Thursday, January 31, 2008

Morning Sweep

Gay City News endorses Barack Obama for next week's Presidential primary election, noting that both he and Hillary Clinton "truly offer hope to LGBT Americans that help is on the way."

A board of trustees for schools in Woodstock, NY has approved the formation of a gay-straight alliance for local middle and high school students.

Queerty's Andrew Belonsky conducts a fascinating interview with the president of the State Department's gay employees group, Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies, which works to secure equal benefits for gay and lesbian State Department employees and their families.

Seventy-five percent of Spaniards support gay marriage after two years of it being legal in their country.

Kevin Jennings, Executive Director of GLSEN, has announced that he is leaving the organization that he founded an has lead since 1994.

The Saint Paul Pioneer Press features a moving opinion piece written by the mother of a lesbian who proudly advocates for equal rights for all gays and lesbians.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Morning Sweep

John McCain seems to have used gay-baiting robo-calls in Florida to discredit his Mitt Romney.

Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards are announcing today that they will be exiting the Presidential race.

New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson unveiled his plan yesterday for pressuring more NYC-based corporations to adopt explicit nondiscrimination policies that protect LGBT employees.

Florida's looming battle over a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage played a role in yesterday's primary election, as supporters (boo!) and opponents (yay!) of the ballot measure tried to recruit supporters outside of polling places.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" turned 15 this week.

Like the Pride Agenda's Pride in the Pulpit program, Connecticut's marriage equality advocacy group, Love Makes A Family, looks to be organizing members of the faith community to help them pass a marriage equality bill in the state legislature.

The Baltimore Sun writes an editorial in support of passing a civil unions law in Maryland to legally recognize same-sex couples.

Jim Neal, the openly gay candidate for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, will be speaking at a DL21C event today in Chelsea.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Morning Sweep

Barack Obama again mentioned gay people to a (predominantly) non-gay audience yesterday, as he accepted Ted Kennedy's endorsement at American University.

In anticipation of Super Tuesday, Bay Windows provides an LGBT-focused overview of all the presidential candidates.

Andrew Sullivan notes that one of Bush's guests at last night's State of the Union address is an HIV-positive woman from Africa and technically it's illegal for her to enter the country, according to existing laws.

Arizona's largest daily newspaper, The Arizona Republic, has selected an openly gay man as its top editor, making Randy Lovely the only openly gay editor-in-chief of a major daily.

San Francisco's Castro Street is getting an impressive retro-makeover for the upcoming film about Harvey Milk.

Super Bowl advertisers are going to be more conscious of the content of their ads this year after outcries from various advocacy groups over some of last year's commercials, including the Snickers "Gay Kiss" spot.

A transgender woman in Minnesota is seeking Republican endorsement in her race for a seat in the state legislature.

CEOs and other C-suite executives are becoming more comfortable with being open about their sexuality in the workplace.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Morning Sweep

The New York Times writes about the potential impact of gay voters in the upcoming Feb. 5 "Super Tuesday" presidential primary and states that LGBT voters make up anywhere from 5-13% of the electorate in New York.

The New York Blade announced that it is endorsing Hillary Clinton in the Feb. 5 primary in New York State. It also features opinions opinions from Christine Quinn and Tom Duane, GLSEN's Kevin Jennings and a former HRC board member on why Hillary, John Edwards and Barack Obama (respectively) would make the best President for LGBT people.

The New York Blade also reports on how Gov. Spitzer's recently released budget affects LGBT New Yorkers.

Gay City News notes that, while the hometown Senator may be the favorite among gay groups, other candidates can also claim significant numbers of LGBT supporters in New York State.

Two NYC-based academics challenge the leading Democratic presidential contenders on their support for the Solomon Amendment, which forces universities that receive federal funds to accept gay-excluding military recruiters.

CBS Sunday Morning featured a fantastic segment on San Francisco-based author Armistead Maupin yesterday, where he discussed how his "Tales Of The City" characters, like him, are now dealing with issues of aging.

