The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, May 25

Fire officials ordered the  Everard to install a sprinkler system in 1976. They were installed by May 1977, but they hadn’t been hooked up to a water supply yet when, during the very early hours of Wednesday morning, a mattress fire broke out. Occupants went through several fire extinguishers trying to put out the flames before finally calling the fire department.

By the time firefighters arrived, about 80 to 100 occupants had managed to flee the building, many of them clad only in towels or robes. Others clung to windows awaiting rescue by the more than 200 firefighters who arrived at the scene. Nine customers didn’t make it.. Seven died from smoke inhalation, one from respiratory burns, and one from injuries sustained after jumping from an upper floor.

Identification of the victims was complicated by the fact that many of them had registered under assumed names. Friends wound up identifying them rather than family. They were: Hillman Wesley Adams, 40, South Plains, NJ; Amado Alamo, 17, Manhattan; Anthony Calarco, age unknown, The Bronx; Kenneth Hill, 38, Manhattan; Brian Duffy, 30, address unknown; Patrick Knott, 38, Manhattan; Ira Landau, 32, Manhattan; Yosef Signovec, 30, a Czech refugee whose address was unknown; and James Charles Stuard, 30, Manhattan, who was a well-known DJ at the club 12 West.

George Ames, manager of the Club Baths in Boston, was on the premises when the fire broke out. He told reporters later that the customers remained calm, although “the young employees… were hysterical. … The management at the Everard showed no regard for the customers. They are just a bunch of straight people coining money at the expense of the gay community.” Ames criticized the club for its lack of sprinklers, fire escapes, and emergency lighting. The National Gay Task Force’s Bruce Voeller (May 12) described the Everard as a “shabby, dreadful place, run down and grubby beyond words.” He pointed out that there had been a fire five years earlier, and there was nothing more than a “cosmetic renovation,” of the facility. The only reason the Everard was still popular, he said, was because of its long history and its location in a safe neighborhood.

(Note: This video of the fire erroneously give the year as 1975.)

The fire destroyed the top two floors. They were rebuilt and the Everard reopened in 1979 — this time with sprinklers — only to close again in 1986 during a campaign by New York mayor Ed Koch to close all of the city’s bathhouses in response to the AIDS epidemic.

His roots are in theater, mainly Shakespeare, where he continues to perform in a number of state productions in Britain. But beginning in 1969, he branched out in film and television, covering a wide range of genres from drama (And the Band Played On, Gods and Monsters), to mystery (Six Degrees of Separation, The Da Vinci Code), to action and fantasy (X-Men, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, as Gandolf).

McKellen was among the earliest actors to come out publicly as gay. He came out in 1988 during a BBC interview while discussing the controversial Section 28 of the Local Government Bill, which stated that local governments “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” (see May 24). According to a 2003 interview, McKellen said he visited Environment Secretary Michael Howard (who was responsible for local governments) to lobby against the bill. Howard reaffirmed his approval of Section 28, and in a defining moment of chutzpah, asked McKellen to leave an autograph for Howard’s children. He did. It read, “Fuck off, I’m gay.” McKellen remained politically active and co-founded the British gay-rights group Stonewall in 1989. In 2007, he became a patron of The Albert Kennedy Trust, an organization that provides support to homeless and troubled LGBT youth.

McKellen is properly called Sir Ian McKellen. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1979, was knighted in 1991 for services to the performing arts. He was also named a Companion of Honour for services to drama and to LGBT equality in 2008.

She got her start on the NBC soap opera Another World, where she won a Daytime Emmy in 1991. Appropriate, given that so much of her life reads like a soap opera. She was the daughter of a Baptist choir director who disclosed his homosexuality to his family just before dying of AIDS in 1983. That same year, her brother died in a car accident. Four years later, Heche launched her acting career with Another World as soon as she got out of high school. From there she took a series of roles in television and film, including If These Walls Could Talk (1996), Walking and Talking (1996), Wag the Dog (1997), and I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997).

