Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Minneapolis Cops: It Wasn't One Of Us

JMG reader Sean Chapin forwards us this press release from the Minneapolis Police Department, who says that it wasn't one of their officers ignoring the gay man being verbally harassed by a group of homophobic teens and children outside of Twin Cities Pride.
June 30, 2009 ( MINNEAPOLIS ) Currently, there is a video on YouTube of an incident that occurred sometime during the Minneapolis Gay Pride Festival. There has been some speculation that Minneapolis Police Officers were in that video. The Minneapolis Police Department wants to assure the public that those security officers who casually walk by during this incident were not from our department. We have a strict uniform policy and those were not our uniforms or our police officers. This is unacceptable behavior that would not be tolerated by the Minneapolis Police. Action would have been taken immediately to stop the harassment that is depicted in the video. We want all people, no matter of color, race, creed or sexual orientation to feel safe and welcome while they are in the city of Minneapolis. Link to video. PIO contact for this incident is Sgt Jesse Garcia III.
The Minneapolis PD is to be lauded for their prompt and proper response to this incident. But if it isn't one of theirs, who is the man in the video? He appears to be carrying a gun, but he could just be a bank security guard.

(Screen grab by JMG reader Michael)

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JMG Makes Advocate's Top Political Blogs

This here website thingy made the Advocate's Top Political Blogs list.
From Joe.My.God to The Daily Beast, Advocate.com spotlights a few of the best blogs that cover politics, inside and way outside the Beltway.

Joe.My.God: The name sounds salacious, but the content is anything but. Not to say Joe Jervis's six-year-old blog is boring -- it just gets to the point when it comes to gay politics and news. Reporting from New York, Jervis also has his ear to Washington. He seamlessly blends big-picture posts (on the White House, GLAAD, "don't ask, don't tell" protests) with more local stories, covering gay bashings that often go unreported.
Here's the complete list in the order of the story.

The Bilerico Project

Gay Patriot
Immigration Equality Blog
BlogActive
David Mixner
Politico
Joe.My.God.
HRC Backstory
Chris Crain
Daily Beast
Drudge Report
Andrew Sullivan
FiveThirtyEight
Gay Politics/Victory Fund

I think I'd have rather been on their Top 15 Gay(ish) Blogs list, but whatevs, go me,

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HX Media Spins Off Namesake Mag

In yet another sign of the woes of LGBT print media, HX Media, owner of the New York Blade (among other properties), has sold its namesake title, HX Magazine, the famed weekly guide to Gotham's gay nightlife. An investment fund that owns a stake in HX Media was forced into receivership in February.
"HX Magazine and the web site hx.com have been sold. The new owners of HX Magazine will be releasing details and information on their plans for the future of the title shortly. In the meantime, Bank and HX Magazine Publisher Gary Lacinski will be assisting them in the transition. HX Magazine issue 931 dated July 10th, which will be released on July 3rd, will be the last one produced by HX Media and its staff."
When I first started visiting Manhattan on clubbing excursions in the early 90's, I'd borrow copies of the first incarnation of HX, the folded/stapled Homo Xtra, and try to memorize bar addresses on the flight up from Miami. Let's hope that at least some of the current staffers hold onto their jobs under the new owners.

(Via - NY Press)

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Did Michael Jackson Die Of Anorexia?

When a 50 year-old man only weighs 112 pounds at 5'11", it seems possible.

According to autopsy reports, the King of Pop was a skeletal 112 pounds when he died last Thursday. Although the cause of death won’t be known for weeks, two authors of Michael Jackson biographies have put forward an intriguing theory: that Jackson might have died of anorexia. I'm going to make a prediction: Part of the contributing factor not only will be substance abuse ... but it will also be anorexia,” Diane Dimond, who wrote a book about Jackson’s molestation trial, said on CNN on Thursday. She went on to recall that, when she was reporting on the trial in 2005, Jackson was so emaciated that she wondered how he could stand up. Meanwhile, Ian Halperin, author of the forthcoming Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson, wrote in the U.K. Daily Mail that Jackson had lost significant weight in recent months, and that his doctors wondered if he was bulimic. He quoted a Jackson staff member saying: “He goes days at a time hardly eating a thing, and at one point his doctor was asking people if he had been throwing up after meals.” The staff member continued: “‘He suspected bulimia, but when we said he hardly eats any meals, the doc thought it was probably anorexia.’”

RELATED: Some gossip sites are claiming that one of the boys who accused Jackson of molestation has recanted his story, saying his father forced him to lie for the money. Other sites are denying the story.

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Filibuster Proof: Dems Get 60th Senate Seat As Al Franken Wins Case

After a legal battle that has lasted for more than half a year, Al Franken will at last be seated in the U.S. Senate, giving the Democrats a filibuster proof 60 seats.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has just issued its long-awaited judgment in the Senate race, declaring that Democrat Al Franken is the winner. The unanimous decision was released after a seven-months long battle over the seat formerly held by Norm Coleman. Gov. Tim Pawlenty had indicated as late as Monday that he was willing to certify Mr. Franken as the winner once the state’s highest court decided the recount and Mr. Coleman’s battle. On CNN on Sunday, Mr. Pawlenty said: “I’m prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light.”
Both sides spent a combined $11M in the recount battle.

UPDATE: OK, maybe it's not over.

