Friday, May 30, 2008

Guest Post: Father Tony

Father Tony here, guest blogging for Joe from Fort Lauderdale.

Dear Joe,

No, of course you didn’t call too early this morning. In fact, C and I have been up for hours and have been at the Euro Café on East Sunrise Boulevard, hard by the drawbridge on the Galleria mall side of the Intracoastal. Here, the French proprietress who repeats your order in her tongue squeezes real oranges for the juice which, when first presented, looks weak to my jaded and Winn-Dixied eye. It is so unsaturated by FDC reds and yellows. But, Holy Cleavage of Anita Bryant, the taste of it! We take it outside with flakey croissants to the little aluminum bistro tables, and I pass a TV screen that tells of yet another crane collapse on the Upper East Side. This one twenty blocks north of you, just as the other one had been twenty blocks south of you. Honey, you’re living on the San Andreas Faulty Crane Fault. You know those old phone books that no one in Manhattan recycles? Pile them up in your doorways to cushion the blow of the inevitable.

On the phone, you sounded even more Olympically stressed than you were last week. Come down here. To Florida. Now. This is not a state. It’s a good-for-you spa. It’s a giant avocado green vinyl barca-lounger from which to tri-focally view the concerns of others, with its gears rusted by salt air into the feet-up position. We are daily showered and in the car by 5PM, arriving for dinner at Tropics in Wilton Manors for the two-for-one entrée special, where through the ceiling speakers, Bette Midler sings the State song, From A Distance. Even C, so normally adamant and cynical about politics and the need for social reformation and revolution by and for the middle class, has been able to kick back a bit. He skates to the point of blisters. He throws himself into the waves. He sleeps by the pool. The sun has scoured the corn flower blue of his eyes so that in the space of just three days, those strange nervous men who have surrendered their passports to sane old age by taking root here, seem sweetly quirky to him rather than frightening. You know the ones. They have streaked and ragged yellow hair under a Marlins cap, and their tank tops hang like heavy drapery over skinny shoulders. They get hotel jobs and quit them bitterly. They chain smoke in front of Java Boys, holding the leashes to poodles and eyeing the too young guys who shuttle between Bill’s and Alibi hoping the doormen won’t recognize them.

Still, if not for C, I would not know the day’s news. That in France, gas now costs $8.20 a gallon, and that it is taxed there astronomically, so as to curb its use. C and I argue about whether or not raising the price of gas in the US would eventually drive its citizens away from oil gluttony and into demanding more and better and cleaner mass transit. Can we love a Hillary or a McCain who want a tax holiday? Isn’t that feeding more of the drug to an already addled public?

He also tells me that members of the Board of the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority for New York) each get several lifetime EZ passes that exempt them and their chosen ones from paying highway tolls. C has developed intolerance for those who take, for careless big business, for government that is dishonest, for the fat-with-sin who would dictate our behavior. I fear he is on the edge of becoming some sort of radical activist, and it takes all my energy just to keep him distracted with savory food and casual sex.

Sitting outside with our orange juice and croissants, the cigarette smoke from a gaggle of style-riddled European women sifts through my hair. The strength of the Euro has brought them into town in droves. They are buying real estate, just as the South Americans bought it in recent years, snatching up bargains that they could not quite afford until now. Their quilted silver leather handbags are not knock-offs. Yesterday we drove through the quiet streets of Coral Ridge where the for-sale signs at the ends of so many driveways are like tombstones for plague victims. The market continues to plummet. I wonder who is to blame. The fools who acquire a level of debt that exceeds their paying ability and the value of their homes, or the banks that so willingly made those mortgages knowing full well that their giddy and greedy actions would eventually result in this situation? Should I feel guilty about walking through a bank-owned two-bedroom/two bathroom that can be had for the price of a sedan?

I am distracted by a passel of cyclists who wiz by on their way to the beach. “Look at the heterosexuals”, I say to C, pointing at them.

“What do you mean?” he says.

“It’s just the way they buy all that matching shimmery gear. The tight fitting red, white or blue spandex with all the logos and the matching goggles and helmets and shoes and gloves. Gay men don’t do that.”

“Oh really? What about the harnesses and nipple rings and clamps and boots and t shirts?”

We are off to the races on a discussion about the differences between straight and gay. I disingenuously prop up the argument that we are different from straight people. But really, it’s just in the details. Gay marriage will finally deflate my already weak stance. In our drive to be “equal and the same” we will become just that, forfeiting our fabulousness, our theatrically constructed lives, our special and vivid colors, our way of saying those special little things we say that women bring home from the office and repeat to their disgruntled husbands. Our defiance. That is what will slip away between the cracks of equality. That may not be the future I want to fight for. Do you?

Last night at Alibi, I scanned the room, feeling like Walt Whitman, at one with every molecule of every gay man alive today, from the pear-shaped old lettuce bag in the white Lacoste over pleated Land’s End shorts on the stool at the bar receiving an order of fries from (and pinching the gyroscopic butt of) an impatient waiter-twink, to the “It’s my birthday!” Catholic thirty-six year old from Iowa who came out late in life and is two years into a relationship with the beautiful Cuban Carlos who has had a few Long Island Ice Teas ($3 each on Thursday only!) and is flirting with each of us and placing his straw cowboy hat on our heads before kissing the faces beneath it, to the slender and cute British boy named Rory from Kensington whose t shirt said “Fuck me like you hate me” and promised to return to us “to get better acquainted” once he had dropped off the drinks he was carrying to his group of friends.

The screens overhead gave forth music videos from twenty years ago! Janet Jackson takes a swan dive off the Manhattan Bridge. Alison Moyet opens her mouth to reveal a set of vampire fangs. C explains what has happened to the music business. I credit Shawn Fanning with a singular David vs. Goliath slingshot that brought the industry to its knees. We are back to producing songs at home, playing the spoons on our knees and snickering while we rhyme our way onto Youtube. This is good.

If only everything would shrink to cottage size again. If only the milk we drank came from the cow in our barn, and the juice we drink from oranges plucked from branches that graze our back porch, and there is that boy next door. Wouldn’t he be enough even if you never again ended the night at Slammer as did we, pushed up against the muscular shoulders of five feverishly naked guys all with our dicks pointing to the center of the group like divining rods announcing a sudden geyser about to buckle the floor boards, and as we may do again tonight? Isn’t a little information about what’s happening down the lane where someone has grown a particularly large pumpkin or a particularly spectacular violet iris better than knowing about how many bodies were pulled from the rubble of the crane collapse or how many millions a hedge fund manager made last year, or how a candidate is promising to be everything he or she has no real intention of being?

I close the shutters against those things and their foul odors, Joey. They do not exist for me. I listen to the music you sent us yesterday. Tangerine. The disco version of Baby Face. Danny Tenaglia’s remixed Miss Kittin. That song by Jean Carne. Here, in this place, have I orchestrated the salvation of my Salsoul, and it is working so that I do not. If I could subvert you, and C and all of you who work and worry, I would, and blamelessly. Relax. Feel better. Drop everything. Come visit. Bring Shelly. Or, we’ll see you in the Park in a few weeks.

Your devoted Father T.

