Our Common Good

Fun Facts: “Grindr, the friend-finding phone application that has become a popular destination for gay men looking to meet up, experienced a surge in traffic in the Tampa area during the Republican National Convention…” (by TheYoungTurks)

dobbaaa:

fearlessjohnny:

Hate-mongering Republicans. Funny thing is these are the reasons I would vote for Obama.

lmfao republicans

Thanks, GOP.  Helps secure my vote for Barack/Biden.

dobbaaa:

fearlessjohnny:

Hate-mongering Republicans. Funny thing is these are the reasons I would vote for Obama.

lmfao republicans

Thanks, GOP.  Helps secure my vote for Barack/Biden.

A Conservative super PAC Campaign for American Values released an ad campaign to hit President Obama for supporting marriage equality. The ad will be released in Charlotte, South Carolina to counter the Democratic National Convention, when in fact, the stupid is so strong in this video, it highlights exactly why equality is so important.

Glad to see that the video has 5236 downvotes.

justinspoliticalcorner:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Democratic Party unveiled its formal 2012 platform on Monday night. And like its Republican counterpart, it is heavy on broad philosophical strokes about the direction in which the party wants to take the country, short on policy specifics and carefully worded on some of the more contentious issues.

Health Care: The party touts the achievements of the Affordable Care Act but pledges to keep building up reforms.

We will continue to stand up to Republicans working to take away the benefits and protections that are already helping millions of Americans every day. We refuse to go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your health policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men.

At the same time, the Affordable Care Act is not the end of efforts to improve health care for all Americans. Democrats will continue to fight for a strong health care workforce with an emphasis on primary care.

Medicare: The party appears undeterred by fact-checkers who claim it’s unfair to say Republicans will end the program as it’s currently conceived.

The Republican budget plan would end Medicare as we know it. Democrats adamantly oppose any efforts to privatize or voucherize Medicare…

Unions: The Democrats give a hug to Big Labor.

Democrats believe that the right to organize and collectively bargain is a fundamental American value.

Immigration Reform: The party reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive plan beyond the Dream Act.

Democrats know there is broad consensus to repair that system and strengthen our economy, and that the country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship.

Abortion: Democrats support both the right to choose and the funding of providers.

Democrats will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers.

We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way

Gay Marriage: As expected, the party takes the plunge, offering its first formal support for same-sex marriage rights.

We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

Guns: The party supports “regulation” in theory, albeit in carefully worded terms.

We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms.

Dem Platform

h/t: Sam Stein at HuffPo

Weeks after the Gay Marriage Clustercluck of 2012 has died down, Chick-fil-A has apparently entered talks with college campuses to minimize opposition by students towards Chick-fil-A franchises located in dining halls and on campus.

Chick CEO Dan Cathy “welcomed campus leaders to a private luncheon in Atlanta on Thursday to discuss diversity, hospitality and the opportunity to find common ground,” according to the Huffington Post.

However, college students were protesting Chick even before Cathy’s incendiary statements against gay marriage caused a media firestorm, which lead to protesters to stage a same-sex kiss-in against Mike Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. An NYU student began a petition to have Chick-fil-A removed from its campus in February based solely on the chain’s donations to anti-gay groups.

More recently, Duke University has announced that, as part of a campus dining overhaul, they won’t be renewing their contract with Chick-fil-A, although the reason hasn’t been explicitly linked with Cathy’s comments.

The RNC platform includes support of Boy Scouts to exclude gays “and other service organizations whose values are under assault”

Caleb Douglas Hesse, a teacher for the Morongo Unified School District since 1987 (most recently, he was teaching first grade at Friendly Hills Elementary School in Joshua Tree) and a longtime youth volunteer with the virulently homophobic Evangelical Free Church of Yucca Valley, has confessed to sexually abusing “numerous underage boys,” with authorities believe the crimes occurred between the early 1980’s and as recently as a week ago.” Investigators say Hesse met the majority of the victims during overnight outings with a youth group at the Evangelical Free Church

The problem is that angry, hostile rhetoric can produce a wide range of results, and when you start painting targets on people some of the more misguided sociopaths among us will elect to shoot at them. Some of us don’t handle passion well, and for those people, a passionate debate like abortion becomes an ideal breeding ground for the bacteria of hate. The FRC had long been part of the effort to demonize abortion providers, and the attack was at least in some small way an outgrowth of that. I wanted them to take responsibility for their role in stoking that public fervor, however minor a factor it may have been in that specific assassination attempt.