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Numerous Wingnut Groups Join Forces To Create Massive Anti-Gay Group

Ex-Gay Watch points us to a Reuters story noting the formation of the Freedom Federation, a massive coalition of anti-gay groups who are joining forces to create one giant swirling cesspool of hate.
The Freedom Federation is a new and unique federation of some of the largest multi-ethnic and transgenerational faith-based organizations in the country committed to plan, strategize, and work together on common interests within the Judeo-Christian tradition to mobilize their grassroots constituencies and to communicate faith and values to the Religious, social, cultural, and policymaking institutions.
Among the groups joining the Freedom Federation:
American Association of Christian Counselors, American Family Association, Americans for Prosperity, Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND), Campaign for Working Families, Catholics Online, Concerned Women for America, Conservative Action Project, Eagle Forum, Exodus International, Faith and Action, Family Research Council, High Impact Leadership, Liberty Alliance Action, Liberty Counsel, Liberty University, Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN), Marc Nuttle, Morning Star Ministries, National Clergy Council, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Renewing American Leadership, Strang Communications, Teen Mania, The Call to Action, Traditional Values Coalition, Vision America
Tony Perkins, Matt Barber, Phyllis Schafly, Ruben Diaz, James Dobson and all those other miserable, unhappy, destructive horrible people in one room. Shudder.

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Flight Safety From Air New Zealand

Notice anything about their uniforms?

UPDATE: JMG reader KJ points out their blooper reel and their fun site.

(Tipped by JMG reader Jim S)

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Haters Lose, No Vote On DC Marriage

A Washington DC Superior Court has just dismissed the case filed by anti-gay Bishop Harry Jackson and others, clearing the way for the District to begin recognizing same-sex marriages on July 6th.
The decision from Judge Judith Retchin to deny a preliminary injunction and grant the city’s motion to dismiss means there will be no referendum on the recognition statute, which will likely become law July 6 after a congressional review of the law is completed. Congress is not expected to undo the legislation. Retchin determined that the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled properly that the proposed referendum, sought by a coalition of area clergy, was an improper subject for a ballot question because it would violate the city’s Human Rights Act. The act, she said, makes it “unlawful for the government to deny services or benefits based on membership in a protected category,” and there are some 200 rights and responsibilities conferred to married couples that are not given to legally recognized same sex couples.
Stand by for more screaming and foot-stomping by Bishop Jackson. It should be quite delicious.

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British PM Bans Gay Activist Peter Tatchell From Downing Street Pride Event

The world's most famous gay activist, Peter Tatchell, claims that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown barred him from a gay Pride celebration at 10 Downing Street because of Tatchell's criticisms of the government on LGBT rights issues.
In a statement, Tatchell said: "I have been campaigning for LGBT human rights for 40 years. I was one of the group of people who helped organise Britain's first gay pride parade in 1972″. Calling many of those invited "tame apologists for Labour", Tatchell said the same "selective invitation criteria" was applied when Gordon Brown hosted a Downing Street reception for LGBT campaigners back in March. "An insider tipped me off that my name had been removed from the invite list, at Gordon Brown's personal request. He was apparently still angry that I had heckled him over his government's erosion of civil liberties, when he opened the Taking Liberties exhibition at the British Library late last year," he said.
Prime Minister Brown has turned down an invitation to march in this Saturday's gay Pride event in London, citing "security considerations."

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SCOTUS Reverses Nominee Sonia Sotomayor On Affirmative Action

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a decision made by SCOTUS-nominee Sonia Sotomayor when she was an appeals judge, ruling that white firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut had been discriminated against when they were passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified black firefighters. The case is expected to have broad impact on affirmative action cases nationwide.
In the firefighter case, the city said it acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities, but Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion that New Haven's action amounted to discrimination based on race against the white firefighters who were likely to be promoted. "No individual should face workplace discrimination based on race," Kennedy said. The ruling restricts, but does not eliminate, employers' ability to take diversity into account in employment decisions. But the ruling could make it harder for minorities to prove discrimination based solely on lopsided racial hiring or promotions. Sotomayor and two appeals court colleagues had ruled the city did the right thing in throwing out the test, and the Supreme Court reversal gave critics fresh ammunition two weeks before her Senate confirmation hearing.

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Rep. Jared Polis On White House Party

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Dallas Paper Calls For Inquiry Into Fort Worth Gay Bar Raid

The Dallas Morning News doesn't seem to believe the Fort Worth cops.
The Fort Worth Police Department still has some explaining to do about what happened early Sunday at a southside gay bar called the Rainbow Lounge. Or some clarifying or some illuminating or some supplementary detailing – anything to mitigate the apparently self-administered public-relations shot-to-the-foot it suffered after what it keeps calling a routine "bar check." 'Cause – Problem No. 1 – bar patrons who were there say it wasn't a "check," it was a "raid." Problem No. 2, this particular "check" ended with a kid in the intensive-care unit with a head injury. Problem No. 3, in what I can only hope is a spectacularly infelicitous coincidence, all this took place on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Raid. [snip] Fort Worth is a fine and tolerant city.

The police officers I personally know over there are decent, stand-up people. But today, in the Twitter-and-blog-enabled process of rapid dissemination, they're getting an ugly reputation. And the flames of indiscriminate opinion about Texas being a stagnant backwater of vicious, insular, hate-crazed xenophobes dance higher. So, Fort Worth, we need some answers, please, and quickly. This is no time to stonewall.
One bar patron remains in intensive care with a brain injury. The cops claims he fell and hit his head because he was so drunk. On the Dallas Voice, one of the club's dancers saw one of the arrests go down this way:
I was still standing near the entrance to the VIP lounge with a friend when an officer approached a man standing there. The man had water in his hand. The officer asked him how much he had had to drink and the man said that he didn’t have to answer that. The officer then said that he was going to arrest him for public intoxication. The man said,”You can’t do that I am just standing here right now drinking water.” At the time the officer shoved the man over towards the wall near the dressing room and then back to the rear wall near the men’s restroom, then down onto the floor. Several other officers, made their way back there to hold that ONE MAN down on the ground as they placed restraints on him. At the time I noticed that all of them did not have FWPD uniforms on. Some of them were actually State Police.

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Peter LaBarbera Discovers YouTube

America's most famous closeted homosexual, Peter LaBarbera, has posted his first ever YouTube clip, a 2.5 minute compilation of Chicago's Gay Pride parade. LaBarbera conveniently positioned himself outside the local bathhouse (not too far to walk after the parade!) so that he could film parade participant Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart with the baths behind him.

