Friday, December 28, 2007

Looking Ahead

With events in Pakistan, Iowa and New Hampshire dominating the news across New York, what’s left is primarily “year in review” detritus and we’ll spare you all of that.

We’ll see you next year.

It will be a busy one here in New York for us -- no big surprise there. The Legislature goes into session on January 9 when Governor Spitzer gives his State-of-the-State address. We also have critical elections looming in November that will determine whether we win our equality here in New York sooner rather than later.

The Pride Agenda has been busy these past few months planning and planning and -- well you know -- all that stuff that has to be done in order to be the best advocates we know how to be. Alan, our Executive Director, will be in Albany very regularly, if not weekly, as he was last year, to talk to legislators and policymakers about our issues. And LGBT New Yorkers and our friends will be going to Albany en masse on April 29 to remind elected officials in person there is much work to be done and legislation to pass.

So relax these next few days. And then get ready to work with us in what we hope will be an exciting and fruitful 2008. ;>)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Two Openly Gay Elected Officials in WNY Win Leadership Positions

This month two openly gay legislators were chosen by their peers for leadership positions in their local legislatures. Council Member-at-Large Bill Pritchard was named Vice President of the City Council in Rochester and Council Member-at-Large Greg Rabb was chosen to be Council President in Jamestown.

Pritchard, a Democrat, has served on the Rochester City Council since 2003. Rabb was elected to the Jamestown City Council for the first time in November after running several times for the seat and has told us that he was named Council President just a few weeks later by the Democratic Majority. The Pride Agenda has endorsed both in past races they’ve run.

Pritchard and Rabb join other openly LGBT elected officials in New York, such as Christine Quinn, the Speaker of the New York City Council, and Jon Copper, the Majority Leader of the Suffolk County Legislature, who have been named by their colleagues to leadership positions.

We think it says something good about our state when openly LGBT lawmakers from the western border to the eastern most tip of New York can rise to positions of leadership.

Our congratulations go out to both Bill Pritchard and Greg Rabb for their achievements.

Morning Sweep

Hillel--the largest Jewish organization at many colleges and universities around the world--has developed at 186-page guide to welcoming LGBT students into mainstream campus Jewish communities.

The first openly gay president of the National Association of Black Journalists and former New York Times reporter Thomas Morgan III passed away Monday morning.

A car dealership in Tonawanda is facing a lawsuit from three of its former employees who claim that management harassed them by creating an atmosphere of sexual hostility, including multiple gay slurs towards one employee.

Sexual orientation is proving to be the sticking point for Georgia's hate crimes law. It is still unclear as to whether or not the state's legislature will pass a hate crimes bill that includes protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Morning Sweep

Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village, a participant in our Pride in the Pulpit program, is the subject of a complaint letter that was sent to the leadership of the Reformed Church of America. Several member churches in the Midwest are upset about Middle Church’s support for marriage for same-sex couples.

Over in New Hampshire, the Concord Monitor has a front page article that is the most comprehensive piece I’ve read about Mike Huckabee and gay issues and the Huffington Post shows how Huckabee calibrates his anti-gay positions in Iowa based upon his audience.

What would Hillary do on day one on issues like DOMA if she becomes President? The Concord Monitor in another front page article says “cautious change, not dramatic upheaval.”

The Boston-based weekly Bay Windows provides us with its guide to the Presidential candidates on LGBT issues, including “The Good” and “The Bad.” (Santa, you better put on your spectacles and give this a read before firing up the sleigh tonight.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Morning Sweep

A small homeless shelter that acts as a safe haven for LGBT youth--and is run by a priest in Astoria--might be closing due to lack of funds.

The Washington Blade reports on why Bill Richardson believes that he's the most pro-LGBT candidate but the paper's editorial endorses Hillary for president.

Here are the top-10 gay stories of 2007, according to We might be a little New York-centric (who isn't, really?) but we'd add Governor Spitzer's introduction of the marriage bill into the state legislature and the Assembly passing it two months later as one of the biggest stories of 2007.

