective Techniques and Personality Assessment 21, no. 1 (March 1957): 18-31.

Evenly Hooker. “Reflections of a 40-year exploration: A scientific view on homosexuality.” American Psychologist 48, no. 4 (April 1993): 450-453.

Marvin Siegelman. “Adjustment of homosexual and heterosexual women.” British Journal of Psychiatry 120, no. 558 (May 1972): 477-481.

Marvin Siegelman. “Adjustment of male homosexuals and heterosexuals.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 2, no. 1 (June 1972): 9-25.]

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The Daily Agenda for Saturday, August 29

Jim Burroway

August 29th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Cornwall, UK; Derry/Londonderry, UK; Erfurt, Germany; Erie, PA; Lansing, MI; Manchester, UK; Münster, Germany; San Jose, CA; Toledo, OH.

Other Events This Weekend: Michigan March to the Capital, Lansing, MI; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; Gay Ski Week, Queenstown, NZ.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From GAY, August 17, 1970, page 15

In 1930, the building at 1 Sheridan Square housed the first racially-integrated nightclub, Café Society. Modeled after the popular cabarets in Europe, Café Society’s feature performers included Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Leadbelly, Sarah Vaughn, and Dina Washington. It’s where Billie Holliday first sang “Strange Fruit,” a protest song about the lynching of African-Americans. After she sang it, she quietly left the stage without an encore, leaving the words to sink in with the audience.

Café Society closed in the 1950s, and 1 Sheridan Square became a restaurant, a theater, and, eventually The Haven. On September 7, 1970, the Village Voice’s Lucian K. Truscott IV described The Haven in an article about New York’s after-hours clubs:

The largest and most active club is the Haven on Sheridan Square. The scene is drugs and kids. In that order. It’s a teen club for the super-hippie teeny-bopper who doesn’t drink, is beyond grass and acid, and is looking for kicks. The Haven may reflect the times in music or in the clothes worn by its patrons, but its scene is an old one. It’s cool. Very, very cool. So cool, in fact, that I saw a kid cool-out — that’s overdose — in front of the Haven two Friday nights ago. And not a kid in the crowd of 300 gathered on Sheridan Square turned to take notice.

… It used to be Salvation until its owner was found floating face-up in the East River and the new name and management took over.  It’s an after-hours “club,” chartered by the state of New York as a “social club.” It still looks like Salvation, but there’s no liquor — perhaps because its clientele is too young to drink anyway — and the rates are cheaper. The admission at the door is $2 or $3, depending on the night and whether you can get in. I’ve tried three times and got in once. One I was a “member,” and the other two times I wasn’t, the membership policy of this chartered “Social Club” being rather loose and irregular. … The Haven, as entertainment, is a drag. The Haven, as a scene, is something more than that.

Reportedly controlled by the Gambino crime family, the Haven closed down in 1971 after it and several other gay and straight bars were raided by the New York Joint Strike Force Against Organized Crime. In contrast to earlier raids at the Haven and other venues, officers this time reassured patrons that they weren’t the targets and simply asked them leave peacefully. Gay activists, in turn, used the raids as an opportunity to call for reform of the liquor and zoning laws with the goal of driving out mob-controlled gay bars and allowing legitimate gay bar owners to operate in the area. One Sheridan Square today is home to the Axis Theatre Company.

Marchers

TODAY IN HISTORY:
45 YEARS AGO: Protesters March, then Riot in Greenwich Village over Police Harassment: 1970. Since the very first Christopher Street Day celebration in two months earlier (see Jun 28), gay residents in New York’s Greenwich Village began to notice increased police harassment, particularly during the last three weeks of August. In one week alone, over three hundred had been arrested in the Times Square area. The Gay Liberation Front’s newsletter Come Out! reported that one young man was looking at a display window when a police officer came up to him and asked, Were you ever arrested?”  “No,” the young man replied. The officer said, “There’s always a first time,” and hauled him away. Women were also being harassed, which was a new development.

