June 30, 2011

Deportation Cancelled on Binational Couple

by On Top Magazine
Gay couple Josh Vandiver and Henry Velandia say they're relieved that a federal immigration judge has canceled Velandia's deportation.
The New Jersey couple on Wednesday was informed that Velandia's deportation proceedings had been closed.
Velandia, a citizen of Venezuela who immigrated to the United States in 2002, married Vandiver, 30, in Connecticut last year.
Previously, the couple was told that because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples, the United States would not recognize the couple's marriage and would not allow Vandiver to sponsor his husband for citizenship, as a U.S. citizen in a heterosexual marriage would be allowed to do.
“I can start breathing now after so many months of fighting,” Velandia, 27, a salsa dancer, told The New York Times. “I was holding my breath for fear of any moment being sent away.”
The couple's attorney, Lavi Soloway, cheered the news.
This action shows that the government has not only the power but the inclination to do the right thing when it comes to protecting certain vulnerable populations from deportation,” Soloway told the Times.
The action underscores the Obama administration's evolving approach to DOMA. In February, the administration decided it would no longer defend the law in court because officials believe the law is unconstitutional, prompting House Republicans pick up where the Department of Justice had left off. Since then, the administration has taken an increasingly narrow interpretation of the law.
According to Soloway, the government dropped the case because Velandia's deportation “is not an enforcement priority at this time.”

Mark Haperin Calls The President a Vulgar Name Live on Joe MSNBC

VIDEO: MSNBC suspends analyst Mark Halperin for his comment made on Morning Joe.ABC News' Jon Garcia (@GarciaJon) reports:
“The comment that was made was inappropriate ("Obama is a dick"*).  It would be inappropriate to say that about any president of either party.  And on behalf of the White House I expressed that sentiment to executives at the network,” Carney said.  “I have no comment on that -- whatever action that network, any network, any newspaper or whatever might make and -- because that's not for us to decide, and we didn't -- certainly -- you know, we just expressed our concern about the inappropriateness of the comment.”Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked to respond to MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin’s use of off-color and vulgar language to characterize the president.  Halperin, who is Time magazine’s Editor-At-Large and a former ABC News Political Director, said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program that the President was being a “dick” during a press conference Wednesday.  Though the show’s host, Joe Scarborough, called out immediately for the comment to be bleeped, it went out on air uncensored.
Carney added that he didn’t think all the TVs in the West Wing were tuned into MSNBC all the time. “I think we mix it up,” he said.
Halperin immediately apologized on the air for the remark but was suspended indefinitely by MSNBC.
Obama’s campaign and long-time advisor David Axelrod told the Washington Post’s The Plum Line blog that “what (Halperin) said was obviously stupid and tasteless, and he exercised poor judgment. … I think he’d be the first to acknowledge that. I strongly disagree with his analysis. But I’ve known him for decades. he’s a decent person and a good journalist. I’m sure that no one regrets this more than he does,” Axelrod said.

June 29, 2011

Tracey Morgan Says Im Sorry to Gays & to The disabled: "They’re strong like chimps!”

Tracy Morgan: In trouble again? (Photo: Alex Erde)
by Jessica Geen 

After begging forgiveness for a series of anti-gay remarks, US comedian Tracy Morgan is under fire from disabled groups for joking about “retards”.

The 30 Rock star performed a gig in New York on Saturday, his first since the now-infamous Nashville gig where he said he would stab his own son if he came out as gay.
Morgan apparently steered clear of anti-gay material in New York, but reports say he
He allegedly said: “Don’t ever mess with women who have retarded kids… Them young retarded males is strong. They’re strong like chimps!”
In another remark, he talked about having sex with a “cripple” ex-girlfriend.
The chief executive of disabled charity The ARC, Peter Berns, told E! News: “Tracy Morgan should apologise immediately. This quote is far too offensive to be excused as comedy, and it is very hurtful to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
He added: “Mr Morgan has an incredibly powerful platform from which to fix this, and if he’s learned anything in the last few weeks, he can’t bomb this apology.”
After the Nashville gig, the comic visited a New York shelter to meet homeless LGBT teens.
He said: “I want to apologise to my friends, and my family and my fans and everyone in every community who were offended with this. I didn’t know. I didn’t mean it… I don’t have a hateful bone in my body. I don’t believe that anyone should be bullied or just made to feel bad about who they are.