UPDATE: Mr. Chickenshit has taken the video private so that gay bloggers can't expose his idiocy. You can still watch the clip on YouTube, but of course he's disabled comments and ratings there too.

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Cops Raid San Diego Dem Home Fundraiser With Helicopter, Arrests, Pepper Spray

Congressional candidate Francine Busby was being hosted at the home of a lesbian couple in San Diego, where they and 30 guests raised funds for her campaign. A neighbor of the couple began shouting homophobic slurs over his backyard fence and then apparently called the police to complain about the noise. What happened next is surreal.
Cops responded with eight police cruisers and a helicopter, arresting the hosts and pepper spraying the guests. The Sheriff's Department received the complaint at 9:33 p.m. from a man who said someone was talking on a loudspeaker and a crowd was cheering, keeping him awake. From about 8 to 8:30 p.m., Busby said, she used an amplified microphone to talk to guests, whom she described as middle-aged supporters. During Busby's speech, Barman said in a statement yesterday, a man on the property behind her house shouted “disparaging remarks” about Busby and gay people. Barman lives in the house with her partner, Jane Stratton, 55. After her talk, Busby said, people chatted.

“It was a quiet home reception, disrupted by a vulgar person shouting obscenities from behind the bushes,” Busby said. Neighbors on three sides of the house said yesterday there wasn't much noise from the party. One man said he slept through it. “We didn't hear anything until the sheriff came, with eight patrol cars and a helicopter,” said Natasha Cortina, 43, who said she and her two children were home with the windows open. Hugh Elliott, 53, who lives closest to the house, said he heard a deputy's radio, then arguing, coughing, crying and finally everyone spilling outside as the smell of pepper spray drifted over his back fence.
Busby is seeking to fill the House seat vacated by GOP Rep. Duke Cunningham, who is in federal prison after being found guilty of corruption. She is demanding that San Diego police explain their actions at her event. Commenters at the Sign On San Diego story are calling for the firings of the involved police.

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You've Got To Be Carefully Taught

JMG reader Bryan sends us this clip of a group of Somalian immigrant children harassing a gay man as he walks home from Twin Cities Pride in Minneapolis. Listen as they shout "I hate gay people!" "Fuck gay people!" and other epithets. The man maintains his composure beautifully.

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Jackson's Kids Go To His Mother

Michael Jackson's three children have been placed in the custody of his mother, Katherine Jackson.
Michael Jackson's three children asked to see their father's body in the UCLA emergency room after they were told he was dead, according to the lawyer for Jackson's personal doctor. "My understanding is that they did" see the body, attorney Ed Chernoff said. On Monday, the children, ages 7, 11 and 12, were placed under the temporary guardianship of their paternal grandmother, Katherine Jackson, by a Los Angeles judge. The biological mother of Jackson's two oldest children, Debbie Rowe, will be invited to a hearing next Monday in which the judge will consider who should have custody of them. She has, so far, not publicly indicated whether she will challenge the Jacksons for custody.
Jackson died with massive debts owed, but it's thought that his assets outweigh them by at least $200M, money that a 2002 will directs to his children, his mother, and several charities.

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Obama Speaks At WH Gay Cocktail Party

Pam Spaulding has the complete transcript of the president's remarks. At one point Obama was interrupted by somebody's cell phone. The offender's ringtone? A duck call. Hmm. The president quacked up.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Indian Gays Rally For Decriminalization

New Dehli saw its second-ever gay pride event yesterday where attendees demanded an end to colonial-era laws against homosexuality.
Balloons, whistles, masks, flags, placards and a riot of colours marked the second Delhi Gay Pride Parade, which went down the Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar. And for a show of solidarity, more than a 1000 strong crowd congregated at the venue. Their demand, though, was the same as it was last time: Do away with Article 377 from the lawbooks, and stop making homosexuality a punishable offence. Slogans like ‘377 Bharat Chhodo’, ‘Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Gay’, and ‘Down down down down – 377 down down’ rent the air as the police kept a casual check on the marchers, assuring that no traffic situations were created and that no anti-social elements jumped in to ruin the mood of the parade.
The march was also attended by supportive straight Indian celebrities.

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HomoQuotable - NY Sen. Thomas Duane

"I am very optimistic -- I probably should say I’m cautiously optimistic -- but I’m very optimistic that same-sex marriage will be a reality in this state. I believe it’s absolutely doable by the end of this session. I don’t think anyone has changed their hearts on the issue of marriage at all. It’s certainly my strong position, the governor’s strong position, my conference’s position, and I believe that there’s support within the Republican conference as well to bring it to the floor. Every time we talk we get closer, so talking is always good. Negotiating is always good and that’s continuing." - NY Sen. Thomas Duane (D), telling the Advocate that he's still confident that the state Senate will approve marriage equality.

During a special session yesterday, both parties gaveled in and immediately gaveled out as the ridiculous circus continued. Gov. Paterson has threatened to withhold the Senators' pay, but some question whether he can legally do that.

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Livestream: White House Gay Cocktails

Today's LGBT cocktail party at the White House will be livestreamed here beginning at 4:25pm EST.

Americablog's
John Aravosis vents:
I'm so proud of our gay leaders today. Getting all spiffed up to go to the White House and "deliver our president a message." That'll be the day. Oh, I'm sure, in the 8 minutes or so that a small select handful of those present will be shuffled into a private ante-room to meet the president, they'll tell him things like "people were hurt" or "people were disappointed." (The overwhelming rest of the invitees will get a whopping 0.5 seconds to deliver their "stern" message to the president as he's shaking their hand and looking to the next person). Obama knows we're hurt and disappointed. Telling him that we have families too, with him nodding, Clinton-like, perhaps even biting his lip to show that he too feels our pain, will accomplish absolutely nothing. The message that our leaders need to send President Obama is that we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.
Towleroad's Andy Towle won't be going:
I was invited late last week as a 'plus one' one of the invited guests to this event, and received a late request over the weekend from someone else to reconsider. After some thinking about it and discussion with close friends about whether it would be proper to attend with the attitude of "bringing the message to Obama," I decided against it. While I would love nothing more than to go to the White House and meet the President for a celebration of LGBT people. I'll look forward to the day that happens when we aren't still relegated to the back of the bus.

