In Support of Civil Unions Part II
In reviewing the Connecticut bill (read the fully copy here), a couple of sections stood out:
"... only about 3,000 opponents of the state's civil union law showed up at a protest of this groundbreaking legislation. This a pretty pathetic turnout, especially since many of those there were bused in from out of state. Pat Trick also observed a number of cars parked near the rally with out-of-state license plates. This limited opposition seems to be a sign that a broad consensus of the citizens of the Nutmeg State are comfortable with the actions' of their state's legislature. And a sign perhaps that the Connecticut legislation may be a model for other states. It may not be a perfect, but it's one huge step on the right direction."
Sec. 14. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2005) Parties to a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law, whether derived from the general statutes, administrative regulations or court rules, policy, common law or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in a marriage. Sec. 15. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2005) Wherever in the general statutes the terms "spouse", "family", "immediate family", "dependent", "next of kin" or any other term that denotes the spousal relationship are used or defined, a party to a civil union shall be included in such use or definition, and wherever in the general statutes, except sections 7-45 and 17b-137a of the general statutes, as amended by this act, subdivision (4) of section 45a-727a, sections 46b-20 to 46b-34, inclusive, and section 46b-150d of the general statutes, as amended by this act, the term "marriage" is used or defined, a civil union shall be included in such use or definition. [emphasis added]This law grants equal status under the law to gay couples entering into a civil union as is granted to a heterosexual couple entering into a marriage. The difference is in a word -- marriage. Reserving the word marriage to mean a heterosexual union between one man and one woman seems to be a small price to pay at this moment to achieve equality under the law. If the Connecticut law were used as a model for other states, there is one passage I would modify:
Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2005) Any person authorized to join persons in a civil union pursuant to section 4 of this act, who fails or refuses for any reason to join persons in a civil union shall not be subject to any fine or other penalty for such failure or refusal."This would appear to open a loophole in the law. If all persons authorized to join persons in a civil union could refuse to do so without penalty, then no one could enter into a civil union. While this situation is highly unlikely, this language in the law does open the possibility. Civil Unions, such as the above, should be our focus. They appear achievable, palatable to the majority of Americans, and offer us the opportunity to demonstrate our relationships can, under legal recognition, be a positive asset to the fabric of life in this country.
GOP Retreats From Ban on Gay Foster Parents
"Leading Republicans in Texas are distancing themselves from a proposal to make the state the only one to prohibit gays and lesbians from being foster parents. It appears the plan will die without becoming law. The Texas House approved the plan last week, despite concerns that as many as 3,000 children could be removed from their homes. But amid a groundswell of anger and criticism, conservatives backed away from the proposal Friday. " [via gayorbit]
It appears this amendment will die a quiet death in committee. Even the sponsor of the amendment is keeping quiet.
A spokeswoman for Rep. Robert Talton, R-Pasadena, who proposed the ban, said he no longer wishes to discuss the issue.
Gay/Lesbian Lobbiest Kept at Bay
"When Rep. Robert Talton learned that the gay and lesbian lobby was coming his way last month, he had state troopers posted at his office door to keep them from coming in. " [snip] "It's a waste of both of our times," Talton said. "They have their position and I have mine, so I made a decision not to talk to them." [hat tip to Gay News Blog]It is obviously hard to reason with someone who has taken such a stance. Talton's actions are nothing new for him. Why fight a losing battle. Energies should be focused on lawmakers who can and will at least speak to all citizen's of Texas, not just those with whom one agrees.
In Support of Civil Unions
Bacteria Fights HIV
An interesting development.
"Scientists have identified good bacteria already living in some humans that target and trap HIV and may protect against infection. They reported their findings at the 2005 American Society for Microbiology Beneficial Microbes Conference, at Lake Tahoe, Nevada." "The major roadblock in the development of this technology is the lack of financial support. Drug companies and venture capitalists are not interested because the beneficiary populations are infants and women in poor countries," says Tao. He is currently seeking sponsorship from charities or philanthropists to develop this technology.
