Thursday, October 22, 2009

Matthew Shepard Act passes! Time to take this bull by the horns with new endeavour

Excellent news today from Congress:

The Senate passed groundbreaking legislation Thursday that would make it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

President Obama has said the country must make significant changes to ensure equal rights.

The expanded federal hate crimes law now goes to President Obama's desk. Obama has pledged to sign the measure, which was added to a $680 billion defense authorization bill.

President George W. Bush had threatened to veto a similar measure.

The bill is named for Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teenager who died after being kidnapped and severely beaten in October 1998.

Thursday's Senate vote approving the measure was 68-29.

Just more proof of the adage that the battle never is never given to the swift and strong but those who are willing to stay in the fight.

Yeah I know I'm probably misquoting but don't ruin this moment of happiness because it's fleeting.

Don't get me wrong. I am estatic over this huge victory but I want more huge victories. Lgbts deserve it. We not only deserve hate crimes legislation but also the passage of ENDA, the Repeal of DADT, and any other law that will ensure our rights as Americans.

So let's dance briefly and be prepared to work hard because the religious right aren't happy about this. And you know that they will double their efforts to dehumanize us.

But Ive been thinking.

The religious right's main lying claim about lgbt-inclusive hate crimes legislation is that it will lead to attacks on the free speech of those who think that homosexuality is a sin.

They say that pastors will be arrested in the pulpits for simply saying that homosexuality is a sin.

Well as soon as President Obama signs the Matthew Shepard Act, I will be creating an online clock that will count up how long it should take from Obama signing this bill to the arrest of a pastor for simply saying that homosexuality is a sin.

Of course no pastor will be arrested for simply calling homosexuality a sin. And that is the point of the online clock.

The religious right likes to spin a fear story. I say we hold them to it.

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Excellent news for lgbt seniors and other Thursday midday news briefs

HHS to Create a National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders - This is awesome news all around! One of the main groups the religious right are afraid to address are elderly lgbts because it puts a stake in their "gays have a short life span" lie.

Don't be lulled into complacency by Protect Marriage Washington's absurdity - Amen! Complacency is one of the most dangerous enemies lgbts have.

Audio: The law, science, and now HIV. At this point we don't even trust that her name's Regina Griggs - PFOX's Regina Griggs caught in ANOTHER lie.

Anti-gay rights flyer circulates K'zoo - Here we go again with the bathroom lies.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Put Off Until 2010 - A small reprieve in an ugly situation.

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Massachusetts hate group behind attack on Kevin Jennings' character

It was just as I figured yesterday. Those who are out to get Kevin Jennings won't let up with their innuendoes.

As fast as Chris Good of The Atlantic magazine published a piece declaring that Jennings' job is safe, the forces out to get him have launched a new and interesting attack.

From the Washington Times:

On Oct. 11, 2008, Jeff Davis, Mr. Jennings "partner" of 15 years, described their first meetings: "The first few interactions were challenging for both of us. He was a member of Act Up. Act Up! So it's like - you know - here's a big gay activist."

ACT UP's demonstrations in the late 1980s and early 1990s centered on vandalism of churches, businesses and homes as well as disrupting public events. The Catholic Church was a favored target because it opposes same-sex marriage and the distribution of condoms. From New York to Los Angeles, activists disrupted Catholic Masses and desecrated Holy Communion, which Catholics believe is the body of Christ.

From a One News Now article,  which also repeats the lie that Jennings encouraged an underaged child to have sex with an adult :

According to Brian Camenker of the pro-family group MassResistance, another fact has surfaced regarding the GLSEN founder. Camenker says Jennings was once a member of Act Up -- a "radical homosexual group" he says "profaned churches, vandalized homes and businesses, and disrupted public events." In addition, he points out that Harvard University is thanking Jennings for providing a grant to help fund a recently opened Act Up exhibit on campus.

This will be another flimsy guilt-by-association attack like that of NAMBLA.

For one thing, neither article says that Jennings was involved in the so-called radical activity of Act-Up.

For another thing, according to David Hart of Tips-Q,  Act-Up is unfairly getting a bad rep.

He said Act-Up was founded in frustration because of the government's slow action on the burgeoning AIDS crisis:

During the late eighties, Act-Up engaged in numerous demonstrations of civil disobedience. They were, loud, obnoxious and in your face. The police would usually show up donned in full toxic chemical suits. As a nation, we were in a crisis. People were dying every day and the government's inaction was appalling. AIDS was viewed as a queer disease. Numerous leaders of the Christian right were framing AIDS as God's punishment on gays. One can only imagine the resources that would have been available if a dozen white Boy Scouts contracted a strange, deadly disease. Gays were not only expendable but, in some quarters, AIDS was heralded as a means to eliminate us. It was in this environment that Act-Up became a force for change.

Some people may agree with Act-Up's tactics and others may not. To me, a group of Americans being pushed to radical action because their government didn't care that they were dying of a horrific disease is an interesting facet of the story.

And it's a facet that will be ignored should other right-wing bloggers take up the story and definitely if folks like Sean Hannity go on another attack against Jennings.

And you certainly won't the hear the fact this recent attack on Jennings (like the Fistgate lie) is coming from the Massachusetts anti-gay hate group Mass Resistance.

And Mass Resistance's war on Jennings gets worse. It claims that not only Jennings was a member of the "radically, dirty, evil, filthy" group Act-Up but also he help to fund an exhibit chronicling AIDS activism in New York.

There is nothing wrong with this because AIDS activism in general is history.  History must be examined and studied.

However Mass Resistance seeks to destroy any logical and normal determination of this fact via publishing (with slanted commentary) the most graphic pictures of the exhibit with the implication that "this is what Kevin Jennings has in store for your children."

Of course Mass Resistance doesn't tell that other contributors to this exhibit included:

The Office of the Provost at Harvard University and the following endowment funds at the Harvard Art Museum: The Agnes Gund Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art; the Alexander S., Robert L., and Bruce A. Beal Exhibition Fund; the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Fund; and the Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Exhibition Fund. Gifts and grants have also been provided by The Barbara Lee Family Foundation; The Open Gate: a Fund for Gay and Lesbian Life at Harvard University; Fred P. Hochberg and Tom Healy; the Harvard College Women's Center, the Office for the Arts at Harvard, and Harvard Technology Services with special support from Apple Inc.

So I guess all of these groups are out to "indoctrinate" America's children.

Since so many blogger, and various groups (i.e. One News Now and the Washington Times) have demanded at one time or another that Jennings go on record about his so-called radical leanings and associations, I think they should do the same.

Why do these folks have no problem with receiving information from a known hate group?

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