One of Joe’s readers tipped him off today as to a reduction in the list of President Obama’s commitments to the LGBT community at the White House web site. Here’s what’s there now. Here’s what was there 101 days ago.
This change brings on many questions that our community should be asking: why the shrinkage? (And I bet it ain’t because of cold water) Is the Swine Flu and the recession bumping other action items to a later time?
I’m curious. I get sick and tired that our community is always at the bottom of every totem pole.
What do you think?
Chad is joining us for AIDS/LifeCycle this year, and he is auctioning off his “unworn” underpants to raise funds. Rich did a LifeCycle fundraiser on Sunday and we beat Chad to the punch – our friend Chip modeled a jock strap that we auctioned off – and they were very “worn.”
“The Judiciary Committee voted 11-2-1 in favor of a bill, LD 1020, that would repeal Maine’s prohibition on same-sex marriages. Two committee members voted ‘ought not to pass,’ while a third lawmaker proposed sending the issue to voters in a statewide referendum…Committee members voted on the bill after roughly an hour of discussion, which was interrupted once by a protester who screamed, ‘There is only one true marriage.’ The protester, who continued to shout after exiting the committee room, eventually left peacefully escorted by Capitol police.”
The bill now heads to the Maine House and Senate.
Someone has tons of time on their hands to design these intricate and detailed models of sets of popular TV shows. See if you can name all the shows you see here (some are easy – others are quite tricky). They seem to be constructed of a mixture of cardboard, thread spools, and Legos. Really amazing!
It’s amazing what lengths the anti-gay team resorts to in its fight against gay marriage. Thanks, James Hipp, for sending this link.
GA Speaks with Anti-Gay Marriage GOP’er!
April 23, 2009 by James Hipps
On Wednesday, I read a post on Radio Iowa about Merlin Bartz, a Republican Senator from Grafton, who is asking Iowans to deliver petitions which urge county recorders to ignore the court ruling that legalized gay marriage. In that post he is quoted as saying;
“Hopefully they listen to the will of the people who reside in their county and vote for them.”
“The ultimate decision on this particular issue needs to be made by the people of the State of Iowa, given the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.”
The article goes on to explain how Bartz believes Iowans should continue to pressure their county recorders to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
The article also states Both Bartz and the Iowa Family Policy Center have posted the petition on line, and are both urging Iowans to print several copies and take them to church this Sunday to get signatures, as Bartz wants those petitions delivered to county recorders on Monday in an effort to show “the people’s voices haven’t been heard.”
According to the Iowa Attorney General, all county recorders in Iowa are required to comply with the decision. County recorders who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples could be removed from office. From the Iowa Department of Justice Office of Attourney General’s website:
We expect duly-elected county recorders to comply with the Iowa Constitution as interpreted unanimously by the Iowa Supreme Court, the highest court in Iowa. Our country lives by and thrives by the rule of law, and the rule of law means we all follow the law as interpreted by our courts — not by ourselves. We don’t each get to decide what the law is; that would lead to chaos. We must live by and follow what the courts decide.
Iowa’s recent Supreme Court ruling concluded: “The language in Iowa Code section 595.2 limiting civil marriage to a man and a woman must be stricken from the statute, and the remaining statutory language must be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage.”
The Court’s ruling applies everywhere in Iowa, in every county. Recorders do not have discretion or power to ignore the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling.
As we have advised recorders for several days: All county recorders in the state of Iowa are required to comply with the Varnum decision following issuance of procedendo from the Supreme Court, and to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples in the same manner as licenses issued to opposite gender applicants.
If necessary, we will explore legal actions to enforce and implement the Court’s ruling, working with the Iowa Dept. of Public Health and county attorneys.
My first reaction to this post was along the lines of “here we go again, another anti-gay Republican grafted to the Religious Right”. But, being compelled to find out more, I used the high tech method of “google” to find more information about Senator Bartz, and discovered his cell phone number, which I called, and actually spoke with Senator Bartz on the issue.
I only identified myself by first name, and that I was a reporter from Fort Lauderdale, as I was felt certain he may hang up if I said “gayagenda calling”. He was quite polite and candid on the phone, didn’t ask for further information and didn’t seem to mind answering the few questions I asked.