Republican Makes Party Line Clearly The Issue
The Republican party a big tent? This seems to make it clear that anyone is welcome as long as you stick to party lines. Forget independent thought or voting one's conscience is you are Republican.
"If his personal preference for the homosexual lifestyle sways his vote incorrectly and against the Republican Party platform, then I would take issue with that and I would think other people on the (county) executive committee might take issue with that and citizens in Crow Wing County and District 12," Lehman said. - Brian D. Lehman, Crow Wing County Republican Party chair
An Activist Judge is One Who Doesn't Agree
"When it comes to judicial activism, conservative judges are no better than liberal ones - and, it must be said, no worse. If conservatives are going to continue their war on the judiciary, though, they should be honest. They do not want to get rid of judicial activists, a standard that would bring down even Justice Scalia. They want to rid the courts of judges who disagree with them."This says it all.
Non-Republican = Godless
"As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as 'against people of faith' for blocking President Bush's nominees"Democrats are no longer just the dreaded evil word liberal but now they are against people of faith. It seems some in the Republican party are using God and religion as the new political litmus test and tying it directly into the Republican party. In other words, if you aren't a Republican, then you are Godless. This and other actions are moving the Republican party closer to being the party promoting a theocracy.
Bill Allows Pharmacists to Deny Treatment
"Reports of pharmacists with particular religious and moral beliefs denying prescriptions for birth control have prompted legislation that would ensure all prescriptions are filled. House and Senate backers unveiled a bill dubbed the Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals Act (ALPhA) on Thursday."This is a frightening piece of legislation. It could have a lasting impact on health care in this country as it would open the door to doctors and pharmacists only treating on providing service to those whom they deemed worthy. Any person whose lifestyle or beliefs were offensive to a health care professional could be denied choking off avenues for treatment.
"Nobody has a right to come between any person and their doctor," Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat and co-sponsor, said Thursday. "Today they might not fill prescriptions for birth control pills. Tomorrow it could be painkillers for a cancer patient. Next year it could be medicine that prolongs the life of a person with AIDS or some other terminal disease."
Family Group Warns Against Gay Content
"Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association. 'Most of us have enough to explain to our children nowadays.' Wildmon warned that late-night programming on Here or LOGO could turn pornographic. 'The very nature of homosexuality is based on eroticism and the infatuation with sex,' he said."Comcast and Cox Communications have signed up to carry the new networks. Contact these companies and let them know you support gay programming. The only way to combat the AFA on this is with a call/write in campaign of our own.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell Under Fire
"(Washington) Seven members of the House Armed Services Committee have called on Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) to hold hearings to review 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'. The seven, all Democrats, made the request a month after the introduction in the House of bill to repeal the military's ban and allow service members to serve openly. All seven also are co-sponsors of the repeal proposal."Don't Ask, Don't Tell has proven to be an unworkable policy. Hopefully this will go away.
Connecticut Civil Rights Bill
"Same sex couples would have the same rights as married couples, but the word marriage would only be used between a man and a woman. If the bill passes it would make history."
Connecticut is set to put in place the first Civil Unions law which, if I understand what I have read correctly, will provide same sex partners with the rights of married couples. I know this isn't what some would want as to not have the word marriage attached, to them, still leaves us as separate. But this seems to have been more palatable to the mainstream and to me seems like a great step in the right direction.
More On The Minnesota State Senator
"Minnesota Republican state Sen. Michele Bachman moved to bring a measure allowing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to go to the Senate floor. The move was made despite the fact that measure had not been approved by the appropriate committees. Outside the Capitol, gay and lesbian activists were marching outside the capitol for equal rights. Koering voted no, the lone Republican to do so, and along with opposition from 34 Democrats, the measure failed. The senator said he cried all the way home."
