Monday, January 07, 2013

ACLU WINS: Vets Discharged Under DADT To Get Full Separation Pay

Some service members discharged until DADT will finally receive their full separation pay thanks to a class action suit won today by the ACLU.  Windy City Times reports:
"There was absolutely no need to subject these service members to a double dose of discrimination by removing them from the armed forces in the first place, and then denying them this small benefit to ease the transition to civilian life," said Laura Schauer Ives, managing attorney for the ACLU of New Mexico. "This decision represents a long-delayed justice to these veterans."

The ACLU's class action lawsuit represented approximately 181 honorably discharged veterans who had their separation pay cut in half because of the discriminatory policy. The total amount of separation pay withheld from those veterans is approximately $2.4 million. The lead plaintiff in the case is Richard Collins, a former staff sergeant in the Air Force who served for nine years until he was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Collins was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico before being seen by a co-worker exchanging a kiss with his boyfriend in their car while stopped at an intersection off-base.
The settlement covers veterans who served at least six years and is retroactive to November 2004. The statute of limitations prevents payments to those discharged earlier.

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MASSACHUSETTS: Federal Judge Reviews Scott Lively's Motion To Dismiss

U.S District Court Judge Michael Ponsor today heard hate group leader Scott Lively's motion to dismiss the crimes against humanity lawsuit brought by Sexual Minorities Uganda.
Ponsor said the lawsuit filed by Sexual Minorities Uganda against the Springfield minister poses a test of Lively’s free-speech protection and the rights of sexual minorities to equal protection under the law. But the judge said the plaintiffs needed to show a connection between Lively’s anti-gay advocacy in Uganda and illegal acts committed against gays in the country. “I’m frankly struggling to see what behavior beyond expressive behavior” of Lively violated federal law, the judge said during the hearing attended by about 150 people, including a prominent Ugandan activist.

The plaintiffs, the judge added, “needed to show a more concrete example of misbehavior to justify continuation of the lawsuit.” But the judge also expressed skepticism about Lively’s request to dismiss the case before trial, noting that the courts have set a high legal threshold for throwing out cases. The plaintiff's lawyer, Pamela Spees, said that Lively both advised and encouraged homophobic activists in Uganda to deprive sexual minorities of their rights.
The Center for Constitutional Rights says that they remain optimistic about their case.  The judge gave no timeline for issuing his ruling.
VIDEO: was outside the courthouse today.

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Bill Donohue: Kathy Griffin Causes STDs

"Perhaps the biggest story related to Kathy Griffin’s salacious stunt on CNN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast with Anderson Cooper was the almost deadening silence it engendered from any quarter. Does it matter what Griffin did? To put it more generally, does what we see and hear have any effect on our behavior, particularly the behavior of young people? Does it matter? According to the Centers for Disease Control, even though the risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex is much lower than from other forms of sexual behavior, 'numerous studies have demonstrated that oral sex can result in the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).' In other words, people can get chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, genital human papillomavirus, syphilis, and other STDs by having oral sex. This is important because numerous studies have shown that many young people still think they cannot get an STD this way." - Catholic League blowhard Bill Donohue, on Griffin's fleeting pretend blowjob.  Donahue closes by saying that Griffin isn't really causing STDs, despite his previous fifteen paragraphs claiming that she is.  He and Griffin have been trading jabs for several years.

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Bette Midler To Return To Broadway

Bette Midler returns to Broadway this spring for the first time in over 30 years to star in a new one-woman show about casting agent Sue Mengers titled I'll Eat You Last. Via press release:
Sue Mengers was an American original. She was the first female “superagent” at a time when women talent agents of any kind were almost unheard of. She came from near poverty, a refugee from Hitler's Germany, and worked her way up through pluck, charm, and a legendary wit. In that uniquely American way, she invented herself; and when the career she wanted didn't exist, she invented that as well: “Superagent.” It was a term Hollywood all but coined for her. By the 1970's, she represented almost every major star in Hollywood and went on to become the town’s most renowned hostess.
The show will be directed by multiple Tony winner Joe Mantello. Opening day is April 24th at a Schubert theater to be announced. Ticketing has not yet commenced. Midler last played Broadway with a limited engagement of her Divine Madness show in 1980.

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Photo Of The Day

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to her Washington DC office today where her colleagues presented her with a football helmet to protect against future concussions.
Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides handed Clinton a box, saying, "As you know, Washington is a contact sport." "Inside was a football helmet with a State Department seal, lots of good padding and also a football jersey that said Clinton on the back and on the front it says #112 which symbolizes the number of countries she visited as secretary of state," Nuland said. "She loved it. She thought it was cool. But then being Hillary Clinton she wanted to get right to business."
(Via Towleroad)

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Obama Nominates Hagel & Brennan

UPDATE: The White House press office sends us this statement about Chuck Hagel:
President Obama has come to know and trust Senator Hagel over nearly a decade, dating back to their time together in the Senate. Together, they travelled to Afghanistan and Iraq in the summer of 2008, and they share a commitment to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly. Senator Hagel has been a strong supporter of the President's approach to national security, and as Secretary of Defense, he will support and execute the President's vision for our military. That includes continuing the President's historic support for gay and lesbian service members, and overseeing the continued implementation of the full repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The President is fully committed to ensuring that all of our service members and military families are treated equally. He is confident that, as Secretary of Defense, Senator Hagel will ensure that all who serve the country we love are treated equally -- no matter who they love.

