Friday, February 29, 2008

Morning Sweep

As Bill Clinton was once called the first black president, some are suggesting that Barack Obama could become the first gay president. Ben Smith has some evidence that suggests this might be true.

Coincidentally (or not?) Barack Obama has released an open letter to the LGBT community reaffirming his commitment to LGBT equality. Bloomberg News, meanwhile, reports that Obama is eroding Hillary Clinton's traditionally solid base of LGBT support.

According to Liz Benjamin, State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, while at a dinner at Gracie Mansion last night, praised Democratic Senator Rubin Diaz Sr. for "going against the grain" by opposing issues like abortion and gay marriage.

Protesters at a Pride celebration in Elmira last year will be on trial for unlawful disruption starting today.

A columnist for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle calls upon the words of Sojourner Truth to question the arguments presented by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, who is appealing a court decision that would recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed out of state.

Six openly gay candidates are running for various local offices in next Tuesday's election in Texas.

Massachusetts, by having enacted fully marriage equality, is attracting some smart out-of-towners.

New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman (and longtime friend of the LGBT community) has contributed an article to The Nation talking about the need for progressive causes to rise above transactional politics.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Morning Sweep

In an attempt to dig deeper into Hillary Clinton's base, Barack Obama has bought advertising space in LGBT newspapers in Texas and Ohio

The Gay Officer's Action League is not happy that prosecutors have downgraded charges against a woman who assaulted and made homophobic comments to an undercover New York City police officer.

The Philadelphia Inquirer supports civil unions in New Jersey and states that the law must be upheld by public and private entities to provide equality for same-sex couples, but suggests that "poll after poll [shows] that New Jersey residents are not ready to accept" full marriage equality.

The Columbia Spectator looks back at the history of the Columbia Queer Alliance--which was the country's first gay group for college students.

Irish Queers are asking openly gay NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn to clarify her position on the city's Saint Patrick's Day Parade this year, which specifically forbids LGBT groups from marching.

New York Congressman Jose Serrano is letting Puerto Rican lawmakers know that there may be some negative consequences if they vote to ban gay unions.

Lawmakers and Equality California are backing a bill that would make Harvey Milk's birthday a holiday in California. No time off would be given to commemorate the day.

A British couple had their application to become foster parents denied because of their homophobic views.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Morning Sweep

With Daniel Aubertine's special election victory last night in the North Country, the State Senate is now just one seat away from switching from a Republican majority to a Democratic majority.

Choire Sicha suggests that new fears over MRSA have touched off an anti-gay panic among public health officials that is similar to what the community experienced at the onset of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Cabaret performer Justin Bond discusses transgender politics with New York Magazine.

The LGBT Center at NYU organized an event last night that provided a safe, comfortable space for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women to get to know one another.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gays Gone Wired - Tonight!

We expect quite a crowd tonight at our OffSprung! "Gays Gone Wired" event at Therapy tonight. David Mixner, Andrew Belonsky of Queerty, Jeremy Hooper of Good As You and Andres Duque of Blabbeando will talk about the impact that blogs are making on the LGBT rights movement.

If you'd still like to come, RSVP here or on the Gays Gone Wired Facebook page.

Gays Gone Wired: How Bloggers Are Changing the LGBT Rights Movement
6:30 - 8:30 PM
Therapy Bar
second floor
348 W. 52nd Street (between 8th/9th Aves.)

Happy hour starts at 6:30. The panel Q&A will begin at 7ish and will last for 45 mins.

Morning Sweep

Lots of coverage of yesterday's two rallies in Rochester protesting Monroe County's move to appeal a recent appellate court decision that called for recognizing all same-sex marriages legally performed out-of-state as fully valid in New York.

Rochester's paper, the Democrat & Chronicle, writes an interesting, half-bad-half-good editorial declaring that the County is right to appeal but calling on the state legislature to take action on marriage equality and solve the issue once and for all.

The Daily News reports on a messy break-up between a lesbian couple and the New York Post covers a divorce sought from a different lesbian couple who had gone to Canada to marry in 2004.

