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04/19/2007


DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias Expresses Frustration About Lack of 'ENDA' Executive Order

Add Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias to the growing list of individuals expressing concern over why President Obama has yet to issue an executive order barring LGBT discrimination among federal contractors, calling its absence “frustrating and perplexing.”

The Washington Blade reports that Tobias made the comments in an off-the-record listserv for LGBT donors:

Andrew tobias“I agree 100% with those who say it should be signed, 100% with those who believe we should keep pressing, and 100% with those who say it’s frustrating and perplexing,” Tobias wrote. “But I think we would be crazy to let it diminish our efforts to hold the Senate, get Nancy her gavel back, and lay the groundwork for a huge LGBT supporter to win the White House in 2016. (All our plausible 2016 nominees are huge LGBT supporters.)”

Tobias, who’s gay, confirmed to the Washington Blade the email indeed came from him as did other individuals on the listserv, who said the message came from his email account on Wednesday. Notably, these individuals said Tobias told LGBT donors in his email that listserv members should feel free to quote him as expressing those views. Tobias also told the Blade to quote him as such.

The paper notes that the remarks are striking for Tobias, who has a reputation for tamping down criticism and concern over the Obama administration and the DNC for not doing enough on LGBT rights.

Earlier this month, a prominent gay activist accused DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL) of discouraging Democratic lawmakers from signing a letter asking President Obama to issue the executive order.


Kyrgyzstan Introduces Russian-style Anti-Gay Bill

The ex-Soviet country of Kyrgyzstan looks to be following squarely in the footsteps of Russia in its treatment of gays, as a new bill introduced in parliament on Wednesday seeks to make any statement that creates “a positive attitude to unconventional sexual orientation” a crime punishable by a up to one year in jail. 

Buzzfeed reports:

Kyrgyzstan“The goal of this bill is the safety and protection of the traditional family, and the human, moral and historical values of Kyrgyz society, by limiting the spread of information comprising the formation of positive attitudes to nontraditional forms of sexual relations,” the bill reads.

The bill seeks to limit “the spread of media, photos, video, written materials that include open and hidden calls to nontraditional sexual relations (homosexuality, lesbianism and other forms of nontraditional sexual behavior.” It also seeks to restrict “the organization of and participation in peaceful gatherings that aim to make available to society any information regarding positions on any form of nontraditional sexual relations.”

Human Rights Watch has already come out strongly against the bill, saying it would “violate Kyrgystan’s constitution as well as international human rights law on nondiscrimination, freedom of expression, association, and assembly,”

“This draconian bill is blatantly discriminatory against LGBT people and would deny citizens across Kyrgyzstan their fundamental rights,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The sponsors of this homophobic bill should withdraw it immediately, and the government and political parties should speak out against such legislation, making clear it has no place in Kyrgyzstan.”

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which is due to consider Kyrgyzstan’s application for special “Partnership for Democracy” status with it on April 8, should send a strong message that the bill is unacceptable, and make clear that partnership status is wholly incompatible with legislation of this kind.

According to Anna Kirey of Human Rights Watch, a 30-day comment period has begun now that the bill has been published online, after which it can be taken up by parliament.


Five Gay Couples Apply For, And Are Denied, Marriage Licenses In Mississippi: VIDEO

Wedomi2

We Do, a series of demonstrations grown out of the grassroots Campaign for Southern Equality protested at the Hinds County Courthouse on Tuesday. Part of the protest involved five couples applying for, and eventually being denied, marriage licenses. Towleroad reported two days ago about a couple who registered their legal marriage in New York at a MS county clerk's office, but the Magnolia State still refuses recognition and, of course, has a ban on same-sex marriage.

WAPT News reports:

"We gather together to resist laws that we believe to be immoral and also unconstitutional," said Jasmine Beach Ferrara, of the "We Do" campaign.

Last July, people involved in the campaign walked to the courthouse and attempted to obtain marriage licenses.

More than 100 LGBT couples across seven Southern states have taken part in the movement. 

"It's clear Mississippians believe marriage is between one man and one woman," said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican.

In 2004, by an 80 percent margin, Mississippi voters defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. 

