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Fri May 22, 2015 at 01:45 PM PDT

Harvey Milk and a Lesser Known Hero

by dbeerthuis

Reposted from Politically Activated by librarisingnsf
Today is Harvey Milk Day, when we commemorate the birth of the first true gay activist, Harvey Milk, born on this date in 1930.
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Reposted from Chrislove by Chrislove

Need a bit of inspiration this morning? I've got just the story for you.

On Tuesday, two men showed up on a street corner in Tillamook, Oregon, with signs reading "Homo sex is sin" and "Jesus said unless you all repent you will likewise perish." Apparently, this was not the first time these bigots protested in Tillamook. This time, however, their hateful display provoked a response.

Makaila Ragan, a high school junior, happened to notice the men on Tuesday standing outside her mother's workplace with their signs. She told the Tillamook County Pioneer:

I was so irritated because I see them all around town and all they ever do is make people feel like crap about themselves.
Unlike most people, she wasn't content to simply ignore the protesters.
I went inside and asked her and her boss if it would be all right if I made a poster that stands up for what I believe in. They were totally all for it.
And so she did. Her message? A simple one: "I <3 Gays."
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Reposted from unapologeticliberal777 by Chrislove

I have been sitting here for thirty minutes struggling with that question.  


Because of a diary sitting at the top of Community Spotlight section on Daily Kos written by kay3295 titled "My Gay Wedding Story."  If you have not read it, I strongly urge you to read it as the writer does an amazing job of capturing the emotional roller coaster that gay couples experience, regardless of where you get married, what decade you get married in, or whether or not your marriage is "legal."

I understand what the emotional roller coaster feels like as I married my partner in 1992, four years before DOMA was signed into law by then President Bill Clinton, after "liberal" members of the U. S. Senate, including Paul Wellstone, Barbara Mikulski, Tom Harkin, Patty Murray, Patrick Leahy, and Dick Durbin, voted for DOMA.

Needless to say, 1992 was not a great time for a man to marry another man, in terms of being accepted by society as a whole.  It was tough to get your family, friends, and co-workers to accept the fact that you are gay, never mind marrying your partner.

We got married on September 9, 1992 - so this was before Bill Clinton and Al Gore won the presidential election in November of 1992.  The political environment had been horrible for gay folks for pretty much an eternity, or since 20000 B.C., whichever is longer.  But things seemed to get so much worse with the AIDS crisis that began in 1980.  Society stood by, demonizing gays for starting the "gay plague" while tens of thousands died.  It was so painful to watch your friends who had become your "family" waste away and die a slow, miserable death.  My heart still aches for some of my friends, who were struggling emotionally trying to understand why everyone sat back and did nothing, as the virus decimated their immune systems and they could no longer take care of themselves.  And most held one individual responsible for it all and became the "poster child" for societies indifference to gay men who were dying of AIDS - and that was president Ronald Reagan.  But of course, that is a whole other diary.  

So fast forward to 1990 when I met my partner.  It was two years after President  George H. W. Bush won election to the presidency via an ad he ran about a murderer/rapist named Willie Horton who Governor Dukakis had let out on a furlough from prison and who then raped and murdered a woman.  By 1992, gays were so for down the societal ladder, I heard one guy say that Willie Horton had a better moral compass than gays did - that is where things stood.  

But I used that negative energy to build my confidence after watching members of Act-Up publicly fight the FDA over AIDS drugs and how their "in your face" style of protest, actually having shut down the FDA in October of 1988, surprisingly was able to shift public opinion and force the FDA to move drugs through the regulatory process quicker to battle AIDS and in order to save lives.

So I was standing tall at that point, after being closeted for so long, I was happy to have someone I loved in my life, and I absolutely LOVED fighting conservatives in the political arena, but especially all the fundamentalist Christians out there, who I loved exposing for the frauds that they still are today.  But my whole world came crashing down.

I was so stupid.  As I said, I loved fighting the fight in the political arena, but was becoming frustrated that we were making little headway on a number of progressive issues, including gay rights.  But then, my wedding invitations were mailed out and the bottom of my world fell out and I quickly learned why we were not making headway politically.

They say all politics is local - and it's true.  Clearly, things were moving so slowly on the national political front, because for so many members of the gay community in those days, we couldn't gain acceptance from our friends and family.      

