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GLAA is pleased to offer an online site for discussion of affairs that affect the quality of life of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities of the District of Columbia. Through this social networking media GLAA aspires to connect to new generations of LGBT advocates and straight allies and to strengthen our organization's abilities to communicate and broadcast to a broad and diverse population.

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September 15, 2014

September 16 - GLAA ratings meeting

Friends,

Here is the agenda for GLAA's DC general election candidate ratings meeting, set for Tuesday, September 16 at 7 pm in Room 120 of the Wilson Building. This is for independent and minor party candidates, plus any primary winners who choose to submit revised questionnaire responses.

This will be a working meeting. Only GLAA members can vote on ratings. We go carefully through each candidate's LGBT-related record and questionnaire answers. And we do ratings (on a scale of –10 to +10), NOT endorsements.

Due to the number of candidates we have to rate, we need to use our time efficiently. Please take the time to study the questionnaire responses beforehand if you plan to attend. You can find them online at:
http://glaa.org/archive/2014/nov4responses.shtml

Best,

Rick Rosendall
President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.

September 11, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court to consider marriage cases on Sept. 29

Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog discusses the matter.

President Obama addresses the ISIL threat

President Obama last night spoke to the nation on responding to the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The past history of our military involvement in that region give us cause for skepticism regarding the effectiveness of our military solutions. The President's caution and coalition efforts are at least welcome in this regard.

13 years ago today

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(Photo courtesy U.S. Public Safety News & Events)

In lower Manhattan last night, a tribute in lights on the eve of today's 9/11 anniversary. Among the legacies of that awful day have been reckless military adventures abroad and threats to civil liberties here at home. Citizen, awake!

Dispute Over Decency

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My column this week looks at indecency. Here is an excerpt:

It is amazing what indecent things some people say and do in the name of decency.

If your Christian parents throw you out of the house for being gay, and they cite Scripture, it is probably St. Paul, specifically 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Regarding the reference to homosexuality, Bible Gateway explains, "The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts." But let's not quibble over translations, nor scour the Bible Concordance for the precise connection between God's kingdom and kicking out children. The point is that some people really believe this crap, and it's causing harm, and it's time we stopped being shy about it.

After organizers of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade decided to allow an NBC-affiliated LGBT group to march, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue envisioned gay marchers masturbating in the street. Father Charles Pope, blogging for the Archdiocese of Washington, called the parade an "anal sex" celebration. These gentlemen are quieter about the papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic fleeing to Rome to avoid justice for abusing shoeshine boys.

Read the whole thing at Metro Weekly.

September 10, 2014

Mayor Gray honors anti-gay activist Bob King

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(Photo by Michael Key, Washington Blade)

Mayor Gray has proclaimed September 29, 2014 "Robert 'Bob' King Day" in Washington, D.C.

We must object. Here are links to several stories and blog entries that detail King's efforts against marriage equality in the District.

Let us be clear: Bob King did NOT merely oppose marriage equality in D.C. He aggressively opposed us, stoked anti-gay bigotry, took money from anti-gay bigots for his efforts, and even asked the U.S. Congress to intervene in D.C. affairs because he didn't like what our own elected leaders had done. The latter is especially egregious.

As GLAA has stated:

The District has no business issuing official proclamations and ceremonial resolutions to honor people and organizations openly hostile to the LGBT community. Officials must put procedures in place to prevent such slip-ups. Good works in other areas do not excuse discrimination or bias.

Mayor Gray is a good friend who has done more than any other mayor for LGBT people in the District. But we cannot agree with his act to honor Bob King. Mr. King contacted me last year seeking to put the past behind us and work together for the sake of the District. I was interested in a reconciliation; but when he refused to express any regrets for his past anti-gay and anti-democratic actions, much less apologize for them, I declined to meet with him. We are not sore winners. But reconciliation requires a change of heart and mind. King merely said, "You won, and we lost." I was already aware of that. What I did not detect was any contrition, nor the slightest warmth in his voice. If you extend your hand to me in fellowship, I will reciprocate. If, on the other hand, you are merely a political operative who wants others to forget your transgressions without your having acknowledged them, it is another matter.

(Hat tip: Bob Summersgill)

September 09, 2014

Starnes: Pastors will go to jail for opposing gay rights

No, Todd, they won't. Unlike Canada, which you cite, America has something called the First Amendment. And we at GLAA have defended our opponents' First Amendment rights time and again. Here is the latest example.

