January 17, 2014
January 13, 2014
December 30, 2013
Not sure if it is 'hillbilly chic' and it makes liberals want give to the clench fist on behalf of the perceived 'working class' or if liberal are embracing the 'freedom of speech' mantra without really thinking it through..
What I do know when Paula Deen got hit hard for her totally inappropriate remarks and none of these liberals who are preaching to me about 'freedom of speech' spoke up for her right to speech.
Deen was kicked off the entire Food Network without a peek coming from those advocating Phil Robertson's freedom of speech The silence was deafening. By the way, she is still on the outside and blacklisted.
However, with good old fashion bigot Phil Robertson, progressives are defending him with a passion. Over the last weeks, I have had a number of entertainment industry people insist to me that this was a freedom of speech issue. Really? Do they really believe this stuff should be validated by the entertainment industry? Really?
While Robertson has said some anti-African American statements and advocated sex with underage girls so you can train them early, let's face the truth of the matter. There are simply two points that really count.
1. Homophobia is still acceptable if the dollars are right in the entertainment industry.
2. The reason he is back on the air is because of those dollars.
Never mind that tens of thousands of our young gay children will be watching the show and be devastated by the comments. In addition, they will see that there are absolutely no consequences to his comments.
In fact, A & E is on the verge of creating a monster that will come back and bite them in the ass. This man is going to feel like he is the new messiah of hate and far from backing down we will soon hear eeven worse statements from his mouth.
Ever time a person like that whips up the masses with his unquestionable hatred, others feel they have permission to beat up LGBT Americans or even shoot them. Hell, if Phil Robertson with his craziness, guns and homophobia is praised and protected then it must be right.
These reality shows were originally created to break the Writer's strike in Hollywood. The original participants in these shows were scabs. They are shows are cheap to produce and they became extremely popular with the masses. The very concept of these reality shows is that they are really not confined to the 'screen' and that characters act out in public their television personas. It is impossible to define when the show begins and when their personal lives take over.
No one has taken Phil Robertson's Freedom of Speech away. He is able to go any place in this country and spew his hatred. Even Fox News can highlight him since that is a place of opinion. However, no where in the Constitutional does the concept of Freedom of Speech guarantee a television show or a job.
If I was working for a company and said outside the work place that the boss was a pig and that the executives were all money grabbing whores, no one would yell free speech and demand that I shouldn't be fired. Nope. They were just say I was one 'stupid f**k and should have known better.
The same can be said of Phil Robertson. This wasn't free speech. This was harmful and hateful speech that will hurt a lot of people.
Shame on A & E, shame on any who support Phil Robertson and shame on any community organization that thinks progress has been made in this despicable episode of hate.
December 28, 2013
Benjamin Cosman of PolicyMic.com speculates that we could have marriage equality in all fifty states by the end of 2016. He writes:
The news: An 18th state just joined the ranks of those that allow same-sex marriage in the United States. Just one day after New Mexico became the 17th state to legalize gay marriage, a federal judge made Utah the 18th, ruling that the state's ban on same-sex marriages violated constitutional rights. After the weekend, on Monday, December 23rd, the same judge denied a request to place a hold on same-sex weddings.
Ohio, too, came a step closer to legalizing same-sex marriage on Monday. A federal judge ruled that state officials must recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates. While this doesn't overturn Ohio's ban on gay marriage, Judge Timothy Black came out pretty hard against the ban, calling it unconstitutional, which means more challenges to the law are sure to come in the future. Black's ruling gives them strong footing, meaning Ohio could become the 19th state sooner rather than later.
Why this matters: At the most obvious, this matters because there is now one more state that allows gay marriage. With Utah, almost 40% of Americans live in states where same-sex marriage is legalized. The higher that number goes, the bigger a deal it is.
But this most recent ruling is particularly important, I think, because of where it comes. I'll let one of Utah's most recent married couples explain:
"We expected Utah to be the last place we could get married," said Adam Blatter, who rushed with his partner to get a marriage license after the ruling last week.