I called my parents in 1991 and told them I was gay.  We lived on different coasts so I had to do it by telephone - but to be honest, I was terrified to tell my parents in person, not so much my dad, but my mom, so of course I did it by telephone.  And of course the telephone conversation went the way I figured it would.  

I called my parents in the summer of 1992 and told them I was getting married, then mailed the invitation to them.  I called a week later and resigned myself to the fact that this was not going over well and they wouldn't be attending.  I called my siblings and told them of my big news, and with most of them, it went over like a lead balloon, but even those who were supportive couldn't attend.  I started telling friends as well and while some were supportive, but a lot were clearly uncomfortable and many couldn't attend our wedding due to "family obligations."  I never saw most of them after that.

Surprisingly, the most supportive group were my co-workers.  Seven of the eight I invited from work came to the wedding, but the one that did not, who had actually become close to my partner, betrayed us, and faxed our invitation to other offices around the country where I had worked previously, and where I still had good friends  working.  Needless to say, all of that caused me a lot of grief for me and my friends and highlighted one more instance of betrayal by someone I thought was a good friend.  But I weathered the storm, things settled down, and after that experience, I decided I didn't give a rats ass what anyone thought of me, and my life became so much better after adopting that attitude.

I got married on September 9, 1992 at home in front of some friends, a ton of neighbors, and my co-workers.  The ceremony was conducted by a minster from the local Unitarian Church.  My partner had the whole event catered, and turned our home upside down, having had all the furniture hauled away and put in storage, and turned the house it into a wedding venue like nothing I had ever seen even in a magazine - everything was done in white, from the flowers to our tuxedos.  All I had to do was show up, say "I Do," and have a blast with the guy who meant everything to me.    Everyone had a blast, the whole affair went on until 4:00 a.m., and it was a day I will never forget.  And even though our marriage was not recognized legally, I really liked having the control of doing it the way we wanted to do it without fighting the government to do it or having to wait until the government said it was okay to do it.  There was no political will for gay marriage back then.  I don't even recall it being a political issue, so you did what you had to do to be happy and move your lives forward and we did just that.  And I loved the fact that we did it without societies approval - we did it on our own terms.    

So, that was my gay wedding experience.  

It's quite difference from what a lot of gay couples experience today.   Clearly, society is much more supportive of gays getting married, as are friends, family and co-workers, for the most part.  And with the expected ruling by the Supreme Court this June, marriage equality will be the law of the land, as it should be, and as it should have been a long time ago.  

Everyone deserves to have the right to marry the person they love.  

A big thank you and shout out to kay3295 for her dairy and congratulations to her and her new bride.  Your diary really triggered a lot of emotions in me this morning.  I felt compelled to write about my experience as a result.  And although it has been really tough for me writing this diary and feeling so vulnerable by putting all these emotions into words, I also feel good having shared it as well.

Peace to all.  


Reposted from Chrislove by Chrislove

If you've been following the record-breaking flurry of anti-LGBT bills being filed by Republicans in the Texas legislature, you probably know about HB 4105, introduced by Rep. Cecil Bell, Jr. (R-Magnolia). Bell is the author not one, not two, not three, but four such bills, possibly making him the most actively anti-gay legislator in Texas. HB 4105, however, may take the cake as a frighteningly asinine attempt to preempt a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the right to marry that most seem to expect. I'll let you read the bill text:

SECTION 1.  This Act may be cited as the Preservation of
     Sovereignty and Marriage Act.
            SECTION 2.  Section 2.001, Family Code, is amended to read as
            (c)  State or local funds may not be used for an activity that
     includes the licensing or support of a same-sex marriage.
            (d)  A state or local governmental employee may not
     recognize, grant, or enforce a same-sex marriage license.
            (e)  State or local funds may not be used to enforce an order
     requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage
In other words, in the very likely event of a SCOTUS ruling striking down marriage bans across the country, clerks in Texas will be faced with a choice: Follow federal law and risk repercussions from the state or follow this mean-spirited, unconstitutional piece of legislation. It would essentially create chaos, which is exactly what Bell and his ilk want--much like the chaos we saw in Alabama following their own marriage equality ruling. More from the Texas Observer:
The bill would bar state and local employees from issuing, enforcing or recognizing same-sex marriage licenses—and prohibit public monies from being used to do so—regardless of any court order.