Recently, some in the LGBT community have expressed concerns about Senator Hagel's past comments. In response, Senator Hagel issued a statement in which he apologized for comments that he made in the 1990s, and affirmed both his commitment to LGBT civil rights as well as his support for open service and the families of gay and lesbian service members. One of the great successes of the LGBT civil rights movement is that it provides the space and opportunity for people to change their hearts and minds, to right past wrongs, and, over time, to evolve. The President believes Senator Hagel's statement of apology, and his commitment to ensuring that all service members and their families are treated equally. The President would not have chosen him unless he had every confidence that, working together, they will continue to ensure that our military and DoD civilian workforce are as welcoming, inclusive, and respectful as possible.

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ARIZONA: Sheriff Joe Apaio Sends "Armed Posses" To Public Schools

What could possibly go wrong?
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's armed volunteer posses are set to begin patrolling areas around Phoenix, Ariz. schools on Monday, more than a week after the plan drew national attention in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Arizona's 3TV reports that Arpaio's volunteer force is comprised of around 3,000 members, some of which have criminal pasts.

According to CBS5, Arpaio's office has provided a list of more than 50 schools in unincorporated Maricopa County that will be patrolled by the posses, which are in charge of providing all of their own weapons and equipment. The volunteers will not actually be posted on school campuses, but will instead monitor the areas around the facilities. Posse member Jerry Johnson told 3TV that they'd be ready to fight crime if they felt they were needed.
Arpaio was sworn in for a sixth term this morning.

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HuffPo Vs Log Cabin Republicans

From the front page of Huffington Post. (Tipped by JMG reader TommyTune)

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Log Cabin Slams Hagel On MSNBC

Just as the president was holding the press conference to nominate Chuck Hagel, Log Cabin interim head Gregory Angelo was on MSNBC to denounce Hagel's selection.

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Matt Baume: Marriage News Watch

This week: "An exciting start to the year, with a win and a setback in Illinois. Two brand new marriage bills are on the fast track in Rhode Island. And a Congressional bill to repeal DOMA has picked up two more Republican endorsements, but one of them doesn't quite count."

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Scott Lively Arrives Clutching Bible

Hate group leader Scott Lively arrived at the federal courthouse in Springfield today clutching a bible as activists held a press conference outside. Photos by JMG reader Roger.

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NEW JERSEY: Commuter Train Escalator Reverses At High Speed

Gothamist reports that this morning at PATH's Exchange Place station in New Jersey, hundreds of commuters were riding the escalator when it suddenly reversed direction at high speed. Several dozen people reportedly landed in a pile at the bottom and five injuries are reported. The below clip begins just as the stairs begin to slow down.

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SCOTUS Marriage Action Announced

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Log Cabin Republicans Publish Full-Page Anti-Hagel Ad In Washington Post

After a similar full-page ad was published last week in the New York Times, Log Cabin refused requests to disclose the funding source of their campaign against Hagel.

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Log Cabin: We Still Hate Hagel

"At Chuck Hagel's request, we looked into the 'totality' of his public record on gay rights, and it did nothing to assuage our concerns that his anti-gay record makes him the wrong choice to oversee the ongoing integration of gays and lesbians in the military. Until his name surfaced as a potential nominee for Secretary of Defense, he has stood firmly and aggressively against not only gay marriage, but also against gay people in general. Log Cabin Republicans helped lead the charge to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and is extremely invested in seeing that we don't lose any ground due to a lack of sincere commitment to gay people and their families on the part of the incoming Defense Secretary." - Gregory T. Angelo, conveniently overlooking Log Cabin's own endorsement of Mitt Romney, who vowed to enshrine anti-gay hatred into the U.S. Constitution.

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Product description: "Jesus of Nazareth's Mix n' Match magnetic wardrobe. What will Jesus wear? You decide. Stick this magnetic Jesus on your fridge and dress him up for Easter Sunday, casual Friday and 5 other mix-and-match looks. The Jesus figure measures approximately 8” tall. This magnetic set includes approximately 25 magnetic clothes and accessories. $13.95."  Source.

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COUPON DAY: Trade Your Homosexuality For A Free Chick-Fil-A Sandwich

They got their sandwiches!

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Pastor Martin "Eat Da Poo Poo" Ssempa Begs Rick Warren To Support Scott Lively

Ssempa's bottom tweet is directed at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents Sexual Minorities Uganda in today's case.

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PHOTOS: Outside The Scott Lively Trial

JMG reader Roger is sending us photos from outside the federal courthouse in Springfield, Massachusetts, where anti-gay hate group leader Scott Lively will today attempt to have the crimes against humanity lawsuit against him dismissed.  Follow the action on Twitter at the hashtag #StopTheHate.

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TODAY: SiriusXM At 2:30PM

Today at 2:30pm I'll be on Michelangelo Signorile's SiriusXM show to talk about some of the latest LGBT-related news items. The gays are on channel 108 and you can listen live online if you sign up for a freebie account. What are your top five gay news items of the last week?

