The Daily Agenda for Sunday, May 22

BryantGreenThe Associated Press described her as a “strong-principled advocate of God, family and flag.” Nevertheless, she announced that she was divorcing her husband and manager, Bob Green because he “violated my most precious asset: my very conscience.”

Bryant’s statement, which the AP reported she released “from her 25-room Miami Beach home,” charged that Green cooperated “with certain hired staff members who conspired to control me and to use my name and reputation to build their personal careers instead of my ministry.” Her statement brought to a close their twenty year marriage. She also announced that she was resigning from Anita Bryant Ministries.

Green answered Bryant with an open letter, which was also released to the press:

Dear Anita:

I love you with all my heart and I am awaiting your return as my wife and the mother of our children. God’s love and forgiveness is open to both of us if we will but seek it.

Let us both put aside all other earthly considerations and reunite our lives in Christian love.

Your husband,
Bob

Bryant wasn’t interested in Green’s overture, such as it was, and she went ahead with the divorce, even though it was “against everything I believe in.” Green, citing his religious beliefs, refused to recognize the divorce, saying they were still married “in God’s eyes.” He also blamed gay people: “Blame gay people? I do. Their stated goal was to put [Bryant] out of business and destroy her career. And that’s what they did. It’s unfair.” He died, an embittered old man, in 2012.

Bryant married again and relaunched her career in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. When that failed, she moved to Branson, Missouri. When that failed, she declared bankruptcy and moved to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to start over one more time. That also failed, leaving a pile of unpaid creditors and abused employees in the wake.

Harvey Milk

fourth) openly gay non-incumbent candidate to win a political office for two reasons: he refused to hide who he was; and he made it his mission to build alliances with groups that other gay activists thought were impossible to reach. So to those who knew Harvey well weren’t surprised when his 1977 as San Francisco City Supervisor that he was good terms with conservative supervisor Dan White. White, a former cop, was supported by the city’s police union whose leaders were angry over city policies which they considered to be soft on crime and homosexuals. The local media ate it up as the two made joint appearances on local talk shows where they both talked warmly of each other. Harvey began to privately telling friends that he thought White was “educatable,” and that the two might actually be able to work together.

But all that changed when Milk wound up voting against White’s proposal to bar a psychiatric treatment center from opening in White’s district. White retaliated by voting against Milk’s gay rights bill (it passed anyway), and for the next several months, White would not speak to Milk or his aides. Other supervisors noticed that White stopped spending as much time at his office in City Hall, and he was sullen during the weekly board meetings. White abruptly resigned on November 10, 1978. When he had a change of heart a few days later, Mayor George Moscone refused to commit to re-appointing him to the board. On November 27, 1978, White snuck into City Hall and confronted Moscone in his office, and shot him twice in the abdomen, then twice more in the head. He then walked down the hall to Milk’s office. After arguing with Milk, White shot him three times in the chest, once in the back and twice in the head. (Nov 27)

Milk’s short political career changed the face of LGBT politics. During the 1978 campaign against the Briggs Amendment which would have required the firing of gay teachers and any school employee who supported gay rights, Milk insisted on aggressively confronting the anti-gay campaign by raising the visibility of the gay community (Nov 7). The campaign against the Briggs Amendment was also a campaign against the closet. He told a crowd during San Francisco’s Gay Pride that year:

“On this anniversary of Stonewall, I ask my gay sisters and brothers to make the commitment to fight. We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets… We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out. Come out to your parents, your relatives.”

(d. 2001) A true hero, Mark Bingham was among the passengers who stormed the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93 after it had been hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001. His personal bravery was well known before that fateful day. His boyfriend of six years, Paul Holm, recalled that Bingham had thwarted two attempted muggings, one at gunpoint. His friends recalled that he proudly showed off the scars he received during a running of the bulls in Pamplona. During the hijacking, Bingham, who was sitting in first class, made a brief call to his mother. She later called him back after learning of the other 9/11 attacks and said the flight was being used on a suicide mission. Bingham has been honored with several others for bringing the aircraft down and preventing a much greater loss of life.

