Anderson Cooper has a long line of titles to his name. CNN news anchor, talk show host, and most recently, Vito Russo Award honoree at the GLAAD Media Awards. He is also a bonafide gay icon and quite possibly journalism's hunkiest, and smartest specimen.
Now, Mr. Cooper can add comic book hero to his credits.
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, the silver fox chose to follow his passion [for] journalism with a vengeance. Join writer Michael Troy...for an account of his life from decorated journalist to out and proud gay man.
Josh Duggar, the oldest of the Duggar children from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, has accepted a job as Executive Director at the FRC Action group of Family Research Council, the SPLC-designated hate group run by Tony Perkins, GLAAD reports:
Duggar has said in the past that he "will be working with a Christian organization to help promote 'family values and right to life.” But FRC has spent decades attacking same-sex couples and their families, as well as the families of LGBT young people. Duggar said that he will be working on the 501c4 side of the organization, which is more politically driven. He can't even claim he's just going to shape the culture.
Now that Josh Duggar has accepted a position at such an anti-gay organization, he has become a full-fledged anti-gay activist. What does this mean for TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting? Will TLC allow it to become a mainstream outlet for FRC’s dangerous message? What about the Duggar family's appearances in other media? Will his work with one of the most vile anti-gay organizations in America be legitimized there?
"If Josh Duggar wants to make a living dehumanizing and denigrating LGBT people and their families, that's his business, but FRC's lies and stereotypes need to be treated as such," said GLAAD Spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "Josh's new boss Tony Perkins has actually accused LGBT equality advocates of being pawns of the devil. Fans of his family's reality show ought to know that."
Not only is Josh going to work at FRC, but he's actually going to work on the action side. This kid is going to head up FRC's Political Action Committee! This means that he won't even be able to claim he's just commentating or advocating or something else that sounds sweet and innocent. No, no—this reality TV scion is going to be heading up the wing of FRC that goes against us on the hill, in state legislatures, at the ballot box, etc. He has taken a position that directly seeks to stop (or even rollback) our rights and protections!
Look, it's his life, his career, and his choice. In terms of the gig itself, I say bring it! I'm more than ready to challenge whatever he plans.
But don't even try, TLC network, to position Josh's story as something that should warm the fires within my own heart and home. That ship has sailed. This TLC star is going to be paid to spearhead a quest that seeks to diminish, if not completely extinguish, all that I hold dear within my own marriage, family, and home. Forget carefully edited reality TV—for me and millions of others, this crap just got really real. For real.
The Boy Scouts, whose national council is currently in a meeting at its headquarters in Dallas, plans its long awaited vote on the organization's gay ban today, the NYT reports:
In a secret ballot, more than 1,400 volunteer leaders from scouting’s 270 councils will accept or reject a proposal that has led to strident divisions and debate. The emotions were evident Wednesday outside the conference center here in a suburb of Dallas, where dozens of conservative Christians, many in scout uniforms, carried “no” signs and waved American flags.
“We’re trying to uphold traditional values,” said Bill Lizzio, 58, a scout leader who had driven from Tennessee to register his concern.
Angry parents threatened to pull their sons out of scouting, saying they would never let them share a tent with a gay boy. Current and former Boy Scouts who want to end the exclusionary policy, including several who were forced out of scouting for being gay, gave their own news briefing.
David Rice, 84, of Petaluma, Calif., who said he was ejected as a scout leader in 1998 after he publicly advocated including gays, said that if scouting did not change with the culture, “it will be left behind.”
“We cannot afford to lose this American icon,” he said.
Gay rights activists called for delegates to approve the policy change and vowed to continue their efforts until the Boy Scouts lifts its ban on gay adult leaders as well.
"There is nothing Scout-like about exclusion of other people, and there is nothing Scout-like about putting your own religious beliefs before someone else's," said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout raised by two lesbians and founder of Scouts for Equality.
Gay rights advocates gathered petitions with more than 1.8 million signatures supporting an end to the ban. Supporters of the current policy gathered petitions with about 250,000 signatures.
If the proposal passes as expected, some troops and the religious groups that sponsor them will withdraw from the national organization, they have said — a dangerous possibility for a group whose membership has decreased by nearly 19% during the last decade, according to the most recent figures from 2011.
Orr said that her troop leaders planned to meet to discuss what to do but that nationwide "there will be a huge loss of membership and revenue." About 70% of troops are sponsored by religious groups, and the ban is backed by the Southern Baptist Convention, Family Research Council and other conservative religious organizations.
"My religious beliefs cannot be compromised," said Mike Duncan, 46, a scoutmaster who described himself as Christian and traveled to the protest from Johnson City, Tenn., upset that opponents of the ban have brought sex and politics into Scouting.
"They're asking churches to support something that is wrong," he said.
GLAAD has been updating a live blog on the ground in Dallas and former Eagle Scout Zach Wahls and ousted den leader Jennifer Tyrrell have been speaking at press conferences...check out their photos and videos here.
Scouting for Equality's Wahls wrote a strong editorial for PolicyMic yesterday. Here he is speaking at yesterday's press conference on the ground in Dallas.
