Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Morning Sweep

This is the last sweep that we'll post until Monday, December 1. The Pride Agenda wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

The Syracuse Post-Standard editorializes on the recent bias-fueled murder of a trans woman and suggests that Syracuse could use a "heavy dose of communication and education about transgender people and issues...A community's ignorance can easily morph into prejudice and violence."

A circuit court judge in Miami ruled yesterday that Florida's decades-old law banning same-sex couples from adopting is unconstitutional.

The reviews are in for Milk--and they're glowing: the Times' A. O. Scott said it was "the best live-action mainstream American movie I have seen all year."

A state commission in California will be looking into whether or not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints overstepped the legal limits of campaign funding in their support for Prop 8.

The New Republic analyzes the likelihood of a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by the Obama Administration, noting that it's a much different situation that what Pres. Clinton faced in 1993.

Swedish tennis hero Bjorn Borg recently added a gay-friendly dating service to his website and is marketing it using a fabulous video of two priests getting married.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Morning Sweep

The New York Times editorial board writes on why California’s Supreme Court should rule Prop. 8 as unconstitutional.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board feels the opposite: that overturning Prop. 8 would overturn the will of the voters.

The only CA Supreme Court justice who voted against hearing the Prop. 8 case has a history of being supportive of LGBT rights, so legal experts are wondering what her motivation was.

The latest Prop. 8 opinion poll shows that since the election, 8% of CA voters have changed their mind and wish they hadn’t voted in favor of banning same-sex marriage.

A Florida judge will rule today in the case of a gay foster parent seeking to adopt the children he’s been caring for, despite the state’s gay adoption ban.

Legislators in Australia are expected to pass laws to give gay couples all the same rights as straight couples – just not same-sex marriage.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Morning Sweep

In accordance with Gov. Paterson’s instructions, The NY State Insurance Superintendent has issued a letter to insurance companies telling them that they must respect legal out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples.

Carmen’s Place, a Queens shelter for homeless LGBT youth, may be forced to close due to a lack of funds.

Obama may delay taking action on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” until as late as 2010, so he can first focus on “foundation building and reaching consensus.”

Nothing like a little not-so-friendly sibling rivalry to get the week going: Candace Gingrich, LGBT rights activist and sister of Newt Gingrich, wrote a scathing note to her “big bro” on Huffington Post in response to his recent anti-gay comments.

Protestors in Arkansas rallied at the state capitol against the ban on unmarried couples adopting and becoming foster parents. A two-thirds vote by the Legislature could overrule the discriminatory ballot measure.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Morning Sweep

A local news station in Syracuse covered yesterday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) events.

Transgender activist Donna Rose reflects on TDOR.

SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) faces sizable budget cuts under the Bloomberg administration’s current plans.

Gay City News summarizes all the New York Prop. 8 protest action and gets reaction from local LGBT leaders, including the Pride Agenda’s Alan Van Capelle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Morning Sweep

California’s Supreme Court has voted to review Prop. 8’s constitutionality, but opted not to allow same-sex marriages to continue until they hear the case in March.

The L.A. Times editorializes on the complexities of the Prop. 8 case.

The first in a series of gay rights bills being proposed in Utah – a bill to amend state law so that all financial dependents (including same-sex couples) could sue if a breadwinner suffers a wrongful death – is already meeting opposition.

The former police officer accused of beating Duanna Johnson, the Memphis trans woman who was recently murdered, has been indicted for exercising unreasonable force, using a dangerous weapon, and causing bodily injury.

The online dating site eHarmony has settled a lawsuit brought against the company for its refusal to offer matching services for gays. The site will launch a same-sex matching branch called Compatible Partners by March 2009.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Transgender Day of Remembrance Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Nov. 20, is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a national day established in 1998 to memorialize transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who have been killed because of who they are. The Day of Remembrance is also a day to raise public awareness and increase education about anti-transgender violence, and it’s a chance to renew our commitment to ending the prejudice and discrimination that leads to these crimes.

As a tragic reminder of why the Transgender Day of Remembrance is so important, one person being memorialized this year is Latiesha Green, a 20-year-old from Syracuse who was murdered just last weekend.

Another person being memorialized this year is Lawrence King, the 15-year-old California student who was murdered at school by a fellow student who was disturbed by King's gender identity/sexual orientation. King's story reminds us of the urgent need for the Dignity for All Students Act in New York to protect students from bias-based bullying.

