Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘gay’ Category

One more step, albeit small, towards equality.

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post staff writer
Thursday, April 15, 2010; 8:08 PM

President Obama on Thursday signed a memorandum requiring hospitals to allow gays and lesbians to have non-family visitors and to grant their partners medical power of attorney.

The president ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation. The memo is scheduled to be made public Friday morning, according to an administration official and another source familiar with the White House decision.

An official said the new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding.

The decision injects the president squarely into the debate over gay marriage by attempting to end the common practice by many hospitals of insisting that only family members by blood or marriage be allowed to visit patients.

Gay activists have argued for years that recognizing gay marriages would ease the emotional pain associated with not being able to visit their partners during a health crisis.

By contrast, opponents of gay marriage have said the visitation issue is a red herring, and have argued that advocates want to provide special rights for gays and lesbians that others do not have.

The memorandum from Obama to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, made public late Thursday night, orders new rules that would ensure hospitals “respect the rights of patients to designate visitors.”

Obama says the new rules should require that hospitals not deny visitation privileges on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides whether in a sudden medical emergency or a prolonged hospital stay,” Obama says in the memo.

Affected, he said, are “gay and lesbian American who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives — unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated.”

Obama’s actions are the latest attempt by his administration to slowly advance the agenda of a constituency that strongly supported his presidential campaign.

In his first 15 months in office, Obama has hailed the passage of hate crime legislation and hosted the first gay pride day celebration at the White House. Last month, Obama’s top military and defense officials testified before Congress in favor of getting rid of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the military.

But the moves have been too slow for some in the gay community, who have urged the president to champion their causes head-on. One prominent gay blogger, John Aravosis, wrote last October that Obama’s “track record on keeping his gay promises has been fairly abominable.”

Read Full Post »

I love these stories. It is hard for all of us to come out yet these people act holier than thou until they are forced into coming out. Karma is a bitch.

Roy Ashburn, California State Senator, Says He’s Gay After DUI Arrest

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Republican state Sen. Roy Ashburn said Monday he is gay, ending days of speculation that began after his arrest last week for investigation of driving under the influence.

Ashburn, who consistently voted against gay rights measures during his 14 years in the state Legislature, came out in an interview with KERN radio in Bakersfield, the area he represents.

Ashburn said he felt compelled to address rumors that he had visited a gay nightclub near the Capitol before his DUI arrest.

“I am gay … those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long,” Ashburn told conservative talk show host Inga Barks.

The 55-year-old father of four said he had tried to keep his personal life separate from his professional life until his March 3 arrest.

“When I crossed the line and broke the law and put people at risk, that’s different, and I do owe people an explanation,” he said.

Ashburn was arrested after he was spotted driving erratically near the Capitol, according to the California Highway Patrol. Shelly Orio, a spokeswoman from the Sacramento County district attorney’s office, said a breath test showed the senator’s blood-alcohol level was .14 percent, or .06 points above the legal limit.

The next day, reports surfaced that Ashburn had left Faces, a gay nightclub, with an unidentified man in the passenger seat of his Senate-owned vehicle.

“The best way to handle that is to be truthful and to say to my constituents and all who care that I am gay,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s something that has affected, nor will it affect, how I do my job.”

Ashburn had been on personal leave since his arrest, but attended Monday’s brief Senate session, where he avoided the media. Fellow lawmakers greeted him warmly, and he received pats on the back and hugs from some Republicans and Democrats.

Ashburn has voted against a number of gay rights measures, including efforts to expand anti-discrimination laws and recognize out-of-state gay marriages. Last year, he opposed a bill to establish a day of recognition to honor slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

Equality California, a group that advocates for expanded gay rights and other issues, has consistently given Ashburn a zero rating on its scorecard.

The group’s executive director, Geoff Kors, said Monday that he hopes the senator’s revelation will lead him to change his voting patterns.

“He’s still the same person, only living more honestly,” Kors said. “I hope his own self-awareness will result in him no longer voting to deny people the most basic rights.”