GLAAD today announced the resignation of President Herndon Graddick.
Said GLAAD Board of Directors Chair Thom Reilly in a press release: "GLAAD is very grateful for Herndon’s work championing LGBT rights, especially his work on behalf of the trans community. On behalf of the entire organization, I want to wish him the best."
Under Herndon's tenure, GLAAD began campaigns including a national call
for the Boy Scouts of America to end their ban on gay scouts and scout
leaders and announced a continuation of its
commitment to incorporate bisexual and transgender people as well as
allies from diverse backgrounds in GLAAD's mission, the organization reports.
Said Graddick: "I'm proud to leave GLAAD with a stronger, more efficient organization and an incredibly talented and experienced Board and staff. I'm happy the role I was able to play in advancing the need for our community to fully support the rights of our transgender brothers and sisters. Our movement is benefited by the leadership not only of heroes like Evan Wolfson, Chad Griffin, Mara Keisling, and Kate Kendell, but of the necessary and vital blogger and grassroots communities. I look forward to returning to a private life and supporting the fight from behind the scenes."
The organization adds:
GLAAD's Chief of Staff Dave Montez is serving as Acting President. In addition to continuing to lead GLAAD's development team, he will oversee GLAAD's staff on the ground in Dallas next week throughout the Boy Scouts of America's vote on whether to end their ban on gay scouts and leaders as part of GLAAD's Boy Scouts campaign. GLAAD staff members are continuing work to share stories in the media of marriage equality in advance of next month's Supreme Court decision as well as pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, increased trans visibility in the media, LGBT acceptance in professional sports, and building acceptance of LGBT people.
GLAAD's Board plans to meet in NYC later this month to determine the next steps toward finding a leader.
Flanked by Kris Perry, Sandra Stier, Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case, attorney Steve Warren spoke passionately at this weekend's GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco about the Supreme Court's consideration of marriage and the coming June ruling on DOMA and Proposition 8.
Warren urged the conservative justices, particularly Scalia, to take a deeper look than he has in the past:
"Picture this image. The nine justices are sitting at an oval table in their conference room, deliberating these cases, deliberating our fate. When one of the justices brings up a line of reasoning used by our opponents that goes like this: marriage is an age-old tradition reserved for opposite sex couples that is needed to encourage society's interest in procreation. So, When Justice Antonin Scalia, a man who has repeatedly debased our families and our community, takes up this line of attack, and looks to one side and sees Justice Thomas and to his other side and sees Chief Justice Roberts, two men who have created their families through the beauty of adoption, just as I have done myself with my daughter Katie, we would all hope that the hypocrisy of this argument would dawn on him and move him."
National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, United We Dream and Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project released the following statement:
"Our primary goal is to pass a commonsense, compassionate immigration reform bill that puts our nation's undocumented men, women and children on a pathway to citizenship. That pathway would provide at least 267,000 LGBT undocumented people the opportunity to become full participants in our economy and our democracy.
"We do not believe that our friends in the evangelical faith community or conservative Republicans would allow the entire immigration reform bill to fail simply because it affords 28,500 same-sex couples equal immigration rights. This take-it-or-leave-it stance with regard to same-sex binational couples is not helpful when we all share the same goal of passing comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship.
"We all deserve a chance to live with dignity, to pursue our dreams, and to work for a better future and better quality of life.
"Our current immigration system is broken. It dehumanizes, scapegoats and vilifies all immigrants, including LGBT immigrants, and their friends and families. Comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform is an urgent priority for our nation and the LGBT community.
"We stand firmly that the following principles must be included if we are to truly have comprehensive immigration reform legislation:
· Provide a pathway to citizenship.
· Ensure that family unity remains at the heart of immigration law and policy.
· End unjust detentions and deportations.
· Uphold labor and employment standards and ensure that the enforcement of immigration law does not undermine labor and employment rights.
· Promote a dignified quality of life for border communities by establishing oversight mechanisms to ensure border agencies uphold basic civil and human rights protections.
· Ensure immigrant members of our community are not relegated to permanent second-class status."
And HRC President Chad Griffin released this statement:
"The idea that lesbian and gay couples are the barrier to a bipartisan immigration reform agreement is an offensive ruse designed to distract attention away from the failings of Congress -- a body that refuses to come together on popular and common-sense solutions to a host of our country's problems.
"When examining the facts, it is clear that LGBT equality is not the controversial, hot-button issue that a handful of legislators portray it to be. Marriage equality continues to advance in the states and polls show super-majority support for everything from workplace non-discrimination laws to anti-bullying protections. Moreover, a broad coalition of religious groups, labor organizations, businesses and civil rights groups support the inclusion of same-sex bi-national couples in a comprehensive reform bill.
"This bluster is nothing more than a political maneuver designed to divide the pro-reform coalition and at the same time appease a small but vocal group of social conservatives that will do anything to stop progress for lesbian and gay couples. The LGBT community will not stand for Congress placing the blame of their own dysfunction on our shoulders."