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04/19/2007


LGBT Ally Weird Al Yankovic Gave 'Born This Way' Proceeds to HRC: VIDEO

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At a signing for Weird Al Yankovic's new book My Teacher and Me, podcaster Jeff for Justice talked to the legendary parody singer about his Lady Gaga spoof single "Perform This Way" and why he decided to donate all proceeds of the song to the Human Rights Campaign.

Said Yankovic:

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 12.56.11 PM"'Born This Way' is such a positive song I felt this bad about doing a parody of it and I wanted to show that my heart was in the right place. I wasn't making fun of the cause, or concept, or anything like that. It was all in good fun and I thought that by donating to the HRC that would show that it was all in good fun."

Watch the clip (and Yankovic's "Perform This Way," AFTER THE JUMP...

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Will Justin Timberlake Condemn Russia's Anti-Gay Laws When He Performs There?

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This week, Justin Timberlake announced on his website that his 20/20 Experience World Tour is headed to Russia--St. Petersburg and Moscow, to be exact--in 2014, with tickets going on sale this Saturday. Since the performances in Russia will mark Timberlake's first time performing in the country, people are starting to ask, essentially, WWJD--what will Justin do? US News reports:

"Obviously our hope is that Justin will use his time in Russia as an opportunity to highlight and expose the horrible situation that the LGBT [community is] facing there," says Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Charles Joughin. Recent legislation passed by the Kremlin includes the prohibition of "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and a ban of the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples abroad and unmarried individuals in countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

Cher recently revealed she had been asked to perform at 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in February, but turned down the offer because of the crackdown. Elton John, meanwhile, has vowed to go on with his concerts in Russia next month, despite boycott threats, being labeled "the devil's work" by a Russian Islamic leader, and calls that John wear a traditional Cossack uniform rather than his usual costume, which one group suggested was "homosexual propaganda." 

The problem, as HRC's Joughin points out, is that Russia's anti-gay laws are so vague--and so all-encompassing--that nobody really knows exactly what's illegal.  "It could be that tweeting, 'I support LGBT equality,' while you're in Russia could violate the law," Joughin told US News.

Of course, Timberlake's not the kind of gay icon that Cher or Elton John are, but he has voiced his support for LGBT rights in the past.  More importantly, though, he represents--and can speak to--a younger generation.  And in today's Russia, that generation could use all the pro-LGBT sentiment it can get.


National Organization for Marriage's Political Advocacy Arm Ended 2012 With a $2.7 Million Deficit

GallagherYesterday, we reported that the Human Rights Campaign had filed a complaint with the IRS to compel the National Organization for Marriage to publicly release financial documents related to its political advocacy spending in 2012. With the reports now published and viewable on their site as a result of the complaint, it appears NOM may have been hiding the information because of the revelation that the organization found itself more than $2.7 million in the red as a result of its political advocacy arm's spending. You'll recall 2012 being a disappointing year for gay marriage opponents, with pro-equality victories in four of the five same-sex marriage ballot measures by year's end. Buzzfeed breaks down more of the reports' findings:

The organization raised nearly $14.5 million in contributions, with the bulk of it - more than $9.4 million - going to the political advocacy arm. The advocacy arm also reported receiving more than $1.6 million in reimbursement of expenses.

Although the names of the donors are redacted, the largest donor to NOM was a person who gave the organization's political advocacy arm more than $2.6 million. Another donor gave $1.9 million to the political advocacy arm, while a third game $1.5 million.

The second largest donor to the organization gave $2 million to the educational arm, while another gave a little more than $1 million. 

The political advocacy arm - a 501(c)(4) organization - reported more than $13 million in expenses, with the education arm - a 501(c)(3) organization - reporting a little less than $3.5 million in expenses.

The organization contributed more than $1 million to the ballot referendum campaigns in Maryland and Washington, as well as to the campaign for a marriage amendment in Minnesota. The organization gave more than $1 million to the "NOM ME Fund," presumably its contribution to fighting the Maine marriage equality initiative.

NOM's sole 2012 ballot victory occurred in May, when North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

 


HRC: NOM Illegally Withholding 2012 Tax Records

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is once again illegally withholding key financial tax documents from the public, HRC reports:

Brian_brownFederal law requires organizations to publicly release their 990s the same day an in-person request is made. As a result, HRC has filed a complaint with the IRS in order to compel NOM to abide by the law.

“NOM’s inability to meet one of the most basic accounting standards for any organization makes you wonder what exactly is going on – are they simply demonstrating the same flagrant disregard they have for numerous state campaign finance laws, or is there something in these documents that reflects even more poorly on the organization and their failed work?” said Fred Sainz, HRC Vice President of Communications. “Brian Brown apparently had enough time on Friday to pull together a fundraising email feigning outrage at the marriage equality victory in Hawaii, but didn’t have time to ensure his organization was running in accordance with the law. NOM should do the right thing and immediately release these financial documents that the public has a right to see.”

They add:

According to NOM’s 2011 990s, obtained by HRC last year, the anti-LGBT organization raised only $6.2 million, a precipitous drop from the $9.1 million it raised in 2010. The documents also revealed that nearly 75 percent of NOM’s fundraising came from just two deep-pocketed donors.

What are they hiding this year?


HRC Launches 'Love Conquers Hate' Campaign in Support of Russia's LGBT Community: PHOTOS

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The Human Rights Campaign is looking to give Russia's LGBT Community a big boost of support leading up to the Sochi Olympic Games with the launch of its "Love Conquers Hate" solidarity campaign today.

Via press release:

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 3.07.37 PMParticipants will share a photo of themselves wearing the Russian-language version of HRC's iconic Love Conquers Hate t-shirt on their social media platforms with the hashtag #LoveConquersHate, encouraging their followers from around the world to do the same. Each photo that is shared with the campaign hashtag will be aggregated at www.loveconquershate.org. 100% of the net proceeds from the sale of the t-shirts will go to a fund that supports LGBT advocates in Russia.

The campaign site also features a diverse group of prominent celebrities, athletes, and politicians who are speaking out in support of the LGBT community in Russia and against the country's homophobic laws. Participants include: Jonah Hill, Kristen Bell, Fergie, Kelly Osbourne, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, America Ferrera, Ricky Martin, Perez Hilton, Anthony Bourdain, Wentworth Miller, Tim Gunn, Jason Collins, and many others. 

Said HRC President Chad Griffin:

"Love and equality are universal values that aren't limited by language or national borders. We stand with Russia's LGBT community and their allies, and we are committed to doing as much as we possibly can to support their efforts to repeal this heinous law."

For more information on how you can join the cause, visit www.loveconquershate.org

And you can check out more celebrity photos of the campaign, AFTER THE JUMP...

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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.


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