One of the founders of Microsoft has left $65 million of his estate to LGBT groups in Seattle--the largest estate gift ever in the gay rights movement.

The Buffalo News writes more about the debate within Buffalo's LGBT community about whether or not the nominee to head the city's human rights commission is anti-gay.

The Times, over the weekend, detailed the extreme difficulties of being openly gay on the otherwise laid-back island of Jamaica.

Times Magazine writer Deborah Solomon interviews Texas Governor Rick Perry on his upcoming book about Boy Scouting and his steadfast defense of not letting gays be scouts. His replies demonstrate that he's not much smarter than his predecessor.

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has "significant concerns" that civil unions do not provide the same rights as full marriage equality, but doesn't want to sign a bill during a presidential election year.

Marjorie Hill, CEO of GMHC, spoke to students and members of the public at Syracuse University about how far we've come/where we still need to go with HIV/AIDS in America.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Today's noontime rally in Rochester

Over 75 people showed up for the first of two rallies today outside the Monroe County Office Building to protest the County Executive’s appeal of a unanimous court ruling that requires New York State (and Monroe County of course) to recognize legal out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples. Turnout exceeded everyone's expectations and our local organizer Todd Plank tells us the crowd will be even larger for the 4-6PM rally.

See coverage of the rally from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle here and from R News, the 24-hour local news station, here. Below are several pictures from the rally. The first one below is of Lisa Golden and Pat Martinez who were married in Canada. Pat (center right) initiated the lawsuit against Monroe County Community College after it refused to extend health benefits to Lisa (center left).

Many thanks to photographer Billijo Wolf who sent us the great pictures!

Morning Sweep

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks decides to appeal the recent appellate court decision saying that New York State (and the county’s local community college) must respect legal out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples. See here and here.

Brooks’ decision to appeal ignites an immediate reaction from local supporters of marriage equality. They schedule two protests today outside of the County Executive Building in downtown Rochester. See here and here.

Activists also turn up the heat on Maggie Brooks over Monroe County’s long-time refusal to provide domestic partner benefits to county employees and notes that most leading private and public sector employees in the area already do so.

The Buffalo News has learned that the city’s candidate to be director of it human rights commission has had an anti-gay complaint filed against him with the state’s Division of Human Rights.

In light of revelations last week that civil unions are not providing equality to same-sex couples, the New York Times urges Governor Corzine to show “political courage” and to stop “dawdling” when it comes to making marriage equality law in New Jersey.

The Human Rights Campaign held its annual gala in NYC this past weekend and a large contingent of protesters upset about trans protections being stripped from the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) greeted attendees as they arrived for the event.

“Freehold,” chronicling an Ocean County, NJ employee’s battle to win domestic partner benefits for her partner, won the Academy Award for best documentary short subject. Marriage equality activists gathered in New Jersey to watch the ceremonies and talk about the late Detective Lt. Laurel Hester’s battle with Ocean County.

Turn out for today's marriage actions in Rochester!

In response to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks appealing the recent mid-level court decision saying that New York State must respect legal out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples, local supporters of marriage equality are holding two actions today in front of the County Office Building in downtown Rochester.

Monroe County residents are holding these actions because of a number of things Maggie Brooks said when she announced the appeal on Friday -- from calling same-sex couples with legal out-of-state marriage licenses “unmarried” to saying that extending married “benefits to same-sex couples is to ignore the will of the people of Monroe County and New York State.”

Local same-sex couples, their families, clergy, friends and others will be coming out to show there is strong support for marriage equality in Monroe County, despite what Maggie Brooks chooses to say, and to talk about why marriage for all families in New York is important.

So take down these details and show your support!

Monroe County Office Building
37 West Main Street
Rochester, NY

12 noon – 1 PM
4 PM – 6 PM

For more information about both actions call our Western New York field organizer Todd Plank at 585-278-4190.

