Showing posts with label Gay Human Stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Human Stories. Show all posts

February 7, 2012

Dirty Harry has turned against the GOP

MSNBC host Chris Hayes, appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show. Screenshot via MSNBC.
Dirty Harry has turned against the GOP.   (By Stephen C. Webster)
That’s basically the message in last night’s episode of The Rachel Maddow Show, during which guest host Chris Hayes examined the popular Chrysler Super Bowl ad featuring Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood.
His conclusion: Eastwood’s sideways endorsement of the auto bailouts punches conservatives where it hurts — right in the Reagan.

President Ronald Reagan loved Eastwood and his Dirty Harry image, and even occasionally dropped Eastwood’s most famous movie lines in public. That’s because Eastwood’s popular tough-guy image played right into the Republican narrative that they were coming to reassert American strength after President Jimmy Carter had so “emasculated” the presidency.

Eastwood was even in an anti-drug commercial featuring Nancy Reagan, and did a number of other anti-drug spots on the Reagan administration’s behalf.
But now that Eastwood is singing a different tune, and praising one of President Barack Obama’s policies on an issue where his likely Republican challenger goes in the exact opposite direction,conservatives have been sent reeling.
“If you doubt the potential effectiveness of this message, if you doubt its political potency, all you have to do is look at the conservative backlash against the Clint Eastwood ad today,” Hayes said. 
The advertisement which stole the show during Super Bowl... with actor Clint Eastwood.
Talking point … Clint Eastwood denies his two-minute ad has a political message. ''It's about American spirit, pride and job growth.''
THE most talked-about advertisement of the Super Bowl did not have a supermodel, a cute puppy or a smart-aleck baby. It was a cinematic, two-minute spot featuring Clint Eastwood, an icon of American brawn, likening Chrysler's comeback to the country's economic revival.
And within 12 hours of airing, it became one of the loudest flashpoints yet in the early re-election campaign of the President, Barack Obama.
Conservative critics saw the ad as political payback and accused the car maker of handing Mr Obama a prime-time megaphone in front of one of the largest television audiences of the year. 

December 26, 2011

Quiet Dissent about The Salvation Army } Would there Ever be a Peace between Them Vs. Us?

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
Bil Browning organized a boycott of the Salvation Army kettles and thrift stores because of the organization's views on homosexuality.

 “The Salvation Army refused to help us,” Mr. Browning recalls, “unless we broke up and then left the ‘sinful homosexual lifestyle’ behind. We slept on the street, and they didn’t help when we declined to break up at their insistence.”