Good As You responds to Focus On the Family's response to an article discussing how many New Yorkers hope to elect a pro-LGBT legislature in 2008.

A reader wrote to the Seattle Times asking about how she could responsibly educate her young daughter about why some kids in her school have two mommies or two daddies.

GLAAD is rightly going after the perpetually flagrant New York Post for last week's "Evil Lesbian Mom" headline.

Some anti-gay rhetoric has seeped into the race Colorado U.S. House race between openly gay Jared Polis and fellow Democrat (and pro-gay state legislator) Joan Fitz-Gerald.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Morning Sweep

Dennis Kucinich, one of the only Presidential candidates who publicly supports full marriage equality, has announced his withdrawal from the 2008 Presidential contest.

The New York City Council will be debating a resolution today that calls for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Queerty runs its "Part 2" of Editor Andrew Belonsky's interview with openly gay U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal.

The AP reports that many LGBT activists are frustrated with the leading Democratic presidential candidates' pattern of actively seeking gay dollars, but rarely discussing gay issues on the campaign trail.

Hudson Valley's LGBT Center is hosting a forum on Saturday about how LGBT people can take full advantage of state benefits.

A new feature-length documentary has been produced to counter the selective use of the bible to perpetuate anti-gay sentiments.

Some hateful Iowans are trying to impeach the judge who ruled that the state's DOMA is unconstitutional.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Organizing for marriage equality on Long Island

Last night more than 200 Long Islanders crowded into Central Synagogue in Rockville Centre to hear about where the marriage equality bill stood in the state legislature and how they could get involved in making marriage for same-sex couples a reality in New York.

The event, organized by the Pride Agenda, HRC, NYCLU and Marriage Equality New York was also co-sponsored by about two dozen local Long Island LGBT groups and supportive religious congregations.

LGBT people and straight allies began filing in at 7:00 PM and listened to a four-speaker panel (one from each of the sponsoring organizations) discuss the marriage equality movement and how we’ve gotten to where we are today--nationally and in New York State. They learned about actions they could take on the spot to help move the needle on Long Island, and ways that they could get involved in this crucial election year.

Panelists emphasized that the New York State Senate was the only remaining roadblock to marriage equality in New York. The crowd was eager to know where their State Senators were on marriage equality and Pride Agenda Program Director Desma Holcomb, using the Pride Agenda Legislative Scorecard, pointed out that many Long Island Senators have yet to publicly declare where they are on the issue. Holcomb said the next step is for Long Islanders to move these "undecided" Senators to support marriage equality and, if unsuccessful, then seriously think about replacing those who are opposed.

Panelists also stated that the 2008 electoral strategy for LGBT New Yorkers is to elect a pro-LGBT majority -- consisting of both Democrat and Republican Senators-- that is willing to take up marriage equality and other bills important to the LGBT community. Because the current Senate Republican leadership continues to say very publicly that it has no intention of letting the bill come up for a vote, this means making a significant change in the State Senate to move the bill, something almost every political pundit agrees can happen this November.

After the discussion, attendees signed letters and made phone calls to their State Senators stating their support for marriage equality. And each person provided the names and contact information of at least five more supportive Long Islanders who can actively participate in organizing support for marriage equality.

Morning Sweep

More than 200 people attended a Pride Agenda-sponsored forum in Rockville Centre last night to find out how they can get involved with efforts already underway for building support for marriage equality on Long Island.

Queerty talks to Jim Neal, the openly gay candidate challenging Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina for her U.S. Senate seat. You can see/hear Jim here in New York City next Wednesday at Retreat Lounge in Chelsea, where he will talk about his historic candidacy and how he actually has a chance at ousting Liddy Dole.

Former Pride Agenda Executive Director and current NGLTF ED Matt Foreman has announced that he's leaving the Task Force to take the helm of the Gay and Lesbian Program at the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund in San Francisco, CA.