P.S. -- We’re not sure where Maggie Brooks gets her notion about “the will of the people of Monroe County and New York State.” The State Assembly passed marriage equality legislation last year by a vote of 85-61 and this is the chamber that represents “the people” last time we checked. Three out of five Assemblymembers whose districts are entirely within Monroe County were also on the “yes” side of that vote. Polling too does not back up Brooks’ assertions about “the people.” Our last poll showed 53% of New Yorkers are for marriage equality and polls other groups have done always show support for marriage out in front of any opposition to it.

P.P.S. -- Unlike many of the most populous counties in New York State, Monroe County still refuses to offer domestic partners health benefits to its employees. Need we say more?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Morning Sweep

As reaction to the most recent killing of a LGBT school student, this time in California, ripples across the nation and reaches New York, Gay City News calls on elected officials in Albany and New York City to get serious about protecting New York’s youth from bullying and violence in schools due to bias. One local response to the killing of Lawrence King will be a vigil next Wednesday in Bay Shore by the Long Island GLBT Community Center.

Richard Dollinger, who was one of the LGBT community’s staunchest supporters in the State Senate when he represented the Rochester area, is expected to announce in the next two weeks that he will run again for his old Senate seat.

The Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center wins its battle with the city of Kingston for designation as a tax-exempt organization.

Queer youth work within the political system to have a voice in the redevelopment of the Hudson River pier in Greenwich Village.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Morning Sweep

In Houston, Obama criticizes politicians who like to “use immigrants or gay people or folks who aren't like us as scapegoats.” Check out the video clip via Towelroad.

Lisa Keen with the Bay Area Reporter gives an update on LGBT superdelegates and the race between Clinton and Obama

GLSEN responds to John Cloud’s use of their statistics in his Time Magazine piece on the murder of eighth-grader Lawrence King, who identified as gay and wore make up and nail polish to school.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Jersey provides proof of why civil unions are not equality

Yesterday, we got a pointed reminder from our neighbor next door about why only marriage provides equality and not anything else government tries to put in its place.

On the one-year anniversary of its civil unions law, New Jersey released its first interim report studying the actual impact of the law and found that civil unions confer a “second-class status” to same-sex couples and do not fulfill the directive from the state’s Supreme Court that equality be provided.

The report provided evidence of how same-sex couples in Massachusetts, where marriage is legal, do not face the same barriers to being treated equally that couples in New Jersey are facing under civil unions and also looked at Vermont where couples in civil unions are having the same problems couples in New Jersey are experiencing.

While the reasons were several, one of the report’s key findings was that numerous private sector employers in New Jersey, who use marriage as the determining factor in providing employees with access to benefits for their families, have shown little willingness to use civil unions in the same way. (In Massachusetts this has been a non-issue with same-sex couples who are married.) Another finding was that emergency room personnel, doctors and nurses, teachers and others don’t understand what civil unions are, rendering them practically useless in situations when the protections they are supposed to provide are most needed, such as in the case of a medical emergency.

These and other deficiencies outlined in the report go to the heart of the debate about civil unions versus marriage and why the two aren’t the same, either legally or practically.

Already there are calls by New Jersey legislators to stop dawdling and make marriage a reality for same-sex couples. Governor Corzine, too, has expressed concerns with the findings of the report and reiterated that he will sign a marriage bill into law following the General Elections in November.

It sounds like things are on the right track in New Jersey.

By serving as laboratories for civil unions and marriage for same-sex couples, New Jersey and Massachusetts are doing all of us a huge service. Their experiences should help move the debate on this issue further away from the irrational arguments our opponents like to use against us and more towards the common-sense arguments for marriage equality that can now be buttressed with real facts about what happens when states stand up for our families.

This report and the next will also put to rest the notion that the only difference between a civil union and a marriage is the name they go by. We’ve always known the two are not the same and have said so, but having it in black and white from a state that has civil unions makes it much more difficult to dispute.

This can only help our community's efforts here in New York and in other states to win access to marriage and the protections it provides.

Morning Sweep

New Jersey releases it first interim report on its civil unions law and finds that civil unions confer “second-class status” on same-sex couples. See here for Governor Corzine's reaction and here for Pam of Pam's House Blend and here for our reaction (or just look above!). In conjunction with the report, Garden State Equality unveils a website called Civil Unions Don’t Work, which includes video clips of testimony from couples before the New Jersey Civil Unions Commission describing how exactly their civil unions don't measure up to marriage.

