Searching for one chanting, cheering example that the world is a more tolerant place?
Look no further than the North End of Jeld-Wen Field this season, says HuffPost writer Steve Clare, who highlights Portland's own Timbers Army as just the sort of crowd that would accept an out athlete in professional team sports. Clare's Monday piece is an open letter of sorts to former US National Team star Robbie Rogers, who simultaneously came out and retired from professional soccer earlier this month. Clare hopes the 25-year-old Rogers returns to the game, confident that fans will focus more about his on-pitch play than off-field life. And he cites Portland's supporters as a group who'd be, well, supportive. One case in point? The rainbow flag that hangs from Sunday White's capo stand, which sports more colors than green and white.
"I am an out and proud lesbian in a committed relationship," White told Clare. "I bring that flag to every match because this is my home and I am proud of my community, family and support. I have only had positive responses from team, the town and the Timbers Army. If there are negative responses I would like to hear them. When there are negative comments on social media I am very active at educating that it is unacceptable."
It goes beyond social media. As Timbers Army's Andrew Brawley reminds
n00bs new fans who venture into the North End this season, there are rules for properly backing your team. The first?
Nothing racist/homophobic/sexist/etc. should come out of your mouth, fingers, whatever. We do not tolerate this AT ALL! The best way to not say anything racist/homophobic/sexist/etc. is to not be a racist, homophobe, sexist, etc. You will get tossed, and you won’t be welcome back. Ever.
The Timbers kick off their third MLS season against New York at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
As Nathan mentioned in GMN, with oral arguments coming up next month, an interesting "friend of the court" brief arrives:
Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.
Normally these briefs don't matter that much. But the publisher of Scotusblog tells the New York Times that this one “has the potential to break through and make a real difference.”
And that's why watching straight porn is a sacrament.
DC Comics recently hired Orson Scott Card to write a story in the first issue of their new Superman comic, Adventures of Superman. Card's a hell of a writer—he wrote Ender's Game, one of my favorite novels, the long-awaited film adaptation of which will come out this fall. He's also a relentless, shameless bigot.
For at least 20 years, the Mormon author has been doing his sanctimonious best to deny respect and basic civil rights to everyone who isn't heterosexual. There's a huge chasm between the person who I imagine wrote Ender's Game—a fantastic, nuanced story about the brutal lies of war, the strength and frailty of human beings, and neat rooms where kids can float around because there isn't any gravity—and the person Card's revealed himself to be through actions like serving on the board of the National Organization for Marriage. When he isn't saying that gays and lesbians should be arrested—
What we do with small children is to establish clear boundaries and offer swift but mild punishment for crossing them. As their capacity to understand and obey increases, the boundaries broaden but the consequences of crossing them become more severe...
Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society. (Via.)
—he's (apparently seriously) vowing to overthrow any government that lets gays and lesbians get married.
Marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down. (Via.)
Heh. Okay, buddy. ANYWAY, while Card's written comics before—he rehashed Ender's Game for Marvel, and also wrote Ultimate Iron Man—Superman is the first time the issue of a boycott against his comics work has come up. Joining several other retailers, Vancouver's I Like Comics has decided not to sell the first issue of Adventures of Superman.
Last Friday, I emailed several of Portland's comics shops to ask them if they'd be following I Like Comics' lead. I emailed Floating World Comics, Cosmic Monkey Comics, Bridge City Comics, Things from Another World, and Excalibur Comics.
I heard back from Cosmic Monkey, Floating World, and Bridge City—though only the first two were willing to go on the record. Despite multiple emails, neither Things from Another World nor Excalibur responded at all.
Reactions from Cosmic Monkey and Floating World are below—plus, some thoughts from Portland writer Jeff Parker, who, along with artist Chris Samnee, also has a story in the controversial issue.
Shortly after I wrote my first post about efforts in Sullivan, Indiana, to organize a "traditional prom" that excluded LGBT students, the group's Facebook page disappeared. Now it's back up. And the "traditional prom" is now open to "any junior or senior or homeschooler in that grade in all surrounding counties" because it seems that there aren't enough bigoted high school students in Sullivan alone to fill a gym. (And the haters prom isn't open to "any junior or senior," it's open to any straight junior or senior.
The haters' Facebook page currently has 54 members, down from its pre-media-shitstorm high of 61. The Facebook page backing an inclusive prom—Support the Sullivan High School Prom for All Students—currently has 28,063 members.