I thought about Dr. Tiller upon learning of Floyd Lee Corkins, and his attack on the D.C. offices of the Family Research Council. According to news reports, which for our purposes today we will assume are accurate, Floyd walked into the FRC lobby with a loaded pistol, ludicrous amounts of ammunition, some Chick-Fil-A sundry, and began running his mouth about how awful the FRC is. They are, by they way, awful. Upon questioning by a member of the security staff, Corkins started firing, shooting the security guard in the arm. The tables, it seems, had been reversed. This time, it was one of our people doing something violently stupid.

I want to make clear, I am not taking responsibility for this yahoo’s poor judgment or unstable psyche. Something exists in the mind of a potential mass shooter that is unique to their classification. These are people capable of packing up lethal weaponry, leaving the house, driving across town, parking, getting out of the car, putting change in the meter, walking into a public place in the middle of the day, taking a pistol out, and shooting someone. A shooting isn’t ever just one bad decision. It’s a deliberate series of bad decisions, each one being a necessary step in a process. At every stage of that bad decision, the assailant in question must renew their resolve to murder. To make it through each step, and to complete the devastating final act, takes determination of a sort that chills the blood. Ultimate responsibility belongs to the shooter. They’ve worked hard to accomplish their horrific goals, and have earned the appropriate recognition for their efforts. Hopefully involving orange outfits and lots of concrete.

What makes this personally conflicting is that I completely understand where his anger comes from. The Family Research Council, along with other like minded organizations like the American Family Association, and the National Organization for Marriage, deal in bigotry. The sole reason for their existence, the very premise upon which they have rented office space and obtained corporate letterhead, is to work to make the lives of LGBT people in this country worse. A good day for the FRC will almost always be a bad day for gay people. They cloak themselves in Christ, and then work as hard as they can to make sure that gay people can’t marry, have no federal protection of any kind, and are as despised and alienated as possible by the general public. If the FRC had its way, the United States would return to the days before Lawrence v. Texas, when homosexuality was illegal. They want me to be able to be fired from my job, or kicked out of my home for being gay. They would have gay teachers disgraced and removed from contact with their students. They would have us return to the days before Stonewall when we were hunted by our peers, lobotomized by our loved ones, terrified to leave our closets. There is no law supporting any aspect of LGBT equality that people like the FRC wouldn’t find time to oppose. What’s worse, mainstream media outlets frequently have FRC head Tony Perkins on their programs so that he can tell the American people all of this in person. The reality is that if not for hate, organizations like the FRC would have very little to do all day. Perhaps you can engineer a way that their behavior doesn’t positively define bigotry, but if so, I have yet to see a compelling case made for such a prospect.

[…]

I understand why Floyd Corkins felt like he was under attack. He was. We all are. He has a right to be angry. What he doesn’t have is a right to run around shooting people. I want to win this debate on the merits of our argument, not by inflicting damage on our opponent sufficient to run them out of the debate entirely. I want them to realize why they are wrong. I want our victory to be clean, and based on well considered fact. Floyd Corkins, by choosing a solution of violence, has undercut the righteousness of our struggle, injured a perfectly innocent security guard, and what’s worse, generated public sympathy for an organization that deserves nothing but national scorn. Violence, even against the empty suit that is Tony Perkins, is no way to solve our problems. Only through winning the hearts and minds of the American people can our struggles come to an end. Bigotry is a reaction to fear, and making bigots more fearful isn’t going to help solve our problems. It only makes things worse.

While the actions of Floyd Corkins are his own, both sides of the battle for equality must take time to acknowledge our casualties, and take responsibility for the damage the battle is causing. We would stop our defense in a moment if that were possible. However, as we remain gay despite the best efforts of the Family Research Council, we have little choice but to continue fighting. The only actor in this scenario capable of ending this confrontation are the bigots, the agitators, the ones who choose to assault our community. For us this struggle is mandatory. For them, it is decidedly optional. They elect to attack us, and we must therefore defend. Never through violence, as that sort of victory is never sustainable, but through the perseverance of thought and the never abating belief that equality shines through all other obstructions, and in the end will prevail.