A Father's Vote for Gay Rights
"What Niemann [Doyle L. Niemann D-Prince Gearge's] did was speak out on the House floor in support of the Medical Decision Making Act, one of two gay rights bills passed in the final days of the Maryland General Assembly's 2005 session, which ended late Monday. 'I am casting this vote for my daughter, who I love dearly, who is 25 and is in a committed relationship with another woman,' Niemann said. 'Now, should we deny her the rights that we would expect that I would expect for my wife and I? No. I'm casting my vote for her.' "This guy should be applauded.
Poll - 44% Say Homosexuality a Sin
"We know from the ugly and irrational fury over the gay marriage issue, and the silly 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in the armed forces, that there are still tremendous reservoirs of fear and loathing ready to be unloaded on gay men and women who'd like nothing more than to live their lives freely, honestly and openly. Things are not as bad as they were in 1962, but they're not good. Media reports have applauded the tolerance toward gays that has supposedly developed over the past several years, but I think much of that tolerance is wafer-thin. Millions of gay or bisexual Americans still live their lives locked inside the protective cloak of a falsehood - afraid, for very good reasons, to come out. A poll conducted for NBC Universal's USA Network, which will be showing 'Ring of Fire,' found that 44 percent of the respondents believed that 'homosexual behavior is a sin.' A third said society should not accept homosexuality as a way of life, and 14 percent believed gay athletes should not be permitted to play team sports. "
Scalia and Sodomy
"WHEN U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (above) spoke Tuesday night at NYU's Vanderbilt Hall, 'The room was packed with some 300 students and there were many protesters outside because of Scalia's vitriolic dissent last year in the case that overturned the Texas law against gay sex,' our source reports. 'One gay student asked whether government had any business enacting and enforcing laws against consensual sodomy. Following Scalia's answer, the student asked a follow-up: 'Do you sodomize your wife?' The audience was shocked, especially since Mrs. Scalia [Maureen] was in attendance. The justice replied that the question was unworthy of an answer.' "Maybe a tasteless question but certainly an interesting one.
Minnesota State Senator Comes Out, Endorses "Outing"
"A Minnesota state senator who bucked his party in voting against a measure that would have brought a gay marriage amendment to the floor of the legislature has revealed that he is gay, RAW STORY has learned. The senator, Republican Paul Koering, has also endorsed efforts to expose gay politicians who wield their power to oppose gay rights. " "Somebody who is possibly in the closet and uses their bully pulpit or their position to bash gay people or to make gay people’s lives difficult... and are in essence leading a double life — people like that need to be exposed for the hypocrite that they are," Koering says. “And I sometimes find that, I feel that the people that you find who are hollering the loudest and who are putting people down the most are the ones that have the most to hide,” he added. “They’re so uncomfortable in their own skin that they have to tear everybody else down to make themselves feel good.”
Ready for Primetime
"Three new TV networks catering to gay and lesbian viewers are trying to establish themselves, and all say they support one another -- at least publicly."GayTV! Finally coming to a living room near you.
Texas Gay Marriage Amendment
"A [Texas] House committee early Monday approved a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage, upsetting some members because it was not on the panel's agenda of items to consider. Two San Antonio lawmakers on the committee said the vote caught them by surprise. Neither was present at the early morning hearing when the item was brought up for a vote by the committee chairman, Rep. David Swinford, R-Amarillo. The discussion was limited and the vote perfunctory, with all six Republicans on the panel voting for it and the lone Democrat in attendance, Rep. Jessica Farrar of Houston, voting against."The fight is on in Texas.
