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Creators of Military Gay Ban Tell Author It Was 'Based On Nothing'

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Military officials exaggerated the threat to unit cohesion and ignored research and data when formulating the current policy on gay troops, according to the much-anticipated new book, "Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America," out tomorrow.
The book, based on a decade of research and hundreds of interviews, was written by Dr. Nathaniel Frank, senior research fellow at the Palm Center, and one of the nation's most widely recognized authorities on gays in the military. Dr. Frank is appearing with Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher today at the Center for American Progress to discuss her proposed legislation to repeal the ban.
Publication of the book by St. Martin's Press falls on the 15th anniversary of "don't ask, don't tell." Frank spoke to key military and political architects of the policy, many of whom acknowledge in the book that it was "based on nothing" but "our own prejudices and our own fears."MORE
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This Alien Legacy: The Origins of "Sodomy" Laws in British Colonialism

>December 17, 2008

This 66-page report describes how laws in over three dozen countries, from India to Uganda and from Nigeria to Papua New Guinea, derive from a single law on homosexual conduct that British colonial rulers imposed on India in 1860. This year, the High Court in Delhi ended hearings in a years-long case seeking to decriminalize homosexual conduct there. A ruling in the landmark case is expected soon.

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Focus on the Family vastly outpaced Mormon spending on Proposition 8
Ministry, related donors spent $1.25 million on anti-gay marriage measure

Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family gave $727,250 in cash and services to the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 campaign in California, according to records released by the California secretary of state, including a $100,000 check in late October, just days before the evangelical media empire announced it planned to lay off nearly 20 percent of its employees. While there has been public scrutiny of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its attempts to influence the campaign to reverse a California Supreme Court ruling allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, Focus on the Family and related donors pumped more than six times as much as the Mormon church did into the ProtectMarriage.com campaign, records show.
Altogether, donations supporting Proposition 8 from Focus on the Family, one of its major benefactors and an offshoot lobbying organization totaled more than $1.251 million — just shy of the $1.275 million contributed by ProtectMarriage.com’s largest donor, the Knights of Columbus, the Connecticut-based political arm of the Catholic Church. In addition to $727,250 reported by Focus on the Family, major backer and board member Elsa Prince, the billionaire heiress of Holland, Mich., donated $450,000 to ProtectMarriage.com in two cash chunks and the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council, a Christian-right lobbying organization spun off from Focus on the Family and founded in part by Prince’s foundation, chipped in $74,400.

The Mormon church donated $189,000 in nonmonetary expenditures — mostly staff time and airline tickets — to help pass the ballot measure, according to the latest disclosure from the California secretary of state. The church remains “under investigation” by the California Fair Political Practices Commission after a complaint was filed against the church by the anti-Proposition 8 group Californians Against Hate, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.


Dec. 31st, 2008 11:02 am
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Latter-Day Protest? Proposition 8 and Sports

If you know [Bob]Beamon's name it's almost certainly because he won the long jump gold medal in legendary fashion at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.


But you may not know that Beamon almost never made it to Mexico City. Along with eight other teammates, Beamon had his track and field scholarship revoked from the University of Texas at El Paso, the previous year. They had refused to compete against Brigham Young University. Beamon and his teammates were protesting the racist practices of the Mormon Church, and their coach at UTEP, Wayne Vanderburge, made them pay the ultimate price.

They weren't alone. As tennis great Arthur Ashe wrote in his book, Hard Road to Glory, "In October 1969, fourteen black [football] players at the University of Wyoming publicly criticized the Mormon Church and appealed to their coach, Lloyd Eaton, to support their right not to play against Brigham Young University. . . . The Mormon religion at the time taught that blacks could not attain to the priesthood, and that they were tainted by the curse of Ham, a biblical figure. Eaton, however, summarily dropped all fourteen players from the squad."

The players, though, didn't take their expulsion lying down. They called themselves the Black 14 and sued for damages with the support of the NAACP. In an October 25th game against San Jose State, the entire San Jose team wore black armbands to support the 14.