Ashburn said his votes reflected the way constituents in his district wanted him to vote, not necessarily his own views.

“I felt my duty – and I still feel this way – is to represent my constituents, not my own point of view, not my own internal conflict,” he told Barks.

Ashburn said he planned to continue voting on behalf of what he sees as the majority viewpoint in his district, which includes parts of Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino counties.

Former state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, an openly gay Democrat who was visiting the Capitol Monday, said she hopes Ashburn receives support, not condemnation, from his friends, family and constituents.

“It’s very painful,” she said of the coming-out process. “And mostly it’s painful because you think everyone will be against you.”

In the radio interview, Ashburn said he is drawing on his Christian faith, and he asked people to pray for him.

He said he does not plan to run for any public office after his term ends this year.

Read Full Post »

Should political donors be disclosed? I certainly believe so, but since there are some that have faced pressure for their contributions to pro-8 groups, these two individuals below feel that they should not face actions for supporting the removal of rights. I love that some people just cannot understand the need for people to take responsibility for their actions. What a load of crap from the Wall Street Journal:

Donor Disclosures Has Its Downsides

Supporters of California’s Prop.8 have faced a backlash.

By John R. Lott Jr. and Bradley Smith

How would you like elections without secret ballots? To most people, this would be absurd.

We have secret balloting for obvious reasons. Politics frequently generates hot tempers. People can put up yard signs or wear political buttons if they want. But not everyone feels comfortable making his or her positions public — many worry that their choice might offend or anger someone else. They fear losing their jobs or facing boycotts of their businesses.

And yet the mandatory public disclosure of financial donations to political campaigns in almost every state and at the federal level renders people’s fears and vulnerability all too real. Proposition 8 — California’s recently passed constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage by ensuring that marriage in that state remains between a man and a woman — is a dramatic case in point. Its passage has generated retaliation against those who supported it, once their financial support was made public and put online.

For example, when it was discovered that Scott Eckern, director of the nonprofit California Musical Theater in Sacramento, had given $1,000 to Yes on 8, the theater was deluged with criticism from prominent artists. Mr. Eckern was forced to resign.

Richard Raddon, the director of the L.A. Film Festival, donated $1,500 to Yes on 8. A threatened boycott and picketing of the next festival forced him to resign. Alan Stock, the chief executive of the Cinemark theater chain, gave $9,999. Cinemark is facing a boycott, and so is the gay-friendly Sundance Film Festival because it uses a Cinemark theater to screen some of its films.

A Palo Alto dentist lost patients as a result of his $1,000 donation. A restaurant manager in Los Angeles gave a $100 personal donation, triggering a demonstration and boycott against her restaurant. The pressure was so intense that Marjorie Christoffersen, who had managed the place for 26 years, resigned.

These are just a few instances that have come to light, and the ramifications are still occurring over a month after the election. The larger point of this spectacle is its implications for the future: to intimidate people who donate to controversial campaigns.

The question is not whether Prop. 8 should have passed, but whether its supporters (or opponents) should have their political preferences protected in the same way that voters are protected. Is there any reason to think that the repercussions Mr. Eckern faced for donating to Prop. 8 would be different if it were revealed that instead of donating, he had voted for it?

Indeed, supporters of Prop. 8 engaged in pressure tactics. At least one businessman who donated to “No on 8,” Jim Abbott of Abbott & Associates, a real estate firm in San Diego, received a letter from the Prop. 8 Executive Committee threatening to publish his company’s name if he didn’t also donate to the “Yes on 8” campaign.

In each case, the law required disclosure of these individuals’ financial support for Prop. 8. Supposedly, the reason for requiring disclosure of campaign contributions is to allow voters to police politicians who might otherwise become beholden to financiers by letting voters know “who is behind the message.” But in a referendum vote such as Prop. 8, there are no office holders to be beholden to big donors.

