You'll be happy to hear that Pipsqueak the adorable goat has been adopted.
Massachusetts Congressional candidate Richard Tisei again says that more voters have an issue with his GOP status than his being gay. "Being gay in Massachusetts isn't a problem," he told CBS News. "Being Republican is much more of a hurdle."
Female members of the Israel Gay Youth are lobbying for the group's senior leadership to appoint more women. "In recent days we find ourselves in a familiar state of agitation, after another woman is fired in order to make way for a ‘more suitable’ man," the women wrote. "This is even more outrageous than in other cases, since this is taking place in a relatively small gay organization, where most activists are volunteers; unfortunately, the move reflects an all-too-familiar alignment of the social power hierarchy."
LGBT activists in South Florida are mourning the death of Richard Cimoch: "A politically active Dolphin Democrat, who won their Volunteer of the Year Award in 2001, Cimoch had served for many years as the enthusiastic and energetic co-chair of Pride South Florida."
Take a listen to Lenny Kravitz and Aerosmith's new song for the NFL, written as a replacement for the one sung by homophobe Hank Williams Jr. That was dropped after Williams compared President Obama to Hitler.
Let it be known that Olympic diver Tom Daley has a Keek account.
Two New Zealand parliamentarian's, the National Party's Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Labour's Su'a William Sio, attended a protest against gay marriage this weekend. Bakshi is on the committee that considers civil rights legislation.
The Boston Globe covers the thawing relationship between evangelical and LGBT communities: "Another hopeful sign is that some evangelical leaders understand that they have a problem, too. 'We, the church, had utterly failed to reflect Jesus to gay people,' says Bill Henson, founder of the Acton-based Lead Them Home Ministries, which trains evangelical leaders to minister to gay, lesbian, and transgender people."
A new poll puts Obama three points ahead in Minnesota, where a question on defining marriage as one man, one woman will also be decidd.
Alex McQuillan on the secular nature of France's anti-gay movement: "The French Republic was founded on the ideas of equality and a French concept called laïcité—the complete absence of religion in governmental affairs. This means political discourse in France must be entirely free of religious rhetoric. So what you have in France is a large group of old people battling civil rights, not with religious ideals, but with science, sociology, and cold, reductive rationality."
The full moon may enhance Hurricane's Sandy impact. "When the moon waxes to its full phase Monday afternoon, high tides along the Eastern Seaboard will rise about 20 percent higher than normal, even without the help of Sandy's storm surge..." Stay safe out there!
Lady Gaga has a slew of great Halloween costumes to choose from.
John Deighan, the Catholic Church's Parliamentary Officer in Scotland, wrote a letter accusing LGBT activists of "intolerance". "Cultivating victim status has effectively put Stonewall beyond reproach in the public square. An attempt to counter their antagonistic ‘some people are gay, get over it’ bus advertising campaign was halted before it could even get off the ground by London Mayor, Boris Johnson," he wrote. "The constant promotion by the media and entertainment industry that anything gay is good has caused informed public debate to be dropped. In its place we have intolerance and intimidation."
Posted Oct. 28,2012 at 6:10 PM EST by Andrew Belonsky in 2012 Election, Barack Obama, Evangelical Christians, France, Gay Marriage, Lady Gaga, Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, News, Religion, Richard Tisei, Scotland, Tom Daley | Permalink | Comments (18)
For the first time since backing Richard Nixon in 1972, the Des Moines Register today backed a Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, because they think Romney's business background will help stabilize the economy.
Though the editors say President Obama made the right move with the stimulus package, they think only Mitt Romney can renew consumer confidence, which they claim will result in more industrial investment. The paper also believes Mitt Romney can overcome the obstructionism that hampered President Obama. But the Republican can only do so if he abandons the right wing agenda that helped him win the primary:
Romney should not squander an opportunity to build consensus in Washington by wasting time on issues that animate many in his party. We cannot rewind the clock on progress for minorities, women, gays and lesbians. We must make it easier for immigrants to come here to live and work legally and stop making criminals of those who are living here lawfully, paying taxes and raising families. The federal government must continue to insist on clean air and water and encourage clean and renewable energy.
