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01/27/2013

Marriage Equality Debate Arises Anew In Navajo Nation

NavajoIn 2005, during the height of anti-gay marriage fear-mongering of the Bush years, the Navajo nation passed the Dines Marriage Act, which prohibits same-sex marriage.

Now, eight years and massive amounts of political progress later, LGBT activists within the Navajo nation are hoping to reverse course.

The Navajo Post reports that LGBT activists, Desmond Tome, an adviser to Navajo President Ben Shelley, and Arizona State. openly gay Sen. Jack Jackson Jr. were all on hand to debate the matter at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona, Friday. All seem to agree that traditional resistance among tribal elders will be the highest hurdle:

[Tome] said he spoke with Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly about the complexities and he said the President respects the gay community, referring to them as the five fingered people in 'Navajo' and they are just like everyone else.

Tome was also asked directly if the Navajo Nation would allow same-sex marriage, and he redirected the question to the Navajo Nation Council Delegate Johnathan Hale for an answer.

....

The forum speakers were careful not to say with [policy] specifics, [like] if the Navajo Nation would support a gay marriage bill, [but] they did suggest to the lesbian and gay community to be careful not to push the issue on the Navajo elders that may still be against a bill that would allow same sex marriages on the reservation. Some could argue the Navajo traditional culture does allow same sex marriage, by being the 'two spirited' one.

"Two-spirited" people are said to fulfill both gender roles. The concept of marriage equality would likely go against views of gender and sex based on this ancient tradition.

[Image via orbegay.]

Posted Jan. 27,2013 at 11:38 AM EST by in Gay Marriage, News | Permalink | Comments (10)


Boy Scouts Successfully Bully Troop Into Dropping Non-Discrimination Policy

BoyScoutsHQ

Maryland-based Boy Scout Troop 442 defied the national leadership's anti-gay culture by posting a non-discrimination policy on their website last week. The national Boy Scouts of America responded by threatening to pull their charter, and, sadly, the threat did the trick: Troop 442 had no choice but to remove its inclusive notice, but vowed on its site to keep welcoming all families.

Here's a screenshot of Troop 442's notice announcing the reversal:

442notice

The Boy Scouts of America's bigwigs sure know how to bully the little guy.

Posted Jan. 27,2013 at 10:42 AM EST by in Boy Scouts, Discrimination, Maryland, News | Permalink | Comments (22)


Group Calling Hagel 'Anti-Gay' Has Republican Roots

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The New York Times today has a piece about the myriad groups trying to hold-up Chuck Hagel's confirmation as the next Defense Secretary.

Such organizations, anonymous and amorphous, are a direct descendant of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling giving nameless dollars even more power in the electoral sphere. Yet none of these anti-Hagel groups really think they can use their new positions to actually stop the former Republican senator's confirmation. They just want to erode the president's political capital.

Jim Rutenberg reports: "[At least seven groups are] organizing to stop Mr. Hagel's confirmation, a goal even they acknowledge appears to be increasingly challenging. But the effort comes with a built-in consolation prize should it fail: depleting some of Mr. Obama's political capital as he embarks on a new term with fresh momentum."

One of these groups is Use Your Mandate, which launched itself last week with a series of ads denouncing Hagel's past comments about gay people and Israel.

Most LGBT activists wondered whether this "pro-gay" group really had roots in the equality movement, or if it was just a smoke screen for GOP machinations. Not surprisingly, it was the latter:

[Use Your Mandate] has no Web site and it only lists as its address a post office box in New York. But paperwork filed with the Federal Communications Commission link it back to Tusk Strategies, a bipartisan political group founded by Bradley Tusk, a former strategist for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York.

In an interview, Mr. Tusk would only identify its financiers as Democratic "gay and L.G.B.T. people who have been active in campaigns around the country."

Yet federal records show that Use Your Mandate uses Del Cielo Media, an arm of one of the most prominent Republican ad-buying firms in the country, Smart Media, with clients that have included the presidential campaigns of former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah and Senator John McCain of Arizona; the 2010 Senate campaign of Christine O'Donnell, who was known for positions against homosexuality, in Delaware; and, as it happens, the Emergency Committee for Israel.

And there you have it...

Posted Jan. 27,2013 at 9:39 AM EST by in Chuck Hagel, News, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (9)


Ascending In Ontario, Kathleen Wynne Becomes Canada's First LGBT Premier

Wynne2

Kathleen Wynne helped Canada hit two milestones yesterday when she became the new premier of Ontario. She's both the province's first female premier and the entire Canadian nation's first openly gay premier.

"The province has changed, our party has changed," Wynne, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, said. "I do not believe that the people of Ontario … hold that prejudice in their hearts."

Here's more from her speech, about the long road she's walked:

Let's put something on the table: Is Ontario ready for a gay premier? You've heard that question.

Let's say what that actually means: Can a gay woman win?

When I ran in 2003, I was told that the people of North Toronto and Thorncliffe Park weren't ready to elect a gay woman.

Well, apparently they were.

You know, there was a time, not that long ago. When most of us in this race would have been deemed unsuitable, A Portuguese-Canadian, an Indo-Canadian, Italian-Canadian, female, gay, Catholic - Most of us could not have hoped to stand on this stage, but this province has changed.

Our party has changed.

I don't believe the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, color or sexual orientation – I don't believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts.

They judge us on our merits – On our abilities, on our expertise, on our ideas – Because that is how everyone deserves to be judged. That is how we want our children, our grandchildren, our nieces and nephews to be judged.

So, when it is time for me to take us into the next general election, I will do it on the basis of our merits, based on our success.

Wynne is more than a politician who overcame homophobia to win her position. She's also a mother of three, speaks four languages, holds two master's, one in linguistics and the other in adult education, and also studied meditation at Harvard, which sounds like something every politicians, gay or straight, should do...

Watch Wynne's speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted Jan. 27,2013 at 9:09 AM EST by in Canada, News | Permalink | Comments (32)



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