“If proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.”—First Lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention.
The Month Before -- And Hours After -- Anderson Cooper Came Out
Less than a month ago, Kathy Griffin talked with Metro Weekly about people coming out on their own timeline, in part, because, “keep in mind it’s a big world out there and there are people – you know, obviously journalists – that go to parts of the world where they will assassinate you the minute they think you’re gay.”
Then, Anderson Cooper went on Griffin’s Bravo show, Kathy, talking about being on a flight with Johnny Weir and telling a person on the flight trying to take a picture of him, “Bitch, what the fuck are you doing?” The first commenter on a Gawker post about the appearance had written, “So this this part of his plan to be ever more gradually out?”
Today, Cooper ended any “gradual” coming out, telling Andrew Sullivan, “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”
That move prompted out MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts to tell Metro Weekly, “I don’t think his raw honesty will hurt him and, with or without knowing it, he has helped many.” The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, also out, agreed, telling Metro Weekly the decision to come out publicly “only enhances his stature as a an honest and thorough journalist.”
Obama Talks About Maryland Marriage Equality Referendum
This afternoon in Baltimore, Maryland, President Obama spoke about LGBT issues at a campaign event.
According to the transcript provided by the White House, he said, “We’re not going back to the days when you could be kicked out of the United States military just because of who you are and who you love. (Applause.) We’re moving forward to a country where we treat everybody fairly and everybody equally, with dignity and respect. And here in Maryland, thanks to the leadership of committed citizens and Governor O’Malley, you have a chance to reaffirm that principle in the voting booth in November. It’s the right thing to do. (Applause.)”
“I’d like to think that hitting the ‘share’ button on FaceBook late that August night has been one of the most impacting and important moments thus far.”—High-school volleyball player Galen Dodd, who came out in a Facebook post in August 2011, to OutSports
Fundraiser Line About "Going Down" That Pool Reporter Says Obama Let Hang "Naughtily"
President Barack Obama, in Beverly Hills, California: “I want to thank my wonderful friend who accepts a little bit of teasing about Michelle beating her in pushups — (laughter) — but I think she claims Michelle didn’t go all the way down. (Laughter.) That’s what I heard. I just want to set the record straight — Michelle outdoes me in pushups as well. (Laughter.) So she shouldn’t feel bad. She’s an extraordinary talent and she’s just a dear, dear friend — Ellen DeGeneres. Give Ellen a big round of applause. (Applause.)”
From the White House Press Gaggle en route to California, June 6, 2012
Q Can I ask you one fundraiser question about tonight? The President is going to be serenaded by Darren Criss. He’s going to be in Ryan Murphy’s house. When was the last time he watched “Glee”? How often does he watch it? Does he have a favorite character?
MR. CARNEY: I haven’t heard the President talk about that. I think he has referenced some of the shows he does watch, so I don’t know — I don’t know the answer to your question.
Q Is he a fan?
MR. CARNEY: I don’t know the answer to your question.
President Obama's LGBT Pride Month Proclamation, 2012
From generation to generation, ordinary Americans have led
a proud and inexorable march toward freedom, fairness, and full
equality under the law — not just for some, but for all. Ours
is a heritage forged by those who organized, agitated, and
advocated for change; who wielded love stronger than hate and
hope more powerful than insult or injury; who fought to build
for themselves and their families a Nation where no one is a
second-class citizen, no one is denied basic rights, and all of
us are free to live and love as we see fit.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)
community has written a proud chapter in this fundamentally
American story. From brave men and women who came out and spoke
out, to union and faith leaders who rallied for equality, to
activists and advocates who challenged unjust laws and marched
on Washington, LGBT Americans and allies have achieved what once
seemed inconceivable. This month, we reflect on their enduring
legacy, celebrate the movement that has made progress possible,
and recommit to securing the fullest blessings of freedom for
Since I took office, my Administration has worked to
broaden opportunity, advance equality, and level the playing
field for LGBT people and communities. We have fought to secure
justice for all under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.,
Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and we have taken action to end
housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender
identity. We expanded hospital visitation rights for LGBT
patients and their loved ones, and under the Affordable Care
Act, we ensured that insurance companies will no longer be able
to deny coverage to someone just because they are lesbian, gay,
bisexual, or transgender. Because we understand that LGBT
rights are human rights, we continue to engage with the
international community in promoting and protecting the rights
of LGBT persons around the world. Because we repealed “Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell,” gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans can serve
their country openly, honestly, and without fear of losing their
jobs because of whom they love. And because we must treat
others the way we want to be treated, I personally believe in
marriage equality for same-sex couples.
