Friday, October 31, 2008

Morning Sweep

Gay City News writes on the Democrats’ battle for control of the State Senate and profiles important races, including several with candidates endorsed by the Pride Agenda. See our endorsements in our 2008 General Election Voter Guide.

Gov. Paterson will be campaigning in Long Island this weekend for State Senate candidates Brian Foley (SD 3) and Kristin McElroy (SD 6), who are both endorsed by the Pride Agenda.

The Vatican has released a report suggesting that candidates for Catholic priesthood go through psychological testing to weed out men with "strong homosexual tendencies," since being gay is a "deviation, an irregularity and a wound."

The “No on Prop. 8” campaign says its website was attacked by hackers and shut down for several hours on Wed. night. The “Yes on 8” campaign denies responsibility.

Out magazine’s story on the gay reporters on the campaign trail sheds light on this group of “boys on the bus.”

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, a writer explains how attending a friend's same-sex wedding was a politically meaningful experience for him.

A Huffington Post blogger writes on how important it is for straight parents to stand against Prop. 8 as allies of their same-sex counterparts.

A L.A. Times blog discusses the parallels between the political climate in the new Harvey Milk biopic “Milk” and the fight over today’s Prop. 8.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

2008 Progress Report

Gay City News’ 2008 Progress Report – a special section with reports written by local LGBT organizations, activists, and lawmakers – features a piece by the Pride Agenda’s Executive Director, Alan Van Capelle. In “Well Positioned for Victories,” Alan discusses how public opinion in New York State is on the side of the LGBT community. The other authors of progress reports include State Senator Thomas Duane, Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell, Marriage Equality New York, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, and the Log Cabin Republicans, among others. Alan’s report is below, and the rest of the Progress Report can be found here.

PROGRESS REPORT: Well Positioned for Victories
By Alan Van Capelle

Our community in New York has never been in a better place than it is now when it comes to winning equality and justice.

Two years ago, the Pride Agenda polled in key areas across the state to find out where New Yorkers stood on marriage for our families. In a State Senate District in Suffolk County, 57 percent of voters supported our freedom to marry while just 38 percent did not. In a Nassau County Senate District, the numbers were 58 percent in support to just 37 percent against; in a Westchester County District it was 51 to 41 percent; and, in a Rochester District, it was 51 to 41 percent.

Statewide, the overall number was 53 percent in favor of marriage equality to just 38 percent against.

This year we polled New Yorkers for the very first time about where they stand on passing a law outlawing discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, and other areas of everyday life. A phenomenal 78 percent said New York should have such a law while just 13 percent said we shouldn't. This percentage is so high that it doesn't matter how you break down the data - by party affiliation, geography, or any other way - New Yorkers have arrived at a consensus that discrimination against transgender people is wrong.

The support we have from New Yorkers for ending discrimination and winning our equality does not happen by accident. LGBT New Yorkers have been working hard for years to educate their friends and neighbors about why marriage matters, about discrimination against trans people, and about the unsafe learning environments LGBT youth face everyday when they go to school.

Not only do poll numbers show New Yorkers are responding, but we also see it in the people who go to Albany to advocate for our issues. They're not just LGBT anymore. They're straight, they're union members, they're clergy, and they're business people. They're parents and neighbors, and they're from all over the state.

That's why I shook my head when I picked up the New York Times a few days ago and read that a spokesperson for the current leadership in the State Senate - a leadership that refuses to act on our top issues - said that our community's agenda is part of a "national left-wing agenda" and that it has no place in races for the New York State Senate.

When the leadership of the Senate majority says to the people of Suffolk, Nassau, and Westchester Counties and the City of Rochester that their opinions on an issue like marriage equality have no place in elections and are part of a "national left-wing agenda," they've got a problem. When it says the same thing about 78 percent of New Yorkers - Republicans, Democrats and Independents - who want an end to legal discrimination against trans people, they're showing just how far out of touch they are.

If this is the bubble the current leadership of the State Senate wants to live in, then that's their choice. If they want to write off the opinions of voters in Long Island, Westchester County, and elsewhere, then they certainly can, but they're also writing their political obituary.

New Yorkers long ago moved on when it came to the issue of discrimination - of any kind. They're not for it, plain and simple.