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Back In The Saddle

My deepest thanks go out to my dear friend Aaron for helming this here website thingy for the last week. While it was hard to stay away, I managed to get in some pretty decent and much needed down time, both physically and mentally. I should probably do this more often. So as many of you have suggested, I've asked Aaron to continue to help out as needed.

UPDATE: A couple of other guest bloggers will also pitch in. Stand by.

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Caption This

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Gay Bloggers Credentialed For Democratic Convention

The Democratic Party has released their list of bloggers credentialed to cover the convention in Denver. The LGBT blogs represented are Towleroad, Pam's House Blend, and AmericaBlog. Congrats to all!

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CA Asks Court Not To Delay Marriages

The state of California is fighting the wingnuts that want a stay of the ruling approving marriage equality.
After fighting same-sex marriage for four years, the state Thursday urged the California Supreme Court to reject petitions that would delay enforcement of the court's landmark ruling permitting gays to wed.

"This historic litigation is now concluded," wrote Senior Assistant Atty. Gen. Christopher E. Krueger in a brief filed with the high court. "It is time for these proceedings to end." In the brief, Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown said he plans to enforce the court's May 15 ruling "with no less vigor" than he previously sought to defend state laws that limited marriage to opposite-sex couples.

California's change of heart came as 10 other states, including Florida and Utah, filed a brief in support of a request by gay marriage opponents to delay the effective date of the court ruling. The offices of attorneys general of Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah protested that their states, which restrict marriage to unions of a man and a woman, would be inundated by litigation seeking to have them recognize same-sex nuptials in California.

California is prepared to offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning June 17, although the mere filing of the petition could delay same-sex marriages until mid-July, or, at the latest, mid-August, court officials said.

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Again!

I cannot believe this. ANOTHER construction crane has collapsed on the Upper East Side, killing at least two people.
Two people died in a crane collapse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan Friday morning, according to the city's fire department, reports WCBS-2 in New York.

The construction crane smashed into a high-rise apartment building before crashing more than a dozen stories onto the street below. The Fire Department said it has pulled people out of the wreckage at East 91st Street and First Avenue. Their conditions were not immediately known.

The top floor of a nearby high-rise apartment building had been damaged. Firefighters and rescue workers were continuing to search through the wreckage. "This is totally mind blowing," Manhattan borough President Scott Stringer told WCBS-2. "It looks like a bomb exploded in Manhattan. It's just a total tragedy." The accident happened 2½ months after a crane collapsed, killing seven people about two miles south.
What the fuck is going on in this town? First Avenue is covered with debris and rescue vehicles. After the March disaster, the city buildings commissioner resigned in disgrace and an inspector was arrested for falsifying inspection documents. Clearly, nothing has changed.

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Morning View - Central Park Mall

Lined by elm trees, the Mall is the "grand promenade" of Central Park and runs from 66th to 72nd Street. The Mall is also known as Literary Walk for the many busts famous writers placed along its sides.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Aussie Olympian Comes Out

Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, 20, has come out in advance of competing in the Beijing Olympics.
Like many athletes around the world, Australian Matthew Mitcham fought his way to the top of his sport to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games. Unlike many of his Olympic counterparts however, the diver must fight to bring his life partner with him to the Games.

Mitcham, 20, came out in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald this Sunday. Now, he will compete on the 10-metre platform, diving for the gold as Australia’s only openly gay Olympic athlete.

What Mitcham would like more than anything else is for his longtime partner, Lachlan, who fought the tumultuous battle of Olympic dreams with Mitcham, to be there in the stands cheering him on. The young diver and his partner currently do not have the funds to get Lachlan to Beijing, but Mitcham tells the SMH that Johnson & Johnson offers an Athlete Support Programme that would allow for friends and family of those competing to travel to the competition.
Could we have another Greg Louganis here?

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New CA Poll: Majority Approve Marriage Equality For First Time Ever

By a tiny margin, for the first time ever a majority of polled Californians say they now approve of gay marriage.
In a dramatic reversal of decades of public opinion, California voters agree by a slim majority that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, according to a Field Poll released today.

By 51-42 percent, registered voters said they believed same-sex marriage should be legal in California. Only 28 percent favored gay marriage in 1977, when the Field Poll first asked that question, said Mark DiCamillo, the poll's director. "This is a milestone in California," he said. "You can't downplay the importance of a change in an issue we've been tracking for 30 years."

While opposition to same-sex marriage has been weakening for years in California, supporters have remained a minority. In March 2000, for example, voters overwhelmingly backed Proposition 22, a statute that said the state would recognize only the marriage of a man and a woman. A 2006 Field Poll showed that half the state's voters still disapproved of same-sex marriage.

But the state Supreme Court's decision this month to overturn Prop. 22 might have turned the tide, DiCamillo said. "There's a certain validation when the state Supreme Court makes a ruling that you can't discriminate when it comes to marriage," he said. "That may have been enough to move some people who were on the fence about same-sex marriage."
This bodes well for the November ballot measure, although once the wingnuts get their PR machine in gear, these warm fuzzies of the moment may dissipate.

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HomoQuotable - Chris Jensen

"The International Mr. Leather competition is purportedly the climax of the IML weekend. But this cowhide beauty pageant—which, at 3.5 hours, rivals the Oscars in terms of jaw-dropping self-regard—is interesting more as anthropology than as entertainment. (If you consider that the entire multi-hour event is underscored by a steady OON-cha-OON-cha-OON-cha house beat, punctuated with triumphalist theme music from "Gladiator," you'll understand why I had to go to the lobby at intermission to buy a handful of Excedrin.)

"The ceremony opened with a genial speech by IML founder Chuck Renslow, who set the tone for the evening by assuring us that “[Leather play is] still a power exchange. It’s still about trust and learning.” (Throughout Renslow's speech, several guys in the audience actually said “Amen,” while others raised their hands as if in prayer, tent revival-style. Now that I think of it, the whole IML experience reminded me just a bit of my fundamentalist Promise Keepers days back in the mid-'90s. Except, of course, with less laying-on-of-hands and more fisting.)" - Examiner.com blogger Chris Jensen, describing his first IML. The 2008 IML winner is Gary Iriza of Palm Springs.

[Photo credit: Dan Nash for IML Inc. More Photos here.]

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Out Of State Gay Marriages To Stand In NY

Expanding on the May 5th decision by the New York State Court Of Appeals that the state must recognize legal gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions, Gov. David Paterson has issued a broad directive to New York state agencies commanding them to prepare policies and procedures to do so.
Gov. David A. Paterson has directed all state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like Massachusetts, California, and Canada. A case involving Patricia Martinez and Lisa Golden was cited in the directive changing policies on gay unions in New York.

In a directive issued on May 14, the governor’s legal counsel, David Nocenti, instructed the agencies that gay couples married elsewhere “should be afforded the same recognition as any other legally performed union.”

The revisions are most likely to involve as many as 1,300 statutes and regulations in New York governing everything from joint filing of income tax returns to transferring fishing licenses between spouses.

In a videotaped message given to gay community leaders at a dinner on May 17, Mr. Paterson described the move as “a strong step toward marriage equality.” And people on both sides of the issue said it moved the state closer to fully legalizing same-sex unions in this state.

“Very shortly, there will be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, and probably thousands and thousands and thousands of gay people who have their marriages recognized by the state,” said Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, a Democrat who represents the Upper West Side and has pushed for legalization of gay unions.

