Republicans at the 50th Annual Dorchester Conference in Seaside, Oregon voted 233 -162 over the weekend in a first-ever endorsement of marriage equality by a GOP-dominated gathering of Oregon political activists, according to a press release from Freedom Oregon.
Freedom Oregon, a coalition of Republican leaders, formed earlier this year to rally Republican support for a proposed ballot initiative that would overturn Oregon’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
“There are a large number of young Republicans who are finding their voice in the party,” said Alexis Wolf, a Republican active in Freedom Oregon. “We don’t believe the freedom to express love and commitment should be limited by government.”
Said Chairman of LCR Oregon and Co-Director of Freedom Oregon James Owens, in a statement:
“The Dorchester Conference sets the tone for the GOP in Oregon for the coming year, and I’m proud to have led Log Cabin Republicans members on the floor of the convention today as we made history and moved one step closer to making marriage equality a reality for committed same-sex couples in this state. This wasn’t a vote against an anti-gay resolution, it was a vote in favor of freedom for all Oregonians — and a message to those fringe members of the Oregon Republican Party obsessed with pushing discriminatory measures similar to Arizona’s SB-1062 on the ballot in November. Today wasn’t just great — it was the absolute best outcome for Log Cabin Republicans, and a statement that Oregon Republicans are becoming more mainstream, less divided, and ready to win on issues like economic freedom, personal responsibility, lower taxes and a less intrusive government.”
Oregon's marriage equality battle is headed to a climax in 2014. Not only are there efforts toward a ballot measure underway which must qualify by July 3, two couples filed suit against the state's gay marriage ban in October.
Oregon's attorney general Ellen Rosenblum said last month that she would not defend the state's gay marriage ban in court, joining several attorneys general around the country in viewing such laws as unconstitutional following the SCOTUS ruling in the Windsor DOMA case.
So an openly gay professional soccer player will be playing in South Carolina. Their division features teams across the Southeast. Not only is it supposed to be "impossible" for a professional male athlete to be openly gay, but it's "100% definitely impossible" to do it in South Carolina, Tennessee, George and the like. Yet Myrtle Beach is doing it. Not so impossible, I guess.
Said Hysen: "I am excited to be joining the Mutiny this season. This is a great opportunity for me on a personal and professional level. I hope I can help take the team to the top of the NPSL."
At a SXSW brunch hosted by the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (AGLIFF), we ran into gay director Daniel Laabs whose dramatic film “Easy” is playing in the shorts program.
In a video interview with Towleroad, Laabs explained why his films’ exploration of athletic homophobia is relevant now more than ever.
Jeffrey’s skill and his brother’s new girlfriend have created distance between the two siblings. Jeffrey spends most of his time either practicing alone in the gym or admiring YouTube videos of hunky Olympian gymnast Danell Leyva. But he soon realizes that not everyone appreciates his sport’s athleticism and grace. And their thoughtless comments could damage Jeffrey’s love of the sport (and himself) forever.
Laabs works in a realistic minimalist style that uses light to set each scene’s emotional pitch — the gritty dimmed fluorescents of a subway car as the two brothers converse in private and the incandescent glow of a campfire as Jeffrey broods. His script also features succinct dialogue with a brooding yet passionate performance from young actor Brennen Bliss (who is himself an award-winning gymnast).
See Easy's trailer and interview with the director AFTER THE JUMP…
In an interview with Fandor.com, Laabs said:
“I didn’t come out until I was twenty-seven, which is only about three years ago. When I decided to return to making Easy… I was thinking about these ideas a lot. I was very afraid of the idea of being gay for many, many years, and now I was asking myself, ‘Why?’ I had figured out that I was gay around the time I was ten.
“I specifically remember my family talking about people that came out around then, like Ellen [DeGeneres], and them not being supportive of her choice. Everyone was talking about whether or not Ellen was allowed to say she was gay. That was the conversation I heard and occasionally participated in. As a kid I was very interested in being a comedian, or an actor. So it was at the forefront of my attention at that age.
