There’s an interesting new Gallup study out today that needs to be taken with a box of salt.
It seems they went around asking people if they “identify” as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The numbers are not surprising, but as anyone who lives in Washington D.C. will tell you, being gay and admitting you’re gay are two very different things. Having lived here almost two years now, I am completely convinced there are more closet gay people in this town than anywhere else in the U.S.. I’m not sure how we could find out via a Gallup study just how many there are, but one need only walk down K Street to figure out it’s a number greater than 1 in 10.
D.C. wins the contest with 10% of the population admitting to being gay. With North Dakota (a state I’m still not sure exists) coming in dead-last with a depressing 1.7%.
While it is indeed a good sign that this many people would come to terms with themselves enough to tell a stranger calling on the phone that they “identify” as LGBT, we really need not consider this study as an actual headcount of who is LGBT in our country.
-ILLIONOIS - Yesterday, the Illionois Senate approved marriage overwhelmingly with a vote of 34-21! Happy Valentine’s Day! Support is expected to be thinner but still winnable in the House and we don’t yet know when it will be taken up. Governor Pat Quinn has pledged to sign it into law should the House pass it. YAY!
-RHODE ISLAND - About 3 weeks ago, the RI House approved marriage even more overwhelmingly with a 51-19 vote. The Senate is a bit of an uphill battle but certainly not unwinnable. They are looking at a Spring vote and again the Governor is a huge supporter.
-OHIO - Currently collecting signatures for a pro-equality ballot measure in 2013
-ARIZONA, MICHIGAN & OREON - Currently collecting signatures for a pro-equality ballot measure in 2014
-MINNESOTA - Following the beatdown of an anti-gay marriage ballot measure in 2012, and a pwnership of the house, senate and the election of awesome pro-equality Governor Mark Dayton, advocates are pushing for a pro-equality bill in the next few months.
One of these states will most likely be state #10 to (not including the unstate of DC) to approve marriage equality.
SCOTUS! (Supreme Court of the United States) March 26th, SCOTUS will be hearing oral arguments on two marriage cases. The first is on CA’s Prop 8. (Perry)
Possible outcomes of Prop 8 decisions:
All gay marriage bans will be struck down: This is not a likely scenario, but would make me very happy. Our lawyers are arguing to make this happen by pointing out the unconstitutionality of anti-gay marriage bans and the creation of different classes of citizens federally.
Prop 8. will be overturned: This is what most pundits are thinking will happen. It will overturn the discriminatory law and once again allow gay and lesbian Californians to marry in that state only. CA is different from other states because the courts legalized marriage in May of 2008. From May through November (prior to Prop 8 passing), more than 30,000 gay and lesbian Californians were married. This means, there are three separate classes in CA. Heterosexuals who can legally marry, Gays and Lesbians who are legally married and Gays and Lesbians who are prohibited from marrying. This is a good basis for overturning the ban and some think this is the argument the court will use to do so.
Prop 8 will be upheld: Many think this is unlikely considering the proponents of Prop 8 have no legitimate argument outside of “this is how the people voted.” Every court thus far has overturned or upheld the decision of the previous ruling.
SCOTUS will punt: One of the questions presented by the court was whether or not those defending the anti-gay law had the right to defend it in court. The Brown administration and the one before him had both pulled out of defending Prop 8 because they found it to be discriminatory. After that, the anti-gay campaign began defending it in court. Some don’t believe that a biased campaign has the right to defend a state law in court. If SCOTUS punts, then two things could happen, the decisions of the earlier courts could be upheld or they could essentially issue a do-over.
On March 27th (the next day), SCOTUS will be hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). As many of you know, as a side note – Obama’s DoJ stopped defending DOMA a few years ago as on 8 separate occasions now, when the government was sued over DOMA, it has been found unconstitutional – so there’s a bit of precedent here. It’s also clearly a waste of money to defend a clearly unconstitutional law. Yet John Boehner has just increased to $2 million the amount of money they will spend towards lawyers to defend DOMA…yet they keep screaming that we spend too much on frivolous things.
But I digress…
The reason most courts have found DOMA to be unconstitutional is that it violates state’s rights. Legally married gay couples in states that recognize equality are not afforded more than 1100 rights and responsibilities given to heterosexual couples granted by the federal government. This includes everything from federal tax benefits, to citizenship. If I were to marry a man from Argentina – legally, let’s say in DC – they could still be deported because of DOMA. If I (a very gay man) were to marry a woman from Argentina, that marriage would give her the opportunity to apply (and win) US citizenship.
Possible outcomes of DOMA decisions:
DOMA is struck down: The court could decide that Section 3 of DOMA (that which defines marriage as being only between a man and a woman) violates state’s rights and the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection for all under the law.
