Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Barney Frank to reintroduce ENDA in 112th Congress

While SLDN and some of the media are watching the oversight of the DADT repeal closely, the civilian economy comes back into view, as Barney Frank (D-MA) sets to reintroduce the Employment Non Discrimination Act, possibly  Thursday.  Chris Geidner has a story on PoliGlot here in th DC Metro Weekly.

The bill would include protection for gender identity as well as sexual orientation, but would not invoke the concept of disparate impact.

Generally, many major corporations have included non-discrimination for sexual orientation in their policies since the 1990s.   To quote HRC, “ As of March 2011, 433 (87 percent) of the Fortune 500 companies had implemented non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and 229 (46 percent) had policies that include gender identity,” link

The original version of ENDA goes back to 1993, introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy shortly after the March on Washington.

One of the major co-founders of Facebook, Chris Hughes (featured in a CNBC documentary Jan. 5), is openly gay according to Wikipedia, and Metro Weekly carried and article March 25 about Andrew Noyes, Facebook’s spokesperson in Washington. 

The Washington Blade has reported that Barney Frank is looking for more sponsors, and 365Gay reports that a GOP controlled House is unlikely to move on it, link here

Sunday, March 27, 2011

TownDC's show is more like a "paintball" party

Saturday night, I got out for an entire evening, after my mishap the weekend before and missing the SLDN annual dinner, making it up (like making up a test in school, maybe) by watching videos of the event online.

After a movie at Landmark (“I Am” – movies blog) and encountering partiers from the Verizon Circus, I got the Town for the “underwear party”, which turned out to be more like a “paintball party”, like something you might have seen on “Jake 2.0” on UPN a few years ago. Paintball is a pretty macho form of recreation. The military likes it.

I ran into a friend in "the establishment", and I can only say that the world is an even more dangerous place than I imagine.  

The club started getting really busy about 12:30.  There were more females (and more “straights”) at this occasion than usual.  It looked like a scene for the mainstream movies.  

Did it with Metro this time.  

And it looks like I just beat the "last" March snow home.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Steny Hoyer's Keynote Address at SLDN Dinner now on YouTube

Steny Hoyer’s keynote address at the 2011 SLDN Annual Dinner is now available on YouTube (15:55). It was delivered just before the meal.  The video is a joint effort with Metro Weekly

Hoyer tells a story of an ROTC student with Middle Eastern Language experience who quit ROTC because of DADT, who may be able to go back because of repeal. He said that his committee is helping oversea the certification of the repeal. At the end of the address, he spoke for the need to be vigilant for the freedom of all.

Hoyer received the Anna M. Curren Service Award.

SLDN has its own press release today giving an account of the Annual Dinner, with link here

 More than 1300 guests attended an event titled “Making History, Moving Forward”.

SLDN also presented singer and songwriter Lady Gaga with the Randy Shilts Visibility Award.  Shilts, recall, authored both “Conduct Unbecoming” (1993), and “And the Band Plays On” (1987) as well as “The Mayor of Castro Street”, now a film.   Lady Gaga recently performed at Washington’s Club 9:30 (near the Town DC), which I also missed.  I’ll have to get better again at getting to things.   I suspect she will show up at some point at the Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village in NYC; doesn’t everybody?

The SLDN YouTube channel has a number of other videos, link here

Metro Weekly also has several videos of the dinner, such as this address by Barney Frank, link, (8 min), as well as a 2 minute clip where Mike Almy accepts the award for Lady Gaga, while her remarks are shown on the Jumbotron.  Frank's best line is "don't be stupid".

Also., SLDN has a panel on Flickr with pictures and videos from the dinner event, link.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SLDN holds annual dinner: "our work is not done": I have to report on it "from a distance"

This time, I have to blog from the back seat (like “The Lincoln Lawyer”).  As I was getting ready to go to the SLDN Annual Dinner at the National Building Museum Saturday Night (March 19), I was floored by a sudden attack of acute bronchitis, or something like an asthma. I went to bed, and feel well enough this morning to blog again after 12 hours or so under the covers, alone. But for this year’s report, I’ll have to depend on links to the accounts of others. I hope SLDN puts up a video of some of the key moments. If I find one, I’ll embed and add.  A DVD for purchase of the event would be nice.  The ticket was $350, but that is what I would have donated anyway. In any case, I became the Coen Brothers' "The Man Who Wasn't There."