In a poll billed as the "first public opinion poll of 2013 on marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples," a majority of Americans—"91% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, and 56% of Republican voters"—believe that gay marriage is a Constitutional right. I think this second part of the poll is even more exciting than that:
With nine states now allowing same-sex couples to legally marry and more moving in that direction, voters almost universally believe that it will be legal nationally in the next five to ten years (83%), and 77% believe that it will be legal nationally “in the next couple of years” – regardless of their personal opinion on the issue. This represents a sizeable increase since 2011 when 72% believed it would happen in the next five to ten years, and 67% believed it would happen in “the next couple of years.” While Democratic voters feel most strongly (82% believe it will happen in the next couple years), huge margins of Independents and Republicans feel the same way (73% and 70% respectively).
This is exciting stuff. Go read all the heartening poll results.
Words of bizzarro wisdom from a Family Research Council intern:
Sigh. Banning gay marriage doesn't magically provide "orphans" with mothers and fathers. Banning gay marriage... prevents gay people from marrying. It doesn't make straight marriages stronger or stop straight married people from getting divorced. Banning gay marriage also doesn't prevent gay people from having children and starting families. Gay marriage was illegal in Washington state when Terry and I adopted our son.
Don't want people to think you're hateful dingbat? Then don't offer shoddy, baseless, and laughable justifications for excluding same-sex couples from marriage. (Via JoeMyGod.)
WTWO-TV's original report is here. The original edit of the online version of the story is in my post from yesterday. Both versions of Paige Preusse's report have since been edited in what appears to be an effort to make Diana Medley look like less of an asshole. Here's the current version with the additions bolded:
Diana Medley is a special education teacher in town. She doesn't believe anyone is born gay. "I believe that it was life circumstances and they chose to be that way; God created everyone equal," said Medley. "Homosexual students come to me with their problems, and I don't agree with them, but I care about them. It's the same thing with my special needs kids, I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason," said Madley.
"So the same goes for gays? Do you think they have a purpose in life?"
"No I honestly don't. Sorry, but I don't. I don't understand it. A gay person isn't going to come up and make some change unless it's to realize that it was a choice and they're choosing God," said Medley.
I don't know why the report was edited after airing and publication. But I have a hunch: I suspect that Medley asked the station to include more of her interview after she started getting grief for saying that gay people served no purpose in life. Because, hey, didn't she also say that she cares about her gay students? Yeah, yeah: she believes her gay students are going to hell, she believes being gay is a sinful choice, she's happy to be the public face of an effort to create prom that bans her gay students, and she doesn't think her gay students serve any purpose in life—but, you know, Medley cares about her gay students. She cares so much.
The additional quotes make Medley look far worse. Yesterday we didn't know if Medley was interacting with any openly queer students. For all we knew she might have been a special ed teacher in a kindergarten or a grade school. But now we know that this bigot is actually interacting with gay students and may be doing them real harm.
Diana Medley should be fired.
...so they're borrowing a page from racist bigot playbook. Like racists who created segregated proms after high schools were integrated in the 60s and 70s, the haters at Sullivan High School are creating a separate and segregated prom for straight (and closeted) kids only:
Several parents, students, and others who believe gays should be banned from the Sullivan High School prom met Sunday at the Sullivan First Christian Church. "We don't agree with it and it's offensive to us," said Diana Medley.
Their idea is to create a seperate [sic] traditional prom. Students say there are several others from their high school who agree, but are afraid to take a stand. "If we can get a good prom then we can convince more people to come and follow what they believe," said student Kynon Johnson. And now they want everyone to know where they stand. "We want to make the public see that we love the homosexuals, but we don't think it's right nor should it be publicly accepted," said a local student.
Let's pause here for a moment to feel the love. Because nothing says "love" quite as clearly as "you're not wanted and God hates you." Okay, back to NBC 2's Paige Preusse:
Diana Medley is a special education teacher in town. She doesn't believe anyone is born gay. "I believe that it was life circumstances and they chose to be that way; God created everyone equal," said Medley. "I don't understand it."
Let's pause here to grieve for all the special education students in Sullivan, Indiana. Students with learning disabilities have it hard enough without getting stuck with a mentally challenged special ed teacher.
You know else has it hard enough? I imagine queer kids growing up in Sullivan, Indiana, population 4,249, have it hard enough without having to watch shit like this on the evening news.