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Wingnuts Go After Openly Gay Obama Appointee Kevin Jennings

Tony Perkins' Family Research Council has launched a website in their campaign to depose Kevin Jennings, the former Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network president who was appointed by Obama to head the Office of Safe & Drug-Free Schools. The campaign includes a full page ad in the Washington Examiner.
As the former president of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, Mr. Jennings worked tirelessly to bring the homosexual agenda into our nation's classrooms, even in grades as young as kindergarten. In addition, in his autobiography, Mr. Jennings expresses no regret about his past drug abuse or recognition of its risks. Instead, he seems amused. In his words, "[W]atching the planes take off and land is actually quite fun when you are drunk and stoned." Jennings has spoken publicly about a high school student he once counseled who was in a sexual relationship with an older man he met in a bus station - yet Jennings never reported this abuse to the authorities, the school, or the child's parents. Family Research Council is launching www.stopjennings.org, to educate the American people about how Jennings' dangerous views make him unfit to protect our nation's schoolchildren. The website will also serve as an action center for those who will join us in calling on the President Obama and Congress to stop this appointment and put someone in this office who truly cares about schoolchildren - someone who would work to protect them from the very influences he seems to promote.
Jennings has also been subject of ridicule and attack on numerous rightwing blogs and news sites.

(Via - Pam's House Blend)

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CNN On Pride & Stonewall's 40th

A pretty good piece, actually.

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Brutal Gay Bashing On Upper East Side

The NYC Anti-Violence Project is investigating the case of a gay man who was viciously beaten yesterday by a group of men who called him a "faggot." The incident happened on the usually sedate Upper East Side. The Village Voice reports:
Joe Holladay, in town on business, was jumped and beaten Saturday morning by a group of men who called him a faggot. Holladay tells us that he walked out of John Jerome's apartment on East 85th Street between York and East End Avenues, where he'd been staying, at about 4 a.m. to smoke a cigarette on the sidewalk, and five or six young men swarmed him. "It's very blurry," he says, "But yeah, they said 'faggot.' And the next thing I know I'm in the hospital." Jerome, an acting coach, heard the fracas and came downstairs to find his friend "in a pool of blood. I thought he was dead. He wasn't moving." Jerome says neighbors in the building told him, and the police, that they saw a group of five or six young white men "with crewcuts, wearing wife-beaters" smoking pot outside the building just before the incident -- and, drawn to their window by the noise when the beating occurred, heard the anti-gay epithets and saw the young men pile into a car and drive away.
Holladay has been interviewed by NYPD detectives and has been released from the hospital. According the Voice, Holladay and his friend were threatened with arrest themselves when they vehemently argued with police that the case should be treated as a hate crime.

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Bernie Madoff Sentenced To 150 Years

Billionaire scammer Bernie Madoff was just sentenced to 150 years in prison.
Judge Denny Chin said the sentence was a symbolic one for a crime that showed "extraordinary evil" and "took a staggering human tool." Madoff , addressing the court in a dark suit for about six minutes, said that when he started the scam, he thought he'd be able to "work my way out." He said he lives in a tormented stated and expressed regret of leaving a "legacy of shame" to his family and grandchildren." Madoff said his wife Ruth will make a statement later today. He maintained that he acted alone, saying, "How do you excuse lying to brother and sons? How do you excuse lying and deceiving a wife who stood by you for 50 years and still stands by you? There is no excuse for that and I don't ask for forgiveness." He then faced his victims in court and said, "I'm sorry."
Prosecutors continue to look into charges against Madoff's wife and family.

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Slideshow: NYC Pride 2009


We had a great group of NYC bloggers march with us in yesterday's parade, but holy cow that thing took forever. We lined up at 11:30 am, didn't make Fifth Avenue until 2:30pm and finally crossed the finish line in the West Village around 6:30pm. SEVEN HOURS on our feet. But the crowd reacted great to us, the announcers at the reviewing stands gave us great shout-outs, and the weather could not have been better. As we were placed behind the Latin dance spot Club Atlantis and the Peruvian Feather Explosion (or something), the dueling sound systems at times felt like we had a different iPod in each ear. The DJs of both groups favored Pitbull's Calle Ocho (I Know You Want Me). They favored it a lot.

Special props go out to the 20 or so lesbian bloggers from Auto-Straddle who were rallied by Grace Chu of Grace The Spot and who marched with us most of the way. And major snaps to our own Curly McDimple, the lone female in our group of 40 who hung on to the end. Kudos to Father Tony for putting it all together and to his husband C, who was our group marshal and cat herder. Thanks also to all the JMG readers I met along the route! We sure didn't expect it to take so long and missed a good portion of the Pier Dance (boo) but had a fantastic time there anyway (yay.) Full-screen versions of the above photos can be found here. Please feel free to share your own photo links in the comments.

UPDATE: Wayne Anderson at World Of Wonder has a great gallery of our day, as does Stash at Spamwise.

