sometimes barbarians need to be disciplined…

…and sometimes they need to flash mob dance outside a “mental health” clinic that takes Medicaid money – possibly to supplement their dangerous “ex-gay reparative therapy” – while the wife of the head “therapist” runs for President on a platform that bashes Medicaid spending:


A barbarian raises his paw in salute to "Marcus Bachmann's" conversion.
A barbarian raises his paw in salute to "Marcus Bachmann's" conversion.

Photo, video and caption courtesy of Columbus Go Home.

Say “I Do”…

Though I’m not much into religion, I can appreciate the beauty of a church. Especially one that is donated for the cause of civil rights.

On Saturday I found myself inside a lovely little church in West Hollywood. One that I had driven/walked past many times over the last twenty years:


What brought me into a church on a lovely Saturday afternoon? Shooting a PSA in support of marriage equality. A couple of weeks ago CuteFilmNerd worked as an extra on a television show. One of his fellow extras mentioned a project that a friend of hers was putting together and that she was working on and would he like to participate? He couldn’t, but he just happened to know someone with strong feelings on the subject (your humble blogger, of course).

And so there I was today for five and a half hours, in a dress and rarely worn heels, lending my talents as background actress. It was on a purely volunteer basis, but it’s for a cause I deeply believe in and I enjoyed myself, meeting new people, so that’s pretty good in my book.

BTW, the creators of Say “I DO” still need additional funding to get this PSA off the ground. They’ve got a fundraising page that will only be up for a little longer (it goes dark at midnight on Monday) and could use all the help they could get. If you could swing by and donate a little, I know it would be very appreciated.

(A few photos from the day are below. More can be found in my Picasa album.)








trying to not agree…

Last week the inestimable Janiece wrote about the pit of despair in which she found herself in regards to the current political climate of these here United States. She despairs that being a conscientious voter just doesn’t matter.

I want to disagree with her, to put forth the excellent arguments that her intelligent readers lay out in her comments section. I want to counter with an example of from my former, all too-brief life as a political activist of how it very much does matter.

I just can’t do it.

My burnout has a burnout. Watching MSNBC – which I like to watch to stay informed – just fills me with impotent rage. I so dearly wish to keep up with what’s happening in American politics & world events, but I also want to refrain from sticking a fork in my eyes and ears or destroying my TV, so I flip over to Food Network/Cooking Channel or HGTV/DIY Network. I might even take a gander at the Style Network just so I can bring my blood pressure down and calm my anxious nerves. And, unlike the last time when I felt this impotent rage (right after the 2004 “re-election” of Bush fils), I can’t seem to channel it into positive action.

(At least I still have my Stepahnie Miller Show every morning that both enlightens and amuses me. And I’ll be attending the Sexy Liberal Show in October, which I’m very much looking forward to. Stephanie Miller, Hal Sparks and – my personal favorite – John Fugelsang? Heaven! And if Chris Lavoie stops by? *swoon* Seriously, Chirs Lavoie is hawt.)

I have to believe that educating oneself about the truth of the positions of our elected officials is important. I have to believe that, as intelligent, responsible Americans, we have to act in accordance with our consciences and vote for the people and issues that matter to us.

It’s getting harder to keep that belief alive. To keep the despair away.

But I have to do it.

“Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men & lesbians.”

The above quote was taken from the ruling handed down by Judge Vaughn R. Walker in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, in which two same-sex couples sued the Republic of California, challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

The ruling found that the proposition is unconstitutional, striking down the contention that relegating an entire group of people to second-class citizenship is perfectly okay.

Needless to say, this makes me very happy. One might even say it makes me…gay.

Yes, the Prop. 8 bigots will file an appeal. Had the decision gone the other way, opponents of Prop. 8 would’ve done the same thing. Last night the lawyers for Prop. 8 filed a motion for a stay on the ruling, which Judge Walker has granted for an indefinite period (though one lucky couple managed to sneak in their marriage before the stay was issued). But inevitably the tide will continue turning, washing the detritus of hate and bigotry out to sea. It’s only a matter of time.

Equality will win out.

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. — Judge Vaughn R. Walker — August 4, 2010

six states…

…will burn in hell.

At least according to opponents of marriage equality.

Of course we all want to know where these bigoted opponents are going with their arguments before we enter into discussions with them. Thankfully Patrick Farley has created a helpful flow chart to give us a heads up on the genesis (and exodus) of the straightforward anti-marriage-equality “logic.” (Which doesn’t resemble Earth logic.)

gaymarriagechart-large

(H/T to the newly West-Coasted bstewart.)

first step for full federal LGBTQ equal rights

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama said that he supported the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and called for the repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).

Since becoming president, Obama and his administration has, for the most part, been curiously silent on the subject, saying little more than, “These things take time.A recent legal brief from this administration’s Department of Justice has merely fueled the fire of those criticizing Obama’s inaction on LGBT issues, especially since the Senior Legal Counsel on the brief received a Distinguished Service Award from Alberto Gonzalez for his work on the constitutional challenges to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

Today Obama signed a presidential memo granting same-sex partners of federal employees some federal benefits. Unfortunately, this memo does not go so far as to grant health or retirement benefits.

Critics of Obama’s LGBTQ inaction are likening it to a token thrown at the LGBTQ community, saying,“Tokens are not enough.”

These critics are correct. Tokens are not enough. While there is no way of knowing for certain, it is very likely that Obama would not have signed the memo had it not been for the recent outcry against his DOJ or the constant pressure from LGBTQ groups and individuals.