LGBT advocates say if the high court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, HB 4105 would set up a showdown between state and federal law, costing Texas millions of dollars in litigation and potentially delaying the effectiveness of the decision by years. They say the bill would unleash chaos similar to what’s been seen in Alabama over same-sex marriage, and generate the type of business backlash associated with passage of an anti-LGBT religious freedom law in Indiana.


In addition to Bell, HB 4105 is co-authored by 88 other House Republicans. Only nine Republicans hadn’t signed on as co-authors as of Monday morning: Rodney Anderson (Grand Prairie), Sarah Davis (Houston), Craig Goldman (Fort Worth), Todd Hunter (Corpus Christi), Linda Koop (Dallas), Morgan Meyer (Dallas), John Smithee (Amarillo), Speaker Joe Straus (San Antonio) and Jason Villalba (Dallas).

None of the chamber’s 52 Democrats were listed as co-authors.

While HB 4105 was slated for the floor yesterday, it was delayed. It will have to be passed by the end of the legislative session, which is rapidly approaching, barring a special session. If it passes the House, it is expected to sail through Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's Senate, of course. And while Greg Abbott hasn't publicly taken a position, I think we all know where he is going to come down on this.
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Reposted from Steven Payne by Chitown Kev
We've had a good run. We've been together 21 years, 7 of them legally wed. But this is all about to crash and burn around our ears thanks to 66-year-old Sylvia Driskell of Auburn Nebraska. According to the Omaha World-Herald this outstanding legal scholar has just filed an extraordinarily powerful lawsuit titled Driskell v. Homosexuals with the district court in Omaha. She isn't merely suing her local homosexuals, she is suing all homosexuals.

Driskell, calling herself an ambassador and acting as her own counsel will proxy for “God, And His, Son Jesus Christ" in the case. Even though she is suing in a district court, her arguments are so powerful you can fully expect attorneys will abandon all other strategies and adopt her unimpeachable reasoning all the way to the highest court in the land. By the end of the year, prepare yourselves for the Supreme Court to take up the matter.

Follow me below to behold her cogent arguments.

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Reposted from Kossacks for Marriage Equality by Chitown Kev
Last Sunday, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was on Face The Nation to discuss marriage equality. Prior to beginning the discussion/interview, Bob Scheiffer mentioned that CBS had gotten flooded with letters from viewers complaining about the network having Tony Perkins on because he is a member of a SPLC designated hate group. It seems that religious right leaders and Todd Starnes of FOX News are quite upset about CBS calling out the FRC in that way.

From JMG:

Teabagistan has been in an uproar all week after CBS' Face The Nation host Bob Shieffer correctly called the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group in the opening to his interview with Tony Perkins last Sunday. Yesterday Todd Starnes posted the below rant, bringing in foaming hater Brent Bozell to denounce CBS. Bozell, you may recall, is most known here for calling President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead."

If you missed that interview, here it is.

The following video is called "the march of marriage equality." I'm posting it just because it's really cool.


Tue Apr 28, 2015 at 05:48 PM PDT

Riots: From Stonewall to Baltimore

by FogCityJohn

Reposted from Positively Charged Opinion by FogCityJohn

The unrest in Baltimore, brought on by the death of Freddie Gray, has been the source of a lot of commentary in the world of social media. My Facebook feed is full of people offering their opinions about what many call the "rioting" or "violence" in Charm City.  Mind you, most of those commenting use those words only to refer to destruction of property and throwing of rocks. Strangely, they're not talking about the actions of the police, this despite the violence that characterizes so much of the police's treatment of poor black communities.

Lots of those appearing in my news feed are gay white men like me. Some of them have been very critical of the protestors in Baltimore, and they've decried the resort to "violence" and condemned the people for rioting. I'm not a violent guy, and I don't support the indiscriminate destruction of property, but as a gay man, I find it a bit hypocritical when white members of my community wag their fingers at the so-called rioters.  

I'll explain below the nuage de kos.

