Friday, June 29, 2007
The Task Force released its presidential candidate rating grid, which reveals (unsurprisingly) that Democrats are much better on LGBT issues than Republicans (via Queerty).
Three former leaders of Exodus International (the ex-gay ministry) are now publicly stating that the process that tries to "change" gay people is cruel and ineffective. Duh.
We rather liked this letter to the editor in Gay City News challenging Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind's awful remarks during the marriage bill debate in the Assembly (the old, played-out and false connection between same-sex marriage and incest, polygamy, etc.).
Sweden is one step closer to making marriage available for same-sex couples, and the majority of Australians support legalizing gay marriage.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Nancy Goldstein explains why one of the Democratic presidential candidates will eventually get her vote, but none will get any of her money.
A transgender woman may be one of the four guests at a small-donor dinner with Barack Obama on July 10.
The new British prime minister may not be as pro-gay as Tony Blair was.
According to a CNN poll, the majority of Americans support: repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell;" allowing gay couples to adopt; and providing some sort of legal recognition to same-sex relationships (27% civil unions, 24% marriage).
A New York Times poll shows that young Americans are ahead of the curve (unsurprisingly) on support for gay marriage and other traditionally liberal issues. We'll have more on the poll later.
Liz Benjamin discusses Spitzer's (and the Senate Democrats') ideas for picking up seats in the 2008 election.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
One upstate Republican Assemblywoman explains her "no" vote on the marriage bill, saying that she may eventually change her mind on the issue.
Here's a breakdown of how the Brooklyn delegation voted on the marriage bill.
The New York Sun responds to comments made by the Pride March Grand Marshals about Mayor Bloomberg's unwillingness to march past St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Elizabeth Edwards voices her support for gay marriage, while here husband says he's not there yet.
Democrats running for president have a hard time expressing their support for gay rights.
A New Jersey school district has reversed a decision to order a yearbook picture of two male students kissing to be blacked out from all copies. The students involved are calling for a public apology.
CNN profiles same-sex couples who have adopted children and discusses the challenges that these families face because of discriminatory laws.
The victims of a hate crime in Rochester are suing the police department due to their shameful (lack of) response to the attack immediately after it happened.
Friday, June 22, 2007
The New York Blade identifies some key lawmakers to thank for the Assembly's passage of the gay marriage bill.
The New York Sun finds yet another reason to complain about the advancement of equality for same-sex couples--this time involving a perceived "lack of hearings" for the religious community in the Assembly's bill-passing process. The NYS Assembly might have learned a lesson from neighboring Connecticut, which recently had a visit from that circus.
This year's Pride March Grand Marshals are two religious leaders who have been involved in LGBT rights activism for quite some time.
Always-progressive Wal-Mart has decided to cease all support for LGBT organizations because of pressure from right-wing groups.
The controversial bill calling for required H.I.V. testing for rape suspects has passed in both the State Senate and the Assembly.
Rosie's replacement on The View may be an openly gay man.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
"My boyfriend and I very much enjoyed marching with you last year and helping to carry the flag. That was the start of our romance, which continues to last. I am writing to ask if we might be able to enjoy the honor of marching with your organization once again this year."
Breaking news: Baptists and Orthodox Jews are not happy with the Assembly's passage of marriage equality.
We thought the Daily News was smarter than this. Apparently not.
NY1 produced a piece on one of our favorite people: Congregation Beth Simchat Torah Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, who will be one of this year's Pride March Grand Marshals.
The New York Observer (via Queerty) features a column on why Pride in NYC is becoming less and less of a big deal: because apparently every day is Pride in New York City! But it is important to note that, while we as New Yorkers may not be forced to live in the closet as we once were, there are still many (many, many, many) reasons to be out on the street demanding equal treatment.
NYC isn't the only place in the state celebrating Pride this weekend: even in Elmira, Pride has become mainstream.
David Mixner is calling June the month for marriage.
From the Politicker, Assemblymember and marriage bill prime sponsor Danny O'Donnell's reaction to the Assembly vote after Tuesday's debate:
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Pride Agenda Exec. Dir. Alan Van Capelle talks to Azi from the Politicker after last night's vote:
The full Assembly roll call can be seen here.
