Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iraq's Position on LGBT Rights: "Homosexuality is a Disaster"

Iraq's Position on LGBT Rights: "Homosexuality is a Disaster"

Well, here's one step forward, and about 9,000 steps backwards when it comes to LGBT rights in Iraq. Fundamentalist Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr addressed Iraq's ongoing violence toward LGBT people in Iraq, by urging Iraqi people to reject killing LGBT people, which has become a nationwide epidemic, with several dozen men being murdered in the past few months because of their sexual orientation (or their perceived sexual orientation). The downside to all of this? Sadr took the occasion to call homosexuality fundamentally evil, and preach conversion therapy through Islamic preaching ...

Dear Mr. President, Please Lead on Equality

Kristen Smith sent a message to the members of PFAW People For the American Way.

Subject: Dear Mr. President, Please Lead on Equality

Today, PFAW President Michael B. Keegan sent the letter below to President Obama urging him to use his influence to advance the cause of LGBT equality and make good on his promises to help end discriminatory policies such as DOMA and Don't Ask Don't Tell. Please share the link with your friends: http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://bit.ly/2nv7v


June 23, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

I am writing to respectfully urge you to bring the energetic moral vision that you championed as a presidential candidate to the cause of equality for gay and lesbian Americans.

Among the reasons that millions of people were inspired by your candidacy was your eloquence on behalf of an America in which everyone is offered respect and equality under the law. At People For the American Way, we disagreed with your decision to stop short of supporting marriage equality, but we welcomed the clarity with which you articulated the constitutional principle of equality in so many other areas. That vision energized not only gays and lesbians, but many other fair-minded Americans who recognize discrimination as a national moral failing, who view equality under the law as a defining part of the American Way, and who believe the country is ready to discard discrimination based on bigotries that should be left in our past. That vision would be even more powerful coming from you as president, but since your election we have heard very little.

Any reasonable person is aware of the extraordinary challenges that faced the nation as you took office, including a dire financial crisis that has cost millions of Americans their jobs, homes, and access to health care. You have not shied from these most daunting of challenges. But it seems that you have shied from promoting the vision of equality that you articulated during your campaign.

Legislative change is needed, and we will continue to push Members of Congress and the Democratic leadership to move forward to end discrimination against LGBT Americans even as they grapple with other urgent national priorities. We are counting on you to call for and help win passage of legislation that you pledged to support.

As importantly, Mr. President, you are uniquely capable of communicating to the American public the moral and constitutional values at stake in ending discrimination against gay Americans. Beyond the clear harm to gay and lesbian Americans, the lack of your leadership on these issues damages both America’s sense of fairness and the credibility of your administration.

Your recent action to extend some benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees, and your statement from the Oval Office committing yourself to work tirelessly toward equality, could have been the kind of moment that was celebrated as a milestone on the march toward equality. But instead it had the feel of, and was reported as, an incremental half-measure rushed onto the stage to placate a discontented political constituency.

While your comments in opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act at the recent signing ceremony were welcome, they would have carried more weight as part of a larger ongoing effort to educate the American public about the moral need for LGBT equality. Moreover, the impact of your words was blunted coming so soon after your administration’s brief in support of DOMA using arguments that degraded gay and lesbian couples. You may have felt it was your duty to defend the law, but your argument that discrimination against same-sex couples doesn't count as discrimination and citation of case law on incest to claim that marriages of gay couples are unworthy of legal recognition was beyond the pale. Americans who support equality would not have been at all surprised if that brief had been filed by the Bush Administration. Coming from you, particularly without a broader public affirmation of your commitment to equality, it had the force of a hard slap in the face by someone we trusted.

Moreover, in the absence of a stronger statement about the importance of equality for all Americans, it has been equally difficult for your supporters to understand the continued discharges under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell of service members devoting their lives to our country. Congress should vote to repeal the destructive law that destroys military careers and robs the armed forces of highly trained soldiers, but until that happens, you should use your authority as commander-in-chief to suspend discharges of these personnel until that law is changed.

We have seen you change a nation’s conversation with an extraordinarily compelling speech on the issue of race in America. We have seen you change the perceptions of the world with a historic speech on history, pluralism, respect, and democracy to the world’s Muslims. We have seen you bring grace and conviction to the debate with your speech at Notre Dame about preserving a woman’s right to choose.

On the question of LGBT equality, it’s time to make that speech.