(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

September 04, 2014

Andrew Cray: gone too soon, yet a lasting legacy

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The loss of extraordinary transgender health activist Andrew Cray last week at age 28 has been hard for a lot of us to get our minds around. The August 30 memorial service at St. Thomas Church in Dupont Circle helped, as gatherings of love and respect do. Working through his illness, Andrew played a crucial role in getting the details right for Mayor Gray's historic executive action earlier this year to guarantee transgender people non-discriminatory access to health care. The service was led beautifully by Bishop Gene Robinson, who had worked with Andrew at the Center for American Progress and had officiated at Andrew's wedding to Sarah McBride six days before. The mutual grieving and celebration of Andrew among the CAP staff and local and national LGBT activists at the service was especially poignant in that he had helped so many people in such a short life.

Here is the eulogy given by Sterling Washington, Director of the D.C. Office of GLBT Affairs:

Before Amy reads the condolence letter from Mayor Gray, I wanted to say a few words about Andrew Cray. I admit to struggling with what those words would be, which is a bit unusual for me. This all seemed to happen so fast and I haven't had time to wrap my head around it. And I know that if it is difficult for me, it is unbearably arduous for his family. After all, it was just six days ago that Andy and Sarah were married and now we are eulogizing him.

To say he was an indefatigable activist is an understatement. Andrew Cray did more in his 28 years than so many accomplish in a lifetime. And he did so in service to others. For example, he worked closely with the Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs last September to educate the LGBT community about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the local DC Health Benefits Exchange. But, Andrew's most enduring work with the Office involved his legal research and advice when the District moved to bar discrimination against the transgender community in health insurance. This was no easy task and was a year in the making. As we approached the end of the process, there were several surreptitious calls late at night between my Office and a handful of advocates – Andy Bowen, Kellan Baker, and Andrew. Sometimes, it involved Kellan carrying messages to Andrew, whose health had really begun to deteriorate by that point. You see, Andrew was among a handful of legal experts in the country who understood the verbiage needed to ensure our policy was as inclusive as it could be. To be clear, many activists had begun laying the groundwork for this years ago; however, when it came to shaping and actually writing the policy clarification, Andrew was invaluable. Because of his work and that of a handful of advocates, the District has the most comprehensive policy barring discrimination in health insurance (including Medicaid) on the basis of gender identity of any jurisdiction in the country. We are mourning Andrew today, but the fruits of his labor will live on and help so many get the life-saving procedures they so desperately need. And not just here in DC. On Thursday – the day that Andrew died – the city of Cincinnati decided that it would cover gender reassignment surgeries.

Aside from his work, Andrew's passing leaves a hole in the heart of so many of us here. And that is harder to speak to. His love, energy, and friendship still endures albeit in a different state now. And we will carry with us every day the memory of those and we are indeed changed – in a positive way - because our lives were touched by his.

Mayor Gray's condolence letter was read by GLBT Affairs Deputy Director Amy Loudermilk.

News reports at the Blade and Think Progress. Cray wrote an op-ed at Advocate.com in March of this year. May this beautiful young man rest in peace. He has certainly left the world better than he found it.

R.I.P. Joan Rivers

Comedian Joan Rivers has died at age 81. Here is a 1986 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, her trademark style on full display. May she rest in peace.

September 03, 2014

NYC St. Pat's Day parade lifts ban on gay groups

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(Photo by Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Marc Santora reports in NYT:

The organizers of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade said on Wednesday that they were lifting a ban on gay groups participating in the march, ending a policy that had prompted protests, court battles and bitter debate for decades.

The decision to allow a gay group to march under its own banner, first reported by The Irish Voice, came as Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to once again boycott the parade and the organizers faced pressure from employees of NBC Universal, which broadcasts the festivities.

New York gays are not all happy at the decision.

Biden: ISIS destined for 'gates of hell'

Brian Brown: marriage equality 'house of cards collapsing' based on one ruling

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NOM's Brian Brown cannot let go. In response to a ruling by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman upholding Louisiana's gay marriage ban, Brown says in a press release:

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today praised federal court Judge Martin Feldman for ruling today that the US Constitution does not preclude the state of Louisiana from defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and that voters made a rational decision in doing so when they adopted the state's marriage amendment. Feldman becomes the third federal judge to have ruled that traditional marriage laws are not unconstitutional, and the first since the US Supreme Court issued their decision invalidating a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. A state judge in Tennessee has also ruled that the US constitution does not prohibit states from defining marriage a one man and one woman.