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Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy

I grew up in a David Letterman household and while I'm excited for Stephen Colbert to be taking over, I am sad to see Letterman hang it up. Being a native of the Hoosier state, Letterman had some harsh words for Governor Mike Pence (R. IN) over his signing of the blatantly discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

Going to miss that. So what will Letterman do now that he's retired? Well Senator Al Franken (D. MN) stopped by and gave him a suggestion:

“What I want to know is, what can I do now to make the governor feel uncomfortable?” Letterman, a critic of state's divisive Religious Freedom Restoration Act, asked during "Late Show with David Letterman.”

"As a matter of fact, there's an open seat there," Franken responded quickly, noting that incumbent Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) won't run for re-election in 2016.

Franken continued: "Look, when young people come to me and say, 'How do you become a United States senator?' I say, 'Well, do about 35, 40 years of comedy and then run for the Senate.' You know, it's worked every time."

"I think you should run," Franken told Letterman to applause. - TPM, 4/2/15

I'm all for a Letterman run. Any way we can get a Draft Letterman For Senate movement going here?
Reposted from LGBT Rights are Human Rights by librarisingnsf
NCAA President Mark Emmert has stated that the NCAA is "especially concerned" about Indiana's recently passed "religious freedom" law.

From USA Today:

The NCAA is "especially concerned" by a recently enacted law in Indiana, which hosts this year's Final Four, that grants businesses the right to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples, NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement released on Thursday.

"The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events," the statement read. "We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.

"We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week's Men's Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce."

The Final Four is scheduled to be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 4.

And, a statement from Charles Barkley:

NCAA tournament analyst Charles Barkley released a statement Friday calling for big events such as the Final Four and the Super Bowl not to be held in Indiana in light of recent legislation in the state that many view as discriminatory against gay, lesbian and transgendered people.

“Discrimination in any form is unacceptable to me," Barkley said in the statement.

"As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities.”

via Sports Illustrated

The NFL is also concerned about it.

In the meantime, lawmakers in other states might want to think twice about these so-called "religious freedom" bills. A number of states will be considering similar legislation in the coming weeks.

AFA's Bryan Fischer is not happy about the (commercial) backlash in Indiana.

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Wed Mar 25, 2015 at 09:01 PM PDT

My Thoughts on Coming Out

by cloudbustingkid

Reposted from cloudbustingkid by librarisingnsf

      I don't usually write diaries and I rarely even comment on DKos these days, but after reading some of the comments to this diary and then this response diary I decided I would write down my thoughts on coming out in hopes that somebody might get something out of it.

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Reposted from Angry Gays by Horace Boothroyd III

I am a mess at the moment, but this is vitally important to me. I have been getting very little sleep, and too much exercise and rain while without shelter. I'm in Salem today after biking down yesterday.

Hopefully I will be able to share at least part of what I wrote to the hearing.

A state House panel heard testimony on the measure, which is being promoted by Basic Rights Oregon, a nonprofit gay and transgender advocacy group from Portland.

The measure is part of a national push to prevent mental health care providers from practicing so-called conversion therapy. Laws banning the practice have passed in New Jersey, California and Washington, D.C., and a dozen other states, including New York and Florida, are pushing for similar legislation.

Under the bill, social workers and licensed medical health care professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists, would be barred from practicing conversion therapy on children under age 18.

My two cents below:
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Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy

Hello fellow Kossacks! I've had the privilege to interview politicians like Rep. Ted Deutch (D. FL-21) and former U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D. AK) in the past but this upcoming interview I am the most excited about. I consider former Congressman and Decorated Admiral Joe Sestak (D. PA) as a friend and I am very thankful and excited that while he's walking across the state of Pennsylvania that he wants to grant me an interview. Of course I could use my fellow Kossacks help so if you have questions for the Admiral, please post them in the comments. I will submit them after the weekend. In the mean time, feel free to get involved and learn more about Sestak's campaign here:

Congressman Joe Sestak stands with his daughter Alex (left) and wife susan (right, behind) as he gives his concession speach after losing to Pat Toomey on Tuesday, October 2, 2010 at the Radnor Hotel. &nbsp;//ed note: ROB KANDEL / THE MORNING CALL &nbsp;***** Headline: &nbsp;2010 THE YEAR IN REVIEW ** From a quadruple homicide in Northampton to the defeat of Pennsylvania's longest-serving senator, 2010 will go down as a year of heartache, anxiety and political change (12/26/10) *****
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