I was in no condition for a state dinner, but I wonder if they had Cornish game hen, like one time a few years ago. Someone can comment on the menu.

The co-chairs were Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-CT). The keynote speaker was Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and the Master of Ceremonies was Chris Matthews of MSNBC.

The Washington Blade has a story March 18 on the substance of Steny Hoyer’s address, link here.  The supporters of DADT repeal must monitor the transition carefully.

SLDN has a comprehensive page, “Next steps for “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal”, link here.  You can follow comments from the Facebook page here.  

Twitter has some major points made by SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis at the dinner. “SLDN will continue to monitor implementation” of the repeal. “Work is not done until there is equality of benefits for all servicemembers.  Our work is not done. You spoke for those who could not speak for themselves.”  That last sentence is the most interesting to me.

Patrick Murphy, the "battle buddy", tweeted about his own warm reception.

Dorothy Hajdys-Clausen, mother of Allen Schindler, a sailor murdered in Japan in 1992 by homophobic sailors, appeared, and there is a news story in the Chicago Heights Patch here

All of this happens as the US military prepares in intervene in Libya.  Soon, people will be saying, “They went in.”

The official SLDN “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Documentary” was filmed in early 2008, and is presented here (8 minutes).

The next major event (a "makeup" for me) occurs April 3, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
4444 Arlington Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22204 (at one time the Arlington Chess Club met there, when I often played). There will be a jazz festival. Joan Darrah and Mike Rankin will speak at the event.  I'll make this one.  

Also, the "Ladies of Lure" celebrated a "BARE Military Style" at Cobalt-DC on ladies' night (third Saturday). There is a brief account of the event on Myspace, here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Arkansas law regarding adoption and foster care challenged

On Friday, March 18, Cheryl Westzein reported, on p A6 of The Washington Times, about litigation in Arkansas, before the state supreme court, challenging a 2008 referendum-approved law prohibiting cohabiting heterosexual or homosexual couples from adopting children or even becoming foster parents, link here

Florida had a law banning homosexuals from adopting children but not from serving as foster parents, and that has been struck down.

Apparently the Arkansas law would not affect gay parents who live alone. 

Arguments were made to the effect that children need the best available parents and that the law would prevent many children from getting adopted or moving out of institutions.
The law also has a logical circle, preventing homosexuals from raising children yet accusing them of trying to evade family responsibility. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Maryland House shelves gay marriage

Maryland’s bid to become the sixth state to allow gay marriage died in the Maryland House today, Candace Chellew-Hodge (founder of “Whosoever” has a perceptive article here in Religion Dispatches.

There was an unsuccessful attempt to insert “civil unions” terminology to replace “marriage”.  Hodge also points out how the “religious exemption” for gay marriage is a “total red herring.”  She also writes “It’s frustrating to see the legislation die while there is a governor willing to sign it, of course, but the struggle in Maryland also shows that religious arguments—and big money threats to delegates’ job security—can still convince lawmakers to continue to treat some of their fellow citizens as second class.”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

CA state senator introduces resolution to stop DADT recoupments for discharged soldiers.

Another story reports on efforts to stop the military from trying to recoup tuition from soldiers discharged under “don’t ask don’t tell”, especially as the policy is under gradual retirement and has been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge.  State senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) in California has introduced a resolution that calls for the President, Defense Secretary and armed forces to stop levying “fines” – that is, recoupment collection actions, against such soldiers. The story was posted on Facebook by AVER, American Veterans for Equal Rights.

The story appeared in eNews Park Forest (IL) March 9, link here.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Donald Trump opposes gay marriage, equal benefits, but talks up gay scene in NYC

I got a rather disturbing AOl email from the “News Desk” this morning saying that possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, apparently appearing in Iowa where a state supreme court ruling on gay marriage has been challenged, said that he opposed gay marriage, or at least federal recognition of it, and on “second thought” opposed equal rights in civil unions.  The latter calls to mind the 2004 Washington Blade piece “Piddle Twiddle and Resolve” piece on why civil unions aren’t enough.