Local activists had had enough, so on the last Saturday of August, the Gay Liberation Front, the Gay Activists’ Alliance, Radical Lesbians and other women’s groups organized a demonstration that night. About 250 people showing up at 8th Avenue and West 42nd Street near Times Square, and marched down 7th Avenue to Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village.

Riot

Photo by Steve Rose / Come Out!

The demonstration broke up around midnight, but the frustrations were still there. Some went on to march around the Women’s House of Detention at Greenwich Avenue and 6th Avenue. Police arrived to break it up, and the crowd ran toward Christopher Street. The crowd arrived at Sheridan Square just in time to witness the police raiding the Haven. As a mass of people gathered in front of the Haven, the police called for reinforcements. A police bus arrived, and it was met with a shower of bottles. A running battle ensued over the next two hours, as crowds set trash cans on fire, looted a record shop and overturned at least one car. Eight were injured and about a dozen were arrested.

The next day, the GLF and GAA held a news conference at the gay-friendly Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles, charging the police with harassment. They also denounced police inaction against a series of gay bashings and anti-gay harassment in the neighborhood. A police spokesman denied that there were any increased actions against the gay community, but refused further comment.

[Sources: Frank J. Brial. “Protest march by homosexuals sparks disturbance in ‘Village’.” The New York Times (August 30, 1970): 49.

C. Gerald Frasier. “‘Gay ghettos’ seen as police targets: but homosexuals’ charge of harassment denied.” The New York Times (August 31, 1970): 28.

Martha Shelly. “Gays Riot Again!” Come Out! 1, no. 5 (September 1970): 3-5.]

Edward Carpenter and George Merrill

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Edward Carpenter: 1844-1929. Britain would be a very different place without him, and so would the LGBT world. Carpenter was a very influential poet, philosopher, anthologist, nudist, feminist, pacifist, and early gay activist. He was as leading proponent of socialism, and he helped to found Britain’s Labour Party. Reading Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in the 1860’s was a huge revelation for him, with Whitman’s dreams of “a brotherhood of manly love.” Carpenter’s 1889 book Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure argued that civilization is a form of disease from which no society ever survived more than a thousand years before collapsing. His cure involved a closer relationship with the land and a greater sense of our own development as individuals. He very much practiced what he preached, living among tenant farmers and other working class workers.

Carpenter was relatively open about his homosexuality, which itself was a remarkable accomplishment. Unlike Oscar Wilde, who was arrested and imprisoned for his “vice,” Carpenter escaped scandal and arrest, even though he had moved in with the man who would be his partner for the rest of his life, George Merrill, in Millthorpe.  Carpenter befriended Walt Whitman, E.M. Forster, Havelock Ellis, John Addington Symonds, and several other early pioneers in the nascent gay community. Carpenter and Merrill’s relationship would serve as the model for Forster’s homoerotic novel, Maurice and, hetersexualized, for D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Carpenter’s groundbreaking 1908 book, The Intermediate Sex: A Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and Women, would become a foundational English-language text for future LGBT movements. He wrote that because “intermediate types” (his preferred term for gay people; he hated “homosexual” because of what he called its “bastardization” of the Latin and Greek) were free of gender limitations, they were uniquely qualified for bringing about greater gender equality and equal rights for women. More than forty years later, Carpenter’s writings would inspire Harry Hay to found the Mattachine Foundation in Los Angeles (the Mattachine Society’s predecessor), and thus spark a new gay rights movement half a world away.

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The Daily Agenda for Friday, August 28

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Cornwall, UK; Derry/Londonderry, UK; Erfurt, Germany; Erie, PA; Lansing, MI; Manchester, UK; Münster, Germany; San Jose, CA; Toledo, OH.

Other Events This Weekend: Michigan March to the Capital, Lansing, MI; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; Gay Ski Week, Queenstown, NZ.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, May 1972, page 54.