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10th Anniversary: TV's First Gay Kiss

Spangle Magazine editor Brian Patrick Thornton recalls the day ten years ago when he and his boyfriend pranked The Today Show and Al Roker to create what some consider the first kiss between two actual gay men on national television.
[T]hat morning, the first three Al Roker weather segments passed us over. We thought they must have figured us out as homos, despite our wearing our most heterosexual outfits. (Mine included an ill-fitting Structure polo shirt.) But then, in the 8:30 half-hour, Roker walked over to a couple celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary. What’s your secret, he asked. Pray, the husband answered. That finished, Roker barreled down the line of gathered fans, proclaiming that there was a guy who had something to ask. And with that, the camera and microphone were thrust in Rich’s and my faces. “Jill, I’ve got something I have to tell you,” I stammered. “I’m so happy that I love … Rich!” And with that, I turned to Rich, and we mashed our lips together in what is possibly the most awkwardly fashioned kiss in TV history. But it was history: the first (real) gay-male kiss broadcast in the U.S. Roker, to his credit, rolled with the punches, but moments later made this comment: “See, they wouldn’t do that on Will and Grace.”

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Cops Raid Ft. Worth Gay Bar, Arrest 18, Protest Follows

Up to 200 people protested outside of Ft. Worth's police headquarters yesterday after a Saturday raid on a gay bar brought charges of harassment and brutality by police. One patron was hospitalized with a brain injury. Arrests were made for "public intoxication"...inside of a bar.
Witnesses say that police arrived at the nightclub about 1 a.m. Sunday and arrested seven people and that one of those arrested suffered a fractured skull during the takedown and is at a Fort Worth hospital. About 75 people showed up Sunday afternoon at the Rainbow Lounge to make signs for the rally. Some of the signs read: "Give us Answers Now" and "We Have Rights Too." Fort Worth police released a statement saying that the Rainbow Lounge was not the only bar targeted by six Fort Worth police officers and two agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and a supervisor. The group first went to the Rosedale Saloon and Cowboy Palace on Rosedale Street. Nine people were arrested, police report. The investigators then went to the Rainbow Lounge, where seven arrests were made, the police statement said. While walking through the Rainbow Lounge, an "extremely intoxicated patron made sexually explicit movements toward the police supervisor," the statement said. This individual was arrested for public intoxication.

Another intoxicated individual also made sexually explicit movements toward another officer, and he was arrested for public intoxication, the statement said. A third individual inside the lounge assaulted a TABC agent by grabbing the agent’s groin, according to the statement. He was escorted outside and arrested for public intoxication. He was released to paramedics because of his extreme intoxication as he was repeatedly vomiting, police reported.
"Sexually explicit movements"? Groping the arresting officers? Are they serious?

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Bensonhurts

Way to stay sharp, MTA.

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New GLAAD Head On Obama

This is the first national TV interview I've seen with new GLAAD head Jarrett Barrios. He'll be at tonight's party at the White House.

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GOP Marriage Formula

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Morning View - LOVE Sculpture

One of many replicas of Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture is located on Sixth Avenue in midtown NYC. Is this the original? Wikipedia is unclear.

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Dan Choi On Pride And DADT

Lt. Dan Choi speaks about his role as grand marshal of SF Pride, DADT, and tonight's LGBT cocktail party at the White House. Eloquent as always. When do I get to vote for Lt. Dan Choi in New York?

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SF's Pink Triangle Burned

Every Pride week in San Francisco, a massive fabric pink triangle is placed on the hills above the Castro, a visible-for-miles reminder of the murder of homosexuals in the Holocaust. Yesterday vandals succeeded in burning a portion of the installation.
Arson investigators were trying to determine what caused a fire that damaged the Pink Triangle on San Francisco's Twin Peaks Sunday morning just hours before the city's annual Pride Parade was set to kick off, a fire department lieutenant said. "Right now investigators are looking at all possible sources of ignition," San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Mindy Talmadge said. The blaze was reported at about 5 a.m. near Christmas Tree Point Road and was extinguished about 30 minutes later. A 25-by-30 foot area was damaged, she said.
This was the 14th year of the Pink Triangle. The SF fire department says it has no leads in the case.

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Billy Mays Found Dead At 50

Bear and advertising icon Billy Mays was found dead in his family home early Sunday at the age of 50. Family members say that Mays reported hitting his head during a rough commercial US Airways landing the day before and had said he wasn't feeling well afterwards.
It was unclear whether the bumpy landing contributed to Mays' death, but he complained about not feeling well before going to bed. "All of a sudden as we hit, you know, it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping," Mays told Fox 13 in Tampa. "It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head." He wrote on Twitter: "Just had a close call landing in Tampa. The tires blew out upon landing. Stuck in the plane on the runway. You can always count on US Air." Mays' wife, Deborah, found him in bed at their home and called 911 when she couldn't revive him around 7:45a.m. Tampa police said there were no signs of foul play. Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said any connection between the rough landing and Mays' death would "purely be speculation."
Just two week ago I reported that a bill had been introduced in Congress to force television stations to reduce the volume on commercials by shouting pitchmen like Billy Mays. It's been a bad week for celebrities, hasn't it?

UPDATE: A preliminary autopsy shows that Mays probably died from heart disease, not from a bump to the head.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

SLDN Protests At The White House

Video by Americablog's Joe Sudbay.

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It's A Sunshine Day

June has seen 23 days of rain so far, but not today.

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Get Your Pride On

Here's a few Pride classics to put you in the mood.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Empire State Building Goes Gay

As is tradition, this weekend the Empire State Building is illuminated in lavender to commemorate gay Pride.

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Bloggers On The March

If you attend NYC's Pride Parade, keep an eye out for the marching bloggers. We're in Section 8 (heh) right behind the float for Club Atlantis. That should be interesting. We step off at noon from West 54th Street & Fifth Avenue.

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Slideshow: Blowoff Pride NYC

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The Foot Wore A Spiked Heel

It was June 28th, 1969.

The day that the fags, dykes, and queens of New York City finally said "Enough!" For some historical perspective, I'm posting the story that the New York Daily News ran that week about the Stonewall Riots. Note how the story drips with condescension and ridicule. We've come a long, long way in 40 years and we've still got some distance to cover, but today we should all offer up a shout, a snap, and a silent prayer of thanks to the people who started us down this road.

