Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kentucky political candidate mocks Wear Purple Day (Spirit Day)

Kentucky Equality Federation founder Jordan Palmer got into a fierce debate with Republican Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts candidate John T. Kemper III.

Kemper stated the "Wear Purple Day," or "Spirit Day," was a "meaningless gesture," and also stated: "For me Homosexuality is a sin, the same as another sin, adultery, murder, cheating, stealing etc."

Hillbilly Report has the entire story.

However, the debate did not stop with Hillbilly Report. Palmer had posted a personal note condemning Kemper's campaign updates and stated:

OK, John T. Kemper III just annoyed me with this statement: "Got up worship the God who created the universe then went door to door for a great conservative Lyen Crews in the House! The best part was the great response I received from the folks in Woodford County! Carl Rollins is going HOME and look for a job with Ben "Vote & Hide" Chandler!"

Lyen Crews (R) is running for Representative in Kentucky's 56th House District Fayette (part), Franklin (part), and Woodford. Crews is trying to unseat junior Representative Carl Rollins (D), elected in 2007.

His [Kemper's] other post says: "Thank you Scott County for a warm welcome during the Tea Party! Republicans are go to take a huge step towards restoring sanity to government. Young gun Andy Barr, Georgetown Mayor Karen Tingle-Sames a TRUE Conservative and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul! Come on November 2, 2010!"
I personally do not want to know about your conservative anti-LGBTI prayers to God (who you no doubt also believe hates LGBTI people).  If your "morals" are so much better than ours [the LGBT community], they why not get on a Horse and ride with them out of here?

"I've had it with Republicans and Tea Party idiots spouting off stupid remarks such as Kentucky Whitley County Judge Executive Pat White, Jr., State of New York Governor's candidate Carl Paladino, the Republican Party of Texas, or Minnesota Tea Party Leader Tim Ravndal.

YOU people are the reasons for the gay suicides and school bullying and those like you. Don't you understand that when you open that mouth of yours just to put your other foot in it with your self-serving anti-gay dogma that a child is listening on some other room or reading it on the internet."

A lot of people have commented on Palmer's personal "note" to Kemper.  Kemper himself got into another heated debate with Palmer on the "note" but has since stopped responding since so many people have attacked Kemper and defended Palmer.  

NOTICE: Kentucky Equality Federation supported "Wear Purple Day," but did not authorize or sanction the comments made by Palmer, they are his own personal statements.  Palmer is a co-founder of Kentucky Equality Federation who resigned as president after serving since its creation. At the request of the Board of Directors, Palmer returned as "Interim President" until a replacement is found.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Comments about National Coming Out Day, School Bullying, and Violence

On National Coming Out Day, four (4) assaults or incidents of school bullying have subsequently been reported to Kentucky Equality Federation's Discrimination, Hate Crimes, and School Bullying Committee.

As a result, Kentucky Equality Federation is developing a "youth mentor" program for national coming out day.  Kentucky's youth who wish to "come out" may discuss it with a LGBTI mentor prior to doing so. 

Statements about National Coming Out Day (taken on National Coming Out Day):

I think that "coming out" should be done on a person's own time and terms. I feel that National Coming Out Day can cause pressure to someone that is not ready to deal with all of the negativity that they could face. One of my friends was basically peer pressured into coming out on that day. Sure they had all the support and praise on that day, but they did not have a support system in place for the time after they had to live the rest of their life with their announcement. I think it can be a bit irresponsible, especially those that do not have family and friends to be there as a support system. - Dean Byrd, Treasurer and Board Secretary

I think this is a time for those of use that are out to let our voices be heard, that we will not tolerate hate. Be a walking billboard today tape a sign to your shirt with a statistic about gays teenagers and suicide. Yes we came out but there are so many others living in fear. Today is a day to let them speak through those of us who are out. - Ben "Poynter" Brannock, High School and University Outreach Director

It is my belief that anyone who is in the closet should only come out if they feel they are ready. Particularly with teens, bad timing could mean unwanted consequences. - Halyn Roth, Facebook Coordinator

Special Message from Bette Midler about the national suicides and school bullying:

As a mother, I am ashamed of all the parents who have failed to teach even the most basic human lessons to their children, "Live and let Live" and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The normal, everyday kindness that we took for granted just a few years ago is a thing of the past, and I for one, mourn it deeply. Technology, the Internet, with its anonymity, have allowed people to behave like beasts, pouncing on the weak and howling with laughter when they inflict a wound, that only the strongest could survive. What are we doing to ourselves? How are we to survive as a nation, when hate seems to be the only thing that motivates us??