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SAN FRANCISCO: Anti-Israel Protest Brings Turmoil To Castro Shop

On Friday the Bay Area Reporter discussed a Christmas Eve protest at Cliff's Variety, which is arguably the most beloved retailer in the Castro.
A small but spirited group of demonstrators held informational pickets outside Cliff's Variety on Castro Street last week after some of them were forcibly removed by employees for loudly protesting inside the store on Christmas Eve. The cause of the dispute is an at-home soda machine, Sodastream, which is manufactured in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank that is disputed by the Palestinians.

Some of the protesters filed assault complaints with San Francisco police after the incident. They and others distributed literature to passersby in front of Cliff's December 26 and 28 about the Christmas Eve flash mob while the store's manager said that a protester also hit one of their staff and pushed a stroller-pushing customer. Store manager Terry Asten Bennett said her staff wasn't "emotionally or mentally prepared" for the two-minute adaptation of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" December 24.
Similar protests have been held by Code Pink at Bed, Bath & Beyond. The above-linked reports notes that a follow-up vigil staged outside of Cliff's several days later resulted in verbal taunting from supporters of the store.  Below is video taken inside of Cliff's on Christmas Eve.  As of yet, no charges have been filed against anyone.

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TODAY: Obama To Nominate Hagel

Politico reports that President Obama will formally nominate former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense today.
The choice of Hagel, who opposed his party on the Iraq War as a senator, is likely to ignite a raucous confirmation battle because several Democratic interest groups and prominent Republicans have voiced strong opposition since Hagel’s vetting for the job was reported five weeks ago. Obama, who arrived back in Washington on Sunday morning, is expected to announce his nomination of Hagel on Monday as his first public appearance after the continuation of his Hawaii vacation.  Within a few days, and perhaps at the same time as the Hagel announcement, the president is likely to name his successor for former CIA Director David Petraeus. The candidates are John Brennan, White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, or Mike Morrell, acting CIA director.
Hagel is opposed both by homocons and the religious right.

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Exorcism Of The Day

Clip description: "Some generations ago, a blood covenant was made -- giving Chaunte the Curse of Witchcraft -- her mother was into Voodoo -- she also was abandoned by her father. Watch as Bob takes Chaunte's ring that was her mother's ring, and 'cancels' any curses that were put onto it!"

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Michael Savage: Time For "Nationalist" Party With A Charismatic Leader

"We need a nationalist party in the United States of America. You have the rudiments of a new party in this country called a Tea Party. They need to restructure their party. They need a charismatic leader, which they don’t have. When you say Tea Party no one knows who the leader is because there is no leader. No man has stepped forward who can lead that party. The Tea Party is the rudiment of the new nationalist party. Somebody has to bring them all together, unite them like King David did the ancient tribes of Israel. And there is no King David out there. Who’s the King David? Tell me who is going to do it?" - Wingnut blowhard Michael Savage, who says he's too old for the job.

RELATED: Since 2009 Savage has been barred from entering the UK as they consider him a person likely to incite violence against Muslims and homosexuals.

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Quote Of The Day - Dick Armey

"The arrangement was simply FreedomWorks paid Glenn Beck money and Glenn Beck said nice things about FreedomWorks on the air.  I saw that a million dollars went to Beck this past year, that was the annual expenditure. I put it down now as basically as paid advertising for FreedomWorks by Beck." - Dick Armey, adding to Media Matters that the payment to Beck was a "mistake" as FreedomWorks only took in $1.3M from the deal and from a similar arrangement with Rush Limbaugh.  Armey left FreedomWorks last month with an $8M golden parachute.

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WND: Neil Patrick Harris Is Mocking Christianity With His Super Bowl Ad

According to World Net Daily, "homosexual actor" Neil Patrick Harris is mocking Tim Tebow, and by divine extension, Christianity itself with the above promo for the Super Bowl.
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow won’t be playing in this year’s Super Bowl. But CBS, the television network airing the big game this year, is now using an outspoken homosexual actor to mimic Tim Tebow’s style of trumpeting messages in eyeblack on his face. During Sunday’s matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens, the network broadcast several spots promoting the network’s upcoming Super Bowl coverage in New Orleans. Tim Tebow, known for his Christian faith as well as football, became world famous for proclaiming Bible verses such as John 3:16 on his eyeblack, especially when he played for the University of Florida Gators before going pro. One football fan who watched the CBS promo Sunday made the connection between Harris and Tebow, saying, “They’re pushing a gay agenda by using him, and they’re mocking Christians at the same time.”
WND goes on to reveal the shocking news that four years ago Harris won an award from the Trevor Project.  Which is horrible!  The top response in a readers poll attached to the story calls for a boycott of the Super Bowl and its advertisers.

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SPOILER: Downton Abbey

Stay out of the comments if you've not yet seen last night's season premiere. Otherwise dive in and dish the intrigue.