Does anyone believe that in campaigns costing millions of dollars a donation of $100, or even $1,000 or $10,000 will give the donor “undue” influence? Over whom? Meanwhile, voters learn little by knowing the names and personal information of thousands of small contributors.

Besides, it is not the case that voters would have no recourse when it comes to the financial backers of politicians or initiatives. Even without mandatory disclosure rules, the unwillingness to release donation information can itself become a campaign issue. If voters want to know who donated, there will be pressure to disclose that information. Possibly voters will be most concerned about who the donors are when regulatory issues are being debated. But that is for them to decide. They can always vote “no.”

Ironically, it has long been minorities who have benefited the most from anonymous speech. In the 1950s, for example, Southern states sought to obtain membership lists of the NAACP in the name of the public’s “right to know.” Such disclosure would have destroyed the NAACP’s financial base in the South and opened its supporters to threats and violence. It took a Supreme Court ruling in NAACP v. Alabama (1958) to protect the privacy of the NAACP and its supporters on First Amendment grounds. And more recently, it has usually been supporters of gay rights who have preferred to keep their support quiet.

There is another problem with publicizing donations in political elections: It tends to entrench powerful politicians whom donors fear alienating. If business executives give money to a committee chairman’s opponent, they often fear retribution.

Other threats are more personal. For example, in 2004 Gigi Brienza contributed $500 to the John Edwards presidential campaign. An extremist animal rights group used that information to list Ms. Brienza’s home address (and similarly, that of dozens of co-workers) on a Web site, under the ominous heading, “Now you know where to find them.” Her “offense,” also revealed from the campaign finance records, was that she worked for a pharmaceutical company that tested its products on animals.

In the aftermath of Prop. 8 we can glimpse a very ugly future. As anyone who has had their political yard signs torn down can imagine, with today’s easy access to donor information on the Internet, any crank or unhinged individual can obtain information on his political opponents, including work and home addresses, all but instantaneously. When even donations as small as $100 trigger demonstrations, it is hard to know how one will feel safe in supporting causes one believes in.

Mr. Lott, a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland, is the author of “Freedomnomics” (Regnery, 2007). Mr. Smith, a former Federal Election Commission commissioner, is chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics and professor of law at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

Read Full Post »

I work form home so I wouldn’t be missed. However, not answering calls and emails would definitely be noticed. Does it matter that I am not out at work lol?

—–

The HR office has probably never encountered this before: People across the country are being urged to skip work Wednesday after calling in “gay.”

The loosely organized protest, called “Day Without a Gay,” is intended as a statement against California’s ban on same-sex marriage, along with other political developments considered anti-gay.

Some are calling for a boycott of all economic activity to highlight the gay community’s financial power. Others want gays and lesbians to spend the day volunteering for worthy causes to demonstrate their compassion, which could win new sympathy to their cause.

In Chicago, the Gay Liberation Network has called for an 11 a.m. rally outside the County Building, 118 N. Clark St., to call for granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Network co-founder Andy Thayer said he didn’t expect people to actually “call in gay,” but added that “many people will find one way or the other to not be in work that day, because we’re sick of being treated like second-class citizens.”

The motto has stirred a tempest of online debate about the wisdom of skipping work during a recession. Sean Hetherington, a West Hollywood, Calif., comic and personal trainer who helped devise the event, said the slogan wasn’t meant to be taken literally. But noting the flood of media attention it has attracted, he was unapologetic.

“I’m happy with the way we did it,” he said. “We’re keeping gay people in the spotlight.”

Read Full Post »

A sensible judge in Florida ruled in favor of gays adopting. One small step forward….Let’s hope the state’s appeal is defeated.

A Florida circuit judge Tuesday struck down a 31-year-old state law that prevents gays and lesbians from adopting children, allowing a North Miami man to adopt two half-brothers he and his partner have raised as foster children since 2004.

“There is no question, the blanket exclusion of gay applicants defeats Florida’s goal of providing dependent children a permanent family through adoption,” Judge Cindy S. Lederman wrote in her 53-page ruling.