Pam Spaulding welcomes North Carolina candidate for U.S. Senate Jim Neal to the Bilerico Project, where he will now be a regular contributor.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Morning Sweep

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorializes against the same-sex marriage ban that Floridians will be voting on next November.

Uruguay is about to become the first Latin American country to allow civil unions.

Jossip interviews BlogActive creator Mike Rogers, who is known for outing closeted politicos who are publicly anti-gay.

The NGLTF has released a study that shows the disproportionate numbers of LGBT people among the homeless population in New York City.

A gay man can be elected to public office even in Fort Worth, Texas!

Andy Towle reminds us that Time Magazine's "Person of the Year," Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been terrible on LGBT rights issues.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Morning Sweep

John Edwards told a crowd in New Hampshire that getting rid of DOMA and dismantling "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are two big priorities for him.

Vermont's commission on same-sex marriage held its first hearing and heard nothing but support for marriage equality.

A new law passed by the New York City Council may have some adverse implications for gay men: the stricter lewdness law supposedly targets serial "flashers" but gay men who discreetly have sex in public have traditionally been the target of such laws, while heterosexual couples are often ignored.

Hungary has become the latest country to legally recognise same-sex relationships: it's government this week passed the Registered Partnership Act, which will go into effect in January 2009.

Immigration Equality appreciates the fact that New York Magazine names NYC's status as a "sanctuary city" as one of the reasons to love New York City in its annual "Reasons to Love New York" issue.

Mombian shares the results of a recent survey that finds that lesbians are more likely to be stressed during the holidays than their straight women counterparts...and the headline is my personal favorite of the day.

Judging by her not-so-impressive book sales, the hideously anti-gay Ann Coulter may be losing some of her popularity and influence.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Morning Sweep

Post-war "liberated" Iraq is much worse for LGBT Iraqis, who were "quietly accepted" under the previous regime.

Pam Spaulding (who is all over CNN these days) writes about "The Giuliani Files," as does EDGE magazine and Joe.My.God.

A leading gay rights group in the important early primary state New Hampshire has endorsed John Edwards.

The Ithaca-area high school student who was sent home for wearing a "Gay? Fine By Me" t-shirt received an apology from her principal and the school's dress code was clarified to avoid similar situations in the future.

Rochester's City Council has its first-ever openly gay vice president.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Elmira: on the leading edge of the LGBT rights movement in New York

Yes you read it right. Elmira is not just the home of Mark Twain and Tommy Hilfiger. It’s also where the “radical” notion of equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers is being debated and -- from how we see it -- the local LGBT community is winning.

Over the past year or so there have been a number of incidents in and around Elmira that have put our lives and our relationships up on the public stage for open debate and the responses, not surprisingly, have been both positive and negative.

Late last year, a gay man was attacked near a bridge by two men, who were later caught and charged with a hate crime. It was the first such anti-gay bias crime reported in Elmira. In response, Mayor John Tonello organized a community rally to protest hate crimes of any type and urged everyone to accept and value LGBT people.

Then there is Elmira’s Pride celebration. Now in its fourth year, Pride has been a work in progress. Our Field Director Nora Yates attended the first one in 2004 along with several hundred members and friends of the Elmira LGBT community. She told us later that there were also a large number of police present to guarantee everyone’s safety as no one was quite sure what the reaction might be to such an open demonstration of LGBT Pride in Elmira.

This year the Mayor took part in the celebration for the very first time as a continuation of the city’s show of support for LGBT people. On the flip side, the religious right also showed up. Seven protesters wearing T-shirts that said “Liberated from Sin” tried to disrupt the celebration by blocking the stage and putting on a show of praying and scripture reading.

Two months later in a nearby town, a high school student was sent home for wearing a T-shirt saying “gay? fine by me.” The school principal said the shirt violated the dress code. The school district’s attorney disagreed and reversed the decision, but not before a debate began about free speech in schools and whether people really are “fine” with us.

Then in October an insurance sales person put up a sign in the window of his office that said, “Save the kids – Say no to gay marriage in NY.” It got a lot of attention from both supporters and critics, none of whom hesitated to make their views known, including a local lay preacher who spoke out to say religion should not be used to justify bias against LGBT people.