The odds are stacked against LGBT Mississippians, but the more notoriety these demonstrations receive, the better. We Do tweeted a picture of one of the couples as well:

Wedomi

And check out a news report of the protest at WAPT, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Five Gay Couples Apply For, And Are Denied, Marriage Licenses In Mississippi: VIDEO" »


New Report Dispels 'Myth Of Gay Affluence,' Shows Disproportionate Poverty Rates For LGBT Americans

Lookingfancy

The American public is getting used to seeing gay characters proliferate on their television and movie screens. Most of us would agree, however, that these portrayals leave a lot to be desired, and that "getting used to" is not the most desirable result. A new study from UCLA's Williams Institute suggests that one way in which representation in media, continued into modern day with Looking even, has failed is in its singularly affluent understanding of gay life (How did Jonathan Groff afford that apartment all on his own the whole season? Dom may be a waiter, but he sure has a nice pad!).

The reality? Gay Americans are more likely to grow up homeless, live an impoverished adult life, and require assistance in receiving necessities like food. 

The Atlantic looked to understand "The Myth of Gay Affluence," both in terms of inaccurate representation and economic disparity. The results are a work in progress:

A new report released by UCLA’s Williams Institute found that 29 percent of LGBT adults, approximately 2.4 million people, experienced food insecurity—a time when they did not have enough money to feed themselves or their family—in the past year. In contrast, 16 percent of Americans nationwide reported being food insecure in 2012. One in 5 gays and lesbians aged 18-44 received food stamps in the last year, compared with just over 1 in 4 same sex couples raising children. The LGBT community has made huge political strides over the past decade, but in economic matters they still lag far behind the rest of the country.

The researchers suppose that those political strides have encouraged people across the country, not just in wealthier urban centers, to come out, increasing the amount of respondents who would identify as LGBT and impoverished in some way. "Alabama...is poorer than Seattle," or San Francisco, or New York. Thus a widening economic disparity. Why then is the public perception skewed toward wealth?

“Corporate America was one of the first targets in terms of trying to improve policies around LGBT issues,” says [Gary] Gates [author of the study], “and part of it was this idea that they needed to focus on the LGBT community as a consumer market that mattered.”

Marketing firms conducted surveys to try to show not just affluence, but disproportionate levels of brand loyalty were a hallmark of gays and lesbians...In 2012, Experian, a national marketing firm, released a business report claiming that the average household income of a married or partnered gay man is nearly 20 percent more than a straight married or partnered man ($116,000 compared to $94,500).

The Atlantic cited a 2010 study, however, that showed gay men to have a poverty rate of 20.5% compared to 15.3% for straight men. The Williams Institute points to a higher amount of lower paying jobs (such as nursing and teaching) taken by gay people, a very real disparity in hiring practices, and the realities of workplace discrimination, but nothing has conclusively shown why the economic difference exists. One thing is for certain:

...equality can’t and won’t be achieved as long as myths and stereotypes about LGBT people continue to be perpetuated and believed.


Larry King: 'Yes There'll Be A Gay President' - VIDEO

Larryking

Larry King appeared on The Rubin Report to talk with Dave Rubin about civil rights in the 1950's, his perspective on the gay rights movement, and what we might see happen in the 2016 election. Along the way he dropped in some stories about drinking at "colored only" water fountains in Miami ("It was good water!") to predicting that eventually, "yes there'll be a female president, yes there'll be a gay president." 

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Larry King: 'Yes There'll Be A Gay President' - VIDEO" »


Ethiopian Legislation Would Make Criminal Sentences of Homosexuality 'Non-pardonable'

The quickly escalating anti-gay trend in many African countries, including Uganda, has tacked on a new bill, this one aimed at increasing the potency of a law already in place.

EthiopiaLegislation states that Ethiopians found guilty on charges of same-sex acts can be imprisoned for up to 15 years, and persons found guilty of engaging in same-sex acts which transmitted HIV are susceptible to 25 years. Now, the Council of Ministers will likely approve a bill which would make those persons unpardonable by the president.

Mail & Guardian reports:

Ethiopia's president often pardons thousands of prisoners during the Ethiopian New Year. When the Bill becomes law, the president will lose his power to pardon prisoners facing charges ranging from homosexuality to terrorism.

As always, it is particularly disturbing to see homosexuality placed alongside inherently violent acts, though we should not forget that the equation has deep roots in American evangelism as well.

Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community credits evangelical Christian pastors with sparking the anti-gay sentiment that led to the present-day legal repercussions for homosexuals in the country.

Hopefully the bill loses the battle. We will keep you updated. 


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