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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.

We warmly invite you to join us at our regularly scheduled membership meetings, held the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month. Please visit www.glaa.org for a list of meeting dates and locations and other important information regarding our group's mission and projects.

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GLAA is an all volunteer organisation. Our expenses are paid by our yearly Awards Banquet and by membership dues and contributions. If you would like to join GLAA this can be done through PayPal or through our membership form.

October 21, 2014

The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel controversy

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(Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of the Hitching Post Chapel. Photo credit: Alliance Defending Freedom)

The anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom is suing the City of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho in a "gays are bullies" case. Last Friday, ADF attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order against the city. Here is an excerpt:

This case is about the City of Coeur D’Alene unconstitutionally coercing two Christian ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies at The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in violation of their religious beliefs, their ordination vows, and their consciences. Coeur D’Alene does so by imposing a Hobson’s choice on the Knapps through City Ordinance §9.56, which bars sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations: the Knapps can either violate their religious convictions and ministerial vows by performing same-sex wedding ceremonies or follow their religious convictions and vows by declining to perform same-sex ceremonies and face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
This was reported by Todd Starnes of Fox News: City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings

The story was given legs by Eugene Volokh at WaPo: Can ministers who make a living by conducting weddings be required to conduct same-sex weddings?

The claim that those awful gays are bullying ministers does not survive closer inspection. Here are several stories to check out:

A quick Google search shows that the right wing is going nuts over this story. We have to fight back with the truth.

October 19, 2014

Monday October 20 - Early Voting Begins

"Early Voting for the 2014 General Election begins on October 20th at One Judiciary Square. On Saturday, October 25th, all 9 early voting locations will be open across the District of Columbia. All locations remain open until Saturday, November 1st (except Sundays). Early Voting Center hours are from 8:30am to 7:00pm."

The following elected offices and ballot measures will be on the ballot this year:

 Delegate to the US House of Representatives
 Mayor of the District of Columbia
 Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia
 At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
 Ward 1, 3, 5 and 6 Members of the Council of the District of Columbia
 Attorney General for the District of Columbia
 United States ("Shadow") Representative
 United States ("Shadow") Senator
 Ward 1, 3, 5 and 6 Members of the State Board of Education
 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Offices
 Initiative 71 - "Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014"

GLAA is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates but does rate candidates for Mayor and the City Council on their support for issues of importance to the LGBT community.  You can find this years ratings on the front of the GLAA website.  There you will also find responses to the GLAA questionnaire and an explanation of how these rating were arrived at.  GLAA strives to be impartial in its ratings.  Candidates can (and do) submit additional information to raise their rating.

Early Voting Locations

Chevy Chase Community Center
5601 Connecticut Ave NW Ward 3
Multi-Purpose Room

Columbia Heights Community Center
1480 Girard St, NW Ward 1
Gymnasium

Dorothy I Height-Benning Library
3935 Benning Rd, NE Ward 7
Meeting Room

King Greenleaf Recreation Center
201 N St, SW Ward 6
Gymnasium

Malcolm X Elementary School
1351 Alabama Ave SE Ward 8
Multi-purpose room

One Judiciary Square
441 4th St, NW Ward 2
Old City Council Chambers (1st floor, right side of building)

Sherwood Recreation Center
640 10th St, NE Ward 6
Gymnasium

Takoma Park Recreation Center
300 Van Buren St, NW Ward 4
Multi-Purpose Room

Turkey Thicket Recreation Center
1100 Michigan Ave, NE Ward 5
Gymnasium

Headlines about the Catholic synod that miss the real news

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Check out these headlines on the failure of the Catholic Church's extraordinary synod to achieve the supermajority needed to adopt even watered-down language reaching out to gays:

All three are accurate, but the Times avoids the wrong emphasis. The real story here is that a Catholic synod voted 118-62 in favor of any slightest move away from its monolithically anti-gay position, not that there was strong opposition to it, not that it fell short this time. The effort Francis has started will not soon be completed, but his sacking of Cardinal Raymond Burke as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura shows he means business.

I left the Church long ago, but I respect those who, having chosen to stay and fight, are sticking with it. We don't all have to make the same choices (unlike in pre-Reformation Christendom). People like the folks at New Ways Ministry deserve our respect for their perseverance. As it happens, they now have a sympathetic pope. But the College of Cardinals is packed with appointees of JPII and Benedict, and the conservatives have a lot of power. It is going to be a long struggle.

October 18, 2014

Pope Francis removes anti-gay Cardinal Burke from Vatican court

Pope Francis has removed the virulently anti-gay Cardinal Raymond Burke (interviewed above prior to this development) as prefect of the Holy See's Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's supreme court. Excellent news. Timmian Massie reports at NCRM:

American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a darling of conservative Catholics who is virulently anti-gay, has confirmed to BuzzFeed what rumors from Rome have said for weeks. He will be demoted by Pope Francis from the head of the Roman Catholic Church's version of the Supreme Court to a figurehead role as the Patron of the Knights of Malta, a chivalrous order known for its work among the sick....