Mr. President, you have the opportunity to be on the right side of history. Every day, LGBT Americans face discrimination and are being denied their constitutional rights. There is no one in public life who could, and based on your stated principles and promises should, do more to move America forward toward becoming a country in which LGBT people are respected and treated as fully equal under our Constitution and laws.

We ask for your leadership and voice. When you lead, we will back you with every bit of heart and determination we can muster.


Michael B. Keegan
People For the American Way


Related PFAW Actions:

Dump DOMA! http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://bit.ly/2LyWq

Pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://bit.ly/W0vBY

To reply to this message, follow the link below:
http://www.facebook.com/n/?inbox/readmessage.php&t=94747784241 mid=ab55ddG2c4faed8G1dd7900G0

NYT On White House Cocktail Party

The NYT's Caucus blog has weighed in on next week's White House cocktail party for gay leaders. The party is ostensibly to mark the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, but most are seeing it as an olive branch to LGBT organizations after the DOJ-DOMA flap.
As advocates for gays and lesbians intensify their criticism of the White House, President Obama has invited some of their leaders to an East Room reception next Monday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, the 1969 Greenwich Village demonstrations that gave birth to the modern gay rights movement. The White House has not publicized the reception, and officials did not respond to e-mail requests for comment. But gay leaders from here and around the country said they had received either telephone calls from the White House or written invitations to the event, and were told Mr. Obama is expected to speak. Some said it would take more than a reception to change their view that Mr. Obama has not been aggressive enough in pursuing gay rights. As a candidate, Mr. Obama campaigned to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law barring gay marriage, and ‘’don’t ask don’t tell,’’ the military policy that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly. But advocates have accused him of dragging his feet.
Attending the party will be Family Equality Council head Jennifer Chrisler, who says she hopes the party will be “an opportunity for us as a community to highlight again to this president and this administration that real lives are impacted by his decisions.’’ Chrisler, who says she is not satisfied by limited benefits offered to federal employees, nevertheless attended Obama's memorandum signing ceremony in the Oval Office.

Over at Americablog, John Aravosis blasts Chrisler for agreeing to attend to the party, calling her a "sell-out" and saying, "I'm sure Chisler, as she sips her champagne and eats her fancy French hors d'oeuvres to commemorate the gays and lesbians who rioted for her civil rights 40 years ago, will do her best to hold the president's feet to the fire. Please."

Courtesy of JMG

Statement from GLAAD on Perez Hilton’s Use of Anti-Gay Slur

Media Release

Monday, June 22, 2009

Richard Ferraro
Director of Public Relations
(646) 871-8011

Statement from GLAAD on Perez Hilton’s Use of Anti-Gay Slur

New York, NY, June 22, 2009 – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today issued the following statement in response to a video posted by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, in which he made the following remarks about a confrontation with will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas and members of the band’s entourage.

"And that is when I made the split-second decision - that I was gonna say what I thought was the worst possible thing that thug [will.i.am] would ever want to hear. As I was standing my ground - without being violent or physical which I would never do - I told him - and you know what? I don't need to respect you and you're a f**. You're gay and stop being such a f***ot."

"These are vulgar anti-gay slurs that feed a climate of hatred and intolerance toward our community," said Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs at GLAAD. “For someone in our own community to use it to attack another person by saying that it is, quote, ‘The worst possible thing that thug would ever want to hear,’ is incredibly dangerous. It legitimizes use of a slur that is often linked to violence against our community. And it sends a message that it is OK to attempt to dehumanize people by exploiting anti-gay attitudes.”

“We have reached out to Hilton and asked him to apologize for promoting this anti-gay slur, and we would ask media outlets to avoid repetition of the slur in their coverage of this story.”

Reuters is reporting that Toronto police have charged Liborio Molina, the manager of the Black Eyed Peas, with assault.

“While not all the facts in this case are known, the violence that appears to have been committed against Perez Hilton is unacceptable and ought to be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” said Robinson.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.

Napolitano Did What Obama Won't

Dan Savage notes an interesting contradiction in federal policy this morning. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has issued a two-year stop order on the deportation of the widowed immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens. It takes two years after marrying an American before you can qualify for citizenship. If your spouse dies before then, you get sent home. Napolitano thinks it's cruel to summarily deport a widowed spouse in those circumstances and wants to give Congress time to "fix the law." Savage rants:
So the head of the Department of Homeland Security can suspend the enforcement of the Widow's Penalty in order to give Congress time to "fix the law," but Barack Obama—the President of the United States, Commander in Chief, Janet Napolitano's boss—he can't suspend enforcement of DADT to give Congress time to "fix the law." Is that it? Or is Obama administration only capable of recognizing an injustice and taking action when the lives of heterosexuals are being destroyed?
"Right fucking on" says JMG

Tell the President and Congress: It's time to repeal DOMA.