Massachusetts and California are the only states that have legalized gay marriage, while others, including New Jersey and Vermont, allow civil unions. Forty-one states have laws limiting marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Legal experts said Mr. Paterson’s decision would make New York the only state that did not itself allow gay marriage but fully recognized same-sex unions entered into elsewhere.

The directive is the strongest signal yet that Mr. Paterson, who developed strong ties to the gay community as a legislator, plans to push aggressively to legalize same-sex unions as governor. His predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, introduced a bill last year that would have legalized gay marriage, but even as he submitted it, doubted that it would pass. The Democratic-dominated Assembly passed the measure, but the Republican-led Senate has refused to call a vote on it.

Short of an act by the Legislature, the directive ordered by Mr. Paterson is the one of the strongest statements a state can make in favor of gay unions.

“Basically we’ve done everything we can do on marriage legislatively at this point,” said Sean Patrick Maloney, a senior adviser to Mr. Paterson. “But there are tools in our tool kit on the executive side, and this is one.”

The directive cited a Feb. 1 ruling by a State Appellate Court in Rochester that Patricia Martinez, who works at Monroe Community College and who married her partner in Canada, could not be denied health benefits by the college because of New York’s longstanding policy of recognizing marriages performed elsewhere, even if they are not explicitly allowed under New York law. The appeals court said that New York must recognize marriages performed in other states that allow the practice and in countries that permit it, like Canada and Spain.
Unlike Massachusetts, California has no residency requirement for marriage. Gay New Yorkers can fly out, get hitched, and come back with full marriage rights.

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Open Thread Thursday

Who was/is the sexiest actor ever and for which movie? I'm prompted to ask this today because I caught a little bit of Ed Harris in The Abyss last night.

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Morning View - Asia Society

At Park Avenue & E. 70th Street is the Asia Society , the "leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States." I've never been inside, but walking past it almost every few days on my street, I've noticed that it has a museum shop and what seems like a nice restaurant.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A People of Distinction



Filling in for Joe, who has had a couple of very busy weeks and is feeling under the weather.

A couple of commenters on the post below expressed fears about the availability of state-recognized marriage for gay men and lesbians.

My take:

The goal here is to remove distinctions that the law makes between the rights of straight folks and the rights of gay folks. The goal is not to get rid of our distinctiveness as a people. Not only would such a goal be misdirected, achieving it would be impossible.

At the same time, it seems likely that same-sex marriage will change our culture.

Among our straight peers, marriage is something that is pursued. The institution confers a status, certainly a prestige, among people who take part in it. To be married is an achievement. To be a single, after a certain age, is to have failed. (Study the Sex and the City movie that opens this week to see how this works.)

I suppose that, over time, attitudes about marriage in our own community will be the same. Till now, there has been little stigma at all attached to being a single gay man at any age. (Lesbians might experience something different here.) In the future ...

I'm pretty sure that this line of thought is where a lot of anxieties come from. (I share them as well.)

Consider the comments on this post to be an open thread. Chat on this topic or anything else that you wish.

UPDATE: Lynette responds.

-- Aaron.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Marriage



Joe is otherwise occupied, so I'm afraid that today's performance will feature an understudy once again. Sorry! And, no, you can't get a partial refund on the ticket price at the box office. Them's the rules.

Memorial Day weekend brought some spectacular weather to New York City and environs. Almost summer-like! With the warm weather comes love in the air, not just here, but also in the state of California, where ...

A recent state Supreme Court ruling struck down statutes that limited the right of marriage to heterosexual couples. Barring further developments, gay men and lesbians will be able to marry as soon as June 14 in some parts of the state. Notably, conservatives are significantly overrepresented in the California state Supreme Court -- six of seven justices are Republican appointees.

This ruling comes on the heels of recognition that civil unions -- from an equality perspective -- are not working. Marriage equality, I wager, only happens when all people who wish to marry are covered by the same set of laws.

Been married? Getting married? Consider the comments on this post an open thread for this or any other topic. (And, by the way, how are you this morning?)

-- Aaron.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day



4082.

For information about issues important to Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, you might visit this website. Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of the "Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America," is hot stuff. And, I mean literally ... hot stuff.

Consider this an open thread to discuss your plans for Memorial Day and the rest of the week.

-- Aaron.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pressure Cooked



Do you know why a pressure cooker -- despite urban legends to the contrary-- is not likely to ever actually explode?

It has a safety valve.

(I guess device malfunction might cause otherwise.)

What kind of things do you do to keep the pressures of modern life from bringing you to the bursting point? What kind of measures do you take to keep things going smoothly, safely, evenly?

Feel free to discuss this topic or any other in the comments below.

-- Aaron.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Reading



Someone in the blog comments yesterday mentioned this story by Joe as a favorite. "I'm resting!"

My favorite Joe. My. God. story, though, is one that he has not yet posted, but read to a crowd at the final WYSIWYG last year. Titled "Hanky Codes," it involved, in typical Joe fashion, a leatherman wearing so much gear "that he looked like Tina Turner in a chainmail dress in the Thunderdome."

Anyway ...

It's Saturday and, since folks sometimes have a few weekend moments for leisure reading -- and Joe hasn't taken away my ability to post, yet -- I thought I would suggest a piece from the blogosphere that I read recently and and impressed me as good storytelling ...

The piece is something by a local blogger here in New York, called "GB5 at the Eagle." Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

You guys read any great blog stories lately? Or have you written something special?

Use the comments on this post to suggest Saturday blog reading of your own, or just to chat.

-- Aaron.

Friday, May 23, 2008

TGIF


Dad has some other obligations that require him to step away from blogging for a bit. You know what kids do when their parents aren't home, right? Time to raid Mom and Dad's liquor cabinet.

Erm.

In other words, I am going to have the Alexander Haig moment I've been waiting for all my life.

I've been reading Joe's blog for a number of years now and I'm not sure why I know why so many people keep coming back here.

What do you love about Joe?

Consider this an open thread. (For this or any other topic.)

-- Aaron.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Break In The Programming....

Gentle readers, I'm going to take a short blog vacation as I've been under the weather for the last couple of weeks, leaving me very stressed and unfocused, causing my job performance to suffer during a critical time of the year for us. I think a few days of unpluggedness from this here website thingy might be just the tonic. Have a great holiday weekend and I see y'all after a bit.

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McGreevey: I'm Broke And I Owe My Boyfriend $250K

Disgraced former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey told the judge presiding over his divorce trial that he can't pay alimony because he's broke and owes his boyfriend $250K.
Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey yesterday said he owes a quarter-million dollars to his boyfriend, but wants to pay child support for the daughter he has with his estranged wife, as well as for his first child. The nation's first openly gay governor denied, however, that he is financially dependent on boyfriend Mark O'Donnell. 'I want to pay child support. I want to fulfill my obligations,' McGreevey told a state judge during his third day of testimony in his divorce trial. 'Unfortunately, I have had to bankrupt myself to pay legal fees upon legal fees.' McGreevey said O'Donnell has lent him much of the legal costs, as well as the $3,000 that McGreevey is charged monthly for living in O'Donnell's Plainfield mansion.
McGreevey is "charged" $3000 to live with his boyfriend? Wouldn't that be also known as "paying his share of the mortgage"?