One aftershock of this episode was in November 1969, when Stanford University President Kenneth Pitzer suspended athletic relations with BYU, announcing that Stanford would honor what he called an athlete's "Right of Conscience." The "Right of Conscience" allowed athletes to boycott an event which he or she deemed "personally repugnant." As the Associated Press wrote, "Waves of black protest roll toward BYU, assaulting Mormon belief and leaving BYU officials and students, perplexed, hurt, and maybe a little angry." [Course they were angry. How dare anyone tell them that they and their religion were bigoted little twerps. And of course, the mainstream media is SO sympathetic of the oppressors' feelings you see, and the oppressed, what THEY have feelings? Who cares?]

On June 6th, 1978, as teams were refusing road trips to Utah with greater frequency, and the IRS started to make noises about revoking the church's holy tax-free status, a new revelation came ...

Whether a cynical ploy to avoid the taxman or a coincidence touched by God, the results were the same: Black people were now human in the eyes of the Church.
An idea for the gay comm. and its allies to pursue?
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New Dirt on Pastor Warren via Rachel Maddow

U.S. refuses to sign UN resolution decriminalizing homosexuality

This stance by the United States is stunning on several levels, and shows the disconnect between our self-described identity as a beacon of democracy and freedom and the reality when the rubber hits the road. Under Bush's watch, our nation is the only major Western nation to refuse to sign a resolution that would decriminalize homosexuality worldwide.
In all, 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration - which backers called a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with anti-gay discrimination. More than 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them homosexual acts can be punished by execution. Co-sponsored by France and the Netherlands, the declaration was signed by all 27 European Union members, as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries. There was broad opposition from Muslim nations, and the United States refused to sign, indicating that some parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review.
"It's disappointing," said Rama Yade, France's human rights minister, of the U.S. position - which she described as in contradiction with America's long tradition as a defender of human rights...
The first thing that came to my mind when reading about this travesty was that this country's inability to sign on to this is saying the United States under this administration is fine with the criminalization of homosexuality within its own borders, and that the only thing standing in the way was the little bit of legal business called Lawrence v. Texas. That the "activist" U.S. Supreme Court made a grave mistake. That it would like to return to the days of the law peeping into the bedrooms of a private home and arresting two consenting adults. What was the explanation given by our government?MORE
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Prop. 8 sponsors seek to nullify 18K gay marriages

The sponsors of Proposition 8 asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to nullify the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before voters approved the ballot initiative that outlawed gay unions.

The Yes on 8 campaign filed a brief arguing that because the new law holds that only marriages between a man and a woman are recognized or valid in California, the state can no longer recognize the existing same-sex unions.

"Proposition 8's brevity is matched by its clarity. There are no conditional clauses, exceptions, exemptions or exclusions," reads the brief co-written by Pepperdine University law school dean Kenneth Starr, the former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton.MORE

Well, like Rick Warren said, those marriages are hurting millions, got that, millions of heterosexuals who are married, after all. Oh what company you keep, Obama.

Home Invasion
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Rod 2.0
One story that we haven't followed this week is the implosion of the New York State senate over the possibility of a same sex marriage bill. The latest: The rabidly anti-gay and controversial Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. says claims he's being "threatened" by gay rights advocates and may jump ship to the Republicans. The Bronx Pentecostal minister, a fierce opponent of gay rights and same-sex marriage, threatened incoming Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith against bringing a marriage bill up for a vote next year. Diaz claims, "The gays are calling my office. They're jamming my phones. They're going to see what we can do." (Diaz made the accusations in an incoherent rant to Liz Benjamin of the Daily News, but "set the record straight" in a another incoherent press release naming Post gossip maven Liz Smith.) The anti-gay clergyman and minister says he will either join the Republicans—whom he often endorses—stay neutral to create an impasse, or join the Democratic conference.MORe
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From Rod 2.0 Commission Says New Jersey Should Allow Same-Sex Marriages

The New Jersey Civil Union Commission releases its much-anticipated and long-awaited report. The commission finds the Garden State's civil union law "fails" to adequately protect gay and lesbian couples and the state should waste no time passing a marriage equality bill. The Star-Ledger:

The final report of the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission says it gathered "overwhelming evidence" that the civil union law not only fails to provide the same protections as marriage, it also has created economic, medical and emotional hardships for gay couples.