A group of Senators in Colombia killed a bill that would give many marriage-like rights to same-sex couples in the South American country. Supporters plain on reintroducing the legislation (which is supported by Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe) next year.
Speaking of Latin America, Costa Rica is considering a civil unions law, which apparently "stops short of allowing adoption by same-sex couples."
Being openly LGBT in the Bronx can be difficult, according to the Village Voice. (Ruben Diaz, for example.) But last weekend's Bronx Pride is a good sign that things are looking better.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
4 Did Not Vote
Click here if you don't know your Assemblymember.
(italics denote Republicans)
Diaz, L. Y
Diaz, R. N
Gordon, D: N
Gordon, T: N
Lopez, P: N
Lopez, V: Y
Rivera, J: Y
Rivera, N: Y
Rivera, P: Y
Although marriage for same-sex couples is not yet law in New York, this vote isn’t something to be taken lightly. Since the Court of Appeals decision last July, the New York State LGBT community and our allies have been relentlessly engaged in a dialogue with elected officials that quite powerfully conveyed how important this issue is to us—and that we are not going to let up anytime soon. The Assembly heard this and understood that the majority of New Yorkers believe in marriage equality. Hopefully the Senate is listening a little more intently than Joe Bruno would have us otherwise believing.
The Assembly vote was bipartisan.
New York is only the second state where at least one chamber has passed a bill that would legalize full marriage equality for same-sex couples. California is the other, and that state’s Assembly just passed a marriage equality bill for the second time. The California State Senate is also expected to pass the bill, but Governor Schwarzenegger has promised to veto it.
Now the only thing that stands between gay New Yorkers and their ability to marry is the State Senate, and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has mentioned more than once that the marriage bill will not be moving under his watch. His majority, however, has been steadily shrinking—most notably (and most recently) with Craig Johnson’s victory this past February as an openly pro-marriage equality candidate in a traditionally Republican district.
Also, Governor Spitzer, who introduced and heavily supports same-sex marriage, has only seen a rise in approval ratings since he introduced the marriage program bill into the NYS legislature on April 27.
The times they are a-changin’
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
Republicans Dede Scozzafava and Mike Spano
Democrats Aurelia Greene and Anthony Seminerio
Next: the bill is expected to come to the Assembly floor shortly
***NOTE: If you can't access the streaming video, you can also watch the Assembly proceedings live on Time Warner channel 159.
We don't know yet exactly when it will begin, but you can watch Assembly proceedings live here.
We'll continue to keep you posted as we know more.
On the subject of marriage, this is just too ridiculous to pass by.
New Jersey's commission monitoring civil unions is set to review if the law has been effectively implemented since February.
The AP reports on the progress made in passing pro-LGBT legislation in 2007, but also notes that only states in the northeast and west coast of the country have laws recognizing same-sex couples.
NY1's Pride Week today features a profile on Liz Abzug, lesbian daughter of the late Congresswoman Bella Abzug.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Democrats voting for:
Helene Weinstein (Chair)
Republicans voting against:
The committee met and voted in a packed room of journalists, supporters and opponents of the bill, as well as other Assemblymembers interested in the outcome.
Next stop is the Sheldon Silver's Rules Committee.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee will take up the same-sex marriage bill today in a move that could ultimately decide the measure's fate in Albany this year.She goes on to say:
The bill was added to the committee calendar late yesterday. A committee meeting has so far not been scheduled, which means it will likely be called off the Assembly floor sometime later today. The Assembly is on tap to go into session at 2 p.m.
If the legislation gets out of the Judiciary Committee, to will go to the Rules Committee - the last stop before a bill gets onto the floor. That committee is single-handedly controlled by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Letting the gay marriage bill come to a vote would be a gamble for Silver, but not as much as the same move would be in 2008 - an election year. On the plus side, it would be a nod to both Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who proposed the bill, and the Empire State Pride Agenda, which has been very supportive of both the governor and Democratic lawmakers.
We'll keep you posted...
New Jersey's law making discrimination against transgender people illegal went into effect yesterday.
NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is still deciding on whether or not he will bring the marriage bill to a floor vote before the session ends on Friday.
The plaintiffs in the Hernandez v. Robles case sent a letter to the NYS Assembly asking for a vote on the marriage bill.
Predominantly Catholic Colombia will be the first Latin American country to recognize same-sex relationships...making that country more progressive than the U.S. and the State of New York.