San Francisco Chooses Gay Pride Grand Marshall
"The community has spoken, and in an incredibly close election, chosen celebrity drag queen and former Miss Gay San Francisco and Empress, Donna Sachet as San Francisco LGBT Pride's Community Grand Marshal. Sachet is one of the most recognizable faces in San Francisco -- gay or straight -- and is an avid community fundraiser, event emcee, television hostess and performer. "First, I must say congratulations to a dear friend Donna Sachet. Second, this is an exceptional choice. It is always hard when narrowing the field of worthy individuals for any honor. Donna is truly the essence of community pride. Donna works tirelessly for the gay community not only in San Francisco but around the US. She truly sees people as individuals and not labels. She has raised thousands of dollars for various charity organizations. A couple of years ago I blasted off an email and asked her to come to Austin to help me with a fundraiser. Her immediate response was, "Count me in." She came on her own time and her own dime to help my community. Donna's altruism is something I truly admire. So again, congrats my friend. It is well deserved.
FMA is Once Again In Play
"(Washington) The US Senate will begin hearings Wednesday on a new attempt to pass a Federal Marriage Amendment to bar same-sex couples from tying the knot." The amendment was introduced in the Senate in January by Colorado Republican Sen. Wayne Allard. It would deny marriage to same-sex couples and deny the ability to provide any protections to same-sex couples, such as domestic partnerships and civil unions.Republicans have once again brought back the Federal Marriage Amendment. Note the language denying any protections, even domestic partnerships and civil unions. This isn't about protecting marriage. It is about keeping marriage and all it's associated perks the property of once specific class of Americans -- heterosexuals.
Gay Partner Forced to Move Due to Custody Battle
"(Annapolis, Maryland) A court ruling that forced a gay father's partner to move out of the house where the father is raising his son has harmed the child and should be dissolved, an attorney argued Tuesday."For those that don't know, my partner of 10+ years has a son from his previous marriage. I feel for the person in the story above because I know what it is like. My partner and I went through a similar situation here in Texas with his ex-wife. Luckily, through excellent legal representation and help from an openly gay state legislator, we were able to prevail. But I remember what it was like having to watch my partner, who is an exceptional father, visit his child only in the presence of a third party. In Texas (this was in the days of 21.06) his being gay made him a criminal so therefore it naturally followed that he must be a danger to his child. Every time I see an article such as this, I am thankful everyday that common sense prevailed and we won our case. Many aren't as lucky which is why we must be vigilant in protecting our rights as Americans.
Republican Lawmaker Determined to Deny Same Sex Couple's Rights
"(Annapolis, Maryland) A Maryland lawmaker, angry that he was not able to stop passage of a bill that allows same-sex couples to make medical decisions for their partners, has begun a petition to get the issue on the ballot." Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel) has announced plans to trying to repeal the measure through a voter referendum.It isn't just to protect the definition of marriage as "one man, one woman", it is about keeping gay relationships stripped of any rights whatsoever.
From the Heartland of America
"For those of you who think it is a choice, that would mean at one time you had considered becoming a homosexual. It would be nice to hear your story. " [hat tip andrewsullivan.com]Very interesting posting from the heartland of Kansas where the battle is raging over a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Take the time to read this. Coming from a small town myself, I can empathize completely.
Please Forgive The Light Posting
Open Letter to Mike Rogers & John Aravosis
"My reaction to hearing about a closeted gay person writing, or helping to write, anti-gay legislation makes me want to rip them right out of their closets. But I don't take part in it. Here's why:" [hat tip limeschurbet]While reading LimeSchurbet's site today I ran across this excellent post over at Gay Orbit. It's subject is "outing" and it is worth the read.
NDT on Gay Activism
"my point in this is that gay activists who wish to deal with constitutional amendments must stick to facts, not overdramatize the issues, not make threats, and understand the motivations people have for advancing every specific word in the amendment. Namecalling and threatening lawsuits don't work -- we've proven that already. Careful, constructive debate and airing of your concerns, backed up with facts, does work. "Excellent post today from North Dallas Thirty. As some of you know, I am from Austin Texas. It isn't often we in the "hippyland" of Austin agree with our sometimes stiff shirted brethren from the north, but I have to say this is a thoughtful piece. All of us who are involved in activism need to remember that the words and actions we use, do have an effect. Sometimes it takes the outrageous to make the point. Sometimes though it just takes a well said, careful, thought out argument. The key is to know when to use both.