It took the leadership in the State Senate ten years after two-thirds of New Yorkers said they supported the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) and the Assembly first passed SONDA to get that message. That was too long, and there is absolutely no reason why our community should have to wait ten years for them to do the same thing with the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).

Since 2003, when same-sex couples began going to Canada to get married, New Yorkers have been learning about the importance of marriage to our families. More recently they've learned the startling fact that New York State provides 1,324 rights and responsibilities to a couple when it gives them a marriage license. Once New Yorkers have this information, they understand that access to marriage is about equality and strengthening families, and they move in our direction. With a majority of New Yorkers already on our side, these numbers will only grow larger in the years ahead.

I am proud of the way we've talked to New Yorkers about our issues. We have been respectful to those who disagreed with us, and we have worked hard to win their hearts and minds. I have also been genuinely touched by the ability of many New Yorkers to move beyond the false stereotypes they have of us and to better understand our community.

The leadership of the State Senate shouldn't be so quick to dismiss our issues or the opinions New Yorkers have on these issues. Times have changed and New York has changed, and, if they don't get that, they may very well find themselves dismissed by the voters on Election Day.

Morning Sweep

A front page Wall Street Journal article takes a look at same-sex couples who have gotten civil unions, domestic partnerships and marriages in multiple places, all in an effort to make their unions as secure as possible.

The New York Times covers Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban ballot measure. A similar measure was rejected by AZ voters in 2006.

If California’s Prop. 8 passes, experts predict a period of “legal chaos” for same-sex couples who married in the state between June and November.

California labor unions have not only donated money to the “No on 8” campaign, but have also included messages against the proposition in their campaign literature.

A legal opinion released by the Connecticut Attorney General says that all justices of the peace in the state must perform same-sex marriages and cannot opt out of the ceremonies due to their personal beliefs.

Voters in parts of South Carolina are receiving phony robo-calls from an unknown source that is claiming to be a gay rights group. The calls are trying to scare voters from choosing State Senate candidate Mandy Powers Norrell by saying she is for same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Morning Sweep

The Binghamton City Council is considering adding protections for transgender residents to its local human rights law.

The Ithaca Journal covered yesterday’s debate between the candidates vying for the 51st State Senate District, and challenger Don Barber – who is endorsed by the Pride Agenda – spoke about his support for marriage equality. Incumbent Jim Seward, a DOMA supporter, said marriage should be a union between a man and a woman.

With six days left until the election, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom (via Huffington Post) has suggestions for what you can do to help protect marriage equality in California.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Morning Sweep

Although the FBI reports all national hate crimes are down one percent from last year, anti-gay hate crimes increased by six percent.

A N.C. newspaper reports on the difficulty many gay victims of domestic violence have in finding help.

Scientists in Australia think they may have identified a genetic difference in transgender people.

Same-sex marriages should begin next month in Connecticut, after the appropriate paperwork is established.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Speeches from the 2008 Fall Dinner

Last Monday was our annual Fall Dinner, the Pride Agenda’s biggest fundraising event of the year. With more than 1100 supporters in attendance, we had a great mix of donors, activists, elected officials, and celebrities.

The night kicked off with our fabulous emcee, Whoopi Goldberg. From her sharp political and social commentary, one of our favorite lines of the night was: “If you oppose gay marriage, don't marry a gay person!”

We had a great musical performance from South Pacific’s Kelli O’Hara, and then heard from Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle. Part one of his speech is below:

(Click here for Part 2).

Our keynote speaker was Governor David Paterson, who spoke about his experiences with civil rights battles and pledged to continue to persevere for LGBT legislation, including marriage equality. Part one of his speech is below:

(Click here for Part 2).

Alan also spoke about Ralph Lauren, the recipient of our 2008 Douglas W. Jones Leadership Award. For that speech and more from the Fall Dinner, including Whoopi and our Board Co-chairs, Frank Selvaggi and Kim Kakerbeck, visit the Pride Agenda’s YouTube page here.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make the Fall Dinner a success!

Morning Sweep

Gov. Paterson’s remarks at the Pride Agenda’s Fall Dinner make more news in the New York Blade and Gay Wired.

A Detroit News columnist writes that the Northeast sets a gay-friendly example for the rest of the U.S.

With Election Day near, the New York Times sums up some of the action in the fight for and against California’s Prop. 8.

Many Justices of the peace in Connecticut are looking forward to performing same-sex marriages.

