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Brendon Ayanbadejo Pens 'USA Today' Column Calling for End to Homophobia in Pro Sports

Brendon Ayanbadejo pledged to bring his marriage equality advocacy with him to the Super Bowl, and now that he has won it, he's taking that ball and running with it.

He writes, in USA Today: Sb_ayanbadejo

There are many reasons why no gay athlete has come out in the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB, most of which are likely to go away with support and acceptance from the straight community. As leaders and even role models for millions of young people across the globe, professional athletes have the ability to fundamentally eliminate prejudice from our sport and live up to the incredible privilege we enjoy.

At its best, sports do not discriminate. If you are young or old, tall or short, male or female, gay or straight, all that really matters is how well you play and contribute to your team.

The NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA should and can be leaders against discrimination. Whether you're a commissioner, an athlete, a coach or a fan, your voice will let every kid out there know that there is a place for him or her in sports. We all can be ourselves and still compete with dignity and at the highest level.

This is our time and our cause. Everything we know as athletes, teammates, spokesmen and vehicles of American pastimes compels us toward the kind of action and camaraderie we saw from Pee Wee Reese nearly 66 years ago. It's as simple as putting our arm around the shoulder of another athlete. It's a gesture; it's a pledge; it's solidarity at its most basic. Our Jackie is coming. We need to pave the way.

(photo via instagram)

Posted Feb. 6,2013 at 2:07 PM EST by in Brendon Ayanbadejo, Football (American), News, Sports | Permalink | Comments (23)

FRC Shooter Floyd Corkins Pleads Guilty

Floyd Corkins, the Virginia man charged with shooting a Family Research Council employee in August, pleaded guilty today, CNN reports:

CorkinsFloyd Corkins, 28, pleaded guilty to three charges related to the shooting at the conservative policy group's Washington headquarters. The counts included committing an act of terrorism, interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, and assault with intent to kill while armed. Prosecutors dropped seven other charges. It's unclear whether the plea deal will reduce the 70 years in prison that he could face following his conviction. Corkins will be sentenced April 29, prosecutors said.

...Prosecutors proposed in December that he plead guilty to the three charges, although his attorney, David Bos, had expressed concern about the offer at the time. The act of terrorism charge alleges that Corkins wanted to kill Johnson and other Family Research Council employees "with the intent to intimidate and coerce a significant portion of the civilian population of the District of Columbia and the United States." It's a District of Columbia law that was passed in 2002 but had never been used.

Posted Feb. 6,2013 at 1:52 PM EST by in Crime, Family Research Council, Floyd Corkins, News | Permalink | Comments (10)

Let's All Watch UK MP David Lammy Blow Anti-Gay Bigotry Away: 'Separate But Equal is a Fraud!' - VIDEO


UK Labour MP David Lammy gave one of the most impassioned speeches during yesterday's debate that led to the House of Commons approval of the marriage equality bill.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Said Lammy:

Let me speak frankly.

“Separate but equal” is a fraud. Separate but equal” is the language that tried to push Rosa Parks to the back of the bus. Separate but equal” is the motif that determined that black and white could not possibly drink from the same water fountain, eat at the same table or use the same toilets. “Separate but equal” are the words that justified sending black children to different schools from their white peers – schools that would fail them and condemn them to a life of poverty.

It is an excerpt from the phrasebook of the segregationists and the racists. It is the same statement, the same ideas and the same delusion that we borrowed in this country to say that women could vote – but not until they were 30. It is the same naivety that gave made my dad a citizen in 1956 but refused to condemn the landlords that proclaimed “no blacks, no Irish, no dogs”. It entrenched who we were, who our friends could be and what our lives could become.

This was not “Separate but equal” but “Separate AND discriminated”,

 “Separate AND oppressed”.

 “Separate AND browbeaten”.

 “Separate AND subjugated”.

Separate is NOT equal, so let us be rid of it.

Because as long as there is one rule for us and another for them, we allow the barriers to acceptance to stand unchallenged. As long as our statute books suggest that the love between two men or two women is unworthy of being recognised through marriage, we allow the rot of homophobia to fester.