Gay Marriage and the IRS
"The best that I can come up with is to put an asterisk next to 'single' and explain the truth, that I am legally married, that I understand that because of federal and state laws my marriage is not recognized, that I consider this to be an unconstitutional deprivation of the equal protection of the laws to which my spouse and I are entitled, that I am filing the return as 'single' under protest, and that I should be given the opportunity to file as 'married,' whichI am. " [hat tip: rawstoryq]Now that is an interesting idea. Those of us in committed relationships should do the same and put a similar written protest on our tax returns. This most likely would prevent the IRS from processing the returns electronically and someone (an actual person) would have to handle the return and actually read the remark. This could be an interesting form of protest. Now where is my pen....
Baptist Church Could Deny Funds Over Gay Club
"Mars Hill College could lose nearly $1 million in funding if it approves a club for gay, lesbian and transgendered students. The school is one of five North Carolina colleges affiliated with the Baptist State Convention, which provides nearly $1 million annually to cover operating expenses and fund scholarships, said Norman Jameson, the convention's executive leader for public relations and resource development." [hat tip: rawstoryq]As a Southern Baptist (or at least raised that way), I don't think the church should push a message of exclusion because Christ clearly sought to include all in his grace. However, I also believe that any church has the right to exercise their religion freely. This is a Baptist University and as such the church has a right to fund or withhold funds as they see fit on whatever grounds. I attended a Baptist University and while educationally it was exceptional, on the social front it was slightly behind the times. At the time I attended there were still separate curfew policies for men and women. I often would find myself at odds with the administration on several stances that they took. Certainly I, as a student, a Baptist and an American citizen, had the right to voice my opinion and be openly critical of the church and it's policies. But the church had a right to those policies whether I agreed or not. I had the choice of supporting those policies or not. I chose to leave the church. As repugnant as I found some of the Church's policies, I still defend their right to have them and to exercise them in their own institutions. Freedom of religion gives them this right. Public institutions however should be free from religion.
Conservative Democrats Help Derail Gay Rights Bill
Not all Democrats are pro-gay. Remember to look at the politician and their record, not just the party they affiliate with, when it comes time to vote. Voting straight Republican or straight Democratic tickets can sometimes help put in office someone who advocates anti-gay policies.
"(Olympia, Washington) Republicans in the Washington state Senate, aided by two conservative Democrats, have derailed a gay civil rights bill.
Using a procedural vote they will send the legislation to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it is likely to die."
Republicans Help Gay Rights Cause
"(Austin, Texas) A Proposed amendment to the Texas constitution to ban same-sex marriage has been stripped of a clause that would also bar civil unions and same-sex benefits. The amendment, as originally worded, would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but it was expanded to block civil unions as well. It also would bar any legal situations 'similar to marriage' which could void or prevent child custody contracts, living wills, rights of attorney, and other contracts gay and lesbian couples use to protect their rights. 'It just goes too far,' said Rep. David Swinford (R-Dumas) head of the House State Affairs Committee said. Swinford said that if the bill were not rewritten House Republicans would block its passage. "There is still more work to be done. There will be a move to re-instate the language once the bill comes to the floor. I hope these Republicans and all fair minded people regardless of party, stand against this language.
Editorial on Outing
"But that is how stories outing closeted political figures should be seen. That most journalists and LGBT activists still can't move past the notion of a right to sexual privacy for public figures seeking to regulate the private sexual lives of Americans is testament to the homophobia that still defines our culture."An interesting article on "outing". [hat tip: rawstoryq]
Award-winning Lesbian Coach Reaches Settlement with Texas High School
"The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and attorney Michael Shirk from the National Education Association/Texas State Teacher's Association negotiated a settlement agreement on behalf of Merry Stephens, an award-winning basketball coach at Bloomburg High School in Bloomburg, Texas, who alleged that the school was trying to fire her because of her sexual orientation. "The story goes on to say...