Trump did have one or more openly gay candidates on “The Apprentice” and was always civil about the issue.  He did make an odd remark about the discrimination that one of the candidates must have encountered.

Here’s a story on Politico, link. Note what he says about the gay scene in general, as positive. 

A more direct story is on Digital Spy, here

March 11:

At a "roast" of Donald Trump, Larry King made light of Anderson Cooper, saying, "let's see what SHE's up to", popeater story here

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Town-DC has big Friday variety show, huge early turnout; a note about nearby 9:30 Club

The TownDC Club at 8th and U Streets in Washington DC had one of its biggest Friday evening bashes ever, and it started early. Downstairs was packed by 10:30 PM. Friday is "college evening" (euphemism, call it "invasion of The Kids"); it seems like college age men now average about 6' 4" or so, a marked increase since the days of my own coming of age. Are people getting taller? Is this preparation for "The Event"?    

Instead of the usual “James Franco-esque” drag show (at the Oscars, Franco didn't have anything to lose, did he), there was a Glee Stage Show, with music by “Back2Back”. There were about 10 variety dancers and performers, with some music similar to that played on Sirius XM (like “Just the Way You Are” [Bruno Mars]).

There was more black tie variety upstairs occasionally, along with “dancers”.  But in Washington DC, patrons have to remain circumspect (that wasn’t the case in Minneapolis).  Remember “The Edge” and “The Wet” in the days before Nationals Park?

The musical and visual impact of the show was similar to that of a free show at “Poisson Rouge” in NYC (see my “Drama Blog”, Oct. 19, 2010).

About half the people who approach me at clubs are heterosexual women (a lot of them go to gay discos in DC); and conservative author George Gilder's explanation (in "Men and Marriage", 1986) seems relevant: many young women really want older men (even gay men) who may be financially, socially, politically, and "morally" stable and powerful, or at least established.  They don't "notice" the imperfections (or what Dr. Phil calls "tissue death") apparent when I am compared to a 21-year-old.

The club parking lot was already full at shortly after 10 PM.  I was told that this was because of an early show at the nearby “9:30 Club” on V Street.  I checked that venue and found, again, a list of “Poisson Rouge”-style shows, for example “Lady Gaga vs. Madonna vs. Kylie” next weekend (link)   (The Scissor Sisters party Monday is listed as sold out.)  It appears that the venue might appeal to upcoming artists when they come to DC. I’ll cover this venue later on another blog.
Fortunately, I found free parking immediately just across Florida Ave. on 8th Street, but I wonder what will happen in Metro stops after midnight weekend service soon because of  (GOP) budget cuts.

Elektra Records allows a free YouTube  embed of the Bruno Mars song.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Gay soldiers with dependents could soon be eligible for military housing

Bryant Jordan has a perceptive article in “” about the way the challenges to DOMA and the “gradual” repeat of DADT would affect the access of gay personnel with dependents to military housing. The upshot: sometimes they will be eligible soon, if they have real dependents.  There are still issues with recognition of gay couples as family units eligible for housing as couples, and these will persist.

Back in the 90s, some of us on the quasi-libertarian side of things had been starting to argue that the presence of real economic dependents ought to be a criteria for defining “marriage.” 

This is much more pleasing news that what happened earlier this week. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Supreme Court allows Westboro protests at military funerals; read MYWOT report on WBC "GHF" site's reputation

The Supreme Court has ruled 8-1 against the petitioners who sued the Westboro Baptist Church over demonstrations near a funeral in rural Maryland for a soldier (Marine) killed in combat, because, in Westboro’s “worldview”, the military allows gays to serve as part of “don’t ask don’t tell”.  Yes, it’s pretty warped.

AOL has an interesting article about Justice Alito’s dissent, about speech at the margins where there is intention to inflict insult on a person or group of people. The link is here

However the other justices were concerned over restrictions on free speech on public issues, no matter how offensive.

The plaintiffs may be ordered to pay the legal fees for Westboro, which it is feared could be used to fund other protests.

Here is a PDF of the Supreme Court’s slip opinion today, link

I used to look at Westboro’s “GHF” website in bars, but never at home.  Web of Trust rates the site with a red warning. You can look at MYWOT’s "report card" (not the site itself) here