DOMA is upheld: The court could uphold DOMA which would enshrine two classes of citizen where one class is treated differently under federal law than the other. Legally married gay couples would continue to not receive tax and social security survivor benefits. Another side note: 17 year – Congressman Gerry Studds, the first openly-gay member of Congress, was legally married to his partner of 16 years Dean Hara. When Studds died in 2006, Hara was not elegible to receive spousal survivor benefits and pension afforded every other Congressional spouse.
SCOTUS punts: Due to the aforementioned discrepancies with who is defending this law, the court could dismiss the case on procedural grounds. It would of course, find it’s way back to the Supreme Court eventually, but this would make it so they didn’t have to make a potentially unpopular opinion.
There are actions happening all over the country for you to get involved with. Everything from vigils to lobby days to house parties. Go find out what’s going on near you or plan something and let us know about it at Light to Justice or visit the March4Marriage Facebook page.
In the meantime, might I recommend the film Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (also available on Netflix). It’s a story about Edie Windsor and her wife, Thea. Edie is the lead plaintiff in the upcoming DOMA cases coming before the Supreme Court.
More and more, the Sci-fi, Comic, Gaming and Anime communities have come out overwhelmingly in favor of equality for their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends, superheroes and artists. While these communities remain fairly dominated by straight guys, it’s rare to see homophobic messages stated – and when they are, they’re frequently challenged by allies.
World of Warcraft fan and Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe has become a hero to the LGBT community following a tongue-lashing he gave to a Maryland lawmaker (let’s just say the term “lustful cockmonster” is now a part of our country’s vernacular because of him).
Star Wars: The Old Republic now allows players to select the sexuality of their characters. In fact dozens of games now feature gay characters including Dragon’s Age II, Guild Wars 2, Tekken, Mass Effect 1, 2 & 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Bully, and even a lesser-known PS2 game (which I happened to voice the lead character for) Shadow Hearts: From the New World features a gay relationship.
So this is why I was shocked to see that DC Comics had hired one of the most openly-homophobic science fiction writers out there to usher in the new Superman digital comic. Orson Scott Card, author of the soon-to-be-released blockbuster movie, Ender’s Game is not only anti-gay, but he is unapologetically so. In 2009, Card joined the board of one of the most virulently anti-gay organizations we know of, The National Organization for Marriage (NOM). While the name sounds innocuous enough, NOM has not only sunk millions into fights agains marriage equality, they’ve also fought against gay adoption, against safe schools for LGBT kids, and as recently reported, the gay “lifestyle” as a whole. And Card is a part of it all.
In 2000, Salon’s Donna Minkowitz outed Card as a “disgustingly outspoken homophobe” following a thorough and eye-opening interview. In his writing, he has equated homosexuality with pedophilia, and in a 2004 essay, Card stated:
“The dark secret of homosexual society—the one that dares not speak its name—is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.”
A devout Mormon, Card frequently speaks about the “radical redefinition of marriage,” which is of course fairly hypocritical considering his own church went through their own “radical redefinition of marriage” not so long ago. In 1990, Card wrote a lengthy essay titled “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality.” Throughout, he roundly admonishes gay people as nothing more than people who are giving into sin. He even goes so far as to stating that anti-sodomy laws should remain on the books making homosexuality illegal in the U.S.. He points out of course in an epilogue that those were his old views before those laws were overturned. Now he only says non-inflammatory things like:
“There are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples. They can visit each other in the hospital. They can benefit from each other’s insurance.”
This was what he said last year when North Carolina was passing an anti-gay marriage amendment. He seems to ignore the fact that hospital visitation is not a law, it’s an Executive Order which can easily be overturned by the next President and his statement that we can benefit from each other’s insurance is a lie. This is completely dependent on the insurance company and the employer one has. Most companies in the U.S. still do not offer coverage for partners of LGBT employees. Finally, I’d like to point him to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (which gives heterosexual couples 1100+ rights which I don’t have), the lack of an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (meaning that in most states I can still be fired for being gay) and the 30 or so states I can be evicted from my home for being gay.
Card has gone even further though, threatening to overthrow any government who approves marriage equality:
“Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage.
Card has proven that not only is he virulently anti-gay, but he has no problem spreading lies to bring others to his wrong side of history.
All Out, an international LGBT rights organization has started a petition asking DC Comics to get rid of the anti-gay Orson Scott Card. I can’t seem to find any sort of formal boycott of his film “Ender’s Game” set for a March release, but considering 10% of his income is also tithed to the Mormon church, I’m fairly certain they won’t be seeing my $12.
In a Huffington Post Gay Voices piece today, Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer has issued a cease and desist on behalf of Chick-fil-A.