"In exchange for Coach Stephens' agreement not to pursue further legal action, the district agreed to pay her the full value of her two-year contract. The settlement came days before a scheduled administrative hearing, after School Board President Derous Byers testified under oath in a deposition that the Board's decision to terminate Coach Stephens was based on the personal anti-gay animosity of several school board members. Mr. Byers also testified that several school board members publicly disparaged Coach Stephen because of her sexual orientation, including stating that she "did not deserve to work" in the district because she is a lesbian."discrimination against GLBT citizens is becoming more blatant. But in a society that is passing laws allowing doctors to refuse service based upon their religious beliefs, how long will it be before public school administrators can hire and fire based upon their religious beliefs? [hat tip: rawstoryq]
Domestic Partnership Law Upheld
"California's sweeping domestic partner law was upheld today by a panel of judges on the state Appeals Court. Two conservative groups opposing the law, which went into effect in January, sought to have it declared unconstitutional because it gave same-sex couples the most of the rights of marriage. "A good day in court...
Gay Organization Complains about Gay Business
"(Cape Town, South Africa) An investigation has begun into the operator of two gay guesthouses who allegedly refused to rent rooms to lesbians and heterosexuals. The complaint was lodged by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a conservative group that attempted to force police to charge drag queens at last September's Pride celebrations." [The Gay and Lesbian Alliance is described as a rightwing Gay organization]See the related story to this article as well. Seems the same group tried to get drag queens arrested during their gay pride celebration. I posted this to illustrate my point about how some gay people are taking "the mainstreaming" of gays to the extreme. They too would stoop to persecution of their own who don't conform.
LCR and USA Next
"Now this is AMAZING to me. Just weeks after USA Next used -- without authorization -- a wedding photo of two gay men in a homophobic effort against the AARP, guess who co signed a letter with USA Next? Right. Patrick Guerriero, the head of the recently sued-for-15-million Log Cabin Republicans."The LCR and USA Next? Talk about strange bedfellows. [UPDATE: I wanted to point out in the interest of clarity that this is a letter regarding Social Security reform that the LCR is on record as supporting. There were also several other organizations which signed the letter in question. I know the LCR is supportive of Republican policies but seeing the LCR logo on any letter with USA Next, an organization that has blatantly used homophobia as a political weapon, seems a little odd.]
Guesthouse Closes Rather Than Admit Heterosexuals
"The owner of two men-only guesthouses in Cape Town would rather close them down than admit heterosexuals, women or lesbians." (hat tip to rawstoryq)Now you just don't see that very often.
And Speaking of Pansexual Vampires...
"Elton John and Bernie Taupin's stage musical Lestat, based on the adventures of Anne Rice's pansexual vampire, will open in San Francisco this winter on its way to Broadway, reports Playbill.com. 'Lestat, one of Anne Rice's most celebrated literary characters, is being brought to the stage in the first-ever collaboration of the legendary team of Elton John (music) and Bernie Taupin (lyrics) on a Broadway production,' according to a statement from the Curran Theater, the venue for the San Francisco run."As a big fan of both Elton John and Ann Rice, it will be interesting to see what this collaboration brings. I may have to make a trip to the motherland to check this out.
Teasing Can Go Too Far
"Students said gay kids do indeed get picked on at the school - but insisted it wasn't a big problem because everyone gets mocked for one reason or another."Maybe these students didn't see this article: From 365Gay.com:
"(Fair Lawn, New Jersey) Police say they have prevented a potential 'massacre at a high school in New Jersey. 16 year old teen is under arrest, possessing a prohibited weapon and making terrorist threats. The teen cannot be named because of his age. The incident began after the boy was suspended from school for carrying a stun gun. Police were notified and discovered a Web site that he had created 'threatening a massacre' at Fair Lawn High School. On the site he listed a group of people he hated, including gays, teachers, obese people and bullies according to police. He also posted quotes of the teens who killed 13 and wounded 21 at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999. The site has been taken down. "So called "innocent mocking" can quickly lead to other things. As the "step"parent of a 17 year old, I realize what high school is like and that students develop their pecking orders. Anyone who doesn't fit whatever mold is usually taunted and pretty much with immunity. School administrators and teachers should be mindful of the psychological impact this "simple childish teasing" can do and what it's consequences can be.