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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Son Of Sen. Rand Paul Busted At Airport For Drunk And Disorderly Conduct

The 19 year-old son of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was arrested at the Charlotte airport yesterday on charges of drunk and disorderly conduct.
William Hilton Paul arrived in Charlotte, N.C., on a U.S. Airways flight from Lexington, Ky., where his father is a U.S. senator. According to Lt. Blake Hollar with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Paul was intoxicated when he arrived at the airport and said "he was possibly served alcohol on the flight." The teenager was arrested by police and booked into the Mecklenburg County Jail, charged with three misdemeanors: underage consumption, disorderly conduct, and being intoxicated and disruptive. While in the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, reports say William Hilton Paul identified himself as the son of Sen. Rand Paul.
The younger Paul, who is a student at the University of Kentucky, was taken into custody shortly after his flight landed around 11AM.  At this writing there have been no reports regarding his behavior on the plane.

A spokesperson for Sen. Paul has issued a statement: "Senator Paul is a national public figure and subject to scrutiny in the public arena, however, as many parents with teenagers would understand, his family should be afforded the privacy and respect they deserve in a situation such as this."  Yesterday Sen. Paul acknowledged that he is considering a presidential run in 2016.

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Tweet Of The Day - Pastor Mark Driscoll

This is latest from Seattle's Pastor Mark Driscoll, whom you may recall recently declared that male masturbation is totally gay because it's sex with a man. Source.

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Heart - Stairway To Heaven

At last month's Kennedy Center Honors, Heart performed a gorgeous version of Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven as the band looked on tearfully from the honorees' box. On drums is the son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and that's Shane Fontayne on lead guitar. The show was broadcast last week and since then the raves for Heart's performance have poured in. Full-screen is called for here. 

(Tipped by JMG reader Aaron)

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Oh Land - Perfection

Danish artist Oh Land performed this concert with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra last spring and it was posted to her YouTube channel this week. She now lives in Brooklyn and I met her backstage a couple of years ago after she opened for Deluka at Rockbar, the erstwhile bear bar in the West Village. (And by "backstage" I mean in the club's grungy little basement.) I think you'll agree that she's somebody to watch.

(Tipped by JMG reader Brian)

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TOMORROW: Anti-Scott Lively Rally At Springfield Federal Courthouse

Local activists are calling for in-person support at their rally against hate group leader Scott Lively, whose trial for anti-gay crimes against humanity opens tomorrow at the federal courthouse in Springfield, Massachusetts.  From the Facebook event page:

WHAT: Pack the court for oral argument on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss in SMUG v. Lively before before Judge Michael A. Ponsor.

WHEN: You are advised to arrive at 9:00am. The hearing is at 11:00am, however, word is that Lively's people have been advised to arrive at 9:30am. It also takes one hour in advance to allow time for going through courthouse security. After the argument, there will be a press conference and rally in front of the courthouse, organized by CCR and the Stop the Hate and Homophobia Coalition of Western Massachusetts.  

You can follow tomorrow's action online at the Twitter hashtag #StopTheHate.

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Jake Shears Vs Azealia Banks

Yesterday former Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears took on his one-time collaborator Azealia Banks over her "faggot" attack on Perez Hilton.  GLAAD also responded yesterday on their blog:
Our society knows that "fa**ot" is a derogatory word for gay men, and in this case it was used to attack someone in a very public altercation with hundreds of thousands of fans and young people following. It is an ugly, archaic word that was used to stigmatize a population of people who suffer high rates of violence both here in the U.S. and abroad. As far as we’ve come in this society, seeing it used by an artist many young people may look up to is painful, but even more so for those young fans, many of whom GLAAD has heard from. GLAAD has reached out to Banks’ representatives, and is working to compile stories of fans and teens who wanted to respond to the word and let others know what it feels like when they hear it.

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AFA Opposes Hagel Too

Log Cabin Republicans say they oppose Hagel because he's anti-gay. The American Family Association says they oppose Hagel because he's pro-gay.

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GOP Rep. Steve King Introduces Bill To End Birthright Citizenship

Tea Party hero Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has introduced a bill that would deny American citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants.
The bill would amend section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth. It's generally thought that the 14th Amendment provides a constitutional guarantee of citizenship for anyone born in the United States -- known as "birthright citizenship" -- but King told Hotsheet last year that he does not interpret the 14th Amendment that way. So far, King's bill has three co-sponsors listed: Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Gary Miller (R-Calif.) and Rob Woodall (R-Ga.).
This is just more teabagger grandstanding.

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Saturday, January 05, 2013

Photos Of The Week

Via Buzzfeed, above are two of the new gay members of the U.S House being sworn in with their partners by their side. TOP PHOTO: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, right, and his partner, Randy Florke, along with their children. BOTTOM PHOTO: Rep. Mark Pocan, right, and his husband, Philip Frank.

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Christians Against Yoga in Schools

I mentioned this issue last year and now it appears that Christian parents may take the case to court.

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Today's New York Post


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Church Of England: Gay Men Can Be Bishops As Long As They Are Celibate

Via the Guardian:
The Church of England has agreed that gay clergy in civil partnerships can become bishops so long as they remain sexually abstinent, a decision that looks likely to reignite one of the Anglican community's most bitter internal debates.  The decision was taken by the House of Bishops, the section of the General Synod responsible for church teaching. Evangelical Anglicans immediately signalled their opposition to the idea, leaving the church with the prospect of two simultaneous internal rows following the synod's decision in November to block women from becoming bishops.
You can have a boyfriend, you just can't have sex with him.