You see, Utah is among the reddest of red states. According to Gallup, Utah is the fifth most conservative state in the U.S., and the most Republican state (the difference: ideological identification versus party identification). It is by far the most conservative state to legalize gay marriage so far. Granted, the state itself didn't legalize it — there wasn't a measure put to voters — but simply the fact that same-sex couples can legally marry in the most Republican state in the country is a big freaking deal. And a sign of just how far things have come — and where they're going.
The pace is picking up. Of the 18 states to legalize gay marriage, eight have come in 2013. Four of those came in the last two months of the year. Undeniably, the push to legalize same-sex marriage has gained momentum.
With Ohio on the verge — and Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Virginia not far behind — 2014 could see even more states legalize same-sex marriage than 2013, which would push the number of states with gay marriage to nearly half of the union. It seems the U.S. Supreme Court kicked something off with its decision on DOMA that has no intention of slowing down any time soon.
Which is a bit funny, because it goes along with something Justice Antonin Scalia said about same-sex marriage in the U.S. He compared the legalization of gay marriage to dominoes, saying that if one law based on moral grounds is ruled unconstitutional (like gay marriage), then it will be easy to knock down all moral laws (like laws against bestiality and murder). But really, one ruling for gay marriage isn't setting off a domino effect with other moral laws — it's setting off a domino effect with other laws banning gay marriage. The more states that legalize same-sex marriage, the easier it becomes for other states to do the same.
At the end of 2013, we have almost 20 states that allowed gay marriage. At the rate we're going, we might top 30 in 2014. And even more in 2015. Who knows — by 2016, we could have same-sex marriage legalized in every single state. One side clearly has momentum. And it's only going to increase from here.
December 26, 2013
That time of year has arrived for some personal lists and I am not immune from creating them! In fact, I love reviewing the year and measuring our enormous progress as a community.
1. The Supreme Court DOMA Decision
Without question one of the most historical moment in the history of the American LGBT community. Because of this decision, we have seen cases being filed all over America. Even more amazingly the courts are becoming activists in granting LGBT Americans their Constitutional Rights. No were is that more clear then the recent decision legalizing marriage in the state of Utah.
Also this case sealed Edie Windsor as the Rosa Parks in LGBT history and as "Person of the Year'. We could not have asked for a better person to file the DOMA case.
2. The Supreme Court Proposition 8 Decision
Another powerful decision from the United State Supreme Court which granted marriage equality to the largest state in America. Californians flocked to get married. While we wish it could be broader, coupled with the DOMA decision it changed LGBT history.
3. Russian Oppression of Their LGBT Citizens
The persecution of Russian LGBT citizens by both the government and Putin's Punks brought the plight of LGBT citizens around the round to the attention of the media, activists and governments.
4. Severe Penalties Being Passed Against LGBT Africans
The horror facing LGBT Africans is among the worse in the world. While not getting the attention of what is happening in Russia, the passage of severe laws against homosexuality is appalling. Uganda has just passed life imprisonment. Africa's largest country Nigeria also has passed outrageous laws against their LGBT citizens.
5. Marriage Equality Passes in More States
Marriage Equality swept the nation this year and we saw Minnesota, Illinois, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, New Mexico and now Utah all become marriage equality states.
6. Pope Francis Shifts From Social Issues
The impact Pope Francis shifting from social issues to economic issues can't be underestimated. His famous "Who am I to judge" statement was the beginning of the end of the persecution of LGBT citizens by the Catholic Church. We all have to pray for a long life for this Pope so his policies have time to take hold in the church and he is able to appoint lots of new Cardinals.
7. Prime Ministers Picked in Belgium and Luxembourg
Prime Minister Bettei with Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri
At one time to have an LGBT mayor was considered historical but now we have two Prime Ministers in Europe who are open. Iceland led the way but now it is simply no big deal.
8. Mayor Races Across The Country
Politically it was the race for Mayors that attracted the LGBT community's attention this year. We were successful in picking up a mayor in Seattle, re-electing one in Houston and being disappointed in New York.