Gay marriage is gaining more support in Sweden.
There will be no gay mayor in Dallas for now.
Andres over at Blabbeando has a visit from the Ghost of Latino Pride Past and shares some great pictures from the last ten years.
A coalition of mostly African American ministers is calling upon the U.S. Congress to vote against the Hate Crimes Bill, claiming that it would prevent them from preaching against "immoral behavior."
Friday, June 15, 2007
As we all know by now, same-sex marriage is safe in Massachusetts.
Some moving words from one Mass. lawmaker on why she changed her vote to become one of the 151 members who voted against the ballot measure.
Aside from an overtly political rant nestled in the posting, Andrew Sullivan's comments on the Massachusetts vote are actually quite poignant.
Dallas may vote in the country's first-ever openly gay big city mayor this weekend.
One of our favorite straight rabbis, Ayelet Cohen of NYC's LGBT synagogue Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, will be "marrying" her fiance this weekend, but won't actually be signing any legal documents: " This is one of the major social injustices of our time," she said. "I cannot, in good conscience, participate in a system that actively excludes and discriminates against same-sex couples."
Maybe this lesbian Klezmer band will perform at the rabbi's ceremony. If nothing else, they get the gold star for world's best band name: Isle of Klezbos.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
From the Pride Agenda's memo in support of the bill:
Unfortunately, in recent years many children in facilities operated by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) have been verbally and physically bullied and harassed simply because of who they are, sometimes by other youth and sometimes by staff. One youth reported being called “stupid faggot” by a staff person; another tells of how she avoids showering for fear of harassment and discrimination. The harassment experienced by LGBT youth is particularly ironic, since many become involved in the juvenile justice system because of the oppression connected with their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, such as when they are kicked out of their homes or abused by a parent or guardian and then turn to life on the streets.
There is no companion bill to this one in the State Senate and there is not likely to be one this year (the session ends next Friday), but the Assembly has taken an important first step by recognizing that juvenile justice facilities need to be fixed in order to be truly effective tools of rehabilitation for disenfranchised LGBT youth.
From the Associated Press:
Massachusetts lawmakers voted Thursday to block a proposed constitutional amendment that would have let voters decide whether to ban gay marriage in the only state that currently allows it.
The narrow vote was a victory for gay marriage advocates and a devastating blow to efforts to reverse the historic 2003 state court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.
The proposal needed 50 votes to advance to the 2008 ballot. It got 45, with 151 lawmakers opposed.
Opponents of gay marriage vowed to press on, but Thursday's defeat after more than three years of sometimes wrenching debate could prove insurmountable. Any effort to mount a new ballot question would take years at a time political support in Massachusetts is swinging firmly behind gay marriage.
For gay couples, the vote marked what could be the end of a struggle that began in 2001, when seven same-sex couples, denied marriage licenses, sued in Suffolk Superior Court.
More than 8,500 same sex couples have married in Massachusetts since it became legal in May 2004.
Lots of drama in the Massachusetts state legislature as supporters of gay marriage lobby to get rid of an ballot measure that would potentially overturn the state's 2003 Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex couples full marriage equality.
The Washington Post voices concern over anti-gay Dr. James Holsinger, Jr. as Bush's nominee for Surgeon General. HRC has set up an action center so that you can voice your concern, too.
The controversial forced H.I.V. testing bill (for suspected rapists) has passed the NY State Senate and is likely to pass in the Assembly. Openly gay and H.I.V.-positive State Senator Tom Duane was passionate in his opposition to the bill, arguing that it was more about propagating fear of people who have H.I.V. than caring for rape victims.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The Legislative Gazette has a nice overview on what's happening with marriage equality around the state.
Former Massachusetts governor and candidate (briefly) for the 2006 New York gubernatorial race Bill Weld has publicly stated that he hopes state legislators defeat the proposed ban on gay marriages in Mass.
John Edwards picks up more LGBT support, including GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings.
Gawker's new regular column "And the Brand Played On," is like the gay version of Overheard in New York...but more like an overheard-on-the-LIRR-to-Fire-Island version.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Pride Agenda and the New York City Bar Association released a report today that for the first time details every single right and responsibility that comes with marriage in New York State. This is the first-ever catalogue of marriage rights in New York, and it puts into stark perspective the significance of the inequality that same-sex couples and their families must endure on a day-to-day basis.