Target CEO: Boycotts Having “No Material or Measurable Impact”

Jim Burroway

May 21st, 2016

Ever since Target announced their policy of allowing transgender customers and staff to use the bathroom that most closely matches their gender identity, the big-box chain has been the target, so to speak, of yet another American Family Association boycott, as well as a regular parade of nutjobs trolling some of its stores. The AFA has claimed success with their boycott, and Brietbart even went so far as to claim that the boycott directly led to lost sales and cheered what it called Target’s “$10 billion stock crash.”

But on Wednesday, Target CEO Brian Cornell told Fortune that while the chain is set for a disappointing set of first quarter results — due to weather and skittish consumers over economic concerns — the anti-trans boycott is not having “a material or measurable impact on our business“:

He did allow that just a few stores had some some protests and took a bit of a hit sales wise, but on the whole, the 1,800-store retailer didn’t feel anything.

“To date we have not seen a material or measurable impact on our business. just a handful of stores across the country have seen some activity and have been impacted ,” he added.

The Daily Agenda for Saturday, May 21

From NEST (Baltimore, MD), March 1978, page 6. (Personal collection.)

From NEST (Baltimore, MD), March 1978, page 6. (Personal collection.)

The Drinkery has held court in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood ever since it opened in 1972. But last Thursday, it was forced to close up shop after the Baltimore City Board of Liquor License Commissioners voted 2-1 not to renew the Drinkery’s liquor license.

Those opposing the Drinkery’s license renewel included a city councilman, City Council president, the president of the Mount Vernon-Belvedere Association, and several of the Drinkery’s neighbors:

Mark Henderson, who identified himself as gay man who lives near the establishment on Read Street, said that “management let the place go and that [management] doesn’t care about the noise and violence.” Henderson specified loitering and bringing drinks outside and said he contacted the owner, Frederick Allen to help with the problems to no avail.

Michael Pugh, who is also gay and lives on the same street as The Drinkery, testified that prostitutes, drug dealers and johns hang outside the bar during the day but it becomes a “pirates’ cove” of intense activity at night. He added there was a need to “clean up blood, condoms, and vomit” on a daily basis. Pugh said there was “horrendous noise” at closing and people come out of the bar with glasses and bottles.

…(Drinkery owner Frederick) Allen, 87, disputed the accusations. He had been a resident in an apartment above the bar for more than 40 years. Allen said beverages are sold only in cans, not bottles. In his 44 years associated with The Drinkery, Allen testified that there had been no arrests inside the bar and that he cannot be held responsible for actions taking place on a city street.

…“The Drinkery was a melting pot for everyone to meet and have a great time,” RJ Ladd, a frequent patron of the bar, told the Blade. “It will be dearly missed by us all as it was one of the last remaining gay bars in Baltimore.”

Allen’s lawyer said he will appeal.

Representatives of various East Coast homophile groups had already been protesting in support of gay rights over the past year and a half, in New York (Sep 19Apr 18), Washington (Apr 17, May 29, Jun 26, Jul 31, Aug 28, and Oct 23) and Philadelphia (see Jul 4). And so how appropriate is it that when gay rights leaders decided to stage one of the earliest organized protests in Los Angeles, a city known for its car culture and not for its walkability, their protest took place in cars and not on foot?

The occasion for the Los Angeles protest was Armed Forces Day, scheduled to take place that year on May 21. It was military policy that “The homosexual is considered unsuitable for military service and is not permitted to serve in the Armed Forces in any capacity.” On February 19, representatives of a dozen homophile groups had gathered in Kansas City to take part in the National Planning Conference of Homophile Organizations, with the idea being to form a national confederation of gay rights groups. Little was accomplished at that meeting, except a general agreement to protest the exclusion of gay people the military on Armed Forces day. The idea was met with great enthusiasm, initially, with a burst of plans and coordinating communications taking place among committees in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

But it didn’t take long for the first obstacles arose. The principal one was due to the unpopularity of the war in Viet Nam. Some gay men of draft age found the Defense Department’s policy to be one of the very few distinct advantages they had over others who opposed the war and didn’t want to serve. Aside from the political debates over the morality of the war, why would they want to protest against one of the very few advantages that gay people had in society, at least for those of draft age who didn’t want to fight?

