Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Box Turtle Briefs

Chilean sailor comes out

Timothy Kincaid

August 28th, 2014

This tidbit from the Manila Bulletin:

A sailor with Chile’s navy on Wednesday announced he is gay, an unprecedented public declaration in this socially conservative South American nation. At a press conference Wednesday, 24-year-old sailor Mauricio Ruiz told reporters he hoped the public disclosure about his sexuality will help dispel myths that gays can’t be effective members of Chile’s armed forces. Chile has traditionally been a tough place for homosexuals, although the country decriminalized gay sex in 1999 and attitudes toward gays are evolving. The killing of a gay man in Chile 2012 set off a national debate that prompted Congress to pass a hate crimes law.

Tempe Voters Approve Charter Change Banning LGBT Discrimination

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2014

A number of cities in Arizona have anti-discrimination ordinances to protect LGB and sometimes T’s from discrimination in hiring, housing and public accomodations. But the only ways to ban discrimination in city hiring would be for the state legislature to do it (fat chance!) or for a city to amend its charter, a process that typically requires voter approval. During yesterday’s primary, Tempe voters were the first in the state to approve such a charter change. According to unofficial results, they did so overwhelmingly with 69% support.

Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart” Wins Emmy

Jim Burroway

August 26th, 2014
YouTube Preview Image

Twenty-six years after Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart made its off-Broadway debut, it finally made it onto the Great White Way itself for a twelve-week engagement in 2011. Later that year, it was optioned for an HBO movie, which premiered over Memorial Day weekend earlier this year. With an all-star cast including Mark Ruffalo, Jonathan Groff, Matt Bomer, Alfred Molina and Julia Roberts, it depicted the early days of the AIDS crisis in New York from 1981 to 1984. Last night, the Normal Heart’s nearly three decade saga finally reached mainstream recognition when the HBO production won an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie.

“I’m just so excited for Larry,” (Director Ryan) Murphy told The (Los Angeles) Times. “It was a labor of love. I fought for it. I really worked hard to get people to see it, for so long. I would just hope that any recognition you get just gets more people to watch the story and to learn about that dark chapter in our history.”


Featured Reports
Main Stories

The Daily Agenda for Labor Day

Jim Burroway

September 1st, 2014

Lewis Hine’s “Power house mechanic working on steam pump,” 1920. (Click to enlarge)

Today is Labor Day, a day that is set aside both to honor the sacrifices of American laborers in the past who fought for fair wages and decent working conditions, and to celebrate the social and economic contributions of workers today. The holiday had already been celebrated in thirty states when Congress in 1894 declared it a Federal holiday as an olive branch to organized labor in honor of those who died at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike that year. For today’s workers and their families, this extended weekend also marks that last hurrah of summer. I hope your Labor Day is a relaxing one.

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:
60 YEARS AGO: “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 suggest one solution: “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.

5 YEARS AGO: 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:
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.

 75 YEARS AGO: 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.” Two weeks ago, Tomlin revealed that in the wake of recent Supreme Court decisions striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and reversing California’s Prop 8, she and Wagner are thinking about tying the knot. “You don’t really need to get married, but marriage is awfully nice,” Tomlin said. “Everybody I know who got married, they say it really makes a difference. They feel very very happy about it.” But she said that after 42 years together, she and Wagner don’t see the need for wedding gowns. “No rings, no bridal dresses,” she said. “Maybe we’ll be dressed like chickens.”

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.

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 Sunday, August 31

Jim Burroway

August 31st, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Atlanta, GA (Black Pride); Copenhagen, Denmark; Duluth, MNLimerick, Ireland; Québec City, QC; Oakland, CA.

Other Events This Weekend: Splash Days, Austin, TX; Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV; AIDS Walk, Ft. McMurray AB; Show-Me State Rodeo, Kansas City, MO; Southern Decadence, New Orleans, LA; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; Gay Ski Week, Queenstown, New Zealand; Mr. Gay World, Rome, Italy.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From David, August 1974, page 60.

From David, August 1974, page 60.

David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, reviewed the Hallandale bar (between North Miami Beach and Hollywood) in 1974:

The dynamic red-head (Keith) has had visits from celebrities such as Paul Lynde, Ann Margret, Burt Bacharach and has autographed pictures to prove it on display. A lively discoteque with shows, Keith’s has given a glowing start to many now popular gay entertainers such as Billie Boots Emore and Michael St. Laurnet. Always ready to pick up on a promotion of one sort or another, Keith is the one that paid to have a plane fly over Fort Lauderdale Beach with a streamer in back reading: Where the boys are …… Keith’s Cruise Room.” Keith was also the originator of the Bar Owner’s Association in South Florida, the Mr. Buns Contests (now in it’s third year) and the Miss Gay Florida Pageants. Next year, Keith and the owners of the Club Hollywood in Daytona are getting together to jointly produce the Mr. Gay Florida Contest.

Keith’s started humbly as Keith’s Cruise Room in the early 1970s with a simple jukebox and a dance floor. By the late ’70s, it was one of the Miami area’s most popular discos, thanks to its and after-hours operation that had it staying open until dawn. Next door in the same building was a lesbian bar called Fat Ladies.

Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz

Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz

TODAY IN HISTORY:
60 YEARS AGO: 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.

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 Saturday, August 30

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Atlanta, GA (Black Pride); Calgary, AB; Copenhagen, Denmark; Duluth, MN; Grimsby, UK; Leicester, UK; Limerick, Ireland; Münster, Germany; Québec City, QC; Oakland, CA; Reading, UK; Watford, UK.

Other Events This Weekend: Splash Days, Austin, TX; Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV; AIDS Walk, Ft. McMurray AB; Show-Me State Rodeo, Kansas City, MO; Southern Decadence, New Orleans, LA; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; Gay Ski Week, Queenstown, New Zealand; Mr. Gay World, Rome, Italy; Out in the Park at Six Flags New England, Springfield, MA.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Los Angeles Advocate, September 1968, page 23.

From The Los Angeles Advocate, September 1968, page 23.

A reviewer for The Los Angeles Advocate in 1968 wrote:

The Wharehouse has been open since October of 1967. What makes it one of the goingest places around is a small piece of paper they have called a dancing license, which permits the “pony,” the “frug,” and all the other tribal rites.

It’s a little far out (in distance) for those of you who hate to drive, but worth the effort for a great night of drinking beer and dancing to live bands. Just get on the San Diego Freeway south to Avalon Blvd., turn right, and about a mile down the road is 22500 S. Avalon Blvd. A very cute security guard checked my ID, which made me feel 50 years younger, and a big butch guy marked a “p” on the back of my hand … after I paid him a dollar. I was hoping the “p” stood for “pretty,” but I guess not.

The first sight to greet my eager eyes was (and you can’t miss him) the outrageous Gloria Jean, looking like Tiny Tim, but a little more butch … in spite of the long black wig and orange cloche hat. Tonja, the manager, Phil, and Morph catered to the crowd, while Gloria Jean just got in the way and flirted with the guard.

They’ve just enlarged the dance floor, and now over 100 dancers can “do their thing” to the cool rock music. Quite a sight. [All ellipses in the original.]

The building today houses a Baptist Church.

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.]

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 Friday, August 29

Jim Burroway

August 29th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Atlanta, GA (Black Pride); Calgary, AB; Copenhagen, Denmark; Duluth, MN; Grimsby, UK; Leicester, UK; Limerick, Ireland; Münster, Germany; Québec City, QC; Oakland, CA; Reading, UK; Watford, UK.

Other Events This Weekend: Splash Days, Austin, TX; Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV; AIDS Walk, Ft. McMurray AB; Show-Me State Rodeo, Kansas City, MO; Southern Decadence, New Orleans, LA; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; Gay Ski Week, Queenstown, New Zealand; Mr. Gay World, Rome, Italy; Out in the Park at Six Flags New England, Springfield, MA.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From GAY, August 17, 1970, page 15

The building at 1 Sheridan Square had an illustrious history before it became the home for The Haven in the late 1960s. In 1930, it was the first racially-integrated nightclub, Café Society. Modeled after the popular cabarets in Europe, Café Society featured such performers as Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Leadbelly, Sarah Vaughn, and Dina Washington. Café Society was 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.

The Haven, which was reportedly controlled by the Gambino crime family, 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:
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:
170 YEARS AGO: 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.

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 Thursday, August 28

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Atlanta, GA (Black Pride); Calgary, AB; Copenhagen, Denmark; Duluth, MN; Grimsby, UK; Leicester, UK; Limerick, Ireland; Münster, Germany; Québec City, QC; Oakland, CA; Reading, UK; Watford, UK.

Other Events This Weekend: Splash Days, Austin, TX; Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV; AIDS Walk, Ft. McMurray AB; Show-Me State Rodeo, Kansas City, MO; Southern Decadence, New Orleans, LA; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; Gay Ski Week, Queenstown, New Zealand; Mr. Gay World, Rome, Italy; Out in the Park at Six Flags New England, Springfield, MA.

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.

Gay Rights Picket at 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:
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 united Germany, 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.

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 24 Things I Learned From Listening to the Marriage Arguments Before the Seventh Circuit

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2014

Yesterday, a three judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in two marriage cases, Wisconsin’s Wolf v. Walker and Indiana’s Baskin v. Bogan. Now we’ve all enjoyed Dustin Lance Black’s rendering of the 2009 Prop 8 trials for his as-yet unproduced play “8,” but the audio of these two cases are, in my view, far more entertaining than anything that any Hollywood screenwriter can conjure. Rob and Timothy have recommended that you listen to them both with and without Vicodin. I think this one is equally entertaining whatever your medicinal state may be.

You’ll need about a half-hour for each case to hear the good parts, and that’s if you skip all of the boring parts. But in case you don’t have the time to spare — and you really should try to make the time to do it — I’ve transcribed the good parts. So let’s do this thing Buzzfeed listicle style.

1. These three judges are awesome!

The Seventh Circuit has an unusual practice: they don’t announce the judge’s name until the day of oral arguments. I can imagine this having one important function, in that it prevents the litigants from tailoring their preparations for what they believe the particular judges will be interested in. For the marriage ban proponents, that apparently meant that if they couldn’t tailor their preparations, they just wouldn’t bother to prepare at all. You’ll see why later. But first, let’s meet the judges, who were announced just a half hour before the case began.

Judge Ann Claire Williams, is a Clinton-appointee, a former U.S. Assistant Attorney from Chicago, and a former Detroit elementary school teacher. She was appointed to the Federal Bench in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate when she was nominated to the Seventh Circuit in 1999.

