Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Via Gay Politics Report: Maine congressman and gubernatorial candidate comes out as gay

Maine congressman and gubernatorial candidate comes out as gay

Maine Rep. Michael Michaud came out as gay Monday morning, becoming the eighth openly LGBT member of Congress and the first to come out in office since 1996. Michaud, who is running as a Democrat for governor in next year's election, made the announcement via an op-ed in three local newspapers. "I don't plan to make my personal life or my opponents' personal lives an issue in this campaign," Michaud wrote. "We've had enough negativity in our politics and too many personal attacks over the last few years. We owe it to the people of Maine to focus on how we get our state back on track."

Portland Press Herald (Maine) (11/4), GayPolitics.com (11/4), BuzzFeed (11/4)

Via JMG: NEW JERSEY: Parents Sue For Right To Torture Son With "Ex-Gay Therapy"

A New Jersey couple has filed a lawsuit which demands that they be allowed to torture their 15 year-old son with "ex-gay" therapy.
According to the lawsuit, the teen suffers from "unwanted gender identity disorder and unwanted same-sex attractions" and has contemplated suicide. It goes on to describe how he "began to think he would like himself much better if he was a girl" and attempted to display female mannerisms and expressions. He also began to develop feelings of same-sex attractions at age 12 or 13, and that his depression worsened to the point that he began to have thoughts of killing himself "nearly all day long, every single day."
"John Doe has a sincerely held religious belief and conviction that homosexuality is wrong and immoral, and he wanted to address that value conflict because his unwanted same-sex attractions and gender confusion are contrary to the fundamental religious values that he holds," the lawsuit contends. The suit seeks a preliminary injunction to stop the law from being enforced plus "nominal damages" and attorneys' fees. A federal judge is scheduled to decide by Dec. 2 whether to grant the injunction.
Gov. Chris Christie signed the bill which outlaws "ex-gay" therapy for minors back in August. The bill is being appealed by the anti-gay Liberty Counsel.
Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: HAWAII: Police Union Head Says He'll Never Enforce Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Via the Honolulu Civil Beat:
The head of Hawaii’s police union, Tenari Maafala, testified against the gay marriage bill Monday afternoon, saying he would never enforce such a law. “You would have to kill me,” he told a panel of House lawmakers hearing Senate Bill 1. Maafala is president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers and an officer with the Honolulu Police Department. He said SB 1 is contrary to his religious views and opposes the measure. Republican Reps. Bob McDermott and Richard Fale questioned Maafala about his views. Maafala said the state has more important issues to address, such as homelessness and drugs, and that denying gay couples the right to marry is not discrimination if it’s against your beliefs.
How do cops "enforce" marriages anyway?

Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Catholic Church On ENDA: Discrimination Against Gay People Should Remain Legal

The United States Conference On Catholic Bishops has issued a press release and sent a letter to members of the Senate in which they declare that it should remain legal to fire LGBT people. Peter Montgomery of People From The American Way has a excerpt:
While the Church is opposed to unjust discrimination on any grounds, including those related to same-sex attraction, she teaches that all sexual acts outside of the marriage of one man and one woman are morally wrong and do not serve the good of the person or society. Same-sex sexual conduct, moreover, is categorically closed to the transmission of life and does not reflect or respect the sexual difference and complementarity of man and woman. Therefore, opposition to same-sex sexual conduct by the Church (and others) is not unjust discrimination and should not be treated as such by the law. In contrast to sexual conduct between a man and woman in marriage, sexual conduct outside of marriage, including same-sex sexual conduct, has no claim to any special protection by the state. Therefore, although ENDA may forbid some unjust discrimination, it would also forbid as discrimination what is legitimate, moral disapproval of same-sex conduct.
More from their press release:
The bishops' letter said ENDA goes beyond prohibiting unjust discrimination and poses several problems. It notes, for example, that the bill: (1) lacks an exception for a "bona fide occupational qualification," which exists for every other category of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, except for race; (2) lacks a distinction between homosexual inclination and conduct, thus affirming and protecting extramarital sexual conduct; (3) supports the redefinition of marriage, as state-level laws like ENDA have been invoked in state court decisions finding marriage discriminatory or irrational; (4) rejects the biological basis of gender by defining "gender identity" as something people may choose at variance with their biological sex; and (5) threatens religious liberty by punishing as discrimination the religious or moral disapproval of same-sex sexual conduct, while protecting only some religious employers.

Reposted from Joe

Via Huffington Post: Gay Rights Victories Pile Up In 2013

Gay Rights Victories Pile Up In 2013


NEW YORK -- NEW YORK (AP) — In Maine, a congressman running for governor came out as gay. In Hawaii, lawmakers girded for a vote to legalize same-sex marriage. And in the U.S. Senate, seven Republicans joined the Democrats in a landmark vote to ban workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

From one end of the country to the other, the overlapping developments on a single day underscored what a historic year 2013 has been for the U.S. gay-rights movement — "the gayest year in gay history," according to Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign, the movement's largest advocacy group.

Yet each of Monday's developments, while heralded by activists, revealed ways in which the gay-rights debate remains complex and challenging for many Americans.