When combined with the estimated 1,138 federal rights granted through marriage, gay couples (and their children) are without a total of 2,462 rights and protections that are established to provide security and stability for families. The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) in 1997 and 2004 documented which federal statutes confer rights through marriage.
An important point that the report brings up is that even if same-sex couples spend money to create as broad a legal framework for protection as possible, most rights still cannot be bought by contracts or other legal instruments because they are specifically confined to married people. (In fact, only about two dozen can be obtained outside of marriage, either through a lawyer or because of executive order/legislative action):
“Because the overwhelming majority of these rights and responsibilities have been created by statutes and regulations specifically for spouses, same-sex couples and their families are by definition denied most of the protections that other families take for granted, notwithstanding any private contractual agreements and other “work-arounds” these same-sex couples may endeavor to create. For example, Workers’ Compensation survivor benefits—like the vast majority of entitlement programs—are statutorily limited to spouses; they cannot be bequeathed to any other dependent, including a domestic partner, no matter what a will or other private legal agreement might say.”
The report also addresses the significant shortcomings of separate-and-unequal institutions such as civil unions and points out examples (New Jersey) of where attempts to create a parallel institution that isn’t full marriage equality are failing.
Marriage equality is the only way to overcome the 1000+ ways in which hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are systemically treated as second class citizens.
The Politicker posted a nice picture of NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and fellow councilmember Rosie Mendez with Gary Parker of Lambda Independent Democrats at Brooklyn Pride last weekend.
The gay market seems to be one of the most sought-after demographics for advertisers, according to a new report. Pullout fact: In 2006, 183 of the Fortune 500 bought ad space in gay publications.
Dallas may vote in its first-ever--and the nation's first-ever--gay mayor this weekend.
There was lots of buzz yesterday about reports that the Pentagon tried to develop a "gay bomb" that would, upon detonation, turn armies of soldiers into armies of lovers (the concept sounds familiar). Turns out the stories were true.
Swedish politicians are putting pressure on Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to publicly endorse legalizing gay marriage in the traditionally progressive country. Many of Reinfeldt's fellow Moderate Party parliamentarians have threatened to collapse the current government if there is not support for gay marriage from the leadership.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Disclaimer: the only reason why we’re spotlighting this editorial is to demonstrate the absurd lengths to which some will go in their efforts to justify discriminating against gay couples.
The New York Sun, it seems, will try to find a way to oppose marriage equality any time a new argument supporting it arises. This time, however, they fall on their own sword: when it comes to taxation—just as when it comes to any other marriage-related issue—same-sex couples want to be treated JUST LIKE any other couple in New York. No better, no worse. Then, once we are treated equally, those who oppose a certain tax “burden” on married people can join with like-minded opposite-sex spouses in civil protest if they wish.
But don't advocate discrimination of gay families to push an anti-tax agenda. The argument is weak, if not illogical.
Albany's Pride celebration featured families and a high turn-out of elected officials
The Pride Fairy(ies?) also came to Brooklyn over the weekend. Here's an update on where Brooklyn lawmakers stand on the issue of marriage equality.
A Methodist minister in New Hartford, NY came out to his congregation as he announced his retirement after 30 years of service. The congregants were overwhelmingly supportive.
Queens Assemblymember Nettie Mayersohn is battling GMHC on the issue of mandatory HIV testing for those indicted on rape charges. The issue has met strong resistance from some of NYC's other liberal Assemblymembers, but Speaker Silver has said that the bill will be brought to a floor vote before the end of the session.
The Massachusetts House may vote this week on whether or not the issue of gay marriage should go to the ballot for a general vote. If the House votes it down, the possibility of reversing the marriage decision in Massachusetts will finally go away for good.
If an irrelevant Republican presidential candidate makes an anti-gay comment and no one's paying attention, does he make a sound?
In case you missed the results from last night's gay superbowl, Queerty's got 'em.
Friday, June 8, 2007
The New York Times dissects the party-line split between the Democrat and Republican presidential contenders on the issue of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Pull-out fact: 60% of the country supports repealing the discriminatory measure...which aligns well with the Democrats' position.
Gay City News provides a thorough overview of where the top presidential candidates from both parties stand on LGBT issues.
