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04/19/2007


Tuesday Morning Speed Read: Darrin Gayles, Staci Yandle, SCOTUS, Indiana, Uganda, Mike Michaud

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

NOMINEE HEARING TODAY:

President Obama’s openly gay African American nominee for the U.S. District Court in Miami goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. A Committee spokesperson said both of Florida’s senators have indicated they support state circuit court Judge Darrin Gayles.  President Obama dropped another openly gay African American nominee for Miami in January after Senator Marco Rubio objected to the nomination.

YandleLESBIAN NOMINEE GRILLED:

President Obama’s nomination of openly lesbian African American Staci Yandle for the U.S. District Court in southern Illinois was up for a Committee vote last Thursday. But the committee held over her nomination and that of four others in a group of 10. Her nomination is now slated for a committee vote this Thursday.

REWRITING WINDSOR?

Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee submitted questions in writing for federal court nominee Staci Yandle. Senator Charles Grassley grilled her over how she would interpret the Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, which overturned DOMA. Several LGBT legal activists said Grassley’s goal seemed to be to promote a narrow interpretation of Windsor. “They are trying to get her to say that the federalism discussion in Windsor means that the federal courts should not strike down state marriage bans – that they don’t have the authority to do so,” said GLAD Civil Rights Director Mary Bonauto.  Evan Wolfson, head of the national Freedom to Marry, noted that Grassley “chose not to ask about the explicit passages in the [Windsor] decision making clear that the ruling turned on equal protection, not federalism.” Lambda Legal’s Eric Lesh said Grassley has made the Windsor questions a routine line of inquiry for all federal court nominees now.

ElanephotographySUPREME BYPASS:

The U.S. Supreme Court, for two weeks in a row, has given no indication of whether it will hear a New Mexico dispute pitting New Mexico’s non-discrimination law against a commercial photographer’s claim that she has a First Amendment right to deny public accommodations to a same-sex couple based on her religious beliefs. The photographer filed Elane Photography v. Willock in November. The case was on the relatively short lists for the justices to discuss in private conference March 21 and 28. But on the subsequent Mondays, when the court announced which cases it would and would not take, Elane was not mentioned. The next conference is April 4.

IndianaSEEKING RELIEF IN INDIANA:

Lambda Legal on Monday filed an emergency motion in federal district court seeking an order that would allow a lesbian couple’s marriage to be recognized by Indiana. In the motion, Lambda adds couple Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler to the plaintiffs in its Baskin v. Bogan lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Quasney and Sandler were married in Massachusetts last August. Quasney has late-stage ovarian cancer and is concerned that, without a court order to recognize their marriage, their children will be “denied important benefits” upon Quasney’s death and Sandler will be considered a legal stranger.

UGANDAN CHILDREN IN SONG:

Thousands of people turned out yesterday in the capital city of Uganda to stage a “thanksgiving” celebration for President Yoweri Museveni’s signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in February. According to an Associated Press report, many in the crowd were schoolchildren “who sang and danced to anti-gay tunes that also railed” against U.S. and European countries.

HRC STAFFER JOINS MICHAUD CAMPAIGN:

The Human Rights Campaign’s associate director of communications, Dan Rafter, left that organization to take over Monday as communications director for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s gubernatorial campaign in Maine.


I'm Gay, LGBT: The 57 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013

2013

UPDATED!!!

Due to four notable December announcements - from an Australian actor, a professional marksman, an Olympic figure skater, and a beloved morning TV show host, we've updated this list to provide a more complete look back at those who decided to come out in 2013. Enjoy.

*************

"I would like to consider myself a 'whatever,' Maria Bello said this month in a column in the New York Times, revealing that after two relationships with men (one of which produced a child) she had fallen in love with a woman.

Bello's decision to come out while consciously eschewing a label is a sentiment echoed by many of those on this year's list who felt no need to declare themselves L-G-B or T but still found it necessary for some reason, like Hot97 DJ Mister Cee, to declare their "sexual freedom".

The British Olympic diver Tom Daley told UK talk show host Jonathan Ross, "Everything is all pretty new so I don't see any point in putting a label on it - gay, bi, straight, any of those kind of labels. All that I feel happy about at the moment is that I'm dating a guy and couldn't be happier, it shouldn't matter who I'm dating and I hope people can be happy for me."

Actress Michelle Rodriguez echoed that fluidity in a characteristically blunt manner, responding to people who call her a "lesbo":  "Eh, they're not too far off. I've gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too f---ing curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks."

High school senior Jacob Rudolph went another route, adopting all the labels. He told his high school class, in a video that went viral: "I've been acting every single day of my life. You see, I've been acting as someone I'm not. Most of you see me every day. You see me acting the part of 'straight' Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT."

RudolphRudolph later told Thomas Roberts: "I intended to come out as an LGBT and not say bisexual or gay or straight because I feel like those are the labels of the past. Especially in modern times when people are really questioning who they like and what they like I think that saying 'I'm bisexual', it could change in the future, I could be exclusively for one sex or another. So I think that putting it in a more general term like LGBT is extraordinarily appropriate even though I'm not a lesbian or a transgender."

But while the eschewing of labels is a major trend this year, there are still plenty of people happy to declare, "I'm gay" — though fewer are doing it on the front covers of magazines and many more are using more subtle forms of delivery, like the mention of a "husband" or "partner' buried in the third page of a magazine profile, or by posting an Instagram photo with a significant other.

One thing is certain. The act of coming out in 2013 remains as powerful as ever. Though tolerance, acceptance and equality have made great strides this year, there are still many pockets of the U.S., and certainly many countries abroad where LGBT people are forced to hide because being open about their sexuality would threaten their lives and their livelihoods.