Evolving Growth on National Marriage Equality Has Stopped Thanks Obama

News Analysis: Months after Obama announced he was ''evolving'' on marriage equality, the process has stalled

by Chris Geidner

In the past week, LGBT advocates, activists and analysts have found significant fault with President Barack Obama’s failure to endorse marriage equality – asking him to “evolve already.” For a former constitutional law professor who is himself the personification of the successes of civil rights advancements, the criticism is striking.
Obama speaks to GLBT invitees June 29Obama
It is, however, a self-inflicted wound, born of the path he has chosen to pursue. 
Obama opposes amendments that pull back equal marriage rights or add state constitutional restrictions on same-sex marriage. He believes that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act – the federal “one man, one woman” definition of marriage – is constitutionally indefensible. And, as he said in his speech before about 600 high-dollar donors at the LGBT Leadership Council Gala on June 23, “I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country.”
Yet, he has not said that he personally supports marriage between same-sex couples and the last time he spoke directly about the matter – inresponse to ABC's Jake Tapper at a presidential news conference held on Dec. 22, 2010 – he reiterated a previously stated position: “As I’ve said, my feelings about this are constantly evolving.” In fact, when asked on Wednesday, June 29, by The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler, Obama said, “I’m not gonna make news on that today.”
As with Obama’s similar earlier responses to AmericaBlog’s Joe Sudbay and formerAdvocate reporter Kerry Eleveld, the answer itself begs that the question be asked of him at regular intervals. 
When there is no evolution on that one remaining question, criticism is bound to follow – particularly if Obama wants to continue to be seen as a leader on LGBT equality issues.
Although such criticism is well grounded, some have gone further, attacking Obama’s recent comments agreeing with what some are calling a “states’ rights” argument that they say was used by segregationists in the past.
Unfortunately, those criticisms fail to appreciate the legal foundation on which Obama's comments are building, or the strength that Obama’s advocacy of deliberation provides for the house that marriage equality advocates have been building for decades.
“[F]or 230 years there was a system in place where for purposes of marital benefits at the federal level and marital protections and marital responsibilities, the federal government deferred to state determinations of marital status.”
This argument, made by Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, was a part of the case she successfully made before a federal judge in Massachusetts to explain why Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
It is, therefore, a key piece of the LGBT legal organizations’ advocacy that Obama is invoking when he said on June 23 that “part of the reason that DOMA doesn't make sense is that traditionally marriage has been decided by the states.”
What these critics of Obama's invocation of the states' role in deciding these issues fail to acknowledge is that, in encouraging decisions to be made at the state level, Obama is not suggesting that court action – even federal court action like the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8 – is not to be a part of that debate when necessary. He, in fact, included legal action in his June 23 speech, saying that states are “find[ing] the way forward” on the issue by “grappling” with it “in legislatures and in courts and at the ballot box.”
More importantly, these critics ignore the importance of Obama's decision four months earlier that sexual orientation classifications are to be subject to judicial “heightened scrutiny” – and, thus, are presumed to be unconstitutional. Obama telling Congress and the federal courts that he believes heightened scrutiny should apply to sexual orientation-based marriage discrimination is important – as was seen earlier this month when a federal bankruptcy court in California found Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional. 
When Obama said on June 23, “There’s deliberation about what it means here in New York to treat people fairly in the eyes of the law,” it must be understood in light of the Feb. 23 decision about heightened constitutional scrutiny. In his view, the U.S. Constitution limits how states can conclude that deliberation. Obama said as much at his news conference on June 29, characterizing the administration’s position before courts as being, “We think thatany discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgenders is subject to heightened scrutiny.”
That Obama wants public deliberation over marriage at all also is seen by some as a subject worthy of criticism. But, that position recalls the work of Evan Wolfson, who founded Freedom to Marry and, since 1993, has been pushing, as he told Metro Weekly earlier this year, “political organizing and public education and all kinds of other efforts outside of the courtroom” to help achieve marriage equality. It was the need for public education and discussion around marriage equality that led Wolfson to leave Lambda Legal and start Freedom to Marry.
Deliberation is a part of achieving, as Obama put it at the LGBT Gala, “change that is lasting.” Or, as another trailblazing politician, Barbara Jordan, put it 35 years ago next month at Madison Square Garden, “We are willing to suffer the discomfort of change in order to achieve a better future.” 
The “discomfort of change” is not just borne by those fighting or otherwise opposed to marriage equality – but also by those seeking the change, who must be willing to discuss and educate for far longer than seems necessary, about the reasons why same-sex marriage bans are not only constitutionally indefensible but also wrong for the country.
The discomfort also must be borne by Obama, who must be prepared to be questioned constantly – as he was on June 29 – about the status of his “evolution” until it is complete. Wolfson, looking at the various steps Obama already has taken, wrote this week, “[T]he President is now on the record as strongly against against the freedom to marry. The problem is he has not been forthrightly for the freedom to marry, and ‘against against’ just doesn't cut it from the President – morally or politically.”
Obama’s personal evolution has stalled at a time when the world – including Obama’s administration – continues to move forward. As Wolfson noted, Obama has said that – legally and politically – the arguments against same-sex marriage fail. Until he finishes “evolving,” however, his statements (and those of his press secretary) will continue – as in New York – to lack the soaring rhetoric for which he is known, because they will continue to be bogged down by technicalities required by his current position.
As Jordan – the first black woman from the South ever elected to Congress – said in that 1976 speech that took place midway between the location of Obama's June 23 speech and the Stonewall Inn, “More is required of public officials than slogans and handshakes and press releases.
“More is required. We must hold ourselves strictly accountable. We must provide the people with a vision of the future.”