Republicans, for example, are increasingly split on how to address gay-rights issues — some want to expand their party's following, while others want to satisfy the religious conservatives who make up a key part of the GOP base. More than 40 percent of Americans remain opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage. And even some prominent gays remain uncertain whether they should make their sexual orientation known to the world at large.

Mike Michaud, the Democratic congressman from Maine, said he came out to dispel "whisper campaigns" about his sexuality as the three-way race for governor began to take shape. Through his six terms, he'd never before spoken publicly about his sexual orientation, and he broke the news to his mother only hours before releasing his statement.

In Hawaii, where the state House is debating a Senate-passed gay-marriage bill, thousands of citizens have signed up to testify — and the majority of those who've spoken thus far oppose the measure.

And in Washington, even as gay-rights supporters celebrated the Senate's backing of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, conveyed his opposition and left it unclear whether the GOP-controlled House would even vote on the bill, known as ENDA.

Boehner "believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs," said his spokesman, Michael Steel.

Richard Socarides, a former Clinton White House adviser on gay issues, said he was on the Senate floor in 1996 when an earlier version of ENDA lost by a single vote.

"It's poignant for me that it's taken 17 years to get another vote on something as basic as workplace discrimination," he said.

"Even though we're making rapid progress on marriage equality, and the entire movement seems unstoppable, there are still big pockets of resistance," Socarides added. "It's going to cost a lot of money and require a lot of work to get us to where anti-gay discrimination no longer exists."

Monday's 61-30 vote on ENDA demonstrated that the Senate's Republican minority could not muster the votes needed to block the bill by filibuster. The legislation could win final Senate passage by week's end.
Current federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin. But it doesn't stop an employer from firing or refusing to hire workers because they are lesbian, gay bisexual or transgender. The bill would bar such discrimination by employers with 15 or more workers.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have approved laws banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 17 of them also prohibit such discrimination based on gender identity.
Sainz, a vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the most striking aspect of the ENDA debate was the division surfacing in the Republican Party — with several prominent GOP senators supporting the bill and yet Boehner signaling his opposition even before the Senate vote was held.

"There is no doubt that the American public is changing on this issue very quickly," Sainz said. "That's what makes what Boehner did today such a head-scratcher."

The Senate vote on ENDA was among a series of major victories for the gay-rights movement this year, highlighted by two Supreme Court decisions in June. One ruling cleared the way for ending a ban on same-sex marriages in California; the other struck down a 1996 law passed by Congress that banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Gay marriage is now legal in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and bills are pending this week that would add Hawaii and Illinois to that group.

Read the entire article here

Via AmericaBlog: Barilla pasta kinda-sorta finally gets that bigotoni is bad for business

Barilla pasta got into some hot water six weeks ago after AMERICAblog exclusively broke the news that the Italian giant’s chairman, Guido Barilla, told an Italian radio show that the company would never put gay people in its advertising.

Barilla added that if gays didn’t like it, they could buy someone else’s pasta.

So they did.

What happened next was a textbook case of Gay David vs. Corporate Goliath in the Internet age, with Barilla issuing no fewer than four apologies in a failed attempt to quell the growing consumer and media meltdown of its once-famed “family” brand.

Fast forward to today, and there are signs that Barilla got the message.  (Albeit, six weeks late.)  It still remains unclear, however, if change is on the horizon, and whether Barilla will be taking “bigotoni” off the menu for good.


Barilla says it’s reached out to gay representatives in the US and Italy, though we have no details about any of that outreach, other than the fact that gay political icon David Mixner is involved, which is always good.  But beyond that, who knows. Barilla certainly never reached out to us, and we broke the story.

It will be interesting to see if Barilla follows the usual corporate path of parlaying with the large gay groups who have become increasingly irrelevant to the online direction that civil rights, and all progressive activism, has gone in the past twenty years.  They always try to broker a deal with the people who didn’t get them in trouble, thinking that somehow this will appease the people who did get them in trouble.  And it rarely works.

Specifically, Barilla has created an “advisory board to promote diversity.” As Kathleen Sebelius would say….


I want to know if the company has a comprehensive LGBT anti-discrimination policy, for starters, and how many openly gay people it has in any kind of senior position anywhere in the company.

Next, they promise a new advertising campaign that’s more inclusive.  Hmm.  That’s really the cruz of the problem, that Barilla said they wouldn’t include gays in their ads.  Let’s see some gays in their ads, and let’s see the advertising budget, where the ads run, how often they run, whether any actually run in gay media (and straight media), not to mention on the gay blogs. (And absolutely Barilla should run ads in the straight media, but they should also show support for the gay media here and at home as well.)

Make those changes, then we’ll talk.

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma November 5, 2013

Engaging Others' Views

Listen without arguing, and try to hear what the other is really saying, remembering that, as Buddha pointed out, all beings wish to be happy and avoid suffering. A Buddhist practices nonattachment to views. If we human beings are going to stick around on this earth, we need to learn to get along not just with the people who share our views, but also, and more to the point, with the people who get our goat. And remember—we get their goat, too.
- Susan Moon, "Ten Practices to Change the World"
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