(Via - Towleroad)

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More Airline Woes

Now, American:
American Airlines said Wednesday that it would soon start charging passengers $15 to check their first bag each way, or $30 round-trip, if they are flying on a discounted fare. The airline’s new policy — to take effect June 15 — comes only two weeks after many major carriers, including American, began charging $25 each way for checking a second bag.

The new fee is just the latest example of airlines adding charges on top of rising airfares, even at the risk of angering travelers further, to make up for the billions of dollars they are losing as fuel prices soar. It is also likely to make the fight for already-tight space on planes more fierce, as passengers try to stuff more carry-on luggage into overhead bins. “It’s only going to get worse and worse,” said Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents employees at American.
Guess I better book my holiday trip home to Florida now, before it costs a grand just to get to Orlando from NYC.

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Wingnuts Call On California's County Clerks To Refuse Marriage Licenses To Gays

From the Campaign To Save Children and Families:
ACTION: If your county approved Prop. 22, please call your county clerk immediately. Urge him or her not to issue marriage licenses to anyone but a man and a woman. Urge your county clerk to:

"Do what's right, maintain public order, uphold the marriage statutes, and respect the democratic process by NOT issuing any 'same-sex marriage' licenses until the people decide this issue in November. Please enforce the marriage statutes and Proposition 22, which both say marriage is only for a man and a woman. Decline to go along with the court's nonsense. The separation of powers provision of the California Constitution prohibits the court from legislating from the bench. That's why even Chief Justice Ron George told the L.A. Times he didn't know whether his ruling would be accepted." Remember, even if county clerks say they MUST follow the Supreme Court decision, that's not true and you should tell them so. The California Supreme Court has no constitutional authority to impose new laws -- especially laws that go against marriage and family, the foundation of society (see California Constitution, Article 3, Section 3 and Article 4, Section 1). Only the Legislature and the voters can make new laws with statewide application.

Ask your county clerk if they were a Nazi officer during WWII and had been ordered to gas the Jews, would they? At the Nuremberg trials, they would have been convicted of murder for following this immoral order. And should have states obeyed the 1857 Dred Scott decision designating black slaves as "property," not "persons"? Abraham Lincoln reacted with disgust to the ruling and was spurred into political action, publicly speaking out against it. Several state legislatures essentially nullified the decision and declared that they would never permit slavery within their borders, no matter who ordered them to do so. Likewise, the ruling to destroy the man-woman definition of marriage should not be obeyed.

They also call on their followers to call the clerks' offices to harass them and provide a long list of county office phone numbers.

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Donna Summer on American Idol


Donna Summer performed on last night's final of American Idol, singing her new single Stamp Your Feet and Last Dance. Oh, and David Cook won.

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Morning View - Pier 40

Pier 40 is part parking garage, part boat slips, and also hosts Courtyard Fields - several acres of baseball and soccer fields on two levels.

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Court Challenges DADT

An encouraging first:
A US federal court of appeal has reinstated a lawsuit by a decorated Air Force nurse who is suing after she was discharged for being a lesbian. Major Margaret Witt's case is the first time a court has not automatically backed the US military's argument that gays hurt morale and operations as a good enough reason for dismissal.

The three judges of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Air Force now has to demonstrate reasons to keep Major Witt from serving. They did not strike down the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, which is in fact a federal law passed in 1993.

It bars openly gay, bisexual or lesbian people from serving in any of the US Armed Forces and prohibits the military from asking questions about a service member's sexuality. Major Witt, who joined up in 1987, tried to sue in 2006. A district court judge said that a 2003 Supreme Court ruling which struck down Texas' anti-sodomy laws did not extend to the military's treatment of gays. Yesterday the appeals court reinstated her lawsuit.

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Open Thread Thursday

What's your favorite foreign language movie?

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Shopping For Love

Food Emporium, 1st Avenue, Tuesday, 10PM

The grocery list that somebody had left in the bottom of my cart said:

1. parm cheese
2. scallions
3. almonds
4. OJ
5. half n half

And in a different color pen at the bottom, this had been added:

6. the love of a TRUE man.

It was crossed out in the original pen.

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Awwww......

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ACLU Wins Reversal In Florida Gay-Straight Student Alliance Case

Via the Palm Beach Post:
A judge has reopened a case involving the Gay-Straight Alliance of Okeechobee High School, allowing students to challenge the school's refusal to allow the club to meet on campus. U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore dismissed the case last month, saying the club's founder, Yasmin Gonzalez, no longer was affected by the school's decision because she has graduated.

But Moore reversed the decision Friday, saying Gonzalez still has a stake in the case because she seeks nominal monetary damages. The judge also allowed current student Brittany Martin to become a plaintiff in the case against the school board of Okeechobee County.

"We are absolutely elated," said Rob Rosenwald, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the students. "I know that the students at Okeechobee High School are very excited that their rights will be vindicated."

Attorneys for the school board could not be reached for comment. Gonzalez and the club she created sued the school board in November 2006, claiming it violated the federal Equal Access Act by allowing other extracurricular clubs to meet on school grounds but banning the Gay-Straight Alliance.

In April 2007, Moore ruled that the school had to allow the club to meet on campus while the case worked its way through court. But Moore rescinded the order last month and dropped the alliance as a plaintiff when it appeared that the club no longer had any members. After Gonzalez graduated, subsequent club officials also left the school.

Last month, Moore also rejected Martin's request to become a plaintiff, saying she hadn't suffered because she wasn't a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance when it first was banned from campus in 2006. However, Rosenwald argued that Martin had suffered because she tried to organize club meetings in April and was denied by the school's principal.

In Friday's ruling, Moore agreed Martin had the right to challenge the school district in court. According to court records, school board attorneys have argued the club was denied in April because it was too late in the school year to start a school group.

Moore disagreed, saying in his order that the Gay-Straight Alliance already existed, so Martin was not trying to start a new club. What's more, the judge said the school district has made clear it would deny the club regardless of the date, because it passed a new policy last year denying any clubs that are "sex-based or based upon any sexual grouping, orientation or activity of any kind." Gonzalez has said she started the Gay-Straight Alliance to provide a haven for students to talk about homophobia and to promote tolerance of one another regardless of sexual orientation.
Yasmin Gonzales. Brittany Martin. Heather Gillman. The kids are alright.

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Gary Kasparov & The Flying Penis


I think they were trying to protest his anti-Kremlin speech. Or something.

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Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes Up 24%

More fuel for the Matthew Shepard Act, sadly.
A report released Tuesday shows that violent attacks on members of the LGBT community nationwide grew by 24 percent in 2007 over the previous year. The 78-page report was prepared by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs with input from more than 30 of its members across the U.S. The number of incidents of anti-LGBT violence rose from 1,486 in 2006 to 1,833 in 2007, based on reporting from the exact same reporting regions as the year prior. Additionally, 2007 had the third highest murder rate in the past 10 years that NCAVP has been compiling the report with murders more than doubling from 10 in 2006 to 21 in 2007. LGBT people also reported a 61% increase in sexual assaults perpetrated as hate crimes. Part of the increase is attributed to an increase in the willingness of LGBT people to report hate crimes.
Have you ever been the victim of anti-gay hate crime?