It was at about that time that Heche began dating comedian Ellen DeGeneres. They had said they would get a civil union if it became legal in Vermont, but they broke up in August, 2000. Just hours after news broke of their relationship ending, she appeared that the rear door of a house in Fresno County wearing nothing by shorts and a bra, asking if she could take a shower. She had curled up on the couch for a nap when sheriff deputies arrived. She told officers that she was “God, and was going to take everyone back to heaven in a spaceship.” She was taken by ambulance to a hospital, but was released a few hours later.

That episode became the stuff of tabloid headlines and served as a turning point in her 2001 memoir Call Me Crazy (which she wrote in only six weeks), where she described the her sexual abuse by her father, and her subsequent emotional problems and drug abuse. Meanwhile, her mother, Nancy Heche capitalized on her daughter’s fame and became an important speaker at ex-gay conferences where she claimed that her prayers “cured” Anne’s lesbianism. Anne, who is bisexual, says that her mother’s campaign is “a way to keep the pain of the truth out.” In 2011, Anne said that she doubted that she would ever reconcile with her mother.

In 2001, Heche married a cameraman who she met during DeGeneres’s 2000 standup comedy tour, and had a son the following year.  They divorced in 2007. That same year, she moved in with actor James Tupper, who was her co-star in the ABC comedy-drama Men in Trees (2006-2008). She had her second son with Tupper in 2009.

KKK Circulates Anti-Trans Flyer In Alabama

Jim Burroway

May 24th, 2016

Residents of Mobile and Dothan, Alabama are finding this flyer left at their homes:


According to the Dothan Eagle:

Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish confirmed the police department had received the report, which was initially being handled by the criminal investigation division (CID). “What you’re dealing with is potentially implications of a hate crime or promoting a hate crime, so we notified the FBI,” Parrish said.

Capt. Will Benny, the supervisor of CID, said a man made a report to the Dothan Police Department on Monday of having received a flier from the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) at his home. Benny said the man, an east Dothan resident, also reported his neighbor had received one too.

…Benny said there was actually no crime committed in the distribution of the flier, which he said also solicited donations from the public. Benny said the KKK flier and report were forwarded to the FBI as intelligence information.

Capt. Stacy Robinson also said the flier was forwarded to the FBI as a precautionary measure. “Obviously any time you get hate-related material there’s a reason to be cautious and to investigate it,” Robinson said.

Mobile’s NBC affiliate also reported flyers in midtown neighborhoods:

This isn’t the first time Mobilians have been given flyers from the “loyal white knights of the KKK,” similar flyers where found on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and KKK flyers handed out at the Trump rally last August.

Donald Trump To Court Anti-Gay Extremists

Jim Burroway

May 24th, 2016

Time magazine has reported that the Trump campaign is actively courting religious and social conservatives as he turns his attention to the fall general election. A meeting has been set for June 21, and invitees represent just about the entire anti-gay brain trust:

The invitation. (Click to enlarge.)

The invitation. (Click to enlarge.)

Former presidential candidate Ben Carson is working with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Bill Dallas, who leads United in Purpose, to plan a closed-door session for about 400 social conservative leaders to meet with Trump in the coming weeks in New York City. A broader steering group of about 20 people includes people like American Values president Gary Bauer, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, and Family Leader president Bob Vander Plaats.

“We are looking for a way forward,” Perkins says. “The main thing here is this is to have a conversation.” He described the planned meeting as “a starting point for many.” The Trump campaign has not publicly confirmed that the meeting will take place.

Other anti-gay activists include Phil Burress (Citizens for Community Values), Ken Cuccinelli, Ronnie Floyd (Southern Baptist Convetion), E.W. Jackson, Harry Jackson, Cindy Jacobs, Joseph Mattera, Penny Nance (Concerned Women for America), Ralph Reed (Faith and Freedom Coalition), Pat Robertson, Rick Scarborough (Vision America), and Tim Wildmon (American Family Association).