A New Haven Eposcopal church has decided that, because it is not allowed to perform same-sex marriages, it will perform no marriages at all.

Frequent NYT guest blogger Ian Ayres, a member of the aforementioned New Haven church, has an interesting idea about how to make "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a policy of equality.

A United Church of Christ congregation in Newark Valley, NY (between Binghamton and Ithaca) has voted to be "Open and Affirming to gays, lesbians and bisexuals."

Puerto Ricans will vote on whether or not to strengthen the island's ban on same-sex marriage by amending the constitution.

Good As You announced that Washington State now has the gayest legislature in the land, bumping California out of the #1 spot. Pam Spaulding later announced that New Hampshire, in fact, was even gayer...making Washington #2 and California, Vermont and Connecticut tied for the #3 spot.

And Al Gore announced his support for marriage equality on a minute-long Current TV video posting.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Morning Sweep

New research shows that same-sex couples are just as committed to their relationships as their heterosexual counterparts and that lesbians in particular were "especially effective at resolving conflict" when it arose.

David Mixner takes up the topic of gay vs. straight relationship experiences as he posts sections of John Cloud's article in Time Magazine titled "Are Gay Relationships Different?"

Heath Ledger, the actor who powerfully brought to life the character of Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, was found dead in his SoHo apartment yesterday.

Another anti-gay rights Republican presidential candidate bites the dust. And Mike Huckabee equates same-sex marriage with bestiality and pedophilia.

Nominations for the Academy Awards were announced yesterday, and among them is a documentary about a lesbian police officer's struggle with lung cancer while trying to get the police department to extend spousal benefits to her longtime partner.

This week is GLSEN's national "No Name Calling Week" which seeks to educated students about the harms of bullying and harassment and provide educators with the tools to prevent it.

The Los Angeles LGBT Community Center has developed an innovative HIV/AIDS public education campaign involving 12 "webisodes" about the lifestyle of a group of men in West Hollywood.

Anti-marriage equality speakers at the University of Vermont did not receive a warm reception from audience members.

In a decision that could affect adoption laws for many European countries, the European Court of Human Rights ruled last week that France cannot forbid a lesbian from adopting a child as a single parent.

More than 70 percent of Swedes support same-sex marriage.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lower Hudson Valley pages of NYS LGBT Family Photo Album on display

The New York State LGBT Family Photo Album on display in April 2007
At LGBT Equality & Justice Day in Albany

Last Wednesday a portion of the New York State LGBT Family Photo Album began a nine-day exhibition at an art gallery in Larchmont. The album is a collection pages made by families and individuals--gay and straight--who declare their support for marriage equality simply through photos of their everyday life.

Last year the photo album was the center of controversy when it was unveiled in another part of the Lower Hudson Valley. In February 2007, part of the album was was to be displayed for a month at a Cosi restaurant in New Rochelle. The display, however, was ordered taken down after less than one day of being on display because Cosi corporate headquarters received "complaints" from people who claimed to be offended by the sight of same-sex couples at family celebrations, smiling with their children or enjoying a vacation, etc. The Pride Agenda and local community (including many straight allies), however, immediately responded and organized, demanding that the display go back up. After thousands of emails and phone calls flooded Cosi's corporate headquarters within a period of less than 24 hours, the display was put back up and remained up for the entire duration of the planned exhibition.

Last week's reception in Larchmont was much less dramatic, but more than 70 people packed into the art gallery to see the album once again on display. Same-sex couples, parents, friends, neighbors and coworkers gathered to enjoy the exhibit and support the call for marriage equality in New York State.

You can watch News 12 Westchester's coverage of the event.

The exhibition runs through January 25 at Larchmont's Palmer Art Gallery.

Morning Sweep

Barack Obama, in a speech yesterday commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, talked about the need in black religious communities to change attitudes towards gays and lesbians.

Queerty notes that Hillary Clinton still has the backing of many of NYC's gay politicos: four of the city's LGBT Democratic clubs have endorsed her.