Connecticut State Representative Jason Bartlett, a Democrat who represents the Danbury area, announces he is gay.

A House subcommittee in the Tennessee legislature kills a bill prohibiting discussions of homosexuality in public schools.

National LGBT groups have started the search process for LGBT individuals who want to serve in the next Presidential Administration (no matter who wins they say). A bit early isn't it?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Morning Sweep

Democratic presidential primaries will be held in Wisconsin and Hawaii today. Hillary Clinton fielded a question on gay rights at a rally in Green Bay.

Actress Natalie Portman doesn't want to get married because she doesn't like that government excludes gay people from the institution.

The New York Times reports on the increase of private gay sex parties, which have arisen as an alternative to the bathhouses that were largely shuttered after the AIDS crisis of the 1980s/90s.

Jason West, the staunchly pro-marriage equality former mayor of New Paltz, talks to the Times about his refusal to leave the Green Party and his current life as a painter.

A transgender woman got the green light from a Brooklyn judge to move forward in her case to sue the MTA for a bigoted remark made by a transit employee after the woman had inquired about her malfunctioning metro card.

After a state report showed that civil unions are not equal to marriage, New Jersey marriage equality advocates are calling for a law providing full marriage equality.

A few hundred marriage equality advocates in Indiana rallied in front of the Statehouse in Indianapolis to protest a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Gays Gone Wired - Tueday, Feb. 26

The Pride Agenda's OffSprung! series of events (targeting "the next generation of LGBT leaders, advocates and allies") will be hosting a happy hour panel discussion/Q&A with four of the most influential New York-based LGBT bloggers.

Gays Gone Wired: How Bloggers Are Changing the LGBT Rights Movement


Andrew Belonsky (Queerty), Jeremy Hooper (Good As You),
Rod McCullom (Rod 2.0) and David Mixner (David Mixner)

Join us on Tueday, Feb. 26 at Therapy in Manhattan (348 W. 52nd St. between 8th & 9th Aves.) from 6:30PM - 8:30PM.

RSVP here or on the OffSprung! Facebook event page.

Morning Sweep

Fifty-five same-sex couples took part in a mass-civil union ceremony in Atlantic City last night. The event was held to mark the first Valentine's Day same-sex couples in NJ could legally be joined together.

Maryland's Attorney General has publicly announced his support for legislation that would make it legal for same-sex couples to marry.

The Southern Voice highlights the often overlooked divide between the priorities of general LGBT advocacy groups and those of groups that specifically represent LGBT people of color.

A columnist in the North Country Gazette looks at some of the court battles being waged over the increasing presence of LGBT issues in public schools across the country.

Departing NGLTF Executive Director Matt Foreman took some shots at openly gay Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank for Frank's role in passing ENDA last year in the House without transgender protections.

A public school in Colorado is making sure it is a safe, welcoming place for a transgender third grader.

A gay group in Elmira is hosting a fundraiser for a local church's aid work in Guatemala to thank the church for their years of support of the local LGBT community.

Towleroad has a round-up of the coverage on the very sad incident of the gay 14-year old in California who was shot in the head by one of his peers while in class.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Morning Sweep

The New York City Health Department has a new campaign to promote safe sex.

The New York Times has more on the lesbian couple who have filed suit in Colorado to get the state's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage thrown out.

A gay Republican in Arizona is entering the race to replace retiring anti-gay Republican Congressman John Shadegg.

Marylanders may be pinning their hopes for marriage equality on a black evangelical bishop who also holds a seat in the state senate.

Know Thy Neighbor has posted the names of every single person who signed the petition to get a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the state ballot in November.

Amidst a Castro Street that has been transformed to look like it did in the late 1970d, San Francisco looks back on its history of advancing gay rights as the state's Supreme Court gets set to hear arguments on the legality of denying gay couples the right to marry.