Just about all of this was covered in the local paper, the Elmira Star-Gazette, which would not have happened just a few years ago. The Star-Gazette practically never mentioned our issues or talked about our lives. And on the very rare occasion when it did, such as it’s 2003 editorial on the Massachusetts marriage court decision, its viewpoint was archaic and out-of-step with what any other newspaper in New York was saying.

These days the paper does talk about our lives and our issues. The coverage is impartial, as it should be, and there are actually pro-gay opinion pieces being written by the paper’s columnists. Furthermore, it has also published a stream of letters from readers expressing a whole range of viewpoints in the aftermath of the above-mentioned incidents.

The Mayor deserves a great deal of praise of course for being a real leader and appealing to the better instincts of the people of Elmira. The Star-Gazette is also to be thanked for no longer pretending that we don’t exist.

The local LGBT community, though, is where the most praise must go. They’ve been the catalyst for forcing the change that’s happening. It’s not easy being out in a smaller community and the process of winning broader acceptance always results in push back, which as we’ve seen can come in the form of protests from religious zealots and, tragically, even violence.

All in all though, the public debate happening in Elmira over LGBT issues and LGBT lives is a great development. It’s a vital and necessary step to getting to that place where LGBT people can be out and accepted for who we are.

So our thanks go out to every one of you in Elmira who is working to make your community a better place. You are the leading edge of our fight for equality and justice in New York State and you make us all better.

Morning Sweep

The New York Times reports on a conference in Westchester County that provided a chance for LGBT teens and their straight, supportive peers to meet one another and attend trainings on issues like coming out at school and transgender awareness.

More and more anti-gay and anti-marriage equality groups are materializing in New Jersey now that there is a good chance that the state's legislature will take up and vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the next couple of years.

Mike Huckabee has been grabbing headlines lately with his unlikely surge to the top (or near the top) of the Republican field of presidential candidates. As the Advocate points out, a Huckabee presidency would not be good for the gays.

Jared Polis, who is running to be the first openly gay man elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, is finding that his sexual orientation is not having much bearing on the race in Colorado's 2nd Congressional District (Boulder).

Deb Price writes about "The Giuliani Files" and talks about the importance of new media in the 2008 presidential race.

New York Republicans are no longer expecting Rudy Giuliani to be the Republican presidential nominee, which seems to be causing discontent in their efforts to hold on to the majority in the New York State Senate.

A couple of straight guys and a gay guy in New Haven, CT have created an increasingly popular t-shirt promoting marriage equality, which will soon appear in some American Apparel stores.

New Hampshire's Civil Unions law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2008 is likely to be the subject of much negative and positive campaigning for presidential candidates. Republicans--who can't use their standard anti-gay messages in New England--will walk a tight rope as they try to vilify the new law.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Morning Sweep

According to a 60 Minutes segment, obeying the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy matters less to the military chain of command during times of war--when retaining quality soldiers is vitally important.

Anti-gay marriage groups in Florida claim that they have enough signatures to get a measure on the ballot that would, if passed, make Florida the 28th state to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage.

Gay reporter Doug Ireland and CBS/Logo news anchor Jason Bellini have been exchanging verbal jabs after Ireland accused the CBS/Logo news segment titled "Special Report: Year in Review" of being "show-biz fluff."

The Oneonta Daily Star reports on a concert in New York City that will benefit the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youth.

The Pope, in the spirit of the holidays, has called same-sex marriage (along with abortion and birth control) a threat to world peace.

Queerty has posted Jim Neal's new ad, which takes shots at Republicans and Democrats. Neal is the openly gay and highly qualified candidate for U.S. Senate in North Carolina who is challenging Elizabeth Dole, but has yet to secure support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (headed by NY Senator Chuck Schumer).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Presidential candidates on HIV/AIDS

The presidential primaries are quickly approaching, and if you’re like me you still haven’t settled upon one specific candidate yet. The polls are tightening and right now there is no clear leader in either Party’s races. This is a good thing: it forces candidates to be very clear on important issues—and that particularly holds true for LGBT issues.