Pretty soon, all national coordination stopped, but planning continued in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Committee to Fight Exclusion of Homosexuals From the Aimed Forces. It was an all-volunteer effort, directed out of the offices of Don Slater’s magazine Tangents (Aug 21) with Slater and Harry Hay (Apr 7) co-chairing. The committee issued a press release in late March announcing the Armed Forces Motorcade, which caught the attention of L.A’s newspapers and radio and television stations. That press release not only publicized the event, but also acknowledged some of the anti-war arguments against it. The statement pointed out that while the military was “publicly paying lip service to the idea that homosexual persons are unfit for military service, (it) has quietly instructed induction centers to make discreet ‘exceptions’ to the rule (in) the case of homosexuals who are not the ‘obvious’ types.”

But even with the advance publicity, it wasn’t easy drumming up support within the gay community. As Harry Hay told Time magazine the night before the Motorcade:

We’re all tired from the work,” said Hay, “but if this comes, off, it will be something our city has never seen before. If it comes off. Imagine a motorcade of 15 cars and about a 20 mile route through Los Angeles. Ideally we should have had the support of the entire homophile, community; then we could have staged a really grand demonstration. But most homosexuals are still hiding.” He continued vehemently: “With the work we have put into this thing and with the thousands of homosexuals in the area, it is fantastic to realize we will be lucky to have 40 persons show up for the motorcade tomorrow —and at least 20 who do will not be gay.”

The motorcade, consisting of more than a dozen cars with four-sided signs attached to their roofs, wound their way through the streets of Los Angeles and Hollywood. Despite the initial interest expressed in the press, only the alternative Free Press, a Time photographer and a CBS News crew showed up to cover the event. The city editor of the Los Angeles Times said he’d send a reporter “only if someone was hurt. All our reporters and cameras are in Watts.” The incident went off without a hitch, with no adverse reaction from the public, no interference from police. That in itself was a major accomplishment.

While national coordination all but disappeared soon after the February meeting in Kansas City, other Armed Forces Day protests went ahead. The Mattachine Society of Washington D.C., picketed the White House and marched from there to the Pentagon. Frank Kameny, the group’s past president (see below) then flew to New York to be the principal speaker at a rally sponsored by the Daughters of Bilitis. Protesters also handed out leaflets at the Philadelphia Navy Yards, and picketed the Federal Building Plaza in San Francisco.

[Additional Source: C. Todd White. Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rights (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2009): 183-187.]

aaawhitenightpaper1On this date, Dan White was found guilty in the shooting death of San Francisco Supervisor and LGBT advocate Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone (Nov 27). Incredibly, he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder, and sentenced to a paltry seven years in prison. (He would only serve five.) The jury bought the defense arguments that White was suffering from diminished capacity due to depression and an overload of junk food, a defense that has since been derided as the “Twinkie defense.”

The gay community was already angry with the police and fire department, which had raised money for White’s defense. That anger boiled over when the verdict was announced, leading to rioting at City Hall. A dozen police cars were set ablaze as protesters waged a four-hour battle against police in riot gear — their badges were covered with black tape to prevent identification –on Civic Center Plaza.

Later that night, San Francisco police staged a retaliatory raid in the Castro, catching people by surprise, since most of those still in the Castro that evening hadn’t gone downtown. Police descended on the Elephant Walk, a popular gay bar, with shouts of “dirty cocksuckers” and “sick faggots” while beating patrons with batons and shattering a large plate glass window. For the next two hours, police officers indiscriminately attacked passers by on the street. Fred Rogers, the bar’s owner, described the melee:

San Francisco Police charging into the Elephant Walk.

San Francisco Police charging into the Elephant Walk.

A tactical squad had charged the doors, smashing news cameras attempting to record the raid. Once inside they made a sweep from the front of the 1,800-square-foot room all the way to — and over — the bar, swinging their clubs at anything that moved. Or didn’t. Brian, one of the bartenders, was sporting head bandages. He said that it all happened fast, without warning. There was no place to hide. Behind the bar I could see our industrial-strength, stainless-steel blender. It bore the deep imprint of a police baton, mute testimony to the fierceness of the assault. My cocktail waitress, Paula, was just finishing her first week on the job when the assault began. Luckily, she found refuge behind a closed gate in the kitchen area. She said that she had not seen such police brutality since her days on the UC-Berkeley campus.