Rhode Island's state legislature will examine legislation that would make it legal for Rhode Island same-sex couples who were married in neighboring Massachusetts to get a divorce in their home state.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Governor Spitzer talks about marriage equality in New York

In a call-in show called “Vox Pop” on WAMC Northeast Public Radio in Albany, Governor Spitzer talks about marriage equality and provides his views on the current political environment around the issue in New York. You can hear his discussion with “Vox Pop” host Alan Chartock beginning at 2’45” on the audio clip. For those of you downstate who are not familiar with “Vox Pop”, it is not too unlike “Inside City Hall” on NY1 in that it’s considered “must listening” for political junkies.

This is the Governor’s first extended remarks about the issue since the Assembly passed marriage equality legislation last year by an 85-61 vote. Spitzer reaffirms his support for the issue, talks about Republican support the bill received in the Assembly and how passing it in the State Senate will be an individual issue, a “Senator by Senator determination.” He concedes that having Democrats controlling the State Senate “probably would matter” in getting a vote, but emphasized that support from Senators will be more individual than partisan.

We thank the Governor for his continued strong support for marriage equality. We agree with him when he says support from legislators is individual in nature. Our community and our many allies and friends across the state made the case for marriage equality on a legislator-by-legislator basis last year leading up to the vote in the Assembly and that made a difference when the voting finally took place. It will also make a difference with State Senators when they take their vote on marriage equality for our families.

The Governor sharing his views on the issue came in response to a caller named Phil who identified himself as man in his upper 70’s who has been in a relationship for over twenty years. He said about his partner and himself: “We Pay taxes, we vote, we pay our dues to our community.” His question for the Governor: “Do you have any sense that within our lifetimes the state will recognize our relationship so that we can benefit from the privileges and responsibilities that other married couples enjoy in New York State?”

Morning Sweep

Today is Freedom to Marry Day, and Evan Wolfson has something to say about it.

Barack Obama and John McCain were the big winners in yesterday's Presidential primary elections in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

Kerry Eleveld explains the importance of the controversial "superdelegates," 21 of which (out of more than 800) are LGBT. Pam Spaulding adds some details, including info on who many of the NY-based LGBT superdelegates are supporting.

Community groups, including some local gay organizations, in Eastern Long Island (Hamptons, etc) organized a public forum to voice their complaints about some recent columns published in The Independent that offended several minority groups.

Florida seems to be one of the epicenters of activity surrounding LGBT civil rights these days, with the debate over the constitutional ban on gay marriage heating up, Dade County (Miami) considering legislation that would legally recognize domestic partners and an ordinance in Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale) to extend anti-discrimination protections to transgender people.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Morning Sweep

Arizona Republicans are again trying to get a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballot this November, even though voters rejected the first attempt in 2006.

The Washington Blade talks to Hillary Clinton about LGBT issues in anticipation of today's "Potomac Primaries."

White evangelicals are no longer solidly Republican, as issues like jobs and the economy now overtake abortion and gay marriage as priority for some.

A lesbian couple in Denver, Colorado is challenging in court the state's voter-approved (in 2006) constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions.

Karl Rove spoke to Choate students yesterday and was grilled by an astute young woman on the reasons for his campaign against same-sex marriage. She bested him with each response he came up with until he, pathetically, resorted to the old (and horribly irrelevant) polygamy cop-out.

Rod McCullom brings to light an interesting and sad bi-product of the recent violence in Kenya: HIV-positive people are having an increasingly difficult time getting access to necessary medication.

A photo taken of a gay Hungarian couple, who were the target of a hate attack, has won a World Press Photo Award.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Morning Sweep

Today kicks off the 11th-annual Freedom to Marry Week.

The New York Sun provides an update on the New York State Senate and the challenges Republicans face in retaining control.

A 25-year old transgender woman (and sex-worker) was stabbed to death by a customer in the Bronx yesterday.

Queerty writes about a gay Mormon group reaching out to the new President of the Latter Day Saints to open up a dialogue between the traditionally anti-gay Church and its gay congregants.

A Syracuse student writes a column in the university's newspaper to debunk some of the myths suggesting that bisexuality is a transitional period between being straight and gay.