A L.A. Times columnist interviews Father Geoffrey Farrow, the well-publicized Catholic priest who recently revealed he is gay and opposed to Prop. 8.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Morning Sweep

Gay City News interviews Dave Noble, the director of LGBT voter mobilization for the Obama campaign.

Prop. 8 supporters are trying a new scare tactic – sending menacing letters to businesses that have donated money to help defeat the same-sex marriage ban.

The Wall Street Journal doesn’t think the California Teachers Association should have donated to the “No on Prop. 8” campaign.

The New York Times has an interesting story on Jörg Haider, a far-right wing Austrian politician who was recently outed after his death.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Morning Sweep (PM edition)

Gay City News reviews our Fall Dinner in two parts: first, Governor Paterson; then Whoopi.

Gay City News also posts endorsements in a number of State Senate races across the state.

The North Carolina Republican Party sent out a hateful mail piece attacking U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan (who polls have as leading in her efforts to unseat incumbent Elizabeth Dole) for being pro-LGBT.

Queerty Editor Andrew Belonsky sits down and chats with Congregation Beth Simchat Torah's (the nation's largest LGBT synagogue) Head Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum.

The Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest court, has ruled that the Episcopal diocese has ownership of a church building that housed a congregation that broke away from the National Church after openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson was ordained in 2003.

Staten Island’s LGBT Community Center is hosting a forum tonight to inform the local community about how they can be better-informed voters in these important elections.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Morning Sweep

The Pride Agenda held its annual Fall Dinner in NYC on Monday. Highlights included the fabulous Whoopi Goldberg as our emcee, who mentioned the event on “The View” yesterday. Woman’s Wear Daily also wrote on Ralph Lauren, the recipient of our Douglas W. Jones Leadership Award.

Rochester's City Newspaper profiles the 56th State Senate District race between Democrat challenge Rick Dollinger and Republican incumbent Joe Robach. They highlight the importance of the race to the LGBT community, and mention the Pride Agenda’s endorsement of Dollinger.

Joe Biden says he opposes California’s Prop. 8.

Opponents of Florida’s Prop. 2 to ban same-sex marriage have filed a complaint with the state's Election Commission, claiming that the sponsors of the ballot measure are intentionally avoiding disclosing political donations.

Two groups of African American clergy held dueling press conferences in L.A. yesterday in support of and against Prop. 8.

Bloomberg News has an in-depth profile of openly gay U.S. Representative Barney Frank.

TIME magazine weighs in on this year’s same-sex marriage battles.

The Chicago Department of Human Services is conducting four days of training on how to better serve members of the LGBT community for employees of the state’s homeless shelters.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Morning Sweep

A Queens judge has sentenced the murderer of Edgar Garzon, a 35-year-old gay man who was killed in 2001, to 22 years-to life.

Sarah Palin told a reporter that she supports a federal amendment to ban gay marriage – a stance more severe than McCain’s. You betcha that even the cutest SNL performance can’t outweigh that kind of position…

Paul Smith, the lawyer who argued Lawrence v. Texas (the case that struck down sodomy laws), says Obama is the only safe choice for LGBT voters based on the kind of Supreme Court judges he would appoint versus McCain's possible picks.

A Huffington Post blogger wonders how Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama will affect “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

There’s been much to do lately about a proposed gay-friendly high school to be built in Chicago. The L.A. Times editorial board weighs in, writing that although the intentions are good, “cloistering” LGBT students isn’t the answer to discrimination.

A Philadelphia newspaper has an interesting story on what it’s like to transition as a transgender teen.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Morning Sweep

The Ali Forney Center’s drop-in location in Chelsea is in danger of closing after the city announced it will cut its funding next year.

Inspired by Connecticut, Vermont may be a step closer to passing a marriage equality law.

A new study of married same-sex couples in Massachusetts found that the most common motivations for marrying are obtaining legal protections and making a public statement of commitment.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Morning Sweep

The “No on 8” campaign’s call for more donations has been working: more than $2.25 million has been raised in the last 24 hours.

A new poll shows that Asian-American voters in California are strongly against Prop. 8.

A conservative religious group in West Virginia is trying to pressure the state’s governor into calling a special session to pass a same-sex marriage ban.

Andrew Sullivan writes on why civil unions are not an adequate substitute for same-sex marriage.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Daniel Squadron for the 25th Senate District

The Pride Agenda is proud to endorse Daniel Squadron for election to the State Senate, representing the 25th Senate District (covering parts of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan).

