Bob Grisham, Lauderdale County High, Rogersville, AL

Bob Grisham is a teacher and football coach at this Alabama high school. He has a few things to say about Michele Obama which one might consider offensive and racist, and he has a few things to say about gay people, which one might consider offensive and homophobic.

A yahoo like Bob Grisham would be fired for saying the things he said in most school districts around the US. But what will happen to him in some Stupid State like Alabama? He’ll probably get a medal.

But maybe what he said wasn’t really offensive and I’m over interpreting. You be the judge:

What fate awaits Joseph Bukombe in Uganda?

Uganda is not a good place to be deported to if it is known that you are Gay. From SDGLN

Bukombe was released just in time for Christmas from his two-year imprisonment at the Otay Mesa Federal Detention Facility and still faces deportation to his home country of Uganda, where his life could be put in danger. He has the next couple of months to work on a case for asylum, which would allow him to remain in the United States legally.

Court Strikes Down Key Part of DOMA

U.S. Defense of Marriage Act denying federal benefits to married gay couples unconstitutional: Appeals court

BOSTON — A U.S. appeals court Thursday declared that the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a groundbreaking ruling all but certain to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The unanimous ruling said the 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman discriminates against gay couples because it doesn’t give them the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples.

The ruling was very narrowly defined and did not address the specific issue of same sex marriage.

JC Penny Out Gays the Homophobes

Remember that boycott against JC Penny because they did something gay? Which got totally Streisanded and converted into widespread pro-JC Penny sentiment? Well, JC Penny is giving back to the Progressives and Pro-Gay community with a pro-gay Father’s Day Ad.

The good news about Gay Fathers Day is that you didn’t have to get stuff for your mother of Mother’s Day. The bad news is …

Anyway:

According to the company, the two men who appear in the ad are “real-life dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith,” and the jubilant children are their kids, Claire and Mason.

“First Pals: What makes Dad so cool?” reads the ad’s copy. “He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver – all rolled into one. Or two.”

source

Mississippi Representative Andy Gipson: Put gays to death

This is just coming to light, apparently. Mississippi Republican Andy Gipson posed the following on his Facebook page on May 10th:

“Been a lot of press on Obama’s opinion on “homosexual marriage.” The only opinion that counts is God’s: see Romans 1:26-28 and Leviticus 20:13. Anyway you slice it, it is sin. Not to mention horrific social policy.”

According to Leviticus 20:13, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

Unity Mississippi asked him to apologize, but instead he said:

“To be clear, I want the world to know that I do not, cannot, and will not apologize for the inspired truth of God’s Word. It is one thing that will never “change.” Anyone who knows me knows I also believe that all people are created in God’s image, and that all people are loved by God, so much so that He gave us the truth of His Word which convicts us of the reality and guilt of our sin, and He gave us His Son Jesus who paid the full penalty for all our sins, by His grace through our faith in Him as we repent of our sin. John 3:16. It is this message that I preach every Sunday. I sincerely pray God will reach someone through this message.”

We await his resignation. Oh, wait, he’s a state rep in Mississippi. He’ll be elected governor.

Same Sex Marriage is the Issue of the Day…through November

Why would it be that about half of Americans want to deny same sex couples the right to marry? Indeed, why would conservatives want to let same sex couples get away without the legal features that Marriage provides to protect the rest of society with respect to debt and other responsibilities?* It was not long ago that a majority of Americans were against same-sex marriage, with varying degrees of support for inadequate social contracts such as civil unions. Very recently, according to Nate Silver’s calculus, pro-gay marriage opinions have a slim majority, and an absolute majority (about 51%), which is, unfortunately, a little softer than ideal.

In November, a lot of things will happen related to same sex marriage. For example, now that Obama has come out supporting same-sex marriage, and Scissor-hands Romney is now running full steam against same-sex marriage, the role of this issue in the minds of the electorate is key to both gay rights and the presidential election (and thus, well, gay rights…SCOTUS is at stake after all). Of the nine states considered to be the most swing with respect to the presidential election, five have prohibitive laws passed over a range of time (Pennsylvania in 1996, Ohio in 2004, Virginia and Colorado in 2006, and Florida in 2008), two swing states have restrictive laws that are less severe (Nevada passed in 2002 and Wisconsin in 2006) and only two allow same sex marriage (Iowa and New Hampshire, both passed in 2009).

That bodes poorly for both progressives seeking to re-elect Obama and everyone trying to expand same-sex marriage, unless the pro same-sex marriage trend is strong. Which it might be. In fact, that might be the main news of this year’s election cycle.

On the positive side, the issue of same-sex marriage being central this year will result in mutually beneficial outcomes. In Minnesota, we have a ballot question that would make same-sex marriage illegal constitutionally. The measure’s language leaves it open to being struck down by courts (maybe even before the balloting) and the presence of this initiative along with an anti-democracy voter ID rule will bring progressives out in November. We expect heavy campaigning by progressives in three or four congressional districts to push out Tea-Party Temps or other Republicans, along with a really annoying Republican controlled state house and a federal senatorial race along with whatever pull-in Obama provides to support efforts against the initiatives. In other words, we are hoping for a perfect storm of issues and candidates to produce a defining moment in state history and to be one of the first states to resoundingly squash an anti-gay same-sex marriage amendment.