The paper, which endorsed Romney during the primary, acknowledges that Romney shifted to center after winning that race, but thinks the man we see now is the "real" Romney, meaning he's more moderate than he let the right believe. His campaign's recent announcement that they still support a Federal Marriage Amendment says otherwise.
A new poll on Minnesota's Amendment 1, a measure that would write marriage discrimination into the state's constitution, shows that the race is still extremely close
The Minnesota Star Tribune reports that 47% of registered voters oppose the amendment, an unchanged number, while 48% of voters support amending the constitution to define marriage as one man, one woman. That's down one point from the previous polls. Five percent of people remain undecided, the paper says. Over 50% is needed one way or the other, and skipping the question qualifies as "no".
Not surprisingly, most of the people who oppose the amendment know someone who is LGBT: 54% of people who are voting no know someone who is gay or lesbian. Surprisingly, 40% of those who say they want to enshrine discrimination know someone who is gay or lesbian. Those are Michele Bachmann's people.
And, yes, religious leaders are playing a key role:
The sampling also found that Minnesota's faith leaders are enormously influential.
Fully 70 percent of supporters say their religious leader helped inform their decision on the question; 26 percent say their faith leader had little or no impact. Among amendment opponents, 27 percent said a faith leader played a significant role in their position.
Minnesotans United for All Families, a group trying to stop the unnecessary and hateful amendment, remain hopeful that Minnesotans will see the amendment for what it is.
"When Minnesotans go to the polls, they'll measure this amendment against their values of freedom and treating others as you would want to be treated," said the group's campaign manager, Richard Carlbom. "This amendment just doesn't stack up to our values as Minnesotans."
YOUR FEATURE PRESENTATION
When Madonna's "Sex" book turned twenty last week, a common thread of blog coverage was 'tame by today's standards' and I wondered which new standards other people were living by that I wasn't privy to? I'm not talking about private culture -- people have been seeing strangers naked long before Grindr or easily clickable pornography -- but about mainstream entertainment. Which mainstream female celebrity has been running around aggressively in her birthday suit lately? We've hardly made great strides at accepting female sexuality since then. Proof positive: the current political debates. The male body has, on the other hand, become more commonly objectified two decades on but penis sightings are still as rare as they were in the "Sex" book and people continue to make a big flaccid point of being shocked whenever they're visually reminded of their existence... especially in the movies. Find even one article about Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Eastern Promises or Shame that doesn't mention Jason Jr, Viggo Jr. or The Fassmember; tough assignment.
This longwinded preface isn't as off-topic as it sounds for a review of THE SESSIONS. The sexually-minded lightly funny new drama stars Oscar nominee John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) as Mark O'Brien, a paralyzed man who dreams of losing his virginity from the discomfort of his iron lung. Once his empathetic liberal priest (William H Macy) suggests that Jesus wouldn't object, "in my heart I think he'll give you a free pass on this one," O'Brien hires a sex surrogate named Cheryl (MIA Oscar winner Helen Hunt) to deflower him. The set up is like one of those raunchy teen sex comedies where everyone's end game is to "do it." Minus the frantic physical comedy -- iron lungs not being naturally inclined toward slapstick.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP...
A closer film relative, given the sweetly funny older protagonist and the non-traditional beauty who rescues him from himself might be The 40 Year Old Virgin. O'Brien doesn't leap from his bed for an orgasmic end credits dance to "The Age of Aquarius" like that other middle aged beginner but sex does, finally, make his spirit soar. The point is this: it's quite a small family of sex-positive movies for adults out there. (The Sessions is based on a true story so one hopes O'Brien thanked God regularly that he wasn't raised Mormon or Orthodox Anything because the Free Pass sure is handy!)