Our community has played a role in this presidential election that is unparalleled in our political history. LGBT issues have been front-and-center for both parties—in debates, speeches, town halls, etc. We have demanded that Democrats and Republicans articulate their positions on issues that are extremely important to our safety, happiness and health. And in many cases (most often in the case of Democratic candidates) we have been able to move candidates when we’ve felt that they haven’t been where they need to be on issues like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and legal recognition of our families.

One issue in particular, however, tends to get overshadowed by the headlines caused by sexier, more controversial issues such as gay marriage, LGBT people serving openly in the military and the need for a federal hate crimes bill. That issue is HIV/AIDS.

Numerous reports have recently stated that HIV infections are on the rise for young gay men and gay men of color. This is a problem that is not going away. New treatments have made it so that HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence, but it is still a very serious and lifelong disease. The next leader of this country needs to have a comprehensive plan for dealing with AIDS—not just globally, but also here in the United States.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis has just put out a report that very closely details where exactly each candidate for president stands on all issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS—from the strategies used to educate about prevention to subsidizing medicine for those who are already infected but cannot otherwise afford treatment. The report is reader-friendly and hopefully will help if you have not yet made up your mind on which candidate to support on Feb. 5, 2008 (for all New Yorkers).

The report was the subject of a recent front-page article in Gay City News. In it, Duncan Osborne discusses how bad Republicans are on HIV/AIDS related policies. Republicans—closely following the Bush Administration line—tend to support ideology-based solutions instead of the obviously more effective strategy of using science-based solutions (like teaching abstinence-only curriculum versus safe-sex practices in sex education classes).

We might also add that Republicans tend to want to talk about HIV/AIDS as being something "over there" (i.e., Africa where transmission is predominately due to heterosexual sex) instead of here at home where they deem transmission pathways as being too hot to talk about on the "Pollyanna" trail of a Presidential campaign.

As far as New York’s two presidential candidates are concerned, Hillary scores towards the top of the chart, ranking among the best candidates on HIV/AIDS issues. And Rudy dwells near the bottom with his fellow Republicans. He didn’t respond to the questionnaire provided by for evaluation on this report and his record on HIV/AIDS policy while mayor of New York City was never much to be proud of.

Download a PDF of the report here.

Morning Sweep

Lawmakers--led by Sen. Ted Kennedy--are protesting 14-year old travel restrictions that unfairly discriminate against foreign travelers who wish to visit the U.S. and are HIV-positive.

'Tis the be a bigot.

A recent experiment showed that sexuality could be altered in fruit flies. The New York Times science blog looks at the application of this study to humans and brings up some obvious ethical questions.

This AP story exemplifies why it's so important to recruit straight allies to the struggle for LGBT equality and justice.

California's gay marriage case before the state's Supreme Court has received the most friend-of-the-court briefs in "recent memory," according to the Chief Justice.

A hate crime was committed against an openly gay elected official in Sweden. And the Church of Sweden sanctioned (with some reservations) same-sex marriage in their congregations.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Morning Sweep

Presidential candidate Ron Paul talks about gay marriage to ABC’s 20/20 and says government should get out of the marriage business altogether. Here’s the clip courtesy of Towleroad.

Did Rudy Giuliani infer “love the sinner, hate the sin” when talking about LGBT relationships on “Meet the Press” on Sunday? The Caucus from the NYT explores Giuliani’s response to Tim Russert.

Liz Benjamin breaks the news that Republican State Senator Jim Wright will be announcing his retirement soon. Wright, whose district includes Oswego and Jefferson counties and part of St. Lawrence County has never been a friend of the LGBT community. Read here about it. looks at the Pride Agenda’s “The Giuliani Files” and asks the same question we've been asking: “What does it mean when a candidate reverses positions?”

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rudy Giuliani Then and Now: Marriage, Civil Union & Domestic Partnership

Last week we wrote about Giuliani’s reversal on hate crimes and the question mark over where he is on a non-discrimination bill. Now, we want to bring you up-to-date on how he’s changed his views around marriage, civil union and domestic partnership. Though not equal, all three are legal mechanisms government employs to support families.