Posted Feb. 6,2013 at 12:37 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, Great Britain, News, United Kingdom | Permalink | Comments (34)

The Straight Girl's Guide to Gay Sex: VIDEO


Graham Gremore illustrates the top five questions he gets from women about gay sex.

Watch (work-unfriendly language), AFTER THE JUMP...

Previously by Gremore...
You Can't Be Gay Unless You Have a Job: VIDEO [tlrd]

Posted Feb. 6,2013 at 12:10 PM EST by in News, Sex | Permalink | Comments (46)

Problems Ahead In a Post-DOMA World: The Fate of Binational Couples

Monica-Alcota-and-Cristina-Ojeda-DOMABY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

This is the fourth in a series of analyses about the Supreme Court's decision to hear cases challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.

Today's discussion: What the DOMA case does not address.

In about six weeks, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8. Fifteen weeks later, the Court will hand down a decision in which a majority is likely to declare that part of DOMA unconstitutional. Although that will be a great day for gay rights, in general, and married gay couples, in particular, it is by no means the end of the story.

The end of DOMA Section 3 means that the federal government will return to doing what it has always done: recognizing those couples the States say are married. Section 3's discriminatory definition of marriage denies legally married same-sex couples the thousands of federal rights normally associated with getting married, including everything from health insurance to survivorship benefits to immigration rights for bi-national couples.

It is the last issue that is particularly vexing not only because gay binational couples have had to survive under a tragic regime that rips apart two people in love, but also because the end of DOMA is a half measure that leaves thousands of these men and women without equal rights.

In a post-DOMA world, the U.S. citizen of a legally married gay binational couple who was married and lives in a marriage equality state would be able to sponsor his foreign national spouse for a visa. But, what if you were married in New Hampshire (an equality state) and live in Kansas (a non-equality state that doesn't recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages)?

Well, that's an open question that we can discuss AFTER THE JUMP...

DomaConsider this hypothetical: Eddie and Marius are gay and were married last year in a civil ceremony in the State of New York. Eddie was born in Redmayne, New Jersey; Marius is a citizen of France. The two men live in Lincoln, Nebraska, where Eddie is a chef and Marius is a French teacher. Marius's temporary work visa has expired and the government is getting ready to send him back to France. Naturally, the couple wants to stay together, but Eddie cannot leave Nebraska, let alone the United States, at this time. Can Eddie, a U.S. citizen, sponsor his husband Marius for a spousal visa? 

Today, the answer is easy: No, he can't. DOMA prevents the federal government, which handles all immigration issues, from recognizing the marriage as valid simply because it is a marriage between two men. 

But, if DOMA were gone, if the Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional or Congress passes the Respect for Marriage Act, the answer is unclear. The central question is this: What matters for federal recognition of a marriage: The state of celebration, i.e., where the couple got married and got a marriage certificate from the state, or the state of domicile, i.e., where the couple lives, works, and pays taxes?

Non-lawyers might find this distinction aggravating. That someone lives in Fort Lee, New Jersey (the first town just west of the Hudson River), but got married 10 minutes away in Manhattan, seems a poor, unjust, and heartlessly semantic reason to rend apart a loving and committed couple.

Nevertheless, the distinction's injustice does not make it inapplicable.

Some evidence suggests that it is the state of domicile that matters. A similar case might involve first cousin marriage, which is banned in 30 states (as of last year). Arizona is among those 30 states and it has refused to recognize out-of-state first cousin marriages even if the marriages were legal where performed or celebrated. As a result, Arizona state courts have denied widows of such marriages any rights vis-a-vis the state after spousal death (e.g., In re Mortenson's Estate). And, in many cases, federal tax benefits have denied to these types of widows upon the death of the first-cousin spouse.