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Email Of The Day - Eugene Delgaudio

"Dear Joe, The Homosexual Lobby is already preparing for the next phase of their assault. Desperate to consolidate power as quickly as they can, the Homosexual Lobby has called in favors owed them by the Democratic Caucus in the Senate. And they got their request. Senator Tammy Baldwin is being placed on key Senate Committees in order to ensure the advance of the Homosexual Agenda. Public Advocate recently caused some controversy by shining a spotlight on Baldwin and her long track record of radical homosexual policies.

"This track record includes: - Introducing the Offense of Marriage Act to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and force homosexual 'marriage' on all fifty states. - Supporting the Thought Control Act, which has been used to punish innocent Americans who dare to 'disagree' with the Homosexual Agenda. - Sponsoring the Gay Bill of Special Rights which if passed would create privileged employment 'rights' for homosexuals and transsexuals. - Supporting the Homosexual Lobby’s attempt earlier this year to use the Violence Against Women Act for their own agenda. - Acting as the 'lead sponsor' of the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I shudder to think what Baldwin plans to do in the future." - Hate group leader Eugene Delgaudio, in today's money beg to stop Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

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Tweet Of The Day - Azealia Banks

The above tweet from hip-hop/dance artist Azealia Banks came after this:
US rapper Azealia Banks has defended calling the US entertainment blogger Perez Hilton a faggot during a Twitter argument. The argument began after Hilton posted a criticism of Banks’s feuds with other artists. She then called him “dickbreath” and told him to “gobble a dick”. Hilton told Banks, who last year said she was bisexual: “Some of your music is cute, but your attention-seeking ways are pathetic and hurtful. You drag while others choose to uplift!” Banks responded: “Whatever bitch, you tried to sign me to ur little bum ass label in ’11 with them bullsshit ass artists…” She later tweeted: “omg u should just kill yourself… Like for real… lol what a messy faggot you are.”
For those unaware, Banks is a relatively new artist who won general acclaim in the gay club world last year with her smash hit, 212, which has over 41 million views on YouTube.

UPDATE: Buzzfeed has more of the exchange between Banks and Hilton.

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GOP Sen. Mark Kirk: I Saw Three Angels

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) says that three angels appeared at his hospital bed following his massive stroke last year.
For Mark Kirk, there was no white light, no tunnel. What Illinois' junior U.S. senator experienced was three angels standing at the foot of his bed. "You want to come with us?" Kirk was asked. "No," he told them. "I'll hold off."  Kirk's life and outlook would be dramatically changed, the stroke serving as a defining moment that he said deepened his faith and altered his sense of purpose. Sitting at the dining room table of his suburban townhouse, his left arm slack, Kirk gestures emphatically with his right hand as he says the experience made him resolve "to never, ever give up."
Kirk concedes that he doesn't know if the angels were a dream, a medication-created hallucination, or a near-death experience, but his "angel encounter" is being widely touted on Christian sites. On Thursday Kirk laboriously climbed the steps of the Capitol Building for the first day of the 113th Congress.

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Friday, January 04, 2013

WAPO: About Scott Lively's Trial For Anti-Gay Crimes Against Humanity

The executive director the Center for Constitutional Rights today explained some of the Scott Lively story for the readers of the Washington Post. The CCR will represent Sexual Minorities Uganda in their crimes against humanity suit against Lively, which begins Monday in a Massachusetts federal court.
Many Americans have heard of the infamous “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda, which has been introduced in several parliamentary sessions since it arose out of an anti-gay conference that Scott Lively headlined in 2009. But the day-to-day reality for LGBT Ugandans is already violence, death threats, severe discrimination and oppression. Meetings of LGBT activists are raided and shut down, and advocates have been arrested for exercising their rights to speech, assembly and association. LGBT Ugandans’ advocacy, indeed their existence, is already criminalized.

No one has done more to orchestrate this situation than Scott Lively. Since 2002, he has worked systematically to strip away human rights protections from LGBT people in Uganda and elsewhere around the world, to silence them and make it impossible for them to organize and defend their rights. While he peddles the usual, age-old lie that LGBT people are pedophiles in order to deliberately provoke the rage that feeds the growing repression and violence, he combines that myth with a new twist, that gays were also responsible for the Holocaust and that Hitler’s Germany is what can happen when a gay movement grows unchecked.

But this case isn’t simply about Lively’s “hate preach.” He long ago moved beyond “mere” hatemongering when he became a kind of persecution consultant, strategizing with influential leaders and cohorts in other countries about ways to further silence and remove LGBT people from basic protections of the law, in particular by criminalizing their advocacy. Persecution, defined as the “severe deprivation of fundamental rights” on the basis of identity, is a crime under international law; to be exact, it’s a “crime against humanity.” This deprivation of fundamental rights of LGBT communities is exactly what Lively aims to bring about. Under U.S. law, foreign citizens who are the victims of crimes against humanity can sue American perpetrators of such crimes. And so Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) is suing Scott Lively for persecuting them. Staff from SMUG and other LGBT advocates who have suffered persecution --arrests, raids, and other severe deprivations of basic rights --will be there on Monday, when the Center for Constitutional Rights will have the honor of representing them in court.
Read the full article.

