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Michigan Democrat Adam Zemke Introduces Bill To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy in the State

Adam zemke

New legislation has been introduced by Michigan Democrat Rep. Adam Zemke which aims to ban gay conversion therapy for minors in the state, reports

Zemke hopes Michigan can join California and New Jersey in banning “ex-gay” therapy for under-18s.  Efforts to introduce bans on conversion therapy in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York state have been blocked or stalled.

Zemke said:

"The evidence shows you cannot change sexual orientation, so the legislation was kind of a no-brainer. We want to make sure children cannot be exposed to situations that are emotionally harmful to them because of their parents' beliefs or desires to try to change their orientation."

In 2009, the American Psychological Association said that attempts to change sexual orientation are ineffective and can have harmful side effects including depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety.

Zemke has had positive support from some Republicans. However, Republican Rep. Gail Haines, chair of the House Health Policy Committee, said that new laws intervening in the relationship between parents and their children "seems unnecessary."

The “ex-gay” movement has had a number of recent setbacks. Last week, Duane Youngblood was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenager. Yesterday, we reported that Yvette Cantu Schneider, one of the most vocal and best known representatives of the ex-gay movement, announced that she no longer wishes to identify with anti-gay groups.

North Carolina Charter School Bill Drops Protections For LGBT Students

Last Friday, new legislation was approved by the North Carolina House of Representatives that fails to provide protections for LGBTI students at charter schools run by for-profit management companies, reports NC Policy Watch.  

220px-Marcus_BrandonSenate Bill 793 prevents charter schools from discriminating on the basis of “ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability” but fails to provide specific protections for LGBT students.

The bill, which also allows charter schools to keep employees’ salaries secret, included protections for LGBT students in earlier versions.

Democrat Rep. Marcus Brandon, who is the only openly LGBT member of the North Carolina General Assembly, had argued that the LGBT community is not a protected class in North Carolina.  This prompted the need for a previous amendment that drew on language from federal law, which was eventually stripped in a conference committee.

The Senate must act on the bill before it goes to the Governor.

Last month, during a debate on Senate Bill 793, North Carolina Republican Representative Paul Stam compared pedophilia, incest, masochism and other illegal sexual practices with homosexuality.



President Obama Speaks at LGBT DNC Fundraiser in NYC: VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT


President Obama spoke at a Democratic LGBT fundraiser last night at Gotham Hall to a rousing crowd, ticking off a list of the many items he has accomplished for the LGBT community, making note of the advance of marriage equality, the Harvey Milk stamp, the drafting of Michael Sam, and the recent HBO production of The Normal Heart, noting that the work against AIDS is not done.

Finally, he noted his plans, reported this week, to sign an executive order protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors:

And that’s why I’ve directed my staff to prepare for my signature, an executive order prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  (Applause.)  Because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love shouldn’t be a fireable offense.  It would be better, by the way, if Congress passed a more comprehensive law that didn’t just cover federal contractors.  And we need to keep working on that, so don’t take the pressure off Congress. 

Watch and read the transcript, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "President Obama Speaks at LGBT DNC Fundraiser in NYC: VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT" »

Wednesday Speed Read: Barack Obama, DNC, NRCC, Darrkn Gayles, Staci Yandle

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service


A crowd of LGBT supporters gave President Obama a rousing welcome in New York Tuesday night, with standing ovations and applause that often drowned out one of the most passionate speeches he’s ever delivered to an LGBT audience. President Obama took his expected victory lap through the unprecedented list of accomplishments on LGBT-related issues during his administration, including Monday’s announcement that he will soon sign a long-awaited executive order to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by federal contractors. But he also promised to “keep fighting” for equality in the workplace and around the world, for people vulnerable to HIV and to hostile governments abroad. The fundraiser was sponsored by the Democratic National Committee and held at the Gotham Hall.