Trump’s outreach doesn’t end there:

Trump campaign surrogates are separately organizing a more official faith advisory committee for the candidate, with Mike Huckabee being discussed as a possible national chairman. Televangelist Paula White, a Trump supporter and a senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, have been organizing the group behind-the-scenes with Tim Clinton, president of the 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors, according to several people familiar with the project.

I Thought We Were Done With This…

Jim Burroway

May 24th, 2016

But people and news outlets in San Diego are still talking about the debacle during the Padres’ Saturday night game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, when the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, who were invited to sing the National Anthem, was instead left standing in the middle of the field while the P.A. played a recording of a lone female voice singing the “Star Spangled Banner.” After an anemic response to criticism on Sunday, the Padres finally stepped up to the plate yesterday (see how I used an appropriate sports metaphor there?) and issued a more formal apology, announced a reprimand of one of their employees and the firing of a professional D.J. working the booth, and invited the chorus back to Petco Park for a do-over.

Everybody’s happy, right?  Well, almost.

Also yesterday, DJ ArtForm, who was working the boards that night, went to Facebook to issue his “deepest apologies and sincere regret” for the error: “I have felt the consequences of my mistake as a dream job has dissolved before my eyes which does not take away that I am extremely sorry for the horrible mistake that occurred. I have family members & friends that are a part of the LGBT community and I have always been a supporter of Equal Human Rights, so it pains me greatly to see that I am being accused of acting intentionally. As a former high school and college baseball player, I understand the importance of ensuring equality for all in sports and am appalled by some of the negative, homophobic comments made by fans related to the National Anthem incident.”

So now, the SDGMC has taken to Facebook to ask the Padres to give DJ ArtForm his job back.

We also would like to publicly accept the sincere apology of DJ ARTFORM and recognize his support for the LGBT community and equality for all people. We do not wish to see him lose his job with the San Diego Padres and kindly ask the Padres to reinstate him. Everyone deserves a second chance.

SDGMC also said, ” we applaud the San Diego Padres organization and its chief executive Mike Dee for its ongoing efforts to make something good come out of unfortunate recent events. We have met with Mr. Dee and he has agreed to meet with and work closely with the LGBT community to bring our communities together with constructive, positive change.”

House Dems Promise More LGBT Amendments, GOP Leaders Counter With Rule Change

Jim Burroway

May 24th, 2016

These two stories go hand in hand. Here’s the first:

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

House Democrats will keep trying to force floor votes on the issue of LGBT nondiscrimination after an amendment they offered to a spending bill last week failed when Republicans switched their votes, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday.

“There will be” more amendments, the Maryland Democrat said. “We believe that our country is all about inclusion. We certainly differ from [Donald] Trump on that issue.”

Last week, House GOP leaders broke their own rules to orchestrate the defeat of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)’s amendment restoring President Barack Obama’s executive order requiring federal to maintain anti-discrimination policies covering sexual orientation and gender identity. A clause overturning the order had been inserted into the 2016 Defense Appropriations Bill by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK).

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) had promised to return the House to regular order and to be a stickler about House rules and the vote clock.  but he was convientiently AWOL during these shenanigans. He also didn’t bother to criticize the rule-breaking, saying he knew nothing about what happened. And here is where the second story comes in: Ryan informed his caucus this morning that he’s going to tinker with a key rule that have been in place since the GOP took over the House five years ago:

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Ryan laid out plans at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning to require that members submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides.

The change will not yet be in effect this week for a bill to fund the Energy Department and water infrastructure projects. But lawmakers would have to abide by the requirement, which before now was optional, starting with appropriations bills considered after the Memorial Day recess.

By requiring amendments to be made public in advance, GOP leaders would be able to anticipate difficult votes and figure out a strategy before the last minute. Specifics of the revamped process, such as the deadline for members to file their amendments, haven’t been determined by leadership yet.

… Top Republicans have touted the use of open rules as a return to “regular order” and a way to empower individual members. But it has backfired spectacularly on House Republicans twice in the last year.

The change affects appropriations bills only. On all other bills, the Speaker has discretion in determining which amendments will be considered from the floor.