Judge David Hamilton was nominated for the Federal bench by Clinton in 1994. He drew the ire of social conservatives in 2005 when he ruled that the Indiana legislature violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment when it opened its sessions with prayers asking for conversion to the Christian faith or representing Christianity as the only true religion. So when Obama nominated him to the Seventh Circuit, several Senators threatened a filibuster. The Senate voted 70-29 to end the filibuster (Democrats and Independents held a 60-vote supermajority by then), and approved his nomination 59-39.

Judge Richard Posner was nominated by Ronald Reagan to the Seventh Circuit in 1981. An economist and respected legal scholar, he worked with Robert Bork — yes, that Robert Bork — to help shape anti-trust policy changes in the 1970s. The New York Times called him “one of the most important antitrust scholars of the past half-century.” He is also on record as thinking that privacy arguments are over-stated. “I’m exaggerating a little, but I think privacy is primarily wanted by people because they want to conceal information to fool others.” As Timothy already mentioned, “Not only is he the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century, but he was the judge that sided in favor of anti-gay students in one of the t-shirt wars.” You might think he’d be the troublemaker for marriage equality supporters. He wasn’t. In fact, he was the star of this entire show.

2. You read that right: the conservative, anti-gay-student backing, Bork-working-with judge was the star of the show.

This became obvious just eight seconds into Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher’s presentation, when Judge Posner interrupted him to cite some statistics on the number of children who were adopted in the United States:

Posner: This figure I gave, about 250,000, is the number of children who have been adopted by homosexuals, including the three thousand plus in Indiana. Wouldn’t it be better for these adopted children if their same-sex parents were married?

Fisher: Whether it would or not ….

Posner: Well answer my question.

Fisher: I don’t know the answer….

Posner: Well you don’t know the answer. Let’s think about it the answer. Think back to when you were six. Suppose you come home, suppose you’ve been adopted by same-sex parents. You come home one day from school. And you say, you know all the other kids in my class, they have a mom and a dad. I just have two dads or two moms. And, you know, what’s that about? And suppose the parents say, well you know, in our society an adult can marry a person of the opposite sex or a person of the same sex. But you know it’s marriage in both cases, so your classmates kids, their parents are married, your parents are married so there’s nothing to worry about.

Now contrast that with a situation where the parents say to the child, well you know, we’re your parents, but we’re not allowed to be married. So it’s just a difference. Now which do you think is better for the psychological health or the welfare of this child? To have the married same-sex couple, or the unmarried?

Fisher: Your honor, I don’t feel like it’s my job to answer that question. That is for the Indiana legislature….

Posner: Well no, I’m just asking you, do you have an opinion…

Fisher: No.

Posner: …It’s a matter of indifference to you.

3. If you’re going to make it about the children, then let’s really make it about the children.

And for the next twenty minutes, Judges Williams, Hamilton, and, especially, Posner did just that:

Posner: Now it turns out of course that Indiana provides, and the Federal government is dragged along with it, very substantial, tangible benefits to a married couple. Don’t the children of a married couple, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, don’t they benefit? The married parents are better off. They have all sorts of benefits — survivor benefits, spousal security, tax exempt… all sorts of things in federal and state. Doesn’t that make the kids better off?

Fisher: Undoubtedly, but … may I continue?

Posner: Undoubtedly! Now you’re saying … I’m going to interrupt you, so you just have to be patient. But I’m not going to limit your time. You have plenty of time. You are concerned with the unfortunate children produced by accidental births. I’m saying many of these are adopted by same-sex couples, and these children would be better off if their parents can marry. No? Isn’t that obvious?

Fisher: Well… If we’re going to link marriage rights to parental rights, that does not limit it to two people. We have instances where there are more than two recognized parents. This is a possibility. So what we’re looking at here is….

Posner: Wait. What? Someone has three parents? Five parents?

Fisher: Yes. It happens. We cite cases in our briefs where three people with parental rights have been recognized. So if parental rights…

Posner: This is worrying you or what?

Fisher: I’m sorry?

Posner: This is worrying you?

Fisher: Yes! It’s worrying me.

Posner: The three parents? (chuckles)

4. The “We-need-to-ban-gay-marriage-because-straight-people-are-irresponsible-sex-crazed-maniacs” argument doesn’t work very well:

Perhaps sensing that the polygamy threat isn’t going to go very well, Fisher tries to pivot to what he thought would be a stronger argument:

Fisher: …If parental rights trigger marriage rights that in circumstances where more than two people have parental rights, they would also have marriage rights among themselves. That’s the logic of the view that parental rights and marriage rights follow hand in hand. And the position that we’re making, pointing out here, is that this is really about looking at the… issue of what happens… how do we deal with the consequences of heterosexual intercourse which don’t occur with respect to same-sex couples, the consequence being babies …

Hamilton: … But I’d like to follow up on this question about intent, of unintended pregnancies. You said in your brief that “marriage attracts and regulates couples whose sexual conduct may create children in order to ameliorate the burden society ultimately bears when unintended children are not properly cared for.” My question is why is that interest limited to unintended children?

Fisher: Well, it’s only, I think, with respect to where does the legislature identify the issue. In other words…

Hamilton: Well, when we talk about intended pregnancies, when the CDC looks at that — they have ways of doing surveys and so on in asking, typically, the mother whether their pregnancy was intended at the time of conception. That may be a fleeting intent. I would think that the state’s interest is equal regardless of whether the children are intended or unintended.

Fisher: I think we have to look at it at the standpoint of, again, if we don’t have marriage, what is the issue we’re dealing with. We’re dealing with widespread heterosexual activity that creates babies. There has to be a mechanism to deal with that. The mechanism is, let’s channel potentially procreative couples into relationships that are durable and longstanding and will remain together for the sake of the child. Now if it could be assumed that all parents would intentionally procreate, intentionally go about the process of becoming parents with that specific idea in mind and otherwise…

Hamilton: People change their minds… I mean, the intent at the time of conception is fleeting and changeable and the issues are the same, the issues of support, the kinds of issues that you’ve developed, are the same regardless of whether the child was intended or not.

Fisher: I think the issue here is to deal with what may be a fleeting moment of passion that leads to a child that nobody contemplated, and how do we deal with that? And the idea with marriage is to channel that behavior into a specific….

Posner: Do you criminalize fornication?

Fisher: I’m sorry, what?

Posner: Do you criminalize fornication?

Fisher: No, no longer.

Posner: Would you like to?

Fisher: I don’t…. No! It’s not an issue here. The Legislature hasn’t done this in a long time….

Posner: Well it sounds like a way of dealing with these unintended childbirths.

5. When you ask why kids of gay parents should be worse off than kids of straight parents, they have no answer.

Of course, we’ve always known that:

Posner: So why do you prefer heterosexual adoption over homosexual adoption?

Fisher: We don’t.

Williams: Well of course you do! You give all sorts of benefits to the heterosexual adoptive parents and no benefits to the homosexual adoptive parents. You must have a reason for that.

Fisher: Well, the benefits that you are talking about are not triggered based on sexuality. They’re based, of course, on marital status.

Williams: Yes, well come on now! You’re going in circles! The question is, why do you want the children who are adopted by same-sex couples, of whom there are a couple hundred thousand, why do you want them to be worse off because they don’t have these financial and psychological benefits to having married parents?

Fisher: It’s not a matter of wanting them to be worse off. It’s a matter of what is the starting point for the marriage….

Posner: Why don’t you want them to be as well off as children…. You allow the homosexual couples to adopt. Why don’t you want their children to have the same advantages as children adopted by heterosexual couples?

Fisher: The question is, what can we do to nudge heterosexual couples who may produce children unintentionally, to plan for this, to plan for the consequences and to appreciate the consequences of sexual behavior. Those consequences don’t arise with same-sex couples. It’s not in the context of adoption that marriage is….

Posner: But you’re not answering my question! You’ve got millions of adopted children. And a lot of them, 200,000 or more, are adopted by same-sex couples. Why don’t you want their children to be as well off as the adopted children of heterosexual couples?

Fisher: Of course we do. But may I ….

Posner: … because their parents happen to be homosexuals?

After about another minute of this:

Williams: I don’t think you’re going to answer Judge Posner’s questions. (Laughter)

6. Marriage is actually a kind of an affirmative-action program to help level the playing field for straight couples because they’re hopelessly irresponsible when compared than gay couples.

Judge Williams tries again after the laughter dies down.

Williams: …So let me see if I can put it a little bit differently. Wouldn’t you agree that marriage is not just about having having children but about raising children? Do you agree there are two components?

Fisher: Oh, yes.

Williams: Okay. Then are you saying same-sex couples cannot successfully raise children?

Fisher: Absolutely not.

Williams: Well if Indiana’s laws are about successfully raising children, and you agree that same-sex couples can successfully raise children, why shouldn’t the ban be lifted as to them?

Fisher: I think the assumption is that with opposite-sex couples, there is very little thought given during the sexual act sometimes to whether babies may be a consequence.

Williams: So because gay and homosexual couples actually choose to be parents, choose to take on that obligation, that difference of choice … you’re setting that up differently than an accidental … So I mean here are people who actually want to have children, know they want to have children, it is not accidental, they make that committment to raise the children, I just don’t get that. That is another aspect of what Judge Posner is raising.

Fisher: And I think the working assumption there, your honor, is that in that circumstance the state doesn’t need to nudge those couples to stay together. There already is that working understanding. With opposite sex couples, it may be a fleeting moment of passion which leads to a child. And that’s what we’re trying to address.

7. Right. Posner’s still not buying it.

Posner: Sure. But you’re forgetting everything else. Look, there are 400,000 kids in foster care in the United States. Ten thousand in Indiana. Isn’t there a strong interest in trying to get them adopted?

Fisher: Of course.

Posner: Isn’t it much better for the kids to be adopted?

Fisher: Of course.

Posner: Yes, but if you allow same-sex marriage, you’re going to have more adopters, right?

Fisher: I don’t know that that’s true.

Posner: Well it’s much cheaper to adopt a child if you’re married because you get all these benefits from the state and the federal government. You should be wanting to enlist people as adopters so you can minimize… That is pathetic — ten thousand foster care children in Indiana. Don’t you want to get them adopted?

Fisher: Of course, but now you’re talking about…

Posner: What are you doing to get them adopted?

Fisher: You’re talking about prioritizing competing issues. And that’s the legislature’s job. … The legislature has an understanding of marriage that it has decided to preserve, and it’s based on…

Posner: But it’s arbitrary. It doesn’t serve any public… You allow all these sterile people to get married. Why are you doing that if you’re so concerned procreation, why do you let them get married?