More remains to be done to ensure every single American is
treated equally, regardless of sexual orientation or gender
identity. Moving forward, my Administration will continue its work to advance the rights of LGBT Americans. This month, as we
reflect on how far we have come and how far we have yet to go,
let us recall that the progress we have made is built on the
words and deeds of ordinary Americans. Let us pay tribute to
those who came before us, and those who continue their work
today; and let us rededicate ourselves to a task that is
unending — the pursuit of a Nation where all are equal, and all
have the full and unfettered opportunity to pursue happiness and
live openly and freely.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the
United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in
me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do
hereby proclaim June 2012 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the
United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists,
and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve,
and of the Independence of the United States of America the
two hundred and thirty-sixth.
“My wife Ann has been my ‘plus one’ for over 40 years now. And since I’m inviting her to join me for our next Grab a Bite meal, I want each lucky winner to bring his or her favorite ‘plus one’ along too,” Mitt Romney wrote in an email to supporters on Wednesday, May 23.
Romney opposes marriage equality or civil unions for same-sex couples, but apparently would allow a person to bring a same-sex “plus one” to dinner.
From President Barack Obama: “Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Donna Summer. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Donna truly was the ‘Queen of Disco.’ Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Donna’s family and her dedicated fans.”
“Women are receivers and men are givers. Two homosexuals cannot do that. One is by design and one is unnatural.”— Rev. Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Texas, as quoted in National Review Online
GOProud executive director Jimmy LaSalvia was not happy with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R)’s speech at Liberty University today.
"We have said since our founding in 2009, that we are committed to defeating Barack Obama. We remain committed to Obama’s defeat. However, if Governor Romney expects to be the candidate who can beat Obama in November then he needs to embrace a strategy that makes victory possible – falling into the culture war trap laid by Obama is a guaranteed electoral loser," LaSalvia said in a statement.
“It is not too late. If Governor Romney wants to unite conservatives and motivate Tea Party voters then he needs to embrace bolder positions on taxes, entitlement reform, healthcare and spending, not pander to big government theocrats.”
Exclusive: EEOC Rules for Trans Woman in Sex-Discrimination Case
Big news exclusively at Metro Weekly:
An employer who discriminates against an employee or applicant on the basis of the person’s gender identity is violating the prohibition on sex discrimination contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to an opinion issued on April 20 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The opinion, experts say, could dramatically alter the legal landscape for transgender workers across the nation.
The Vatican has appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying that an investigation found that the group had “serious doctrinal problems.”
The Vatican’s assessment, issued on Wednesday, said that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.
From GLAAD: “The National Board of Directors of GLAAD announced that they have named Herndon Graddick as GLAAD’s new President. Herndon is currently serving as the organization’s Vice President of Programs and Communications.”
President Obama does not plan to sign an executive order at this time banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a statement from Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese. A senior administration official confirmed the news to Metro Weekly.
Today, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund took what one of its lawyers calls “a strategic step” in the national effort to advance marriage equality by filing a federal lawsuit in Nevada seeking equal marriage rights for eight same-sex couples in the state.
The lawsuit, Sevcik v. Sandoval, marks the first time that Lambda Legal has sought equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in federal court.
BREAKING: Metro Weekly Covers Historic DOMA Appeals Hearing
At points in today’s appellate arguments over the constitutionality of the federal definition of marriage contained in the Defense of Marriage Act, the four lawyers arguing the two cases to three judges appeared to be operating from different worlds. One of the only points of complete agreement was that DOMA was an unprecedented attempt by Congress to define marriage across all federal laws.
Whether arguing over the rationales advanced for DOMA’s passage, the level of scrutiny from which courts should review laws that classify people based on sexual orientation, or the impact of Section 3 of DOMA on married gay and lesbian couples, the gulf between the lawyers at times prevented the sort of fireworks one might expect at a debate over a hot-button issue like “gay marriage,” as it was called when DOMA was passed in 1996.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Department of Justice went a step further than it has in the past when Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit today that DOJ would not be defending the constitutionality of the 1996 law regardless of the level of scrutiny the court found appropriate for reviewing a law like DOMA that classifies people based on sexual orientation.
TODAY: Appellate Arguments in Federal DOMA Challenge
On Wednesday morning, April 3, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit will be considering whether the 1996 law defining “marriage” in federal law as only including opposite-sex couples is unconstitutional. The arguments, the first time a federal appellate court has considered the issue, will pit some of the leading lawyers in the nation against one another.