From David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, May 1972, page 54.

San Francisco’s Black Cat Cafe at 710 Montgomery St.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
California Gay Bars Given Very Brief Reprieve: 1951. The Black Cat Cafe was one of San Francisco’s more enduring institutions. Opened originally after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the dance hall and host of raunchy vaudeville-style acts came under police scrutiny as it earned a reputation as a center of prostitution. It closed during the Prohibition era, but was re-opened again in 1933 by the same owners when the booze started flowing again. After World War II, the Black Cat became a watering hole for the Beat crowd and for a growing gay clientele, and by the 1950s, the bar was placed on the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board’s list of forbidden establishments for military personnel. The bar had also been the target of a steady stream of police harassment. In 1951, the cafe’s owner, Sol Stoumen, was charged with “keeping a disorderly house” and the State Board of Equalization, which was then responsible for regulating the sale of alcohol, suspended the Black Cat’s liquor license indefinitely. Stouman sued, and on August 28, 1951, the California Supreme Court ruled in Stoumen v. Reilly that “something more must be shown that many of his patrons were homosexuals” before the bar could be closed down.

The Black Cat Cafe is now an upscale tapas bar.

The case is one of the earliest legal affirmations of gay rights, but there was a clause in that ruling that made it an extraordinarily limited one. The court added that the bar could be closed with “proof of the commission of illegal or immoral acts on the premises.” Because homosexuality was illegal in California (along with every other state and territory), the state still had broad powers to act against gay establishments. It just needed the proper legislation to do so. Three years later, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (CABC) was established via a constitutional amendment, and the California Assembly passed legislation authorizing it to shut down any “resort [for] sexual perverts.”

The Black Cat continued to be the target of raids and mass arrests until 1963, when the CABC revoked its liquor license right before its annual Halloween party. Stouman was already in debt from past legal battles and could no longer afford to keep fighting. The Black Cat limped along a few months more as a non-alcoholic venue before closing down permanently in February of 1964.

 

 50 YEARS AGO: Gay Rights Advocates Picket the State Department: 1965. The historic year of organized gay rights protests continued as the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., organized another of its pickets, this time in front of the State Department. Earlier pickets that year had targeted the White House (see Apr 17, May 29), the U.N. (see Apr 18), the Civil Service Commission (see Jun 26), Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (see Jul 4), and the Pentagon (see Jul 31). This time, fourteen people turned out to picket the State Department in protest over the department’s prohibition on hiring gay people or granting them security clearances. Some of the signs they carried read, “Sexual Conduct is Irrelevant to State Department Employees” and “Governor Wallace Met with Negroes, Our Government Won’t Meet with Us.”

The Mattachine Society circulated a press release two days earlier to announce the protest, explaining that “the State Department remains the last resolute bastion of McCarthyism in our government.” The announcement also promised that “the demonstration is expected to be orderly, dignified, and fully lawful.” The day before the appointed day, reporters asked Secretary of State Dean Rusk about the upcoming picket during a news conference. Rusk explained department policy:

Secretary of State Dean Rusk, speaking at a news conference the night before the picket.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk, speaking at a news conference the night before the picket.

“I understand that we are being picketed by a group of homosexuals. The policy of the Department is that we do not employ homosexuals knowingly, and that if we discover homosexuals in our department we discharge them. This does not have to do with medical or humane considerations. It has to do with the fact that the Department of State is a department that is concerned with the security of the United States, and that we have to exact standards of conduct that are far higher than the conduct of the general society in which we operate. This has to do with problems of blackmail and problems of personal instability and all sorts of things. So that I don’t think that we can give any comfort to those who might be tempted to picket us tomorrow.”

Thanks to Rusk’s comments, there was somewhat greater press interest in this protest compared to the previous ones. Reporters from CBS, Agence France-Presse and the Kansas City Star were there, and a story ran the next day in the Washington Post.