Burke recently told an interviewer that legally-married gay and lesbian family members should be shunned from family celebrations during the upcoming holidays, asking “what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?”

Burke's strong criticism of a preliminary document that included more inclusive welcoming of LGBT community members in the life of the Church and his challenge to Francis, who is seen to have had a hand in the drafting of the document, were apparently the last straw for the Pope.

I am not a praying person, but if you are, please pray for the health and longevity of this pope. The cleanup job he faces rivals the Augean Stables.

October 17, 2014

Sen. Cruz attacks Mayor Parker over Houston Equal Rights Ordinance


The battle over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance continues, with Sen. Ted Cruz demagoguing (see video below) and the city clarifying its subpoena.

Arizona gets marriage equality


Good news from Arizona! Lily Hiott-Millis at Freedom to Marry reports:

Today, October 17, U.S. District Court Judge John Sedgwick ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Arizona in two federal legal cases that challenged the state’s anti-marriage constitutional amendment.

Attorney General Horne has said that he will not appeal the ruling meaning that marriage licenses could be issued as soon as today.

In celebration of hermaphroditic snails

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("Snail Shell on Keys" by Garry Gay)

In an update on my earlier post regarding the new snail species Aegista diversifamilia, Manon Verchot at Treehugger.com quotes me, including my new lyrics channeling Cole Porter:

Bi-curious whales do it, quails do it,
New hermaphroditic snails do it.
Let's do it, let's fall in love.

Below, though sadly without benefit of my special lyrics, Billie Holiday gives her rendition. Use your imagination.

Rick Scott, man without a fan

The Florida gubernatorial race has come down to a debate over whether an electrical appliance (specifically, a small fan) counts as prohibited "electronics" in a televised debate. If your house were on fire and someone said, "Grab the electronics!" I bet you would grab the laptop computer before a household fan. Just saying. In any case, the tagline of the day goes to the meme below.

Rickscotthasnofans

Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer dies

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Tim Hauser, founder of famed close harmony group Manhattan Transfer, has died at age 72. As a fellow former member of the Villanova Singers and Spires (though I never had the pleasure of meeting him), I tip my hat to our illustrious alum. Well done! I expect he is meeting another alum, Jim Croce, on the other side.

October 14, 2014

Love and snails

Snails
(Photo by Chih-Wei Huang)

Azeen Ghorayshi of the Guardian reports:

Researchers in Taiwan have taken the unusual step of naming a newly identified species of snail in recognition of same-sex marriage rights. Dubbed Aegista diversifamilia, the hermaphroditic species was so named to reflect the “diversity of sexual orientation in the animal kingdom”, said Dr Yen-Chang Lee, who co-authored the study published on Monday in the journal ZooKeys.

Today GLAA received the following media inquiry:

Hi,

My name is Manon Verchot, I am a journalist working at TreeHugger.com. I'm writing a piece about a new species of snail being named in celebration of same sex-marriage (http://bit.ly/1tZE2Jk) and I would love to get a statement from your organisation addressing what your thoughts are on this and what you think it means (if anything).

I will be publishing this piece Thursday morning, I would really appreciate it if you could get back to me before then.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Manon

I like to be helpful to members of the press, so I replied:

Manon,

It seems like a lovely tribute, though I am somewhat reticent because inevitably some confused social conservative will complain that the next thing you know, someone will want to marry his pet snail. As it happens, I have no pet snail, and do not wish to marry one. Thus what began so pleasantly ends up with my having to deny amorous feelings toward gastropods.

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

On a more serious note, those interested in the extensive examples of homosexuality that scientists have observed among animals should take a look at Biological Exuberance by Bruce Bagemihl.

Funding or Die

Well-deserved mockery of the Democratic fundraising emails many of us have been spammed with.

October 13, 2014

Roman Catholic Synod points to a pastoral shift on gays

Pope-Francis-arrives-at-the-Vaticans-Paul-VI-Hall-for-the-Synod-on-the-Family-Oct.-6-2014_Credit-Bohumil-Petrik-CNA-2 (Photo courtesy Denver Catholic Register)

Here are the relevant paragraphs from the bulletin issued today by the Synod of Catholic Bishops, which, as you will see, strike a more positive tone without being everything a self-affirming gay Catholic might have hoped:

Welcoming homosexual persons

50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

51. The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.

52. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

Read the bulletin here. New Ways Ministry welcomes the news. Thomas Reese at National Catholic Reporter writes, "Synod document offers new style of being church." (Hat tip for NCR article: Jonathan Rauch)

Continue reading "Roman Catholic Synod points to a pastoral shift on gays" »

October 12, 2014

Cardinal Burke – It is scandal to present homosexual uncle’s relationship to kids

Cardinal Raymond Burke spreads the love and understanding of Jesus Christ. Or Something.

It is disturbingly tone deaf, as well as brazenly hypocritical, for a prince of the Church to talk about protecting children from their gay uncle after decades of child abuse by Catholic priests and coverups by the Church hierarchy. All I can say is, work the cape, honey.