Also, let's remember is Sanesha (Talib) Stewart, 25, who was stabbed to death at her home in the Bronx. Her neighbors' stories of her sweetness and self-acceptance urge us to fight on for the New York Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).

There are Transgender Day of Remembrance memorials and educational events all over New York. Click here to find out more about events near you.

Sign up here to join the campaign for GENDA and here for Dignity for All Students, so that you can help bring us closer to the day that legal protections and social acceptance will overcome this hate.

Morning Sweep

The tragic victim of a brazen murder in Syracuse last weekend was transitioning, according to family and friends. Her murderer could likely be charged with a hate crime.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told the ladies of “The View” that gay rights aren’t civil rights because LGBT people haven’t had violence committed against them. Oh really? Please see above, Mr. Huckabee.

A task force met in Islip yesterday to discuss ways to combat hate crimes.

The lead sponsor of a federal bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” says it could be passed within the first year of Obama’s presidency.

Queerty identifies several openly gay members of Obama’s transition team.

The group that won marriage equality in Massachusetts and Connecticut has announced its plan to win same-sex marriage in Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire by 2012.

The controversial plans for an LGBT high school in Chicago have been put on hold for at least a year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Morning Sweep

President-elect Obama’s transition website now lists his civil rights agenda for the LGBT community, including expanding hate crimes statutes, fighting workplace discrimination, supporting civil unions and federal rights for same-sex couples, opposing a federal DOMA, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and expanding adoption rights.

More than 100 retired U.S. military officers have signed a statement calling for the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

California’s attorney general has asked the state Supreme Court to review Prop. 8’s constitutionality.

The murder of Duanna Johnson, a Memphis transgender woman who had previously been the victim of police brutality, has revived scrutiny of her case.

The outgoing governor of Puerto Rico has prohibited government agencies from discriminating against same-sex couples, but the governor-elect might reverse the measure.

Monday, November 17, 2008

El Diario editorializes in favor of marriage equality

For those of you who can read Spanish, I strongly recommend reading this moving editorial from the highly-read El Diario La Prensa, New York's most widely circulated Spanish-language newspaper. It eloquently argues the need to support marriage equality and likens discrimination against LGBT people to discrimination based on skin color and nationality.

Igualdad de derechos para todos

Los latinos han luchado muy duro y por mucho tiempo por la igualdad de derechos. Por eso debemos unirnos y apoyar a un sector de nuestra comunidad que aún sigue siendo más discriminada que cualquier otra: los gays y las lesbianas.

Este fin de semana en todo el país hubo protestas contra las medidas que prohíben los matrimonios entre parejas del mismo sexo. La medida es golpe duro para esta comunidad en California, donde miles de parejas se han casado desde que la Corte Suprema de Justicia legalizó el matrimonio entre homosexuales la primavera pasada.

Tras esa decisión, el gobernador David Paterson anunció que los organismos del estado de Nueva York reconocen los matrimonios del mismo sexo realizados en otras jurisdicciones.
Sin embargo, aquí también hay fuertes voces contra el matrimonio gay, entre ellos está el senador estatal y pastor Rubén Díaz.

El reverendo Díaz y otros quieren quedar bien con todos: supuestamente están en contra de negarle derechos a los gays y las lesbianas, pero creen que el matrimonio debe ser entre un hombre y una mujer. Sin embargo, es esta misma posición discriminatoria la que sirve para excluir a las parejas gays y negarles sus derechos, sus beneficios y el trato que a los heterosexuales se les da por entendido.

Este uso de las creencias religiosas para bloquear los derechos civiles básicos socava la cláusula de separación de la Iglesia y el Estado en esta nación, fundamento de en el que se basaron algunos de los primeros colonizadores de América – Ellos huyeron de la persecución religiosa en otros lugares y salieron a buscar de la tolerancia y la libertad en el "Nuevo mundo".

Los latinos - así como otros grupos - deberían tener una conversación honesta acerca de la homofobia que hay dentro de nuestras comunidades. La discriminación sobre la base del color de la piel, el estado de inmigración o la sexualidad no es aceptable.