Though coming out might be greeted more and more with comments like "yawn", "No disrespect intended, but DUH!", or "who cares?" from the social media peanut gallery, we should applaud the trolls in these cases, because they're one more example that progress is being made.

Who had the 52 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013 (so far)?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "I'm Gay, LGBT: The 57 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013" »


I'm Gay, LGBT, 'Whatever': The 53 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013

2013

UPDATE: See the updated version of this post HERE!

"I would like to consider myself a 'whatever,' Maria Bello said this month in a column in the New York Times, revealing that after two relationships with men (one of which produced a child) she had fallen in love with a woman.

Bello's decision to come out while consciously eschewing a label is a sentiment echoed by many of those on this year's list who felt no need to declare themselves L-G-B or T but still found it necessary for some reason, like Hot97 DJ Mister Cee, to declare their "sexual freedom".

The British Olympic diver Tom Daley told UK talk show host Jonathan Ross, "Everything is all pretty new so I don't see any point in putting a label on it - gay, bi, straight, any of those kind of labels. All that I feel happy about at the moment is that I'm dating a guy and couldn't be happier, it shouldn't matter who I'm dating and I hope people can be happy for me."

Actress Michelle Rodriguez echoed that fluidity in a characteristically blunt manner, responding to people who call her a "lesbo":  "Eh, they're not too far off. I've gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too f---ing curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks."

High school senior Jacob Rudolph went another route, adopting all the labels. He told his high school class, in a video that went viral: "I've been acting every single day of my life. You see, I've been acting as someone I'm not. Most of you see me every day. You see me acting the part of 'straight' Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT."

RudolphRudolph later told Thomas Roberts: "I intended to come out as an LGBT and not say bisexual or gay or straight because I feel like those are the labels of the past. Especially in modern times when people are really questioning who they like and what they like I think that saying 'I'm bisexual', it could change in the future, I could be exclusively for one sex or another. So I think that putting it in a more general term like LGBT is extraordinarily appropriate even though I'm not a lesbian or a transgender."

But while the eschewing of labels is a major trend this year, there are still plenty of people happy to declare, "I'm gay" — though fewer are doing it on the front covers of magazines and many more are using more subtle forms of delivery, like the mention of a "husband" or "partner' buried in the third page of a magazine profile, or by posting an Instagram photo with a significant other.

One thing is certain. The act of coming out in 2013 remains as powerful as ever. Though tolerance, acceptance and equality have made great strides this year, there are still many pockets of the U.S., and certainly many countries abroad where LGBT people are forced to hide because being open about their sexuality would threaten their lives and their livelihoods.

Though coming out might be greeted more and more with comments like "yawn", "No disrespect intended, but DUH!", or "who cares?" from the social media peanut gallery, we should applaud the trolls in these cases, because they're one more example that progress is being made.

Who had the 52 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013 (so far)?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "I'm Gay, LGBT, 'Whatever': The 53 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013" »


Congressman Mike Michaud, Who Came Out as Gay This Week, Speaks to Rachel Maddow: VIDEO

Maddow_michaud

Rachel Maddow speaks to Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) who came out of the closet earlier this week in response to what he called a "whisper campaign" by opponents, spoke to Maddow last night in a segment assessing the state of the Maine gubernatorial race.

Said Michaud:

"I have no idea who was doing it - all I know is that there was speculation out there that I was gay and I wanted to be upfront, be honest with the voters of the state of Maine, 'yes I am but what should that matter? I'm the same person today that I was last week, last year and the year before.' I'm Mike, and I want to talk about the issues and it was very important for me to put that on the table so we can move on and talk about issues."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Congressman Mike Michaud, Who Came Out as Gay This Week, Speaks to Rachel Maddow: VIDEO" »


U.S. Congressman Mike Michaud: 'Yes I am' Gay

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, (D-ME) who is also running for governor of Maine, came out of the closet today in response to "whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about [his] personal life".

MichaudWrites Michaud in a Portland Press Herald op-ed:

"They want people to question whether I am gay. Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: 'Yes I am. But why should it matter?'"

Adds Michaud:

That may seem like a big announcement to some people. For me, it’s just a part of who I am, as much as being a third-generation mill worker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine.

Whether I was punching a time clock at Great Northern Paper Company for 29 years, serving the people of Maine in the state Legislature, or fighting for our nation’s veterans on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, my personal life has never factored into how I do my job.

That’s certainly not going to change if I’m elected governor. While I’ve grown and evolved over the course of my career, I’ve never lost sight of where I came from.

My father worked in the mill for 43 years. My grandfather before him for 40 years. I was the second of six children, and from a young age our parents instilled in us the values of hard work, integrity and honesty.

Most of all, I was brought up believing you should judge a person based on the content of his or her character, not by their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. That’s a value I know most Mainers share.

MaineMichaud says he does not want to be seen as someone who's ashamed of who he is, and plans to run a positive campaign:

Growing up in a large Franco-American Catholic family, it’s never been in my nature to talk about myself. I write this now merely to let my opponents and the outside interests who fund them know that I am not ashamed of who I am. And if seeing someone from my background, in my position openly acknowledge the fact that he’s gay makes it a little bit easier for future generations to live their lives openly and without fear, all the better.

I don’t plan to make my personal life or my opponents’ personal lives an issue in this campaign. We’ve had enough negativity in our politics and too many personal attacks over the last few years. We owe it to the people of Maine to focus on how we get our state back on track.

Michaud is running against incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage. Asurvey published on October 19th showed Michaud and LePage nearly even, with independent candidate Eliot Cutler behind them by a few percentage points.

Mike Tipping, at the Bangor Daily News, thinks Michaud's coming out will help his campaign.

A few of his thoughts, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "U.S. Congressman Mike Michaud: 'Yes I am' Gay" »


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