Charlotte Pulls “Compromise” With State Over HB2

Jim Burroway

May 24th, 2016

Yesterday, the city of Charlotte was scheduled to vote on a proposed repeal of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. The ordinance had already been overruled by North Carolina’s HB2, which not only overturned local anti discrimination ordinances across the state, but added a highly controversial provision requiring that trans persons use public restrooms that matches their birth certificate. The state legislature and governor did all of that in exactly one day. Contrary to statements by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and other anti-LGBT extremists, the Charlotte ordinance did not address public restroom usage. In a potential compromise, the city would repeal its anti-discrimination ordinance and the legislature would “modify” some parts of HB2. I haven’t found any description of what those modifications were supposed to be.

But just before Charlotte’s city council was scheduled to meet yesterday, the Council released a statement saying the vote would not be on the agenda. The local Chamber of Congress had been pressing for the “compromise”:

The Charlotte Chamber declined to comment Sunday on the HRC criticism. But in an op-ed posted Sunday, Chamber President Bob Morgan said the City Council “should act to take the first step in a process we hope leads to reforms to HB2 that advance our city and state as places where discrimination is not tolerated – for anyone.” He said the council should take that step in response to “an overture” by the legislature.

The chamber says it opposes discrimination in any form but has not taken a position on HB2, unlike some other business groups in the state, which have asked for a repeal of the state law.

The chamber has previously lobbied city officials to be more conciliatory toward Raleigh leaders in their public statements. But the group upset some in the city when it issued a statement praising Gov. Pat McCrory’s executive order in early April that was an attempt to defuse the controversy over HB2.

Council members believe there are six votes for the symbolic repeal: Republicans Ed Driggs and Kenny Smith, and Democrats Greg Phipps, Claire Fallon, Vi Lyles and James Mitchell. (Lyles and Mitchel supported the ordinance in February; the others opposed it.) Those six votes would have been enough to pass the repeal, but not enough to sustain Mayor Jennifer Roberts’s veto. Later in the meeting, Republican council member Kenny Smith proposed a resolution to place the ordinance’s repeal on the agenda for Wednesday. That resolution failed 7-4.

The HRC sent a letter to the Council urging them not to compromise: “This moment in which we find ourselves is quickly defining the type of nation we are destined to be. Today, you are standing on the right side of history.”


Premier of Australia’s Victoria State Apologizes for Historic Homosexuality Convictions

Jim Burroway

May 24th, 2016

The word “amazing” is so overused. Everyone is Amazing! Everything is Amazing! I’ve really come to hate the word and roll my eyes quite visibly whenever I hear someone say it.

With that said…. okay, this is amazing.

David Andrews, the Premiere of Victoria, formally apologized for the “abominable” laws which had criminalized gay relationships. He spoke before the state’s Parliament in Melbourne for nearly twenty minutes.  “Please, let these words rest forever in our records. On behalf of the parliament, the government and the people of Victoria, for the laws we passed and the lives we ruined, and the standards we set, we are so sorry. Humbly, deeply sorry”

“This won’t erase the injustice, but it is an accurate statement of what I believe today — that these convictions should never have happened,” added Andrews, who described the laws as “nothing less than official state-sanctioned homophobia”.

Citing several examples from newspapers from 1977, 1976, 1967, 1961, 1937 and 1936, Andrews lamented that the law required the courts, police, media and the general public “to be bigoted.” “I can’t possibly explain why we made these laws, and clung to them, and fought for them. For decades, we were obsessed with the private mysteries of men. And so we jailed them, we harmed them, and in turn, they harmed themselves….”

The formal apology came after Victoria began allowing those with convictions under these anti-gay laws to have their records expunged. Six men have done so, with many others still going through the process. The Guardian highlighted the case of Tom Andrews, who was convicted of the anti-gay statute after his boss raped him at the age of 14. When Tom Anderson went to police to report the rape, police ended up charging Anderson with gross indecency and buggery.

He went before the children’s court in 1977 and was told to plead guilty and apologise for his perverted acts.