Gay City News calls upon Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to bring the marriage bill to a floor vote in the Assembly during current legislative session, which ends in late June.
When it comes to gubernatorial leadership on LGBT issues, Massachusetts' Deval Patrick is right up there with our Eliot Spitzer.
Israel would do right by allowing gay Palestinians easier access to Israel's more open society. And while Jerusalem debates whether or not to allow gay pride marches, Tel Aviv's is strong as ever.
It looks like Isaiah Washington will not be returning to Grey's Anatomy next season. According to certain "sources," Washington's anti-gay slurs were only part of the reason for his dismissal.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Continuing his abysmal track record with the LGBT community--and his penchant for appointing incompetent officials to important offices, President Bush has nominated anti-gay Kentucky doctor James Holsinger as the new Surgeon General.
Writing on Connecticut's "Marriage vs. Civil Unions" court case, the New York Times advocates for nothing short of full marriage equality.
Rochester Unitarian ministers Kaaren Anderson, Scott Taylor and Jen Crow have decided to stop signing marriage licenses until marriage is available for same-sex couples.
Queerty provides a great profile of New Mexico Gov. (and Democratic candidate for president)Bill Richardson and his history on LGBT issues.
In case there was any mystery, CBS2 in Chicago provides a list of openly gay celebrities. (RuPaul? gay?)
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
The New York State Assembly has its fourth openly-LGBT member: Micah Kellner won yesterday's special election with 64% of the vote and is officially New York's first bisexual elected official.
Patrick Healy at the NY Times notes Hillary's movement away from DOMA. It's not at all an endorsement of marriage equality, but at least she's willing to let states decide...which is pretty much what the other two leading Democratic presidential contenders have been supporting for quite some time now.
California's marriage equality bill has passed the state Assembly for the second time. The bill is now headed to the State Senate, where it's also expected to pass...only to meet it's eventual death by Gov. Schwarzenegger's promised veto.
Republicans unanimously voiced their support for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" during last night's debate, which was the complete opposite of the Democratic candidates' unanimous support for repealing the discriminatory measure. It's sad the the most vocal supporters last night of the current system were former "centrists" Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and John McCain.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
He’s done some very interesting number crunching that includes using U.S. Census data and other information about same-sex couples here in New York and out-of-state to determine how much our economy will benefit from the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Bottom line: marriage for same-sex couples boosts the NYS economy by $184 million and the NYC economy by $142 million the first three years after legalization. Comptroller Thompson summarizes the findings of his report here.
And why shouldn’t marriage be good for the economy? A couple’s wedding day is about having family and friends be part of a public affirmation of the love they have for each other and that usually costs something. In a more general sense, though, marriage is about making families stronger and communities stronger so the fact that there’s a connection to the economy makes perfect cents.
Ben Smith provides Human Rights Campaign scorecard on the Democratic Presidential candidates and LGBT issues and notes Senator Clinton’s shift away from her previous support for DOMA.
Gay Pride and an evangelical festival come to Binghamton this weekend.
The NYT reports that AIDS care in Puerto Rico is in disarray.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Tonawanda News editorializes about a gay student who left North Tonawanda High School because the school refused to provide a safe learning environment.
Activist and former Clinton White House aide Ginny Apuzzo talks at New Paltz Pride about the fight for equal rights and marriage equality in New York.
Diversity Rules, a magazine for the Oneonta LGBT community marks its one-year anniversary. Read here.
Two articles on dance as community-builder and liberator -- "Desilicious" is a monthly gay South Asian dance party in Tribeca and Barbara Ehrenreich writes an opinion piece in the New York Times about the recent dance protest on Fifth Avenue and the centuries old political conflict between dance and the “forces of order and hierarchy.”
Friday, June 1, 2007
Building support and vote counting continues among Democrats in the Assembly on marriage equality legislation.
Openly gay and former member of the Peekskill Common Council Bill Schmidt is the Republican nominee for mayor. Good for Bill. Peekskill, by the way, is the home of former Governor George Pataki.
Queens Pride in Jackson Heights on Sunday always brings out a lot of politicians to celebrate with the LGBT community. We'll be there. And at Staten Island Pride on Saturday. And in Buffalo on Sunday. And at Black & Latino Pride in Albany on Saturday.