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Michelangelo Signorile Talks About His New Book 'It's Not Over' with Andy Towle: VIDEO

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On Friday night I sat down with author, activist, and radio host Michelangelo Signorile for a Periscope session to talk about his new book, It's Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality.

NotoverThe book is uncannily-timed given the recent proliferation of "religious liberty" bills around the country; it's a warning to those fighting for LGBT equality not to think the battle is over too early — not to succumb to "victory blindness" as Signorile aptly calls it.

The book is also a primer for activism in the next phase of the LGBT rights movement, in which advocates for equality, having secured a number of substantive wins, must face a wave of conservative backlash that is already beginning.

"You have to celebrate [these victories], there's no question about it, Signorile tells me in our interview. "But, understand that there isn't this magical moment when everything is finished and you go on with your life. When you're a minority, a marginalized group, you've been dealt a certain deck and there's always going to be people out to try and undermine you. You have to just keep paying attention..."

"I think [conservatives] will definitely retool, recalibrate," he adds, "They move on to other states, they look for other avenues, they look for other people they can pose as victims, right? Any new way that they can sort of strip something away from us — conscience clauses allowing people to opt out of performing gay marriages, all that stuff is still going on and still on the table in a lot of states."

Using "victory blindness" as a launch pad, Signorile's incisive argument lays out the framework for taking on this backlash through self-defense and empowerment, revolutionizing education, and objecting to media that continually gives discredited conservative viewpoints authority where there is no legitimate debate to be had. It also provides advice for people who are out of the closet on how to remain empowered by not hiding who we are and resisting demands that we downplay our identities.

I strongly recommend this book.

Check out my talk with Signorile (and I apologize for its informality and my rather green on-camera skills - it was originally recorded on iPhone as a live streaming discussion on Periscope and has been edited to better fit this format).

Watch and read the transcript, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Right-wing Columnist Cal Thomas Preparing His Family For 'End Times' Following Gay Marriage Ruling: LISTEN

Conservative columnist Cal Thomas has said that same-sex marriage is a sign of “end times,” reports Huffington Post.

Speaking in an interview with Michelangelo Signorile, Thomas said the Supreme Court is likely to vote in favor of marriage equality and that there is not much he can do about it “because “everything is right on schedule.” Earlier today, the high court announced it would hear arguments in four same-sex marriage cases April 28. 

Before speaking with Signorile, Thomas had just moderated a panel on the threat to “religious freedom” that included Dana Loesch and Tony Perkins, the leader of listed hate group the Family Research Council.

Thomas“If you read the Scriptures, as I do, in both testaments all of these things are forecast in prophesies, in the book of Daniel and what Jesus and Paul said, so I'm not worried about it.

I say everything is right on schedule. I’m trying to shore up my own family first and, hopefully, that will be an example to other people… If you look at not only what Jesus said, but Paul the Apostle, about what things would be like in the end times, people will be lovers of lies rather than the truth. They will elevate things that are called abomination in scripture to normality… All of the prophesies up to the final ones have come true. And that’s why I say that everything is right on schedule.”

In 2012, Thomas said that Rachel Maddow was the best argument for her parents to use contraception.

Listen to the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Arkansas Bill Banning LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinances Becomes Law

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Arkansas' anti-gay SB 202 became law yesterday after Governor Asa Hutchinson made good on his promise to do nothing to prevent the discriminatory bill from being adopted. The law bans local governments from expanding anti-discrimination protections to Arkansans on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Arkansas is the second state to pass such a measure. Tennessee has a similar law on the books that was passed in 2011. 

The AP reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c7525109970b-200wiRepublican Gov. Asa Hutchinson allowed legislation to go into law without his signature that bars cities and counties from expanding anti-discrimination ordinances beyond what the state already prohibits, making Arkansas the second state to approve such a prohibition. Arkansas' anti-discrimination protections don't include sexual orientation or gender identity. Monday marked the end of the five-day window for Hutchinson to take action on the bill or allow it to become law.

Hutchinson had raised concerns about the bill infringing on local control, but said he wouldn't veto it. His office said his position hadn't changed and he allowed the proposal to become law, despite a last-ditch campaign by advocacy groups urging him to veto the legislation. The law won't take effect until 90 days after the Legislature formally adjourns, which is currently set for May.

Opponents of the ban were weighing a lawsuit to challenge the measure's constitutionality.

"It's just another scar on the face of a state that really doesn't need any more signs of an intolerance toward outsiders, toward people that some people disapprove of," said Rita Sklar, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas.

The measure was introduced in reaction to an ordinance in the city of Fayetteville, where voters expanded the city's anti-discrimination protections. Eureka Springs in northwest Arkansas enacted a similar measure earlier this month, and Little Rock elected officials are weighing expanding that city's discrimination protections.

Unsurprisingly, the Family Research Council praised the measure. Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies with the group commented, "We would support the passage of similar bills in other states." 

Meanwhile, many wondered why there had been no word from high-profile figures with ties to Arkansas and why national LGBT advocacy groups were so slow to address the issue. The Washington Post reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07f61d4b970d-250wiSeveral activists blamed the absence of national politicians or corporations speaking out against SB 202. Neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton, even with their Arkansas ties, have issued public statements about it. Until today, neither had some of the state’s largest employers, like Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt, a trucking company.