Squadron, a 28-year old former top aide to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, recently defeated 30-year incumbent Marty Connor in the September 9 Primary Election. In Gay City News’ endorsement of Squadron for that election, Editor-in-Chief Paul Schindler writes: “Daniel Squadron, an aggressive challenger who hits hard on the issue of reform in Albany, seemed more comfortable about assuming a lead role in goading his colleagues. ‘That is a drum I plan to beat as aggressively as anybody,’ he said of the push for marriage equality.”

Indeed. On his campaign website, Squadron openly states his support for LGBT issues, specifically marriage equality: “We have not achieved marriage equality, which means that countless LGBT couples who hunger for the emotional, economic and legal protections of marriage are still being shunted aside as second class citizens.”

From his responses on the Pride Agenda candidate questionnaire, it is clear that he understands and supports all of the issues on the Pride Agenda’s public policy agenda. Additionally, he stated that he would co-sponsor marriage equality legislation and bills that would ban discrimination against transgender New Yorkers and make schools safe for LGBT youth. He will not only be a “yes” vote on these important bills, but will be, as he puts it, an “energetic advocate for true equal rights in New York State.”

Democrat Squadron is running against openly gay Republican John Chromczak, who is a medical technologist at New York University Medical Center/Bellevue Hospital Center. Since Chromczak didn’t complete a Pride Agenda candidate questionnaire, we know nothing about his positions on our issues except for what we read in the press. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Chromczak told Liz Benjamin that he was a supporter of marriage equality. Unlike Squadron, however, Chromczak makes no mention of LGBT issues on his website or any other campaign materials that we’ve seen.

Additionally, if Chromczak were to be elected in this overwhelmingly Democratic Senate District, he would support the current Republican Senate Majority Leadership, which has stated time and time again that it will not bring key bills like marriage equality and a ban on discrimination against transgender New Yorkers up for a vote.

Voters in the 25th State Senate district—and LGBT New Yorkers across the state—will be better served with Daniel Squadron in Albany. We strongly urge you to vote for him on Tuesday, November 4.

Morning Sweep

Another legal challenge to New York’s policy of granting equal benefits to same-sex couples legally married elsewhere is scheduled to begin today.

The editorial board of the New York Times writes in their blog that there’s a good chance the backlash to Connecticut’s newly legal same-sex marriage won’t be successful.

The Atlantic has a comprehensive story on transgender children.

A group that believes gays can be cured says that “ex-gays” are often discriminated against, and is suing the Washington D.C. Office of Human Rights, claiming that DC doesn’t include “ex-gays” in its non-discrimination laws.

Enough of those claims that college professors with liberal agendas indoctrinate their students to the left on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. A new study shows that it’s students’ peers, not their instructors, who change their minds.

Pride Agenda Board Co-Chair Frank Selvaggi writes on David Mixner’s blog about the need to raise more money to defeat California’s Prop. 8.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Morning Sweep - Connecticut marriage and more

In a story on how Connecticut same-sex marriage will affect New York and the upcoming election, Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle is quoted: “This is no longer a wedge issue. I don't think many American voters have patience for candidates or elected officials who are going to use the weeks before the election to discuss marriage equality, instead of how to shore up our economy."

The New York Times and Gay City News have great analyses of the Conn. same-sex marriage case and its political and social implications.

There are no residency requirements or waiting periods for marriage in Conn., so same-sex New York couples will easily be able get married there.

Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell doesn’t support the Supreme Court decision, but she says she’ll uphold it.

But Rell is in the minority – the majority of Conn. residents support the ruling.

Not surprisingly, President Bush also opposes the Conn. court decision. His official statement criticized “activist judges” and threatened the need for a federal constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a man and woman.

Too bad for Bush: Gay City reports that Conn. same-sex marriage is likely here to stay – it does not face very much potential opposition.

In other news:

A new campaign to raise awareness of gay and lesbian seniors will feature ads on buses and subways in New York.

Same-sex couples are rushing to the altar in California before Election Day, fearing that Prop. 8 may pass.

The Boston Globe has an interesting story on immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. because they’re gay.

A judge has ruled that the city of San Diego did not act illegally when it required four firefighters to march in a gay pride parade. Although this ruling rejects an injunction barring the city from requiring participation in parades, the firefighters’ lawsuit against the city will still be retried early next year.