“I actually had no idea what was happening to me. I couldn’t comprehend what was going on,” Anderson told KIIS radio on Tuesday. “To me it’s going to be a big acknowledgement, that finally a formal apology, a formal statement saying that I did nothing wrong,” Anderson said.

Anderson, now in his mid-50s, has lived his whole life trying to work out what he did wrong, and why he was charged for reporting his sexual assault. “I think a lot of young people today would really fail to comprehend … there are still people alive who have suffered the indignity of being charged with [the] crimes,” Anderson said.

Victoria’s anti-gay laws were repealed in 1981. Victoria’s laws were particularly harsh; its buggery law included the death penalty until 1949. After that, the penalty was up to 15 years in prison. In 1961, Victoria added an additional law against homosexual soliciting and “loitering for homosexual purposes.” According to one report (PDF), “Crime statistics show that the law against buggery was enforced 172 times in 1973, 81 times in 1974 and 92 times in 1975.”

Click here to read a transcription of Premier Andrews’s apology

The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, May 24

From This Week In Texas, May 23, 1980, page 99. Source.)

From This Week In Texas, May 23, 1980, page 99. Source.)

Jamestown, Virginia Colony, abt 1610.

Jamestown, Virginia Colony, abt 1610.

Jamestown was founded in 1607, and for the first several years, the plan was for its survival depending on regular resupply ships from England. This would give the colony time to begin mining for minerals and, it was hoped, gold. Or if that didn’t pan out, it could trade with the Native Americans and develop crops for export.

The First Supply and Second Supply expeditions went as planned in 1608, but the Third Supply, sent in 1609, was a disaster. Of the nine ships that set out from England that summer, only seven made it to Virginia Colony. They did so after enduring 44 hours in a hurricane, and losing numerous sailor and colonists to yellow fever and the plague. The problem, though, was that these ships carried mostly colonists and had relatively little in the way of supplies. One of those supply ships was lost in the hurricane.

The other, the fleet’s flagship, Sea Venture, ran aground into Bermuda after being nearly sunk during the storm. That ship also carried Sir Thomas Gates, who was supposed to act as Virginia Colony’s acting governor until King James I’s appointed governor, Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr (later, Lord Delaware), could make the voyage. But stuck in Bermuda, Gates had more immediate concerns, namely establishing a colony there (and leaving behind a portion of the Sea Venture’s supplies and crew to maintain it), and building two new ships so he could continue on to Virginia.

Gates made it to Jamestown ten months late, and with far less provisions than the Virginia Colonists needed. Since the Second Supply, Virginia Colony’s mining attempts came up empty, trading with the Native American population was largely nonexistent as relations went from bad to worse, the Colony was essentially leaderless (Captain John Smith had returned to England as a result of a severe accidental wound) and was rife with “insubordination and idleness,” and, finally, a severe drought decimated the 1609 harvest. And with almost no provisions making it from England, the Colony sank into a severe famine. Colonists would speak of this period as The Starving Time, and of  500 colonists in 1609, only about sixty survived when Gates arrived. Some had even turned to cannibalism.

Sir Thomas Gates

Sir Thomas Gates

Gate’s first task was to re-organize Virginia Colony and place it under martial law. On May 24, 1610, Gates issued the colony’s first “Articles, Laws and Orders, Divine, Politique, and Martial.” The ninth article of this legal code read:

No man shall commit the horrible, detestable sins of Sodomie upon pain of death; & he or she that can be lawfully convict of Adultery shall be punished with death. No man shall ravish or force any woman, maid or Indian, or other, upon pain of death…

The article went on the punish “Fornication”, by a whipping for the first two offenses, and for the third offense, a whipping three times a week for a month and a public apology in church.

Soon after, the colonists made the decision to abandon Jamestown and return to England on the two Bermuda-built ships. As they were leaving the mouth of the James river, they were met with an emergency resupply flotilla sent from England, with food, a doctor, more colonists, and Lord De La Warr on board. Virginia Colony was saved, though Gate’s martial law code remained in place until 1618, when Virginia Colony finally ended martial law and apparently reverted to following the laws of England until 1661.