8. If you link to a Buzzfeed-style listicle from inside a Buzzfeed-style listicle, will the universe double back onto itself and collapse into an infinitesimally small singularity?

Let’s try it and see: Seven moments that will make you want to gay-marry Judge Richard Posner.

9. Indiana’s case didn’t go well. Wisconsin’s was worse.

Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson started off on the wrong foot when he didn’t know the answer to four of the judges’ first five questions:

Posner: Why doesn’t Wisconsin permit adoption by same-sex couples?

Samuelson: Respectfully, your honor, that’s a question for the legislature. I don’t have a …

Posner: You have no idea, okay.

Samuelson: I do know that Wisconsin recognizes both couples in a same-sex relationship to petition the court to be recognized as a de-facto parent.

Posner: What’s a de-facto parent?

Samuelson: someone who would have the same or similar responsibilities and obligations as a parent. And there’s a case from 1995 that the Wisconsin Supreme Court…

Hamilton: Does that open up the possibility that a child may have three parents?

Samuelson: I don’t know. I think what may trigger that circumstance involving three parents would be the presumption of paternity, and that’s something that we’ve discussed in our papers.

Hamilton: I was thinking more of, for example, a child of an opposite-sex couple who divorced, on of the members then joins a new partner of the same sex who then is recognized as a de facto parent. You have three parents.

Samuelson: I don’t know the answer to that, but based on the Holtzman (?) case, the ’95 Wisconsin Supreme Court case, the court discussed equity, recognizing that de-facto parent. So there is the potential for that. I just can’t answer that. That would be a question for the courts.

Williams: Let me get back to this de-facto parent. So do all the rights and benefits accrue to that child from its de facto parent in terms of inheritance rights and all the other rights?

Samuelson: I don’t know the answer to that question, and frankly I haven’t looked into that. However, those rights can be subject to contract rights. Parties can petition the court for those types of recognitions, but I can’t say that, to your honor, whether or not…

10. Rational basis! What’s the Rational Basis?

One of the tenets of constitutional law is that if you’re going to have a law, you have to have a halfway decent reason for it. So, for example, why does Wisconsin make it so hard for gay people to adopt?

Posner: Why are those, why are all those obstacles strewn in the path of these people?

Samuelson: That’s a legislative decision…

Posner: You mean, you can’t think of any reason for it?

Samuelson: Well, the statute is written towards the general rule, not the exception. The general rule is for opposite-sex couples.

Posner: Why is that?

Samuelson: Because that is what the legislature has said.

Posner: Why? Does it have a reason? It doesn’t need a reason? What?

Samuelson: There are several reasons. I think tradition is one of the reasons.

11. Tradition is not a good reason.

Posner: Well how can tradition be a reason for anything? I don’t get that. That’s, again, the Loving case, right? The tradition of forbidding interracial marriage went back to colonial times. It’s two hundred years old by the time Loving came along…

Samuelson: I think Loving was a deviation from the common law rather than the codifying….

Posner: (Scoffs)

Hamilton: (Incredulous) What?

Posner: (Scoffs again.) What’s he trying? Look, interracial marriage had been forbidden in the colonies and in many, many states, not just southern but western for literally… well… more than a hundred years. So why wasn’t that a tradition?

Samuelson: It’s distinguishable. It’s a different tradition…

Posner: Well of course it’s a different tradition! So in other words, tradition per se is not a ground for, you know, continuing, “we’ve been doing this stupid thing for a hundred years, a thousand years, we’ll keep doing it because it’s tradition.” You wouldn’t make that argument.

Samuelson: We’re not making that argument.

Posner: Don’t you have to have some empirical or some practical or common sense basis for barring these marriages? I didn’t get anything out of your brief that sounded like a reason for doing this.

Samuelson: Our position is tradition is based on experience, that’s collective experience…

Posner: But Loving, tradition, tradition, for hundreds of years, no interracial marriage. They’d make the same arguments you would make. It’s tradition. We don’t want to change it because we don’t know what’ll happen, right? Change a tradition? It’s terrible! What if men stopped shaking hands, right? It’d be the end of the nation.

12. The judges appear to have already descided that marriage equality as an equal protection issue is a no-brainer.

That became obvious when they were quizzing marriage equality supporters in the Indiana case after having eviscerated Fisher. It also appeared to be a foregone conclusion here.

Williams: And see, I think Loving threw out this positive/negative distinction of the Fourteenth Amendment that you try to rest on because … I just don’t see how you get around Loving because I think that killed that argument you’re making.

Samuelson: But Loving is primarily an equal protection case. …

Posner: This is an equal protection case.

Hamilton: Sure, but it has the last paragraph that is substantive due process all the way, right?

Williams: Right. In the very last paragraph…

Hamilton: Should we ignore that?

13. Deference to the democratic process isn’t a good reason either.

Posner asked Samuelson if he had any other reasons for Wisconsin’s marriage ban, besides tradition:

Samuelson: Well, deference to the democratic process. And one of the reasons that…

Posner: Well that argument doesn’t get you very far. You’re really saying there shouldn’t be any constitutional invalidation ever of a state or federal statute because that’s anti-democratic.

Samuelson: But, we’re not saying that…

Posner: What would be an example of a statute passed by a democratically-elected legislature that you would consider…

Samuelson: If Wisconsin passed a statute or a constitutional amendment forbidding interracial marriage, that would clearly be unconstitutional.

Posner: Why? It would be the democratic choice of the people of Wisconsin.

Samuelson: Well at the very least Loving says so.

Posner: I know, but the whole question here is not whether democracy insulates. You argue that democracy insulates legislation from constitutional invalidation. Now you have to have something better. You have to say why is your law less… you accept Loving as governing precedent, why isn’t this rather similar, right? People want to get married, and you don’t seem to have any reasons.

14. And trotting out Edmund Burke won’t work.

Samuelson: We’re not making that argument. Frankly, we’re agnostic. We just don’t know.

Posner: What concrete, factual arguments do you have against homosexual marriage?

Samuelson: We have the Burkean argument that it’s reasonable and rational…

Posner: (Scoffs) That’s a tradition argument. It’s feeble. Look, they could have trotted out Edmund Burke in the Loving case. What’s the difference?

Samuelson: Frankly, your honor…

Posner: It was a tradition not allowing blacks and whites and other interracial couples from marrying, right? It’s a tradition that got swept aside. Why is this tradition better?

Samuelson: Well, the tradition is based on experience, and it’s the tradition of western culture…

15. And hate is DEFINITELY not a reason.

Posner: What experience? It’s based on hate, isn’t it?

Samuelson: No! Not at all, your honor!

Posner: No? You don’t think there’s a history of rather savage discrimination against homosexuals in the states and the rest of the world?

Samuelson: I won’t disagree that historically homosexual persons have been the targets of discrimination. However, I won’t agree that that’s the basis for Wisconsin’s laws.

Posner: …Including governmental discrimination, not just private?

16. If you want to get on a judge’s good side, you should really try answering at least one of his questions.

Posner: So why are you drawing the line at marriage?

Samuelson: Um. Because that’s a legislative decision.

Posner: (scoffs) But you’re back to this notion that legislative decisions are sacred, right? But very time a statute is invalidated as unconstitutional, the democratic process is overridden. So give me a reason why — not that is a legislative choice — what is the rational basis for a legislative choice denying same-sex marriage? We know that these people want to get married. We think, or at least I think, it’s good for the kids. So what’s the offsetting harm?

Samuelson: Well, respectfully, your honor, I think that flips the inquiry on its head rather than asking what the rational basis is for the law…

Posner: Come on! What is the offsetting… These people and their children, their adoptive children, are harmed by your law. Now the question is, what is the offsetting benefit of your law? Who’s being helped by it?

Samuelson: Your honor, respectfully, that turns the analysis on its head. …

Posner: (raises his voice) Look! Answer my question! Who is being helped by this law, if anyone?

17. Regnerus is toast.

Samuelson tried to suggest that society was being “helped” by prohibiting gay people from marrying. He quickly aborted that argument:

Posner: How? How is society being helped?

Samuelson: As Mr. Fisher discussed, marriage is an institution that provides for a…

Posner: (sounding frustrated) I know, but how is it being… You’re not trying to force homosexuals into heterosexual marriage.

Samuelson: No we’re not.

Posner: So what is the harm of allowing these people to marry? Does it hurt heterosexual marriage? Does it hurt children? What is the harm?

Samuelson: Frankly, at this point we don’t know if there is a harm, if any.

18. I didn’t think it was possible, but right about now I was really starting to feel sorry for Samuelson.

Throughout the proceedings, you could have heard  Samuelson squirming all the way from Mars. All of those questions, one after another, questions piling upon questions, and Samuelson had no answers for any of them. After fifteen minutes of this — which surely must have seemed like an eternity to him as it did for me — Samuelson saw a light, and he hoped that it might save him:

Posner: …you can say with Loving, you can say look, you’re not giving a good reason for banning interracial marriage, but it’s been like two hundred years and we’re afraid to overrule because we don’t know what’ll happen. Right? You could say that for every constitutional case. We don’t know what’ll happen. Let women have access to contraception? Connecticut in 1964? We don’t know what’s going to happen. Society may collapse. Why isn’t that always a problem?

Samuelson: First off, the yellow light’s on. May I respond your honor?

Posner: Yes, because the yellow light, it just tells you …

Williams: It won’t save you. (courtroom erupts in laughter.)

Samuelson: It was worth a shot, wasn’t it? (more laughter)

Williams: Yes.

Hamilton: It’s been tried before.

Williams: It has. Nobody’s ever won that one though.

19. Rational basis again! Also, Regnerus is still toast!

Williams: So you have no, you can’t give us any rational… you can’t give us the harm. Harm, of course, is tied into a rational basis. Some basis for the gov… some legitimate government interest has to be at stake, and you don’t have any to give us.

Samuelson: I would say we defer to Mr. Fisher’s arguments, but we also believe that marriage provides a mechanism for tying unplanned children to their biological parents.

Posner: Of course not! We give them up, right? There are these hundreds of thousands of people in foster care.

Samuelson: Frankly, I reject that premise.

Posner: Isn’t there hundreds of thousands of children in foster care…

Samuelson: Oh, I don’t doubt that.

Posner: Hundreds of thousands being brought up by same-sex couples?

Samuelson: Oh I don’t doubt that either.

Posner: Do you think it’s harmful to them?

Samuelson: That, I don’t have a position. I don’t know. I am not aware of any information or data or argument relating to it.

Posner: Really?

Samuelson: It certainly hasn’t been briefed.

20. Gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because NO FAULT DIVORCE!

If it hasn’t always been obvious, it should be by now: Whenever same-sex marriage opponents are forced to step outside of their hermetically-sealed bubbles and explain rationally why they oppose marriage equality, they are utterly incapable of doing so. It just goes to show how staying in that bubble where your arguments are never challenged leaves you completely unprepared to deal effectively with other people’s arguments. And so after being pressed by Posner for several minutes to try to think of just one rational basis for denying marriage equality to same-sex couples, Samuelson reached back into that bubble and dragged out something that was utterly unrelated:

Samuelson: Well, what Justice Alito said, there’s no consensus among experts, philosophers, etc. An example is no fault divorce, after no fault laws were passed, divorce skyrocketed.

Posner: Look, with no fault divorce, you could certainly say look there are problems here. No fault divorce, marriage is going to be destabilized — you could speculate, right? So I’m asking you to speculate, what is it that we might want to… what would slow us down because something bad might happen because of homosexual marriage in Wisconsin. What are the possibilities?

Samuelson: The possibilities are we don’t know. There could be an unanticipated consequence…

Posner: You can’t guess?

Samuelson: The only example I can give is the no-fault divorce and to the extent that that had an adverse effect…

Posner: But we can see why…

Hamilton: That’s fewer marriages, not more marriages, right?

Samuelson: I’m sorry your honor?

Hamilton: That’s fewer marriages, not more marriages, right?

Samuelson: Yes, but the… the argument there is that it had an adverse effect on the institution of marriage.

Posner: But that was discussed when no-fault divorce was being debated.

21. Samuelson is not smarter than a fifth grader.

While Posner drilled Fisher for twenty minutes about children, he drilled Samuelson for thirty minutes trying to get Samuelson to come up with just one example of a rational basis for denying marriage to same-sex couples. It’s like a teacher trying to teach student about reptiles and then asking the student to come up with one example — just one example — of a reptile. This is Posner trying to work with that child.

Posner: What are the concerns that bother people about the future of homosexual marriage? There are nineteen states have it. Suppose fifty states have it. What happens? What could happen?

Samuelson: Just like Justice Alito said, there’s not consensus…

Posner: You have no idea! I’m not talking about consensus. I’m talking about… what speculatively might happen that we should worry about?

Samuelson: The only answer I can give is no-fault divorce. There might be similar…

Posner: Okay, what might be similar? Give me an example of similar?

Samuelson: It would, uh, potentially, devalue the institution of marriage and maybe fewer people would likely enter into it.

Posner: Why would fewer heterosexuals marry because homosexuals marry?

Samuelson: Uh, your honor, I haven’t anticipated this. I’d be happy to brief it…

Posner: How can you brief when you don’t know anything?

And the child gets an “F.”

22. The policy to promote childbirths in marriage is broken.

And another argument against same-sex marriage falls:

Hamilton: If I could follow up a little bit, both you and Indiana have argued that what you really want to do is promote childbirths in marriage. Right?

Samuelson: Right.

Hamilton: And encourage parents to stick together and raise those children. Right?

Samuelson: Correct.

It’s sad to hear how relieved Samuelson sounds right now. That didn’t last long:

Hamilton: I assume you’re familiar with how that’s been working out in practice over the last twenty-five or thirty years. I checked. From, let’s see, over a twenty-year period, from 1990 to 2009, the proportion of births to unmarried mothers increased by 53% in Wisconsin, by 68% in Indiana. And obviously with the Wisconsin figure it was 37% nonmarital births in 2009. If we break that down by age, race, ethnicity, and education levels, we find some groups of women who under the current state policies have more than 80%, some even more than 90% of their births outside marriage. It’s a little hard to see, if that’s as important as you’re telling us it is as a policy goal in the state, it’s a little hard to see how significant it is with the rest of the state’s family policies, given those results.

Samuelson: First of all, I’m not aware of those results until just hearing them now.

Hamilton: Those are CDC… I mean, these are unimpeachable government statistics.

Samuelson: I’m not quarrelling with that.

Hamilton: Surely you’re aware of the dramatic rise in births outside marriage.

Samuelson: I had not been specifically until just now. But my response to that your honor, would be under Dandridge (?), the state may rule incrementally that the state….

Hamilton: It’s sort of like trying to focus on the mote in someone else’s eye while ignoring the beam in one’s own. If what you’re really trying to do, as we’re being told here, is define marriage strictly in terms of opposite-sex couples so as to channel births into marriage, it’s a pretty unsuccessful policy.

23. The procreation rationale is “a reversed-engineered theory.”

This is one of my favorite statements in the entire proceedings, because it captures in just one short sentence the logic behind the narrow laser-beam focused emphasis on procreation, to the exclusion of all the other reasons for why marriage is a good thing for individuals, families and society:

Hamilton: What it is, is a reverse-engineered theory to explain marriage in such a way that you avoid the logic of Lawrence and ignore a good deal of history about the institution of marriage, and provide this very narrow artificial rationale for it.

24. Wait a minute! I cry fowl! How can you do a Buzzfeed-style listical without any sponsored content?

Hi There,
My name is Jori Stevian, and I am the webmaster for drugnews.net. I happened across boxturtlebulletin.com, and after reading through your content, I would like to see if you would be open to collaborating. Since we target similar niches, I think we would be a good fit, and I would love to contribute an article or blog post.
Of course, if you are looking for something specific at this time, we would be happy to cater our submission to fit your current requirements.
Please let me know if this sounds like a beneficial opportunity for you, and I will send something over shortly.
Thanks,
Jori

No thanks, Jori. I get at least a half a dozen of these every day.

And so let’s review:

  • “You don’t know the answer.”
  • “It’s a matter of indifference to you.”
  • “Why do you want them to be worse off?”
  • “Come on now! You’re going in circles!”
  • “You’re not answering my question!”
  • “I don’t think you’re going to answer Judge Posner’s questions.”
  • “That is pathetic.”
  • “But it’s arbitrary.”
  • “We’ve been doing this stupid thing for a hundred years, a thousand years, we’ll keep doing it because it’s tradition. You wouldn’t make that argument.”
  • “Don’t you have to have some empirical or some practical or common sense basis for barring these marriages? I didn’t get anything out of your brief that sounded like a reason for doing this.”
  • “Well that argument doesn’t get you very far.”
  • “You don’t seem to have any reasons.”
  • “It’s feeble.”
  • “It’s based on hate, isn’t it?”
  • “Look! Answer my question!”
  • “It (that yellow light) won’t save you.”
  • “You can’t guess?”
  • “You have no idea!”
  • “Why would fewer heterosexuals marry because homosexuals marry?”
  • “How can you brief when you don’t know anything?”
  • “It’s sort of like trying to focus on the mote in someone else’s eye while ignoring the beam in one’s own.”
  • “What it is, is a reverse-engineered theory.”

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb very much when I predict this will be a 3-0 decision in favor of marriage equality. And I am so looking forward to reading the opinion once it’s released.

The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, August 27

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Atlanta, GA (Black Pride); Calgary, AB; Copenhagen, Denmark; Duluth, MN; Grimsby, UK; Leicester, UK; Limerick, Ireland; Münster, Germany; Québec City, QC; Oakland, CA; Reading, UK; Watford, UK.

Other Events This Weekend: Splash Days, Austin, TX; Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV; AIDS Walk, Ft. McMurray AB; Show-Me State Rodeo, Kansas City, MO; Southern Decadence, New Orleans, LA; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; Gay Ski Week, Queenstown, New Zealand; Mr. Gay World, Rome, Italy; Out in the Park at Six Flags New England, Springfield, MA.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Contact (Houston, TX) February 5, 1975, page 11.

From Contact (Houston, TX) February 5, 1975, page 11.

Polyester disco shirts, leisure suits, flared-bottom pants — what was in your closet?

NARTH Scientific Advisory Board member Joseph Berger

NARTH Scientific Advisory Board member Joseph Berger

TODAY IN HISTORY:
NARTH Official Advocates Peer Shaming for Gender-Variant Elementary School Children: 2006. Once upon a time, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality thought it would be cool to jump on the cutting edge of social media in the pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter age: they started a blog, where they could remind everyone how odious their ideas were on a daily basis.

On August 27, NARTH’s resident blogger posted a brief synopsis of a story that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle about a private elementary school in Oakland that had gained a reputation for its ability to work with very young children. “They now let boys play girls and girls play boys in skits,” the Chronicle reported. “And there’s a unisex bathroom.” It went on:

Park Day’s gender-neutral metamorphosis happened over the past few years, as applications trickled in for kindergartners who didn’t fit on either side of the gender line. One girl enrolled as a boy, and there were other children who didn’t dress or act in gender-typical ways. Last year the school hired a consultant to help the staff accommodate these new students.

“We had to ask ourselves, what is gender for young children?” Hodes said. “It’s coming up more and more.”

The NARTH blogger, known only by the handle “jjohnson,” posted a link to the article, copied the first two paragraphs, and left it at that. The blog’s first comment was left by Dr. Joseph Berger, a Toronto-based psychiatrist and a member of NARTH’s Scientific Advisory Committee. It went like this:

Dr. Berger reacted to the San Francisco Chronicle article by observing:

I think that a lot of this is nonsense and is being pushed by people who have an agenda to disrupt society in order to further some perverted goals such as the acceptance of pedophilia, and, of course, the attempted “normalization” of homosexuality.

From a medical/scientific perspective, the notion of a child of five being “transgendered” is absolute garbage. This is a child wanting attention and wanting to play “dress-up,” with an added layer of unhappiness.

That essentially is the issue for most of these children. They are unhappy. They don’t have a “biological” based “gender identity disorder.” They are unhappy; they have an envy of certain aspects of the opposite sex role – and wish to pursuit it for as long as they can.

Tolerant parents, tolerant schools, tolerant societies, might let them get away with it. No one should be surprised that avant-garde California or sun-drenched Florida should be places where the tolerance is highest.

His solution?

Here in cold Canada, I often talk with mothers of small children who routinely complain about how difficult it is to get their children dressed in the winter in the multiple layers of clothing they need to go off to school. I suggest to them that they make it clear to their children that they will leave home – or that the school bus will come – at such-and-such time, and they will go whether they are ready or not. I suggest that going just one day in their pajamas or underwear will be enough to “cure” them of their procrastination.

I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.