The New York Times' Dealbook blog reports that Goldman Sachs will now cover gender reassignment surgery for its employees. You can see by the comments section that lots of work still has to be done to end transphobia.

While a majority of Iowa's lawmakers support a ban on same-sex marriages, it is still unclear as to whether or not the state legislature will vote on the issue.

Same-sex marriage advocates will be rallying in Annapolis, Maryland tonight to show their support for legislation legalizing gay marriage.

Israel's Attorney General announced that gay couples have the right to adopt children.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Why exit polls identifying LGB voters are important

After telling all of you about the existence of exit polling data on lesbian, gay and bisexual voters in Tuesday’s Democratic Primaries in New York and California, I had several people question why I said exit polls should always be asking the LGB question.

Folks, did you know we’re practically invisible as a community?

Yes I know we’re “everywhere” and that there are plenty of anecdotes about how many of us there are (mainly wrong), but I feel obligated to let you know about something.

Demographically speaking -- we don't exist. I never knew how much this hurts us until I began working at the Pride Agenda.

Just so you know, in our government data helps drive policy and policy drives the distribution of benefits and services. When government -- and this is true for both Washington and Albany -- has no data on a community or the issues a community faces that community gets left out of the many programs that use data-driven formulas to provide services. And these programs are funded by billions of dollars here in New York and hundreds of billions in Washington.

Ever wonder why the conservative right doesn't want government agencies asking questions about sexual orientation or gender identity and expression when assessing and evaluating the needs of the American people?

Not having data on us keeps us invisible to government and that's exactly what our opponents want. Having real data makes it more difficult for government to ignore us or to withhold access to programs and services it has in place to address the needs of Americans. The many health and social welfare programs that target specific population segments is just one example of what I'm talking about.

It’s exactly the same in politics and elections. When elected officials have no idea about the size of our community or how many of us vote (potentially for them), they tend to forget about us or relegate our concerns to the summer intern.

On the other hand, they do have a good idea about the religion, ethnicity, age, income levels and property tax assessments, and so on and so on of the people in their districts because the Census and a host of other government entities gather this data and make it public. Political parties and special interest groups then feed it into their computers and spit it out by legislative district. Having this information about the makeup of an election district, such as an Assembly or State Senate district, plays a big role in determining which issues elected officials focus on and which ones they don’t.

Since there are zero instances where government gathers data on gay people -- except for a roundabout way in the Census and that only gets at those of us who are coupled and living together -- we get left out.

That’s why exit polls asking voters to identify their sexual orientation are so important. Until government starts asking about us instead of pretending we don't exist, election day exit polls are the only tool out there that provide any real clues about how many of us there are as a percentage of the entire population (and to politicians about how many of us are a position to vote them in or out of office).

The exit poll done here in New York on Tuesday showed that seven percent of Democrats voting on Tuesday are LGB. That’s a big block of voters, one that can make the difference between a candidate winning or losing in a close election. We're also a block that politicians in New York can't ignore, which means we can have the uncanny effect of getting them to focus better when we talk to them about what's important to us.

Morning Sweep

Mitt Romney is out of the Presidential primary race and Log Cabin Republicans couldn't be happier.

In Marty Markowitz's final "State of the Borough" address, he pledged to secure funding for Brooklyn's first LGBT community center.

A coalition of gay student groups at Columbia University is hosting a national conference on being LGBT and Jewish.

Gay City News reports on Primary Election Day efforts by transgender activists and their allies to build support for passing GENDA in the state Assembly this year.

A San Diego State University study shows that same-sex couples on the average are happier than their heterosexual counterparts.

Maryland's gay marriage opponents are stepping up their efforts in trying to force the state's House of Delegates to vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Pennsylvania, which already has a state DOMA, may be headed for a showdown over a constitutional amendment banning legal recognition of gay unions.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Morning Sweep

California's top court will hear oral arguments on March 4th for a case that will decide the constitutionality of the state's current policy of denying same-sex couples the right to marry.

Bloomberg News reports that, because of their traditional place in Persian society, transgender people in Iran can receive state funding for gender reassignment surgery. Homosexuality, on the other hand, is still outlawed and gay people are routinely (and severely) persecuted.