”Today, with the Internet, that conversation is all over the place, most recently surrounding professional sports. I wanted to show the effect that conversation can have on people. I didn’t want to make a big statement, but in this case, this topic directly effects who the main character is. It was also part of my journey in finding an answer to that question of why I hadn’t come out sooner.”
Considering the recent coming out of football player Michael Sams and Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law passed before the Sochi Olympics, the issue of LGBT athletes has become relevant now more than ever. Though organizations like Nike, Anyone Can Play, and Athlete Ally and Outsports have all worked to combat anti-LGBT sentiment in sports, sports continues to be called ”the last closet.”
Laabs financed Easy’s production cost through a successful $3,000 crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo. You can now watch his film at Fandor.com. You can also watch Easy’s trailer and video interviews with Laabs and organizers of AGLIFF (the oldest LGBT film festival in the Southwest) below.
South Carolina Republican lawmakers voted to slash funding to the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg because the schools gave freshmen assignments with gay themes, CNN reports:
Last summer, the College of Charleston provided incoming freshmen with a memoir, "Fun Home," in which the author deals with coming out as a lesbian. The University of South Carolina Upstate, meanwhile, assigned "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio," which features an account of South Carolina's first gay and lesbian radio show.
Rep. Garry Smith (pictured), a Republican from Simpsonville, proposed the cuts in the House Ways and Means committee and says they were prompted by a complaint from a constituent whose teen daughter was going to one of the schools. They would strip the College of Charleston of $52,000 and the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg of $17,162 for making the assignments.
The budget is to be considered by the full House this week.
"I think the university has to be reasonable and sensible to the feelings and beliefs of their students. That was totally ignored here. I was trying to hold the university accountable. Their stance is 'Even if you don't want to read it, we'll shove it down your throat.' It's not academic freedom -- it's academic totalitarianism."
The College of Charleston meanwhile, says the book is not required reading.
Several state senators have also complained that public universities are not following a nearly century-old law requiring schools to teach the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Harris Pastides, the president of the University of South Carolina, said the law would pose constitutional challenges: It also requires students swear a loyalty oath to the United States before receiving a college degree.
Cameras captured a funny moment in Saturday's Six Nations rugby match-up between Ireland and Italy: the smiling face of Irish player Rob Kearney peering through a tangle of thick thighs and meaty rumps.
Someone was kind enough to clip it and set it to "A Whole New World" from Aladdin.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
As Deadspin notes: don't try to understand this rugby vine, just enjoy it.
In Predestination — a sci-fi mystery based on Robert Heinlein’s short story "All You Zombies—” — Ethan Hawke plays a time-traveling investigator chasing The Fizzle Bomber, a terrorist who killed thousands of New Yorkers during a devastating 1975 attack. Hawke seems doomed to fail until he meets a pessimistic patron in a New York tavern whose past may hold a clue to the Bomber’s true identity.
The film’s tightly constructed plot and amazing narrative twists make it hard to elaborate without spoilers. In fact, if you want to walk into the film completely blind, you should just stop reading now. But if you’re interested in learning just a little more as well as why we’ve included this film in our South By Southwest coverage, read on.
Keep reading and see some film images AFTER THE JUMP...
Predestination is perhaps the most stunning queer science-fiction film of our time. Not only is it beautifully shot in a futuristic noir style, but it also finds its emotional core in the nuanced yet confident performance of the immensely talented Sarah Snook.
Snook plays Jane, a capable woman who has never felt quite like other girls. Though her ambition gets constantly thwarted by sexism and poverty, by the film’s end she emerges as a surprising and morally ambivalent hero — the first of her kind, actually — whose journey illustrates the contradictions of fate and free will.
You may have noticed that Predestination was not on our initial round-up of LGBT-themed SXSW films, which is what makes its inclusion such a delightful surprise. The film raises startling questions about how failure shapes the human experience and presents a compassionate and intriguing story that should earn its deserved place in the queer sci-fi pantheon.
You can see an image of the film's poster below. The film will be released this year.
(film stills via)