“What we haven’t heard from are businesses inside the state, though some of those businesses are very supportive of LGBTQ grassroots organizations,” said Laura Phillips, an activist based in Fayetteville.

“It’s like that saying,” she continued, invoking a Martin Luther King Jr. quote, “that the silence of your friends is worse than the voices of your enemies. The silence from the business side has just been deafening, and that’s the most terrifying part.”

Walmart eventually came out against the ordinance, saying through a spokesperson, "We feel this legislation is counter to this core basic belief and sends the wrong message about Arkansas." Tyson, however, would only go so far as to send an email stating "that the company does not comment publicly on pending legislation," adding "that the company already has a gay non-discrimination policy." The policy, however, will likely become toothless in the eyes of the law in Arkansas with the passing of SB 202. 

Noted activist Scott Wooledge, who you'll recall played an instrumental role in the identifying of the three gay bashers currently on trial for an attack on a gay couple in Philadelphia, spoke to The Post about the lack of movement from national organizations over SB 202 and about his own involvement:  “For some reason, many LGBT organizations have been slow to respond on state level fights,” he explained. “Mostly I stepped up because I felt like there was not going to be a national response.”

Michelangelo Signorile went further, accusing the HRC of malpractice for its silence on SB 202:

Signorile was directing much of his criticism at HRC president Chad Griffin, who hails from Arkansas. “Whatever the reasons, many LGBT national leaders are nowhere on this terrible and potentially enormously impactful law,” Signorile wrote on Friday morning. (Griffin eventually released a statement to the Arkansas Times in a blog post dated Friday afternoon.) 

As for the future, activists are weighing both legal and ballot measure challenges to SB 202. 


Openly Gay Alabama Representative Patricia Todd Receiving Death Threats Over 'Outing' Pledge: AUDIO

ToddRepresentative Patricia Todd is stirring up quite the controversy in Alabama with her pledge to out anti-gay lawmakers engaging in extramarital affairs. Todd alleges that her pledge has caused the posturing and rhetoric to die down, but that it has also incited some to start lobbing death threats her way - death threats that Todd is taking in an admirable amount of stride:

My life’s been threatened in the past couple of days. A lot of my friends are worried about my safety. The police are patrolling by my house more often. I’ve got an alarm system. I am being careful. But they’re not going to scare me back into my house. I’m not going to let them do that.

Todd still plans to honor her pledge and discusses the events surrounding her pledge and death threats in an interview with Michelangelo Signorile, which you can listen to AFTER THE JUMP...

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LA Galaxy Player Robbie Rogers and 'Arrow' Creator Greg Berlanti Split

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In an interview with Michelangelo Signorile, LA Galaxy player Robbie Rogers confirmed he's no longer in a relationship with Greg Berlanti, creator of Arrow and producer of Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, and Dawson's Creek, among others.

The news had orignially been reported by gossip blogger Perez Hilton earlier this week. 

Said Rogers:

"When Perez posted that, I don’t think I even cared. I don’t think a lot of people do care. I understand that my personal life is going to be more and more in the spotlight. And it’s not going to stop me from dating people or being public about it. I just want to live a normal life. It doesn’t bother me, to be honest...We dated for a year and half. And we split up. Stuff happens. But again, we’re still friends. And we’re very supportive of each other.”

Rogers also chatted in the interview about why he decided to come out, rather than leave soccer for good.

Listen, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Michele Bachmann Clarifies Gay Marriage 'Is Boring, Not an Issue' Comment, Reminds People She's Still A Bigot - VIDEO

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Republican and anti-gay activist Michele Bachmann has clarified comments made at last week’s right-wing Values Voter Summit conference that same-sex marriage is “not an issue” and is “in fact...boring,” reports WND.

Activist Michelangelo Signorile reported that Bachmann made the comments in an interview he conducted with her on Sirius XM Progress.

However, in a follow-up interview, Bachmann backtracked, claiming she meant that same-sex marriage “won’t be the issue that drives the 2014 election”:

“I told the reporter it’s getting boring having them only press this issue with Republicans while ignoring Democrats. The media loves to divide us on this issue. They look for something all the time. I said nothing different. I’m the woman who carried the traditional marriage amendment in Minnesota, and I stand firm in my belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman.”

The American Family Association’s resident wingnut Bryan Fischer - loves Burger King, hates gay sex - said that the issue of marriage equality is “far from settled”:

“Unfortunately, there are people in the conservative movement who have sort of given up. There are even evangelical leaders sending signals that the battle is over, that the battle is lost. ‘We’ll never be able to capture the millennials. They’re gone.’ I think it’s way premature for that. You know, when the homosexual lobby was [lost at the ballot in 31 states on marriage, they] didn’t quit. They didn’t give up. They didn’t do it. They didn’t give up, and neither are we.”

Always to be relied on for inflammatory hate speech that shows an absolute lack of any human compassion, in July, Bachmann claimed that gay people want to "abolish age of consent laws...so that adults will be able to freely prey on little children sexually."

Listen to Bachmann's July remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

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