As you will see, there has been significant slippage in Giuliani’s positions since he decided to run for President and sometimes he has completely reversed himself.

We continue to pose the question we asked when we launched “The Giuliani Files” two weeks ago: If Rudy Giuliani becomes President which Giuliani will he be on our issues? The Giuliani we knew as Mayor? Or the Giuliani who’s running for President?


Rudy Giuliani doesn’t support marriage for same-sex couples and never has. However, on the question of whether or not there should be a constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage for same-sex couples, he has moved from being against it to a position much closer to that of the religious right.

On March 7, 2004 he said on “Meet the Press” about a Constitutional amendment, “I certainly wouldn't support it at this time” and “I don't think this is one of the critical issues.” But this year Giuliani has said he would support an amendment if additional states legalize marriage for same-sex couples. See here and here for more of the specifics on this change in position.

Civil Union

In February 2004, Giuliani said on Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor” that he was for civil unions. This year, however, his campaign told the New York Sun in a written statement that Giuliani opposes anything that is the equivalent of marriage and specifically said about New Hampshire enacting civil unions, “This goes too far and Mayor Giuliani does not support it.”

His new position on civil union was widely reported in April and ranks up there with hate crimes in terms of a major policy reversal on an important LGBT issue.

Domestic Partnership

While Giuliani’s backtracking on a marriage amendment and civil unions has been reported in the press, his shift on domestic partnerships – and it is a significant shift – has not been written about anywhere.

We should preface this by saying the domestic partnership (DP) is an umbrella term that, unlike marriage or civil unions, can mean many different things legally. It can be as little as a registry with no rights attached or as strong as California’s DP law, which is essentially civil union, and can also be many things in between.

When Giuliani was Mayor, he was firm in his belief that domestic partnerships and marriages should be treated the same by government in terms of the rights and obligations government provides them. He went out of his way in a 1997 letter to the Pride Agenda to put the two on the same level when he said he would work to have New York City pass a DP law. He also said anything less than equality between domestic partners and married persons would be discriminatory. In 2001, he again speaks about domestic partners and married persons in equivalent terms when he co-signed a letter to President Bush asking for the 9/11 federal victims compensation fund to treat survivors in domestic partner relationships the same as survivors who were married.

Today, there is strong evidence that his view of domestic partnership has shrunk to it being nothing more than a simple registry that gives two people a document that states they’re partners who live together in a committed relationship. No rights or responsibilities provided by government – only a piece of paper to shop around in the event some entity might honor it, such as an employer who provides DP health coverage and requires documentation to validate the relationship.

Why do we say this?

This summer, the Boston Globe pressed Giuliani on what rights should accompany domestic partnership for same-sex couples. The campaign refused to answer the question. Then on October 16 on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, Giuliani answered the question himself by saying benefits for same-sex couples “should be contractual.”

A favorite talking point by the religious right when arguing against marriage for same-sex couples is that we can already get the rights of marriage contractually by going to an attorney. In fact any two people in America can go to an attorney and get a very limited number of rights by filling out the necessary legal paperwork. In New York State of the almost 2,500 rights and responsibilities that come with a marriage license (1,138 federal-based, 1,324 state-based and in the case of NYC another 20 or so), two people can get just about five of those rights contractually and you don’t need to be domestic partners to get them. And even in these five areas, which include power of attorney and health care proxy, blood relatives can challenge these agreements and if they push hard enough can often have them broken in a court of law.

Here's the transcript from Hannity & Colmes and below is the clip:

We believe Rudy Giuliani knew what he was doing when he said on Fox News that rights “should be contractual.” Sadly, this would also mean his view of domestic partnership is now a simple registry with no rights attached, which is very different from his position in 1997 when he equated DP to marriage in terms of how government should treat the two.

Morning Sweep

A New York Times editorial calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to task for failing to pass the Matthew Shepard (hate crimes) Act.