The anti-gay haters at Sullivan High have a facebook page: 2013 Sullivan Traditional Prom. One of the organizers of this hate group would like us to know that "this is not a hate group." 2013 Sullivan Traditional Prom is just a group that has been organized with the sole purpose of creating an alternate prom that excludes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students and to achieve that end the group's members are calling LGBT kids "offensive," sick, and sinful. What's hateful about that? Besides, you know, everything?
There's no way to stop the haters at Sullivan High School from holding an independent prom for the
special bigoted kids. But here's what we can do: we can make a noise so loud enough that all the queer kids at Sullivan High School hear it. Those kids need to know that there are people—a lot of people—who think this shit is wrong.
If you can figure out how to leave a note at the Facebook page of the hate group 2013 Sullivan Traditional Prom, please do so. Or go to Facebook pages of the hate group's members and leave notes there. [UPDATE: The haters have pulled down their Facebook page.]
And here's one's for all you "not all like that" Christians out there: Sullivan First Christian Church needs to hear from Christians who think it's wrong—who think it's un-Christian—for a Christian church to serve as a meeting place for a hate group that exists only to exclude LGBT adolescents from a milestone like prom. Sullivan First Christian's contact page is here.
They're Their phone number is 812-268-4348. Give 'em a shout.
More after the jump!
Oregonians last fall watched while voters in Washington, Maine, Minnesota, and Maryland enthusiastically welcomed same-sex marriage and maybe wondered why we weren't on that history-making list. But there was good reason to wait, activists said. They worried about the millions it would take to run a campaign and the time supporters would need to win over voters in less progressive parts of the state.
It's not quite 2014. Not yet. But the wait for marriage equality in Oregon is—in one very large way—over. This morning, a new group, Oregon United for Marriage, announced the first steps toward placing a constitutional amendment—dubbed the "Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative"—on the November 2014 ballot.
"We have worked tirelessly to build support for marriage equality in Oregon, to engage our community and our allies–and now it's time to take the next step in winning the freedom to marry for all Oregonians," says Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Jeana Frazzini said in a prepared statement. "Today, we are inviting our partners and supporters to take this next step with us: To sign the sponsorship petition, and commit to uniting Oregon in support of the freedom to marry for all Oregonians."
The amendment would undo the state's current constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. It also would spell out, according to a release, that "civil marriage for gay couples does not affect religious marriages, religious institutions or clergy in any way. No religion would be forced to marry same-sex couples, or recognize same-sex marriages within the context of their religious beliefs."
The petition filed today starts the clock on signature gathering for the proposed measure. After gathering its first 1,000 signatures, the group would then need permission to collect the tens of thousands more it would need to push the initiative onto the ballot.
The national momentum has been sharp and gratifying, with nine states now explicitly allowing same-sex marriage. But bringing marriage equality to Oregon still won't be easy. When the Mercury first reported on the decision to wait until 2014, Basic Rights Oregon had found that only 48 percent of Oregon voters supported same-sex marriage.
As the Oregonian, in its reporting on today's announcement, notes that although voter support in a December poll by Public Policy Polling climbed to 54 percent, an off-year election also means a lower turnout and a more conservative electorate.
For example, after Barack Obama’s initial presidential victory in 2008, turnout dropped in Oregon by nearly 14 percentage points in 2010. And turnout was down more sharply among Democrats than among Republicans.
The O also points out that opponents are already waiting. The misnamed Oregon Family Council has planned a counter-campaign of its own.
Jim Nabors, the actor best known for playing Gomer Pyle on TV in the 1960s, has married his longtime male partner. Hawaii News Now reports Nabors, 82, and Stan Cadwallader, 64, traveled from their Honolulu home to Seattle to be married Jan. 15. Gay marriage became legal in Washington state last month. The couple met in 1975 when Cadwallader was a Honolulu firefighter.
In the town of La Grande, Ore. a 16-year-old girl killed herself in October and now there’s a 15-year-old boy who is not expected to live after hanging himself. His family said he was the target of bullying.... Dozens of people came together last week in La Grande in a vigil for Jadin Bell, trying to understand what drove him to despair nine days ago. He came to the playground of Central Elementary School in La Grande. He climbed on a play structure and hanged himself. Someone passing by tried to rescue him. He was brought to Portland and Doernbecher Children's Hospital where he was put on life support.... Hill says Jadin was pushed to suicide after being bullied in person and on the Internet for being gay. "He was different, and they tend to pick on the different ones," Hill said. Hill says Jadin asked his parents to home school him. He feared turning in the bullies would make things worse.