Gay Marriage in New York Destroys 'The National Review'

As a PR Myself, Im Ashamed Over The Epidemic Against LGTB @ The US Territory

San Diego LGBT newspaper

Puerto Rico's Governor Luis Fortuno remains silent in the face of LGBT violence.
Puerto Rico’s LGBT community has suffered a devastating slew of murders in the last year and a half – some directly targeted, others so recent that shockwaves are still being felt throughout the island and beyond.
Besides the slain eighteen, countless other Puerto Rican LGBT individuals have faced attacks and discrimination as a result of their sexual orientation. But religious and political officials in the area have remained predominantly silent – a tactic that many advocates believe is connected to the anti-LGBT rhetoric common among Puerto Rico’s most vocal leaders.
Michael Lavers, a journalist for Colorlines, explains in a recent article that political figures including Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz and Governor Luis Fortuño have largely refrained from commenting on the virulently anti-gay statements offered up by Puerto Rican religious officials – influential individuals like the Rev. Wanda Rolon, who greeted singer Ricky Martin’s coming-out announcement by labeling the pop star “an ambassador from hell,” and Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez, who accused Martin of promoting the “aberration” of homosexuality.
Pedro Julio Serrano, a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force representative and founder of the island’s LGBT rights group Puerto Rico Tod@s, told Colorlines that, as a native Puerto Rican, the current state of anti-gay violence and subsequent fear and risk effecting the LGBT community is “wrenching.” Serrano explains that both Puerto Rican LGBT advocates and national leaders have called upon authorities to firmly and effectively address the hatred and danger sweeping through Puerto Rico; but despite support from New York congressional leaders and city council members, island officials consistently avoid either comment, media interaction or dialogue in the wake of each mounting act of violence against the LGBT community.
“When we have silence from the governor,” Serrano said, “ that is also implicit in the violence. The message that the heads of government are sending is that our lives aren’t worth it.”
Despite legal provisions for addressing both sexual orientation and gender identity-related hate crimes, activists like Serrano note that local security forces rarely enforce them. A recent meeting between LGBT activists, the Puerto Rican Attorney General, the Police Chief and other state prosecutors resulted in pledges to uphold prosecutorial protocol for hate crimes, and to train incoming officers in handling such violence in the future. However, real change will also require the governor’s cooperation – something Serrano hopes to achieve through ties to the police force and, if necessary, mounting pressure caused by increased publicity and public outrage.
As Serrano explained to Lavers, “the pressure is definitely working:” and despite the horrific ordeal undergone by many LGBT individuals and their families over the last eighteen months, people are finally  paying attention and, at last,  “things are moving forward.”
Posted by LGBT 

Anti GayTx GovRick Perry Asks Americans & a Hate group To Join in Prayer

 by Jon Bershad  

The country’s in trouble. A lot of trouble. Some people are throwing their hands in the air and giving up. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is clasping his hands together instead and asking God to fix all the problems we can’t (very different from giving up). A video of the Governor inviting Americans to join him at “The Response,” a daylong event filled with prayer and fasting hasgone viral this morning. Some have been decrying the Governor’s endorsement for its blurring of the line between church and state. And there’s also another problem that’s been bubbling up about the event; “The Response” is being funded by an organization that’s been certified by some as a “hate group.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the ongoing story, the group in question is the American Family Association and, ever since the event was first announced, critics in Texas and nationwide have been pointing out that Perry is joining up with an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as an anti-gay hate group. For instance, I checked out the AFA’s homepage today and read the second most recent news story entitled “Libs: not smart to remind us of homosexual pedophile John Wayne Gacy.” Oh, it’s about Michele Bachmann. Cool. Lets see what it has to say:
“But here’s the pit into which the left has fallen, the one they tried to dig for Ms. Bachmann. They are going out of their way to remind us of John Wayne Gacy, who was a homicidal homosexual pedophile who raped and murdered 33 boys and young men, most of whom he buried in the crawl space of his house. The rest he dumped off a bridge into the Des Plaines River.
So liberals, by going out of their way to snarkily remind us of John Wayne Gacy, are inadvertently reminding us of the clear connection between homosexuality and pedophilia, which isn’t the smartest thing they’ve ever done.”
Yeah, I guess you could say that’s a liiiiiiittle bit anti-gay.
I’m sorry. Was that snarky?
Anyway, while Perry’s video is fun and he’s charming in it (“Be part of something even bigger than Texas!”), there are quite a few things unsettling about the event this United States governor and possible presidential candidate is shilling.

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