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CA Readies For Marriage Rush

Here come the brides. And the grooms.
Los Angeles County will be ready to meet the increased demand for civil marriage ceremonies and license applications on June 16, when the recent state Supreme Court ruling overturning a same-sex marriage ban will take effect, acting County Clerk Dean Logan said Tuesday. "Our staff is busy going about the process of preparing to implement the court's decision in concert with all the other services we provide, and we believe that we will be able to do that in a timely and efficient manner," Logan said.

In a report delivered to the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Logan said that he would likely increase the number of hours that county facilities were open to perform civil marriage ceremonies and would expand the county's volunteer deputy marriage commissioner program, which allows ordinary citizens to be deputized to perform marriages.

At the moment, appointments for civil marriage ceremonies are scheduled at the main Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office in Norwalk every day, but only one day per week at its outlying offices. The Board of Supervisors directed Logan to consider opening a temporary district office in West Hollywood, a city whose population is 44 percent gay, bisexual or lesbian, according to a 1998 survey.

The supervisors also told Logan to work out a plan with local public safety officials to ensure security at his department's various facilities. While reporting to the supervisors, Logan addressed recently voiced concerns that county employees might be allowed to opt out of performing same-sex marriage proceedings if they are uncomfortable with them. On Monday, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo sent letters to Secretary of State Debra Bowen and county Supervisor Yvonne Burke, calling on them to reject such a policy and urging Burke to pressure Logan to resign should he try to implement it.

"I want to be unequivocally clear that all employees of the Registrar- Recorder/County Clerk are obligated to uphold the constitution of state of California and the Constitution of the United States," Logan said. "We will not and we have not issued any policies nor will I issue any directives that would compromise that obligation .
I already have friends complaining that they're gonna go broke on wedding gifts. It's a good thing.

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Gay Mayor For Portland, Oregon

History was made yesterday when Portland, Oregon elected openly gay Commissioner Sam Adams, 44, as their new mayor, making Portland the largest American city ever to be helmed by an out gay man.
"I'm running not to be a gay mayor, but a great mayor," he said after delivering his victory speech. "But I'm very cognizant, very aware that I'm the first openly gay mayor of a major American city. That's a real honor."
Former NYC mayor Ed Koch is in his early hundreds and he still hasn't come out. His answer to the gay question remains, "Fuck off!" Congratulations to the people of Portland and Mayor Adams.

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Anti-Gay Rep. Vito Fossella Gives Up Election Bid

Two weeks after his drunk driving arrest revealed his double life with a longtime mistress and their "love child", anti-gay "family values" blowhard Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island) announced that he will give up his reelection campaign
Fossella said in a statement on his Web site Tuesday that the choice was a difficult one, based on a need to balance his "dedication to service" and "the need to concentrate on healing the wounds" that he has caused his wife and family.

The 43-year-old Republican congressman has acknowledged fathering a daughter with a Virginia woman. The two met while she was an Air Force officer working with Congress. He represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn. The congressman's secret relationship with the woman was revealed after he was arrested for drunken driving on May 1.

The scandal has hurt GOP chances of holding on to the on Republican seat from New York City in Congress. In Congress Fossella voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that would bar same-sex marriage and against the Matthew Shepard Act which would add gays under hate crime law. He opposed an inclusive ENDA, which would bar discrimination against gays in employment, but later supported the bill after transgender protections were removed. He also supports maintaining "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
He should have resigned, but that would have meant a special election - which would surely have favored any Democrat at this point.

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Ted Kennedy Has A Brain Tumor

Horrible.
Sen. Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and will remain hospitalized for at least several days as he and his family determine his treatment options.

The Massachusetts Democrat suffered a seizure Saturday and has since been hospitalized at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He has been talking and joking with family and friends while undergoing a battery of tests that revealed the malignant tumor, a glioma in the left parietal lobe, according to the hospital.

"He has had no further seizures, remains in good overall condition and is up and walking around the hospital," Drs. Lee Schwamm and Larry Ronan said in a joint statement released by the hospital.

"The usual course of treatment includes combinations of various forms of radiation and chemotherapy," they said. "Decisions regarding the best course of treatment for Sen. Kennedy will be determined after further testing and analysis."
Is Ted Kennedy the greatest Senator of our lifetime? Who could rival him for that title?

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Obama Takes OR, Clinton KY

Ho hum.

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Morning View - Queer Bar

The bottom of the door to Nowhere Bar lets folks coming down the stairs what the deal is inside. I don't usually enjoy low-ceiling'd basement bars, but Nowhere is always full of friends.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More Progress In Cuba

Things are continuing to get better for Cuba's gays.
Cuba's gay community celebrated unprecedented openness - and high-ranking political alliances - with a government-backed campaign against homophobia on the weekend. The meeting at a convention center in Havana's Vedado district may have been the largest gathering of openly gay activists ever on the communist-run island. President Raul Castro's daughter Mariela, who has promoted the rights of sexual minorities, presided.

"This is a very important moment for us, the men and women of Cuba, because for the first time we can gather in this way and speak profoundly and with scientific basis about these topics," said Castro, director of Cuba's Center for Sexual Education. Mariela Castro joined government leaders and hundreds of activists at the one-day conference for the International Day Against Homophobia that featured shows, lectures, panel discussions and book presentations. A station also offered blood-tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

Cuban state television gave prime-time play Friday to the U.S. film "Brokeback Mountain," which tells the story of two cowboys who conceal their homosexual affair. Prejudice against homosexuals remains deeply rooted in Cuban society, but the government has steadily moved away from the Puritanism of the 1960s and 1970s, when homosexuals hid their sexuality for fear of being ridiculed, fired from work or even imprisoned. Now Cuba's parliament is studying proposals to legalize same-sex unions and give gay couples the benefits that people in traditional marriages enjoy.
Amazing.

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Red Staters On California's Ruling

These guys kill me.

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PozOrNot.Com

In a similar vein to HotOrNot.com, it's actually spelled Pos Or Not, and it's from MTV and Kaiser.
Pos or Not, has a serious purpose (tasteful or not). The site, www.posornot.com, introduced in late April, is an H.I.V. education effort disguised as a game. It shows photographs and brief biographies of men and women ages 21 to 30, and asks visitors to decide whether each is H.I.V. positive or negative. The message is that you can’t judge someone’s virus status by looks, occupation or taste in music.

The site is sponsored by MTV’s college network and the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group that focuses on health policy. “We feel it’s another kind of activist tool to get out the word about H.I.V. protection,” said Stephen K. Friedman, the general manager of mtvU, the college and university offshoot of Viacom’s MTV network.

The first trial by mtvU of what Mr. Friedman calls “games for change” was Darfur Is Dying, an online simulation of a refugee camp that has logged more than 1.5 million plays since 2006. Other companies have sponsored games about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the immigration debate and the world’s water resources.

The network wants the word about its H.I.V. site and its message to be spread like a popular YouTube video. It enlisted celebrities like Wyclef Jean, a musician, and Rosario Dawson, an actress, to make promotions for the game, which are playing across MTV’s networks.