According to Shane, following several meetings with Chick-fil-A President, Dan Cathy and an invite to be his personal guest to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Shane has issued an all-clear. This is not the first time Shane has attempted to allay the fears of the LGBT community surrounding Chick-fil-A. In September of last year, he formally suspended his organization’s boycott of the company, which seemed to some as though the entire LGBT community was doing the same.
Following an interview on HuffPost Live in which Think Progress LGBT’s Zack Ford and I discussed these topics with Shane, I thought it important to follow-up. One of the important discoveries of Shane’s piece is that he’s been allowed access to top-secret internal Chick-fil-A documents and has seen their tax forms which prove Chick-fil-A is no longer giving to the “most divisive” anti-gay groups such as Focus on the Family or Exodus International – both of whom have been linked to Uganda’s infamous “Kill the Gays” bill. But that’s hard to comment on since Cathy only showed it to Shane personally.
There are an enormous number of questions which arise and it’s important that we ask them before chomping into a greasy, fatty homophobe sandwich. Some were asked during the interview above, but were never answered and others are now being asked around the interwebs.
Why would Dan Cathy choose to share these secret internal documents with only Shane instead of clearing his name and his organization’s reputation by sending them to a reporter? There could be several reasons for this. If the story is leaked to the mainstream media and it’s true, some of Chick-fil-A’s gay hating base might get real mad. Or perhaps the only reason they stopped giving to a few of the anti-gay groups was to earn Shane’s stamp of approval and thus earn Shane as an advocate to all those college campuses wanting to open new Chick-fil-As. Either way, Chick-fil-A is STILL contributing to anti-gay groups.
Why would Dan Cathy choose to pursue only Shane Windmeyer and Campus Prid instead of larger, farther reaching LGBT orgs such as HRC, The Task Force or GLAAD? Is it that Cathy found solace in the fact that Shane seemed like a nice guy or is it that Shane is the one with access to Cathy opening more lucrative restaurants on college campuses?
Finally, Shane’s piece, though ultimately about his budding friendship with Cathy, has led to media claims that Chick-fil-A has ceased funding to anti-gay groups. Though Shane blames the media for not reading into his own fine print that it was just the “most divisive” groups, he has managed to provide cover for a virulently anti-gay company and it’s virulently anti-gay President.
I hate conspiracy theories, truly I do, but there’s quite clearly something not kosher here – and I’m not talking about the soggy pickle in a Chick-fil-A sandwich. I like Shane and I think Campus Progress does incredibly important work. I would just hate to see that reputation at all sullied by lifting up those who steadfastly stand in opposition to equality. Dan Cathy may very well have found a friend in the LGBT community – as many homophobes have stated “Some of my best friends are gay…” But the harm his contributions have made cannot be cast aside simply because he invited a gay guy to a football game.
About a month ago, Sean’s organization got a phone call from a reporter at USA Today. They were looking for someone who had a gay family member and due to that, changed their mind on marriage equality. Immediately, their communications director passed the phone off to Sean as the perfect candidate.
We sat down with Chuck Raasch, Sean and Sean’s mom Barbara over coffee a few days later. A week or so after that, they called and asked to send a photographer to our house to take photos of the three of us cooking dinner together (something that has never really happened in real life). We obliged realizing it would help make a good narrative for the story.
Flash forward and this morning, the story appeared on page 2 of USA Today. We have since set a date and will be happily getting married on May 18th in Provincetown, MA! Check out the story here.
Thanks to Chuck and photographer Toby Jornin for telling our story so effectively that it might continue to change some minds.
Late last night, Matt tweeted
“Starting off the year with a new fiancé, @bluehamilton. A great way to kick off 2013!pic.twitter.com/FQ9y4tHe“
Coming out quietly with a simple act seems to be the newest and might I add classiest way for Hollywood actors to let their fans know who they are. Last year White Collar and Magic Mike star Matt Bomer came out while thanking his partner and three little boys in an award thank you speech and Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons quietly did so in a brief statement at the end of a NY Times interview about an upcoming broadway play he was starring in.
While I’m sure the tabloid coming out articles and People magazine cover stories are far from over, its nice to see some of Hollywood is catching on to this new (and far more classy) trend.
Congrats to Matt and his new fiancé, LA musician James Hamilton, who followed up with his own adorable retweet this morning!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 250,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 5 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!
When I was a little boy, I read all the same books every kid read. I watched all the Disney movies everyone else saw. I knew the happily-ever-afters in and out. The prince found the princess, woke her up with a kiss and they rode off into the sunset.
From the time I was 10, I was also doing musicals so I figured out early on that I was gay. Even though I may have not known what it all meant, I knew I was different and there had to be a reason that those movies weren’t telling the happily-ever-after that played out in my head. So I hid.