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(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)

On National Coming Out Day, a sad anniversary

NCOD

October 11 was National Coming Out Day. It was also the third anniversary of the death of our colleague and friend, gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny. Here is a link to my blog post on the night of Frank's death in 2011. Frank's voice remains with us, exhorting us, as he did in 1969, to assert our full rights as gay people:

It is time to open the closet door and let in the fresh air and the sunshine.

It is time to doff and to discard the secrecy, the disguise, and the camouflage.

It is time to hold up your heads and to look the world squarely in the eye as the homosexuals that you are, confident of your equality, confident in the knowledge that as objects of prejudice and victims of discrimination YOU are right and they are wrong, and confident of the rightness of what you are and of the goodness of what you do.

It is time to live your homosexuality fully, joyously, openly, and proudly, assured that morally, socially, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and in every other way: Gay is good.

POTUS_and_Kameny

Carl DeMaio's bizarre sexual harassment scandal

CNN reports. I confess I never thought that masturbation would come up in this campaign.

Gay Marriage Obstacles Fall in Conservative States

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(AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau, Brian Jones)

AP surveys the remarkable legal developments of the past week. Here's a portion:

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order Friday that appears to have cleared the way for gay marriages in conservative Idaho. Gay rights supporters are cheering in Boise as state officials were trying to determine when weddings might take place. At least one county clerk in Idaho began issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in North Carolina has struck down the state's gay marriage ban, opening the way for the first same-sex weddings in the state to begin immediately. The ruling follows Monday's announcement by the U.S. Supreme Court that it would not hear any appeals of cases before the 4th Circuit Court, which has jurisdiction over North Carolina.

As our opponents continue to make noise and talk about the downfall of civilization, it is good for us to savor the simple happiness and decency of so many families gaining legal protections and recognition that they never had before. In winning these battles, we are helping make America live up to its founding principles. This is not the end of the struggle for marriage equality, but it is a sweet moment.

Texas AG: gay marriage ban reduces out-of-wedlock births

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(Greg Abbott poses with 10 Commandments at state capitol. Photo by Jana Birchum, Getty Images)

Houston Chronicle reports on the brief that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for governor, filed with the Fifth Circuit on Friday in that state's fight against marriage equality:

Writing in a brief filed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, Abbott said the state was not obligated to prove why gay marriage might be detrimental to the economic or social well-being of Texans. It was only required to show how opposite-sex marriage would be more beneficial for its citizens.

“The State is not required to show that recognizing same-sex marriage will undermine heterosexual marriage,” the brief read. “It is enough if one could rationally speculate that opposite-sex marriages will advance some state interest to a greater extent than same-sex marriages will.”

Abbott may not be charged with contempt of court, but the contempt he shows for the court, the truth, and real families in his preposterous brief could hardly be more clear. It must at last be recognized: we are no longer talking about disagreements, but about lies. Desperate, insulting, cynical lies. Stopping me from marrying the man I love does nothing to advance any state interest. The notion that straight people's marriages are somehow devalued by allowed gay couples to wed should leave any decent and honest person's mouth agape. The final resolution of this nonsense cannot come soon enough.

Go Wendy.

October 10, 2014

GLAA candidate ratings ad for Nov. 4 election

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GLAA Revises Candidate Ratings for Bonds, Others

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013

For Release:
Friday, October 10, 2014

Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA Revises Candidate Ratings for Bonds, Others

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance has considered new information provided by several D.C. Council candidates in the November 4 general election, and adjusted the rating of each, as shown below. GLAA has a longstanding policy of reserving the right to re-rate candidates based on new information received during the campaign. GLAA ratings are on a scale of -10 to +10. GLAA does not make endorsements in partisan races.

Anita Bonds (Democratic At-Large incumbent, original rating +6, revised rating +7.5) added substance to her questionnaire and provided additional record information. Her recent LGBT-related record includes supporting Council member Cheh's successful effort to obtain nearly $1 million in additional funding for homeless LGBT youth; working with the Dept. of Corrections to institute a program offering voluntary HIV/AIDS/STD testing upon release from DC Jail; supporting legislation that expands the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana; working with Health Committee Chair Alexander to give authority to the Dept. of Health to administer $1.5 million in grants for HIV prevention and intervention programs in FY15; and supporting repeal of Prostitution Free Zones in the Judiciary Committee.

Kishan Putta (Independent At-Large candidate, original rating 0, revised rating +6) agrees with GLAA on nearly all the issues, and offered some substance. His record includes working in planning and executing DC Health Link outreach and enrollment; working to lift the outdated liquor license moratorium on 17th Street, NW; and testifying for the Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act.

Continue reading "GLAA Revises Candidate Ratings for Bonds, Others" »

Nobel Peace Prize for Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi

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(Photo by Andy Buchanan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

NYT reports:

Reaching across gulfs of age, gender, faith, nationality and even international celebrity, the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday awarded the 2014 peace prize to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India, joining a teenage Pakistani known around the world with an Indian veteran of campaigns on behalf of children.

At age 17, Ms. Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the $1.1 million prize since it was created in 1901. Mr. Satyarthi is 60.

A fine bit of news.