Rudy Giuliani spoke about his position on gay issues yesterday on Meet the Press saying, "The way that somebody leads their life is not sinful. It is the acts that people perform that are sinful, not the orientation." Good As You has video.

Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee was standing by a statement he made 15 years ago saying that people with HIV/AIDS need to be quarantined.

Longtime LGBT activist Bob Kohler, who died last Wednesday, was celebrated in the West Village last night.

Last week we posted a story about Columbia University's evolving policies towards transgender students. The thorough and well-written story appeared in the student-run Columbia Spectator. Contrast its quality with the New York Post's Page Six write-up on the story, using expressions like "girls will be boys at Barnard College." Shameful, but not surprising.

The Dutch government is adding LGBT equality to their foreign policy, which will put needed pressure on some of the countries (mainly in Africa and Asia) that typically benefit from Dutch aid.

Queerty interviews gay travel writer Michael Luongo, who has just released a collection of essays titled "Gay Travels in the Muslim World."

Friday, December 7, 2007

Morning Sweep

The federal hate crimes bill has been dropped from the Department of Defense Authorization Act in the Senate, effectively killing the legislation for now.

Columbia University's newspaper writes about the problems that transgender students sometimes deal with on campus.

The Washington Blade finds that the economy is the most important issue to gay, lesbian and bisexual voters. Equal rights comes in a close second.

Gay City News takes a look at a poll that analyzes the liberal-leaning political inclinations of LGBT voters.

HIV/AIDS groups are setting the record straight on Rudy Giuliani's history dealing with HIV/AIDS issues.

Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle appeared on CBS News on Logo this week to speak about Rudy Giuliani's back-and-forth positions on important LGBT issues. (at -3:13 in the video).

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Morning Sweep

The Boy Scouts in Philadelphia have lost the lease on a building that they've inhabited since 1928 because of their anti-gay policies.

An Elmira-based lay preacher writes in the Elmira Star-Gazette that Christians should not be using the bible to justify their bias against gays and lesbians.

A philosophy professor at SUNY Fredonia also thinks that arguments against same-sex marriage are ridiculous.

The 21-year old gay Iranian man whose death sentence was stayed a few weeks ago by the Iranian Chief Justice was executed this morning without any warning.

The Advocate reports that Log Cabin Republicans aren't endorsing any candidates in the Republican presidential primaries.

A GQ interview provides more reasons why a Mike Huckabee presidency would be scary for LGBT people...or anyone who values separation between church and state.

Mombian provides a list of LGBT-inclusive gifts for children.

In a message to Julia Roberts (who was receiving an award from American Cinematique), George Clooney and Brad Pitt parody a certain Idaho senator.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Morning Sweep

Mombian wishes us all a Happy Hanukkah.

CBS News reports on the ever-increasing support for allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military.

One of America's oldest Episcopal congregations is divided over the Episcopal diocese's recognition of same-sex marriage.

Immigration Equality's blog reports that Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau will create a unit that specifically looks out for immigrants' rights--whether they are legal or not.

Towleroad has lots about Harvey Milk, including an open casting call for 18-30-year old men who may be interested in being in the upcoming Milk biopic and this nice little feature about the man who currently runs a home furnishings store in the same place that Milk and his partner once owned a camera shop.

Mayor Bloomberg on Randi Weingarten at last night's celebration of the UFT President's 50th birthday: "Like Christina Aguilera, she’s a superstar performer, like Robert Moses, she’s literally changed the lives of 8 million New Yorkers, and, like Brad Pitt she really loves beautiful women."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rudy Giuliani Then and Now: Hate Crimes and Non-Discrimination

Hate Crimes

Rudy Giuliani’s reversal on the need for a federal hate crimes law is one of our biggest disappointments in where he now stands on LGBT issues as a candidate for President. In case you missed it, here’s one of his campaign operatives telling the Christian Broadcasting Network that Giuliani no longer supports passage of a federal law.

A former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a former Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Justice Department responsible for supervising all the U.S. attorney offices’ law enforcement agencies, and a Mayor who made fighting crime a centerpiece of his time in office, Giuliani’s new position on hate crimes seems antithetical to everything he stood for in the past.