Al mismo tiempo, una agenda de los derechos de los homosexuales debe ser representativa del LGBT (Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales, Transexuales) y de los latinos y de las profundas injusticias que tienen que enfrentar. Es necesario cerrar las diferencias entre las luchas por los derechos de LGBT y las luchas por la justicia económica y social.

Morning Sweep

A tragic murder in Syracuse on Friday appears to have been motivated by sexual orientation and gender expression.

Marriage equality advocates rallied across New York on Saturday.

The L.A. Times editorializes that its unethical for the Catholic church to ban gay priests from serving.

Blackmail is commonly used against gay men in India, where homosexuality is a crime.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Morning Sweep

Newsday writes on Long Island same-sex couples who married in CA and now face uncertainty over the status of their unions.

A New York Times blogger provides personal anecdotes of the grief over Prop. 8 passing.

There is still confusion over when same-sex marriage in CA officially became invalid, as some couples were able to obtain marriage licenses after Nov. 4.

If legal challenges to Prop. 8 fail, reinstating same-sex marriage will most likely be on the ballot in 2010.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Morning Sweep

Gay City News covers last night’s protest against Prop. 8 in NYC and the backlash against the California marriage ban occurring across the U.S.

Much of the organizing against Prop. 8 nationwide is occurring online.

Same-sex marriages began in Conn. yesterday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Morning Sweep

Connecticut will start issuing same-sex marriage licenses today.

Same-sex marriage could come soon in New Jersey.

An op-ed in the New York Times laments the new Arkansas ban against unmarried couples adopting or becoming foster parents.

More than a third of California’s legislators have signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief in support one of the three lawsuits seeking to overturn Prop. 8.

Criticism over the way the “No on Prop. 8” campaign was run is now abundant.

The L.A. Times suggests the critics learn from the Prop. 8 mistakes and get ready to continue the battle.

Apparently, people who voted for Prop. 8 are annoyed by all the protests. Kind of like the protesters are annoyed by their hateful votes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rochester Volunteer Spotlight

A message from Todd Plank, our Western New York Field Organizer:

Bess Watts and Ann Tischer, volunteers who have been involved with the Pride Agenda for years, received the Community Leadership Award at the Equality Leadership Conference in Rochester on October 30. The Conference was attended by hundreds of business and workplace leaders from Western New York.

Bess Watts and Anne Tischer have been involved as Marriage Ambassadors with the Pride Agenda, and their energy and enthusiasm have inspired those around them.Watts, for example, is an active member in the County & State Employees Association (CSEA), one of the largest unions in New York State, and has founded a Pride @ Work Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter that is active in the Pride in Our Union program. Both are indefatigable activists who have elevated public consciousness of the injustices faced by people of color, the impoverished, and local laborers without fair representation, as well as LGBT people.

Morning Sweep

The Obama transition team has made it specifically clear that it will not allow bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity in its hiring.

A ruling on the legality of Prop. 8 could come as soon as this week from the California Supreme Court.

Arizona same-sex marriage supporters are rallying against their state’s marriage ban, too.

Gay rights leaders in Utah are planning on testing the Mormon church’s claims that it is not antigay. Gay and lesbian members of the State Legislature will sponsor a five-part legislative agenda including protections for same-sex couples in health care and hospitalization decisions, housing, and employment.

USA Today argues that same-sex marriage supporters shouldn’t push the envelope too far – they should aim for civil unions, instead.

TIME also looks at what’s next for gay rights activists.

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on same-sex marriage has been making news online – his emotional plea is particularly moving.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Morning Sweep

The Albany Times-Union reports that Canada is experiencing a same-sex marriage “mini-boom” from gay and lesbian New Yorkers who are choosing to wed there.

Nearly 300 gay rights activists protested Prop. 8 in California yesterday.

A protest against Prop. 8 is planned for this Wed., Nov. 12 in New York. Towleroad has details here.

The Washington Post editorial board expresses disappointment against all of the same-sex marriage bans that passed.

Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hopes the state’s Supreme Court will overturn Prop. 8, and urges gay rights activists to “never give up.”

Antipathy toward Obama in Arkansas may have helped the same-sex adoption ban pass there.

The small city of Silverton, Oregon has elected the country’s first transgender mayor.

Anti-gay religious groups, enthusiastic about their win in California, are now preparing to fight against same-sex marriage in states like New York.