[Sources: “Rusk Probed on Picketing.” The Ladder (October 1965): 18.

Marcia M. Gallo. Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement(Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2007): 105-108.]

TheRayHome

Arsonists Burn Florida Family Home of Three Brothers with AIDS: 1987. In 1986, doctors discovered that three Florida brothers with hemophilia — Ricky, 10, Robby, 9, and Randy, 8 — tested positive for HIV although none of them had developed AIDS. The school system in Arcadia barred the boys from attending school and provided tutors to instruct them at home. But the boys’ parents, Louise and Cliff Ray, decided that that boys would be better off in school. They sued the school district, and a judge ruled in their favor on August 5, 1987.

That ruling kicked off a vicious, hysterical campaign in the small community. A group formed, calling themselves Citizens Against AIDS in Schools, and announced a boycott of the Arcadia schools at a rally on August 21. The next day, the Ray family began receiving threatening phone calls, with one caller warning that their house would be torched. On August 25, bomb threats were phoned in to the DeSoto County Board of Education, and on the 26th, threats were made directly to Memorial Elementary, where the Ray children were enrolled.

Then on August 28, Danny Tew, president of the citizens’ group, held a press conference to denounced Ray family by name. He laid out the group[s goal: “Our primary goal is to remove this tragic disease from our schools. This goal will be accomplished by mandatory testing and separate but equal education.” He also charged that officials at the CDC were lying about how easy it was to become infected with HIV though casual contact. “If a child gets up from his desk, he might trip over the leg of the desk and fall down and bust his nose or cut his arm. In that close proximity, no telling how many of those children around him could be accidentally exposed to his blood.” He also challenged the U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, to a debate. “We’re saying the Surgeon General is wrong about AIDS.”

Three hours later, while the Rays were away visiting relatives and Cliff’s brother was sleeping in the house when he woke to discover the house was on fire. He escaped and was treated for smoke inhalation, but the house was left a smoldering ruin. Fire investigators determined that the fire was arson. The blaze had started in several places: the utility room, hallways, and living room. No one was ever arrested. Tew denied responsibility for the fire, or for stirring up passions in the community. As far as he was concerned, the Rays had brought all of the trouble onto themselves.

The Rays, who had lived in Arcadia for sixteen years, moved to Sarasota. Tew’s group followed, vowing to “inform” Sarasota residents about their conspiracy theories about AIDS. “We have a right to go wherever we want as long as we stay within the bounds of the law,” Tew said. “This concern is for the larger issue of AIDS, not the Ray children. There is more than the Ray children involved.” But cooler heads prevailed in Sarasota, and the Ray children were finally able to go to school just like any other kids.

Robert was diagnosed with AIDS in February 1990. Ricky was diagnosed in March 1991. Ricky died peacefully at home in his sleep in 1992 at the age of fifteen. He would be memorialized in the Ricky Ray Relief Fund Act, a federal law that compensated hemophiliacs were infected with HIV from 1982 to 1987 from tainted blood supplies. Robert died in 2000 at the age of 22. Shortly after, Cliff tried to commit suicide, but failed. Randy married in 2001, and continues to live with HIV. Candy, the Ray’s only daughter, was not a hemophiliac and never contracted AIDS.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
190 YEARS AGO: Karl Heinrich Ulrichs: 1825-1895. If anyone can claim the mantle of being the very first gay rights advocate of the modern age, the native of the Kingdom of Hanover, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, has as good a claim as any. When he was very little, he remembered wanting to be a girl and preferring to play with girls, but as often happens (though not always) when a very young boy like him hits puberty, his leanings moved toward homosexuality rather than a transgender identity. He went on to study law and theology at Göttingen University and history at Berlin University. He became a legal adviser for a district court in Hanover, but was dismissed when his homosexuality became known. That led him to declare himself, openly, an Urning. A word he coined in the 1860′s, he described the Urning as a “male-bodied person with a female psyche” who is sexually attracted to men and not women. He also coined Urningin for a “female-bodied person with a male psyche,” and Urningthum came to mean homosexuality itself.