My heart breaks for Jadin's parents and I don't doubt that they're filled with regret and I don't want to make their pain worse. But I'm going to repost my advice for parents of bullied gay teenagers because there are other Jadins out there who haven't harmed themselves but who may be at risk of doing so:
If you know your gay kid is being bullied at his school err on the side of overreacting. Err on the side of doing something drastic. Err on the side of turning your own life upside down. Because you don't want to find out the abuse was more than your kid could bear when it's too fucking late to do anything about it.
Straight parents: If you know your gay kid is being brutalized in his school and you've complained and it's gotten worse, get him the fuck out of there. Homeschool him. Homeschool him and sue the school. Move away. Move someplace more tolerant. Move someplace better. If you can't move away—or if you can't move right away—send your son or daughter to live with relatives in another city, a better city.... And straight parents? Once you realize your kid is gay—which parents of gay kids usually realize long before their gay kids realize it themselves—take a long, hard look at the community in which you live. Take a long, hard look at the church where you worship. Take a long, hard look at the schools your kid will be forced to attend.
Then decide if staying put is worth your child's life.
I'm trying to find a link to a story about the 16-year-old La Grande girl who killed herself but I'm not finding anything. If someone has a link, or any info about the girl, please share in the comments.
Sounds like change is coming to Boy Scouts of America:
As early as next week, the Boy Scouts of America may announce it will allow gay Scouts and troop leaders, a spokesman for the group has told USA TODAY.
If this policy shift is approved by the national board meeting next week, it will be a sharp reversal of the Scouts' decades' old national policy banning homosexuals.
P.S. If you'd like to send the Boy Scouts a very polite message encouraging the reversal of this ban, it looks like the best way to do so is via this form.
A San Francisco supervisor wants to rename the city's airport in honor of civil rights leader Harvey Milk, a change supporters said would send a global message about the importance and struggles of gays and lesbians for equality. Supervisor David Campos will introduce legislation Tuesday that would place the proposal to rename San Francisco International Airport as Harvey Milk San Francisco International Airport before voters in November. To send the name change to voters, Campos needs the support of five other supervisors, and Monday he already had four co-sponsors.
I love this idea—and I can't wait to read the first story about someone's luggage being lost in "the bowels" of Harvey Milk.
LGBT advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon is calling attention to a recent legal tweak in Oregon that will impact every transgender person in the state: Insurance companies in Oregon can't deny medically necessary care for transgender people if it covers the same care for non-transgender people.
This seems like a strange loophole to have to sew up, but the Oregon state insurance division spelled out the law on its website. The 2007 legislative session passed a law banning discrimination based on gender identity and it has taken this long for that change to shake out into concrete action on the insurance front.
The new rules don't guarantee coverage for gender reassignment surgery for people diagnosed with gender-identity disorder, as as Portland's city insurance and a bunch of major companies' insurance plans do. But if an insurance company covers something for other medical conditions—like, say hormone therapy for women with menopause or medically-necessary mastectomies—they have to offer that same coverage to people with gender-identity disorder.
There are no good numbers on how many insured, transgender people live in Oregon, but medical care for gender-identity issues is infamously costly. Puberty blockers for transgender teens, for example, cost $18,000 a year. Hopefully, parents of transgender kids growing up in Oregon won't have to choose between paying for medical care or paying for college.
Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin was sworn in yesterday as the first openly gay US Senator. Love the details about Tammy's mom and Tammy's cordial relationship with Paul Ryan in HuffPo's story. The religious right doubtless disapproves of the way Ryan treats Baldwin like a colleague and a human being.
Progress! Huffington Post:
On gay marriage, meanwhile, Gingrich argued that Republicans could no longer close their eyes to the course of public opinion. While he continued to profess a belief that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, he suggested that the party (and he himself) could accept a distinction between a "marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state"—the latter being acceptable. "I think that this will be much more difficult than immigration for conservatism to come to grips with," he said, noting that the debate's dynamics had changed after state referenda began resulting in the legalization of same-sex marriage. "It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to... accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states—and it will be more after 2014—gay relationships will be legal, period."
Gay relationships are already legal, of course. And advocates for marriage equality have been hammering away at the distinction between civil marriage (a right) and getting married in a church (a rite). And there are plenty of churches that will marry same-sex couples... but we never hear anyone speak up for their religious freedom.