Pat Buchanan

“The sexual revolution has begun to devour its children,” proclaimed Pat Buchanan in a New York Post op-ed that was relayed in newspapers across America. “And among the revolutionary vanguard, the Gay Rights activists, the mortality rate is higher and climbing.”

By 1983, the known AIDS epidemic was about to reach its two-year mark. A general panic was spreading in the gay community, and a general backlash was brewing everywhere else. Buchanan fueled that backlash with this op-ed, warning that no gay person should be permitted to handle food. He also warned that the Democratic party’s decision to hold their 1984 convention in San Francisco would leave their delegates’ wives and children at the mercy of “homosexuals who belong to a community that is a common carrier of dangerous, communicable and sometimes fatal diseases.” And he attributed all of it to divine retribution with his now-infamous money-quote: “The poor homosexuals… they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.”

Buchanan had a flair for the dramatic turn of the phrase, having served as an opposition researcher and speechwriter for President Richard Nixon. He would go on to become communications director for the Reagan White House from 1985 to 1987. In 1992, as Buchanan ran for the Republican nomination for President, he again called AIDS “nature’s retribution for violating the laws of nature in many ways” (Feb 27). His speech before the Republican National Convention later that summer brought the term “culture war” to a nationwide audience.

When Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party was swept into Government in 1979, it brought with it massive changes throughout Britain, touching on all levels of society. With “Thatcherism” came a wholesale transformation of the economy, widespread cuts in social programs, open warfare with trade unions, and a retrenchment on a wide range of social issues including homosexuality. British society’s attitudes towards gay people hardened further during the early 1980s as AIDS began to take root in the U.K.

But in areas where either the Labour or Liberal Party held sway, gay rights activists were able to get a number of local councils to include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies. The Greater London Council authorized several grants between 1981 and 1984 to the London Lesbian and Gay Community Centre in Islington and other LGBT groups, and in 1985, the Labour Party called for an end to all legal discrimination against gays and lesbians.

But when the Daily Mail, with its characteristic alarmist fashion, plastered a condemnation on its pages of a children’s book, Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin by the Danish author Susanne Bösche, which it discovered in a school library, all hell broke loose. On December 2, 1987, Conservative MP David Wilshire proposed an amendment to the Local Government Act to prohibit local authorities from “promoting homosexuality” or teaching “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” in schools. The clause which later became known as Section 28, was inserted at the committee stage on December 7, debated in Committee on December 8, and was adopted by the full House of Commons on December 15. The House of Lords approved it the following spring, and the law took effect on May 24, 1988.

The law had its intended effect. Where local governments had previously allowed gay groups to meet on government property, and where public libraries made LGBT publications available, many now were reluctant to do so. Gay web sites were blocked from school computers, and the Glyndebourne Touring Opera was even forced to abandon a staging of Death in Venice. The law also had an unintended effect: Section 28 almost singlehandedly revived the gay rights movement on a national scale. Ian McKellen came out on the BBC and helped to found Stonewall, while Peter Tatchell established OutRage!. The two organizations spent the next decade campaigning against Section 28.

In 1997, Labour was swept back into Government in a landslide victory, but the first legislative attempt to repeal Section 28 in 2000, were defeated in the House of Lords. The Scottish Parliament did manage to repeal it that year, but they had to overcome a nasty campaign waged by Scottish millionaire businessman Brian Souter.

After another Labour landslide in the 2001 elections, opponents of Section 28 made another run at repeal for England and Wales in 2003. This time, the Tories were badly split over the measure and Conservative leadership allowed a free vote. Commons voted 356-127 to repeal the notorious law, and Lords agreed, 180-130. Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford, said, “For over a decade, Section 28 has cast a cloud of confusion and ambiguity over local authorities’ ability to support and provide services to the whole of their community. Repeal means this cloud has been lifted.” The repeal received Royal Assent on November 18, 2003.

