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04/19/2007


Human Rights Campaign Going International with Help from Republican Billionaires

New York hedge-fund billionaire Republicans Paul Singer, a major Romney supporter in 2012, and Daniel Loeb are funding a new Human Rights Campaign initiative to further LGBT rights internationally, reports NYT columnist Frank Bruni, who spoke with Singer at his offices in midtown Manhattan.

SingerWrites Bruni:

In this case, he was announcing a new project to be funded, at least at the outset, by him and other conservative donors but to be run by the Human Rights Campaign, an L.G.B.T. advocacy group in Washington, which is much more closely affiliated with Democrats. The initiative will be dedicated to fighting the victimization of gays and lesbians internationally. But it will also show that there are Republicans — not a majority, but an increasingly impassioned minority — who are intent on progress and justice for L.G.B.T. people. They won’t surrender that cause to Democrats, and they believe that Republicans who do so are resisting a future that’s both just and inevitable.

As you may recall, Singer's American Unity PAC assisted efforts to pass marriage equality in New York, Maine, and Maryland. Singer's son is gay.

Adds Bruni:

And the international initiative has a fascinating wrinkle. In addition to training L.G.B.T. advocates outside the United States and publicizing the failings of especially repressive countries, it intends to name and shame American religious zealots who sponsor antigay campaigns abroad. So Republican money may wind up challenging a constituency within the party. (We’re most definitely not in Kansas anymore.)

In Singer’s view, gay rights are consistent with a Republican philosophy of individual liberty, and gay marriage is “an augmenter of social stability, family stability and stability in raising kids.” In other words, it’s conservative.


Frank Bruni: Gay Marriage 'the Harlem Shake of Political Engagement'

Frank Bruni writes, in the NYT, about the "inevitability that hovers over" this moment with regard to LGBT equality:

BruniWhat a difference four years make. In 2008, both Clinton and Barack Obama publicly opposed same-sex marriage. Just a year ago, that was still Obama’s formal stance. But by the summer of 2012, marriage equality had made its way into the party platform. Now it’s woven into the party’s very fiber.

There’s no going back. In an ABC News/Washington Post survey released early last week, respondents nationwide favored marriage equality by a 58-to-36 margin. That’s an exact flip of a similar survey just seven years ago, when the margin was 36-to-58.

And among young Americans, who will obviously make up more and more of the electorate as time goes by, support was stronger still. The ABC/Washington Post survey showed that 81 percent of people in the 18-to-29 age group endorsed marriage equality.

The buildup to the Supreme Court hearings has demonstrated the breadth of diversity of support for it. There have been amicus briefs signed, or proclamations of solidarity issued, by dozens of professional athletes and by the American Academy of Pediatrics, by tech giants and accounting firms and retailers and airlines. Somewhere along the way, standing up for gay marriage went from nervy to trendy. It’s the Harlem Shake of political engagement.

Marriage and the Supremes [nyt]


Frank Bruni To Pope Francis: Stop Talking About Sex

Pope-Francis-on-the-busLike many people, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni sees the ascension of Jorge Mario Bergoglio from simply Argentine cardinal to Pope Francis as a time for the church to transition as well. The church has become too mired in sexual policing, something of which Francis too is guilty, and that mission derailed the church by shining the light on its own misconduct.

To get back on track, Bruni says, the church must first ignore Salt 'N' Pepa and stop talking about sex.

It's time for the church to stop talking so much about sex. It's the perfect time, in fact.

It's on matters of sexual morality that the church has lost much of its authority. And it's on matters of sexual morality that it largely wastes its breath. By insisting on mandatory celibacy for a priesthood winnowed and sometimes warped by that, by opposing the use of contraceptives for birth control, by casting judgment on homosexuals and by decrying divorce while running something of an annulment mill, the church's leaders have enraged and alienated Catholics whose common sense and whose experience of the real world tell them that none of that is wise, kind or necessary.

The church's leaders have also set themselves up to be dismissed as hypocrites, unable to uphold the very virtues they promulgate.

If Francis lives up to his reputation and truly embodies the spirit of the saint after which he's named, a humble servant of the poor, he must start rebuilding the church's outreach to the world's least fortunate, the 1.3 billion people living in poverty. That number, Bruni points out, is more than the 1.2 billion of people who identify as Catholic.