Four children are dead by their own hand because they just couldn't take any more. How many more are we going to sacrifice to the hyenas? Isn't it time to stop??

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Obama Administration expected to appear Don't Ask Don't Tell Ruling; Gay Community Upset with the U.S. President

Legal scholars questioned Wednesday whether a federal judge in California can bar the entire armed services from forcing out openly gay service members, as the Obama administration scrambled to decide how to respond to the sweeping ruling.

Vikram Amar, a University of California Davis law professor, agreed that the judge's authority extends only to the plaintiffs in this specific case, not to the entire nation. "'The 'don't ask, don't tell' case was not certified as a class action," Amar said. Most federal appellate courts have said that a judge cannot issue a ruling that goes well beyond the parties who brought the suit.

According to Time Magazine:

It's a box Obama finds himself in more and more often when it comes to gay rights issues. Even as U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips was issuing her worldwide injunction to the military Tuesday, the Administration filed notice it will appeal a federal ruling in Massachusetts that earlier this year struck down another law that is anathema to gay rights supporters, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. In its filing, the Administration called the law unfair, and said it ought never to have been passed, but nevertheless argued it does not violate the Constitution. That prompted gay bloggers and others to cry foul, warning that their patience with Obama, who most argue has yet to keep his promises to gay and lesbian supporters, is running out.

More than 12,500 people have been removed from the military since "don't ask, don't tell" went into effect, and investigations of service members believed to be gay or lesbian have been continuing.

Pentagon officials said Wednesday they had not received any guidance on whether to continue with pending cases, though Pentagon attorneys were studying that issue.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gay Americans have arrived at a 'teachable moment'

A wonderful Associated Press article:

Often feeling marginalized in political discourse or grousing that they're used as political pawns, they have the nation's attention — and sympathy — after a recent spate of teenage suicides and two apparent anti-gay attacks in the heart of their community.

Same-sex marriage and gays in the military remain on the political front burner, but general education and anti-discrimination campaigns are drawing a wider audience. While advocates hesitate to appear as if they're capitalizing on tragedy, some observers say the political gains from it could come naturally.

Rep. Barney Frank, the nation's first openly gay congressman, drew a parallel to the violent images of trained animals attacking civil rights protesters in the segregated South — and how they helped galvanize white sentiment in favor of black civil rights.

"The police dogs helped the movement," he said. "It's when bigotry shows itself at its worst that people respond."

Several teenagers from California to Rhode Island committed suicide in the past few weeks, including New Jersey college student Tyler Clementi, who jumped off a bridge into the Hudson River after, prosecutors say, his roommate and a friend secretly streamed his sexual encounter with a man on the Web. New York police reported two anti-gay assaults over the weekend, including one at the bar where riots credited with the birth of the modern gay rights movement took place.

Sympathy and outrage have manifested themselves in campus vigils, and a viral video by Ellen DeGeneres, and even state legislation addressing the State of New Jersey case. Politicians including U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez attended a "statewide town meeting" at Rutgers on Wednesday night in honor of Clementi and bullying victims elsewhere in New Jersey.

Political strategists think the tears and reflection might be an opportunity to advance gay rights.

"Every once in a while, there's something about the victim and the way it happens that transfers from tragedy into a teachable moment," said Richard Socarides, an adviser to President Bill Clinton on gay and lesbian issues.

It's not a moment of optimism for all gay rights activists.

"There have been many high-profile incidents of adolescent suicide, even pre-adolescent suicide where kids have ended their own lives because of despair and hopelessness," said Ethan Geto, a lobbyist who works on gay rights issues. "This has not yet led to a comprehensive, truly meaningful social-slash-governmental reaction."