Time Out New York talks with gay author Kai Wright about his new book on life in various parts of New York City for LGBT youth of color.

Researches who released data on the spread of MRSA within communities of gay men in Boston and San Francisco are are upset that their findings are being spun negatively by anti-gay groups across the nation.

NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, AmFAR's Chief Executive Kevin Robert Frost and NYCLU's Executive Director Donna Lieberman all contribute letters to the New York Times in response to the paper's recent editorial on the rise of HIV/AIDS among young gay men and gay men of color.

Gay City News reports on the anti-gay attitudes that still permeate in new European Union member states in Central and Eastern Europe.

GLAAD has announced nominees for its Media Awards, which includes the ABC TV show Brothers & Sisters and the incredibly well done Off-Broadway play "Speech & Debate."

Buffalo's Gay Men's Chorus is gearing up for two big performances this weekend.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Morning Sweep

A lecturer at the University of Texas is on a hunger strike to protest the university's refusal to extend spousal benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees.

Andrea Adams, a trans woman from Glens Falls in the North Country, shares her story about how she can't get married because of restrictions on changing her gender on her New York State driver's licence.

An anti-gay marriage rally in Des Moines targeted justices on the state's Supreme Court, who are faced with making a decision on the constitutionality of the state's current ban on same-sex marriages.

Cambridge, MA has elected the nation's first-ever black lesbian mayor.

A recent poll in Maryland shows that the majority of voters support legal recognition of same-sex couples.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Morning Sweep

Choire Sicha, former Gawker editor, writes in the New York Observer about the problems that NYC officials face as they try to control the spread of HIV/AIDS among the city's young gay male population.

If you weren't convinced yet, this quote, delivered after last night's Republican primary in Michigan, is another reason why Mike Huckabee is a scary candidate for president: ''And that's what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards, rather than try to change God's standards.''

Only two weeks have passed since Hew Hampshire's civil unions law went into effect and already more than 100 couples have taken advantage.

As Connecticut and California anticipate rulings on same-sex marriage, a columnist for the Hartford Courant argues that the courts should recognize that civil unions and other "new legal regimes" do not provide full equality.

Pam Spaulding interviews North Carolina's openly gay candidate for the U.S. Senate Jim Neal. (Neal is challenging Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Morning Sweep

Andrew Belonsky talks about Democrats' desire for gay dollars in the 2008 elections, while talks about the importance of gay voters--which make up approx. 4% of the voting population--during the primaries.

Florida's anti-gay marriage groups got some surprising news today: they're still 21,000 signatures short of getting their constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the ballot--and the deadline is in two weeks.

Good As You has been researching the anti-gay past of Republican presidential contender Ron Paul.

One of the bloggers on Pam's House Blend posts on the important difference between Hillary's support for a partial repeal of DOMA and Obama and Edward's support for a full repeal.

The New York Times reports that a strain of flesh eating bacteria has been disproportionately affecting gay men in San Francisco and Boston.

A Republican lawmaker in Iowa started pushing for a ban on same-sex marriage on the first day of the state's legislative session.

AfterElton invites you to vote for the Gay People's Choice Awards for movies, TV and music in 2007.

Some new research insinuates that gay relationships may be happier and healthier than straight ones.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Morning Sweep

Episcopal churches in Buffalo have written an open letter to the LGBT community inviting them to joining their congregations and apologizing for centuries of exclusion and bigotry.

The New York Times calls upon LGBT community leaders to step up their efforts in educating a new generation on how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Detroit Free Press gives a very brief overview of where the Presidential candidates stand on LGBT issues. The Michigan Republican presidential primary is tomorrow.

Social issues--chiefly same-sex marriage--are shaking up politics in Spain.

As Vermont decides whether or not to turn their civil union law into one that provides full marriage equality for same-sex couples, groups on both sides of the debate notice a calmer, more respectful tone in the current debates than in those that took place in 2000 surrounding the passage of civil unions.