However, we also have to recognize that this is a positive first step towards full Federal rights for LGBTQ people. There is still a long way to go and a hell of lot of work to do. It’s unfortunate that Obama needs to be pushed to keep his campaign promises. Yes, he has a lot on his plate trying to fix the extraordinary mess left behind by Bush and Friends. But a simple executive order placing a moratorium on DADT until a full repeal can be implemented would go a long way towards showing that he really is a staunch advocate of full equality.

Still, we must keep the pressure up. Equality is a matter of time – there is no turning back. Obama will see that as well.

Crossposted from SoCal Grassroots: Keeping the Left Coast Blue

very sad…

Like most people, I was very sad to hear about the cold-blooded murder of Dr. George Tiller on Sunday when he was at church. He performed the procedures many doctors were afraid to do – late-term abortions that were deemed medically necessary to save the life of the mothers or where doctors had confirmed that the fetus would not live outside the womb. Dr. Tiller had been shot before, had many death threats and was forced to wear a bullet-proof vest on a regular basis, but he refused to give into the fear that gripped so many of his colleagues because, as he reportedly told a woman recently, he feared that the women he helped would have no place else to turn.

Candlelight vigils are still being held all over the country, but as Gloria Feldt wrote in Salon, George Tiller needs more than candlelight vigils. As always, write and lobby your representatives. Donate in Dr. Tiller’s name to Planned Parenthood and to the women’s health clinics in your area. Make your voice heard.

(Fellow UCFer Janiece at Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men and Mike at Man About Murfreesboro each have excellent posts regarding this tragedy and the cowardice of the anti-abortion faction. Go there.)

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A little something about my own views on abortion: I am of the opinion that they should be safe, legal and rare. I’ve always known that it was something I could never personally go through, but I am of the firm belief that women should have that choice. The women I’ve known that have had abortions never considered it a decision made lightly and I respect their decisions.

Of the people I’ve known that are anti-abortion, only one could be considered pro-life in the true sense of the term: fellow UCFer Michelle is a pacifist who is against abortion and the death penalty. Unlike so many anti-abortion people who mistakenly call themselves “pro-life,” she actually believes that every child that is born should be provided for and not left to fend for himself/herself in dangerous home situations. She doesn’t self-identify as Christian, but she embodies the teachings of Jesus far more completely than any religious anti-abortion nut protesting outside women’s health clinics. I highly respect that.

As for my thoughts on late-term abortion, I sincerely hope that they would never be necessary, but I understand that in some cases they may be. It’s truly sad that women in need have lost one of their champions – one of the few doctors left that they could turn to.

My thoughts go out to Dr. Tiller’s family, to all the women that he helped and to all the women he could’ve helped.

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Updated: 6/2/09 – 3:45pm

There is some discussion about who, besides the assassin who committed this foul deed, should be blamed for Dr. Tiller’s death. There is definitely an argument to to be made that Bill O’Reilly and his ilk have blood on their hands:

H/T to bstewart23 at This. That. No Other. for the Keith Olbermann clip.

silence is the enemy…

From Sheril Kirshenbaum:

Today begins a very important initiative called Silence Is The Enemy to help a generation of young women half a world away.Why? Because they are our sisters and children–the victims of sexual abuse who don’t have the means to ask for help. We have power in our words and influence. Along with our audience, we’re able to speak for them. I’m asking all of you–bloggers, writers, teachers, and concerned citizens–to use whatever platform you have to call for an end to the rape and abuse of women and girls in Liberia and around the world.

In regions where fighting has formally ended, rape continues to be used as a weapon. As Nicholas Kristof recently wrote from West Africa, ‘it has been easier to get men to relinquish their guns than their sense of sexual entitlement.’ The war has shattered norms, training some men to think that ‘when they want sex, they need simply to overpower a girl.’ An International Rescue Committee survey suggests 12 percent of girls aged 17 and under acknowledged having been sexually abused in some way over the previous 18 months. Further, of the 275 new sexual violence cases treated Jan-April by Doctors Without Borders, 28 percent involve children aged 4 or younger, and 33 percent involve children aged 5 through 12. That’s 61% age 12 or under. We read about their plight and see the figures, but it’s so easy to feel helpless to act in isolation. But these are not statistics, they are girls. Together we can do more. Mass rape persists because of inertia so let’s create momentum.

silence_enemy

If you’re on Facebook, please join the group Silence Is The Enemy. If you have a blog, please join the blogger coalition. Write your representative. Donate to Doctors Without Borders.

If we all band together to spread the word, silence can no longer be a refuge for cowardice.

(Oops, I got so up in arms I forgot to give credit where credit is due: tip o’ the hat to The Bad Astronomer.)

three classes of people = a-ok in california

Not surprisingly – but very disappointingly – the California Supreme Court has voted to uphold Proposition 8 on the grounds that “the voters were within their rights to approve a constitutional amendment redefining marriage to include only male-female couples.”

However, the court has upheld the right for the 18,000+ same-sex marriages performed between June and November 2008 to stand. Which means that California currently has three classes of people: those heterosexual couples who can get married at the drop of any hat; same-sex couples that were married during the short window of time that same-sex marriages were legal in California (and who will most likely be facing a fight against bigots who will work to invalidate their marriages); same-sex couples who, as it currently stands, can never get married in their state of residence.

This is untenable. There are marches and rallies planned all across the United States tonight. If you want to show your support for marriage equality for all American citizens, please attend one of these marches in your city. You can also get a free sticker or purchase some “I Do” or “Love Unites merchandise.

Civil rights always win out in the end. Let’s work to make it happen sooner than later.