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Maggie Gallagher: Farewell To Optimism

"So in this, my final column, I say my farewell to optimism and my hello to hope. What is the difference? Optimism is a prediction; hope is a virtue. My hope rests on this: The truths to which I've dedicated my life, both professionally and personally, are too important to ignore, too foundational to be abandoned, too much a part of reality to be lost forever. Do not abandon politics. It is one important means to create culture -- to name our shared reality.

"But we need, as well, a next generation of culture creators, of storytellers, with the credentials to name reality: empirical social scientists, novelists, poets, preachers and filmmakers.We need donors to invest in building the networks and communities through which such voices are born, flourish and give meaning to the lives of millions.The future belongs to those of us with enough hope to rebuild on the ashes of optimism, a new American civilization -- uniting sex, love, babies, mothers and fathers in this thing called marriage." - Hate group leader Maggie Gallagher, whose nationally syndicated column was "retired" this week after 17 years.

RELATED: Gallagher does an exit interview (of sorts) today with the Huffington Post.  Interviewer Lila Shapiro asks if anything good can come of gay marriage. Gallagher:  "Not really. I hope I'm wrong though. Oh, except for making it less likely the Supreme Court will decide that gay people are politically powerless and need special court protection to function in a democracy. Oh, and of course it would make some gay people happy so that's a good thing. Good that someone will be happy!"

ALSO RELATED: While Gallagher left NOM over two years ago, she remains busy in the anti-gay hate industry and now chairs the legal group that is defending Jewish "ex-gay" crackpots JONAH against the fraud lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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Illinois Bishop Who Put "Handcuffs & Ball-Gag Priest" On Leave Testified Against Same-Sex Marriage Yesterday

Yesterday Diocese of Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki testified against same-sex marriage before the Illinois state Senate. His testimony came just days after he was forced to put one of his own kinky priests on leave for calling 911 to get help to free himself from handcuffs and a mouth gag.


Below is the letter Paprocki is demanding that all priests in his diocese read aloud this Sunday. NOM blogger Thomas Peters has also posted the letter on his blog at Catholic Vote. (Psst: They use Disqus.)

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Vladimir Putin Grants Actor Gerard Depardieu Russian Citizenship

Associated Press: "French actor, Gerard Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The actor is hoping to avoid France's proposed super tax on millionaires."

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Flu Season Hits Hard & Early

Epidemiologists says that the 2013 flu season has arrived weeks ahead of normal and may be notably worse than usual.
"I think we're still accelerating," said Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesman. Twenty-nine states and New York City reported high levels of flu activity, up from 16 states and NYC the previous week. Flu was widespread in 41 states, up from 31 states, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of the week ending Dec. 29, 2,257 people had been hospitalized with flu, and 18 children had died from complications of the illness, CDC reported.
It's not too late for a flu shot.

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Sandy Rios: Hillary Was Faking

"I think the point I want to make is that Hillary Clinton has a long history. Many of us remember what a liar she is. She sat at the feet of Saul Alinsky, she wrote her master’s thesis on how to do propaganda and lie; I see her finger prints on Benghazi, I see her finger prints on this illness. I have to say this is like the ‘Boy that Cried Wolf,’ when you lie that many times in your life, when you won’t testify in all of these scandals with your family, when you destroy women that your husband’s been involved in by lying about them, when you create this vast right-wing conspiracy, then who can believe you when you say you’re sick? I’m sorry, I’m not there." - Fox News contributor, former Concerned Women president, and American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios, adding that Clinton's two doctors have female names, which proves the conspiracy, apparently.

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House Approves Sandy Aid Bill

67 Republicans voted against the bill, which was "dramatically" scaled back to only $9.6B.

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INDIANA: State GOP Rep Intro's Bill Mandating Lord's Prayer In Schools

Indiana GOP state Rep. Dennis Kruse has introduced a bill that requires public schools to force students to recite The Lord's Prayer.
The chairman of the Senate education committee, who last year unsuccessfully sought the teaching of creationism in schools, now wants public schools to have the option of beginning each day with the Lord’s Prayer. Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, has filed a bill that would allow school districts to require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, though individual students could opt out if they or their parents preferred. With Republicans holding overwhelming majorities in both the Indiana House and Senate and former U.S. Rep. Mike Pence preparing to take office as governor, some critics have anticipated an easy path for certain socially conservative issues in this year’s legislature.
Senate legal staffers say the bill is doomed as blatantly unconstitutional. But hey, Kruse probably just got a shitload of donations from Teabagistan.

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Illinois Catholic Priest Calls 911: "Help! I Can't Get Out Of These Handcuffs!"

