May 22nd, 2013
Mitch was one of a few openly gay candidates for District 13 – which includes Hollywood, Silverlake, and Atwater Village – and came first in the primary before winning last night with 53% of the vote. He brought together a wide selection of residents to beat John Choi, who moved into the district just to run and who vastly outspent Mitch with a special interest funded warchest.
Congratulations, Mitch, and I wish you a successful term.
How To Spot A Swivel-Eyed Loon
May 22nd, 2013
Habitat: Generally to be found lurking in the grass roots, especially near local Conservative associations and seaside shopping precincts in the home counties and the south-west. Due to loss of habitat, however, they are increasingly sighted across England, going door to door for Ukip. Extinct in Scotland. (UKIP is the UK Independence Party, an anti-immigrant and euroskeptic party which, according to opinion polls, is now tied with the Conservatives). …
Behaviour in the wild: Antic, with eyes that gyrate as if on swivels. Extremely vocal at this time of year, with a shrill cry, generally a long-winded lament about Britain going to hell in a handcart thanks to immigrants, the aggressive gay community, gay immigrants, out-of-touch ministers, urban metrosexual elites and Europe. Also rails against political correctness, while simultaneously getting offended by the term “swivel-eyed loon”.
Behaviour in captivity: Tame, with a fixed smile and a steady gaze. Call reduced to soft, seemingly reasonable warble. Will patiently explain that hatred of immigrants is nothing to do with racism, nor does a firm stand against gay marriage constitute prejudice. Insists that restoring the economy by slashing public services and killing off growth should take priority over basic equality, for ever.
British Prime Minister David Cameron got into hot water over the weekend when it was reported that an un-named senior member of the government called Conservative grass-roots activists “swivel-eyed loons” over their increasingly strident anti-immigrant and anti-gay stances. With those reports coming just ahead of yesterday’s vote on a marriage equality bill, which, when combined with last week’s refusal by the ruling coalition to call a referendum in remaining in the European Union, are leaving party loyalists openly criticizing their party leader for opening a fracture between the Government and the party’s grass roots.
House of Commons officially passes marriage equality
May 21st, 2013
The House of Commons has now passed the third reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by a vote of 366 to 161.
Altogether 133 Tories opposed the bill, along with 15 Labour MPs, four Lib Dems, eight Democratic Unionists and an independent.
So even after all the hand-wringing and fury about Prime Minister Cameron “betraying” the Conservative Party, less than half of the Tories voted in opposition to the bill.
Now it moves to the House of Lords. Expect some rather wacky statements.
British Commons Approves Marriage Equality Bill
May 21st, 2013
In the end, it was Labour who saved the day for marriage equality — and for Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, whose party turned against him in the final vote on the same-sex marriage bill in Commons today. The vote wasn’t close — 366 to 161 — but the Tory vote went against their own party leader, 117-133. Already, British papers are talking about a considerably weakened Prime Minister, who was already playing defense after an associate characterized disgruntled Euro-skeptics and social conservatives in the party as “swivel-eyed loons.” (Nobody does political rhetoric like the British.)
The bill now goes to the House of Lords, where efforts to kill it are expected to continue. If it does manage to survive the upper House, marriage equality may arrive in England and Wales as early as the summer of 2014.
Email address of Attorney General prosecuting 18 year old Florida lesbian
May 21st, 2013
You may have heard of the 18 year old Florida senior facing criminal charges arising from a consensual relationship with her 15 year old freshman girlfriend. The Change.org petition is wildly popular.
For those of you inclined to voice your displeasure directly, Bruce Colton the Indian River County State Attorney can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Update by Jim B (5/21): This post is being updated to further explain what happened. Kaitlyn Hunt, now 18, began a relationship with another girl while she was seventeen and the younger girl was fourteen, which was legal under Florida law. When Hunt turned 18, she then became an adult. But according to this article, it looks as though Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” law should have covered this. The stickler is that the younger girl’s parents say the relationship wasn’t consensual, while Hunt’s parents say that the two groups of parents had met when Hunt was still 17, and that both sets of parents knew about the relationship.
Will Illinois Be #13?
May 20th, 2013
That’s what this report from Windy City Times suggests:
Sponsors have until May 31 to pass the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act,” which would allow all couples, regardless of their gender, to marry. Failing that deadline, the bill’s passage would be delayed for months. LGBT groups pushing for the bill say they are ready to see it come up for a vote.
“I have absolutely no doubt we’re going to be done with this by May 31,” said Jim Bennett, Midwest regional director for Lambda Legal. “I believe that this bill is going to pass.”
Bennett declined to give a specific vote count, but said that he expected the bill could be called and passed any day. Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda, said he thinks the bill has the 60 votes needed for passage in the House.
