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News: Dennis Kucinich, Garbage Island, Dumbledore, Gary Trudeau

road.jpg STUDY: Gay men face major discrimination in the workplace: "'It was surprising to see how consistent it was that gay men tended to be more discriminated against in traditionally heterosexual male dominated professions -- blue collar, labor, and management too,' researcher Bruce Elmslie, professor of economics at UNH, told Reuters. The study found that gay men who live together earn 23 percent less than married men, and 9 percent less than unmarried heterosexual men who live with a woman."

Out100road.jpg OUT begins naming names for this year's Out 100.

road.jpg Get your gay Dumbledore T-shirts here.

road.jpg Shirley Maclaine says presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich had a UFO encounter on her property: "Dennis found his encounter extremely moving. The smell of roses drew him out to my balcony where, when he looked up, he saw a gigantic triangular craft, silent, and observing him. It hovered, soundless, for 10 minutes or so, and sped away with a speed he couldn't comprehend. He said he felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind."

road.jpg Roman Catholic Church facilitating spread of AIDS in Latin America.

road.jpg Is Rudy Giuliani protecting a Catholic priest who preyed on altar boys? "I know the man; I know who he is, so I support him. We give some of the worst people in our society the presumption of innocence and benefit of the doubt. And, of course, Iā€™m going to give that to one of my closest friends."

road.jpg Paul Lynde Halloween special now on DVD: "The 1976 'Paul Lynde Halloween Special' (S'more, $15) stars not just 'Bewitched's' belovedly sarcastic Uncle Arthur - one of the gayest not-publicly-gay performers you'll ever see - but also 'Wizard of Oz' witch Margaret Hamilton, 37 years later, in full green-face regalia. And 'H.R. Pufnstuf' standby Witchiepoo (Billie Hayes). And little person Billy Barty. And 'Brady Bunch' mom Florence Henderson warbling a disco version of 'That Old Black Magic.' And Donny & Marie. And Tim Conway, and Betty White, and 'Happy Days' dish Roz 'Pinky Tuscadero' Kelly as a truckstop waitress whose apron emblazons her as Kinky Pinky."

Marieroad.jpg Marie Osmond sees Stars while Dancing.

road.jpg Cartoonist Gary Trudeau says that while writing his comic strip is no easier now than when he started, attitudes have certainly changed: "Now I can pretty much write about gay issues and not hear from anyone. Certainly popular culture has a role to play in destigmatizing.''

road.jpg Island-continent of toxic plastic garbage floats between California and Hawaii: "Officially known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, until it can be taxed, U.S. officials will continue to ignore it. I heard of it once many years ago, but it apparently has been growing tenfold each decade since the 1950's, and now consists of 80% plastic. It has also been called Gilligan's Island, from the trashy TV sitcom that won't go away."

road.jpg Preacher's son talks to Wisconsin crowd about attending Liberty University and coming out as gay.


Candidates Hold Court at Presidential Forum on LGBT Issues

Forum

Here are a few clips and some short personal thoughts on last night's gay debate. Overall, I thought the format was pretty good, and reminded me how tired I am of the quick sound bytes that are offered up again and again during the conventional debates. It was refreshing to have the candidates in this bite-size 'talk-show' format.

I was impressed by Obama's appearance right after he finished. Looking back on the performances of the frontrunners, Obama seemed less canned than Clinton or Edwards, but also a bit less experienced and presidential. In the first clip, Obama discusses whether or not he believes the battle for gay rights can be equated to the black struggle for civil rights.

Edwards seemed uncomfortable at first and thrown off by a few questions, particularly the question about transgender people which I don't feel he answered. But I think Edwards won people over in the end, in the third portion of the interview, after he admitted that he shouldn't have used religion as a justification for his position on gay marriage. In the second clip above, John Edwards is asked why he uses his religion to justify his stance on gay marriage. Says Edward: "I shouldn't have said that. I believe to my core in equality. My campaign for president is about equality ā€” across the board."

After hearing Obama and Edwards, Kucinich's appearance was as if someone had opened a door and let a waft of fresh air in the room. Compelling from start to finish. I'm glad Kucinich is in the mix even though he hasn't a chance in hell of winning, because he brings up what candidates would be saying in an ideal world. He's a bit of a cross between a sideshow act at the carnival and a new age preacher. And that strange awkward pause before the last answer...

Gravel was equally as entertaining: "Marriage is a commitment between two human beings in love. And understand me. I'm saying two human beings. They can be heterosexual. They can be two lesbians, they can be transgender. They can be two gays. What it is is a commitment of two human beings in love and if there's anything we need in this world it's more love."

There may not have been a clear "winner" in last night's Presidential Forum on LGBT issues, but there was a clear loser. In the only real "oh no he didn't" moment of the night, Bill Richardson said "It's a choice" when asked by Melissa Etheridge whether homosexuality was a choice or biologicial.

A shocked Etheridge backtracked with, "I don't think you understood the question. Do you think I -- a homosexual is born that way, or do you think that around seventh grade we go, 'Oh, I want to be gay?'"

Richardson's follow-up answer didn't do much to save him: I'm not a scientist. I don't see this as an issue of science or definition. I see gays and lesbians as people, as a matter of human decency."

Richardson issued a statement following the debate: "Let me be clear -- I do not believe that sexual orientation or gender identity happen by choice. But I'm not a scientist, and the point I was trying to make is that no matter how it happens, we are all equal and should be treated that way under the law. That is what I believe, that is what I have spent my career fighting for. I ask that people look at my record and my actions and they will see I have been a true supporter of the LGBT community."