9. President Obama Continued Advocacy and Appointments
The President has been relentless in advocating for freedom and justice for LGBT citizens not just in America but around the world. His appointments continue to amaze although we still are looking for that first LGBT Cabinet member! Nevertheless, appointments of Ambassadors to top tier nations like Australia, Denmark, Spain and the Dominican Republic is a real victory.
10. The Embrace Of The Democratic Party
LGBT Americans have been fully embraced by the Democratic Party especially after the DOMA decision. Only three Democratic United States Senators do not support marriage equality, the entire leadership of the Party is for it and the Democratic ticket in Virginia ran on it and defeated a hard line anti-LGBT ticket! Times have changed!
Runner-Up (Emerging Big Story for 2014): The Emergence Of LGBT Athletics and Allies
All over the sports worlds we have seen athletes come out of the closet. This was the year of Jason Collins and so many others. We still have yet to see an active player in football, basketball and baseball play in a game doing the regular season. Count on 2014 delivering on that milestone!
December 24, 2013
Alan Turing (First In Photograph)
In a stunning correction of an injustice, Queen Elizabeth has pardoned British genius Alan Turing who saved hundreds of thousands of British lives in World War II only to be rewarded with disgrace since he was a homosexual. Turing committed suicide in shame in 1952 after being convicted of 'gross indecency' for having sex with men.
NBC News reports on the pardon.
Queen Elizabeth II granted a rare "mercy pardon" Monday to Alan Turing, the computing and mathematics pioneer whose chemical castration for being gay drove him to suicide almost 60 years ago.
Turing was one of the leading scientific geniuses of the 20th century — the man who cracked the supposedly uncrackable Enigma code used by Nazi Germany in World War II and the man many scholars consider the father of modern computer science.
By the time he was 23, Turing had hypothesized what would become today's computers — the Turing machine, which could emulate any computing device or program. Almost 80 years later, Turing machines are still used in theoretical computation.
In 1950, Turing came up with the famous Turing Test to determine whether a computer can be considered to have attained artificial intelligence.
But Turing was also gay at a time when that was a crime in Britain, and instead of being hailed as one of the crucial figures in defeating the Nazis, he was convicted of "gross indecency" in 1952 for having had sex with a man.
"So at this Christmas there is nothing that could possibly be under my tree that will bring a smile bigger to my face than the hundreds of couple lining up with dignity to claim their God given freedom and celebrating this holiday by getting married. "
I came out 38 years ago and it was without question the best decision I ever made in my life. In some sense, the moment I came out is the moment that I started living life as a free man. Never in my wildest imagination 38 years ago did I believe I would live long enough to see many of the milestones that have been reached in the LGBT community long remarkable journey.
However, one that has brought a huge smile to my face is to see the same sex marriages taking place in the staunchly Mormon Utah.
While the courts will still have to render their opinions, a record number of marriage licenses were issued in Salt Lake City for one day. Over 300 couples applied for and received marriage licenses. Such mobs storming city halls to obtain marriage licenses hasn't been seen since the Great Valentines Day Revolution that took place in San Francisco in 2004 when 6,000 people waited in line for freedom.
The images are remarkable, moving and tear inducing. You can see some of them here.
Five counties shut down city hall to avoid granting such licenses which was in clear violation of the court order. In fact, it reminded me of city halls shutting down in the 1960's so they wouldn't have to register African-American voters. Jim Crow in some ways is alive and well in some counties in Utah.
Even the Mormon Church issued a statement, while opposing the decision, was somewhat tepid. Maybe they know that the proverbial fat lady has sung.
So at this Christmas there is nothing that could possibly be under my tree that will bring a smile bigger to my face than the hundreds of couple lining up with dignity to claim their God given freedom and celebrating this holiday by getting married.
Thank you Santa!
December 20, 2013
A brand new poll out today gives Ohio marriage equality advocates great hope of winning a potential ballot measure. As long as the voters realized that religious institutions are exempted, they overwhelmingly support marriage equality by 56% to 34%!
Ohio voted in 2004 for a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality by 62%. This is almost a complete turn around on the issue in just less than a decade!
BuzzFeed.com in an article by Chris Geidner reports:
Ian James, through his organization, Freedom to Marry Ohio, is releasing polling today that shows the 62-38 passage of the amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying has nearly reversed in the past nine years.