HOMO NEST RAIDED - QUEEN BEES ARE STINGING MAD

-by Jerry Lisker, New York Daily News, July 6th 1969

She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn't bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.

Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. "We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over," lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.

"We've had all we can take from the Gestapo," the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. "We're putting our foot down once and for all." The foot wore a spiked heel. According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand painted brick and opaque glass facade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.

The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and tables. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.

The Raid Last Friday

Last Friday the privacy of the Stonewall was invaded by police from the First Division. It was a raid. They had a warrant. After two years, police said they had been informed that liquor was being served on the premises. Since the Stonewall was without a license, the place was being closed. It was the law.

All hell broke loose when the police entered the Stonewall. The girls instinctively reached for each other. Others stood frozen, locked in an embrace of fear.

Only a handful of police were on hand for the initial landing in the homosexual beachhead. They ushered the patrons out onto Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A crowd had formed in front of the Stonewall and the customers were greeted with cheers of encouragement from the gallery.

The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night. The Queens pranced out to the street blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. A beauty of a specimen named Stella wailed uncontrollably while being led to the sidewalk in front of the Stonewall by a cop. She later confessed that she didn't protest the manhandling by the officer, it was just that her hair was in curlers and she was afraid her new beau might be in the crowd and spot her. She didn't want him to see her this way, she wept.

Queen Power

The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.

Urged on by cries of "C'mon girls, lets go get'em," the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.

Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.

Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.

Two veterans recently recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. "If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war."

Bruce and Nan

Both said they were refugees from Indiana and had come to New York where they could live together happily ever after. They were in their early 20's. They preferred to be called by their married names, Bruce and Nan.

"I don't like your paper," Nan lisped matter-of-factly. "It's anti-fag and pro-cop."

"I'll bet you didn't see what they did to the Stonewall. Did the pigs tell you that they smashed everything in sight? Did you ask them why they stole money out of the cash register and then smashed it with a sledge hammer? Did you ask them why it took them two years to discover that the Stonewall didn't have a liquor license."

Bruce nodded in agreement and reached over for Nan's trembling hands.

"Calm down, doll," he said. "Your face is getting all flushed."

Nan wiped her face with a tissue.

"This would have to happen right before the wedding. The reception was going to be held at the Stonewall, too," Nan said, tossing her ashen-tinted hair over her shoulder.

"What wedding?," the bystander asked.

Nan frowned with a how-could-anybody-be-so-stupid look. "Eric and Jack's wedding, of course. They're finally tying the knot. I thought they'd never get together."

Meet Shirley

"We'll have to find another place, that's all there is to it," Bruce sighed. "But every time we start a place, the cops break it up sooner or later."

"They let us operate just as long as the payoff is regular," Nan said bitterly. "I believe they closed up the Stonewall because there was some trouble with the payoff to the cops. I think that's the real reason. It's a shame. It was such a lovely place. We never bothered anybody. Why couldn't they leave us alone?"

Shirley Evans, a neighbor with two children, agrees that the Stonewall was not a rowdy place and the persons who frequented the club were never troublesome. She lives at 45 Christopher St.

"Up until the night of the police raid there was never any trouble there," she said. "The homosexuals minded their own business and never bothered a soul. There were never any fights or hollering, or anything like that. They just wanted to be left alone. I don't know what they did inside, but that's their business. I was never in there myself. It was just awful when the police came. It was like a swarm of hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies."

A reporter visited the now closed Stonewall and it indeed looked like a cyclone had struck the premises.

Police said there were over 200 people in the Stonewall when they entered with a warrant. The crowd outside was estimated at 500 to 1,000. According to police, the Stonewall had been under observation for some time. Being a private club, plain clothesmen were refused entrance to the inside when they periodically tried to check the place. "They had the tightest security in the Village," a First Division officer said, "We could never get near the place without a warrant."

Police Talk

The men of the First Division were unable to find any humor in the situation, despite the comical overtones of the raid.

"They were throwing more than lace hankies," one inspector said. "I was almost decapitated by a slab of thick glass. It was thrown like a discus and just missed my throat by inches. The beer can didn't miss, though, "it hit me right above the temple."

Police also believe the club was operated by Mafia connected owners. The police did confiscate the Stonewall's cash register as proceeds from an illegal operation. The receipts were counted and are on file at the division headquarters. The warrant was served and the establishment closed on the grounds it was an illegal membership club with no license, and no license to serve liquor.

The police are sure of one thing. They haven't heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.


They sure fucking haven't.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

HIV Travel Ban To Be Lifted

It's looks like the Obama administration is finally going to implement a directive signed by Dubya almost a year ago.

The first step to ending the HIV travel ban in the United States has been taken by the Obama administration. The Office of Management and Budget posted a notice on its site Friday afternoon indicating that the department of Health and Human Services could move forward with steps to change a regulation that has restricted HIV-positive people from gaining entrance into the United States. The proposed change will likely have an impact on both travel and immigration to the United States. Under current regulations, non-U.S. citizens who are HIV-positive cannot travel to the United States unless they are granted a waiver by the Department of Homeland Security. Immigrants have also been required to be tested for HIV. The actual regulatory change, however, will not be available until next week and advocates are waiting to analyze the exact language.

If implemented, the repeal should be in place by this fall.

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At The DNC Fundraiser Protest

The Washington Blade reports on last night's action.

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My Interview With Next Magazine

I guess it's JMG Magazine Week cuz there's an interview with me in the current issue of Next Magazine, in which they ask gay New Yorkers "of every generation" about their lives. Whee, I'm not the oldest one! Here's their set-up:
The 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots got us thinking about all the gay men who have come before us and what lessons we can learn from them. In response, for our annual issue of Pride profiles, we decided to look at gay men of different generations—in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s—and to see the difference between them. While some prefer Tennessee Williams to Madonna and some partied at Studio 54 while others live it up on the Lower East Side, we found that they also have plenty of common experiences and concerns, no matter what age they are. While we tried to choose “everyday” gay city dwellers, nothing about our subjects is ordinary. They all lead exciting and active lives that can teach us a lot about ourselves and gay life in New York in 2009.
The full interview is at the bottom of this page, right after Kevin Aviance. Hopefully I don't sound like too much of a tool.

