Michelangelo Signorile Hub




Michele Bachmann Struggles to Retain Seat Against Opponent Who Supports Marriage Equality

Last week, it was reported that Michele Bachmann's lead in the race to hold on to her seat in Congress had shrunk to two points:

GravesIndependent voters have swung against her by nearly 20 points in just two months, from a 4 percent advantage to a 15 point disadvantage. The internal poll, conducted by Democratic pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner at the behest of Democrat Jim Graves’ campaign and shared with Salon, shows that Bachmann’s favorability rating has tumbled since their last survey in mid-June, and finds Graves gaining ground with independents as his name recognition grows.

Overall, the poll shows Bachmann leading Graves 48-46 percent, within the margin of error.

Michelangelo Signorile interviewed Graves on his radio show last week about, among other things, his support for marriage equality:

“My stand is, I’ve been for 39 years in a loving and committed relationship,” he said. “I’m very fortunate. It’s been the best thing in my life and, by gosh, everybody in America has the same rights under the law and everyone should be able to marry who they want to, when they want to. As far as what churches want to do, or synagogues, again, I believe in separation of church and state. I don’t care what the Catholic Church wants to do. I happen to be born a Catholic. But under the law everybody has the same rights and I believe very strongly in dignity and respect for everybody."

Listen to Signorile's full interview at HuffPost.


Jesse Jackson Hopes Maryland Voters Approve Marriage Equality

JacksonmarriageVenerable civil rights leader Jesse Jackson told Michelangelo Signorile in an interview last week that he'd like to see Maryland voters approve marriage equality there.

Comparing the vote to 60s-era votes on racial civil rights, Jackson told the Sirius XM radio host, "I remember in 1964, the dealbreaker then was, 'Should we have the right of public accommodation [for blacks]?' They tried to make blacks having public accommodations a single issue. At that time race was the dealbreaker. But we’ve overcome that. I would hope that people would respect people’s basic fundamental rights. If you don’t believe in it, don’t engage in it. But don’t deny other people their basic civil rights."

With regard to marriage equality as a concept, rather than as a vote in Maryland, Jackson said that our culture has expanded its understanding of love, and that our laws need to follow suit.

The culture has had to expand… For so long we thought it was a sin for blacks to have freedom. We thought it was a sin for black and white men and women to interrelate. We’ve grown in our appreciation of the fact that we live in our faith, and our faith may live under the law. All citizens deserve constitutional protections. You know, you have a right not to agree with interracial marriage but no one should be denied rights under the law.

An August poll of Maryland voters shows support for equality ahead by about 14 points: 54 for the law with 40 against, according to Hart Research Associates. A survey from March had 51 in favor and 43 against.


Barney Frank Hits Gay Republicans: 'Their Role Model is Uncle Tom'

In an interview with radio host Michelangelo Signorile, outgoing Congressman Barney Frank, who will speak at the Democratic National Convention tonight, discussed the DNC, Mitt Romney, and denounced gay Republicans who accept that party's support with no rights.

FrankSaid Frank:

“Frankly I’ve been appalled to see the Log Cabin club, in the face of this worse and worse record on public policy by Republicans on our issues. Mr. Cooper said, ‘Well at least they’re not saying bad things about us.' That’s just extraordinary. Again, 30 years ago when we were emerging from the vice of prejudice, I understood that. But no, we shouldn’t be accepting a kind of second class citizenship, [and saying], ‘You can treat us badly as long you don’t yell at us.’ They’re accepted on [the GOP's] terms. They’re willing to be accepted with no rights -- no right to marry, no right to serve in the military, no right to be protected against hate crimes, no right to be protected in employment. I’ll be honest: For 20 years now I’ve heard how the Log Cabins are going to make Republicans better, but they’ve only gotten worse. I now understand why they call themselves Log Cabin: their role model is Uncle Tom.”

CooperLog Cabin Republican Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper hit back at Frank in an email, calling the Congressman a "partisan hack" who is "unwilling to do" the "hardest work" for the LGBT rights movement:

"As far as Log Cabin Republicans are concerned, it's a badge of honor to be attacked by a partisan hack like Barney Frank. We understand that Barney has earned his protected place within the Democrat Party by being their attack dog on gay rights issues, demonizing Republicans and undermining efforts at bipartisanship that would actually improve LGBT Americans lives. We expect this kind of bile from Barney, especially when it plays into the Obama campaign's efforts to divide, distract and deceive the American people....Frank calls us 'Uncle Toms' and pretends that Log Cabin hasn't been on the front lines of the fight for equality. The truth is, by speaking conservative to conservative about gay rights, Log Cabin Republicans are doing some of the hardest work in the movement, work that liberals like Barney are unwilling to do and couldn't do if they tried."