Frank Bruni Discovers How His Dad, Long Silent, Accepted A Gay Son

FrankbruniAt least four people emailed over the course of the evening to pass along Frank Bruni's latest New York Times column, "A Father's Journey on Gay Marriage."

I thought, "Well, this better be good..." It was better than good; it was great.

After years of skirting the issue of his sexuality with his father, a father who stayed silent after Bruni's late mother told him then-younger Frank's secret, Bruni recently had lunch with his dad to find out how he came to accept him.

Here is an excerpt from a piece worth reading twice. The scene picks up with Bruni's father explaining why, even after knowing the truth, he said nothing:

"It was just so unusual to me," he recalled, groping for the right word.

He’d heard it said that gay people were somehow stunted, maybe even ill. But that made no sense to him, because he was confident that I was neither of those things.

He’d heard it said that peculiar upbringings turned children gay. “I thought about it a lot,” he said, “and I came to the conclusion that it had to be in your genes, in you, because I couldn’t think how the environment for you was any different than it was for your two brothers.”

He said he worried that I was in for a more difficult, less complete life than they and my sister were. I asked him why he’d never broached that with me. He said that it would have been an insult — that I was obviously smart enough to have assessed the terrain and figured out for myself how I was going to navigate it.

It's a touching and telling people, particularly the elder Bruni's hypothesis on why some American remain hesitant to accept gay people. "I’m convinced that people who don’t accept gays just don’t really know any of them." Smart man.


I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012

2012

2012: GAYEST YEAR EVER

"The fact is, I'm gay." Anderson Cooper's long-awaited announcement sums what it meant to come out in 2012. Again and again we heard the same sentiment — from pop singer Mika's equally anticipated confirmation, "If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah," to actor Andrew Rannells casually remarking about relating to a gay character, "I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it." —  proving that coming out today is in many cases a non-event, and certainly secondary to other achievements.

Yes, a lot has changed in the 15 years since Time magazine ran that cover of Ellen DeGeneres declaring, "Yep, I'm Gay," and even in the six since Lance Bass told People, "I'm Gay." Entertainment Weekly published a cover story this summer called "The New Art Of Coming Out," concluding, "The current vibe for discussing one’s sexuality is almost defiantly mellow."

Yet most of this positive change has happened in familiar territory.

Former NFL star Wade Davis' coming out was a first, as was current professional boxer Orlando Cruz's. And Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo helped broaden the overall discussion about LGBT people. But there are a few people on this list who were less valiant, like Republican Sheriff Paul Babeu, and still others who remained quiet about their sexuality to the day they died. The debate over balance between privacy and responsibility is still one worth having, and clearly there are more arenas where LGBT people need space to shine.

All in all, though, 2012 shows that gay people who break down that closet can have it all.

Who had the 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012" »


Survey Says Love Trumps Rights In Marriage Equality Messaging

Marriage-loveA new survey of voters in Washington, where marriage equality just passed the ballot box and is already in full swing, again shows that age, party affiliation and religious attendance all impact LGBT support in predictable ways.

Younger voters prefer equality, conservatives and those who attend more religious services do not. But the survey, put out by centrist Democratic group Third Way, also shows that the framing of the issue - rights versus loving commitment - impacts support and opposition.

From Frank Bruni's summation of the report that will released later today.

...Among voters who saw the desire by gays and lesbians to be legally wedded as a bid primarily for the rights and protections that heterosexual couples have, same-sex marriage was a loser. Only 26 percent of them voted for its legalization, while 74 percent voted against.

But among voters who believed that gays and lesbians were chiefly interested in being able to pledge the fullest and most public commitment possible to their partners, same-sex marriage was a huge, huge winner. Eighty-five percent of those voters supported it, while only 15 percent opposed it.

...

When an initiative in this country is framed or understood largely as an attempt by a given constituency to get more, the opposition to it is frequently bolstered, the resistance strengthened. Even if the constituency is trying to right a wrong or rectify a disadvantage.

"Give me" can be a risky approach. "Let me" is often a better one...

Another recent Third Way survey, released in October, showed that among national polls, support for marriage equality jumped 16 points between 2004 and 2011, and that support was spread across all demographics, so clearly LGBT activists and their allies are saying something right.

Meanwhile, AFTER THE JUMP. Third Way's charts of what could happen to marriage equality in the Supreme Court.

Continue reading "Survey Says Love Trumps Rights In Marriage Equality Messaging" »


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