The Illinois Senate passed the bill on Valentine’s Day in a 34-21 vote, but the House’s chief Sponsor Greg Harris has held off calling for a vote until there are enough votes to pass it. Gov. Pat Quinn has said that he will sign the bill into law.
French President Hollande Signs Marriage Bill
May 18th, 2013
One day after the Constitutional Council declared that the marriage equality and adoption bill passed constitutional muster, French President François Hollande has signed the bill into law. This makes France the fourteenth nation worldwide and the ninth in Europe to legalize same-sex marriage. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said the first same-sex marriages could take place as early as June.
In an apparent reference to ongoing sometimes-violent protests against the bill (another major protest is scheduled for May 26 in Paris), Hollande said, “I will ensure that the law applies across the whole territory, in full, and I will not accept any disruption of these marriages.”
Fox News Ignores Marriage Equality Wins
May 17th, 2013
In just one two-week span, three states — Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota — have approved marriage equality. But the “fair and balanced” Fox News only devoted one minute of coverage for Rhode Island and Minnesota combined, and ignored Delaware altogether. But on the day before Rhode Island’s vote, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly devoted more than three minutes to a speech by an obscure Russian lesbian journalist who said “it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist.”
Marriage Equality Made This Maryland Legislator Drive Drunk
May 16th, 2013
In August, 2012, Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel), on of Maryland’s more ardent marriage equality foes, got into a boating accident that injured him, two other adults, and four children, and was charged with DUI, Reckless and negligent operation of a vessel, failure to register his boat, and another right-of-way violation. This week, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $1,000. Dyer blames his alcoholism on fellow Delegates who voted to put the marriage equality bill on the ballot:
Dwyer, who separated from his wife of 31 years in late 2011, told the Maryland Gazette in January that then-Del Tiffany Alston (D-Prince George’s County) and two Republican delegates who voted for the same-sex marriage bill contributed to his alcohol abuse.
“That betrayal really affected me,” he said. “I was physically ill. You pour your heart into an issue like that and it’s devastating.”
Dwyer is currently raffling off an AR-15 and an AK-47 assault rifle as a campaign fundraiser.
SYTYCD supports equality
May 16th, 2013
Kudos to the judges of So You Think You Can Dance for supporting Jessie Tyler Ferguson’s Tie The Knot charity, which either supports marriage equality or the wearing of bow ties (it’s kinda hard to tell, but I think it’s both).
It’s probably not a huge risk, as the audience for SYTYCD is probably pretty supportive, but it’s appreciated anyway. And as equality becomes ever more stylish and status quo, the easier it is to point out how treating each other with dignity and respect benefits us all, and how barriers and discrimination eventually leave us outside in bitterness wondering why the world rejected our pretenses of superiority.
(Oh, and Brian Brown, I did NOT call you a bigot. That was the voice inside your head)
There’s a Journal for Everything
May 13th, 2013
Or, there soon will be:
Porn Studies, to be published by Routledge starting in 2014, is described as “the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic and their cultural, economic, historical, institutional, legal and social contexts,” with particular attention to “the intersection of sexuality, gender, race, class, age and ability.”
The journal, edited by two British academics, Feona Attwood and Clarissa Smith, has already inspired some hearty scholarly endorsements. “We have waited a long time for an academic journal that treats the subject of the representation of human sexuality with the seriousness it deserves,” Julie Peakman, a historian at the University of London and the author of “Mighty Lewd Books: The Development of Pornography in 18th-Century England,” said in a statement. “I look forward to a lively and disciplined debate across different disciplines.”
Nevada Assembly Committee Hears Marriage Equality Bill
May 10th, 2013
An effort to rescind Nevada’s voter approve constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and replacing it with a law providing marriage equality began its long, two year process last month when the state Senate voted 12-9 to approve Senate Joint Resolution 13. The resolution then moved to the Assembly, where the Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections held hearings on the bill late yesterday. One new voice in support of the resolution was Michele Fiore (R-Las Vegas), who calls herself a “Tea Party Conservative who sticks to her guns.” She testified for the bill:
“My mom is gay,” Fiore said. “My two daughters and I are not. My mom is a Democrat. My two daughters and I are strong Republicans. I am who I am today, because of the guidance and upbringing of my mom who is gay.”
After three hours of testimony, the committee took no action. It will be brought back again for another working session. If the resolution passes the lower house, it will have to pass both houses again in 2015 before it can be sent to voters.
Illinois Pro-Gay GOP Leader To Resign
May 6th, 2013
Top Illinois Republican leaders are telling reporters that the state’s party chairmain, Pat Brady, will resign tomorrow, effective immediately. The rumored resignation comes two months after Brady survived an attempt to force him out of the state GOP chairmanship over his vocal support for a marriage equality bill that was passed by the state Senate. No reason has been given yet for his resignation, but his wife has reportedly been battling ovarian cancer for the past two years. Brady is also in the process of starting a new public affairs firm. According to The Daily Herald, Brady’s tenure is a microcosm of both state and national Republican politics:
While some leaders say the party needs to be a “big tent” organization that can better attract independent voting women, gay and minority voters unhappy with current Democratic leadership, they find themselves at odds with the more conservative factions of the party, which often dominate primary elections.