The remainder of Cooper's lengthy statement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Barney Frank Hits Gay Republicans: 'Their Role Model is Uncle Tom'" »


Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) Walks Away from Interview After 'Ridiculous and Inappropriate' Questions About Gay Rumors

Schock

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) was questioned by radio host Michelangelo Signorile last week about persisting rumors that he's gay and what his anti-gay votes might mean in that context, Signorile reports at HuffPost:

Asked on the floor of the RNC in an interview for my SiriusXM OutQ radio program to respond to those who’ve believed that Schock is gay and also view his vote against “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal as a vote against members of his own group, Schock responded, “Those questions are completely ridiculous and inappropriate.” He added, when asked if he is confirming that he is not gay, “I’ve said that before and I don’t think it’s worthy of further response. I think you can look it up.” Schock then walked off, abruptly ending the interview.

On why he voted against DADT repeal, Schock said: “I took the advice of military experts that came before Congress. I think that’s why you have John McCain and others who have a military background. Adam Kinzinger is a close personal friend of mine who’s an active duty member of Congress [in the district] next door to me and so I think that’s why you saw the consistency.”

Schock appeared uninformed when asked last week about marriage equality lawsuits in his home state and expressed disagreement with Obama's decision to not defend DOMA in court.

Schock, who has been accused of misusing campaign funds to further an exercise habit, flaunted the results of that regimen in a Men's Health cover story last May.

Many of the gay rumors surrounding Schock seem to be tied to his obsessive attention to his body, as well as that of other Republican congressmen. In June 2010, a photo of Schock at a White House picnic in white jeans, an aqua belt, and purple gingham shirt posted by Gawker (above) sent the gay rumors into overdrive. Schock later tweeted that he "burned the belt" after the photo went viral.


Dana Milbank To Michelangelo Signorile: FRC Is Not The KKK And Therefore Not A Hate Group

DanamilbankRadio host Michelangelo Signorile invited Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank onto his show yesterday so that Milbank could discuss the controversial article in which he criticizes the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling the anti-gay organization Family Research Council a hate group because such a label can inspire madness like the FRC shooting.

Milbank wrote at the time that it is "reckless" calling people who rabble-rouse against equality by spreading lies and vitriol a "hate group." He stuck by that story during his conversation with Signorile and tried to further emphasize his point by contrasting the FRC, which he called a "Washington think tank," with the KKK.

"The hate group category, is with the exception of the Family Research Council, a bunch of neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan-like groups, and while they may say all kinds of wacky things at the FRC, they’re a Washington think tank, not a group that puts on sheets and organizes lynch mobs," he said.

Reminded that "hate group" is applied to non-violent groups as well, Milbank again went for the most extreme comparison: Some [hate groups] put on white sheets and go around and lynch people and some of them don’t. It’s not the same as the KKK and Stormfront. There is a fundamental distinction. I think people who say hateful things are in one category and people who commit violent acts are in another category." Milbank also tried to bolster FRC's credibility by mentioning that it was founded by James Dobson and run for a spell by Gary Bauer, a man whose past as a failed presidential candidate somehow makes him more legitimate and wholesome.

Milbank later griped that the interview was an "ambush," but Signorile insists Milbank was informed ahead of time they would be discussing his column. "Milbank was not asked to come on the show under any false pretenses. He was invited on the show to discuss the controversial column he’d written, and he accepted the invitation," said Signorile.

Listen to the interview over at The Huffington Post.


Michelangelo Signorile Challenges FRCs Tony Perkins to Debate Hate

Michelangelo Signorile challenges Family Research Council President Tony Perkins to a debate:

PerkinsPerhaps you recall that in July 2008, a man armed with a shotgun went on a shooting rampage inside a church in Knoxville. The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, like many Christian churches and denominations across the country, is welcoming of LGBT people. The gunman killed two people and severely wounded several others. Police said that the killer's motive was to target gays and liberals. "This isn't a church, it's a cult," the killer wrote in a four-page letter he had left behind. "They embrace every pervert that comes down the pike.... [T]he only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets, kill them where they gather."

I wouldn't claim, as you did with regard to the SPLC, that the FRC gave that killer a "license to shoot." No one knows what's inside the mind of a premeditated killer. But I would ask: Where do people like this killer get the distortions and ugly mischaracterizations that convince them that gay people are evil? More so, where do others who wouldn't engage in gun violence but who do harm to LGBT people in other ways -- firing them from their jobs, throwing them out of their homes, bullying them in schools -- get their misinformation about gay people? They get it from a wide array of sources that contribute to a culture that demonizes LGBT people. And you and the Family Research Council are among those who feed into that culture.

Not likely that Perkins will have the courage to answer but I hope he does.


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