In a sense, this election year will be a barometer of both strength of progressive will and ability for different groups to work together on common (or nearly common) progressive goals. The unknown factor (other than factors that are, well, unknown) is the interaction between the African American vote (which helped Obama win in ’08) and less than friendly feelings towards same-sex marriage by some self-identified Democrats who are African American. Everybody has to remember this rule: No pulling the damn ladder up into the tree house no matter who you are, who is already up there, and who isn’t there yet.**

The best graphic of the year award is probably going to go to Nate Silver for producing a trend line graph showing opposition to vs. support of gay marriage over the last several years, which shows a very interesting pattern. This graph was so good last August when first produced that Silver did it again a few days ago with added data that, shall we say, harden the conclusion that pro same-sex marriage opinion is an absolute majority. I couldn’t resist making a crude moving GIF showing both graphs together. Not work safe and below the fold: (more…)

Romney Funny is not

Rachel Maddow covers Mitt Romney’s anti-gay bulling history.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The school district I live in has the highest rate in the country of suicides, and that number is achieved mainly through the bullying of gay students. Will having a gay-basher in the White House set back our efforts, locally, to address this? Will having him running as a candidate have a negative effect?

I am in favor of DOMA

But in my version, it is slightly different.

Since being gay in the military is now OK, I’m sure there is some clumping up of gay people in the services, as would be natural for any sociological phenomenon. So, we help this along a little and create Gay Brigades formed entirely of GLBTA troops (the “A” troops are important to keep the numbers up, I imagine).

The Gay Brigades are then sent as Federal Troops into churches and city halls in North Carolina to Defend same sex couples’ 14th Amendment rights.

And we call it the Defense of Marriage Act-Up.

That is all, thank you very much.

OBAMA ENDORSES SAME SEX MARRIAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

Right here, look!

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People around the blogosphere are griping about this. They don’t like it. They are saying things like “it should have happened sooner” or “why didn’t he do this sooner” or “I’m still mad” or “oh, that’s just becuase it became obvious that he had to change is position for political reasons.”

The first most obvious fact about any political change like this is that it should have happened sooner. Congratulations for noticing that, you should get a PhD in political science. The second most obvious fact about an issue like this is that actual politicians who are actually elected to non-trivial office play the politics. Thank you for noticing this. Maybe you should write a book about it.

So, what is the next step? I suggest continuing to gripe about how long it took, devaluing the event as a political move so it becomes less important, that sort of thing. We wouldn’t want a very positive and hopeful statement by the most powerful and influential person on the planet to lead to anything good, right?

Or, maybe you could take advantage of the situation. Make this into something other than a mere chance for all of us to show off our political wit!

So, what is the next step?

How about working with the momentum! Try to get the Dems to turn this into a stronger push for election season, a stronger backlash against NC’s boneheaded move, stronger support for action against currently proposed anti-gay legislation or constitutional change!

Or what? Do you have other suggestions? Let’s have them!

Tom and Shane’s Story: It is up to you to stop this.

Vote against gay marriage bans. Vote for gay marriage. Legislate and agitate.

There are two related events currently happening in two different states.

In North Carolina:

North Carolina’s voters went to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether the state would become the 31st in the country, and the last in the South, to have a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

In Colorado:

Civil unions are close to passing in Colorado, but there’s only a few days left before the legislature adjourns. We’re getting down to the wire on Amendment One in North Carolina. The Prop 8 play is getting new legs as an audiobook. And the guys behind “We Are Young” have some strong words for marriage equality.

Watch this (you will cry), then get off your ass and do something.*

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Senator Peter Brunstetter = White Supremacy + Anti Gay Marriage

Or so we hear, from his wife.

Senator Brunstetter is a Republican in North Carolina. He introduced an anti-gay marriage amendment. He should have been more careful about having the little lady keep her mouth shut becuase … well …

There is a transcript here.

I am so confused. I have heat stroke. Do you have heat stroke? I have heat stroke.

EEOC Rules on Transgender Workers

The US Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that transgender workers are a protected class.

In what some are calling a landmark decision, the EEOC has ruled that Title VII protects transgender workers from on-the-job discrimination. In part, the order states that “intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, ‘based on … sex’ and such discrimination … violates” the law.

Source

This protection is backed by solid case law. EEOC rulings generally require propping by court cases, but this is fully expected since the courts have already done so. In fact, one might ask, “why did the EEOC not do this before?”

Denise Dittrich will Not Seek Re-Election; Why is this a good thing?

Denise Dittrich is a Democratic member of the Minneosta House, and is in fact my representative in that legislative body. She lost my confidence as a representative when she broke with the central ideals of the DFL (our term for the Democratic Party) and voted in favor of limiting marriage to a man and a woman in Minnesota. She was one of the only Democrats to do that. On looking more closely at her, I found out that she also pushed for the Northstar Rail, which as our second major rail commuting effort in the Twin Cities is a good thing, but also, that she had a personal financial interest in that project.