Allan Spear, one of the country’s first openly gay politicians, died over the weekend.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Janele Hyer-Spencer for the 60th Assembly District

The Pride Agenda is proud to endorse Janele Hyer-Spencer for re-election to the 60th Assembly District representing the East Shore of Staten Island and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn.

Hyer-Spencer is running for re-election this year after having won an open seat in 2006. She came to office with a professional background advocating for woman, children and victims of domestic violence. In the Assembly, she has been able to continue her work in this area by serving on the Judiciary Committee, the Aging Committee, the Children and Families Committee and the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.

Hyer-Spencer co-sponsored and provided an important vote in the Judiciary Committee for a new law that enables victims of domestic violence to seek orders of protection from non-family members and gives them the same access to Family Court as those who are married. This law covers domestic partners and individuals in dating relationships in our community, something the Pride Agenda has been working on since the early 1990’s. Shamefully, New York State has been far out of the mainstream on providing same-sex domestic partners with these protections. Before this bill became law, New York State was in the company of only two or three other states in the whole country – states like Louisiana and Mississippi -- in refusing to give same-sex domestic partners access to Family Court and orders of protection.

We thank Assemblymember Hyer-Spencer for helping build momentum in the State Legislature for finally updating New York’s antiquated approach to the way it treats victims of domestic violence.

Hyer-Spencer’s advocacy for families and children and those who are most vulnerable in New York has also extended to our families and our community in other important ways. She joined a large number of her colleagues in supporting the successful passage of a bill providing our families with access to marriage and the hundreds of protections it provides and the passage of a bill ending discrimination against transgender New Yorkers.

In her first term in office, Janele Hyer-Spencer has stood up for our community on important votes when it mattered. Given that she has an opponent in her first bid for re-election, represents an Assembly District formerly held by a Republican where Democrat voters tend to be more conservative, we give special thanks to her for working to make sure our families are included in the state’s safety net of protections -- in all areas of the law.

To read profiles of other important races we are highlighting for the NYS Legislature, go to our 2008 Election Center.

Friday, October 10, 2008

And Connecticut makes three – A great day for same-sex marriage

Today is another great day for same-sex marriage in our country. Just minutes ago, the Connecticut Supreme Court handed down its decision to end discrimination against tens of thousands of same-sex couples and their families in Connecticut. Connecticut will now join Massachusetts and California as the third state with legal same-sex marriage. You can read the decision here.

Check back with us soon for more information about how this will affect marriage equality here in New York!

Morning Sweep

The Connecticut Supreme Court will release its ruling at 11:30 am today on whether same-sex marriage should be legal in the state. More on this later!

New York LGBT groups weigh in on the proposal by Mayor Bloomberg to change the city’s term limits to allow for three terms instead of two.

With or without term limit changes, U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner, a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, will be running for mayor next year.

Arkansas will drop its gay foster parent ban and allow unmarried and same-sex couples to take on foster children on a case-by-case basis.

Remember the American Family Association’s pointless boycott of McDonald’s because the company’s VP of U.S. Communications was on the board of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce? Well the boycott’s off because the VP left the board since he now works at McDonald’s Canada branch.

A Huffington Post blogger proposes a new solution to our country’s financial woes: a gay bailout!

CNN has a great story on Cyndi Lauper’s work fighting for LGBT rights.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Morning Sweep

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case brought by two Massachusetts parents who argued that the inclusion of books with gay characters on their children’s school reading lists violated their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

Pollsters point out how “the Bradley effect” – an unfortunate trend in voters responding in the “politically correct” way to polls and then voting the opposite once they’re in the booth – could affect California’s Prop. 8.

Gay City News’ Paul Schindler disagrees with the statement from last week’s debate that Palin and Biden are in agreement when it comes to gay rights.

GLSEN’s yearly National School Climate Survey results are in, and they show just as much need for the Dignity for All Students Act as ever – nine in 10 LGBT teens have been verbally harassed in the past school year, almost half have been physically harassed, and about a third have skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Morning Sweep

A Huffington Post blogger asks: if Obama wins, how soon will he address LGBT issues?

A new GLSEN ad campaign aimed at teenagers seeks to stop anti-LGBT bullying and discourage the use of the phrase “that’s so gay.”