The 911 operator in Springfield, Illinois fielded an unusual emergency call from the local Catholic church in late November.  The story was published yesterday by the Illinois Times.
The pastor of St. Aloysius church on Springfield’s north end has been granted a leave of absence after he called 911 from the rectory and told a dispatcher that he needed help getting out of handcuffs. “I’m going to need help getting out before this becomes a medical emergency,” Father Tom Donovan told a dispatcher who sounds a bit incredulous during the Nov. 28 call. “You’re stuck in a pair of handcuffs?” the dispatcher asks. “(I was) playing with them and I need help getting out,” Donovan responds. Donovan told the dispatcher that he was alone in the rectory. It’s not clear exactly how he ended up in handcuffs or why he feared a medical emergency. His voice sounds garbled or muffled on the tape, and sources say that police discovered some sort of gag on the priest when they arrived. The diocese has been tight-lipped about the matter, saying only that Bishop Thomas Paprocki granted Donovan’s request for a leave of absence at some point before Christmas.
Bolding is mine. It took me a few extra minutes to write this post because I was laughing so hard at the 911 call. I am a horrible person.

(Tipped by JMG reader Michael)

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JSpot: The Straight Jewish Grindr

A Brooklyn woman has launched JSpot, a straight version of Grindr for Jews. Interestingly, you can't join JSpot until the owner determines (via your Facebook page) that you aren't a "jerk."
Elissa Shevinsky has been combing the streets of Williamsburg, Bushwick, Park Slope, Crown Heights, and other neighborhoods packed with singles under the age of 40, looking for recruits who are turned on by the idea, which will officially launch in the next month. While there are several dating options, Shevinsky said sex is what’s selling her site. Users can click whether they are interested in “Casual Sex (Emphasis on Casual), “Casual Sex (and you can stay for breakfast),” a “Long Term Relationship,” “Meeting Great People,” or “Dating & Adventure.” Applicants are allowed to join either site once Shevinsky determines whether they are a “jerk” by analyzing their Facebook profile. “Normally you think of Jewish culture in Brooklyn as people in Borough Park with fur hats,” said Brooklyn Heights tech writer Josh Ross, 38, who is trying to join Jspot. “There’s a lot of people who are culturally Jewish...(and) fine with something more casual.”
Shevinsky is also launching a version for non-Jews.

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Record 20 Female Senators Take Office

Last night Diane Sawyer sat down with most of the record 20 female members of the Senate. There are also now 82 female members of the House. That's a record too.

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HomoQuotable - Anthony Romero

"President Obama has utterly failed the first test of his second term, even before inauguration day. His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended. He also has jeopardized his ability to close Guantanamo during his presidency. Scores of men who have already been held for nearly 11 years without being charged with a crime--including more than 80 who have been cleared for transfer--may very well be imprisoned unfairly for yet another year. The president should use whatever discretion he has in the law to order many of the detainees transferred home, and finally step up next year to close Guantanamo and bring a definite end to indefinite detention." - ACLU head Anthony Romero, slamming the president's signing of the defense funding authorization bill, which also contains a "conscience clause" that may enable anti-gay members of the military to freely harass gay soldiers.

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O'Reilly Slams Al Gore Over Current Sale

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Temporary HIV Vaccine Shows Promise

A therapeutic HIV vaccine that temporarily "puts the brakes" on the growth of the virus has shown promise in a small study conducted by researchers in Spain.
The vaccine, based on immune cells exposed to HIV that had been inactivated with heat, was tested on a group of 36 people carrying the virus and the results were the best yet recorded for such a treatment, the team said. "What we did was give instructions to the immune system so it could learn to destroy the virus, which it does not do naturally," said Felipe Garcia, one of the scientists in the team at Barcelona University's Hospital Clinic.

The therapeutic vaccine, a shot that treats an existing disease rather than preventing it, was safe and led to a dramatic drop in the amount of HIV virus detected in some patients, said the study, published Wednesday in Science Translation Medicine. After 12 weeks of the trial, the HIV viral load dropped by more than 90 percent among 12 of the 22 patients who received the vaccine. Only one among the 11 patients who received a control injection without the vaccine experienced a similar result.

After 24 weeks, the effectiveness had begun to decline, however, with seven of the 20 remaining patients receiving the vaccine enjoying a similar 90-percent slump in viral load. No-one in the control group of 10 patients experienced such a decline in the virus.

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Wingnuts Warn IL Legislators

Last summer the anti-gay Thomas More Society was granted standing to defend Cook County, Illinois against marriage equality lawsuits brought by Lambda Legal and the ACLU.  Those cases are still active despite the recent push in the state legislature.  Yesterday Thomas More issued a warning to any politician that backs the marriage equality bill.

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Our Youngest Senator

When Vice President Joe Biden swore in Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) yesterday, Murphy's toddler son Ryder played along.

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Barney Frank: I Want To Be Senator

This morning former Rep. Barney Frank told MSNBC that he has asked Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint him interim Senator to replace John Kerry. Two weeks ago Frank said he "wouldn't say no" if Patrick appointed him.  Via Politico:
“A month ago, or a few weeks ago, I said I wasn’t interested,” Frank said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It was kind of like you’re about to graduate, and they said: ‘You gotta go to summer school.’ But [the fiscal cliff deal] now means that February, March and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial history.” He added, “I’ve told the governor I would now like, frankly, to do that [serve as interim senator].” Frank said he wouldn’t run for Kerry’s seat in a special election, which would likely take place this summer.
Frank spent 32 years as a member of the House.