“The best interests of children are not preserved by prohibiting homosexual adoption.”

The state attorney general’s office has appealed the decision.

She said there is no moral or scientific reason for banning gays and lesbians from adopting, despite the state’s arguments otherwise. The state argued that gays and lesbians have higher odds of suffering from depression, affective and anxiety disorders and substance abuse, and that their households are more unstable.

Lederman said the ban violated children’s right to permanency provided under the Florida statute and under the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. Whether the ban violated the state’s equal protection clause by singling out gays and lesbians should be considered, she said.

Lederman’s ruling paves the way for Martin Gill to legally adopt the two half-brothers, ages 4 and 8, whom he has cared for since December 2004, the American Civil Liberties Union said.

The two boys, who are referred to as John and James Doe in court documents, were removed from their homes on allegations of abandonment and neglect.

“On that December evening, John and James left a world of chronic neglect, emotional impoverishment and deprivation to enter a new world, foreign to them, that was nurturing, safe, structured and stimulating,” Lederman wrote.

In 2006, the children’s respective fathers’ rights were terminated, court documents said, and they remained in the care of Gill and his partner.

“Our family just got a lot more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving,” Gill said Tuesday, according to the ACLU, which represented him.

Florida is the only state that specifically bans all “homosexual” people from adopting children, although it does allow them to be foster parents.

This month, Arkansas voters approved a ballot measure to prohibit unmarried partners — same-sex or opposite-sex couples — from adopting children or from serving as foster parents. The measure is similar to one in Utah, which excludes same-sex couples indirectly through a statute barring all unmarried couples from adopting or taking in foster children.

Mississippi allows single gays and lesbians to adopt, but prohibits same-sex couples from adopting.

Neal Skene, spokesman for the Florida Department of Children and Families, said the appeal was filed so a statewide resolution on the law could be determined by an appellate court. He noted that another Florida circuit judge declared the law unconstitutional this year but that ruling had not been appealed.

“We need a statewide determination by the appellate courts,” he said.

Gill’s adoption petition cannot be approved until the appeal process is finished, Skene said, but the children will remain in Gill’s home.

“These are wonderful foster parents,” Skene said. “It’s just that we have a statute, [and] the statute is very clear on the issue of adoption.”

Several organizations — including the National Adoption Center, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics — have said that having gay and lesbian parents does not negatively affect children.

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit organization that studies adoption and foster care, hailed the decision.

“This ban, which was the only one of its kind in the country, has done nothing but undermine the prospects of boys and girls in the foster care system to get permanent, loving homes,” said Adam Pertman, the Adoption Institute’s executive director, in a written statement.

“So this decision by Judge Lederman is a very important, hopeful ruling for children who need families.”

source: cnn.com

Read Full Post »

US-BUSH-KNIGHTS-COLUMBUS

In a press release, spokesman for the Knights of Columbus, Patrick Korten said that the donation from the Knights “is both an indication of how important we believe this referendum to be, and an encouragement to other groups and individuals of all faiths to lend their support as well.”

“From the day the organization was founded 126 years ago, strengthening and protecting the family has always been central to the mission of the Knights of Columbus. Preserving marriage as the indispensable institution in which children are conceived, born and raised to adulthood by a loving father and mother is vital to a healthy society. It is also the most favorable environment in which to protect the rights and best interests of children. We are proud to join the Catholic bishops and priests of California, and so many other people of good will, in this effort on which so much depends.”

The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, may be best known as the group that collects glasses for needy people outside of stores. That gives me the opportunity to run into members a few times per year outside of stores. The next time I see a member outside of a store I’ll let him know how I feel about his organization giving $1,000,000 to take away the rights of my California brothers and sisters. I’ll also let the store manager know what I think.

Don’t email me telling me what a great job they do as a charitable organization. There’s been many groups and individuals over the years seen as ‘good’ only to later disappoint. In this case, the bad far outweighs the good. Their press release above is ignorant and Catholics around the world should be ashamed.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »