Friday, January 13, 2012

Via JMG: Lesson For NOM: Hate Doesn't Pay

The three most virulently anti-gay candidates finished four-five-six last night. The three relative moderates on LGBT rights finished far ahead. Rick Perry, whose campaign was sunk by a disastrous anti-gay commercial, finished behind "Other." While we can't expect the same result in a place like South Carolina, the New Hampshire rankings do not bode well for that state's marriage repeal campaign.

Via JMG: Positive Marriage News From WA

The prospective vote count on Washington state's marriage bill looks very positive.
The Legislature is on the verge of having enough support to make Washington the seventh state to approve gay marriage, according to a tally by The Associated Press. A same-sex marriage bill is expected to be introduced by the end of the week. The AP reached out to all 49 state senators over the past week and found that more lawmakers are firmly supporting gay marriage than opposing it, by a margin of 22-18. The measure needs 25 votes to pass the Senate. The House is widely expected to have enough support, and Gov. Chris Gregoire publicly endorsed gay marriage for the first time last week.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Gay People: Haiti's Scapecoats

This partially animated clip tells how Haitian gays were scapegoated as the cause of the devastating earthquake which occurred two years ago today.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: "Functional HIV Cure" Trial Advances

Via press release:
Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: SGMO) announced today the initiation of two new Phase 2 clinical studies (SB-728-1101 and SB-728-902, Cohort 5) in its program to develop a "functional cure" for HIV/AIDS. Sangamo's ZFP Therapeutic® approach (SB-728-T) generates T-cells that are resistant to HIV infection using its zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) technology to permanently disrupt the DNA sequence encoding CCR5, a co-receptor used by HIV to enter cells. The company expects to present data from its SB-728-T HIV clinical trials at appropriate medical meetings in 2012.
Most interesting: "In addition to safety, the study will evaluate the effect of escalating doses of Cytoxan on SB-728-T engraftment, the effect of SB-728-T treatment on viral load following HAART interruption." In other words (I think), they'll be looking at whether patients can cease taking meds after the treatment.

Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Coalition Of Religious Leaders Issues Letter Denouncing Gay Marriage: "Help! The Gov't Won't Pay Us To Oppress You!"

From a letter issued today by the heads of the Salvation Army, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Hispanic Christian Conference, the Lutheran Missouri Synod, the Mormon Church, the Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (Plus other lesser-known religious hate groups.)
By a single stroke, every law where rights depend on marital status—such as employment discrimination, employment benefits, adoption, education, healthcare, elder care, housing, property, and taxation—will change so that same-sex sexual relationships must be treated as if they were marriage. That requirement, in turn, will apply to religious people and groups in the ordinary course of their many private or public occupations and ministries—including running schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other housing facilities, providing adoption and counseling services, and many others.

So, for example, religious adoption services that place children exclusively with married couples would be required by law to place children with persons of the same sex who are civilly “married.” Religious marriage counselors would be denied their professional accreditation for refusing to provide counseling in support of same-sex “married” relationships. Religious employers who provide special health benefits to married employees would be required by law to extend those benefits to same-sex “spouses.”

Religious employers would also face lawsuits for taking any adverse employment action—no matter how modest—against an employee for the public act of obtaining a civil “marriage” with a member of the same sex. This is not idle speculation, as these sorts of situations have already come to pass. Even where religious people and groups succeed in avoiding civil liability in cases like these, they would face other government sanctions—the targeted withdrawal of government co-operation, grants, or other benefits.
Read the entire letter.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: CALIFORNIA: Avis Sued For Offering Discounts To Gay Groups

An Arizona woman has filed suit against Avis, alleging that the car rental giant violates California's law against sexual orientation discrimination when if offers discounts to LGBT groups. Dave Rice reports at San Diego Reader:
Lynn Evenchik claims that Avis’ practice of offering discounts to members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce constitutes a violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits businesses from offering discounts to customers based on sexual orientation. Evenchik paid $311.36 to rent a car from Avis at San Diego International Airport for a period of one week in July of 2011.

She later learned that members of the aforementioned groups received discount codes entitling them to 20 to 25 percent off standard rental rates due to marketing agreements Avis had entered into with the organizations. “These unfair and unlawful business practices result in many consumers who are not affiliated with those organizations paying substantially higher rental rates than those made available to gay and lesbian renters,” the complaint states.
The suit calls for Avis to pay damages to anybody who rented a car since the discount offer began.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Nancy Pelosi Calls Out Homocons

"Oh, but what about them? He [Barney Frank] chooses a party that supports his values. They've chosen a party that supports their income — a party that denigrates them and treats them with disrespect." - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, on the attacks made on Frank by the likes of GOProud. Hit the link for the Advocate's cover profile on Pelosi.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG:

Canada: We Take It Back

After worldwide outrage poured into Ottawa, the Canadian federal government is backtracking on the invalidity of gay marriages by foreign visitors. Things aren't quite settled, however.
The federal government will consider changing the law to ensure non-residents married in Canada can obtain divorces, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Thursday afternoon. Wading into a controversy that has quickly blown into an international cause célèbre, Mr. Nicholson made assurances the government “has no intention of reopening the debate on the definition of marriage.” [snip] Mr. Nicholson's statement gave immediate hope to married same-sex couples who are seeking a divorce but appeared to have no prospect of obtaining a one in Canada. However, it left one central question unanswered: Does the government consider their marriages to be legal, or not?
Lambda Legal, Freedom To Marry, the ACLU, and GLAD have issued a joint statement.
No one’s marriage has been invalidated or is likely to be invalidated. The position taken by one government lawyer in a divorce is not itself precedential. No court has accepted this view and there is no reason to believe that either Canada’s courts or its Parliament would agree with this position, which no one has asserted before during the eight years that same-sex couples have had the freedom to marry in Canada. [snip] The message for same-sex couples married in Canada remains the same as it is for same-sex couples validly married here in the United States: take every precaution you can to protect your relationship with legal documents such as powers of attorney and adoptions, as you may travel to jurisdictions that don't respect your legal relationship. There is no reason to suggest that Canadian marriages of same-sex couples are in jeopardy, or to advocate that people try to marry again elsewhere, as that could cause these couples unnecessary complications, anxiety, and expense.
Sorry about that, American Family Association. Snork!
reposted from Joe

Via AmericaBlogGay:

In a February cover story with The Advocate, a national gay and lesbian news magazine, Pelosi declined to give specifics on conversations she may have had with Obama on the issue. Instead, she said she has been focused on pressing the Democratic National Committee to fund efforts to reject state-level anti-marriage ballot measures. "There are more ways to get your voice heard than just speaking," she said. 

Pelosi added, "But I hope the president would just say he supports equality in marriage."
The Advocate story is here. HuffPost goes on to note that the White House is at pains to explain why Republicans are now saying the President has the same position on marriage equality as Romney, Santorum and Gingrich. That's not something the White House wants to hear the GOP say as we approach the election, as it's sure to be sore point with gay voters.

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma January 13, 2012

How to Surrender

In the Shin Buddhist tradition, as we listen to the teaching we are made to realize that we can never surrender ourselves. Resistance comes from the deepest center of our karmic selves. That’s why the Buddha Amida’s compassion says, “Tai, you don’t have to surrender.” When I hear that, when I understand that I can’t do it because it’s not my nature—that it’s like saying, “Fly to the sky”—then I realize that I don’t have to surrender, yet, naturally and spontaneously, the surrender takes place by virtue of true compassion.
- Taitetsu Unno, “Even Dewdrops Fall: An Interview with Taitetsu Unno”
Read the entire article in the Tricycle Wisdom Collection