Pride Agenda Board Co-Chair Frank Selvaggi writes on David Mixner’s blog on the need for the LGBT community to recommit to the fight against inequality now that Prop. 8 has passed.

A Bilerico Project guest blog explains why Prop. 8 is devastating to straight allies as well as the gay community.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Morning Sweep

Gay City News and the AP write on the Democrats’ new control of the NYS Senate.

Opponents of Prop. 8 have finally, unfortunately, conceded defeat.

A CNN legal analyst predicts that the legal challenges to Prop. 8 will go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Catholic Church and Church of Latter Day Saints have both released statements saying their support of Prop. 8 doesn’t have anything to do with bigotry or discrimination – rather, they are “preserving God’s plan” and protecting the “sacred and divine institution of marriage,” respectively.

Kerry Eleveld at The Advocate writes eloquently on the change the LGBT community can hope for in the future despite the setbacks we now face.

A L.A. Times editorial also sheds a hopeful light on the disappointing passage of Prop. 8.

The passage of Prop. 8 is already negatively affecting businesses that had benefited from the same-sex wedding boom in CA.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Morning Sweep

The Albany Project has a roundup of stories about New York’s new Democrat Senate Majority.

The New York Times summarizes the effects of the three new same-sex marriage bans in CA, AZ and FL. Thirty out of 50 states now have same-sex marriage bans, and while same-sex couples in CA will still be able to get civil unions, AZ and FL have no such option.

The Times editorial board writes on their disappointment over the passage of the four ballot measures that write discrimination against same-sex couples into state constitutions.

Several openly gay politicians won significant state and national seats in this election, including Jared Polis for U.S. Rep in Colorado and Kate Brown for Oregon Secretary of State.

CNN’s exit polls found that 27% of gay voters chose McCain. Towleroad is surprised.

Prop. 8’s passage has resulted in protests and legal action.

There is still much uncertainty as to whether same-sex marriages performed in California before Nov. 4 will be recognized as legal now that Prop. 8 has passed.

The “No on 8” campaign is holding on to hope – they say that until provisional ballots are counted, it’s too early to say if Prop. 8 has passed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Morning Sweep – Election Recap (PM Edition)

Pardon our lateness in posting the sweep – we’ve been recovering from being out in the field yesterday and seeing the results pour in. We’ll have much more on election results for you tomorrow!

The New York State Senate has flipped from a Republican Majority to a pro-LGBT Democrat Majority. Democrat Brian Foley defeated Republican incumbent Caesar Trunzo in Long Island and Democrat Joseph Addabbo defeated Republican incumbent Serphin Maltese in Queens, gaining two seats. There are now 32 Democrats out of 62 total Senate seats.

Barack Obama, President-elect, is already at work preparing his transition team.

Democrats also gained at least five seats in the U.S. Senate.

Four major LGBT bills will face the new U.S. Congress.

Connecticut voters rejected a ballot proposition to hold a Constitutional convention which would have opened the door to the possibility of a same-sex marriage ban there.

And now for the bad news: California’s Prop. 8 to ban same-sex marriage looks to have passed, according to the AP. Same-sex marriage bans in Arizona and Florida also passed. And Arkansas voters approved a ban to keep unmarried couples from becoming foster parents or adopting.

Gay rights activists react to the passing of Prop. 8.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Morning Sweep

The New York Times outlines the benefits that same-sex couples who are married or have civil unions typically have, versus those they still need to be concerned about.

The Daily News writes on the most hotly contested NYS Senate races.

The Daily News also summarizes the news surrounding Prop. 8.

Although Obama and McCain have both said they are against same-sex marriage on a federal level, McCain has endorsed Prop. 8 while Obama has spoken against it.

This past weekend, the L.A. Times made a final, compelling argument against Prop. 8.

Prop. 8 opponents made the final push against the same-sex marriage ban personal this weekend by going door-to-door and sharing personal stories.

The ballot measure calling for a Constitutional convention in Connecticut has same-sex marriage supporters there worried. The Conn. Attorney General urges a “no” vote.

Despite all the campaigning done for Florida’s Prop. 2 to ban same-sex marriage, polls still show it's short of the 60% approval required for it to pass.

Freshman U.S. Congressmen have made good on their pledges to support gay rights, according to HRC’s newest Congressional Scorecard.

U.S. World & News Report writes that gay adoptions may be the next big LGBT rights issue.