(Via - Kenneth In The 212)

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Tomorrow: Bear Hill in Central Park

Every couple of Saturdays during warm weather, my crew gathers on Bear Hill in Central Park to kick back under the trees and enjoy the disco oldies from the roller rink below. Most days there's a dozen of so of us, but sometimes on special weekends such as Pride, our numbers swell greatly. So if you're in the neighborhood, feel free to join us. We get there about 2pm and the music runs until 5:30 or so. Most of us bring blankets or park chairs, but the grass is comfy too. Some of us bring refreshing beverages camouflaged in Sprite bottles. Bear Hill is due west of the Bandshell and southwest of the Bethesda Fountain. Following the thumping music or look for Skater's Way on this map.

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Party Pooper

Press secretary Robert Gibbs says that there will be no new announcements of action on LGBT issues at Monday's gay cocktail party at the White House.

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Gay Exorcism Vids Hit CNN

Over three months ago I told you about the Connecticut church that was performing outrageous and abusive "exorcisms" on young gay men. For some reason this story has finally caught the attention of the MSM. Below CNN interviews the pastor of the church who lies that she has nothing against homosexuals. Yeah.

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Signorile Vs. Barney Frank

Surf over to Michelangelo Signorile's site and listen to him tangle with Rep. Barney Frank over the way gay activists have reacted to the Obama administration on LGBT rights. Things get quite heated. Signorile:
Barney became very unhappy with me and pretty heated when I played Howard Dean's comments on the DOMA brief, trying to stop me and saying he didn't come on for me to "play records." He defended the brief, defended the President on LGBT rights, defended Democrats in the House (though he said we need to take on Democrats in the Senate) and defended the DNC fundraiser. Barney and I have known each other for many years, agree on many things, disagree on others, and often when he comes on the show it can be a spirited discussion. This time I'd say he was a more angry about issues, particularly with how some of us who have criticized the Democrats and the White House.
The audio file is here.

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My Interview With Rachel Maddow

My cover story interview with Rachel Maddow in Pride09 Magazine is stacked ass-high right now in the homo hoods of NYC and SF and has been out elsewhere for a couple of weeks. Pick up a copy of Pride09 in your favorite club, bar, gym, restaurant, whatever....and enjoy some great editorial features, including an in-depth examination of the plight of gay Arabs in Iraq, the state of the vanishing gayborhood, and an evaluation of Obama's performance on LGBT rights by Karen Ocamb. (She gives him a "D".)

Other features include a profile of activist/author Vito Russo, a look at up and coming gay artists, and a great piece on queer cartoonists by Justin Hall. And in case you won't be in Gay Town this weekend, here's a nifty page-turner thingy for reading the entire mag online. Next week I'll pull out some of what Rachel had to say to me and post it here.

NOTE: Pride09 Magazine is published in agreement with InterPride, the national governing body of gay Pride committees, and covers LGBT stories from around the nation. Make sure you also pick up your local guide to gay Pride for important information about your city: parade routes, performers, grand marshals, etc.

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What Would YOU Say To Obama?

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force executive director Rea Carey will be attending Monday's LGBT cocktail party at the White House and wants to know what you'd like her to tell the president.
I will be joining a group of LGBT leaders that President Obama has invited to a reception on Monday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, the 1969 Greenwich Village demonstrations that gave birth to the modern LGBT rights movement. When I go to the White House, I want to take your voice with me. What would you say to the president? What would you ask? What story would you want told? Let me know by filling out the form below and I'll deliver your message.
Here is the form. Let us know your message.

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Remembering June 1969

Yesterday the cast of Hair, the chorus boys from West Side Story, and the vogueing houses slated to perform at tomorrow's Love Ball all gathered on the stairs of the new TKTS booth in Times Square to remember the night 40 years ago that sparked the Stonewall Rebellion. In the red headband behind the sailor is openly gay Hair star Gavin Creel. To the sailor's left is Mr. Broadway 2009 Anthony Hollock.

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Gibbs: No Stop Order On DADT

Yesterday White House press secretary said there will be no stop order on DADT because the administration wants a "durable legislative solution." Americablog points us to tomorrow's "March On The White House" by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Facebook page here.
Like those who drew a line in the sand 40 years ago at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, we're standing up to demand action. It's past time for these discriminatory discharges to end. After 16 years of this nonsensical law, it's critical that President Obama and Congress act to kill "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Together, marching, we have a real opportunity to deliver a powerful message to the White House, to Congress, and to the American people -- and to let our service members know they have not been forgotten. Please sign up now to join us on Saturday: http://www.sldn.org/265. We'll meet in Farragut Square (17th and K St. NW) at 2 p.m. and march from there. We hope to see you on Saturday!

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New MTA Rates Start Sunday

(Via - Gothamist)

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Daily Grumble

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is the luckiest man in the world today, as we move into Michael Jackson's Continuing Death: Day 2.

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Queens Internet Killer Confesses:
I Killed Him Over My Hooker Fee

Alexys Fermaintt, 30, yesterday confessed to the Queens stabbing death of Michael Pecora, 38, telling prosecutors that he acted in self-defense after Pecora attacked him with a knife in a dispute over Fermaintt's escort fee.

Fermaintt told authorities that he had met Pecora online and had agreed to have sex and spend the day with him for money. Fermaintt is charged with second-degree murder and may spend 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Last week after I located Fermaintt's MySpace and YouTube accounts under the screen name Rican2Crave, blogger Rod McCullom uncovered an amateur sex video (NSFW) featuring Fermaintt and three other men in which he appears to be smoking crystal meth.