In case you were confused about the term "super delegates," VisibleVote's Jennifer Vanasco provides an explanation (via Good As You).

Human Rights Watch is putting pressure on the Egyptian government to stop its practice of arresting and torturing HIV-positive gay men.

Good As You has some video of a transformed Castro Street in San Francisco, which is abuzz with actors and film crews shooting the Harvey Milk movie.

HRC's Joe Solmonese went on the Stephen Colbert Show last night to kick off Colbert's "Better Know A Lobbyist" series.

It's no secret that the New York Post uses anti-gay language from time to time, but lesbian blogger/mother Mombian takes issue with NYC's other tabloid, The Daily News, in its coverage of a woman (who happens to be a lesbian) being charged for the death of her son.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Gay Democratic voters in New York and California support Hillary

For the first time this primary season exit polls tracked the sexual orientation of Democrats who voted in two states – New York and California.

Here in New York, seven percent of Democrats identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. They went for Hillary Clinton in a big way. She received 59% of the vote. Obama got 36% and Edwards 3%.

In California, four percent of Democrats identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual and Clinton’s margin was even larger. She took 60% of the vote while Obama grabbed 25% and Edwards 5%.

These exit poll numbers are not too different from the results of Hunter College poll conducted last November among likely LGB voters, although Obama did pick up some ground yesterday. The Hunter poll showed Clinton getting 63% of the national LGB vote to Obama’s 22% and Edwards 7%.

We’re glad the National Election Pool (a consortium formed by NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and the AP) that conducts the exit polls decided we existed yesterday, at least here in New York and in California.

However, I have a news flash for the National Election Pool. We don’t just cling to the two coasts in these two states. We’re pretty much everywhere so it would have been good to have the same question asked in every state’s exit poll this primary season and with both Democrats and Republicans.

Morning Sweep

Super Tuesday came and went. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary in New York, while John McCain was the candidate of choice for NY Republicans. David Mixner writes about the historic nature of it all.

The Village Voice highlights a couple of Barack Obama's NYC-based mega volunteers, including one member of his 20-person LGBT Policy Committee.

Queerty Editor Andrew Belonsky interviews Lane Hudson and Matt Foreman on "The State of the Gay Movement," while a contributor for The Advocate questions Foreman's legacy as Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on gay and lesbian grandparents--same-sex couples who have raised children and now have grandchildren.

Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon will be featured in Kenneth Cole ads for the designer's upcoming "non-uniform thinking" advertising campaign.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Morning Sweep

Today is Super-Duper Mega Tuesday. But believe it or not, it's not the end of the race...

Hillary Clinton posted a message to LGBT Americans on

Barack Obama mentioned gay people in his speech at the Meadowlands last night.

Outcome Buffalo endorses Hillary in today's primary election.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that gay and lesbian voters are divided when it comes to who they support in the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

San Francisco's mayor, the very pro-gay Gavin Newsom, claims that Barack Obama did not want to have a picture taken with him during the controversy surrounding Newsom's unilateral decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2003.

Floridians opposed to the anti-gay ballot initiative banning same-sex marriages (and even domestic partnerships) will be waging an all-out war on the amendment, which will be voted on in November.

An editorial in The New York Times supports the recent ruling by a New York State Appellate Court recognizing same-sex marriages legally performed out-of-state as fully legal in New York.

Two women in Rochester will be tried for assault as a hate crime against a lesbian couple, according to a decision yesterday by an appellate court.

Forbes Magazine's special report on the "best cities for couples" includes ample information on and relevant to LGBT people.

A bill will soon be introduced in the Maryland State Legislature that would, if passed, abolish all civil marriages and replace them with domestic partnerships, which would be available to both straight and gay couples.

Good As You has created a contest seeking the "gayest sketch" from its readers in anticipation of the season premier of Logo's Big Gay Sketch Show today.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey has reversed John Ashcroft's policies of denying the Department of Justice LGBT support group the same status as other employee groups.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Morning Sweep

A New York appellate court ruled last Friday that same-sex marriages legally performed in Canada should be treated as any other legal marriage in New York. It is unclear whether or not the case will be appealed.