We posted his 2000 press release where he announced his own hate crimes initiative, which came just a few months before New York State finally passed a statewide law. In the press conference he held (that we attended to show our support), Giuliani announced the formation of a Hate Crimes Task Force for NYC and put over $5.0 million in taxpayer dollars behind it so that the NYPD and the City’s District Attorneys would have the funding they needed to investigate and prosecute possible crimes motivated by bias. He also said, as you can read in his release, “I call upon the State Legislature and Congress to enact hate crimes legislation that recognizes the severity of hate crimes and imposes the appropriate penalties.”

Given that hate crimes legislation passed the House of Representatives this year by a vote of 237-180, the Senate by a vote of 60-39 and the White House has said it will veto the measure, this is no academic issue. It’s before our federal government right now.

Hate crimes against LGBT people continue to spike up across America and we need Republican voices speaking up on why a federal law is important, but Rudy Giuliani’s voice is no longer there because he changed his position during the heat of the campaign primary season.

What does this say about Rudy Giuliani? We’ll leave that to you to decide, but I think you can figure out what we think about it.


While NYC already had a law banning discrimination based upon sexual orientation when Giuliani was Mayor, we did not have protections in NYC for transgender people or a statewide law addressing either sexual orientation or gender identity and expression discrimination.

As Mayor, Giuliani frequently spoke about his support for the then-pending statewide Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA). I myself heard him state his support for SONDA each time I attended his annual Pride event in June at Gracie Mansion. And you can hear a reporter and one his openly gay political appointees, Chris Lynn, talk about Giuliani’s support for SONDA and hate crimes legislation in this video clip we posted last week on YouTube.

While support for non-discrimination legislation was a major part of his schpiel on gay issues whenever he spoke to our community, support for transgender non-discrimination protections was not. He and NYC Council Speaker Vallone blocked pending legislation amending the City’s human rights law to provide protections based upon gender identity and expression. It took Bloomberg becoming Mayor for trans discrimination to be outlawed.

So where is Rudy Giuliani on pending federal non-discrimination legislation for LGBT Americans, known as ENDA, another issue that is before Congress right now?

He’s silent. Despite the many times he spoke passionately as Mayor about there being no room in NYC for discrimination and the need for a statewide non-discrimination law, he’s nowhere to be found on federal non-discrimination legislation protecting LGBT Americans.

Perhaps he'll still articulate his views on this critically important civil rights issue. We hope so. We’ll be sure and let you know if he does.

For more on Rudy Giuliani, go to “The Giuliani Files” on the Pride Agenda website.

Morning Sweep

The New York Times new blog (run by the editorial board) called "The Board" discusses remarks given by retiring career diplomat and former Ambassador to Romania Michael Guest. Guest, who is openly gay, uses his last official moment in front of the foreign service corps to very tastefully lambaste the U.S. State Department for not recognizing same-sex couples as family.

As part of its efforts to bring in even more tourists, New York City is launching a marketing campaign directed towards LGBT travellers and their expendable incomes.

The Louisville (KY) Courier Journal reports on the exploding numbers of same-sex couples reported over the last decade in the fly-over states (anything NOT on a coast...) saying, "Now either there's been a wildly successful gay recruitment campaign, or lots more lesbian and gay couples are "coming out" on government surveys." Our money's on the latter.

A story in the Baltimore Sun today reveals that black "men who have sex with men" are twice as likely to contract HIV than white gay men.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Morning Sweep

Argentina is becoming a mecca for gay tourists, according to the New York Times.

The Times also reports that Newark, although only minutes from New York City, is not safe place for LGBT people.

The Middletown Times Herald-Record has a Q&A with Ellenville, NY native Susan Stanton--formerly Steven Stanton, the city manager of Largo, FL who made national headlines when she came out as transgender and was subsequently fired from her job.

Pam Spaulding attended the International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference in Las Vegas last weekend and interviewed openly lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin.

Andrew Sullivan discusses repealing the highly discriminatory travel restrictions that the United States places on non-citizens with HIV/AIDS.