The game — if it can really be called that — was played about 5.1 million times by 400,000 people in its first three weeks, according to mtvU. Entertainment Weekly’s Web site suggested it might be the “most depressing use” of an Internet trend ever, but suggested that any H.I.V. outreach effort could be beneficial.
The lesson of Pos Or Not seems a bit simplistic, but is probably a necessary warning to the ill-informed. However, the unfortunate fact for pozzers a decade or more into it is that you often can tell. The meds do eventually take their toll for most. And while the average person might not notice some of the telltale signs, middle-aged gay men in particular seem finely attuned to note even the most subtle hints. Ten or more years ago, I remember standing in a San Francisco bar while an acquaintance accurately judged the status of a dozen men that I knew were positive but thought that they didn't show it. Now I'm probably as skilled as he was.

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A New Talking Point

Regarding this story from Fox News...
As gay couples celebrate their newfound right to marry in California and opposition groups rally to fight the ruling, many struggle with this question: Is homosexuality natural? On this issue, Nature has spoken: Same-sex lovin' is common in hundreds of species, scientists say.
The Freepers respond:

- "Dogs eat feces but it’s not something to be emulated."
-"Eating your own young is common in the wild too. Expect the California Supreme Court to legalize it next."
- "They also mount animals of other species. Bestiality should be legalized as “normal” too?"

The prevalence of homosexual behavior among animals is an ooooold story, Fox. Why bring it up now? Wait, I know. It's so the Freepers of the world have a new talking point: "OK, maybe it is natural. But natural isn't always RIGHT!"

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Tragic End For Indian Couple

No words.
Two Indian women whose families had tried to break up their relationship set themselves on fire in what police describe as an apparent suicide. The charred bodies of Christy Jayanthi Malar, 38, and her partner identified only as Rukmani, 40, were discovered Saturday in the home of one of the women in the town of Sathangadu. Police said it appeared the women died in an embrace.

Both women were in opposite-sex marriages in what some LGBT activists say is common among Indian gays who must fight laws against homosexuality and pressure from families. The two women had been lifelong friends and had met while attending school together. Police said that the families of the two women knew of the relationship and had tried for years to separate the women. Despite the pressure the women continued to meet while their husbands were at work.

On Friday Rukmani went Malar's home following a heated argument with her family. Relatives followed her and continued to yell insults at her from the street. The next morning they committed suicide. "Around midnight, they poured kerosene on their body and set themselves on fire," a police officer told the Times of India. "They appear to have hugged each other during the final moments of their life."

In bitter irony both families agree to allow the remains of the two women to be cremated together. Following the suicide LGBT activists renewed their demands for the repeal of India's laws against homosexuality.

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Decapitations Promised For Gambian Gays

Via Towleroad:
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh says he will 'cut off the head' of any homosexual caught in his country. Addressing supporters at the end of his meet the farmers tour Sunday, Jammeh also ordered any hotel or motel housing homosexuals to close down, adding that owners of such facilities would also be in trouble. He said the Gambia was a country of believers, indicating that no sinful and immoral act as homosexual would be tolerated in the country. He warned all homosexuals in the country to leave, noting that a legislation 'stricter than those in Iran' concerning the vice would be introduced soon.
Yammeh is BFFs with Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Anybody remember when Jammeh gave the commencement address at St. Mary's College of Maryland in 2004?

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Morning View - Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Heights as seen from near the Manhattan foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. No identical cousins were sighted.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

CA Marriage Ruling Could Send Issue To U.S. Supreme Court

From the San Jose Mercury News:
It was 1964. Conservative groups across California, angered by a new law aimed at discriminatory housing practices, mobilized to wipe the law off the books by amending the state constitution.

The initiative was a hit at the ballot box. Two-thirds of the state's voters approved the change in the constitution. But the new law didn't stick - both the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down, finding that it violated federal equal protection rights.

More than four decades later, that scenario could unfold again in California. This time, however, the issue is gay marriage, and California - because of its situation - may end up being the battleground that ultimately propels this modern day civil rights battle into the U.S. Supreme Court.

With social and religious conservatives moving to erase Thursday's California Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage with a fall ballot initiative, California is in a unique position. While dozens of states have enacted gay-marriage bans, none has done so after a state Supreme Court found a legal right for gay couples to wed.

"We'd be in uncharted legal territory," said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a lead attorney in challenging the gay-marriage ban.
The story notes that with the current conservative makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, gay marriage advocates would obviously face an "uphill battle" there.

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Typhoon Dubya

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San Francisco Values = Interracial Dancing

Via SFGate.com:
GOP Rep. Sam Graves unveiled an ad this week using the money phrase to disparage his Democratic challenger Kay Barnes, aka the "Big City Mayor" (formerly that is, of Kansas City.) Barnes' sin: She attended a fundraiser thrown by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and she shares Pelosi's "San Francisco Values." You know what that means. Or at least what it is supposed to mean. Nevertheless, you've GOT to see Graves' commercial only to check out the dancers who apparently are supposed to embody SF Values. Memo to the Graves campaign: 1978 called and wants its dancers back.

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Portland, Oregon: Record 75,000 Turn Out For Obama Rally

Unreal:
Some 75,000 people flocked to Portland’s waterfront Sunday to watch Barack Obama speak, making it the biggest rally the campaign has held to date. Thousands stood on the lawn, dozens watched from boats and from the bridge stretching across the Willamette River. A few kayakers held their paddles and tried to keep their kayaks straight as they watched the candidate, who stood on a makeshift platform.
(Photo via - Slog)

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Lambda Legal Protests HIV Spitting Sentence

Saying that the saliva of HIV positive persons should not be considered a "lethal weapon", Lambda Legal has lodged a protest against last week's sentencing of a Texas man to 35 years in prison for spitting at a police officer.
A gay-rights group is protesting a 35-year prison sentence given to an HIV-positive man who was convicted of spitting on a police officer, and public health officials say the risk of contracting the AIDS virus from saliva is extremely low.

[snip]

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says no one has ever contracted the AIDS virus from spit. The Dallas County Health Department issued a statement Friday that said HIV is usually spread by sexual contact or sharing needles with an infected person or through a transfusion of tainted blood. The notice said that federal public health officials consider "the risk of HIV transmission from such fluids as saliva and tears to be extremely low."

Bebe Anderson, the HIV projects director at Lambda Legal, a gay-rights group, said the verdict could create wrong impressions about how HIV is transmitted. "It's been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears," he told The Dallas Morning News for Saturday's editions. "We are still facing people losing their jobs and fighting for their children because of fears that are unfounded."
The prosecutor says, "No matter how minuscule, there is some risk. That means there is the possibility of causing serious bodily injury or death," the legal definition of a deadly weapon.

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June10th: Maine's Anti-Gay Petition Drive

Boo-hooing that they are being intimidated, wingnuts in Maine are crying foul because LGBT activists plan to stand next to them at polling places during the primary and urge voters not to sign their anti-gay petition. Via WingNutDaily:
A lobby for homosexuals and transgenders in Maine has announced plans to shadow individuals who will be working to collect signatures on the "YES for Marriage and Equality" pro-family referendum, which is intended to put a marriage protection plan on the 2009 election ballot.

In a report in the New England Blade this week, Betsy Smith, executive director of the Equality Maine activist organization, outlined "a plan that asks volunteers to stand with the people the [Christian Civic] League recruits to collect signatures for the petition."