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IL Marriage Fight Moves To New Session

Despite last night's win before an Illinois Senate committee, activists say that they will take the marriage equality fight to the next session of the legislature. Via press release from Equality Illinois:
Today, the movement for marriage equality achieved a milestone victory, with the adoption of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act by the Senate Executive Committee. This was the first step of many. Today's victory builds on all the work we have done, adds to the momentum that the supporters have created, and puts us in great position to advance the freedom to marry in the coming months. With just a handful of days remaining in the current lame duck session, time to move the bill through both chambers is not on our side. So we will act in the new General Assembly that convenes next week, on Wednesday, January 9.

"We have come so far. Just to be able to witness the historic public debate over the desire of all loving, committed couples to be able to marry in Illinois is a major accomplishment. And with the landmark action by the Senate Executive Committee in favor of the bill, for the first time ever an Illinois legislative body voted to extend the freedom to marry. Never before has the issue gone this far in the Illinois legislature," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's oldest and largest LGBT advocacy organization. "Our opponents should not believe they have turned the tide against the growing national and Illinois consensus favoring marriage equality. The clock simply ran out, and our legislative supporters ran out of time," he said.
The above release closes by noting the expectation that "the new Illinois House and Senate are considered to be more supportive of LGBT issues."

UPDATE: Another activist group, the Civil Rights Agenda, thinks this is the wrong call.
"What I have learned—and I have been down here [in Springfield] for 20 years, and I have worked things—is that on every piece of legislation I have worked on, there are dark times, when you think it's not going to go. You push forward, and you stand firm, you move and move until you can't move any more. To throw in the towel now is a stupid maneuver. TCRA is here, and we've been here for past three years, and we knew nothing about this decision until we saw the press release."

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Maddow: Goodbye 112th Congress

Last night Rachel Maddow opened her show with a lengthy goodbye to all the scoundrels (plus the few good guys) of the 112th Congress.

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

ILLINOIS: Senate Committee Begins Debate On Same-Sex Marriage Bill [UPDATE: Bill PASSES By 8-5 Vote!!!]

There's a bit of confusion in the activism back channel as to what's going on, since earlier reports indicated that we were done for the week in Illinois. But click over right now and watch as an Illinois Senate committee debates its marriage equality bill. At this writing some bigot is droning in the familiar manner about the oppression of Christianity.

UDPATE: The bill just PASSED out of its committee by an 8-5 vote!!!  On to the full chamber!

UPDATE II: The below message from NOM is now being gleefully passed around on Twitter. Snork!

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RHODE ISLAND: Marriage Bills Introduced

Marriage equality bills were introduced today in both the Rhode Island House and Senate.
The identical bills were sponsored by Rep. Arthur Handy, D-Cranston, (House bill 5015) and Sen. Donna Nesselbush, D-Pawtucket. Handy said 42 of 75 House members had signed on as cosponsors, while Nesselbush said 11 of 38 Senate members had signed on as of 4:50 p.m. The bills would define marriage as the "legally recognized union" of two people.
Zoom, zoom, zoom!

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MISSISSIPPI: Five LGBT Couples Request Marriage Licenses In Vain

Yesterday five LGBT couples requested marriage licenses in Hattiesburg, Mississippi as part of the Southern Equality's "WE DO" campaign. Read more here.

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LCR Slams DOMA Defense Funding

"At a time when sound fiscal policy should be front-and-center, diverting taxpayer funds to defend the Federal Defense of Marriage Act should not be a priority, period. But the beltway buzz about Congressional Rules ignores the big picture: this debate would be nonexistent if DOMA was repealed. Following a week in which Republican Congressmen Richard Hanna and Charlie Bass joined Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in support of the Respect for Marriage Act and DOMA repeal, we urge the Republican Congress to focus on our core tenets of small government and avoid engaging in distracting social issues that do nothing more than provide political fodder to the left." - Interim Log Cabin Republicans head Gregory T. Angelo, via press release.

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Delgaudio Booted Off County Committees

The Loudoun County, Virginia board of supervisors has convened for their new session and one of their first actions last night was to boot hate group leader Eugene Delgaudio from all four committee posts he once held.
In other organizational shifts Wednesday, controversial Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) will not serve on any standing committees in 2013, something sure to please his critics. Many of those opponents have called for Delgaudio to be removed from committees while an investigation revolving around alleged inappropriate political fundraising is ongoing. Delgaudio previously served on the board’s Finance and Government Services and Transportation and Land Use Committees.
Today Delgaudio reacted through his lawyer.
"It’s unfortunate Chairman York used parliamentary rules to accomplish what he knew he could not through the proper process. If Chairman York believes Supervisor Delgaudio engaged in misconduct he should invoke Robert’s Rules of Order to pass a resolution, establish a committee, conduct an investigation and, if necessary, hold a hearing...Supervisor Delgaudio hoped voting for the investigation would clear his name faster. He voted for the committee assignments to avoid embroiling the entire Board in another controversy."
For those unaware, Delgaudio is being investigated by the very body to which he was elected after a former employee charged that she was forced to perform fundraising tasks for his anti-gay hate group while on the clock for the county.  Delgaudio is also being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for using the wedding photo of a gay couple in anti-gay mailers. (Tipped by JMG reader Blair)

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