Orlando has become the latest city to grant partner benefits to city employees.

California’s same-sex marriage ban supporters are out-raising the opponents, meaning there’s an increasing chance that the proposal will pass.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Joel Miller for the 102nd Assembly District

The Pride Agenda is proud to endorse Republican incumbent Dr. Joel Miller for re-election to the 102nd Assembly District (representing Poughkeepsie and the western part of Dutchess County).

Joel Miller is a strong supporter of LGBT rights, never hesitating to speak about our issues and our community and always emphasizing his belief that all Americans should be equal and none should be the target of legalized discrimination. When the marriage equality bill was debated and passed by the Assembly last year, Miller was the first Republican to stand up and state his support for the bill, and the same was true again this year when the Assembly debated and passed a bill prohibiting discrimination against transgender New Yorkers.

In a letter he sent to supporters earlier this year, Miller said, “I voted for the gay marriage bill for one single reason – it was the right thing to do. Furthermore my vote sends a message to other Republicans that there is no need to be stuck in archaic ways, because we can and we must be a progressive party, one that embraces a changing world and one that grants every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender person full equality and justice under our laws.”

Miller has long had a reputation among his colleagues for being honest and forthright --even outspoken -- about where he stands on an issue. At a recent Log Cabin event where Republican legislators in support of marriage equality were present (Assemblymembers Sayward, Scozzafava and Duprey) and one in particular who is on the other side of the issues and said so again at the event (Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos), Miller spoke forcefully in support of marriage for our families.

In true Joel Miller style, he also didn’t hesitate to say what he thought about the legal mechanisms some Republicans like to propose as a substitute for providing our families with marriage and the 1,324 state-based rights and obligations that only marriage provides. Gay City News reported Miller as saying, “None of this partner contract baloney that they talk about. You can’t go halfway.”

As a bipartisan organization, we are proud that every major piece of LGBT legislation in Albany has passed with support from both Democrats and Republicans. Going forward, this will continue to be important for all our community’s key pieces of legislation. Nothing gets done in Albany without support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Joel Miller is a Republican who votes for equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers and doesn’t hesitate to go the extra mile and speak up about why our equality is an important part of the promise America makes to all its citizens. He is the only Republican who voted for marriage equality in the Assembly who has a race this November. He is being challenged by a Democrat, Jonathan Smith, who also filled out our questionnaire and has stated his support for our issues.

The choice in this race, however, is clear. Miller deserves the Pride Agenda’s endorsement and our community’s support because he has earned it. Joel Miller has stood with us over and over again, through his votes and through his words, so we stand with him in his re-election on November 4.

To read profiles of other important races we are highlighting for the NYS Legislature, go to our 2008 Election Center.

Morning Sweep

More same-sex couples have married in California in the last three months since it was legalized than in Massachusetts over the past four years.

No more “Party A” and “Party B” on Calif. Marriage forms – “Bride” and “Groom” will make reappearance. Same-sex couples will now label themselves as dual-brides or dual-grooms. You say tomato…

A mistrial has been declared in the case of the four San Diego firefighters who sued the city for being mandated to march in the gay pride parade. The case will be retried because the jury was deadlocked.

Georgia’s Supreme Court has struck down a lawsuit against a transgender politician whose opponents sued her for misleading the public for running as a woman.

On the global front, the government in Uganda has tightened laws against homosexuality, while Lithuania’s foreign minister has said enough is enough when it comes to his nation’s anti-gay ways.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Morning Sweep

Gov. Paterson will be taking a more active roll in helping to win a new leadership in the NYS Senate — one that will be supportive of key pieces of LGBT legislation.

The New York Times has a fascinating profile of a Senegalese refugee granted asylum here because he is gay.

At a Human Rights Campaign dinner, Hillary Clinton said of John McCain "He's not a maverick. He's a mimic," and pointed out his poor record on gay rights.

Although Sarah Palin seemed open to basic gay civil rights at last week’s debate, she told Newsweek in 2007 that she would be in favor of amending Alaska’s constitution to ban same-sex partner benefits. And you thought cold weather meant flip-flop season was over…

The AP has a great story profiling LGBT elders in New York and looking at the new steps being taken to address the needs of this first generation of openly gay seniors.

Clergy and lay leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted Saturday to leave the national church and align with a more conservative South American branch. The move comes in part due to disagreement over whether Bishop Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, should be allowed as a church leader.