From: Pams House Blend

1. For the overwhelming majority of civil union couples who testified, the federal Employment Retirement Income Security Act, commonly known by its acronym ERISA, is the reason employers have given for not recognizing their civil unions.
2. In Massachusetts, a marriage equality law has prompted many employers to provide equal benefits to same-sex wives or husbands.
3. The testimony presented by many civil union couples indicated that their employers continue to discriminate against them, despite their familiarity with the law.
4. Civil union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status.
5. The Civil Union Act has a deleterious effect on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex youth and children being raised by same-sex couples.
6. Many witnesses testified about the unequal treatment and uncertainties they face during a health care crisis, particularly in hospital settings.
7. Institutional interaction with civil union couples has been less than optimal.
8. Testimony indicates that the Civil Union Act has a particularly disparate impact on people of color.
9. The requirement that same-sex couples declare civil union status, a separate category reserved for same-sex couples, exposes members of the United States military to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
10. The classification of civil union may place marital status in question when one of the partners is transgender.MORE
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Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?
Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.


Military Asks Foreigners to Fill Vital Roles Instead of Gays
In other words, the military is forced by law to recruit non-Americans for these "vital" positions over patriotic Americans who happen to be gay. Consider, the Pentagon says it has a "chronic shortage" of linguists. But the military forced out 58 gay Arabic linguists in 2007. And now, they’re attempting to replace those 58 trained, gay linguists with foreigners.
Let’s take a look at what’s happening here: As the AP says, the Pentagon is trying to find 1,000 foreigners to fill these positions. But from 2002 through 2006, the military kicked out 3,715 troops under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy. Think any "doctors, nurses, and linguists" were included in there?
Absolutely there were. Here are just three examples of service members discharged after their sexual orientation became an issue--service members who held the positions described above as being "vital to the national interest." These are the people the Pentagon seeks to replace with non-Americans:MORE


Nov. 25th, 2008 05:09 pm
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via: Andrew Sullivan

No on 8 Leaders Scramble to Save Face Amidst Revelations of Month-Long Vacations, Minority Leaders Ignored and Incompetence
The gay and lesbian community is reassessing their efforts in light of a flurry of reports that question No on 8's tactics and commitment and the decision to hold the discussion, as well as the closed off nature of its format, are a tacit admission that the gay community is demanding answers from their leaders.
The Advocate has published a searing new report (see, we say nice things from time to time), revealing that over the summer Lori L. Jean of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center went on vacation for a month and Geoff Kors of Equality California left for two and a half weeks.

In addition LGBT leaders from the black & latino community are hopping mad they were never included in the No on 8 campaign. Jeffrey King, executive director of In The Meantime Men’s Group, a South Los Angeles outreach organization for gay black men told the LA Weekly:
“We told them what should be done. We told them what they shouldn’t do — and they did what they wanted to do. This clearly is not the time to call black folks out and say we were to blame. There was not enough outreach. Period.”
Richard Zaldivar, former City Council Aide, director The Wall Las Memorias Project, who successfully led a grassroots effort to build the first publicly funded AIDS Memorial in East Los Angeles was told by No on 8 staffers that the Latino vote “wasn’t a priority.”
“I drove by the [Our Lady of the Angeles] cathedral on Sunday and I saw young people protesting. But they need to hold the gay and lesbian leadership accountable as much as the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church…If Latinos were playing such an important role in the presidential campaign what was the No on 8 strategy?”
Your editor questioned the Prop. 8 campaign before the election, particularly the lack of a get out the vote effort. The campaign focused on television ads and phone-banking and actively discouraged grassroots efforts to do one-on-one canvassing across the state, even mocking the Yes on 8 campaign's door to door operation.MORE


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