Berger closed his post with a parting shot directed toward the parents of gender-variant children: “I am sure that if we looked carefully, we could find some significant personal issues and aberrations in the parents of these children.” Berger’s comments soon attracted the attention of mental health professionals and gay rights groups. Jack Drescher, former chair of the American Psychiatric Association Committee on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, responded:

NARTH has a long tradition of encouraging antigay social disapproval as a form of prevention, it should come as no surprise that in addition to supporting the criminalization of homosexuality and denying gay adults full civil rights, NARTH would support teasing by other children as a way to promote gender conformity. NARTH, have you no sense of decency?”

Daniel Gonzales, a writer at Ex-Gay Watch (and later for BTB), also weighed in: “Regardless if a child’s gender dysphoria persists into adulthood, allowing any child with a psychological condition to be harassed because of that condition is shameful. I’m most shocked and dismayed this position is being advocated from within a professional mental health association.”

Focus On the Family and Exodus International, who jointly staged a series of ex-gay conferences around the country called “Love Won Out,” expressed their support for NARTH and its president and co-founder, Joseph Nicolosi. But Exodus president Alan Chamber, who recalled being teased for being effeminate when he was a child, later told the Los Angeles Times that Berger’s advice that children should be ridiculed “wouldn’t be something we would tolerate from someone who was part of our board. We have to be very careful about what we say and how we say it. Peoples’ emotions, hearts and even lives are at stake.”

Nicolosi finally responded to the growing controversy with a short note on August 31: “Narth disagrees with Dr. Berger’s advice as we believe shaming, as distinct from correcting can only create greater harm. Too many of our clients experienced the often life long, harmful effects of peer shaming. We cannot encourage this.” The following day, NARTH quietly and without explanation edited Berger’s comments by deleting the three offending paragraphs. That did little to quiet the controversy. NARTH finally removed Berger’s comment, along with the entire blog thread with no further explanation. Berger remained on NARTH’s advisory committee.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul's most famous men's restroom.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul’s most famous men’s restroom.

Sen. Larry Craig’s Arrest for Lewd Conduct Revealed: 2007. Just after noon on June 11, Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) was arrested for trying to pick up an undercover police officer at a men’s restroom in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. According to the police report by the arresting officer (PDF: 794KB/7 pages):

IAt 1213 hours, I could see an older white male with grey hair standing outside my stall. He was standing about three feet away and had a roller b with him. The male was later identified by Idaho driver’s license as Larry Edwin Craig… I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look own at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes. I was able to see Craig’s blue eyes as he looked into my stall.

At 1215 hours, the male in the stall to the left of me flushed the toilet and exited the stall. Craig entered the stall and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door. My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall. From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me. He was wearing dress pants with black dress shoes. At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moved his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area.

At 1217 hours, I saw Craig swipe his hand under the stall divider for a few seconds. The swipe went in the direction from the front (door side) of the stall back towards the back wall. His palm was facing towards the ceiling as he guided it all the stall divider. I was only able to see the tips of his fingers on my side of the stall divider. Craig swiped his hand again for a few seconds in the same motion to where I could see more of his fingers. Craig then swiped his hand in the same motion a third time for a few seconds. I could see that it was Craig’s left hand due to the position of his thumb. I could also see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.

CraigThe officer displayed his police identification under the stall divider and pointed his finger to the restroom exit. Craig said “no,” but eventually complied. At the airport police station, Craig tried to bluff his way out of trouble by handing over his business card identifying him as a U.S. Senator. “What do you think about that?” The officer wasn’t impressed, and the interview continued. According to the arrest report, “Craig stated … He has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine.” When asked if he had done anything with his feet, Craig replied that he “positioned them, I don’t know. I don’t know at the time. I’m a fairly wide guy.” Craig wound up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct on August 1. He paid the $575 fine, and for the next month, it looked like the whole thing would end quietly without anyone from the press finding out.

The press found out. On August 27, Roll Call broke the story about the arrest and guilty plea. Craig’s spokesman downplayed the whole thing as a “he said/he said misunderstanding.” Craig had often positioned himself as a “values” politician. In 1989, he led a failed effort to censure and expel Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) over his roommate’s prostitution scandal. He voted against bills that would have extended the federal definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation, and he supported an Idaho constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Then-Rep. Craig denying involvement in a male Capital page scandal in 1982.

Then-Rep. Craig denying involvement in a male Capital page scandal in 1982.

This wasn’t Craig’s first “misunderstanding” about his sexual interests. Nine months earlier, Mike Rogers had outed Craig on his web site at blogactive.com. “I have done extensive research into this case, including trips to the Pacific Northwest to meet with men who have say they have physical relations with the Senator,” Rogers wrote. “I have also met with a man here in Washington, D.C., who says the same — and that these incidents occurred in the bathrooms of Union Station. None of these men know each other, or knew that I was talking to others. They all reported similar personal characteristics about the Senator, which lead me to believe, beyond any doubt, that their stories are valid.” In 1982, Craig, while a congressman, pre-emptively denied involvement with a Congressional male page sex and drug scandal, a puzzling act given that his name hadn’t yet been publicly associated with the scandal.

And so it would only be natural for the press to have a field day with the latest news.  On August 28, the Idaho Statesman published a story that included three allegations of Craig’s homosexuality going back to 1967. One man said that Craig had cruised him at an REI store in Boise. Another reported to have had oral sex with Craig at a men’s room in Washington’s Union Station, just north of the Capital building. That same day that the Statesman article came out, Craig held a press conference in Boise, Idaho, with his wife by his side, to try to quell the growing calls for his resignation:

28craig-600I am not gay. I never have been gay…. In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away…. Please let me apologize to my family, friends and staff and fellow Idahoans for the cloud placed over Idaho. I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. I did nothing wrong, and I regret the decision to plead guilty and the sadness that decision has brought on my wife, on my family, friends, staff and fellow Idahoans.

Those denials didn’t go far. Mitt Romney dropped Craig as a Senate liaison for Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, and several GOP Senators called on Craig to resign. On September 1, Craig announced that he would resign his Senate seat at the end of the month. He then fought to withdraw his guilty plea. That request was denied. Meanwhile, Craig reversed his decision to resign his Senate seat, although he didn’t seek re-election in 2008. He finally left office when the next Congress was sworn in in 2009.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Tom Ford: 1961. He definitely has a flair for making his own way. After studying architecture at Parsons The New School for Design, he got his first fashion design job in 1986 with American Designer Cathy Hardwick — through knowing what to say as well as what not to say. He told her that he attended The New School’s Parson division, but he didn’t bother to mention that he wasn’t an alumnus of its prestigious fashion design program. And he knew the right answer when she asked what designers he admired: Armani and Chanel. Hardwick recalled, “Months later I asked him why he said that, and he said, ‘Because you were wearing something Armani.’ Is it any wonder he got the job?”

Two years later, he moved to Perry Ellis, but he still wanted to get away from American design firms. Meanwhile, his partner, journalist Richard Buckley, had recently recovered from cancer, and the two were looking for for a drastic change of scenery. As luck would have it, Gucci was struggling and needed to overhaul its women’s ready-to-wear lines, but no major designer would come near the nearly-bankrupt firm. Ford and Buckley moved to Milan and Ford took over the women’s ready-to-wear line, and was quickly placed in charge of menswear and shoes. By 1992, he was also responsible for fragrances, image, advertising and store design, and the following year he was overseeing eleven product lines. Between 1995 and 1996, sales at Gucci nearly doubled and the company went public. When Gucci bought Yves Saint Laurent in 2000, Ford became its creative directer as well.

By 2004, Gucci was valued at $10 billion, but Ford and Gucci’s management fell into disagreements over artistic control of the group. That’s often the reason given for Ford to cash in his chips to leave Gucci. But it also marks a significant departure in Ford’s creative life as well. In March of 2005, he announced that he was opening his own film production company, and he made his directorial debut with 2009′s A Single Man, based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood. That same year, Ford re-entered the fashion world with the establishment of the TOM FORD brand, which opened his flagship store in New York City two years later. There are now dozens of TOM FORD stores around the world, and many of his products are available online. Ford and Buckley welcomed the arrival of their son, Alexander John Buckley Ford, in 2012. They currently split their time between homes in Los Angeles, London and Santa Fe.

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?

Seventh Circuit hearing suggests a favorable ruling

Timothy Kincaid

August 26th, 2014

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard testimony today as to whether the bans on same-sex marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin violate the US Constitution. To say that it did not go well for those supporting the bans would be an understatement.

Here are the recording of the arguments in the Indiana case and the Wisconsin case (sound only).

By far the least tolerant of the states’ arguments was Judge Richard Posner, who at one point asked Indiana’s counsel, “is there any empirical evidence for anything you are saying?” His chief point, which he reiterated several times, is that if you wish to set policy so as to benefit children who may be born by accident (the argument of the state), then surely it benefits them when the same-sex couple who adopts them gets married.

However, Posner – appointed by President Reagan in 1981 – may not be easy to dismiss as a “radical judge ruling from the bench and pushing a homosexual agenda”. Not only is he the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century, but he was the judge that sided in favor of anti-gay students in one of the t-shirt wars.

UPDATE: I just noticed that Rob – who shares my amusement with the hearing – beat me to the post. I don’t have Vicodin or a detached retina to blame. Sorry.

A few of my favorite things

Rob Tisinai

August 26th, 2014

Maybe it’s just because I’m on Vicodin (details below, not for the squeamish), but it’s delicious to listen to the 7th Circuit judges ask Indiana’s attorney general why he wants the adopted children of same-sex couples to be worse off than the adopted children of opposite-sex couples.

Actually, deliciousness is in effect during the whole grilling (and by grilling, I mean holding the AG’s arguments so close to the flame they end up with burn marks!). It comes both from hearing the AG stumble over his words, and also the constant incredulity in the voices of the judges. The brutality starts almost immediately. One of my is when a judge asks the AG for evidence to support a silly argument. The AG says it’s “self-evident” and the judge replies:

Self-ev — I regard it as absurd. You say it’s self-evident. [laughter in the courtroom]

Definitely worth a listen.

About the Vicodin: I had emergency (in-patient) surgery yesterday to fix a retinal detachment. First the doctor plunged a cryogenic probe into my eyeball to freeze the retina back in position by creating scar tissue. Then he pushed a syringe into my eye to inject a gas bubble that applies pressure to hold the retina in place and force out unwanted fluid.

Hence the Vicodin.

The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, August 26

Jim Burroway

August 26th, 2014
The Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe-designed Everett McKinley Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago.

The Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe-designed Everett McKinley Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago.

