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New Campaign To Uphold Olympic Charter Principle 6 Gains Support Of Olympic Athletes


Earlier this week we reported on the IOC's feeble response to growing concern across the globe that it is not willing to uphold its own charter in support of LGBT athletes and fans, specifically Olympic Principle 6 which states, "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement." While IOC President Thomas Bach insisted that the Committee would work to make sure that the Sochi Games would be "free of any form of discrimination," Bach refused to make any specific mention of gay rights.

Yesterday, activist organizations Athlete Ally and All Out announced a new campaign "to protest Putin’s anti-gay and anti-human rights crackdown during Sochi" that focuses on upholding Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter. Fifteen Olympians have already signed on to the campaign including Sochi bound Mike Janyk (Skiing) as well as Andy Roddick (Tennis), Nick Symmonds (Running), Steve Nash (Basketball) and Megan Rapinoe (Soccer):

"Principle 6 is a way for Olympians and fans to stand up for equality and protest the heinous Russian laws. Through Principle 6 we can mobilize and inspire mass support for the ideals set forth in the Olympic Charter. Even if the International Olympic Committee won't act, people around the world will," Andre Banks Executive Director and Co-Founder of All Out said.

8090753703254.Ur8s22MMfg80dKGtoiVD_height64“Helping to craft this petition to IOC President Bach is an important part of my work as an Ambassador for Athlete Ally and very much in step with being an Olympian,” said Cameron Myler, a four time Olympian who carried the US flag in in the 1994 Lillehammer Games. “Standing by idly while the values of the Olympic movement are in question is not an option for me and many others.”

“The Principle 6 campaign will take many forms because it is reflective of the diversity that the Olympic Charter has charged itself with upholding, " said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. "We are launching the Principle 6 campaign with Olympic athletes because their action affirms the duty and honor of Olympic Movement. They are leaders, and just like they do in their fields of play, Olympians always seem to find new ways to inspire us.”

"With the eyes of the world on Russia during the Olympics, it's critical that athletes and fans show support for LGBT Russians who are subjected to cruel anti-gay laws violating human rights. Defending Principle 6 affords all of us a way to demonstrate this support, and our outrage at the Putin-led government, within the very spirit of the Olympic movement. We can't afford to lose this opportunity to push for change,” said Brian Ellner, a leading LGBT activist and member of the Athlete Ally Board of Directors.

Download_assetAs you may recall, there's been some debate as how best to respond to the recent spate of anti-gay atrocities and legal infractions in Russia, with proposals varying widely between an all out boycott of the Olympics to displays of civil disobedience at the Sochi Games. However, as Frank Bruni at The New York Times points out, the Principle 6 campaign could open up a new path for peaceful protest:

"[The campaign to uphold Principle 6] may well steer clear of the flaws and dangers of other ideas. It involves appropriating the I.O.C.’s own words and stated values and turning them into a coded affirmation of LGBT equality, an epigrammatic protest of Russia’s laws that doesn’t include the word “gay” or any of the conventional symbols of the gay rights movement. Russians wouldn’t easily be able to classify it as so-called gay propaganda, which the country deems illegal. And I.O.C. officials could hardly take offense and muster any opposition...The symbol and the syllables P6, perhaps worn as a sticker, perhaps woven into clothing, could evolve into something along the lines of a Livestrong bracelet: a ubiquitous motif that doesn’t spell out a whole philosophy but has an unmistakable meaning and message.

[Athlete Ally and All Out] want to make P6 the rainbow flag that’s not a rainbow flag, the shout-out for equality that sidesteps the syllable gay, which is so ridiculously risky in the context of these particular Winter Games.

For an athlete to wear a P6 symbol would be “like a Supreme Court justice tattooing the First Amendment on his or her arm,” Ellner said. “Is that political? No. It’s the Constitution.”

Check out the full list of Olympians who signed their names to the campaign AFTER THE JUMP...

You can also join the petition to Uphold Principle 6 HERE.

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Obama's LGBT Fundraiser and NY Marriage Equality Dominate Nightly Cable News Shows: VIDEOS

The nightly news talk shows were lit up with the issues of Obama's LGBT fundraiser and marriage equality in New York. Check out coverage on five of the major shows, below.

CENK UYGUR: Lt. Dan Choi and Brian Ellner from the Human Rights Campaign face off on Obama's accomplishments.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson talks about the OBama LGBT fundraiser.

RACHEL MADDOW: Obama's LGBT fundraiser discussion with former New Paltz Mayor Jason West, who illegally married couples in his town in 2004.

ANDERSON COOPER: Obama's LGBT fundraiser and progress with Wolfson and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Finally, HRC's Fred Sainz and blogger John Aravosis talk with Ron Reagan on Hardball.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.

Watch: Julianne Moore Appears in First Ad in HRC Series of New Yorkers for Marriage Equality


In July I posted about a new effort by the Human Rights Campaign toward marriage equality in New York. The Campaign for New York Marriage, headed by Brian Ellner, has just launched the first in a series of ads intended to lobby public support for the issue.

The NYT reports:

"The timing of commercials is deliberate, and revealing: With the front-runner in the governor’s race, Andrew M. Cuomo, the Democratic attorney general, pledging his support for same-sex marriage, and the Legislature in Democratic hands, advocates are pushing for a new vote early next year. 'We want to build excitement and momentum in advance of that,' said Ellner...As part of that strategy, the Human Rights Campaign and its allies are spending heavily to oust three New York state senators — all Democrats — who voted against the marriage bill last year and who face opponents in the primary on Tuesday: William Stachowski of Buffalo, Shirley L. Huntley of Queens and Rubén Díaz Sr. of the Bronx."