A committee in the Maryland state legislature has passed a resolution defining domestic partnership so that insurance companies would have a more concrete idea of to whom they should/shouldn't be offering benefits. The definition is inclusive of same-sex couples, but does not mention sexuality anywhere.

Lambda Literary has announced its nominations for best books with LGBT content. Winners will be chosen in May from a record 463 nominees.

Immigration Equality's blog talks about where some of the presidential candidates stand on the Unite American Families Act (UAFA), which seeks to make it legal for gays and lesbians to sponsor their non-American partners for citizenship.

For all of you who have resolved to find a new job in the new wear, HRC has released its "Best Places to Work 2008" guide for LGBT people.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Morning Sweep

As New York City tries to deal with increasing HIV/AIDS infections among young people, a former city employee claims that the NYC Health Department will likely pursue a policy that will shut down bathhouses and other similar venues.

Page Six talks about (openly gay candidate for U.S. Senator in North Carolina) Jim Neal's upcoming NYC fundraiser.

Gay City News notes that our Equality & Justice Day, where more than 1000 LGBT people and straight allies come to Albany to lobby elected officials, has been set for Tuesday, April 29.

New Jersey lawmakers are facing increased pressure to pass a marriage bill soon, but the 2008 elections are likely to guarantee that the bill won't see a vote until next year.

Utah's highly progressive mayor will introduce a domestic partnership ordinance, which will likely pass in the City Council making Salt Lake City the first municipality in the traditionally conservative state to legally recognize same-sex couples.

The trans community has not forgotten--or forgiven--HRC's push for an ENDA that did not include gender identity protections.

A new documentary made by a Chinese filmmaker will look at the double lives that many gay Chinese men lead because of a society that expects men to marry and produce an heir.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Morning Sweep

Bill Richardson has announced that he's dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary race. Pam Spaulding reminds us of his good record on LGBT issues.

The guy in Boston who tried to sue the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners over a question on the bar exam relating to gay marriage is now apologizing to gays and lesbians for being "instrument of bigotry and prejudice."

An interesting story in the Middle East Times about gay and lesbian Israelis and Palestinians working together for equal rights.

A 14-year old girl in England committed suicide after enduring endless taunts from her peers who called her a lesbian because of how she dressed and behaved. This incredibly sad and AVOIDABLE event is exactly why it's so important that lawmakers in New York State pass the Dignity for All Students Act.

Paris' openly gay mayor may be the target of Islamic Radicals, reports the Assoicated Press.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Morning Sweep

Hillary Clinton and John McCain won in New Hampshire's primary elections yesterday. And the mayor of West Hollywood is endorsing Barack Obama.

The Advocate's News Editor Kerry Eleveld offers some thoughts on the presidential primary process and how Democratic candidates have communicated with LGBT voters.

A group of clergy from various Christian denominations met yesterday in Albany to discuss same-sex marriage.

Log Cabin Republicans went to New Hampshire to plug into the primary excitement--and got a less-than-friendly reception from a Mitt Romney staffer.

Indiana's Democrat-controlled state House is the one body that's holding up a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Indiana already has a DOMA, and statewide support for a constitutional ban is steadily declining.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Morning Sweep

An anti-gay fundamentalist Christian pastor of a church in Redmond, WA is trying to build a global coalition of fellow haters in order to buy up Microsoft stock to eventually have the power to change its corporate policies of supporting pro-LGBT legislation.

New Jersey's state legislature--pulling even further ahead of New York when it comes to LGBT equality--has passed a bill that strengthens their hate crimes law by adding transgender protections and also strengthens their anti-bullying bill by adding new enforcement requirements for schools.

USA Today reports on the military silence on the fact that many top commanders know about openly gay soldiers in their units but do not do what "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" requires them to do. One source says of the current practice ""Military managers may be turning a blind eye because it's a nuisance, and we need these people."

Guam has elected its first-ever openly gay elected official.