Bil Browning and his boyfriend were homeless. To protect the identity of the boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend), Mr. Browning will not say specifically where, just that it was in “southern Indiana,” about 20 years ago. But he is very explicit about who refused to give them shelter.
Mr. Browning’s boyfriend was wearing a “Silence = Death” AIDS pin on his jacket, which must have tipped off the Salvation Army worker. “He told us we needed to be saved,” Mr. Browning says. “If we were willing to attend church services, he could help. We would have to break up, only one of us could stay in the shelter, and if there was room for the other, he would have to be on the opposite side of the room, and we wouldn’t even look at each other.”
Now Mr. Browning, a writer and gay rights advocate, is using his blog to publicize a decade-old boycott of the Salvation Army. The boycott’s proponents say those who drop money into the Salvation Army’s ubiquitous red kettles at Christmastime, or shop in its thrift stores, often know little about the organization’s evangelical Christianity, its opposition to homosexuality, and its occasional attempts to influence public policy on gay rights.
On his Web site, Mr. Browning, whom the Christian magazine World recently called “the Red Kettle Menace,” encourages people to donate instead to other organizations, like the Red Cross or Doctors without Borders. When he passes by the red kettles, he sometimes drops in pieces of imitation money that he says have circulated among gay activists for about 10 years.
One version of the money looks like a real dollar bill, but its (obviously fake) denomination is three dollars, it carries a rainbow flag, and it bears the words, in small print: “When the Salvation Army ends its policy of religious bigotry and discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, then, and only then, will this be a real dollar bill.”
Greg Henchar, a Floridian who with his partner runs, a gay-friendly business directory, says he created the $3 bill a year ago. The blogger John Aravosis has published on his Web site a similar piece of red-kettle literature — he does not know who created it — that says “Voucher” across the top and begins, “This holiday season I am supporting organizations that do not discriminate in any way.” And about a dozen YouTube videos promote a Salvation Army boycott; the most popular, posted over a year ago, has been watched over 100,000 times.
The Salvation Army originated in a series of revival meetings led by the Methodist preacher William Booth in 1865, in the East End of London. Booth left the institutional church because he believed it did too little for the poor. Today, the Salvation Army operates in 122 countries, offering services including drug and alcohol rehabilitation, shelters and soup kitchens. Although Salvation Army missions lack many trappings of Christian churches — they do not offer communion, for example — they house nondenominational worship services, and their treatment programs rely on the Bible.
The Salvation Army’s “Position Statement” on homosexuality, found on its Web site, reads in part: “The Salvation Army does not consider same-sex orientation blameworthy in itself. Homosexual conduct, like heterosexual conduct, requires individual responsibility and must be guided by the light of scriptural teaching. Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life.”
The Salvation Army does not employ registered lobbyists, but its leaders have occasionally made news by meeting with government officials. In 2001, The Washington Post obtained a Salvation Army document that said the administration of President George W. Bush had promised to honor a Salvation Army request: that religious charities receiving federal money be exempt from local gay antidiscrimination laws. The day the request became public, the Bush administration said it was being denied.
And in 2004, in response to a City Council ordinance requiring that organizations with city contracts offer benefits to gay employees’ partners, the Salvation Army threatened to stop operating in New York City. In 2006, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg did not have to enforce the ordinance, which had been enacted over his veto; the Salvation Army never left New York City.
George Hood, a Salvation Army spokesman, said all revenue from Salvation Army thrift stores is used locally. But he said a small percentage of money dropped into the red kettles finds its way to Washington — where it helps to pay the salaries of politically active staff members like Mr. Hood. Every local unit pays 10 percent of its revenue to a state or regional division — there are 40 divisions in the United States — and every division pays 10 percent of its revenue to one of four national territories, each of which foots a quarter of the national budget.
In other words, of a dollar dropped into a red kettle in New York City, a quarter of a penny ends up at national headquarters, where conversations with the government — not lobbying, Mr. Hood says — may take place.
Despite the boycott, the red kettles have had three straight record years for fund-raising, Mr. Hood says. As to the complaint of discrimination based on sexual orientation, he says it is against Salvation Army policy. “If they were legitimate clients looking for food, they should have been helped,” he says of Mr. Browning and his ex-boyfriend.
In a statement sent by e-mail later, Mr. Hood adds that “gay couples are to be treated in the same way we treat heterosexual couples.”
“Whether they are provided overnight lodging,” he says, “is determined solely on capacity and availability of beds.” Most beds in Salvation Army shelters are for men, but the Salvation Army has “been going through a transition of facilities over the past several years to expand bed space for women and also to isolate some private rooms for couples, whether they be homosexual or heterosexual.”


December 17, 2011

Newt } Talks About Fines and Other Shingo For Unmarried Couples

Newt Gingrich on Thursday described the $300,000 he paid to resolve 1997 ethics charges as not technically a fine, said it is offensive to compare the civil rights movement to the battle over same-sex marriage rights, and called himself a Washington outsider despite his two-decade career as a congressman.
“I’m not trying to portray myself as an outsider, but look at the reaction of the establishment from both parties,” Gingrich said in an editorial board meeting with The Des Moines Register. “They think I’m an outsider because I am. I’m a person who has worked on issues for a very long time. I know the system very well, but I’ve always approached the system as somebody who wants to change it.”
Gingrich, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate, is the only U.S. House speaker to have been reprimanded for ethical wrongdoing. Of 84 charges against him, all but one was dropped. At the time, he acknowledged he brought discredit to the House by failing to ensure that financing for a college course and book did not violate federal tax law and by giving the House ethics committee false information. A subsequent Internal Revenue Service investigation determined there were no tax law violations.
On Thursday, Gingrich disputed the term “fined,” noting that the $300,000 he paid was to cover the costs for investigating the misinformation given to the committee. He said the misinformation came from a junior attorney working with a firm he had hired. He said he and his staff reviewed the information, but not thoroughly.
“I technically wasn’t fined. It aided the cost of the investigation,” Gingrich said in response to questions about whether he regrets paying the penalty.
Gingrich reiterated that he believes the investigation was partisan, noting that U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was on the committee. Statements earlier this month by Gingrich that the investigation was partisan were reviewed by both and PolitiFact, which found the claim false. Filing of the complaints was partisan, and the investigation came at a highly partisan time, found. But the investigation was not partisan, both organizations concluded. The eight-member House Ethics Committee was evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, and three of the four Republicans agreed with the Democrats to reprimand Gingrich.
“Look, we were at a point where the Democrats had made it clear that either they get a pound of flesh or this issue would go on for the entire term of my speakership,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich has advocated for a national constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage. A member of the editorial board stated that many residents of the South at the time of the 1960s civil rights movement objected to interracial marriage, and asked Gingrich to comment about possible parallels between the civil rights movement and today’s efforts to legalize same-sex marriage.
Gingrich said it is offensive to compare the two movements and that there is an enormous difference between “an inescapable fact of race” and same-sex marriage. Upon further questioning, he said he believes people are gay out of a combination of genetics and environment.
“People have many choices within genetic patterns,” Gingrich said.
— The Associated Press