Dittrich surprised everyone at our local Senate District Convention on Saturday (click here to find out what the heck a Senate District Convention is) and announced that she would not be running for re-election. She spoke in a statement that “As my youngest child graduates from high school, my family and I are beginning a new chapter in our lives.” Indeed. Run for office, get a bill passed that personally benefits you financially, get lucky that the party in power at the moment is your own so they don’t press for an ethics investigation, then just as the party control of the legislature shifts, vote against your party on a major issue (were you ever a real Democrat, Denise?) and then bug out of there while everyone else is distracted with other issues.

We are not amused.

Your Support of Bill C-279 is Urgently Needed Now

“We don’t have a ‘Bill of Rights’ in Canada. We don’t need one.”

A colleague from Canada told me that once. I was pretty sure she was more or less wrong, but I was working in a lab of mainly Canadians at the time and I know that as an Ugly American I had no chance if I disagreed, so I kept my mouth shut. It turns out that only months before that declaration, Canada had passed the Constitution Act, and before that they had the “Canadian Bill of Rights” and subsequently some other stuff has happened along these lines, but just as in the United States, unless you are really quite specific, these sorts of protections don’t extend to everyone, and especially to people who are in certain groups or categories that many seem comfortable viewing as unworthy for some reason or another.

Well, at the moment, transgender Canadians are not protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the prevailing constitutional law. However …

Next month, in April, an extremely pivotal bill is going to be up for debate in the Canadian parliament. It’s Bill C-279, which will add gender identity and gender expression to the list of statuses protected under the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms.

Currently, transgender Canadians have no such protections, and may be discriminated against on the basis of their gender by employers, businesses, shelters, institutions (public or private) and individuals without any legal consequence. … This is not okay.

Natalie Reed has all the details here. It appears that Bill C-279 has not received much media attention, and the current political climate in Canada is such that it is at risk of not passing.

So read Natalie’s post and get on this, please. If you know of a petition or something, tell us in the comments!

DFL LGBT Stonewall Caucus Gives Sharon Sund an “A”

Sharon Sund and a few supporters at a recent Fundraiser in Minneapolis.

Sharon Sund, who is running for United States Congress in the Third District in Minnesota, has received an “A” level rating from the Stonewall DFL Caucus. Here is my endorsement of her.

Sharon has been working tirelessly for all sorts of progressive causes for years, including LGBT issues, health care insurance reform, and so on. She’s also signed the Science Pledge.

For context:

Stonewall DFL is the LGBT caucus of the Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) Party of Minnesota. Our goal is to encourage participation of LGBT persons within the DFL. We screen and endorse candidates from local school board races to United States Senate. We strive to inform the greater DFL, elected officials and citizens about the issues facing the GLBT community. Being an active member of Stonewall DFL provides greater access to the political process through establishing relationships with elected officials past, present and future.

This is a big weekend coming up; the DFL caucuses for many districts happen on Saturday. You may not be hearing a lot from me the next couple of days because I’ll be a bit busy with that.

In the meantime, it would be helpful if you could go to Facebook and “like” Sharon’s page! If enough people like it, we win!!! (The facebook liking contest, not the election.)

Couple kicked out of restaurant for being girls, kissing.

PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A couple says they were thrown out of a downtown Phoenix restaurant and bar after they shared what they call an innocent hug and kiss. The pair believes they were thrown out because they are women.

“She is the most amazing person who has come into my life,” said Kenyata White of her girlfriend of two years, Aeimee Diaz. Sunday they were at the District, which is located inside the Sheraton Hotel, to celebrate.

“We just kind of sat there in that moment and hugged each other and gave each other a kiss,” White said. But White said shortly after they kissed, a manager walked up to them.

“The management came up to us and told us that we needed to get a room and that our behavior was inappropriate for their establishment and that we needed to leave,” White said.

They did leave, but eventually Diaz went back in to talk with the manager, who told them he was acting on a request from other customers.

Details

Maryland Bill Passes Senate

The Maryland house recently passed their same-sex marriage bill, and now, moments ago, the Senate has done the same thing. Governer Martin O’Malley is expected to sign it.

Go Marry-Land!

Details

Maryland would join the District and seven states in allowing same-sex marriages. Supporters have cast the bill as a major advance in equal rights. Opponents have called it a misguided attempt to redefine the institution of marriage.

Despite one of the largest Democratic majorities in any state legislature, backers of gay marriage in Maryland had to overcome fierce opposition from blocks of African American lawmakers and those with strong Catholic and evangelical views to cobble together coalitions big enough to pass both chambers.

How To Make Diversity Happen

There are several very basic misunderstandings of how things work when it come to engendering and encouraging diversity, and I’d like to make a few comments with the aim of clearing them up, at least partially. One example of a misunderstanding came up a while back when some of us were complaining about the number of Y-chromosomes represented in Richard Dawkins’ otherwise excellent science anthology, and I have been reminded of it more recently by the inexplicable blogarrhea coming from the general direction of the former John Loftus, who can’t stop complaining about (… oh never mind, it does not matter). In the end, it is all about how we make selections, which are samples of a larger population, and we make selections quite often.
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