The state of New York has a proud legacy as the progressive capital of the nation, and that is more important today than ever before. As New Yorkers, we have fundamentally different philosophies than what Donald Trump laid out in his campaign.
So let me be absolutely clear: If anyone feels that they are under attack, I want them to know that the state of New York – the state that has the Statue of Liberty in its harbor – is their refuge. Whether you are gay or straight, Muslim or Christian, rich or poor, black or white or brown, we respect all people in the state of New York.
It’s the very core of what we believe and who we are. But it’s not just what we say, we passed laws that reflect it, and we will continue to do so, no matter what happens nationally. We won’t allow a federal government that attacks immigrants to do so in our state.
We are a state of immigrants. We are the state that raised the minimum wage to $15. We are the state that passed Paid Family Leave. We are the state that passed marriage equality. We are New York, and we will stand up for you. And on that, I will never compromise. Count on it.
According to a 2012 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than one third of Americans still believe that sexual orientation can be changed. This study was brought to light recently when New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie signed a ban on gay conversion therapy.
This study is a sobering reminder to how far America still has to go in LGBT acceptance and understanding. As a country we are hearing all the wonderful news about states adopting same-sex marriage rights, but still in 2013 only slightly over half of all Americans believe that sexual orientation cannot be changed.
While 36% of Americans still believe that sexual orientation can still be changed, this is an improvement from 10 years ago where 42% believed that orientation could be changed.
Over the past decade the percentage of white evangelical Protestants and black Protestants who consider homosexuality sinful has remained relatively stable, according to Pew Research Center studies. Among white evangelical Protestants, 78 percent still consider homosexual activity a sin, as do 79 percent of black Protestants. The percentage of black Protestants opposed to homosexual behavior actually rose slightly during the last 10 years.
Even with President Obama’s evolution on marriage equality, many from both sides of the political fence doubted that his administration would intervene the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and Prop 8 court cases to be heard by the Supreme Court. Well, as reported by Buzzfeed, today President Obama and his administration formally challenged that idea by releasing a brief arguing how DOMA is unconstitutional.
The first thing the administration argues is the use of “husband/wife” and how “Marriage” would be federally defined as between as one man and one woman:
Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.
The administration also addresses how making sexual orientation a factor in marriage that such a law would be discriminatory:
To the extent sexual orientation may be considered to fall short in some dimension [to have heightened scrutiny applied], the history of discrimination and the absence of relation to one’s capabilities associated with this particular classification would uniquely qualify it for scrutiny under an approach that calls for a measure of added focus to guard against giving effect to a desire to harm an “unpopular group.”
In addition, the administration also opposes the Republican-backed Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), who argues that this is not for the Supreme Court to decide:
BLAG makes an appeal to this Court to allow the democratic process to run its course. That approach would be very well taken in most circumstances. This is, however, the rare case in which deference to the democratic process must give way to the fundamental constitutional command of equal treatment under law. Section 3 of DOMA targets the many gay and lesbian people legally married under state law for a harsh form of discrimination that bears no relation to their ability to contribute to society. It is abundantly clear that this discrimination does not substantially advance an interest in protecting marriage, or any other important interest. The statute simply cannot be reconciled with the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. The Constitution therefore requires that Section 3 be invalidated.
As a result, do you think that having the input from the Obama administration will actually sway the supreme court justices in striking down DOMA? And does this mean that President Obama will also address ENDA and fight for a measure to protect LGBT in the workforce? It’s possible, especially with the talk that he was going to address this in his State of the Union speech earlier this month. Let’s hope that these steps are just the beginning.
I have a chip on my shoulder against Freedom To Marry, the organization which “campaigns for the right of same-sex couples to marry in the United States”. That is unless you live in a throwaway state like Ohio or North Carolina where Freedom To Marry totally screwed the LGBT community, because they think that they might not win so it’s a waste of money and time and not worth the effort.
You see earlier in the year “Ohio Freedom to Marry” (no relation) won approval from Ohio’s Ballot Board to move ahead on a proposed amendment legalizing same-sex marriage. Which is a long shot yes. But is worth a try never the less. But Freedom to Marry, the nation’s largest group devoted to the issue of marriage equality, told the Gay People’s Chronicle that it wouldn’t support the effort. because “Ballot measures are expensive and we need to do years of groundwork, hit benchmarks, and get the state to where we can win,”
But I am sure they never said that to the people of Ohio, North Carolina or Maryland who donated money to FTM in the past that their help was conditional to if it was easy to pass same sex marriage in that state..