"I think it is disgusting that so-called 'gay' groups plan on harassing dear Christian grandmothers who simply want to gather signatures on Primary Election Day. Shame on Equality Maine," said Michael Heath, chief of the CCL.

"They need to call off this totalitarian campaign of intimidation and apologize. Yesterday wouldn't be soon enough," he said in a statement today.The Equality report said, "this way … signers will not misinterpret the petition's purpose and understand before they sign that the so-caled (sic) 'equality' the League wants is really equality for straight couples, not equality for all."

A report from CCL said, "Smith went on to state the Equality Maine petition blockers 'will offer a pledge for [homosexual and transgendered] equality, so that people who are opposed to [the pro-family referendum] can take action that day.'" The Blade report was harshly critical of the pro-family plan to define marriage and provide that it is a union of one man and one woman, as well as eliminate the requirement that taxpayers fund homosexual clubs in public schools.

Equality officials reported they had been working to change the language of the proposal, and the language approved by the secretary of state "explains to voters much more clearly what this referendum would do," according to Smith. The title now defines the plan as "An Act to Protect Marriage and Promote Equality." If about 55,000 signatures are collected, the issue will be on the 2009 ballot in the state.
Here's what Equality Maine warns the about the petition:
Voters have every right to sign that petition. But we want them to know what they're really signing: a measure that would:

* Erase all the non-discrimination protections we've fought so hard to win
* End funding for school civil rights teams, which have played a vital role in combating harassment of all kinds
* Prohibit unmarried couples from jointly adopting, a move that would threaten the best interest of children
The anti-gay petition drive takes place on June 10th, Maine's primary day, at polling places statewide. In you live in Maine, please go to Equality Maine's site and learn how you can volunteer to "intimidate" your local wingnuts.

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What To Do With Bill Clinton?

An interesting op-ed piece in the NY Times makes a suggestion.
Here’s an easy answer. Give Mr. Clinton a real job with real power, a challenging position that would be engaging, in part because it would be new. Let me explain. Once the campaigns agree on an Obama-Clinton ticket, Mr. Obama calls Gov. David Paterson of New York, lays out the situation and gets an agreement that if an Obama-Clinton ticket wins, the governor appoints the former president to fill Mrs. Clinton’s Senate seat, where he would serve until 2010. He could then run in a special election for the two remaining years of the term.

As for precedent, recall that John Quincy Adams moved from the executive to the legislative branch of the federal government, serving in Congress after his time in the White House. Upon being sworn in, Mr. Clinton would immediately be the most prominent member of Congress. He would carry the prestige of being a former two-term president — and he would be married to the vice president, who also happens to preside over the Senate.

Bill Clinton’s lack of legislative experience would be a virtue, a new challenge for him. It would also bring his political life full circle: his first campaign, which he lost, was for Congress in 1974. Of course, there would be plenty of incentive for Governor Paterson, too. Think what his state would have after the inaugural — a former New York senator in the White House, and a former president in the Senate.
Others have suggested Bill Clinton for the Supreme Court, but I like this idea too.

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Man In Dress Hates Gay Marriage

In what is believed to be a reaction to the gay marriage ruling in California, Ill Papa restated his opposition, saying, "The union of love, based on matrimony between a man and a woman, which makes up the family, represents a good for all society that can not be substituted by, confused with, or compared to other types of unions." And then he picked out his favorite beaded gown and went to tea dance.

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McCain To Dems On SNL:
Keep The Infighting Alive

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HomoQuotable - George "Sulu" Takei

"Our California dream is reality. Brad Altman and I can now marry. We are overjoyed! At long last, the barrier to full marriage rights for same-sex couples has been torn down. We are equal with all citizens of our state!

"The California Supreme Court has ruled that all Californians have a fundamental right to marry the person he or she loves. Brad and I have shared our lives together for over 21 years. We've worked in partnership; he manages the business side of my career and I do the performing. We've traveled the world together from Europe to Asia to Australia. We've shared the good times as well as struggled through the bad. He helped me care for my ailing mother who lived with us for the last years of her life. He is my love and I can't imagine life without him. Now, we can have the dignity, as well as all the responsibilities, of marriage. We embrace it all heartily.

[snip]

"With time, I know the opposition to same sex marriage, too, will be seen as an antique and discreditable part of our history. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy remarked on same sex marriage, "Times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper, in fact, serve only to oppress."

"For now, Brad and I are enjoying the delicious dilemma of deciding where, when, and how we will be married. Marriage equality took a long time, but, like fine wine, its bouquet is simply exquisite." - George Takei, announcing via his website that he plans to marry his partner, Brad Altman.

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Our Hero: Chief Justice Ronald George

The Los Angeles Times has published an interview with California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George, the man who wrote the ruling overturning that state's ban on gay marriage.
In the days leading up to the California Supreme Court's historic same-sex marriage ruling Thursday, the decision "weighed most heavily" on Chief Justice Ronald M. George -- more so, he said, than any previous case in his nearly 17 years on the court.

The court was poised 4 to 3 not only to legalize same-sex marriage but also to extend to sexual orientation the same broad protections against bias previously saved for race, gender and religion. The decision went further than any other state high court's and would stun legal scholars, who have long characterized George and his court as cautious and middle of the road.

But as he read the legal arguments, the 68-year-old moderate Republican was drawn by memory to a long ago trip he made with his European immigrant parents through the American South. There, the signs warning "No Negro" or "No colored" left "quite an indelible impression on me," he recalled in a wide-ranging interview Friday. "I think," he concluded, "there are times when doing the right thing means not playing it safe."
Under court rules, George is not allowed to comment specifically on the ruling until it takes effect in 30 days or so, but he does give some insight into into his thought process and reveals that he consider the fight for gay marriage to be akin to the fight to repeal interracial marriage laws.

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Morning View - From The Christopher Pier

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Israel To Get Memorial To
Gay Holocaust Victims

Tel Aviv will be the site of Israel's first memorial to the gay victims of the Nazis.
Three iron panels, each 5 meters wide and deep, and partially buried, will form a 3-dimensional triangular pit, from which light will stream. Names of the registered homosexual Nazi victims will be inscribed inside in Hebrew, though the actual number of victims and every name is not known.

"The pit inside the triangle represents the deep well of hatred that homosexuals faced and is a metaphor as the dead-end of being in a concentration camp; the inability to escape," says Pinkas. A dedication will also be inscribed in English. Assouline's design was selected as "the most creative and simple. We did not want something extravagant."

A handful of large-scale Holocaust memorials to homosexuals exist worldwide, including in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and within weeks in Berlin. The "Homomonument" in Amsterdam, designed by Karin Daam, comprised of three triangles in a pink-tone marble, abuts the Anne Frank House and a church.
Tel Aviv will also be host to the world's first LGBT community center entirely financed and run by a local government. The center is scheduled to open on June 1st.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Huckabee Jokes About Obama Assassination

Speaking to the NRA on Friday, veep hopeful Mike Huckabee's speech was interrupted by a loud noise offstage, to which he responded, "That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he's getting ready to speak. Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor." Yeah, jokes about people taking shots at Obama are hilarious, at least to the members of the NRA. Asswipe.