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Seventh Circuit To Hear Indiana, Wisconsin Marriage Cases: Chicago, IL. Two marriage equality cases will go before a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals this morning. First up at 9:30 a.m. is Baskin v. Bogan, the Indiana case in which Federal District Judge Richard Young found that state’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution’s due process and equal protection clauses. He also found that Indiana’s marriage laws were subject to strict scrutiny when judging Indiana’s marriage law under the Due Process Clause.

The second case, Wisconsin’s Wolf v. Walker, will be heard at approximately 9:50 a.m. In that case, Federal District Judge Barbara B. Crabb found that Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In keeping with the Seventh Circuit’s normal practice, the names of the three judges on the panel won’t be released until 9:00 a.m. You can see a complete rundown of the two cases, along with links to supporting and opposing briefs, here.

Tempe

Voters To Decide On Gay/Trans Discrimination Ban: Tempe, AZ. The Tempe City Council has proposed a proposed amendment to the city charter on the ballot that would prohibit the city from discrimination on the basis of “on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, familial status, age, political affiliation, disability or United States military veteran status.” Proposition 475 would extend bound city government to the same standards already set by a city ordinance which bans discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Today’s vote is taking place as part of the Arizona primary. Tempe residents can find their local polling place here. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, May 1972, page 13.

From David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, May 1972, page 13.

Even as far back as 1954, Miami’s Cactus Lounge on Biscayne Blvd, was already known as Miami’s oldest gay bar. Yet somehow it escaped being mentioned in the local newspapers whenever bars were raided along Miami’s “Powder Puff Lane.” The Cactus Lounge survived all of that and latest all the way up until 2004, when development finally accomplished what Miami’s mayors couldn’t do: shutter the bar permanently. The bar was torn down and replaced with a row of upscale condos, which themselves are conveniently located across the street from a Bentley dealership.

Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz

Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz

TODAY IN HISTORY:
 60 YEARS AGO: Miami Mayor Calls for Anti-Gay Crackdown: 1954. As pressure mounted in the press over the growing anti-gay hysteria that had swept the Miami area following the murder of an Eastern Airlines flight attendant (see Aug 3, Aug 11, Aug 12, Aug 13 (twice that day), Aug 14, Aug 15, and Aug 16), Mayor Abe Aronovitz seized the moment when city manager E.A. Evans and police chief Walter Headley were both out of town on vacation to blast them for “coddling homosexuals” in the city.

Headley had already been singled out by the city’s newspapers for his policy of allowing gay bars to operate in Miami proper “so police can watch them” (see Aug 16). That policy earned the him the praises of ONE magazine, the nation’s first nationally-distributed magazine. ONE’s public endorsement of Headly’s policies was more proof to the city’s papers that Headley’s tolerance of “Powder Puff Lane” was a “civic disgrace.”

By mid August, the papers were calling for the firing of Evans and Headley, and Florida’s acting Governor Charley Johns was threatening to intervene personally. Aronovitz decided he needed to respond to the growing political crisis. He told the papers that he would give Evans just one week from the time he returns from vacation to “clean out certain pervert nests in Miami proper.” Criticizing the police chief’s more lenient policies, Aromovitz added, “I firmly believe it is a disgrace to have a place on Biscayne Boulevard whose business caters to the disturbed mind which enjoys seeing a bunch of fairies perform where the sky seems the limit.”

Richard Tafel and Sen. Dole: He’s just not that into you.

GOP Presidential Nominee Bob Dole Returns Donation from Log Cabin Republicans: 1995. Richard L. Tafel, president of LCR, received a letter from John A. Moran, the finance director for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bob Dole. The letter read: “Per our discussion, I am attaching a list of upcoming Dole for President fund-raising events. Senator Dole and I would appreciate any assistance you could give us in turning out your members at each event. I am looking forward to working with you. With all good wishes. Cordially, John.” The letter seemed to vindicate Tafel’s hard work in getting LCR recognized as a valuable partner in electing a Republican to unseat President Bill Clinton. With Dole, Tafel thought he had someone he could work with. Campaign officials were soliciting his support, and he prominently wore a Log Cabin lapel button as he discussed AIDS police with Sen. Dole during a fundraiser.

And so Tafel donated $1,000 to the Dole campaign to support his quest for the Republican nomination. But after a devastating showing at the Iowa Straw Poll — Dole was expected to win handily, but ended up tying with his arch-conservative rival Texas Sen. Phil Gramm — Dole’s front-runner status in the Republican field looked to be in jeopardy. And so in August, the Dole campaign decided to tack right, hard. And as part of that direction, they publicly returned LCR’s donation. Tafel was furious, and made Moran’s letter available to the New York Times. Nelson Warfield, Dole’s spokesman, said they the only reason they accepted the money in the first place was because of “a financial screw up.” He also accused the LCR of making the donation for publicity, saying, “They’re struggling for credibility.” Dole himself tried to appear insulated from his own campaign’s actions, telling ABC News, “I don’t agree with (LCR’s) agenda — I assume that’s why it was returned.” Campaign manager Scott Reed put the donation in a broader context: “We need to be seen as a consistent conservative — and we will be that.”

Dole captured the GOP nomination after his hard turn to the right, but this episode exposed the growing fissure between the party’s conservative and moderate wings. Critics asked why Dole’s campaign returned LCR’s donation “for ideological reasons” — the campaign had acknowledged that the action was the first take solely for that reason — but kept other donations from, for example, Hollywood producers who Dole sharply criticized three months earlier. Rep Steve Gunderson, (R-WI), then the only openly gay GOP Congressman, issued a letter to Dole asking, “Are you rejecting support of anyone who happens to be gay? If this is so, do you intend to now reject my support and request those on your staff who happen to be gay to resign?”

As the weeks wore on, the the issue died in the press, the internecine battles threatened to drive moderates from the party. On October 18, just as his campaign staff had hoped the furor was safely behind them, Dole reignited the controversy again when he publicly reversed the decision. One unnamed Republican said to be close to Dole told The New York Times that the campaign had acted without Dole’s knowledge in returning the check. “Dole absolutely opposed giving it back,” he said. “He was angry about it. The campaign did it without checking with him.” But now it was the conservative wing’s turn to be angry. Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research Council, warned, “When a politician takes money from a group, he or she legitimizes that group’s agenda.” His rivals for the GOP nomination said that the reversal showed that Dole “lacked conviction.” Dole ended up winning the GOP nomination, but his support from the conservative win was lackluster during the general election campaign as President Bill Clinton won his bid for a second term.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
 110 YEARS AGO: Christopher Isherwood: 1904-1986. Born in North West England to a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army, young Christopher moved around a lot as his father was stationed in various towns around England. But after his father was killed in the First World War, Christopher and his mother and brother settled at Wyberslegh. As Christopher grew to adulthood, his life appeared to have taken on some of the wanderings of his father: He studied at Cambridge, but dropped out in 1925. He studied medicine at King’s College London in 1928, but left in 1929 when he followed a friend to Berlin. There, he discovered the thriving gay scene in the Wiemar Republic, and Isherwood thrived there. He had done some writing in England, but in Germany he came into contact with several other writers, including E.M.Forster who became his mentor.

Isherwood wrote several novels throughout the 1930′s, including The Memorial and a collection of shorter novels which were later released as The Berlin Stories. When the Nazis came to power, Isherwood and his German lover moved to Copenhagen. After his lover returned to Germany for a brief visit in 1937 and was arrested as a draft dodger and for committing “reciprocal onanism,” Isherwood and his writing partner, W. H. Auden, traveled to China to collect material for a book they were working on, and stopped in New York on their way back to Britain. That’s when they decided to emigrate to the U.S. Auden remained in New York, while Isherwood took off for Hollywood.

On Valentine’s day at the age of 48, he met nineteen-year-old Don Bachardy (see May 18), and the two of them began a partnership that lasted until the end of Isherwood’s life. The differences in ages raised quite a few eyebrows among their circle of friends. They had their differences and difficulties, including separations and affairs, but in the end they remained devoted to each other. Their relationship provided material for 1964′s A Single Man, which Isherwood wrote during one of the couple’s periods of difficulty. Bachardy recalled later, “I was making a lot of trouble and wondering if I shouldn’t be on my own. Chris was going through a very difficult period (as well). So he killed off my character, Jim, in the book and imagined what his life would be without me.” The novel is not just a classic in the cannon of gay literature, but one of the great novels of the 20th century, and it became an award-winning film under the direction of Tom Ford in 2009. Isherwood died in 1986 of prostate cancer. Bachardy still lives in the home they shared in Santa Monica, California. The 2007 documentary Chris & Don. A Love Story recounts their lives together.

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 Monday, August 25

Jim Burroway

August 25th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Arizona Gay News October 5, 1978, page 14.

From Arizona Gay News October 5, 1978, page 14.

As a rule, I try to avoid posting an ad from the same city on two consecutive days, but this one was worth mentioning after yesterday’s post which touched on a terrible rash of anti-gay violence taking place in Phoenix in 1978, amid national anti-gay acrimony being stirred up by various anti-gay political campaigns inspired by Anita Bryant and the contentious debate over the Briggs Amendment that was just then taking place across Arizona’s western border in California. At least three serious anti-gay assaults had taken place in Phoenix in late July, and a gay bar hosted a fundraiser to cover some of the medical costs facing a 22-year-old gay man who was assaulted while leaving the 307 bar. Any hopes at that fundraiser that the spate of violence had come to an end were quickly dashed, as the Tucson-based Arizona Gay News reported on August 25:

Double Killing on Phoenix

Two men were found shot to death in the parking lot of a Phoenix gay bar. At presstime, it was not known whether either man’s death was gay oriented. Phoenix detective Mike Grant said the unidentified men were found dead early Monday morning at the edge of the parking area outside the 307 Lounge.

An officer checking a report of shots in the area found the bodies. The officer had seen a man running, followed, and discovered the bodies. Investigators said the running man had no apparent connection with the slayings. Police were using fingerprints in an attempt to identify the bodies.

I’ve not been able to find any further follow-up information on those murders.

It was not immediately obvious how the bar, located at 222 E. Roosevelt Street in downtown Phoenix got to be named the 3-0-7. It turns out that its original location was apparently located down the block at 307 E. Roosevelt before that section of the street was widened and the original bar closed down. Mark Suever tracked down some of the bar’s origins:

When S.W. Hubbard purchased it, the name was “Roy’s 307 Buffet”. Phone directories from the late 40′s and 50′s listed it as just “Three-O-Seven Buffet“, later it was changed to “Hubbard’s Three-O-Seven”. The name was changed once more to Palmer’s 307 when it was purchased by Palmer E. Ganske. In 1981 Ganske sold the bar for $40,000 to Jerry L. Graham, dba Little Jim’s 307. Little Jim’s was a gay bar chain that included Little Jim’s Chicago and another one in Florida.