"Here we see the house of cards collapsing that supported the myth that redefining marriage is inevitable," said Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. "This decision by Judge Feldman in Louisiana is a great win for the cause of marriage, coming as it does on the heels of other pro-marriage court victories, that puts the lie to the claim that it is inevitable the US Supreme Court will redefine marriage. To the contrary, we believe they will leave this issue with the states."

Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog writes on Feldman's ruling. Click here for the ruling itself.

Michael Sam is signed to Dallas Cowboys practice squad

Sean Gregory at Time reports.

Below, AP reports.

Lysistrategy: no sex for these creeps

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Katie Halper at The Raw Story writes:

There is a rich and honorable historic tradition of sexual boycott for socio-political purposes. The practice was immortalized by Aristophanes in his comedy Lysistrata, in which the women of Greece abstain from sex to encourage their husbands and lovers to negotiate a peace and end the Peloponnesian War. “Lysistratic nonaction” has been seen more recently, in places like the Philippines, Colombia, Liberia, and Ukraine, with varying degrees of success.

Well, ladies, it’s time to take active non-action once again. There are some men in the news whose behavior really requires it. I am issuing a non-binding call for a sexual boycott. It is a crime against not only women, but, I would argue, humanity, to have any sexual relations with these men. Their behavior towards women cannot be sanctioned or condoned through sex. It must be punished through denial. Luckily as you will see from the list, abstaining won’t require too much will power.

Singer CeeLo Green tops the list for his bizarre suggestion, "People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!! If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent."

Regarding boycott target number 3 (Republicans), guys can show solidarity by entirely avoiding the men's room at Union Station.

(Hat tip: Pam Spaulding)

Palestinian parody about ISIS

Thanks to MEMRI for this glimpse into Middle Eastern political humor. Charlotte Alfred at HuffPo reports.

September 01, 2014

Marriage News Watch

Matt Baume of AFER gives an update on marriage equality cases.

Fischer goes for a cut, misses

AFA's Bryan Fischer rather desperately misrepresents the Rams' football-based decision to cut Michael Sam in order to make an unrelated point. Meanwhile, Breitbart in its report completely ignores Sam's strong performance in pre-season games, going back instead several months to before he was drafted.

Lucas Grindley reports at Advocate.com on Sam's situation. As Cyd Zeigler at Outsports says, the Rams' decision was based on the fact that it already has a strong defensive line. The fact that Sam was overlooked by every other NFL team, including teams like the Bengals and Patriots that needed pass rushers like him, suggest that something other than his merits was at play. Shame on the NFL.

Australian Politicians Back Out Of World Congress Of Families Event, Citing Far-Right Ties

Miranda Blue at Right Wing Watch reports:

A World Congress of Families event in Melbourne this week was supposed to feature speeches by three Australian government officials, including social services minister Kevin Andrews. Instead, all three have backed out in the face of criticism of the Illinois-based group’s promotion of harsh anti-gay and anti-choice laws around the world.

In addition, the Australian politicians had come under fire for the conference’s sponsorship by Catch the Fire ministries, a group run by far-right politician Danny Nalliah who has blamed wildfires on abortion rights and frequently lashes out against "multiculturalism." (Nalliah also happens to be an ally of bizarre birther WND columnist and RWW favorite Lord Monckton).

Andrews’ decision to back out of the WCF event is especially galling since the group had been planning to present him with its “Natural Family Man of the Year” award. In a somewhat confusing statement, Andrews criticized those asking him to back out of trying to “shut down debate” while agreeing with them that the WCF summit represented “intolerance.”

August 30, 2014

Michael Sam cut by St. Louis Rams

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(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat)

Outsports reports. Any other NFL team can pick him up in the next 24 hours. Very disappointing, but it's not over yet. Sam tweeted:

I responded:

McCain and sidekick weigh in on Obama and ISIL

NYT offers a preview of the Sunday morning political shows on its op-ed page.

As predictable as the dawn. This week the President is a hapless weakling; next week, if he issues an executive order on immigration, he'll be a tyrant. It would be nice if those interviewing McCain and his closeted and overcompensating sidekick would ask them how their hawkish approach worked under Mr. Obama's predecessor. But the media has been much more interested in the President's haberdashery.