A commenter on the linked Reuters story says, "That was no joke – especially when you look at the actual video. Mike Huckabee was talking to the National Rifle Association, to a group of gun-owners and gun-lovers, that may well include racists and haters. He did not crack a smile; it flowed right in with his speech. That was instigation to violence: a casual instillation of the idea for the assassination of a presumed presidential nominee of the United States. He should be arrested and charged. In an airport security line, if an ordinary citizen deadpan some "joke" about guns and noise, the person would no doubt be hauled off and investigated. We should do no less to this dangerous demagogue."

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GB:NYC 5: Bloggers, Bears, And A Mutant

On Friday night, the Farmboyz, Tater, and I started our weekend way uptown in the triple-digits at the book launch party for Joel Derfner's Swish, where I grabbed this shot of Joel and his editor, Andrew Corbin. Next stop was the opening party for GB:NYC-5 at the HK Lounge in Hell's Kitchen, where it got so crowded that our nametags were the only way to distinguish the bloggers from the blogless. There was immediate blogger-on-blogger action.

Saturday arrived sunny and warm, but our picnic on Central Park's Bear Hill was slightly disappointing in that due to the set up for the AIDS Walk, the weekly roller-disco did not take place. Without the usual wacky cast of roller-weirdos to entertain us, Eric Leven picked up the slack and produced his double-dutch jump ropes.

It turned out that nobody else could actually double-dutch, so after Eric demonstrated some fancy single-rope moves (below, with Mike on the left), Little David had a few spins (second photo below, with me in the red hat taking pics.) Second photo by Stash, who has some great shots of the picnic here.
The rain returned in the evening, turning the Furball at the LGBT Center into a muggy, sweaty, mancrush - which was actually kinda perfect. Little David (below) was particularly pleased with DJ Man Parrish's retro-80's set, but I spent most of the Furball in the first floor disco grooving to legendary DJ Frankie Knuckles (second photo below). Important dance music trivia: house music gets its name from the style pioneered by Knuckles during his residency at Chicago's Warehouse club, hence his moniker, "The Godfather Of House." And yes, he did play The Whistle Song, which never fails to give me goosebumps.After the Furball, most of the crew headed uptown to the Eagle, where the rain had finally let up and we found the roofdeck in its usual Saturday night state. As an interesting conclusion to the evening, we found ourselves parked a couple of feet away from a probably psychotic man who was talking non-stop to himself.

A paraphrased sampling: "Why is it that your many feeble minds cannot penetrate mine, while I can penetrate yours so easily? You do not know of the star fire and my power. You inferior beings, you humans. You know not the power of the mutant, you restless, thoughtless humans who spew your idiocy on the internet." I was standing closest to him, so I was repeating him to everybody, which he eventually confronted me on, saying, "You useless human! Why do you steal my words? You do not know their POWER!" I said, "Oh, we just think you're saying some very interesting things," and then I introduced myself. He said, "My name is Manic, human." Indeed. As crazy as he probably is, it was all rather performance arty. I bet they'd line up in the East Village to hear him.

Overall, another great GB:NYC. Lots of new friends and good times with folks we get to see far too rarely. I think we had about 40-50 bloggers taking part this year, and we're looking forward to even more for GB:NYC-6. Big thanks to Little David and Father Tony for organizing!

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

25 Bloggers In Central Park

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Gay Journalist Michael Luongo Wins Reporting Award

Last night NYC-based gay journo Michael Luongo won the Reporting Award at the Society for Professional Journalist's New York Deadline Club Awards, for his November 2007 story Our Man In Baghdad, which was published in the Gay City News. The story focuses on the hidden gay life in Iraq, with Luongo meeting some of the hundreds of Iraqi men with Gaydar profiles, both to his and their great peril.

Judges called Luongo's story "a riveting read", saying the story "details the harrowing task of survival, not only in a war zone but also as an outsider in one's own culture. A thorough, well-researched and compelling article on a most timely topic."

I thought Luongo's story was fantastic and by chance happened to get to tell him so on the day it was published. Go check it out.

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Ellen's Marriage Announcement

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Marry The Bear

Via JMG reader Greg, here's a shot of a furry would-be groom at last night's impromptu party in the Castro. From all accounts, it was quite a thrilling night to be out on the street with our people. I wonder how many folks didn't make it to work this morning?

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Broadway Friday

-American Idol winner Taylor Hicks will succeed Stephen Buntrock as Teen Angel in Grease, beginning next month. Hicks is slated to be with the show until September 7th. Hicks: "The Soul Patrol's gonna invade Broadway!" Ugh.

-BASH'd, a "gay rap opera" will be an official event of NYC's Heritage of Pride, kicking off June 12th at Off-Broadway's Zipper Theatre. "BASH'd chronicles the tale of Jack and Dillon; two star-crossed lovers who must cope with the reality of hatred when one is brutally beaten. It is told entirely through rap, spoken word and poetry, turning the often-homophobic musical genre on its ear. Even though the topic is serious, the musical is high energy, irreverent, and provocative."

-Actor Adrian Bailey, 51, plans to sue the producers of the Little Mermaid after he fell 30-40 feet through a trap door in an on-stage boat on Sunday, breaking both wrists and his back, sternum, ribs, foot and pelvis. He has undergone four surgeries. Disney Theatrical Productions, one of the defendants, says it is investigating. Bailey has asked for a court order requiring Disney to preserve the boat.

-A Chicago theatre critic gives advice on how to find a cheap hotel on Broadway. Rule #1: "In New York, the chain hotels are your friend."

Mike Daisey's How Theater Failed America begins a limited six-week run at Off-Broadway's Barrow Street Theatre May 16. Extemporaneous monologist Daisey played his final performance at Joe's Pub May 11. You may me posting about a show Daisey played in Cambridge last year in which almost 100 members of a high school choir disrupted his performance by walking out, with one person pouring water on Daisey's notes. They didn't like Daisey's naughty language. Boo hoo.

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Cooper, Savage, Idiot Spar On Marriage


Anderson Cooper hosted Dan Savage and Family Research Council spokes-twat Tony Perkins to spar over gay marriage. Cooper lets Dan Savage get the final word.

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Wingnuts Ask For Delay In Marriages

A conservative group is already petitioning the California Supreme Court to delay any same-sex marriages until after November's ballot measure vote.
Even as same-sex couples across California begin making plans to tie the knot, opponents are redoubling their efforts to make sure wedding bells never ring for gay couples in the nation's most populous state. A conservative group said it would ask California's Supreme Court to postpone putting its decision legalizing gay marriage into effect until after the fall election. That's when voters will likely have a chance to weigh in on a proposed amendment to California's constitution that would bar same-sex couples from getting married.

If the court does not grant the request, gay marriages could begin in California in as little as 30 days, the time it typically takes for the justices' opinions to become final. "We're obviously very disappointed in the decision," said Glen Lavy, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which is pushing for the stay. "The remedy is a constitutional amendment."
From the Alliance Defense Fund's site:
“The ruling from the court today ignores the will of the people of California who approved Proposition 22. The voters realize that defining marriage as one man and one woman is important because the government should not, by design, deny a child both a mother and father,” Lavy explained. “The court’s decision clearly demonstrates that marriage is not ultimately safe from tampering by activists and others in government until the voters have amended the constitution.”

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