HIV Still Serious
"Michelangelo Signorile, the host of a gay-themed talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio, takes a less nuanced view: 'If everyone in your group is beautiful, taking steroids, barebacking and H.I.V. positive, having the virus doesn't seem like such a bad thing.'" It is for that reason that Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, believes the disease is due for an image makeover. He cites a hard-to-miss ad in last month's Out magazine that is embedded with a tiny audio chip and features two robust men on a beach. Opening the magazine sets off the trill of a ringing phone and a man's voice essentially saying he is having too much fun to worry about his chronic illness. Mr. Weinstein has asked the ad's sponsor, Bristol-Myers Squibb, to stop using the ad for the drug, Reyataz. A spokeswoman said the company was re-examining its advertising campaigns. "People are in such denial about how serious H.I.V. is," Mr. Weinstein said. "Unfortunately, the best prevention is seeing people die."I remember when the ads of this manner first came out. It was refreshing to see images of healthy HIV positive men. This article illustrates the time for these images has past. Without the spector of death surrounding HIV infection and AIDS such as there was in the mid-1980's, many have begun to forget "how serious HIV is."
Texas A&M Hosts Same Sex Marriage Debate
"A debate over the positive and negative effects that legalizing same-sex marriage would have on the institution of marriage and the family was held Thursday at the J. Wayne Stark University Center."There isn't anything very earth shaking in this article except for the fact that it took place on Texas A&M campus. A&M is not exactly the most liberal of institutions. I remember going to check it out when I was in high school and considering which university to attend. It definitely had a ultra-conservative vibe.
"I think it was a very good debate," he said. "We (usually) don't get to hear both sides in a clear manner. Too often this issue is too emotionally charged to get anything done."Nice to see this take place.
School Bans All Clubs To Prevent Gay/Straight Alliance
"(Cleveland, Georgia) White County school administrators are recommending the cutting of all 'noncurricular clubs' at White County High School. The plan, which would go to White County Board of Education as part of other recommended policy changes, follows on the school system's agreement to allow a club for gays students and supportive classmates to form." The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia had earlier said an agreement had been reached in which school officials will "drop their attempts to stop" the group."This school would rather ban all clubs than allow a gay/straight student alliance to form. It never ceases to amaze me how far some will go to prevent a positive gay image.
Crystal And The Gay Communtiy
"`I'm not anti-partying or anti-sex,'' [Dan Carleson] said. [Carlson is an ex-addict who has become one of New Yorks leading anti-meth campaingers.]`But how can we fight for our rights as a sexual minority if we don't establish what's right and wrong in our community, and look out for each other.' "
There are conflicting ideas within the Gay community in regards to recreational drug use. I certainly don't advocate it nor do I partake myself. But there is an interesting chasm forming.
"There is anger at the opportunity this phenomenon is giving the rest of the world to associate the gay identity with promiscuous sex, with out-of-control behavior,'' [Jean] Malpas said. [Malpas is a gay psychotherapist in New York who has been handling meth-related cases for four years] "We don't need additional opportunities to be perceived negatively."Many gay persons tend to blame our plight as a cultural minority and the subsequent discrimination we face on members of our own tribe. We often hear how we are our own worst enemies, what with gay pride parades full of drag queens and floats celebrating sex. How can we be expected to be seen as part of mainstream society when we offer images that show we are not? I would offer that we are not like mainstream society and ask why we should be expected to meld into the homogenized mind set simply to live our lives without discrimination? Why must we return to the closet of blending in? We deserve equal treatment not because we have washed away our uniqueness, but because of those differences. Americans should be free from violence, hate and discrimination regardless of any actions that are not illegal nor harming to any other person. In America we should celebrate differences. Drug use among the Gay community is a scourge upon us but we should combat that head on without judgment.
