In celebration of the US Senate's passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill.
The Senate passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act today on a 68-29 vote. The act will now go to President Barack Obama, who has promised to sign the bill into law.i know not everyone is on board with the need for hate crimes protections, but have you ever noticed that the folks so opposed to them almost never seem to be as vocal about the occurrence of violence based on race, color, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity?
The bill extends federal protections to people who suffer violent crimes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, protections which are already afforded to people who are victims of violent crimes because of their race, religion, or national origin.
Passage of the hate crimes measure came on a bipartisan vote, with ten Republicans joining 56 Democrats and two independents to pass the bill. One Democrat, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) voted against the measure, which was attached to a defense policy bill. Sen. Feingold said he supported the hate crimes provision but opposes the open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan.
Here's an interesting perspective from Andrew Sullivan, who is opposed to all hate crimes laws.
In response to an inquiry from The Advocate, the White House sent the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s position on same-sex relationship recognition voter referenda in Maine and Washington.i want to know when i get to vote to take away some basic civil rights that heterosexuals enjoy? Not that i actually would - it just seems that if Americans get to vote on stripping legal civil rights, heterosexuals shouldn't expect to have special protections from the civil right chopping block. i'm just saying.... ;-)
“The President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples, and as he said at the Human Rights Campaign dinner, he believes ‘strongly in stopping laws designed to take rights away.’ Also at the dinner, he said he supports, ‘ensuring that committed gay couples have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country.’"
Maine’s Question 1 asks voters whether to overturn a law that legalized same-sex marriage earlier this year; Washington's Referendum 71 asks voters to affirm or repeal a law passed earlier this year that expands domestic-partnership rights for same-sex couples and some senior couples. Voters in both states will weigh in on the measures November 3.
SILVER SPRING, Md., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- What do you get when you combine a former Martha Stewart Vice President, a drag queen turned ad exec and New York Times bestselling author, an estate and farm in upstate New York, a few quirky neighbors and goats, pigs and a llama to boot? In the case of Planet Green, it's their next primetime docu-series Beekman Farm (wt). Laura Michalchyshyn, President and General Manager of Planet Green, announced today that the channel has greenlit the 10 episode series scheduled to premiere in late Spring 2010.The article in its entirety can be read at:
"Beekman Farm is an amusing look into Josh and Brent's very unique relationship, their desire to create a business and to transform their lives. Watching it unfold in real time is hilarious and entertaining," said Michalchyshyn (who recently bought a farm of her own!). "Brent is a quintessential type A personality with a 'my way or the highway' attitude while Josh is a laid back, genteel kind of guy who spends weekends on the farm but is still commuting to work in the city during the week. Their eccentric, extended friends and family dynamic reveals to viewers that trying to live the simple life isn't so simple after all. We can't wait to bring these charismatic new personalities to television."
"They bought the farm. . .literally!" says co-executive producer Fenton Bailey. "From wrapping 14,000 bars organic goat milk soap to organizing a harvest festival to benefit the nearby town of Sharon Springs, Brent and Josh have their work cut out for them, 24/7."
Planet Green Greenlights Beekman Farm, a Fresh and Fabulous Docu-Series That Puts a Spotlight on Two City Dwellers who Leave Everything Behind To Go Country
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Emmy and Tony-winning actor David Hyde Pierce is returning to his upstate New York hometown to play a rebuilt organ in the church he attended while growing up.
Pierce and his three siblings donated the funds to rebuild the 1920 Skinner organ at the Bethesda Episcopal Church in Saratoga Springs, 25 miles north of Albany.
Pierce will perform during a service dedicating the instrument on Sunday. He was an assistant to the church organist as a teen.
The rebuilt organ will be named the George and Laura Pierce Gallery Organ in memory of Pierce's parents.
Pierce was a four-time Emmy winner during his 11-year role as Dr. Niles Crane on TV's "Frasier," and he won a Tony in 2007 for his role as a musical-theater-loving detective in the Broadway musical, "Curtains."
There are many tired & cynical voices coming from the LGBT community that are calling for concrete action rather than more words. i can understand that. How many times have we endured lip service from politicians when they wanted our support, only to find ourselves holding an empty bag of promises once they're in office? But i think the amount of pessimism out in the LGBT blogosphere is overblown and premature. Sure we need to demand our rights and hold politicians' feet to the fire to assure that they deliver on the very basic promises they made when they were courting our votes and campaign volunteerism. But i'm still largely in "wait and see" mode while calling my representatives and participating in lobbying for LGBT equality. If we're going to get real & lasting equality, it's always been up to us.
Two quality bloggers that are pretty spot on in their reactions, insights and criticisms (imo) are Andrew Sullivan and Pam Spaulding.
Here's some of Mr. Sullivan's take:
Look: I didn't expect these issues to be front and center given his appalling inheritance; I know he has many other things on his plate; I didn't expect the moon; I didn't believe he would do any of this immediately; I understand that the real job is for us to do, not him, and that most of the action is in the states. And I remain a strong supporter of him in foreign policy and in the way he is clearly trying to move this country past the ideological divides of the recent past.Again, i can empathize with the angst and impatience. The remarks about HRC itself are completely accurate.