December 6, 2011

Puerto Rican Human Rights Crime } LGTB to be Removed from Law Protection

                 (Washington Blade file photo)
Luis Fortuno
Gov. Luis Fortuño called the special session in to vote
 (by Michael Key)

Fotos de la internet

By Phil Reese 

Puerto Rico’s Conservative Senate President Thomas Rivera-Schatz is being accused of homophobia by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, after he worked with Gov. Luis Fortuño convened an extraordinary legislative session to vote on excluding LGBT people and Dominican workers from the commonwealth’s hate crimes statute, according to EDGE Media Network.
The statute, enacted in 2004, increases the punishment on bias crimes committed against people based on political affiliation, age and disability, however lawmakers last month approved a provision eliminating from the law sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ethnicity and religious beliefs.
“Basically they took out the communities hardest hit by hate crimes in Puerto Rico out of the hate crimes statute,” the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Pedro Julio Serrano told EDGE Media Network. “It’s an outrage and now we’re calling upon the House to restore this to where it should be.”

A federal DOJ spokesperson declined to comment to EDGE on the proposed 
 Since 2009 the island has been hit with an epidemic of anti-LGBT murders, according to EDGE Media Network. Serrano cited nearly two dozen unsolved murder cases, and Puerto Rico prosecutors have yet to get a single bias-crime conviction.
Taino Art

*****Facts about the Island:
Puerto Rico is an unincorporated organized territory of the United States, with commonwealth status; policy relations between Puerto Rico and United States are conducted under the jurisdiction of the Office of The President of the United States. Key words here are Territory and the President.  Which means the president has more authority in Puerto Rico than in any other Mainland territory (states) as it relates to policy. The US government never  likes to openly admit to that.  Even though Puerto Ricans are born citizens of the US they cannot vote for National US elections while residing on the Island. They most reside in one of the 50 states in order to vote for president. PR is not allowed to have any representatives or senators in Washington DC. 
Even though Puerto Ricans on the island are known to be jovial and friendly, with lots of customs from Spain and the age of the slave as well as the Taino Indians; they suffer from an old colonial custom known as machismo. "Macho”  Which means “Male" or "Man” 
That means that any kind of feminism coming from other than a woman is not tolerated. Gays have gotten a raw deal  with this erroneous perception being that just like I am gay and only my partner and the people I choose to tell know... and in my opinion most gay men are like that. However gays that might have femme traits, they are the ones that were tagged as gays or  “patos’ for walking with a swing like a duck or ‘Mariposa", delicate with bright colors. 
As we know that is only a generalization, but one that has clashed with the macho myth. Originally believing just like here on the mainland  that all gays are  like that and thus they would be easy targets to make fun of and in some cases more than just Fun. But it came the point that they were tolerated.
Now Putting that aside for a moment. Let me ad that the evangelical church has taken deep roots in Puerto Rico like it does in most poor countries and taught all of those that will listen that being gay is either more than a sin, but is a demonic possession.  These issues have made the Island more homophobic than most of the North Atlantic states. During the 70-80’s it was ignore or tolerated but AIDS with the Evangelicals change all that.         That is why this law was enacted there and in no other place in the north east is this law more needed. It is such a shame that these republicans with the religious right want to now exclude the people that need the law the most. Hope that better heads prevail. 
By the way I did say republicans. In PR you have 2 major parties like here and then a minority party the independistas (independents)  that want PR to have independence from the US. However the Democrats and the Republicans are mimics of the ones here. adamfoxie*

Adamfoxie* has written and posted about some of the heinous hate crimes in the island. You can do a search on the search bar above for Puerto Rico.