But it's nice to see Gingrich—America's favorite twice-divorced, three-times-married Catholic convert—finally accept reality: gay people exist, gay people have relationships, gay people have families. Here's hoping Gingrich's fellow Catholic convert Brian Brown accepts reality sometime soon.
The really sad part is, this passes for an enlightened conservative opinion.
(Via Right Wing Watch.)
Shangela—the absolutely fabulous contestant from RuPaul's Drag Race (seasons 2 & 3)—reads an absolutely fabulous rendition of the classic kid's book Are You My Mother?... and I wish she would never ever stop. Gather 'round, children!
Hundreds welcome newly married same-sex couples in Seattle yesterday.
Delightful graph of the day: The number of marriage licenses issued in King County.
The Stranger has adorable photos to boot.
The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would enter the national debate over same-sex marriage, agreeing to hear a pair of cases challenging state and federal laws that define marriage to include only unions of a man and a woman.
One of the cases, from California, could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Another case, from New York, challenges a federal law that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow such unions
In other words, these are the challenges to Prop 8 and DOMA. The ACLU breaks down what's at stake in the two cases over here.
Meet Paul Harris & James Griener, the first of hundreds of couples to apply for a marriage license today in Clark County, according to Equality SW Washington, the LGBT group helping coordinate the weekend-long license applications and festivities across the river from Portland.
Ironically, Harris is actually been in charge of the county department that writes marriage license. When he and Griener are celebrating their 40th anniversary this week with a 12/12/12 wedding, Harris will finally get to have a marriage license of his own.
"It's hard to make sense of it," said Harris, from his office late last night. The county clerk's office is open longer hours this weekend to process all the same-sex couples expected to apply for licenses. "I think it will hit me when I apply for my license."
Asked whether all those years of helping other couples get married ever made him bitter, Harris said no. "In the beginning, I longed to have my own marriage license. But I never felt bitter because I never thought it would happen."
Congratulations, Paul and James.
Meanwhile, here are plenty of stories from excited same-sex couples in Seattle last night. And if you're getting married this week in Washington, we made a handy wedding guide for you all the way back in June.
This one is a royal princess:
Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit secretly traveled to India in order to care for infant twins born to the surrogate mother of a gay palace employee unable to get a travel visa, the palace said on Monday. Armed with a diplomatic passport that granted her immediate access, the future queen jumped on a plane in late October when the employee, who is also a friend, and his husband were unable to travel to care for their newborns. "For me, this is about two babies lying alone in a New Delhi hospital," Mette-Marit said in a statement. "I was able to travel and wanted to do what I could." She did not alert Indian authorities and spent several days with the babies at the Manav Medicare Centre, where staff assumed the wife of Norway's Crown Prince Haakon was a nanny. While the princess was away, her name continued to appear in the official palace calendar and her absence from a parliamentary dinner was not explained.
This one is a "Savage Love" reader:
I recently noticed a good friend of mine from high school came out on his Facebook page. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but when I was in high school I was ignorant and homophobic for all of the reasons a young man in the 80's and raised strictly Catholic were. I started to recall all of the hateful things I had mentioned while he was around and felt that I had to apologize for my former self. It wasn't long after moving away from middle earth and to Pittsburgh that I became aware that I was shallow and hadn't realized how very non threatening LGBT people were to straights. Anyway, he seemed very pleased with my apology even though I know it was more for me to clear my conscience than to make him feel good. I'm not telling you something you aren't aware of, but I'm a much better person since I've become aware of the real world. It gets better for us straight people too.—Matt S.
Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the biggest-name potential Democratic 2016 presidential hopeful who has yet to take a position in support of gay marriage, a source of discussion in Washington this week after the State Department hosted a major LGBT event.
Clinton, who was against gay marriage in her 2008 presidential run, spoke favorably about New York's gay marriage law when it passed in 2011, but has remained quiet on her position since, as other Cabinet members such as Arne Duncan, along with Vice President Joe Biden, have voiced support, and as marriage referenda passed in four states earlier this month.
But according to two sources, Clinton's aides have privately indicated to people that she will end up where her husband and daughter, Chelsea, have emerged on the issue - in favor of same-sex nuptials.
Her statement of support will probably come during an interview, presumably after she leaves the office of Secretary of State. You say you thought Hillary Clinton endorsed gay marriage already? She probably hasn't supported it yet because, as a source tells Politico, she feels "because of her role as the country's chief diplomat that it was appropriate for her to stay out of this."
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