The question I asked first and wanted answered most was; What is your motivation behind petitioning for recorders to not issue licenses to LGBT citizens? Is is religious? I wanted to know if this was some type of “moral” issue for Bartz, or was it the fact he is a Republican and he feels the need to satisfy his constituents?
So, of course, I asked, and and according to him, 9 out of 10 constituents he serves are NOT in favor of granting marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples, thus he is doing his part to best serve those who voted him into office.
I asked Bartz plainly if his decision was based on his personal religious indoctrination and he loosely answered he was Lutheran, which is more “middle of the road” and he didn’t base his decisions on religious policy. Bartz did tell me however his concern for the ruling is that it would be a “detriment” for the state of Iowa. I wasn’t really able to get him to elaborate on that statement, so I would assume this word “detriment” was meant used as a rhetorical way to please those constituents who believe gay marriage would somehow damage society.
I then asked Bartz about his comments on how “other county officials like county attorneys and county sheriffs pick and choose which laws to enforce, so county recorders should be able to choose not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.” He responded by saying there was a ban on smoking in public places in Iowa, and certain county officials (no names mentioned) had chosen to not enforce the law or prosecute those who were choosing to not follow that law.
I also asked Bartz if he stood against marriage equality, to which he responded, “I don’t believe this is an issue of marriage equality. Marriage by law in Iowa is between an man and a woman, and it doesn’t matter if the man or woman is gay or not, they are free to choose anyone from the opposite sex they would like to marry, so being that marriage is between a man and a woman, gay men and lesbians are equal because they can get married too.”
After speaking with Bartz for only a few minutes, I sensed a very simplistic honesty. I don’t believe Senator Bartz is a bad person, or do I believe he hates LGBT people…I simply don’t believe he knows any. I feel certain that Bartz is a person who means well in his misguided actions. I also believe that he is doing exactly what he told me he was doing, serving those who voted him into office. I think he has a duty to his constituents, and he is fulfilling that duty as well as could be expected. I feel just as strongly this is the exact reason that LGBT citizens need to be more visible and vocal, in a mature and respectful manor. We want respect, so we have to be willing to respect others, despite differences. Name calling is never acceptable behavior. We also want equality and inclusion, and until we get our voices heard, people won’t think otherwise. It is up to each one of us in the LGBT community to speak with those who are our neighbors, friends of friends, people in the grocery line, to show them we too are part of everyday society. We need to demonstrate our desire to be equal to those who otherwise may never encounter LGBT people, thus the only thing they know about “us” is what’s fed to them from media sources, which in many cases, are full of lies and deceit.
I do find it amazingly sad however, that people like Bartz, who have possibly never encountered anyone who is openly LGBT, are in the position to have the capability to make laws that regulate rights for LGBT people.
It is my sincere hope that one day Senator Bartz, you and I are able to sit down with each other face to face, and talk about the issues that affect both of us. Until that day, I leave you with this message. Whether you know it or not, someone you love is gay or lesbian. Whether you know them or not, someone gay and/or lesbian if fighting for rights that you take for granted, and from which we will all benefit.
According to a post today at the Chicago Tribune, Ed Fallon, a former Iowa legislator from Des Moines filed an ethics complaint earlier today against Merlin Bartz. Fallon claims that Bartz violated his oath of office by urging county recorders to defy the court ruling that legalizing same sex marriage in Iowa.
According to the post, Under Iowa Senate rules, Bartz has 10 days to respond to the complaint, at which time it “will be considered by the Senate Ethics Committee, likely after the Legislature adjourns this year’s session.”
Last night, we got to hang out with Del Shores, creator of “Sordid Lives” (both the film and LOGO series), and his husband Jason Dottley, who plays Ty on the series and was Jimmi’s and my guest on our podcast several weeks ago. We also met up with Bebe and Tammi (contestants on the just-finished “RuPaul: Drag Race” – Bebe won the competition). By the way, I have no idea who the bloke is in the bad sweater next to Tammi.
A very gay TV “come to life” night. I’m still recovering.
I do get a crazed look on my face around celebrities, though. Gotta watch out for that.