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Cooper: I Was At Studio 54 With Michael Jackson When I Was 10 Years Old

I guess Mother Vanderbilt had some pull with the doorman.

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Gays Orgs Reverse Course, Now Support Federal Marriage Suit

Earlier this month, a powerful coalition of LGBT and progressive groups issued a joint statement in opposition to the federal marriage lawsuit being brought by superstar lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies. Yesterday the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) announced that the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights had reversed course and filed an amicus brief in support of their suit. Law Dork breaks it down:

This is very big news. The initial response, across the board, was that the Olson/Boies suit was a poorly planned, hastily arranged lawsuit by people outside of the “gay establishment” — including the smart and successful lawsuits brought repeatedly by the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). The groups, which included all of these groups, the major political LGBT groups and Evan Wolfson’s Freedom to Marry, wrote:

The groups released a new publication, “Why the ballot box and not the courts should be the next step on marriage in California.” This publication discourages people from bringing premature lawsuits based on the federal Constitution because, without more groundwork, the U.S. Supreme Court likely is not yet ready to rule that same-sex couples cannot be barred from marriage.

Now, the three legal groups other than GLAD apparently have filed court briefs supporting the Olson/Boies suit. GLAD is notably absent, as is Freedom to Marry. Is this a sign of a break in Gay, Inc., on the Olson/Boies suit?

The question here, according to Law Dork, is whether the groups joining the suit have had a real change of mind or if they merely think the suit is unstoppable, so they may as well join in.

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Despite Protests, DNC's LGBT Fundraiser Yields Record $1M

Although protesters outside Washington DC's Mandarin Oriental shouted, "Shame, shame!" and "Don't go in!" last night's DNC fundraiser netted $1M in donations.
A long list of LGBT activists had also registered their discontent by simply declining to attend the dinner: activist David Mixner, former Clinton advisor Richard Socarides, millionaire Bruce Bastian, prominent Obama supporter Stampp Corbin, blogger Andy Towle, and the entire board of the Stonewall Democrats. Despite the controversy, about 180 people showed up to hear Vice President Joe Biden speak for a price tag of $1,000 to $30,400 per plate. The event brought in nearly $1 million, up from about $750,000 last year, according to a Democratic Party source.
But the scene was not one of total discord between inside and outside. Some DNC staffers working the event were also wearing red, white, and blue “265” buttons as a reminder of the number of gay and lesbian service members who have been discharged from the military since President Barack Obama took office. When Vice President Joe Biden took the stage, he told the crowd that he had specifically asked to speak at the event and that his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, had also requested to address a Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network event earlier this month. “I am not unaware of the controversies swirling around this dinner,” Biden said, “swirling around the speed -- or lack thereof -- that we’re moving on issues that are of great importance to you and, quite frankly, to me and to the President and to millions of Americans.”
(Via Kerry Eleveld @ The Advocate, Photo Credit: Bullneck @ Flickr)

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Michael Savage Threatens Watchdogs

Radio loon Michael Savage has threatened to post personal information about the folks at Media Matters on his website. Clearly, he's hoping for another Dr. Tiller.
Right wing talker Michael Savage vowed yesterday during his broadcast that he will retaliate against media watchdog Media Matters for America by posting pictures and “pertinent information” about the organization's staff on his website. He made the comment almost in passing during one of his infamous rants, but did not explain what he expected his followers known as the “Savage Nation” to do with the information.
So far he has posted nothing, but as you can see below, Media Matters remains uncowed.

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Tonight: Blowoff At NYC's Highline

Bob Mould and Rich Morel's traveling bear circus returns to Manhattan tonight at the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea. Should be quite the out-of-towner fur fest as Gotham kicks off Pride weekend. Doors open 10pm. Tickets $25. Purchase advance tickets here. You can check out the set list from the last Blowoff here.

Blowoff around the nation: Atlanta, July 4th, at Vinyl. Provincetown Bear Week, July 14th, at the Boatslip. San Francisco, July 15th, at Slim's.

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Shepard Foundation Rejects Perez' $$$

Perez Hilton say he plans to file a civil lawsuit against the Black Eyed Peas and will donate any judgment he wins to the Shepard Foundation as penance for having used hate speech. But the Shepards want no part of it.
"We do not know the details of the lawsuit, whether it has been filed, the nature of his claims or the likely outcome," a statement from Judy Shepard reads. "But because the lawsuit presumably involves the physical attack prompted by Mr. Hilton's admitted use of an anti-gay slur, the Foundation will be unable to accept any funds obtained in such a manner."
Perfect response.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

His Most Famous Performance

The day after the Motown 25 special aired, Fred Astaire called Michael Jackson to marvel at his Moonwalk.

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Michael Jackson Dies Of Cardiac Arrest

Numerous television reports and gossip sites are reporting that Michael Jackson suffered "severe" cardiac arrest this afternoon and is critical condition in a Los Angeles hospital. He was administered CPR in the ambulance and is said to be in "really rough shape." His family is en route to the hospital.

UPDATE: TMZ is reporting that Jackson has died.
We've just learned Michael Jackson has died. He was 50. Michael suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this afternoon at his Holmby Hills home and paramedics were unable to revive him. We're told when paramedics arrived Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back. A source tells us Jackson was dead when paramedics arrived. LaToya ran in the hospital sobbing, after Jackson was pronounced dead. Michael is survived by three children: Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II. Jackson had 13 number one hits during his solo career.
One of my earliest childhood memories is my parents exchanging looks as the Jackson 5's ABC played on the car radio and my dad saying, "Do you think he knows what he's singing about?" And me, in the backseat, the same age as Michael, wondering, "Well, what IS he singing about?"

All of my favorite MJ songs are pre-Thriller. Indulge me.

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