It’s time for some real change we can believe in. It’s time for the federal government to stop punishing loving same-sex couples. It’s time to repeal DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act).

President Obama said he supports the repeal, but now he's defending the law in court. Take action now to remind him that we voted for change, not more of the same. Take action now to make sure that President Obama and Congress eliminate DOMA.

Dear President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, and Speaker Pelosi:

It's time to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). At this moment of change and progress, it's time to undo a serious mistake made by Congress 13 years ago. The federal government has no business discriminating against loving families by selectively withholding the 1,300 or so legal protections that only legal civil marriage affords.

It's time for the President to fulfill his promise to the American people to eliminate DOMA. And it's time for Congress to show leadership on this issue and send him long overdue legislation to repeal this relic of hatred.

Gays furious at Obama, DOJ

Gays furious at Obama, DOJ (courtesy of the BAR)
by Lisa Keen

The honeymoon is over. The gloves are off. The anger is fierce.

The U.S. Department of Justice submitted a brief June 11 that many LGBT activists are decrying as a betrayal of President Barack Obama's promise to work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. (read more)

Shawn Collins: Challenging Bible Thumpers

I am not a Bible scholar in any way shape or form, nor am I interested in being one, but as any GLBT person of late knows, the Fundies do seem to feel that we need some knowledge of the good book... in so doing I ran across htese questions on Shawn Collin's site:

You and your ilk who "selectively" quote the Bible are disgraceful and disgusting. There is not one word from Jesus' mouth in the Bible concerning gay people or homosexuality. He did, however, reach out to include those who were considered "outcasts" in Jewish society at that time, and by this example showed all of us how we are to conduct our lives in a way pleasing to Him. Remember the tax collectors, the gentiles, the Samaritan Woman, the Magdalene?

I do not think that your brand of outreach would be pleasing to Him at all. I will, however, leave that to Him when you meet him face-to-face.

However, since you appear to be such a biblical scholar, I would like to pose the following questions to you, and eagerly await your response:

If I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Leviticus 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?

I would like to sell my niece into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? Should I accept cash only, or is a credit card transaction acceptable?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Leviticus 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Leviticus 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians. Can you clarify?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself? How should I do this exactly? Poison, gun, knife?

I feel that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Leviticus 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality, but I'm not exactly sure. Can you give me the final word on this?

Leviticus 20:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I
have a defect in my sight. I wear glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

There are other adminishments. For instance, against eating pork. Do you consider these before dining at Super Smokers? Or the mixing of textiles. Have you seriously never worn both cotton and polyester at the same time?

Apparently you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal.

Also, since you are such a fountain of biblical wisdom, perhaps you can contact the White House and offer your assistance to the president who likes to pose as one of your brethren. In a campaign appearance in late spring, he announced that his favorite Bible verse was John 16:3.

Of course, his speech writer meant John 3:16, but nobody in the Bush camp was familiar enough with scripture to catch the error. Not even the president who dares to pose as a pious, religious man. Do you know what John 16:3 says?

John 16:3 says; "And they will do this because they have not known the Father nor Me".

The Holy Spirit works in strange ways, does she not?

In closing, the Bible contains six (6) direct admonishments to homosexuals, and 326 (!) to heterosexuals. Now, I’m sure that God loves heterosexuals too, but don't you think that it’s obvious that God feels that they need more supervision?

Peace to you and yours!

I guess it mattered...

My father asked if I I am gay. I asked, "Does it matter?" He said "No, not really." I said, "Yes." He said, "Get out of my life!" I guess it mattered.

My boss asked if I am gay. I asked, "Does it matter?" He said, "No, not really." I told him "Yes." He said "You're fired, faggot!" I guess it mattered.

My best friend asked if I am gay. I asked, "Does it matter?" He said "No, not really." "Yes." He said, "Don't call me your friend." I guess it mattered.

My lover asked, "Do you love me?" I asked, "Does it matter?" He said, "Yes." I told him "I love you."He said, "Let me hold you in my arms!" For the first time in MY life, something matters.

My God asked me "Do you love yourself?" I said, "Does it matter?" He said, "YES." I said, "How can I love myself? I am gay!" He said, "That is the way I made you." Nothing will ever matter again.

Courtesy of Shawn Collins