Air Force Secretary Michael Donley retired as Air Force Secretary on Friday, and because Obama has not yet named a replacement, Under Secretary Eric Fanning, a gay man, is currently in charge, the Air Force Times reports:
Fanning previously served as deputy under secretary of the Navy and deputy director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism before becoming under secretary of the Air Force on April 29.
Fanning, who is openly gay, takes over at the Air Force just as the Supreme Court is set to rule on the Defense of Marriage Act, which blocks same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits as heterosexual couples. He told the Washington Blade in a recent interview that he hopes the Defense Department will adopt a non-discrimination policy to protect gay and lesbian service members.
“Speaking personally, I always think it’s important to have non-discrimination policies codified to include everyone,” Fanning said in the interview. “The military, because it has a chain of command, has a different attitude about this and a different way to try to go about protecting airmen, sailors, soldiers, Marines — but Eric Fanning? Yes. I personally like to see these things in writing and codified.”
Among this week's subjects in Jimmy Kimmel's weekly tribute to the FCC: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's new baby, Sen. Rand Paul, the San Antonio Spurs, and Sarah Palin.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
New York's Senate ended its session last night without taking a vote on the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) despite pressure from advocates and major newspapers across the state. In April, the Democratic-led Assembly passed the bill for the sixth time.
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) made historic progress during the legislative session that just concluded. A broad, deep and diverse statewide coalition of law enforcement, labor, faith, civil rights, LGBT, progressive and women’s organizations stood shoulder-to-shoulder and called for GENDA. The community was united behind language that offered strong protections, particularly in the areas of housing and employment.
We are confident that we had a bi-partisan majority of the Senate to pass the legislation and send it to the governor for his signature. GENDA, like many other key pieces of progressive legislation was defeated – not on its merits, but by the adamant refusal of the Senate leadership to bring the measure to the floor for an up-or-down vote. What were they afraid of? The Empire State Pride Agenda, on behalf of tens of thousands of transgender people and their families and others who wish to live their lives without fear or discrimination because of who they are, is angry and disappointed. Frankly, New York State deserves better. Today, the fight for GENDA continues. We are convinced that the passage of GENDA in New York State is inevitable, and the Pride Agenda will not rest until all New Yorkers are afforded equal civil rights statewide.”
The New York Times had urged passage of the bill in a June 12 editorial:
There is a good chance it would also pass the Senate, with nearly all Democrats and some Republicans voting in favor. The challenge is getting the bill to the floor for an up-or-down vote before the end of the legislative session, scheduled on June 20.
Senator Jeffrey Klein, the Democratic leader in the Senate’s coalition leadership, must insist on a vote. He should tell Senator Dean Skelos, the coalition’s Republican leader, that bottling up bills like this one is not part of their power-sharing deal. It would help if Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a supporter of the bill, would commit political capital to enacting the legislation before the session ends. Sixteen states — including New Jersey and Connecticut — and the District of Columbia have enacted anti-discrimination protections covering transgender people. New York should not lag on this important civil rights issue.
It appears Wausau, Wisconsin will not be getting its first ever gay pride parade today as previously planned. Organizers for the parade have now canceled the event after what they say has been a backlash of bigotry from the Wausau community. Green Bay Press Gazette reports:
Daxx Bouvier had planned to hold a gay pride parade at 3 p.m Saturday, but he decided this week to cancel the event in the wake of negative response from a Wausau City Council member and in articles from several local media sources.
Bouvier, who lives in California but owns a home in Wausau, also said people who had planned to participate in the parade told him they were concerned for their safety, so he decided to call it quits.
"I do feel a great sense of loss for the LGBT community," he said. "Canceling the parade has set Wausau back 30 years in the way people think about the gay community."
Previously, we reported that Wausau City Council member Dave Nutting told residents at a council meeting last week to physically turn their backs on the 'deviant-behaving individuals' in the parade. Wisconsin hate group Wisconsin Family Action also instructed its members to call the City Council and mayor to express opposition to the parade.
Questions about the original organizers' commitments and abilities led members of the gay community to create a separate event, a March for Equality, to take place at the same time as the canceled parade. The March for Equality supposedly has more than 300 people committed to participating in the event.
Obama has nominated James "Wally Brewster" as ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
James “Wally” Brewster, Jr. is the Senior Managing Partner for SB&K Global, a brand strategy and consumer dynamics consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois. Before starting SB&K Global in 2010, he was an Officer and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications with General Growth Properties (GGP), a real estate investment trust headquartered in Chicago. Prior to joining GGP in 1996, Mr. Brewster worked in management at several real estate companies in Texas, including The Rouse Company and the DeBartolo Corporation. Earlier in his career, he held marketing and management positions with Carla Francis, Inc. and the Jim Collins Company in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Brewster is a National LGBT Co-Chair for the Democratic National Committee and currently serves on the Board of the Human Rights Campaign Fund.
Hispanically Speaking's Estelle Gonzales Walgreen wonders how an openly gay U.S. ambassador might fare there:
Though homosexuality is legal in the country, DR has engaged in activities aimed to suppress gay rights from shutting down of gay bars without cause to denying permits for gay pride events to overlooking gay bashing incidents. Some locals quietly call elements of the Dominican police the gay Gestapo but lets not confuse them with Dominica where same-sex activity will get you a 10-year prison sentence.
The country does not legally recognize same-sex unions and constitutionally bans same-sex marriage.
Homophobia remains pervasive throughout much of the DR, especially in rural areas. Many gay individuals remain closeted in fact 81% of HIV and AIDS cases are heterosexuals believed to be living a double life. This is the country where its top religious leader, Cardinal Jesus Lopez Rodriguez feels comfortable enough to openly refer to gays as “maricones” (faggots) and “social trash”.
Good Luck to Brewster who will be the seventh U.S. Ambassador in history to be openly gay and the first ever in the region. How welcoming the general population will be to Brewster should be interesting and a gauge as to how provincial the country is or is not. Undoubtedly, the power of the U.S. will make most Dominicans have their party manners on when confronted with Brewster’s sexual orientation. We are also confident that Brewster does not assume tolerance is measured solely by how a country treats its guests but rather how its treats its own people.
Madonna has released a brief and very violent trailer for her #secretproject collaboration with Steven Klein that combines gun violence, police brutality, and classical dance. Also appearing in the clip is Madonna's current boyfriend Brahim Zaibat.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...