Brady, in January, began making public statements in support of same-sex marriage, which runs contrary to the party’s platform defining marriage as between one man and one woman. In doing so, he has had the backing of major party donors, including former Exelon Corp. Chairman John Rowe.
Committeemen in favor of Brady’s removal fault him for not only violating the platform but making the statements without notifying them first. Brady said the party was on the “wrong side of history.”
Minnesota DFL representative Rev. Tim Faust cites religious freedom for his position on marriage bill
May 6th, 2013
Rev. Tim Faust is the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in rural Minnesota. Faust is also the local representative to the Minnesota House. And he’s been one of the DFL (Democratic) reps from a conservative district about which there has been uncertainty as to how he will vote on marriage. His district supported the (failed) anti-gay marriage amendment last year by about 60%.
Now Faust has decided that it is important to consider religious freedom in the upcoming bill: (SeattlePI)
“We have churches that want to bless legal gay marriages. The only way to give them that option is to pass this bill,” Faust said.
So Faust will be siding with religious freedom and supporting equality. I don’t know if Faust’s church will be one that blesses legal gay marriages, but he is affiliated with Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and ELCA gives its member churches that choice.
Movement in Minnesota’s marriage bill
May 6th, 2013
There’s movement today on the Minnesota marriage bill, but it may be movement sideways. The StarTribune is reporting an impromptu committee hearing:
The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to review the legislation Monday. That’s after a state analysis showed a small impact on Minnesota’s general fund.
The analysis by Minnesota’s budget office predicts that if gay marriage becomes legal, 114 state employees would enroll in state benefits for their married partners. That would cost the state about $688,000 a year. But it would be partly offset by about $190,000 from same-sex couples buying marriage licenses.
Minnesota lawmaker chooses integrity
May 3rd, 2013
From CBS Minnesota:
A freshman Democratic state representative from a socially conservative district said Friday that he’d support the bill to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota, a key pickup for supporters as votes on the issue get closer at the Capitol.
Rep. Joe Radinovich, of Crosby, had been undecided. He said he decided more than a decade ago that he personally supports letting same-sex couples legally marry, but was conflicted knowing that many residents of his Brainerd-area district are more skeptical.
“This was not an easy decision, but at the end of the day I’d rather protect my integrity than my job,” Radinovich told The Associated Press. The 27-year-old lawmaker won his seat by just 323 votes last fall.
I believe that by the time he runs again, this vote will likely not cost him. However, we can’t know that so he’s showing courage today. And regardless of the outcome, he gets to hold his head high.
Civil Unions come to Colorado
May 1st, 2013
At Midnight, Anna Sher and Fran Simon became the first couple in Colorado to become civil unioned (civilly unioned?). They were one couple of many that have been waiting for a long time to have the state recognize their relationship and it is a joyous day. Mazel Tov!
Delaware Senate Executive Committee votes on Equality tomorrow
April 30th, 2013
The Delaware Senate Executive Committee will meet on Wednesday, May 1, at 2:30. The only item on the agenda is a vote on House Bill 75, the marriage equality bill. Three of the six committee members are sponsors and another has stated his support for the bill, so it is expected to pass.
Don’t be fooled by pretty talk, NOM opposes ANY rights for same-sex couples
April 30th, 2013
The National Organization for Marriage often pretends that they don’t oppose same-sex couple having some accomodations for their relationship, they just want to defend the definition of marriage. They lie.
As an illustration, today NOMBlog has a commentary about the ruling by the Texas Attorney General that cities and municipalities cannot offer any rights to same-sex couples.
In a six-page opinion, Abbott found that the constitution “prohibits political subdivisions from creating a legal status of domestic partnership and recognizing that status by offering public benefits based upon it.” He said city governments and school districts constitute political subdivisions.
That was a news report about Abbott’s position. But this is what NOM itself had to say:
Patrick is concerned that Texas law states “cities, counties and school districts cannot subvert the will of Texans” but that this is precisely what is happening in those municipalities and school districts which offer same-sex partner benefits.
The petty snideness is hard to miss. Don’t be fooled by the pretty words they use in the press; NOM has never met a lie that they thought was prohibited by the Bible.
Equality to come to Rhode Island on Thursday
April 30th, 2013
The Rhode Island House of Representatives will vote on Thursday to approve the minor changes made to the marriage equality bill by the Senate. Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced that he will sign the bill on Thursday evening at 5:45 PM. Rhode Island will become the tenth Equality State.