The 3-0-7 was Phoenix’s oldest gay bar when it finally closed in 2000, with a reputation as being something of a gay bar as far back as the 1940s. In the sixties and seventies, the entire neighborhood was known for its hustlers and rough trade. When the bar finally closed in 2000, the owner’s told the Phoenix New Times that they would be opening back up in a new, larger location on North Central near two other popular gay bars. Plans were for the new location included operating as an after-hours club with a restaurant located next door. But for whatever reason those plans never came to fruition, and the 3-0-7 wound up being closed for good. The building on Roosevelt was later done-up nicely where it is now home to an artsy boutique and gallery.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Leonard Bernstein: 1918-1990. When he died only five days after announcing his retirement in 1990, the New York Times lionized him as “one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history.” He became instantly famous in 1943 when he stepped in at the last minute — unrehearsed — to conduct the New York Philharmonic when conductor Bruno Walter fell ill. That concert at Carnegie Hall was nationally broadcast, and it led to guest conductor engagements around the country. In 1947 he conducted a complete Boston Symphony concert in Carnegie Hall, the first time that orchestra had allowed a guest to do so in 22 years. In 1953 he became the first American-born conductor to conduct an opera at Milan’s famed La Scala. When he was named the New York Philharmonic’s musical director in 1958, he became the youngest person to fill that role in the orchestra’s history.

Bernstein was also the first conductor to give numerous television lectures on classical music, starting in 1954, continuing until his death. Meanwhile, he also achieved popular success with his many compositions, including three symphonies, ballets and operas; his Mass; and music for such Broadway hits as Candide, On the Town, and most famously, West Side Story.

Bernstein conducting the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, 1970.

Bernstein was known for both his punishing schedule and his highly animated conducting style. One legendary story has it that at his first rehearsal as guest conductor for the St. Louis Symphony, his initial downbeat was so dramatic that the startled musicians simply stared in amazement and made no sound. In 1982 Bernstein fell off the podium while conducting the Houston Symphony, and he did it again in 1984 while leading the Vienna Philharmonic in Chicago.

Bernstein married Chilean actress Felicia Montealegre Cohn in 1951. and although they had three children, the marriage didn’t seem to fool anyone. It did somehow last some 25 years before embarking on a kind of a “trial separation” where they continued to appear together at his performances. She died in 1978. Bernstein’s homosexuality, often rumored throughout his life, became public knowledge with the 1987 publication of Joan Peyser’s Bernstein: A Biography. Arthur Laurents, Bernstein’s collaborator in West Side Story, said simply that Bernstein was “a gay man who got married. He wasn’t conflicted about it at all. He was just gay.”

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 Sunday, August 24

Jim Burroway

August 24th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Chico, CA; Columbia, MO; Cornwall, UK; Derry/Londonderry, UK; Erie, PA; Galway, Ireland; Kassel, Germany; Lansing, MI; Manchester, UK; Mocton, NB; Norfolk, VA; Salem, OR; Sligo, Ireland; Stockton, CA; Toledo, OH; Torquay, UK; Ventura, CA; Waterloo, IA.

Other Events This Weekend: Big Bear Adventure Weekend, Big Bear Lake, CA; Michigan March to the Capital, Lansing, MI; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; AIDS Red Ribbon Ride, Rochester, NY; Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver, BC.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Arizona Gay News, August 18, 1978, page 3.

From Arizona Gay News, August 18, 1978, page 3.

Homosexuality was very much in the news in 1978, thanks to the numerous Anita Bryant-inspired political hate campaigns taking place in several cities across America and the contentious Briggs Amendment that was being hotly debated in California. A number of cities, like Phoenix, saw a terrible spike in anti-gay violence. On August 7, Tucson-based Arizona Gay News reported on three separate incidents in late July:

The most serious of the three occurred late last Thursday night, July 27. Blain Henderson, 22, was leaving the 3-0-7 Bar by the side door when he was accosted by three people who took his wallet and demanded his automobile keys. Henderson refused to give up his keys and, while two of the men ran away, the third produced a small caliber revolver and shot Henderson. The bullet entered through the cheek bone, into the left eye, and lodged in the right eye with some splinters lodging in the brain. At presstime, Henderson was in critical condition in intensive care. Hospital spokespersons contacted late Tuesday appeared optimistic concerning Henderson’s recovery, although it is anticipated that, because of the eye damage, he will be permanently blinded. It is two early to speculate about possible brain damage.

On August 18, Arizona Gay News followed up with news of the fundraiser:

As reported in the August 7 issue of AGN, a member of the Phoenix gay community was assaulted, robbed and shot in the parking lot of a local Phoenix bar. Still under a doctor’s car and with almost positive loss of sight in both eyes, Blaine Henderson is recovering at the home of his brother and sister-in-law.

…Mr. Henderson is able to converse and visit with friends, but from all indications, he will require “lifetime care,” according to Phyllis Nest, who helped stage a benefit for Henderson and two other men injured the same week. … The Connection and the Doug Cooper Show will be holding a benefit dance and show for Blaine Henderson, Thursday, August 24 beginning at 8:00 p.m. and lasting until midnight. These benefits are being held to help defray the astronomical medical costs that are being accrued by Blaine. Dale Williams, popular owner of the Connection, is making the first donation of $100.

In better times, The Connection was known for hosting the “County Fair” in its parking lot over Memorial Day weekend. They also hosted an annual summer Luau, with the entire parking lot filled with sand to create a kind of a beach scene. Grace Jones reportedly performed at one of the Luaus. THe levi/leather bar later opened a leather disco next door called Der Druck, with a Kenworth cab next to the dance floor. The owner died of AIDS in 1988, and the businesses closed soon after. The whole thing today is now a parking lot across the street from the troubled VA hospital that has been so much in the news lately.

We’re here…

TODAY IN HISTORY:
New York Times’s “Homosexuals In Revolt”: 1970. On June 28, 1969, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn erupted in revolt when New York City police tried to raid the bar. The New York Times, the city’s newspaper of record, barely covered the story, burying a few paragraphs on page 33 with the headline “4 Policemen Hurt in ‘Village’ Raid.” But more than a year later, the Grey Lady finally found that the explosion of new gay organizations, along with the successful Gay Pride march and a large gathering in Central Park marking the one-year anniversary of Stonewall a few months earlier, was all too much to ignore. And so on August 24, 1970, the Times printed an exhaustive and (for 1970) relatively balanced exploration of the dynamic shifts that had just occurred within the gay community over the past year, namely its new-found pride and emerging sense of self worth. Of course, not everyone thought those developments were positive:

This new attitude has its critics, both among “straights” and among homosexuals. Many doctors believe that, while homosexuals have full legal rights, “gay” is not necessarily “good.” Dr. Lionel Ovesey, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, said: “Homosexuality is a psychiatric or emotional illness. I think it’s a good thing if someone can be cured of it because it’s so difficult for a homosexual to find happiness in our society. It’s possible that this movement could consolidate the illness in some people, especially among young people who are still teetering on the brink.”

Having gotten that out of the way, the rest of the Times article focused mainly on the the emergence of a new attitude and commitment to equality among younger people, in contrast to the timidity that was still common among the older generation. The youth, who were organizing gay advocacy and social groups at an astonishing pace across the country, were inspired particularly by the African-American civil rights movement as well as the women’s movement:

“We are all fighting for equal rights as human beings,” explained (New York Mattachine Society president Michael) Kotis, who had a picture of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. above his desk in the society’s cramped offices on West End Avenue. “The philosophical ideals on which this country was founded have yet to be realized. We owe a great debt to the blacks — they were the pioneers.”

But Gays and lesbians were up against a lot of history. They were also up against a lot of internalized shame and guilt — even among some of the brave new activists:

“The first job we have to do is to decondition ourselves, to undo that self-contempt we have,” said Don Kilhefner, a graduate student who started a Gay Liberation branch at the University of California at Los Angeles. “We’ve gone through the same kind of conditioning blacks have gone through. We believe the myth society tells about us, consciously or unconsciously.”

“Homosexuality is not an illness; it’s a way of expressing love for someone of the same sex, and any form of love is beautiful and valid,” said Karla, a leader of the Lavender Menace, a lesbian organization in New York, who would not give her full name.

The article went on to discuss some of the discrimination that gay people face, particularly in employment where people were routinely fired if their employers found out they were gay:

As a result, people like Karla, despite her devotion to the movement, are still afraid. “I still face the possibility that I might have to make it in the ‘straight’ world,” she said, in explaining why she would not give her full name. “And there are a lot of things you still can’t do if they know you’re ‘gay’.” In answer to these problems, “gay” organizations provide legal counsel, offer advice on job hunting, and lobby for legislative reforms.

There is much that feels antiquated about this article more than forty years later, but there is also much that feels familiar, particularly the tensions between the more established gay rights groups who feared pushing too hard and provoking a backlash (and who, quite visibly in this article, called themselves “homosexuals”), and the younger, more active members of the community who were impatient for change and were more willing to take their complaints to the street — and to proclaim themselves gay:

There are sharp disagreements within the homosexual community. People such as Michael Brown of Gay Liberation in New York identify with a broader radical movement. “The older groups are oriented toward getting accepted by the Establishment,” he said, “but what the Establishment has to offer is not worth my time. …”

On the other side are organizations such as the Tangent Group in Los Angeles, headed by a brisk, middle aged man named Don Slater (see Aug 21). He agreed that homosexuals should have pride in themselves, but he added: “People should stop thinking of homosexuals as a class. They’re not. We have spent 20 years convincing people that homosexuals are no different than anyone else, and here these kids come along and reinforce what society’s thought all along — that they’re ‘queer.’ ‘Gay’ is good! To hell with that. Individuals are good.”

The parameters of the argument have changed quite a bit in the past forty years, but the fundamental discussion continues: assimilation vs. queer identity, the establishment vs. the grassroots, Gay, Inc. vs. Act-Up. Some things may never change.

Site of the Klan's bookstore in Pasadena, TX. (via Flicker)

Site of the Klan’s bookstore in Pasadena, TX. (via Flicker)

Houston Klan: “We Endorse and Seek the Execution of All Homosexuals”: 1977. Politicians in modern-day Uganda have much in common with Houston’s Ku Klux Klan members in 1977. The Star, a gay paper in Houston, reported that the phone answering machine message for the Klan’s bookstore in the Houston suburb of Pasadena said, in part:

The Ku Klux Klan is not embarrassed to admit that we endorse and seek the execution of all homosexuals. While many church people are duped by their brain-washed, pinky-panty preachers into believing that we should merely pray for the homosexuals, we find that we must endorse and support the law of God, which calls for the death penalty for homosexuals. … Not only have we seen the establishment of homosexual churches in our once unblemished land, but at least two major denominations have actually ordained homosexuals into the ministry.

