PHOTO OF THE DAY: Reason #1 to be a New England Patriots fan.
BY SAM GREISMAN
A look back at today's top stories
Chris Hayes and a group of panelists over at MSNBC sat down this weekend and discussed CPAC and how the GOP may view gay rights moving forward. On that note, former McCain aide Steve Schmidt recently told Bill Maher that the Republicans' anti-gay stance is keeping them from attracting young and talented workers.
More details are emerging about the grisly murder of an openly gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi. Family members say they are confident that this was not a random act of violence but as of yet investigators have not classified it a hate crime. There is some potential good news in Michigan where a federal judge could overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage as early as Thursday. And a sad farewell to one of New York City's oldest gay bars which is set to close.
James Franco is very displeased with Australia for the country's decision to ban his collaborator's other gay film because of its depiction of gay sex. The band Train is taking a stand for gay rights; the group has backed out of the Boy Scouts Jamboree because of the scouts' anti-gay policies. Also check out Darren Criss, Kristen Wiig and Annette Benning (and a Backstreet Boys impersonation) in the trailer for Girl Most Likely.
AFA spokeshater Bryan Fischer puts a lot of faith in the ability of gay men to sway straight men to their side. Case in point, he feels that if an NFL team were to sign a gay player it would create a "grenade-like explosion" in the locker room. A Republican from Kansas wants to protect anti-gay service members and the Romneys talk more about being losers.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY
In a voice vote, the Senate today confirmed Pamela Ki Mai Chen, a Brooklyn prosecutor, to the federal bench for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Chen is the first openly gay Asian American on the federal bench.
Chen is currently the chief of the civil rights section in the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York, where she prosecutes and supervises cases involving hate crimes, color of law violations and human trafficking cases. The New York Chapter of the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association lists her as a board member. Chen's parents were immigrants from China, Schumer said.
The Washington Blade adds:
Sen. Chuck Schumer, who recommended the nomination to Obama, praised the Senate for confirming Chen in a statement and said her background will serve her well on the federal bench.
“Ms. Chen’s wealth of experience and devotion to public service make it clear that she will be an excellent judge,” Schumer said. “Ms. Chen has proven time and again that she is a leader and a pioneer in the legal field. I have every confidence that she will serve her jurisdiction well.”
Said Obama at the time of Chen's nomination: “I am proud to nominate this outstanding candidate to serve on the United States District Court bench. Pamela Chen has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve on the federal bench with distinction.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pressing his supporters to turn up the heat on lawmakers in Springfield ahead of an anticipated vote on marriage equality by the Illinois House, the Sun-Times reports:
In an email to the vast network of supporters he created during the mayoral campaign, Emanuel created a vehicle for gay marriage proponents to pressure their state representatives with the click of a mouse.
“The clock is ticking. The House is poised to vote…in the coming days. And I know from talking with several of my friends in Springfield that some members of the House still haven’t decided which way they’ll vote,” Emanuel wrote in a personalized email to supporters Monday.
“If we’re going to pass this bill, it’s crucial that members of the House hear from marriage supporters every single day until the freedom to marry becomes law in Illinois.” ...
... “It’s time for the laws of our state to reflect the values of our people. It’s time for Illinois to take the lead,” the mayor wrote.
“Real change happens when citizens stand strong, tell their stories and urge their lawmakers to do what’s right….What happens in the next week is up to you. Let’s do what it takes to bring home a victory for the thousands of Illinois families who are counting on us right now.”
Emanuel's email comes amid reports that supporters are still looking for the votes needed to pass the bill in the House. On Friday, Chicago magazine published an article indicating where the votes stand.
Find out how to contact Illinois legislators HERE.
(inset: a social media image created by Emanuel's office shortly after the Senate passed the marriage equality bill on Valentine's Day)
In an interview with MTV News, Clive Davis, who recently came out as bisexual, said Frank Ocean's coming out was "powerfully positive":
"Put my story aside, it was very brave of him. I'll tell you what was heartwarming was the reaction of the hip-hop community. I mean, they accepted him as a person. This could have been very controversial...You take an actor, a romantic actor, or years ago you take a leading man romantic singer that has fan clubs of females all over the world one way or another ... it's terribly detrimental to their career. That's why you do have a number of people scared to death that their careers could be so adversely affected."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Get More: Music News
Pauley Perret, Anika Noni Rose, Verne Troyer, Kat Graham and Josie Loren are among those in a new HIV awareness clip for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation parodying Macklemore's 'Thrift Shop' at the 'Out of the Closet' thrift stores.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver Visits The Trevor Project as Follow-Up to Apology for Anti-Gay Remarks: PHOTO
San Francisco 49er cornerback Chris Culliver, who made headlines in the days leading up to the Super Bowl when he told radio host Artie Lange that gays were not welcome in the locker room or the NFL, tweeted a photo this afternoon from the offices of The Trevor Project, the leading suicide resource and hotline for LGBTQ youth.
Wrote Culliver, who appears to be getting educated on the topic: "Great time at LGBTQ the Q is for (question)"
The visit is a follow-up on a promise Culliver made along with his apology, that he would be attending an educational training program at the organization to learn about the difficulties faced by youth who bear the brunt of anti-gay remarks, bullying, and rejection from society.
Said Culliver last month:
"As an African American male, I should know better. Hate and discrimination have a lasting effect, and words matter. I also have a responsibility to myself, and especially to my young fans to be a better role model. The kids who look up to me and other athletes are the future of our country, and our future deserves better than fear, hate and discrimination... I was wrong, and I want to learn how to make it right. That's why I reached out to an organization called The Trevor Project... No child should ever feel like they are less than anyone else, and God has put me through this storm so I can learn from my mistakes and help make sure no child has to feel that way, again."