Seattle, WA - Anti-Equality Haters Submit Signatures for Ballot
Same-sex marriage opponents in Washington State have submitted signatures to revoke the freedom to marry by a vote on the November ballot following the passage of a marriage bill earlier this year. It was signed by Governor Chris Gregoire and scheduled to go into effect later that week. â€śDuring the week in which loving and committed same-sex couples in Washington were preparing to share in the joy of the first marriage ceremonies in the state, anti-gay advocates have decided instead to submit signatures forcing them to put a hold on their happiness and fend off a referendum on whether or not they can get married,â€ť said National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry Marc Solomon. â€śWe know that Washingtonians believe in freedom and fairness, and a majority want to see all people share in the joy and responsibilities of marriage.â€ť He said as an active partner in Washington United for Marriage, Freedom to Marry will work tirelessly to ensure that voters hear the stories and learn about the lives of loving and committed same-sex couples from Washington. â€śWe are confident that, as they do, they will conclude that a vote to take away their freedom to marry is out of sync with the Golden Rule values that all Washingtonians hold.â€ť Well, not all!
Source: Freedom to Marry Newsletter
Columbia, MO - First Transgender Witness Ever to Testify Before Senate on ENDA
An openly transgender person for the first time is set to testify before the Senate about the lack of federal employment LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections and the need to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Kylar Broadus, founder of the Columbia, Mo. based Trans People of Color Coalition, is scheduled be among five witnesses who will speak during the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee hearing entitled, â€śEquality At Work: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act.â€ť
Broadus is an attorney who hails from Missouri and founded the organization in 2010. He has written essays on transgender rights, won awards for LGBTQ advocacy, is a board member of the National Black Justice Coalition and was formerly on the board for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. A previous Senate hearing in 2009 had no transgender witnesses. A House hearing at around the same time featured testimony from Vandy Beth Glenn, who was fired from her job at the Georgia General Assembly for being transgender. Hey, Senate, itâ€™s about time!
Source: Washington Blade
Dallas, TX - Boy Scouts Not Prepared to Accept Queers
Boy Scouts of America says it has no plans to ease its ban on LGBTQ leaders and scouts after receiving an online petition urging a reversal from the activist group, Change.org. Robert Mazzuca, chief executive of the scouts at their Dallas-area headquarters, said the resolution was referred to a committee for review after he received it the week prior. â€śWe have no plans at the moment to make any changes,â€ť said Mazzuca.
He said similar resolutions have been handled the same way in the past. The resolution was submitted to scout officials at the groupâ€™s annual national meeting in Orlando. Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said the group agreed to meet privately with petitioners and to receive the petition â€śas a courtesyâ€ť for those seeking the policy change.
Michael Jones, deputy campaign director for Change.org, said more than 275,000 people signed the online petition and more are continuing to do so. Several thousand signers were current or former scouts or scout leaders. The resolution calls for reinstatement of a lesbian den leader, Jennifer Tyrrell, removed because of her sexual orientation. â€śWhatâ€™s historic here is for the first time youâ€™ve seen people organize online â€¦ to challenge the Boy Scout policy,â€ť Jones said.
Cincinnati, OH - Cincinnati Christian School Rescinds Job Offer to Gay Teacher
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy had extended a verbal offer to Jonathan Zeng for a position at their school, and several hours later rescinded the offer of employment after directly questioning Zeng about his sexual orientation. Cincinnati includes sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination protections. The Academy, as a religious school, is exempt under the law. But that doesnâ€™t make their action morally right. Polling last year found that 86 percent of Christians believed the very tenets of their faith compelled them to support protections for LGBTQ people under the law. HRC and Equality Cincinnati are calling on members and supporters to contact the CHCA administration and board of trustees, urging them to do the right thing and hire the most qualified candidates for open jobs â€“ regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Academy put Zeng through an interview process and concluded he was one of the best people for the job. His sexual orientation should in no way change that assessment; but the school, which touts diversity, has taken Zeng out of the running simply because he was gay. This is an injustice to both Zeng and the CHCA community, sending the message to students that thereâ€™s something wrong with being gay. For the love of Christ!