The Ku Klux Klan does not have to rely on the feelings or thoughts of man, nor do we need to experience a dialogue with some Jewish Psychiacrist or rabbi who is mentally warped anyway. We rely on the age-proven and reliable law of God. …The law on homosexuality states: “That if a man also lie with mankind as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination, and shall be put to death” (Leviticus 20:13). … It is not our intention to but this matter up to a discussion or debate the matter or start a dialogue with a committee of queers as to their rights of sexual freedom. The law of God states the death penalty for homosexuals, and when God’s laws are again enforced, the death penalty is what it will be.”

[Source: The Star, as quoted in "'We endorse and seek the execution of all homosexuals' -- KKK." Arizona Gay News (September 16, 1977): 2.]

Canada’s Largest Protestant Church Accepts Gay Ordination: 1988. The governing council of the United Church of Canada voted at a meeting in Victoria, British Columbia, to allow gay men and women to be ordained into the clergy. The church, which was formed in 1925 from a merger of Canada’s Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches, decreed: “All persons regardless of their sexual orientation, who profess faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to Him, are welcome to be or become members of the United Church. All members of the church are eligible to be considered for the ministry.”

The 205-160 vote followed months of heated debate, during which a quarter of the church’s ministers and 30,000 of its 860,000 members signed a declaration opposing the move. Over the next four years, membership fell by 78,000 as some congregations split and a few others left the denomination altogether.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Chuck Rowland: 1917-1990. His tiny hometown of Gary, South Dakota, straddling the state line with Minnesota, may have been off the beaten path, but the town’s only newsstand was located in his father’s drugstore, providing young Chuck with a window to a much larger world. He vividly remembered that day when he snatched a copy of Sexology magazine, a small quasi-scientific magazine about the size of a Reader’s Digest, and read “that if one was homosexual, he shouldn’t feel strange or odd, that there were millions of us, that there was nothing wrong with it.” Rowland knew from the time he was ten years old that he was gay, when he fell in love with another boy. “As soon as I read that there were millions of us, I said to myself, well, it’s perfectly obvious that what we have to do is organize, and why don’t we identify with other minorities, such as the blacks and the Jews? I had never known a black, but I did know one Jew in our town. Obviously, it had to be an organization that worked with other minorities, so we would wield tremendous strength.” Organizing would become Rowland’s greatest contribution to the early gay rights movement.

In the late 1930s, Rowland went to the University of Minnesota where he met Bob Hull (see May 31), and the two became lovers, briefly, and then lifelong friends. Rowland was drafted into the Army, but thanks to a severe injury he stayed stateside and, “frankly, I had a ball.” After his discharge in 1946, he became an organizer for the New York-based American Veterans Committee, a liberal veterans group. Rowland also became friends with a young man whose parents had been Communists. Rowland decided to join the Communist Party and became head of a youth group called the American Youth for Democracy in the Dakotas and Minnesota. He left in 1948, “not because I disagreed with anything, but because I just wanted out. Joining the Communist Party is very much like joining a monastery or becoming a priest. It is total dedication, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.”

That year, Rowland moved to Los Angeles to start a new life. Hull soon followed and the two of them met Harry Hay (see Apr 7), who was already kicking around with the idea of starting an organization for homosexuals. Rowland and Hull, along with Dale Jennings (see Oct 21), met with Hay and Hay’s lover, Rudi Gernreich (see Aug 8), and in November of 1950 they formed what would become the Mattachine Foundation (see Nov 11). Rowland’s organizational skills to be an important asset to the fledgling group. Given the fearful political climate of the McCarthy era, Mattachine meetings were held in secret, with members using aliases and the leadership known only as “The Fifth Order.” Taking a cue from the Communist party, each discussion group or chapter was operated autonomously with loose coordination, so that if police were to raid and arrest the members of one chapter, it wouldn’t endanger the others.

That worked for a while. But by 1953, Mattachine had grown to over 2,000 members, thanks in part to the publicity over Dale Jennings’s acquittal of trumped up charges for soliciting a police officer (see Jun 23). Mattachine raised its profile during the trial: raising money, hiring a lawyer, and generating quite a bit of publicity along the way. But the flood of new members brought pressure to change the Foundation. In particular, they demanded the secrecy surrounding the leadership’s identities be abandoned and the organization cleared of Communists. Many of them also demanded that the Foundation become less “activist,” an ironic stance given that Mattachine’s activism in the Jennings case was what made the newer members aware of the organization in the first place.

The group also split over a far more fundamental disagreement: over the nature of homosexuality itself. Were they a distinct cultural minority seeking recognition, or were they exactly like heterosexuals in every way except one? The latter “integrationist” model was sought by many (though certainly not all) of the more “conservative” members, who also demanded transparency, the ejection of former Communists, and a non-confrontational approach to public activism. A Constitutional Convention was called to try to reconcile the many emerging fault lines and come up with a new organizational structure that everyone could agree on (see Apr 11). Rowland gave a speech which blasted through the wall of secrecy of the group’s leadership. “You will want to know something about the beginnings of the Mattachine Society, how the Fifth Order happened to be. … I think it is reasonable that you should ask this and important that you understand it,” he said. He then introduced the leadership to the rank-and-file. That satisfied one of the conservatives’ demands. But he also declared his unwavering belief that homosexuals were a unique, valuable segment of society, and if they could only see themselves as such, and with pride, only then could they effect change in society. “The time will come when we will march arm in arm, ten abreast down Hollywood Boulevard proclaiming our pride in our homosexuality.” The newer members found that idea far too radical and confrontational — and downright “communistic.”

Rowland proposed a new constitution, organizing the Mattachine Foundation as a group of autonomous clubs governed by a committee and an annual convention. His draft constitution was rejected and the convention decided to suspend its meeting due to a lack of consensus. During a second meeting called for May, Rowland, Hull and Hay resigned their leadership positions, the remaining members declared the Mattachine Foundation disbanded, and announced the formation of the newly reconstituted Mattachine Society with a centralized organizational structure and a disavowal of activism.

Rowland tried to remain active in the new Society, in a chapter that was intended to take on legal cases. But an attorney for the new Society charged that “the very existence of a Legal Chapter, if publicized to society at large, would intimidate and anger heterosexual society.” At the next convention in November, Rowland’s chapter was shut down, Rowland himself was branded a Communist, his credentials were revoked and he was out of the group.

Meanwhile, a group of disaffected Mattachine members had founded ONE, Inc. (see Oct 15), which was originally formed solely to publish ONE magazine, but which found itself fielding questions and requests for help from gay men and women who were showing up at its tiny Los Angeles office. Rowland became director of ONE’s social services division, providing job placement and counseling services for nearly 100 people in 1955 alone. The following year, Rowland decided to found a church, the Church of One Brotherhood, using the name he lifted from ONE. The church launched a burst of activity in social work, activism and advocacy before flaming out in 1958.

Soon after, Rowland began suffering from alcoholism, had a nervous breakdown, saw a business partnership go belly-up, went into debt, and was evicted from his home. When Hull committed suicide in 1962, Rowland decided it was time to start over. He moved to Iowa where he somehow managed to become a high school teacher. He then earned his master’s degree in theater in 1968 and chaired a theater arts department at a Minnesota college. On retiring in 1982, Rowland returned to Los Angeles to form Celebration Theatre, “the only theatre in Los Angeles dedicated exclusively to productions of gay and lesbian plays.”

In March of 1990, Rowland was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. He moved to Duluth, into an apartment donated by a former student, and spent the remainder of his days among students and relatives. He died on December 20, 1990.

Stephen Fry: 1957. Fry never really had an official coming out moment in his professional life. When he was asked when he first acknowledged his sexuality, Fry joked, “I suppose it all began when I came out of the womb. I looked back up at my mother and thought to myself: ‘That’s the last time I’m going up one of those.’” His early interests included being expelled from two schools and spending three months in prison for credit card fraud. But once he got that behind him, he earned a scholarship to Queen’s College at Cambridge where he was awarded a degree in English literature. While at Cambridge, he joined the Cambridge Footlights, an amateur theatrical club, where he met his best friend and comedy co-conspirator Hugh Laurie.

After a Cambridge Footlights Review in which Fry appeared was broadcast on television in 1982, Fry and Laurie were signed to two comedy series for Granada Television. In 1983, the duo moved to the BBC. Their first show, a science fiction mocumentary, flopped and was cancelled after only one episode. Their next project, the sketch comedy A Bit of Fry & Laurie, was considerably more successful, running for four seasons between 1986 and 1995. Fry also appeared in several episodes of Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder series.

Beginning in 1992, Fry began appearing in several BBC dramas, and in in 2005 he added documentaries to his many projects. He explored his bipolar disorder in the Emmy Award-winning Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive in 2006, and that same year he delved into his genealogy in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? His six part 2008 series Stephen Fry in America had him travelling through all fifty states, mostly in a London Cab. His film credits include portraying Oscar Wilde — a role he said he was born to play — in 1997′s critically acclaimed Wilde. He made his directorial debut in 2003′s Bright Young Things, and he provided the voice for the Cheshire Cat in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

Fry’s interests seems to know no bounds. He’s appeared in London’s West End, published four novels and several non-fiction works, sits on the board of directors of the Norwich City Football Club, and is an active blogger podcaster, vlogger, and Twitterer. (One stray Fry tweet linking to BTB resulted in the highest single-hour traffic in the web site’s history.) He flies his own biplane, and is a member of the Noel Coward Society, the Oscar Wilde Society, the Sherlock Holmes Society — and he was was voted pipe-smoker of the year in 2003.

He is also an advocate for mental health, based on his own struggles with bipolar disorder and thoughts of suicide. In 2013, he revealed that while filming abroad for a BBC documentary, “I took a huge number of pills and a huge [amount] of vodka.” The mixture made him convulse so much that he broke four ribs. “It was a close-run thing,” he said. “Fortunately, the producer I was filming with at the time came into the hotel room and I was found in a sort of unconscious state and taken back to England and looked after.”

That documentary Fry was filming, “Stephen Fry: Out There” aired on BBC 2 in November 2013, and it featured him confronting anti-gay campaigners in Russia, Uganda and elsewhere around the world, as well as ex-gay movement leaders in the United States. It’s been posted on YouTube, although there’s no telling how long it will stay there.

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?

Older Posts