"Experts say many men in this category are experiencing 'safe-sex fatigue'. They are tired of using condoms, believe medication can contain their HIV, and are emboldened by meth to forget their difficulties and engage in unprotected sex. "Meth was the drug that would turn your head off and allow you to have the sex you thought you were missing out on,'' Kathleen Watt said."West Hollywood Mayor John Duran summed it up best:
"We didn't come through the AIDS epidemic, and the battles over gays in the military and gay marriage, to end up here, a community filled with drug addicts,'' said Duran, who is gay and HIV-positive. "We've fought too long and too hard to let this drug take us down.''We should remember that drug use is the true enemy and not add to the shame and isolation abusers already feel by attaching the, "your actions are bringing down the entire gay rights movement" philosophy. Read the article. It is something we should be aware of and should be working to eradicate.
Mark Shields On The State of the Democratic Party
"The immediate question is whether Democrats are now able to see themselves for what they are -- an out-of-power, out-of-office minority, for whom honesty and reform are the only realistic policy and the only hope."Mark Shields writes an excellent piece on the state of the Democratic Party. The Democrats have a window of opportunity. In fact, recent Republican Party actions have thrown that window wide open. But it is a limited window and it will close soon enough. I think Whoopie Goldberg said it best on Real Time. When speaking on the state of the Democratic Party she said, (and I paraphrase) "Not a ball among them." It is time the Democrats stepped up to the plate and started articulating actual party ideals. Just being the "we hate George Bush and Republicans" party will not be enough if they want to truly make a challenge to retake the Senate, House and even the Presidency in 2008. Make hay while the sun shines. It is time to speak up.
Lott Uses Procedure to Block Vote
Wouldn't this be using procedural rules to block a vote on Bush nominees? This isn't exactly the same as using a filibuster to prevent judicial nominees from coming to a vote. That takes more than one person. This does, however, illustrate a growing trend. Recent Republican actions seem to be saying, "we like the rules when they get us what we want." If the rules get in the way then they should either be changed or circumvented. Since Lott obviously embraces the concept of using procedural rules to advance his cause by preventing a vote, shouldn't he share his support by asking his brethren in the Senate to leave the rules in place that would allow the same situation?
"A longtime Republican foe of this year's planned closing of military bases is trying to derail the process by blocking Senate confirmation of the head of the commission that helps pick which facilities will be shuttered, congressional aides and lobbyists said Thursday. Two weeks ago, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved President Bush's nomination of Anthony Principi, Bush's former secretary of veterans affairs, to be chairman of the commission overseeing the process. The full Senate was expected to vote on the nomination last month before lawmakers left for a holiday break.
But Lott has placed a "hold" on the nomination, said aides and lobbyists speaking on condition of anonymity. The procedural move makes it hard for the Senate to vote on it. They say Lott is expected to try to delay the confirmation of the other eight nominees once the Senate Armed Services Committee approves them."
Protester Goes Too Far
"Commentator and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan cut short an appearance after an opponent of his conservative views doused him with salad dressing. 'Stop the bigotry!' the demonstrator shouted as he hurled the liquid Thursday night during the program at Western Michigan University. The incident came just two days after another noted conservative, William Kristol, was struck by a pie during an appearance at a college in Indiana."Dissent is one thing and I am all for freedom of speech. I advocate almost daily for the open exchange of opposing ideas. This, however, is stepping over the line. I don't care which side of any issue someone is on. The right to dissent does not cover physical contact of any kind. Buchanan refused to press assault charges and that, to me, shows he is the bigger person.
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