Richardson talked to Pam Spaulding at Americablog after the forum. Said Richardson: "I knew when I was walking out of the parking lot that I had said something in error. My staff alerted me that I needed to set the record straight. This is something you are born with, and regardless of whether there is conflict about the science of it (homosexuality), I support full and equal rights. I fully support domestic partnerships."

Hillary Clinton seemed a bit wooden and angry at first to me, but it was clear that she's a seasoned politician who has learned a few things from her husband about how to work a room. Here's the clip where Jonathan Capehart asks her about the Peter Pace "homosexuality is immoral" comments and her initial response to them, which was "I'll leave that for others to conclude."

Clinton: "You know you say these things, and somebody sticks a microphone in front of you, and I thought, 'well that was pretty good' and my friends started calling me and saying, 'well, that wasn't very good, so...'I said, 'oh, you know, you're probably right.' So I immediately got the first opportunity I could to say the whole thing. I was focused on one aspect I thought was really over the line...joe blow, joe schmo walks down the street and says, 'here's what I believe.' You say, 'who cares?' Chariman of the Joint Chiefs says it, ā€” that has a direct impact on policy. That's what I went after but I should have put it in a broader context."

For my thoughts on Bill Richardson, see the previous post. Below are some links to both liveblogging and MSM reports on the event.

The Advocate Insider has a report on the post-debate fundraisers.

Visible Vote 08 [logo online]
Democratic candidates talk gay issues in historic presidential forum [the advocate]
Democrats Voice Support of Gay Rights in TV Forum [nyt]
Dems Take To The Airwaves To Woo Gay Voters [huffington post]
Dems walk fine line at gay issues forum [chicago tribune]
U.S. gay voters scrutinize Democrats in TV forum [reuters]
The August 9 Democratic Debate [time]

HRC/LOGO Visible Vote '08
Live-Blogging The Dems
[joemygod]
LiveBlog of Gay Issues Debate [lane hudson and katherine zaleski - huffington post]
Open thread - liveblogging the HRC/LOGO Visible Vote 08 Forum [americablog]


Democrats Respond on Gay Marriage at the CNN/YouTube Debate

The Democratic candidates trotted out answers we've heard before on the question of gay marriage at last night's YouTube debate.

In the first question posed to the candidates, Brooklyn lesbians Mary and Jen asked if the candidates would allow them to marry.

KucinichKUCINICH: "Mary and Jen, the answer to your question is yes. And let me tell you why. Because if our Constitution really means what it says, that all are created equal, if it really means what it says, that there should be equality of opportunity before the law, then our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered should have the same rights accorded to them as anyone else, and that includes the ability to have a civil marriage ceremony. Yes, I support you. And welcome to a better and a new America under a President Kucinich administration."

DoddCHRIS DODD: "I'd simply ask the audience to ask themselves the question that [my wife] Jackie and I have asked: How would I want my two daughters treated if they grew up and had a different sexual orientation than their parents? Good jobs, equal opportunity, to be able to retire, to visit each other, to be with each other, as other people do. So I feel very strongly, if you ask yourself the question, "How would you like your children treated if they had a different sexual orientation than their parents?," the answer is yes. They ought to have that ability in civil unions. I don't go so far as to call for marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. But my state of Connecticut, the state of New Hampshire, have endorsed civil unions. I strongly support that. But I don't go so far as marriage."

RichardsonBILL RICHARDSON: "I would do what is achievable. What I think is achievable is full civil unions with full marriage rights. I would also press for you a hate crimes act in the Congress. I would eliminate 'don't ask/don't tell' in the military. If we're going to have in our military men and women that die for this country, we shouldn't give them a lecture on their sexual orientation. I would push for domestic partnership laws, nondiscrimination in insurance and housing. I would also send a very strong message that, in my administration, I will not tolerate any discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation."

The second question, which I posted on Towleroad last week, came from Reverend Reggie Longcrier, to John Edwards ā€” "So why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay American their full and equal rights?":

EdwardsEDWARDS: "I think Reverend Longcrier asks a very important question, which is whether fundamentally -- whether it's right for any of our faith beliefs to be imposed on the American people when we're president of the United States. I do not believe that's right. I feel enormous personal conflict about this issue. I want to end discrimination. I want to do some of the things that I just heard Bill Richardson talking about -- standing up for equal rights, substantive rights, civil unions, the thing that Chris Dodd just talked about. But I think that's something everybody on this stage will commit themselves to as president of the United States. But I personally have been on a journey on this issue. I feel enormous conflict about it. As I think a lot of people know, Elizabeth spoke -- my wife Elizabeth spoke out a few weeks ago, and she actually supports gay marriage. I do not. But this is a very, very difficult issue for me. And I recognize and have enormous respect for people who have a different view of it."

As you can see, Edwards pretty much dodged the real question, however, Longcrier's question and Edwards' answer were both praised by Faith In America Executive Director Rev. Jimmy Creech.

CreechSaid Creech: "In answering Rev. Longcrier's question, Senator Edwards made an important commitment to not allow his personal religious beliefs to restrict the rights of any American. We congratulate him and encourage all leaders and candidates to give serious consideration to this issue and how they will represent the interests of this nation. Millions of gay Americans struggle every-day against the misuse of religion to perpetuate prejudice and inequality. These individuals don't just fight bigotry when they're denied the right to marry their partners, they combat it on the street, in the workplace, in their children's schools, and in every other aspect of their lives. Religion-based prejudices pervade and profoundly shape the daily experiences of these people and I'd like to commend my friend Rev. Longcrier for furthering the national dialogue for those and all Americas on this critically important subject."

According to a SurveyUSA Instant Poll, most thought Clinton "won" the debate, but Joseph Biden made a big impression with viewers as well.

Politics TV has the full debate, question by question.
Full debate transcript here.

YouTube video debate actually worked [nyt]

(video source: hrc)


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