Ulrichs devised an entire system of classification based on different combinations of attractions and gender roles, and more importantly, he set about to develop a robust argument for the legalization of homosexuality. Between 1864 and 1880, he published a series of twelve tracts which he collectively called, Research on the Riddle of Man-Manly Love, and his writings kept him in trouble with the law. His books were banned and confiscated in Saxony, Prussia, and Berlin. In 1867 after the formation of a northern German confederation, he became the first homosexual to address the Association of German Jurists in Munich on the need to reform German laws against homosexuality. He was shouted down but remained undeterred. In 1870, he published Araxes: a Call to Free the Nature of the Urning from Penal Law, in which he wrote:

The Urning, too, is a person. He, too, therefore, has inalienable rights. His sexual orientation is a right established by nature. Legislators have no right to veto nature; no right to persecute nature in the course of its work; no right to torture living creatures who are subject to those drives nature gave them.

The Urning is also a citizen. He, too, has civil rights; and according to these rights, the state has certain duties to fulfill as well. The state does not have the right to act on whimsy or for the sheer love of persecution. The state is not authorized, as in the past, to treat Urnings as outside the pale of the law.

…. Uranian love is in any instance no real crime. All indications of such are lacking. It is not even shameful, decadent or wicked, simply because it is the fulfillment of a law of nature. It is reckoned as one of the many imagined crimes that have defaced Europe’s law books to the shame of civilized people. To criminalize it appears, therefore, to be an injustice officially perpetrated. Just because Urnings are unfortunate enough to be a small minority, no damage can be done to their inalienable rights and to their civil rights. The law of liberty in the constitutional state also has to consider its minorities.

By 1879, Ulrichs decided that he had done all he could do in Germany and went into self-imposed exile in Italy. He later wrote, “Until my dying day I will look back with pride that I found the courage to come face to face in battle against the spectre which for time immemorial has been injecting poison into me and into men of my nature. Many have been driven to suicide because all their happiness in life was tainted. Indeed, I am proud that I found the courage to deal the initial blow to the hydra of public contempt.”

Nancy Kulp: 1921-1991. Her name is not exactly a household name today, but her character from The Beverly Hillbillies, Miss Jane Hathaway, lives on in re-runs. Kulp began life as a journalist for The Miami Beach Tropics, writing celebrity profiles while studying English and French at the University of Miami. In 1944, she left academic life to enlist in the U.S. Naval Reserves and served in World War II as a member of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), where she was highly decorated. She married relatively late for her time (at the age of thirty) and divorced ten years later.

Shortly after she married, she moved to Hollywood and began her career as an actress, appearing in several movies including Shane, A Star Is Born, The Three Faces of Eve, and The Parent Trap. Her characters were what we today would call a geek. On television, she inevitably played the spinster. One reviewer called her the homeliest girl in television and said she had the “face of a shriveled balloon, the figure of a string of spaghetti and the voice of a bullfrog in mating season.” But her straitlaced approach to comedy made her an ideal “straight man,” so to speak, for the other zanier characters around her.

In 1984, she went home to Port Royal, Pennsylvania and ran for Congress as a Democrat. To her great dismay, her opponent, Bud Shuster, picked up the endorsement of Beverly Hillbillies costar Buddy Ebsen, who recorded a radio commercial denouncing her as “too liberal.” Kulp lost, picking up only a third of the vote.

In a 1989 interview, Kulp finally came out as a lesbian in an interview: “As long as you reproduce my reply word for word, and the question, you may use it… I’d appreciate it if you’d let me phrase the question. There is more than one way. Here’s how I would ask it: ‘Do you think that opposites attract?’ My own reply would be that I’m the other sort – I find that birds of a feather flock together. That answers your question.” She died in 1991 of cancer.

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