But the sad truth is: he is refusing to take any responsibility for his clear refusal to fulfill clear campaign pledges on the core matter of civil rights and has given no substantive, verifiable pledges or deadlines by which he can be held accountable. What that means, I'm afraid, is that this speech was highfalutin bullshit. There were no meaningful commitments within a time certain, not even a commitment to fulfilling them in his first term; just meaningless, feel-good commitments that we have no way of holding him to. Once the dust settles, ask yourself. What did he promise to achieve in the next year? Or two years? Or four years? The answer is: nothing.
HRC, of course, is putting no pressure on him; Joe Solmonese's disgraceful email actually took all pressure off him by saying he'd be happy to wait till 2017 for HRC to hold Obama accountable. HRC are putting pressure, as they always have, on gay people to go to the back of the line and be grateful a president attends their fundraising event. The only word for this is a racket. And if gay people do not rise up and demand change from this organization and stop funding a group whose goal has always been to sell the Democrats to gay people rather than secure civil rights, then they will continue to suffer the discrimination they live under day after day.
From Ms. Spaulding:
I have to agree with Sean Bugg, my fellow commentator on the coverage tonight, who made a great point that if you aren't a wonk or activist clued in to the messy politics going on behind the scenes, this speech is a huge home run of support from the President of the United States to a kid out in the sticks who watches it can now feel he is part of the American fabric. In our cynical view of the political system, jaded by the hypocrisy and spinning we see each day, as well as outright lying by pols and advocates, you have to remember how this speech can resonate with non-political LGBTs and straight America. The President actually engaged with a segment of our community in his first term to affirm support for the LGBT community. I doubt you'll see him endure sane, rational criticism from the right on this other than the usual whines from the fringes who already think he's Satan/Hitler/Muslim terrorist, etc. That's progress on its own and it should not be minimized.She goes on to list very valid criticisms of the speech, and ends with this:
There are two realities, the Beltway reality, a myopic view that is so disconnected from the lives of everyday LGBTs (particularly Ts) that has us setting such low expectations. The reality outside the Beltway doesn't exist, the focus is on cultivating the relationships with power brokers with the secondary focus on obtaining "what's possible" politically, which of course is pretty subjective and dependent on whether there is professional peril in rocking any boats.Watch the whole speech on C-SPAN. There are two things i'll be listening for: ANY mention of the upcoming vote on marriage equality in Maine, and ANY mention of transgender Americans.
The reality outside the Beltway is often too impatient about the logistics of moving legislation in many respects, but the impatience is borne of the peril of losing a job, losing custody of children, or myriad other problems that will not be solved in their Red state any time soon. To see such inaction and promises and action delayed or deferred is disheartening -- and very personal. For activists in this sphere, a speech like this is a reality check of its own -- beautiful, empty prose telling us we are on our own for who knows how long.
What are YOUR thoughts?
"Don't Ask Don't Tell - A policy that never made sense to begin with. A policy that says: Here in the Army we're all about honor & trusting the man next to you. Now lie to my face about your sexuality Johnson, or i'll report you behind your back."
"Forget all the good arguments for repeal (of DADT), like, because it's the right thing to do, or because it was promised in the campaign," Maher said. Instead: "Do it because it will make Rush Limbaugh explode like a bag full of meat dropped from a helicopter,"
Watch the whole hilarious segment.
Gentle readers - the Mad Hare never advocates violence, but this just made my morning. i think of it as a moral lesson - don't judge your intended victim by his drag. The arse-whooping in the vid commences around the 1:18 mark.
'Drag queen' floors thugs in Swansea, wales, uk street fight
Two thugs who attacked what they thought were a pair of transvestites picked on the wrong men - when their intended victims turned out to be cage fighters on a night out in fancy dress.
Dean Gardener, 19, and Jason Fender, 22, singled out the two men walking along a street in wigs, short skirts and high heels.
Bare-chested Gardener was caught on CCTV confronting one of the men in a pink wig, black skirt and boob tube - then seen swinging a punch, a court heard.
But the other cage fighter, wearing a sparkling black dress and matching long wig, sprang to his friend's help, delivering two lightning-quick punches to the two stunned yobs.
The cage fighters were then seen teetering away in their high heels, stopping only to pick up a clutch bag they dropped during the melee.
Gardener and Fender were left dazed and seen staggering to their feet after their failed attack.
National Coming Out Day is just around the corner (Oct. 11.) While every queer who can afford the trip will probably be in DC for the Equality March, in these tough economic times some of us can only afford to send a greeting card. Enter the Greeting Card Guy. This is a great video - make sure you keep watching until he gets to the fourth card, where it definitely moves from a trivial to a significant moment.
Thanks to MadPriest for posting this video, and to Laura at The Infusion who sent it in to him. Otherwise i'd likely never have found it. Cheers!