[Feel free to make your feelings known on the comment section. Just give the system time to check for bugs and spam. Sometimes it takes longer than others.] 

November 19, 2011

The omission of bi-national LGTB couples from recent guidance from the Obama administration is troubling

The omission of bi-national same-sex couples from recent guidance from the Obama administration is troubling advocates who fear the omission may mean LGBT families won’t be covered under new immigration policy.
The Department of Homeland Security issued guidance on Thursday to attorneys with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement detailing which undocumented immigrants could be deemed a low priority and taken out of the deportation pipeline.
The guidance is the result of the announcement from the Obama administration in August that it will conduct a case-by-case review of about 300,000 undocumented immigrants facing possible deportation. Those who have been convicted of crimes or pose a security risk will be a higher priority for deportation, while those who are deemed lower priority will be taken out of the pipeline.
Administration officials have said they’ll weigh a person’s ties and contributions to the community and family relationships in considering which immigrants are low priority, and these criteria would be inclusive of LGBT families.
According to the New York Times, the process for determining which immigrants could be taken out of the deportation pipeline began on Thursday.
But in the guidance spelling out the details for this review, no mention of immigrants who are in same-sex relationships with U.S. citizens is enumerated among the categories of people who are listed as those who could be considered low priority.
Categories that are identified as low priority include immigrants who had enlisted in the armed forces or those who came to the United States under the age of 16 and are pursuing a college degree. Such immigrants would be eligible for citizenship under passage of the DREAM Act.
Other categories deemed low priority are those who older than age 65 and have lived in the country for more than 10 years and those who have been the victim of domestic violence.
Steve Ralls, spokesperson for Immigration Equality, said the lack of explicit mention of bi-national same-sex couples “isn’t just deeply disappointing; it is also detrimental to LGBT immigrants and their American spouses and partners.”
“By declining to address, in writing, the unique circumstances surrounding those couples, DHS has left too much room for interpretation and left too many couples vulnerable to separation,” Ralls said. “There is no justifiable reason for exclusionary guidelines, and every reason to be explicit in clarifying that the administration believes LGBT Americans should not be forced apart from their husbands and wives.”
Despite the lack of explicit mention, the guidance identifies as another low category an undocumented immigrant “who has a very long-term presence in the United States, has a immediate family member who is a United States citizen, and has established compelling ties and made compelling contributions to the United States.” An immigrant in a same-sex relationship with a U.S. citizen may qualify in this category.
Ralls acknowledged that DHS may intend for bi-national same-sex couples to fall into this category, but said the language is too vague to ensure protections.
“The issue, however, lies in the fact that DHS does not say so in its written guidelines, leaving the definition of ‘immediate family member’ open to interpretation by DHS and ICE officers,” Ralls said. “That’s problematic because, without that explicit guidance, there is no documentation mandating that officers use an inclusive definition as they review pending deportation cases.”
Ralls cited as an example a Boston-area bi-national couple who were told by an immigration official they couldn’t qualify for relief under the new policy — even though they’re legally married.