DumpdomaThen there are cases like In re Jose Mauricio Lovo-Lara at the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The BIA is an intermediate administrative review board within the Department of Justice that reviews the decisions of immigration judges, kind of like the Second Circuit reviews decisions from the Southern District of New York. Lovo-Lara concerned the spousal visa application for an El Salvadorian man married to a post-operative male-to-female transgender individual, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina. North Carolina recognized both the sex change and the marriage as valid. The BIA said that DOMA did not apply because the marriage was not between two individuals of the same-sex and that the federal government should accept as valid based on the state of celebration. The panel also reminded us that other states need not recognize the marriage if marriages involved transgender individuals conflict with the deeply rooted public policy of that state.

There is something to be said for taking one step at a time. The question of the constitutionality of DOMA's discriminatory definition of marriage is also a distinct legal question from the source of the definition of marriage in a post-DOMA world. In the legal world, that means we need another case: judges generally address only the discrete legal question before them, so this question is beyond the reach of Windsor v. United States. In the political world, we can lobby the Obama Administration to direct immigration judges and the BIA to accept the validity of marriages for federal law based on the state of celebration. Although this strategy could be reversed by a future, antigay administration, an executive order could still save countless committed gay couples from being ripped apart.

That said, let's get rid of DOMA first.


Ari Ezra Waldman teaches at Brooklyn Law School and is concurrently getting his PhD at Columbia University in New York City. He is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. His research focuses on technology, privacy, speech, and gay rights. Ari will be writing weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues.

(top photo and screencap - Lavi Soloway - The Doma Project)

Posted Feb. 6,2013 at 11:30 AM EST by in Ari Ezra Waldman, DOMA, Immigration, Law - Gay, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (23)

Boy Scouts Release Statement on Gay Ban Vote Delay

The Boy Scouts released this statement on the gay ban vote, which has been postponed until May:

BsaFor 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing it's youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.

After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.

To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting's membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers' work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013.

Tell us your theories about what's behind the delay in the comments.

UPDATE: More reactions, via GLAAD.

"An organization that serves youth and chooses to intentionally hurt dedicated young people and hardworking parents not only flies in the face of American principles, but the principles of being a Boy Scout," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "The Boy Scouts of America is choosing to ignore the cries of millions, including religious institutions, current scouting families, and corporate sponsors, but these cries will not be silenced. We're living in a culture where hurting young gay people because of who they are is unpopular and discriminatory. They had the chance to end the pain this ban has caused to young people and parents, they chose to extend the pain."
Jennifer Tyrrell, a gay mom from Bridgeport, Ohio, who was ousted as the leader of her son’s Cub Scout Pack in April 2012 because of her sexual orientation, helped spark a national movement calling on the Boy Scouts to change its policy. Tyrrell, with the support of GLAAD, started a petition on that rallied hundreds of thousands urging the Boy Scouts to welcome gay Scouts and leaders.
"A scout is supposed to be brave, and the Boy Scouts failed to be brave today," said Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell. "The Boy Scouts had the chance to help countless young people and devoted parents, but they've failed us yet again. No parent should have to loo their child in the eye and explain that the Boy Scouts don't want us. Our fight will continue and we will continue to educate donors and supporters of the Boy Scouts about the effects of their anti-gay policy.”
Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and founder of the organization Scouts for Equality, said that today’s news was simply not a strong enough gesture from the Boy Scouts of America to ensure that they take discrimination seriously.
"This is an abdication of responsibility," said straight Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, the founder of Scouts for Equality. "By postponing this decision, the BSA has caved to those who argue that their anti-gay attitudes trump basic Scouting values of kindness, courtesy and bravery. Scouting was built on a foundation of respect and dignity. Today, the BSA cracked that foundation."
"On Monday, the Boy Scouts of America received 1.4 million petition signatures urging the organization to end its national policy banning gay youth and parents, and today, those voices went unanswered," said Senior Campaign Manager Mark Anthony Dingbaum. "With 9 national campaigns and over 50 local campaigns already launched on calling for an end to the BSA's policy, how many more stories of gay youth and leaders, like Ryan Andresen and Jen Tyrrell, need to surface before the Boy Scouts decide to end this policy?"

Posted Feb. 6,2013 at 11:19 AM EST by in Boy Scouts, News | Permalink | Comments (37)


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