So without National Freedom to Marry’s backing, The Human Rights Campaign also refused to back it, and then in typical Gay Inc. style even Equality Ohio did a 360 and went from supporting the ballot initiative to refusing to back it. (They just had to be in with the A Gay Inc’s after all)
While the numbers seems bad. Thats a 10 POINT JUMP from a similar poll taken 9 months ago in October 2011.
Democrats’ support increased from 46/41 support to a 54/30 majority, and Independents have shifted from opposition (32/51) to support (42/38). A small sample of black voters shifted vastly from opposition (16/63) to support (42/35). And while favor on the issue of marriage may be below average, 66 percent of Ohio voters do support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, such as civil unions.
A 10 point jump with no help in 9 months. Imagine what the jump would have been with help and support from Freedom To Marry and the Human Rights Campaign?
In the end when we win same-sex marriage rights in Ohio. And we will. I want to put Freedom to Marry, the Human Right Campaign, and Equality Ohio on notice right now if they try to seek credit for any victories.
You turned your backs on us when we needed you the most and it won’t be forgotten. And while some may be nice enough not to call you out in “polite company”.
Remember. I’m not that polite.
(Oh and btw. More people read this blog than you think)
A random polling of Progressive and Democrat attendees at this years Netroots Nation in Providence, Rhode Island uncovered some shocking statistics as 8 out of 10 of those polled could not answer the simple question “What Is ENDA?”
The (unscientific) poll taken by this site BackStonewall.com randomly asked this question to a random sampling of attendees over the four days of Netroots Nation and a mind boggling 80 percent of them did did not know what ENDA (The Employment Non-Discrimination Act) was. Even more shocking was the fact that many were under the belief that LGBT employment discrimination protections were already in place under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and all were unaware and disgusted when they learned that ENDA has been stalled in Congress for over 20 years and LGBT Americans can still be fired for simply being who they are.
Now this is disheartening news to say the least. Especially since this question was asked to a group of actively involved political progressive and democrats.
So the question needs to be asked: “Why didn’t such a large percentage of Netroots Nation attendees know what ENDA is?
A few people I’ve talked with about the results blame the acronyms and names of the LGBT bills that we put forward for lack of recognition. I could actually agree with that if not for the fact that we’ve had over 20 years to get use to the acronym ENDA.
My answer is much simpler. We have a huge problem informing the “general population” of our issues because we have become very myopic on the issues that we do push.
Our biggest issue is not same sex marriage as some may lead you to believe. Same sex marriage is not the do all, and end all of LGBT equality issues. We lay other, more important issues to the wayside as if we cannot concentrate on more than one issue at one time. What are we Congress?
Same sex marriage while important only benefits those who some day would like to get married where in LGBT employment discrimination effects everyone in our community.
Secondly I can almost a guarantee you that at least 9o percent of the traffic of Back2Stonewall.com is of an LGB make up, as it most probably is any of the popular blogs, LGBT new sites, papers, magazines and even Sirus XM’s Michelangelo Signorile’s radio show. Which is one of our biggest problems. We literally preach to the choir. We know what ENDA is.
And while many of our major LGBT organizations do try to get our issues coverage on the national news outlets. CNN, MSNBC, etc. Lets face it, these news outlets are almost like fast food joints. It comes down to a sound-byte which is not very filling and has little to no detailed information of the issue at hand. And the networks are really only interested if they can counterpoint it with anti-gay hate group leaders who spread hateful lies and propaganda that the networks don’t even bother to fact check.
We must all start spreading the word outside of our community and to news sources that people seek out because they are interested issues. AlterNet, TruthOut, The Political Carnival, and progressive radio shows such as The Stephanie Miller Show and The Progressive to name a few. Outlets that reach out further than LGBT audience to those who seek out and want to learn about political issues and who will truly embrace us and help us if we inform and educate them.
While we preach to ourselves, and pass up these opportunities to inform and educate others in independent venues that are far more accessible to us than the major news outlets our enemies aren’t missing a beat promoting their hate, lies and propaganda in any venue possible.
Two gay men from the Czech Republic have rocked the porn world recently, not just because they are twin brothers, but because they are lovers.
Elijah and Milo Peters, 22 year old twins, are a well known feature of the porn site Bel Ami for their “twincest”.
“My brother is my boyfriend, and I am his boyfriend,” one of the twins tells Salon.com in a phone interview from Prague. The writer notes that the two sound so much a like, it’s impossible to tell who’s who. “He is my lifeblood, and he is my only love.”