Lavi Soloway, founder of Stop the Deportations, also criticized the Obama administration for the omission.
“The official — despite past press statements by DHS about the agency’s inclusive definition of family — declared they were under no obligation to offer discretion on the basis of the couple’s marriage in Massachusetts,” Ralls said. “As a result, the immigrant spouse is now facing deportation to a hostile, homophobic country in the Caribbean. Their case is a perfect example of the very real — and very dangerous — position couples are faced with when DHS relies on verbal instruction rather than written guidance.”
“It is disturbing that DHS continues to exclude LGBT families from its increasingly specific written guidelines on prosecutorial discretion in deportation cases,” Soloway said. “DHS telegraphs through its spokespersons that we are intended to be included within the phrasing ‘immediate family members’ or ‘family relationships,’ but there can be no justification for leaving this up to the imagination of individual ICE attorneys or deportation officers. Strong guidance on LGBT families facing deportation would ensure a uniform national policy and would do nothing to limit the exercise of discretion.”
A DHS official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said same-sex couples aren’t explicitly mentioned in the guidance because the Obama administration wants to cover both married and unmarried LGBT couples.
“One of the strongest reasons why we go with a family approach — focusing on the family relationship and not a marital relationship — is because we want to include individuals who are in long standing domestic partnerships so we can capture more same-sex couples,” the official said. “We used the term the family members largely so that domestic partnerships would be included in the standard.”
Asked whether 100 percent of foreign nationals in same-sex relationships with U.S. citizens would be taken out of the pipeline if they have no other factors weighing against them, the official replied, “When we exercise prosecutorial discretion, we’re limited by law and doing it on a case-by-case. So every case in unique; every case is different. I really couldn’t say 100 percent of any category is going to be saved from removal.”
The official added that in two similarly situated cases where one immigrant is an opposite-sex marriage and has no negative factors weighing him or her and another immigrant is in a same-sex relationship and has no negative factors weighing against him or her, both would “be treated equally under this policy.”
In a statement, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) also said he finds the lack of explicit mention of same-sex couples in the guidance unpalatable.
“I am very concerned by the administration’s failure to state in its written guidance to ICE attorneys, released today, that families of LGBT binational couples should be treated equally, like all other families in America,” Nadler said.
The lawmaker is the sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act, legislation that would enable gay Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for residency in the United States.
Nadler continued, “While I appreciate prior commitments by DHS that LGBT family ties will be taken into account in immigration enforcement decisions – and that this will be explained to ICE agents – without such a directive in writing, there is a serious risk that such families could be wrongfully divided. With the administration taking an otherwise positive step to make immigration enforcement fairer, it is extremely frustrating that families of LGBT binational couples remain at risk. I will be working to ensure that those families are also protected.”
The New York Democrat is among 69 House members who sent to a letter to the Obama administration in September calling for more explicit guidance that bi-national same-sex couples would be included in the new immigration policy.

November 16, 2011

Six Governors Urging Repeal of Defense of Marriage Act } DOMA

GoLocalProv News Team
Governor Chafee was among six governors to sign on to a letter urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
Chafee joins the majority of the Congressional Delegation in supporting the repeal. Only Senator Jack Reed has not offered his support.
The letter reads as follows:
Dear Chairman Leahy and Judiciary Committee Members:
As the committee considers the Respect for Marriage Act (S.598), we write as state and local leaders where marriage equality is recognized urging you to end federal discrimination against our citizens. Tens of thousands of loving and committed gay and lesbian couples have been strengthened because our states recognize their equal right to marry. These couples work hard, pay taxes and share the same values as other married couples but they are constantly hamstrung in their ability to protect themselves and their families because of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.
DOMA prevents any of the over 1,100 federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage from being afforded to same-sex couples or their families. These include Social Security survivor benefits, federal employee health benefits for spouses, protections against spouses losing their homes in cases of severe medical emergencies, the right to sponsor a foreign born partner for immigration, the guarantee of family and medical leave and the ability to file joint tax returns, among many others. While we are proud that our states have eased the burdens on families, these provisions of federal law are beyond our purview and Congressional action is required.
By denying federal recognition for some of our states’ lawful marriages, DOMA does not just deny married same-sex couples these and other critical rights and benefits. It disrespects our states’ decisions to treat all of our citizens equally, and even requires our states’ governments, when we jointly administer federal programs like Medicaid, to actively discriminate against our own lawfully-married citizens.
We also write because DOMA does more than just hurt gay and lesbian couples – it affects all of our constituents. First and foremost, it hurts the children of same-sex couples, who suffer from the financial instability DOMA creates for their parents. For LGBT youth, DOMA sends a dangerous message that that they cannot be full and equal citizens of their country. DOMA also harms parents and siblings and friends who must step in with financial and emotional support to mitigate these problems. And perhaps most of all, DOMA is a stain on our common values.
The federal government should not be in the business of picking which marriages it likes and which it does not, but that is exactly what DOMA does. We urge you to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and ensure that all families are afforded equal protections and equal dignity.

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