A course at the University of Michigan explores how to "be gay," saying in the course description "Just because you happen to be a gay man doesn't mean that you don't have to learn how to become one." The class lives in the Department of Literature and Culture.

Queerty has photos from the big L-Word premier in Los Angeles.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Morning Sweep

The New York Times has been writing a lot about HIV/AIDS lately, including two articles over the weekend. One looks at President Bush's surprising desire to aggressively tackle the AIDS crisis in Africa and the other looks at the increasing medical problems experienced by those who have been living with HIV/AIDS for several years. Also, in response to an article published on Jan. 2 about the increase in NYC of HIV/AIDS infections among youth (particularly in black and Latino youth), Marjorie Hill, head of GMHC, calls certain politicos to task for failing to pass policy that would go a long way towards educating NYC's various youth populations on preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

With the fight for marriage equality mostly behind them, MassEquality's new chairman has made it one of his primary goal to focus outreach efforts on the Massachusetts' black community.

The Hartford Courant features an article about a lesbian couple and their two sons. The couple are plaintiffs in the court case currently before the Connecticut State Supreme Court that argues that the state's current civil unions law doesn't provide full equality.

Ireland is set to pass a law that would recognize same-sex unions performed in other countries.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Morning Sweep

Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee were the victors in last night's Iowa caucuses. LGBT groups were highly visible during the campaign in Iowa and used to opportunity to increase public awareness on important LGBT issues. David Mixner, no stranger to electoral politics, provides his analysis on his blog.

Peggy Drexler's column on the Huffington Post introduces "The Gaybe Boom" phenomenon and discusses the large number of gay and lesbian parents and the increasingly large number of gays and lesbians who plan on having or adopting children in the near future.

Chris Hinesley, Executive Director of the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley, writes about the need to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

Pam Spaulding talks with SLDN's Cholene Espinoza about her 60 Minutes interview with Leslie Stahl for an upcoming piece dealing with the U.S. military's inconsistency with upholding the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Domestic partners in California will benefit from a State Supreme Court decision handed down yesterday that requires the state to provide the same property tax breaks to DPs as it does to married couples.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Morning Sweep

The 2008 elections officially begin today, and Gay City News Editor in Chief Paul Schindler has some thoughts on the primary process and the need to elect a Democratic president.

Newsday workplace columnist Patricia Kitchen writes about a law firm on Long Island specializing in legal matters for the LGBT community.

Vodafone, a British-based multinational telecommunications company, has blocked some gay news sites from its mobile phone customers, deeming the sites "adult content." New York City's Gay City News is among the banned sites.

Barack Obama released a statement in support of New Hampshire's newly enacted civil unions law. And Chris Crain writes in the San Francisco Bay Times that Obama would be the best Democratic (and therefore the best overall) choice for president.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney's campaign pledges to stop the "militant gays" from changing the "cultural institutions of the country."

Much controversy surrounds the decision by an Oregon judge to delay enacting the Beaver State's domestic partnership law in order to re-examine Oregon's ballot-based initiative system.

Being fired from her job as City Manager of Largo, FL for being transgender apparently wasn't enough to keep Susan Stanton herself from making some transphobic comments.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Morning Sweep

HIV/AIDS infections are increasing in young men (under 30) and specifically among black and Latino men.

Being an openly gay Muslim may be much safer in Europe than in the Middle East, but still brings widespread fear of family abandonment and even in some cases death threats.

The openly gay creator of the ABC show Brothers & Sisters has left the show after some backstage drama and moved back to New York.

40+ gay and lesbian couples in New Hampshire participated in civil union ceremonies on Jan. 1 as the state officially began legally recognizing same-sex relationships.

The Denver Post profiles the difficulties faced by same-sex binational couples, who many times are forced to live apart because of this country's discriminatory immigration laws.

Efforts are underway by anti-gay groups in California to repeal the passage of a bill that forbids discrimination against "actual or perceived" sexual orientation or gender identity/expression in public schools.

Even when it comes to divorce gay couples are often subject to unequal treatment under the law.