The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling of 1,011 Ohio voters from Dec. 6-8, 2013, concluded that 52% of voters would vote in favor of an amendment that “would allow two consenting adults to be married, so long as they are not nearer of kin than second cousins, are not currently married to someone, and no religious institutions will be required to perform or recognize a marriage.” Thirty-eight percent would oppose the amendment, and nine percent were undecided.
Of the 38% who would vote against the amendment, however, PPP asked a follow-up question: “This constitutional amendment protects religious liberties by allowing any house of worship, such as a church or synagogue, to refuse to marry a same-sex couple. Knowing this, if the election were held today, would you vote in favor of this amendment to the Ohio Constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry, or would you vote against it?”
More than 10% of those initially against the amendment said that information would change their vote to supporting the amendment, which brought the total support up to 56%. Five percent of those initially against the amendment moved into the undecided camp, bringing the total undecided to 10%. Eighty-four percent of those opposed did not change their position with that information, bringing the total opposition down to 34%.
Uganda and Nigeria Parliaments have passed new horribly anti-LGBT legislation. While the world is focused on Russia, the two nations have stepped up their campaign to imprison not only homosexuals but anyone who supports them.
In Uganda, while the death penalty has been removed from the new law, it requires life imprisonment for homosexuals who are 'repeat offenders'. The law also requires prison time for anyone supporting or advocating homosexuality in the nation.
In Nigeria, the legislation is waiting the signature of President Goodluck Jonathan.
As written it would sentence LGBT Africans to ten years in prison for just 'public displays' of affection. The legislation also outlaws any groups supporting rights for LGBT Africans and bans marriage equality. Anyone who attempts a same sex marriage would receive up to 14 years in prison and those who support such an attempt would be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
While Russia is important, these new laws make the Russians look like progressives.
A&E has joined the crowd in making money off people behaving badly. One network after another has given us these outrageous reality shows where people become famous by inappropriate behavior. So surely A&E couldn't be surprised that lead Duck Phil Robertson has gone on a anti-LGBT rant. Also lets us not forget his racism in the same article.
The situation with television is that it is increasingly impossible not to find some reality show on a dysfunctional family or stars doing their best to grasp there 15 minutes of fame by being more disgusting than any other of the cast members.
Now with the Ducks, we have a person who actively practices hate speech. Lets be clear about the remarks of Phil Robertson. It is indeed hate speech.
Mail Online has uncovered yet one more video (see it below) of his hateful conduct.
Astonishing video has emerged in which Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson attacks gay people as 'ruthless' and 'full of murder' - charging them as 'arrogant' and liable to 'invent ways of doing evil'.
Administering his deeply controversial views in the fervent manner of a preacher, the stark footage of Robertson, 67, sees him equate homosexuality with bestiality as he bellows that 'they bow down to birds animals and reptiles and each other and the first thing you see coming out of them is gross sexual immorality.'
Hectoring the friendly crowd of the Wild Game Supper at the Berean Bible Church in Pennslyvania, Robertson accuses gay people of dishonoring and degrading behavior asking the rhetorical question 'is this going on in America right now?'- answering with the statement, 'Look around...boy, is there some immorality going on around here!'
Does taking him off the show silence his ability to free speech?
Nope, it most certainly does not.
He is still allowed to go anywhere in the country and be this week's hero to those who hate gays, spout off his twisted beliefs and practice his religion. Hell, he can do it everyday of his life. No right to free speech has been taken from him. Robertson is a free man and most certainly has a right to his views.
However, television should be a hate free zone.
When a person engages in such obvious hate speech it is the obligation of the networks to ensure they are not giving this person a platform to lean credibility to his hateful words.
Millions of people including children think the Ducks are cute and funny. That is not for me to decide. What should not be the case is that the children watching the show think that someone can be so hateful and find public acceptance on our airwaves.
Finally, use my favorite test. If he had attacked Jewish Americans or African Americans in the same way, do you think we would be even having this debate?
Robertson does not belong on the air by a respectable network as a star with credibility. He is a hateful man.