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear a case challenging the state’s same-sex marriage ban in December.

This hilarious column in the L.A. Times points out the ridiculousness of Prop. 8 supporters’ claims that kids will be subjected to mandatory lessons on same-sex marriage in schools.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Morning Sweep

Maybe you heard there was a debate last night? VP hopefuls Biden and Palin both agreed that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Palin said gay couples should have hospital visitation rights, and that she is “tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves.” Biden said "In an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple.”

Gay City News writes on the Pride Agenda’s endorsement of David Nachbar for the 55th State Senate District.

A Presbyterian church court has ruled unanimously that the Rev. Jane Edwards did not violate church rules for performing a same-sex marriage ceremony.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Morning Sweep

In his first ever interview with a gay publication, John McCain told the Washington Blade that he will leave “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” up to military officials, that he doesn’t support the federal DOMA because of states’ rights, and that he respects gay couples who adopt children but doesn’t see it as the best option. So, basically nothing new.

Sarah Palin’s gotten just a slight bit of negative feedback over her “isn’t a choice I have made” comments about homosexuality. Get riled up before tonight’s debate here and here.

Responding to negative backlash against this story about gay teens’ hopes to raise families in the future, a Staten Island Advance columnist writes in support of same-sex parents.

A second challenge to Florida’s gay adoption ban began yesterday, from a gay foster parent who wants to legally adopt two brothers who have lived with him for three years.

In Arkansas, children’s advocacy groups are trying to get the ban on unmarried foster parents lifted. The ban means gays can’t be foster parents at all.

The fate of Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban will most likely be up to the voters who are currently still undecided.

Lambda Legal has filed a federal lawsuit in Tennessee against the police department for releasing the names and photos of 40 men arrested in a public sex sting operation.

Although AIDS wasn’t formally recognized in the U.S. until 1981, a new study reveals that the virus may have originated up to 100 years ago.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

David Nachbar for the 55th Senate District

The Pride Agenda is proud to announce our endorsement of David R. Nachbar, who is challenging Republican Senator Jim Alesi in the 55th State Senate District (representing part of Monroe County).

David Nachbar is a strong supporter of LGBT rights who has made it clear that he will not stand for any kind of discrimination. In his previous position as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Bausch & Lomb, Nachbar helped the company achieve a perfect score from HRC’s Corporate Equality Index by extending equal benefits to the domestic partners of employees.

Nachbar told The Albany Project that he is running because “right now we’re at a very important point of time, an important moment of choice, and that is that we can choose between staying down the path that we’re on right now – a path which has failed – or we can choose to take a new direction.” Nachbar would lead the charge in the Senate in the direction of equality for all New Yorkers. In his Pride Agenda candidate questionnaire, he could not have been any clearer in his support of the LGBT community when he said: “I believe that the civil rights issue of our time is equality for the LGBT community, and I will unequivocally support any measure that will contribute to full equality for LGBT people under the law.”

In addition to his commitment to vote for issues like marriage equality, banning discrimination against transgender people and making schools safe for LGBT youth, Nachbar would take the extra step to co-sponsor these bills. In his candidate questionnaire, he also expressed a strong desire to do whatever it takes to advance equality for the LGBT community, including holding press conferences, hosting and attending forums, meeting with constituents, and working together with the Pride Agenda.

Nachbar’s opponent is six-term incumbent Jim Alesi. Alesi does not support the LGBT community – according to the Pride Agenda’s Legislative Scorecard, he is strongly opposed to marriage equality, and has gone so far as to be a public supporter and co-sponsor of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Alesi has indicated that he is also opposed to banning discrimination against transgender New Yorkers, and although he has told constituents that he would consider supporting legislation that would make schools safe for LGBT youth, he has not taken any steps to move the bill forward. Alesi also voted against the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act when it passed in 2002.

As Nachbar has said, this election is about moving in a new direction in New York State. For 12 years, Jim Alessi has perpetuated discrimination and inequality for LGBT people and if re-elected, will do more of the same. For voters who are concerned with civil rights and real progress for all New Yorkers, David Nachbar is the only choice for Senator in the 55th Senate District.

For more information on how you can volunteer to help get Nachbar elected, visit our online Election Center, and if you live in the 55th Senate District, vote for David Nachbar on Tuesday, November 4.

Morning Sweep

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