I went to high school and continued doing musicals and hating sports – ever the cliché, I could neither kick, throw or catch a ball. By then, the only mention of gay people I ever heard was about AIDS. It was the late 80s and being gay was no longer something that was invisible, it was a forbidden, terrible thing to be. Further into my closet I went. That 10 year old voice in my head telling me that marriage would never happen for me grew ever louder.
In college, things seemed to be changing. Despite seeing Matthew Shepard brutally murdered and the AIDS crisis continue, I was growing up – it was time to start standing up for who I was. I came out. But that 10 year old in my head was still shouting “You’ll never get married – people like you will never be good enough for that.”
After college, I moved to New York. I worked in theatre, produced Broadway concerts, and became a voice actor for Pokémon and dozens of other cartoons. I was out and I was happy – I even had a few relationships. I was never wealthy, but I made ends meet. I was fighting for equality and it felt right, but strangely enough – I still had that little boy’s voice echoing in my head telling me I’d never have that day – the same one I’d seen my brothers through and stood by as my best friend was married, twice. It wasn’t something that made me angry – ever. It was something I’d just accepted as fact.
A few years later, I was putting together a rally to fight the anti-gay military policy, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I’d brought a bus full of people from New York to DC for the event and the night before, I was running to different gay bars around the city to promote the rally. I walked into Nellie’s sports bar and a man walked up to me. He said “You’re not from here, are you?” “How do you know?” I replied. “You’re carrying a big gay metro DC map. Which of course I was, with rainbow flags emblazoned over all the gay bars. He grabbed half my flyers and spent the rest of the night chatting and getting people to join us for the rally the next morning.
Flash forward a year and a half and I was living in Washington DC with Sean. It was New Year’s Eve and we were celebrating in a cozy gay bar with about 40 friends. As the countdown approached, no one was watching the TV, everyone had turned to face Sean and I. I immediately knew something was up. Sean hugged me and whispered into my ear “I have to ask you something.” With tears in his eyes, and having created the public spectacle he knew an actor from New York would clearly love – Sean got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
And for the first time in my life, I no longer hear that 10-year old’s voice.
We both now work as organizers in DC, fighting for equality and teaching others how to fight for the things they care most about. We still don’t make a lot of money, but we’re happy – happier than a lot of people I know. We’re not wealthy, but we make ends meet. And next May, we’re going to get married in Provincetown, MA. This isn’t too far from where I grew up and where my mom (whose health won’t allow her to travel too far) can get to fairly easily. Happily, some friends are pitching in to help us have the wedding we really want and we couldn’t be more grateful.
I’m marrying Sean Carlson because he is strong and he is a person I laugh with more than any other person I’ve ever met. i’ve watched him grow and have enjoyed growing with him. Sean is someone whose values I share. We spend evenings sometimes violently agreeing with one another on the important things we hold most dear to our hearts. On top of that, he loves my dog Eli – truly, the two are inseparable. I’m marrying Sean to honor that 10-year old who never dared dream of what I might one day have. And I’m marrying him because I love him.
We understand that us getting married is bound to be a political statement – and while that’s clearly not the reason we’re getting married, I can’t help but hope some 10-year old kid out there doing Evita reads this and realizes that there is nothing that’s too good for him.
If you’d like to help us have the wedding we hope to have – and after helping those who need it most you have an extra dollar or two, please visit our little fundraising page. Thanks again for reading our blog and we wish you the happiest of holidays.
When I didn’t think the past 24 hours could get any better…
After winning marriage equality in three states last night and stopping an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment in a fourth state, a little bit of light also comes out of New York City.
Earlier this week, we reported on an ad campaign being run by Madison Square Garden Networks. The ads were intended to get people to not do one thing on Friday night, and instead stay home and watch a New York Knicks game on TV.
The ad, found on a phone booth and posted on facebook by Richard Roland stated:
“It’s Friday night. You can either see a Broadway harness malfunction or you can watch real men fly.”
The words were referencing the multi-million dollar musical, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark,” in which actors have been injured, including Christopher Tierney, who fell 30 feet from the air into the orchestra pit in December 2010. Tierney , who sustained four broken ribs and fractured three of his vertebrae, returned to the show four months later.
Others including myself, found the ad to be very thinly-veiled homophobia. Anytime the term “real men” is used in comparison to someone else, it has historically been a way to feminize someone or in essence, call them a “sissy,” or a “fag.”
This afternoon, we heard from ESPN.com reporter Darren Rovell that the ads have been pulled. According to his article,
“Earlier this week, the New York Post reported that the network, which is under the same business umbrella that includes the Knicks, would pull a particular ad after a representative admitted it was “bad judgment” and apologized to anyone who was offended.”
Well done, everyone who contacted MSG and shared the story with your friends. Little victories like this do make a difference!