Clearly there is something fundamentally tempting about the twins; after all many would state ‘what’s the only thing better than having a hot man infront of you? Having two hot men infront of you!’ And Bel Ami have certainly reaped the benefits of the world’s desire to see this twincest in action: traffic to the company’s website has doubled since the twins first started appearing in 2009.
But once you’ve gotten over the intrigue, and the eroticness of two beautiful Eastern-European men together, you may well come down from the dizzying hedonism and ask yourself about the morality of it all. Now, I’m certainly not here to lecture you on your morals and values (not least of all because I’m somewhat undecided myself) so instead I wish to put the question to you – see the poll below.
Is incest fundamentally wrong?
Or, are morals around incest not really morals at all, but merely socially inflicted ethics (which can therefore be molded, changed, justified)?
Do the “morals” of incest relate only to the heterosexual world? Are these social norms constructed purely around the biological reasons against siblings conceiving a child?
Therefore, I pose this question to you, and welcome any comments or justifications to your response:
Note: the Peters brothers aren’t the first twins to make a go of it together in porn, but they look to be the first managing to make a success of it.
And the twins say they have no intention of quitting any time soon. “We want to keep making videos for Bel Ami for the next 50 years”.
p.s. Does anyone else really love their names? (who am I kidding, none of you are focusing on the aesthetics of their NAMES here)
Well the nominees are in. Good? Bad? Indifferent? Below are the list of nominees as well as polls for each of the categories. Please vote, and if you feel something or someone else should’ve been nominated, please include that in the comments section.
“The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer
“The Descendants” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Scott Rudin, Producer
“The Help” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
“Hugo” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
“Midnight in Paris” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
“Moneyball” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
“The Tree of Life” Nominees to be determined
“War Horse” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
*Take the rest of the Poll and vote for your favotite Nominees by clicking the READ MORE button below to open the full page!
We’re already into Season 2 of the Walking Dead and despite the fact that almost every they have had a huge cross section of characters there still has not been one gay character introduced into the bunch of survivors. (That is unless Andrea is a Lesbian and we don’t know it yet but really we don’t want her.)
So lets imagine The Walking Dead differently and YOU are a gay survivor, and not to be misogynistic all the women are gone opening a door to lets say some SERIOUS male bonding.
Which of the characters below would you choose to be your Zombie Apocalypse Fuck Buddy?
* Sheriff Rick Grimes – Square jawed, furry chested, and loyal as the day is long. Leads with his heart and not his head and will walk through hell and back for you.
* Shane Walsh – Dark, broody and willing to cross the line. Shane is no nonsense and straight to the point. He’ll do what needs to be done to survive and has a body that would put an Abercrombie model to shame.
* Daryl Dixon – Rough trade trailer park survivalist Not the handsomest of the bunch but with a little spit and polish he’d clean up nice. Not afraid of the hard jobs. Plain spoken and rough around the edges. Daryl’s an expert with his ehm, arrow.
David Mixner, a longtime gay and anti-war advocate has called upon the Human Rights Campaign the largest LGBT Equal Rights Group in the country to hold several town hall meetings in cities reflective of LGBT community before hiring a new executive director to replace Joe Solmonese who will be leaving his position as executive director at the HRC next month.
Who they select as their next president is not only important to the continued health and well-being of the organization, but it impacts the entire LGBTcommunity.
There is no question that they will proceed with a professional search for their new leader. They will hire an Executive Search firm, consult with their Board members and I am sure many others in their vast network.
However wouldn’t it be both really smart and also genuinely a right move if they held town meetings where anyone can come and express where they think the organization needs to go at this stage of history? They could pick out six locations that would be sure to be reflective of all segments of the community from rural areas to large cities.
Yes, I know that at times it will require enormous patience for the panel listening to the suggestions. There are those who’ll attend the town meeting to simply express anger. Also there will be a significant number of people eager to express their needs, constructive frustrations and some with amazing ideas. Listening is not hard and if the Board members listen carefully, they will find additional information that could make their next selection of a leader a wise and respected choice ready to tackle the future challenges that face us all.”
Mixner has an excellent idea. One of the major problems under Solmonese’s reign has been the fact that the HRC does not listen to or share information with the community that it represents. To get feedback on a new leader, (which was desperately needed) and in what direction the community wants HRC to go in is desperately needed to mend the split between the two.
As for Joe Somonese himself. Personally I say good riddance to bad botoxed rubbish.
Lets hope this time the HRC picks an executive director this time who has precious LGBT advocacy experience and who actually has a backbone and the passion and the sense of urgency needed to play hardball for us so we can make the gains quicky for the FULL Equality that we deserve.