Source: HRC Newsletter
New Orleans, LA â€“ Lawmakers Condemn Commitment Ceremony on Army Base
Two Republican congressmen denounced a same-sex ceremony held at the Armyâ€™s Fort Polk training base in Louisiana, saying it violated Defense Department policy. Following last yearâ€™s repeal of its â€śDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ť policy, the Defense Department said chaplains at military installations could officiate any private ceremony, as long as itâ€™s not prohibited by state and local laws. Louisiana law does not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions. The two women took part in a commitment ceremony, and everyone at the base chapel, understood it was not a marriage ceremony.
But Louisiana Rep. John Fleming said the â€śmarriage-likeâ€ť ceremony performed by an Army chaplain shouldnâ€™t have been allowed on the base. US Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri claimed the ceremony violated Defense Department policy. â€śThis appears to be a case where political agenda has trumped the rule of law, which is absolutely unacceptable,â€ť Akin fumed.
â€śThe liberal social experiment with our military continues,â€ť Fleming spouted. â€śMy frustration is compounded by the fact that a social agenda, which has nothing to do with military readiness or our national defense, is being imposed on our men and women in uniform.â€ť Yeah, just because they fought for our freedom doesnâ€™t give them the right to equality!
Source: Associated Press
Faetopia Temporarily Reclaims Vacant Castro Space for Queer Arts and More
From June 15 - 22, Noe/Market Center vacant storefronts become pop-up queer arts, ecology, theater and community centers. Over 50 artists and collaborators will create a visionary space for the LGBTQ community and their allies in the long vacant Tower Records, next to Cafe Flore at 2286 Market & Noe Streets. During the day, Faetopia will host a visual arts gallery, workshops, meditations, teach-ins, heart circles and more. At night, the arts reign supreme with theater, poetry, queer cuddling, sexy book releases and, of course, plenty of drag.
â€śFaetopia imagines a world in which queer people are honored and respected for their unique gifts and perspectives, from childbirth to grave by the entirety of the culture,â€ť say organizers. â€śWe believe that the ultimate goal of the LGBT community is to help everyone understand that queers are a natural variation of the human experience; that we have always existed and even sometimes have been celebrated; that our unique perspectives as queers are an immense gift to a community.â€ť
All week there will be a variety of events that fall loosely into the areas of: Visual Arts, Ecology, Sex/Body, Performing Arts, History and Community. Visit faetopia.com to explore the over 40 events that will be happening throughout the week.
Among events not to miss is Drama bin Ladenâ€™s new dragsical, Batguy Is Dead, Vol. I & II. Hysteria and mania ensue in the personal lives of the notorious Gotham City villains. June 17th, 20th, 8 pm.
Source: Interview by Dennis McMillan
Supervisor Reaffirms Commitment to Medical Marijuana Issue
District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague was a guest during a recent meeting at the low-income medicinal cannabis center, Axis of Love. She is working with Axis Executive Director Shona Gochenaur to allow the Healthy San Francisco program to take co-pays for medical marijuana for poorer patients unable to pay at clubs. Axis is also attempting to get clubs to provide compassionate care for all the collectives.
â€śIf it werenâ€™t for you folks, the medical cannabis issue wouldnâ€™t be where it is at in San Francisco,â€ť said Olague. She emphasized we have to make sure medical cannabis is a priority in this City. â€śYou need to hold our feet to the fire,â€ť she said. â€śIâ€™m grateful to Axis of Love providing me the necessary education.â€ť She revealed she is from the working class. â€śI grew up on a farm labor camp in the valley, so I am very aware of what it means to struggle. I was certainly not born with privilege, and I am never going to forget my roots.â€ť She said hopefully Supervisors David Campos and Jane Kim would continue to prioritize this. â€śMy heart is with the compassion community.â€ť
Olague was appointed by the mayor and will be running for her seat in November. â€śThis is going to be a very competitive race, and I hope I have your support,â€ť she said. â€śI am a progressive supervisor, and you will hear all kinds of things, but I hope you know of my commitment over the years to this [medical marijuana] issue.â€ť
Source: Attended by Dennis McMillan