Padres Finally Respond to Gay Men’s Chorus Debacle

Jim Burroway

May 23rd, 2016

Last Saturday, just before the San Diego Padres home game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, spectators in the stands and viewers on television saw the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus line up behind second base where they were to sing the National Anthem. But after a delay, a recording of a woman singing the “Star Spangled Banner” rang out on the P.A. system while the chorus was left standing there for what was probably the longest humiliating two minutes of their lives, a humiliation that ended only after the recording was done and the chorus was then shoo’d off the field. The debacle was then followed by silence from the P.A. announcer — no explanation, no apology, nothing.

The SDGMC was not happy. The Padres issued a small two-sentence apology, but it really didn’t explain anything, leaving a lot of people wondering what the hell happened? Now when you look at the video, it looks to me like it was some kind of a major, unprofessional error in the control booth. (Notice how, in the video, the first few words of the national anthem are cut off before some turns the volume up.) But as I said yesterday, the Padres apparent attempts to shrug the whole thing off seemed problematic, at the very least. Does anyone really think that they would have shown at least a little bit more concerned as it happened if it had been a Navy chorus — what with San Diego being a pretty big Navy town — instead 100 gay men? Wouldn’t there have been at least some acknowledgement over the P.A. that something went wrong and an apology if it had been a band from Camp Pendleton just up the road?

I’m pretty sure we can all come to some conclusions on that.

I guess the saying “better late than never” applies here. The Padres finally seems to have offered a more robust response to what happened:

As a result, the team said it had ended its relationship with a contractor and disciplined an employee who was responsible for the game production on Saturday. The Padres accepted full responsibility and expressed deep regret, the statement said.

(Chorus Executive Director Bob Lehman) said he had spoken with Mike Dee, the team’s chief executive, whom he described as sincerely apologetic. Mr. Lehman said he had been told that the regular technician was in a car crash the night before and that a substitute was in the control room.

“Somebody didn’t know how to press the stop button?” he asked. “I couldn’t believe a professional organization like that didn’t know what to do.”

On Twitter, the team said it had offered the chorus an opportunity to return.

The Daily Agenda for Monday, May 23

From Wilde Side (Boston, MA), September 1, 1976, page 22.

From Wilde Side (Boston, MA), September 1, 1976, page 22.

From 1957-1995, Sporters was a gay bar at 228 Cambridge St. It was descriny [sic] sort of sign, Sporters was hidden in plain sight. Often called on by its many aliases’ Sporters adopted one “The Beacon Hill tennis club” and used that name as the title of its monthly newsletter to its patrons. Sporters provided what a lot of gay bars of the time provided, a place where gay men could safely be themselves. The bar was termed by one of its patrons as a friendly Beacon Hill dive. Known only by the deep red doors that blended almost perfectly in the Cambridge St. landscape, unmarked by a sign. Come one come all comes to mind when thinking of Sporters, because it catered to everyone: the young and old, the employed and unemployed, black and white, college kids and professors, and the in and out of the closet men.

The atmosphere of Sporters was made by the staff, the management, bartenders, and waiters. According to the memory of a long time Sporters customer, on most any night from 1972-1976 you could find a waiter named Anthony working at Sporters. He would apparently scurry around the place with “drinks in one hand, the other hand on his hip, dispensing tongue-in-cheek witticisms and good-natured cutting remarks to patrons as he sped around the bar…all the while, singing alone – off key – to one of his favorite tunes on the jukebox, either “Dancing Queen” or “Fame” (David Bowie, NOT the other one.) or some other mid 70’s pop gem.” He was a “free spirit” with “a smile for any and everyone.” There is a photograph of Anthony posing on a bumper pool table with platform heels on, showing just how relaxed Sporters was.

The link to the photo takes you to a flickr page which also includes seven comments from people who remember going to Sporters. In 1974, it was named Boston’s Best Gay Bar by Boston magazine because “since there’s no dancing, this smoke-filled room is a cruiser’s paradise—as long as you’re male.” The building today houses a sushi restaurant.

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In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.