A homophobic Maryland lawmaker has admitted to being drunk when he accidentally crashed his boat into a boat full of children.

Maryland delegate Don H. Dwyer Jr was drinking with another man on his boat on the Magothy River in Pasadena around 7pm when his boat struck a smaller vessel with five children on board.

Four of the children were injured with one, a five year old girl, taken by helicopter to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Two adults on the boat were unharmed.

Tony Perkins, of the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council, took personal credit for drafting the anti-equality language, boasting that platform drafting leaders Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) were “friends of FRC.” Here is some of the hostile anti-equality language Perkins incorporated into the draft:

Marriage and the Judiciary

A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.

Defense of Marriage

That is why congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions. An activist judiciary usurps the powers reserved to other branches of government and endangers the foundation of our country. We oppose the Administration’s open defiance of this constitutional principle — in its handling of immigration cases, in federal personnel benefits, in allowing a same-sex marriage at a military base, and in refusing to defend DOMA in the courts — makes a mockery of the President’s inaugural oath. We commend the United States House of Representatives and those State Attorneys General who have defended these laws when they have been attacked in the courts. We reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other states to do so.

Marriage

The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, are less likely to engage in crime, and are less likely to get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic wellbeing of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also more government control over the lives of its citizens in all facets. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.

A same-sex couple in Nevada is raising awareness about the inequality couples experience without marriage after Spring Valley Hospital refused to recognize their relationship. Brittney Leon and Terri-Ann Simonelli have a domestic partnership, which under Nevada state law grants couples all the same rights as married couples. When Leon checked into the hospital last month because of complications in her pregnancy, the admissions officer told Simonelli she would have to secure power of attorney to be with her partner.

Leon ended up losing her baby, and Simonelli had to rely on the fact that the doctor knew the couple to get updates, still spending long stretches of time without updates on her partner’s condition and the fate of her family. This was despite the fact that the hospital had no hesitations about accepting Leon’s insurance, which is provided through Simonelli’s job. The Las Vegas Review-Journal attempted to get a comment from the hospital about the incident:

A woman who identified herself as public relations representative at Spring Valley Hospital told a Review-Journal reporter in a phone interview that the hospital policy requires gay couples have power of attorney in order to make medical decisions for each other .

When asked if she was aware of Nevada’s domestic partnership law, she accused the reporter of bias and hung up the telephone.

A gay couple was bashed by three men on the sidewalk near their home early on Sunday morning in NE D.C.  Michael Joel Hall (l), a popular yoga instructor in the District, and his partner, Michael Roike (r), were ambushed by three men, according to MYFOXDC.  The couple had been driven to their neighborhood at about 2 a.m. and were walking to their home on 3rd and T Streets NE when the attack materialized seemingly out of nowhere. Investigators say that the three bashers were yelling anti-gay slurs as they pressed their assault against the couple. Police are investigating the case as a probable anti-gay hate crime.

Both Hall and Roike were injured in the assault.  Hall’s injuries were by far the most severe, suffering a broken cheek bone and fractured face where one of the assailants struck him.  Roike’s mother says that the couple would surely have been killed if passers-by had not shouted at the attackers and rushed to the scene.  The thugs escaped with a cell phone belonging to one of the victims. Hall was rushed to Howard University Hospital where he underwent surgery to repair his shattered face on Monday.

Because Hall has no health insurance and lost his apartment in a recent fire, friends in the yoga community and Hall’s students have created a Facebook page, “Friends of Michael Joel Hall and Michael Roike,”  and established a fund to help defray his medical expenses. The response of the community has been heartening to the couple.  Cobalt/30 degrees is hosting a fundraiser for Hall on Thursday evening, and Flow Yoga in Logan Circle is hosting a “In the Name of Love” fundraiser on Friday night. The Facebook page has details about both these events and the MJH Fund on PayPal.

A local blog, dcist, reports that this hate crime attack is part of a disturbing pattern in the nation’s capital.  Numbers of anti-gay hate crimes have spiked alarmingly in recent months.  Of the 57 confirmed hate crime attacks in the District in 2011, 37 of them targeted LGBTQ people.  In March of this year, hundreds of members of the gay community and straight allies marched from Columbia Heights to Georgia Avenue to draw attention the issue and demand an end to the senseless violence.  As of this writing, there is no report of an arrest in the case.