"The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the FBI opened an investigation into the facts and circumstances of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation. The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident. With all federal civil rights crimes, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted intentionally and with the specific intent to do something which the law forbids – the highest level of intent in criminal law. Negligence, recklessness, mistakes and accidents are not prosecutable under the federal criminal civil rights laws. The Community Relations Service will be in Sanford, Fla., this week to meet with civil rights leaders, community leaders, and local law enforcement to address tension in the community."
The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has been responsible for the implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which allows for increased federal involvement in state and local criminal investigations and allows for federal prosecution of hate crimes under certain circumstances.
It was announced today that, following an agreement reached between the parties’ leaders, the Senate will be voting in the coming weeks on 14 of President Obama’s judicial nominees — including out gay nominee Michael Fitzgerald, whose nomination for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is due to be voted on about 2 p.m. Thursday, March 15.
As you may or may not have heard, tennis legend, LGBT activist and AARP’s Fitness AmbassadorMartina Navratilova will be competing on the new season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, which kicks off this Monday, March 19th.
WE NEED YOUR HELP IN GETTING THE WORD OUT TO THE LGBT COMMUNITY so folks know to tune in and watch! If you can post an item on your website about this, email your followers, and/or post on your social media sites, she’d greatly appreciate the support! (You can follow her on Twitter @Martina) I’m happy to help get you a photo to use along with this and possibly get her to answer one or two questions for you.
Information about how to vote will be given throughout the show so make sure your audience knows to tune in! Let’s get behind Martina and her partner Tony Dovolani!!!
EXCLUSIVE: Obama said he would support federal contractor LGBT nondiscrimination policy in 2008
Despite the refusal of the White House to comment for months on whether the president supports a federal nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation or gender identity for federal contractors, then-Sen. Barack Obama told the Houston GLBT Political Caucus more than four years ago that he would support such a policy as president, Metro Weekly has learned.
Obama, as a candidate seeking the Democratic nomination to run for president in 2008, was asked by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus if he would support a “formal written policy of non-discrimination that includes sexual orientation and gender identity or expression … for all Federal contractors.”
Obama’s response – according to the survey, a copy of which was provided exclusively to Metro Weekly on condition of anonymity – was one word: “Yes.”
“As Governor, Romney signed ‘Gay Youth Pride Day’ proclamations, promoted homosexuality in our elementary schools, and unconstitutionally ordered state officals to make Massachusetts America’s first same-sex marriage state. Romney supports open homosexuality in the military, the appointment of homosexual judges, and the ENDA law, making it illegal to fire a man who wears a dress and high heels to work, even if he’s your kid’s teacher. When you vote tomorrow, please vote for social sanity and Rick Santorum, NOT for homosexuality and Mitt Romney.”— from the script of a recorded call reportedly placed in Ohio, whose primary election was on Super Tuesday, March 6, 2012
“Momentum is on our side, but that kid that I used to be, there are thousands if not millions of them out there, in Arkansas and [elsewhere].”— incoming Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin, who grew up in Arkansas, in comments made to Metro Weekly after the HRC announcement on Friday, March 2
[UPDATE: Organizers of the planned March 3 service for Frank Kameny announced today, March 2, that the service is “on hold in deference to the estate of Dr. Kameny.” Inquiries were directed to the law offices of Ackerman Brown PLLC. Glen H. Ackerman, managing partner at the firm, who represents Kameny’s heir, Timothy Clark, had no immediate comment. Ackerman says a statement will be forthcoming.]
Maryland Marriage Equality Foes Start Referendum Push
The bill hasn’t been signed yet, but opponents seeking to overturn Maryland’s recently-passed marriage equality bill are already organizing in preparation for an expected referendum.
According to the Maryland State Board of Elections, for a referendum on a statewide law, those wishing to place it on the ballot must collect a number of signatures equal to 3 percent of the votes cast for governor in the preceding gubernatorial election by July 1. For 2012, that number is 55,736 signatures. Not more than half of all signatures may be from any one county or Baltimore City. Proponents of a referendum must submit more than one-third of the total number of signatures, or 18,579, by June 1.
In a brief filing today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has announced that it is appealing this week’s decision in Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management finding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
“I made my mind up two or three weeks ago. Santorum’s a conservative. He doesn’t flip-flop. And he has energy. … Also, I’ve been in a relationship with the same woman for 31 years. There are those of us who are gay who aren’t too bothered by Santorum on those issues. What else don’t I like about Romney? I shouldn’t say this, but he’s a Mormon. But I should say, that’s by far the least important reason that I’m not voting for him.”— Cathy Wharton, retired, in Slate
“In this matter, the Court finds that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution by, without substantial justification or rational basis, refusing to recognize her lawful marriage to prevent provision of health insurance coverage to her spouse.”— U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White, a George W. Bush appointee, in deciding Karen Golinski’s case