But there are signs this time might be different.

Christian A. Berle, deputy executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP group, noted that the conservative tea party movement that has captured much of the Republican zeitgeist has not focused as much on social issues as has the party establishment.

"A lot of them are saying that these fiscal issues should be the foremost concern," Berle said. "Time and time I've heard that banning gay marriage would not give anyone a job; banning gays from serving in the military is not going to gain any jobs."

Billy Kluttz, a co-president of the gay student organization at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, said his organization is holding a vigil Thursday to honor the suicide and assault victims and spread awareness of violence that can confront young gays.

Straight students he talks to are sympathetic about what happened to Clementi, the student at New Jersey's Rutgers University, he said.

"People are more receptive," Kluttz, a junior from Concord, N.C., said. "We use that for building more ally support."

The suicide problem, like bullying, has long been a major concern among rights groups and carefully tracked by gay-oriented media outlets, but the widespread attention is new — even as formerly far-fetched ideas like legalized gay marriage have become reality in some places.

"While we have openly gay politicians and gay characters on television, the reality of life still seems dire for some of these young people," said Michael Cole, spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group. Despite increasing tolerance for gays on some fronts, the most-heard insult at schools is, "That's so gay," he said.

Hate-crime laws came into being in several states after Matthew Shepard, a gay, 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, was found beaten and tied to a remote fence post in 1998.

In the time since then, gay rights have become a mainstay in the national political conversation — but marriage and the military have gotten the most attention and seen key court victories in both areas.

Former Clinton adviser Socarides, now a lawyer in New York, said the suicides can demonstrate why gays should be allowed to marry, join the military and work without fear of being fired because of their sexual orientation.

"When you speak out for full equality now, as opposed to partial equality, or incremental equality," he said, "you send a message to everybody, including the bullies, that everyone is equal."

In New Jersey, lawmakers are preparing to introduce a bill to toughen the state's anti-bullying laws. That push was under way months ago, before Clementi's suicide gave the problem a public face. But Steven Goldstein, chairman of the gay rights group Garden State Equality, said it's possible the bill will be adopted more quickly because of Clementi's death.

"Any tragedy points out the need for action, but believe me, we'd rather not have this tragedies happen at all," he said. "Don't we elect our public officials to have foresight and vision to prevent tragedy?"

Associated Press writer Glen Johnson in Boston and AP news researcher Julie Reed in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

CNN fires broadcaster for racist comments

Hats off the CNN for having a zero tolerance policy for racist comments!

CNN has fired Rick Sanchez, who now joins a long list of broadcasters who talked before they thought – or at least thought through the implications of what they were saying – and paid the consequences with their career.

On Thursday, Sanchez called Comedy Central's Jon Stewart "a bigot," and he suggested that Jews run CNN and "all the other" networks. He was speaking on the satellite radio show "Stand Up! With Pete Dominick." Within 24 hours, CNN had fired Sanchez.

In the radio interview Thursday, Sanchez suggested that his career had been held back because he is Cuban-American. He railed against "elite, Northeast establishment liberals" who he said are prejudiced against "a guy like me." And he linked that point of view to Stewart and to his own bosses at CNN.

That might have raised eyebrows and earned him a private rebuke, but then he took his comments farther.

Singling out Stewart, Sanchez continued: "I'm telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart. And to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority?"

That was too much for CNN executives, who fired him simply by saying: "Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company."

  • The State of Israel does not have a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy; gay men may serve openly. 
  • Though Israel does not perform gay marriages, the State does recognize gay marriages performed in other countries (so, someone legally married in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is legally married in the State of Israel).
  • Same-sex marriage in Israel is supported by most of the population according to a 2009 poll.

According to the Christian Science Monitor:  The whole episode reflects an era in which not only "shock jocks" but a wide range of broadcasters feel increasing pressure to incite an emotional reaction from listeners and viewers and to start rhetorical fights. But for most outlets, there’s still a line not to be crossed involving race and religion.