Hawkes, in a pleasing about face from the quietly menacing men of Winter's Bone and Martha Marcy May Marlene is all warm twinkly-eyed verbosity. O'Brien's mind and voice are the only real path to communication so he isn't shy about using them. But it's Helen Hunt, surprisingly, who emerges as the key to the picture's success in its most difficult role. The ease at which Cheryl strips has to be fully acted, unless Hunt has been a secretly thwarted exhibitionist all along. But it's not just Cheryl's body but her mind and soul that Hunt let's us see. We go home with her at night after the titular sessions (which each concentrate on a specific topic like 'body sensations', 'simultaneous orgasm', etc.) and begin to get a sense of her own complicated boundaries with her husband, her clients, and herself. Her husband calls her "a saint" but he's not so comfortable with her emotional intimacy with O'Brien. To Hunt's credit, neither is Cheryl as comfortable as she'd like to be.
Despite its charm, sex positivity, and finely honed star turns, The Sessions is something of a limited experience, only skimming the surfaces when it needs to dig deep. And it still has its own traditional hangups about intimacy and naked bodies. In one scene late in the movie that was surely intended to be more of an emotional knockout, Cheryl holds up a mirror carefully at just the right angle for the twisted O'Brien to really look at his naked body for the first time. He looks but we don't see. That's a strange choice given that the whole movie is leading him to the fullness of sexual expression and Cheryl's naked body has never been coyly hidden from our view.
The MPAA who gave us the now practically meaningless system of PGs, PG-13s, Rs, and NC-17s has worked hard to eradicate sexuality from American cinema while allowing violence to flourish. They've been largely successful. That moral watchdog's overt preference for violence is a sad indictment of America given that sex can be pleasureable and healthy while violence is only ever destructive. Sex is a more universal experience, too, but you'd never know it from the movies. Human sexuality is the single biggest topic that's almost never truly addressed in movie theaters. (Kissing scenes that fade to black and three second dissolve montages of heads thrown back in ecstacy don't count either). In my heart, I know I'm giving The Sessions something of a free pass but I'm just so glad it exists.
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg jetted to Baltimore on Friday to help Gov. Martin O'Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake campaign for marriage equality there.
"The way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights and dignity of all. And it is this belief in treating everyone equally under the law that has led to the surge in momentum in favor of Question 6," they wrote of the ballot measure that if approved would let same-sex couples tie the knot.
During his appearance in Baltimore on Friday, Bloomberg described marriage equality as both a civil rights issue and as an example of smart economics.
"Every wedding is a celebration that generates revenues for our restaurants and banquet halls, caterers and other small businesses," said the mayor. "In fact, we've calculated that same-sex marriage has generated more than $259 million in economic activity in our city in the last twelve months."
Meanwhile, polls once showed marriage equality winning by a wide margin in next month's vote, but the Baltimore Sun reports that right-wing efforts to target religious African-American voters are swinging votes toward "no": "A month ago, the same-sex marriage question was ahead by 10 percentage points — 49 percent to 39 percent — in an earlier Sun poll. The contest is now a dead heat in part because some African-Americans who supported the measure or were undecided are now saying no."
From that paper's report, filed last night:
The numbers have moved amid television and radio commercials from the Maryland Marriage Alliance, which opposes same-sex marriage, and stepped-up efforts by pastors preaching against Question 6.
Much of the advertising is focused on African-American voters, a bloc that traditionally opposed same-sex marriage but had been warming to the idea. In late September, the Sun poll showed a majority of blacks in favor of Question 6 — evidently a high-water mark.
This time, the poll found 50 percent of black voters oppose the measure and 42 percent support it.
Yvonne Johnson, 65, of Prince George's County is among those who have decided to vote against legalization of same-sex marriage. "I'm not against gay people, she said. "I just don't think they should change what is in the Bible."
Perhaps it's time for some pro-equality preachers to stand up and be heard?
[Image via WBAL-TV.]
New York City readers, take note: Governor Cuomo announced this morning that the Big Apple's subway system will close at 7pm tonight in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. Buses and other public transit aside from cabs will be shut, as well.
The hurricane is expected to make landfall on Monday, hitting either around Maryland or New York City, or maybe even further north. Either way, prepare to get soaked over the next few days.
UPDATE: There's also a mandatory evacuation for Zone A - lower Manhattan and blocks near the East and Hudson rivers - in effect.