Later that night, a freelance reporter overheard a group of police officers celebrating at a downtown bar. “We were at City Hall the day [the killings] happened and we were smiling then,” one officer said. “We were there tonight and we’re still smiling.” Gay leaders refused to apologize for the riot at city hall, and an investigation into police misconduct in the Castro and City Hall ended without any charges being filed.

WeslayanCollegeMiddletownCtWesleyan University of Middletown, Connecticut announced that it would become the first American college to offer special housing option to accommodate transgender students. Incoming freshmen will have the option of living in a new “gender-blind” floor of a dormitory without specifying their gender. According to the new university policy, those who choose to live in the gender-blind area “will be assigned a roommate without the consideration of gender.” Mike Whaley, dean of student services, estimated that there were twelve to fifteen transgender students on the 3,000-student campus. But after opposition and obstruction from other members of the administration, the transgender housing policy was very nearly scrapped a year later when the dean in charge of student housing refused to pair students who were not of the same “biological gender.” Finally, with input from mental health professionals and transgender advocates, a new policy was implemented in 2010.

(d. 1993) He started out as a stage actor, landing on Broadway in 1941 for Crazy with the Heat. It didn’t take long for him to switch to the silver screen for the film noir classic Raw Deal (1948). He was adept at playing the heavies, as an aggressive prosecutor in A Place in the Sun (1951), and as the murder suspect in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954). But he is best know for his two long-running television roles, in Perry Mason (1957-1966) and Ironside (1967 -1975). Like most gay actors, Burr rarely spoke about his private life. His official biography listed three marriages, but later investigations could only verify the second one. What has been verified is that Burr enjoyed a long 35-year relationship with his partner, Robert Benevides, who he met on the set of Perry Mason. Benevides was not only his life-long partner until Burr’s death in 1993, but together they owned an orchid business(orchids were one of Burr’s passions) and then a vineyard. Benevides still operates the Raymond Burr vineyards today.

(d. 2011) Easily one of the giants of the American gay rights movement, Frank Kameny fell into it when he was fired from his job as an astronomer with the Army Map Service in 1957 because of his homosexuality (Dec 20). Kameny took on the U.S. Civil Service Commission and argued his appeal all the way up to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear his case. They missed out on quite case. Kameny wrote his own petition to the Supreme Court, in which he denounced the government’s ban on hiring gay people as “a stench in the nostrils of decent people, an offense against morality, an abandonment of reason, an affront to human dignity, an improper restraint upon proper freedom and liberty, a disgrace to any civilized society, and a violation of all that this nation stands for.”

Throughout his lifetime, Kameny placed himself in the middle of many first in the gay rights movement. He founded the Washington D.C. chapter of the Mattachine Society in 1961, a group which distinguished itself for its aggressiveness. In 1965, Kameny helped to organize the first gay rights protests in front the White House (Apr 17, May 29, Oct 23), the U.S. Civil Service Commission (Jun 26), Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (Jul 4), the Pentagon (Jul 31), and the State Department (Aug 28). That same year, Kameny published a ground-breaking essay which declared the gay rights movement’s independence from the mental health professions and its shoddy pseudo-scientific research on homosexuality, proclaiming, “We are the true authorities on homosexuality” (May 11). That landmark declaration proved a turning point from or the gay rights movement, which soon shifted from a position of deference to professional authorities who declared that gays were mentally ill, and toward an eight year struggle to convince the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders (Dec 15). In 1968, Kameny created the slogan “Gay is Good” (Aug 12) and in 1971 he was the first openly gay candidate for Congress (Feb 22).

Kameny has been recognized as a national treasure; his papers are now a part of the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian holds several of Kameny’s picket signs and other artifacts in its collection. His home is now recognized as a D.C. Historic Landmark, and in 2009, he received an official apology for his firing from the Office of Personnel Management. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 86.

Kim Davis: They Wanted to Shove It Down My Throat and Make Me Eat It For Dinner

Jim Burroway

May 20th, 2016

It really is all about you, isn’t it Kim?