The Buffalo News writes about local "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" challenger Darren Manzella, who remains on active duty even though he publicly came out.

The Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester covered the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley's screening of "Anyone and Everyone," a documentary that looks at the relationship between parents and their gay children shortly after they come out.

Kerry Eleveld at The Advocate reports that a large number (22 of 59) of of John Edwards' LGBT supporters, including David Mixner, have now pledged their support to Barack Obama.

Hillary Clinton was interviewed by Logo's Jason Bellini. See the video here.

After some initial confusion early in January over a petition miscount, Floridians will be voting on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage this coming November.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Hillary or Obama? Key LGBT newspapers and bloggers across New York make their decisions

A number of New York’s leading LGBT newspapers and bloggers who have deep roots in the LGBT community have made their decisions about who they support for President. We've also uncovered the views of two who remain officially neutral, but have nevertheless shown some of their thinking about Hillary and Obama.

Here’s how it’s shaking out heading into Tuesday:

· NYC-based heavyweight newspaper Gay City News evokes John F. Kennedy in its endorsement of Barack Obama. In its print version on the page directly opposite its endorsement, Gay City News’ founding associate publisher Troy Masters cites “ideas and solutions” in writing about his support for Hillary Clinton.

· Empty Closet in Rochester hasn't endorsed, but its long-time editor Susan Jordan says the Gay City News endorsement of Obama is "troubling" and decides to post a comment on GCN's website (see comment #7). Jordan calls Tuesday's choice a “vote-for-the--lesser-of-two-evils time again.”

· NYC-based newspaper New York Blade endorses Hillary Clinton and cites experience as a factor.

· Leading national LGBT and civil rights activist David Mixner, who blogs from Sullivan County, announced his support today for Barack Obama. Mixner was once a leading LGBT supporter of John Edwards. He cites the war and the need to bring America together again for endorsing Obama.

· Libby Post, an Albany-based LGBT activist who blogs and has a syndicated column that runs in several LGBT publications, makes no endorsement but appears to favor Obama. Edwards was once her favorite.

· Blabbeando’s Andres Duque who blogs from Jackson Heights in Queens supports Obama .

Friday, February 1, 2008

Road trip to Hobart and William Smith Colleges

On Monday this week I traveled with Alan, our Executive Director, to Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) in Geneva, New York. Right next to Seneca Lake, it’s a beautiful campus and a great place to get an education.

Alan’s visit and speech Monday night was sponsored by HWS’s Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning. First-year student John Monaghan, who has contributed to this blog, was the driving force behind making it all happen.

While Alan talked a lot about LGBT issues and what it means day-to-day to not have rights and responsibilities that New York gives to everyone else, his focus was just as much about how age and experience (not having it that is) should never be seen as a barrier to making a real difference on an issue a person really cares about. Alan himself is not too many years removed from the ages of HWS students so a big part of HWS having Alan there was to have a real life example on campus of someone they can easily relate to who can talk about the nuts and bolts of what it really means to “make change happen.”

This, plus next week’s Presidential Primary and the excitement everyone was feeling about the national focus on their generation and the role they’re playing in the elections, made for a great discussion.

Before the event, HWS President Mark Gearan and his wife Mary opened up their home to a smaller group of students, faculty, alumni and parents for a dinner and informal Q&A session between students and Alan.

Our thanks go to John Monaghan, President Gearan and Katie Flowers, the associate director of HWS’s Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, for having us on campus.

Go here to read the piece the Colleges posted on Alan’s talk.

Morning Sweep

A new monument in Berlin remembers the tens of thousands of gays and lesbians who died at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.

Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE) is expanding its services to Long Island's LGBT senior citizens.

Union College in Schenectady, NY is calling for submissions to an upcoming art show that will focus on themes important to the LGBT community.

The New York Sun notes that gay Republicans have quickly jumped on the John McCain bandwagon now that Rudy Giuliani has exited the race.

LA Weekly profiles Barack Obama's big gay Golden State fundraisers.