While President Obama took credit for a great deal of the progress seen on LGBT issues in recent years, he didn’t hog it. In a particularly poignant part of his speech to the LGBT-DNC fundraiser, he said that much of the progress has come because the minds of many Americans have been changed. “And for many people whose minds have changed, it was love that did it -- love for the child or the grandchild, or the friend or the coworker who sat down one day and held their hands and took a deep breath and said, I’m gay. Almost everybody in this room was that child or grandchild or friend or coworker at some point.  And you may not have known it at the time -- it may have seemed like an individual act -- but in those moments when you summoned that courage and reached out with that hopeful love, you were doing it for everybody. And that’s why I’m here tonight, to say thank you for helping make America more just and more compassionate.”


The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Tuesday it will spend at least $18 million trying to win Congressional seats in 16 specific districts. Four of those districts have openly gay candidates in the running. NRCC says it will spend $2.2 million trying to unseat incumbent Democrats John Tierney in Massachusetts, Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire, and one other NH Democrat. Tierney’s Republican opponent is expected to be openly gay Richard Tisei (pictured), who lost to Tierney in 2012 by less than one percentage point. Shea-Porter has two Republican challengers who will face off in a September primary, including openly gay candidate Dan Innis. NRCC says it will also pour $1.7 million into the race to defeat incumbent Democrat Scott Peters in San Diego. Peters’ Republican challenger is expected to be Carl DeMaio, an openly gay former San Diego Councilman. And according to, NRCC says it will also spend just over $1 million to keep Republican incumbent Chris Gibson in his New York Congressional district seat, who openly gay Democrat Sean Eldridge is hoping to beat.


The U.S. Senate confirmed two openly gay people to federal district court seats Tuesday. On a 52 to 44 vote, it confirmed the first openly gay person to a federal judgeship in Illinois: Staci Yandle, who will serve the U.S. District Court for Southern Illinois. On a 98 to 0 vote, it confirmed Darrin Gayles, the first openly gay African American man to be named to the federal bench. Gayles will serve the U.S. District Court in Miami. Gayles and Yandle now bring to 11 the number of openly gay appointees to the federal bench under President Obama.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

Anti-Equality Party Chair Hopeful Splits Virginia Democratic Party

JonesDemocrats in Virginia will be electing a new party chair next week, and prospect Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones is causing a rift in the party over his stance against marriage equality. Presently 71 Central Committee members and 40 local party officers have all signed a petition asserting, “Unless Mayor Jones makes a strong public statement in support of legal marriage equality, we cannot consider supporting him.”

Jones, a Baptist pastor, has expressed his support for general LGBT equality but draws the line at marriage due to his religious beliefs and the Baptist denomination's opposition to marriage equality. In 2006 Jones voted for the constitutional amendment banning the recognition of all same-sex relationships and encouraged the federal government to do the same, distancing himself from supporting Obama after the President endorsed marriage equality.

An anonymous insider said that the anti-LGBT members within the Democratic party are "our Tea Party." 

'Young Democrats of America' President Rod Snyder: I'm Gay

Rod Snyder, the President of the Young Democrats of America, wraps up his three-year tenure at the organization, and comes out of the closet:

SnyderBut in the midst of all this historic progress, I’ve never taken the opportunity to tell my own story – that I am a Christian, an American, a West Virginian, a Young Democrat, a rural advocate, a singer-songwriter, a brother, a son, a grandson, a nephew, an uncle, and a gay man.

Growing up in a conservative Christian family in rural West Virginia, my own journey to a place of self acceptance has been a long and difficult one. Over the past two years, now in my early thirties, I’ve finally found the courage to look in the mirror and insist upon honesty and authenticity, overcoming so many negative messages I had internalized as a child and young adult. I’ve reached a place where I believe my story can help increase understanding, provide encouragement and be a catalyst for change.

While society is evolving at a breathtaking pace, there are still many places like my home state of West Virginia where I could be fired from a job or evicted from an apartment simply because of the person I love. I can’t sit by quietly and leave this fight for equality to others. This is my fight.

There are also young LGBT men and women across the country who aspire to careers in public service and need to know that they can achieve success in the political arena. I want to be an example of a leader who succeeds because of my honesty, not in spite of it.

Some Unfinished Business [yda]


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