I was obeying my law. I had couples bring in the whole Supreme Court ruling and I said, ‘You know, I really don’t need to see this because that’s not a law, that’s a ruling’ [and they’d say] ‘Well, why won’t you do this?’ And so then I go to the Bible and I’d tell them, [and they’d respond,] ‘Don’t be reading me the Bible.’ Well, you asked why I couldn’t issue you a marriage license and I’m explaining to you, I’m showing you why I cannot. They didn’t want to hear that though. They wanted to shove that paper down my throat and make me eat it for my dinner.”

Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who saw no problem with imposing her own personal religious litmus test on all 23,000 residents in her county, was interviewed by Frank Wight on “Truths That Transforms,” a program by D. James Kennedy Ministries.

Italy’s President Signs Civil Union Law

Jim Burroway

May 20th, 2016

ItalyThis makes it official:

Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Friday promulgated a civil-unions law, the president’s office said. The law, which won final approval on May 11, extends to committed gay couples some of the same rights and protections currently enjoyed by heterosexual married couples, such as the right to receive a deceased partners’ pension. It fills a legislative vacuum, as Italy was the only western European country not to have either legalised gay marriage or recognised civil unions between same-sex couples.

Opponents are pushing for a referendum to overturn the law. Civil Unions don’t quite add up to marriage, as the law excludes stepchild and joint adoption rights, and IVF for lesbian couples. Also conservatives complained about a requirement for “faithfulness,” saying that it tried to mimic marriage vows. That clause was also removed.

So far, I haven’t been able to determine when Italian couples can begin getting themselves civil-unionized.

Log Cabin Republicans Denounce Yesterdays Vote-Switching on Anti-Discrimination Provision

Jim Burroway

May 20th, 2016

Here’s their press release:

LCRLog Cabin Republicans has sent a letter to Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) demanding full accountability and a public explanation for the unprecedented and likely unparliamentary act yesterday that allowed a pro-LGBT amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to fail.

“During an election year in which voters across the country are crying out because they feel our country’s political system is at best broken and at worst rigged, the sham on the floor of the United States House of Representatives yesterday spearheaded by Leader McCarthy played up everything wrong with congress today,” Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo stated. “Beyond overriding an executive order that existed under President George W. Bush, yesterday’s actions on the House floor defy the repeated promises of House Leadership to operate under regular order and with transparency. Log Cabin Republicans commends the 29 Republicans who refused to succumb to strong-arm tactics and voted for the amendment, and demands those congressmembers who perpetuated this fraudulence be held accountable.”

After House leadership broke their own House 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, Democrats pounced on the seven vote-switchers, three of whom are in particularly vulnerable in tight races, and vowed to make their actions a campaign issue. LCR is also publicizing the those vote-switcher names. In case you missed it, they were Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Greg Walden (R-OR), Mimi Walters (R-CA), David Young (R-IA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), and David Valadao (R-CA).

New Hampshire Senate Approves Conversion Therapy Ban

Jim Burroway

May 20th, 2016

New-Hampshire-State-House-5-JPGLate last night, New Hampshire’s Senate joined the House in approving a bill to ban sexual orientation change therapy for those under the age of eighteen. The bill passed in a voice vote, with Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley’s support.

The Senate had been expected to approve House Bill 1661 during the afternoon, but was stymied by several unsuccessful attempts to add exemptions for religious counseling and a religious exemption for parents. The bill does include language designed to exempt clergy. In the end, the Senate did agreed to an amendment that penalized licensed therapists who performed or advertised conversion therapy. Six Republicans joined all 10 Democrats to support that amendment. Earlier versions of the bill contained no penalties, which would have, in effect, allowed the practice to continue. Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) praised the bill’s passage and will sign it into law.

Other states with sexual orientation therapy bans are California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Illinois, as well as the District of Columbia.

The Daily Agenda for Friday, May 20

From This Week In Texas, May 14, 1982, page 74. (Source.)

From This Week In Texas, May 14, 1982, page 74. (Source.)

Located alongside the parks of Dallas’s Turtle Creek (a popular cruising area), the location today is a trendy farm-to-table restaurant.

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