Along with Moore, the ads will feature  Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg,  Rev. Al Sharpton Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Whoopi Goldberg, Fran Drescher, Tom Colicchio,  and Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, the widow of Arthur Ashe.


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HRC Hires Brian Ellner to Head NY Campaign Opposing Anti-Gay Lawmakers

The Human Rights Campaign has established a new group whose goal is to defeat state legislators who opposed marriage equality, and they've hired Brian Ellner, who was shut out of the head position at the Empire State Pride Agenda just recently, to head it, the NYT reports:

Ellner "Brian Ellner, who until this week worked for the New York City Department of Education, will oversee the Campaign for New York Marriage, which is to be financed by the Human Rights Campaign, a lobbying group for gay rights based in Washington. Mr. Ellner’s appointment will be announced by the group on Friday. It represents a vindication of sorts for Mr. Ellner, who was the top candidate to run the state’s leading gay rights group last month. He abruptly withdrew from consideration after some gay advocates questioned his links to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a major donor to the Republican Party. 'I view this as an opportunity to build on solid work that has come before, and strengthen and expand the coalition that is necessary to secure marriage equality,' Mr. Ellner said in an interview."

The HRC campaign's goal mirror those of philanthropist Tim Gill's Fight Back PAC, which launched in February and has been targeting New York lawmakers, like ousted state senator Hiram Monserrate, since that time:

"The campaign’s organizers said they would work closely with several existing efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, including the Empire State Pride Agenda and Fight Back New York."

News: Dracula Fish, GENDA, Gary Coleman, Cape Town

RoadOutrage over GMHC relocation.

Road Gender Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) gets major boost in New York.

Dracula RoadDracula fish makes Top 10 list of new species.

RoadNick Jonas brings new panty-creaming excitement to Les Miserables in London.

RoadYoung gay republican challenges out Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox: "Erich Sturn, 24, is hoping to unseat Fox, who was elected to succeed state Rep. William Murphy (D-West Warwick) in February. He is a political novice, but he told EDGE he feels the time is right to throw his name into the ring due to the state’s double-digit unemployment rate and dire economic conditions."

RoadBlog 4 Equality: Up-and-coming bloggers can win a trip to Netroots Nation in Vegas from Freedom to Marry.

RoadReport: Gary Coleman on life support. UPDATE: Sadly, Coleman has died.

RoadThe Amityville Horror house is on sale for $1.15 million. Takers?

RoadIan McKellen went into acting to meet other gay people: "I'd heard that a lot of professional actors were gay. Acting seemed like a chance for me to meet like-minded people.  You know, at that time same-sex love in Britain got you into prison. Homosexuality was being completely hushed up. Gay teachers, politicians or firemen - that was something unthinkable.  When I was young I thought I was the only gay Brit. That's why I was glad to find people like me in the actors guild."

RoadHugh Jackman: just like the rest of us.

GirthyRoadManhattan gets girthy in subway map overhaul.

RoadMarc Jacobs got a hair transplant. "I was starting to thin on top, see. I can’t dye it for a while, so this is my natural colour.”

RoadMinnesota non-profit Christian ministry tied to Michelle Bachmann praises Muslim call for executions of gays in America: “Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America. This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”

RoadHow wealthy were all the Presidents?

RoadMatt Lauer in transgender infidelity scandal.

RoadRand Paul: U.S. should stop granting citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.

RoadCagney & Lacey, together again.

Capetown RoadCape Town declared gay capital of Africa.

RoadDid Uganda lie to Germany to continue receiving aid? "Uganda has reassured Germany it does not support a bid by one parliamentarian to outlaw homosexual acts, in order to win an extension of existing aid payments, German officials said Friday. The German development aid ministry said in Berlin it had cleared pledges totalling 120 million euros (148 million dollars) to Uganda over the next three years."

RoadDoes Daniel Craig's fab penthouse make him gay? How about his real estate agent?

Road22nd annual Lambda Literary Awards handed out in NYC: Winners.

RoadGay City News on the shutdown of Brian Ellner's appointment to the Empire State Pride Agenda: "Nearly everyone who spoke to Gay City News — both advocates and foes of Ellner — cited the adamant opposition to him from board member Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, one of the city’s most progressive labor leaders and a tough critic of Bloomberg. Appelbaum declined comment to Gay City News."

Empire State Pride Agenda Names New Executive Director

Levi_Ross Well that was fast. Less than a day after Brian Ellner withdrew his name as a candidate for the top spot at Empire State Pride Agenda, the group today named Ross Levi as its new executive director. Levi had previously been the group's Director of Public Policy & Education.

ESPA has issued a press release about the appointment:

"Ross D. Levi, Esq., was today unanimously named by the Board of the Empire State Pride Agenda as the Executive Director. The Pride Agenda is the largest statewide organization working to achieve equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers. Levi has been with the Pride Agenda for more than 10 years based in the Albany office and has been a part of every statewide legislative victory ever achieved by the organization. In the role of Director of Public Policy & Education since 2006, Levi has been responsible for developing the policy priorities and public positions of the Pride Agenda."

Read the the rest of the press release AFTER THE JUMP.

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