Monthly Archives: April 2009

>After A Bleak Start It Was A Nice Day After All

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All righty then, so yesterday, the day after The Email, Carlos was not working. he has been doing presentations on at least one weekend day for the last several weeks, and this past weekend he worked both Saturday and Sunday doing HIV education-counseling-testing. He was ready for a day off, and i was ready to spend the day with him, so I, too, was not working.

First thing, we talked about the friend’s email; he was hurt, too, and couldn’t understand it. I told him that i expected her to call, but that I just couldn’t speak to her that day…maybe someday…but not that day.

So, we had pancakes! Carlos Pancakes are dee-lish!

Then the phone rang. It was her. I said I wouldn’t talk. Carlos put her on speaker phone and she talked, and apologized and so on. I listened from another room, and I felt bad for her, but there is always, and will always be, that lingering doubt that “Is she sorry for what she said or sorry that I found out.”

But it was over in a flash.

So, we headed out. We have been talking for months, or years even, about joining the 21st century and getting a flatscreen TV. We’ve looked, researched, questioned, priced, touched, watched, smiled, talked, and come home empty handed. Not so yesterday. We finally broke down and replaced our old TV, thereby retiring the tiny squirrel who lived inside it and ran on the treadmill that powered the set. it was sad to see the little guy at the door, tiny suitcase in hand, a small tear in the corner of one of his squirrel eyes.

Screw that! Flatscreen baby! And, we’re moving on.

We’ve been looking for an umbrella for the outside table. We like to eat out there, but breakfast and lunch in the summertime get a bit too heated–and not because of our discussions–because of the actual sun. Then, as if by magic, a brochure from Bed Bath and Beyond came in the mail, and they were having a sale on patio umbrellas. Then, the postman delivered a 20% off coupon from, wait for it, Bed. Bath. And. Beyond!

We headed over there instantly because, next to Free, Twenty-Percent Off is one of my favorite things. We made a pit stop at Home Depot first because Carlos, my sweet butch Carlos, wanted to check out chain saws. Lumberjack, he ain’t, but he does love his yard tools.

While in the HD, we spotted umbrellas, and decided to do a simple price comparison. They had one we liked. You know, self-cranking, like me; I tend to self-crank.

Where was I?

It was also tilt-able. Again, like me. But it also had teeny tiny solar lights inside the umbrella, and a tiny solar panel on the top. So Carlos, my bartering baby, had a Light Bulb moment, a solar light bulb moment, if you will. He asked the Home Depot is they would honor a 20% off coupon from The Beyond….not beyond like, you know, from the grave, but Bed Bath And….

And the HD said they would!

Huh? What? Huh?

So we bought the solar lighted, crankable, tilting umbrella for the 20% off. As we left the store, I was carrying the umbrella-in-a-box and Carlos asked if I needed help. Because I am sarcastic and childish and will say and do just about anything, I answered, “No thanks. i may not be good enough for you, but I can carry an umbrella.”

He chased me around the parking lot and then made me buy him lunch.

All in all, a good day.

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Filed under Bob, Carlos, Smallville, Uncategorized

>Six By Twelve, Baby

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We may just do this; we may just have marriage equality in all six northeastern states by 2012–hell, maybe before 2012!

Yesterday. the New Hampshire state Senate voted 13-11 to legalize same-sex marriage. The legislation goes into effect January 1, 2010 unless it is vetoed by Governor Lynch. Lynch, a Democrat, has said he opposes same-sex marriage, but has made no comment as to whether he would veto legislation legalizing gay marriage. If he takes no action, the bill automatically becomes law.

New Hampshire will join old guard marriage equality state, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and my new hero, Iowa, as sates that do not discriminate. And, of course, we also have Vermont in the mix, whose marriage equality legislation also begins January 1, 2010.

I do so love good news.

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Filed under Equality, LGBT, LGBT Rights, Marriage Equality, New Hampshire

>Maine Maine Maine

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Inch by inch, step by step, we’re moving along a path to marriage equality.

Last Tuesday, up yonder in Maine, in Charlie Country, a bill to allow same-sex couples the right to marry won the endorsement of a panel of lawmakers.

Next up: a larger debate in the full Legislature.

The Judiciary Committee voted 11-2-1 in favor of a bill that would repeal Maine’s prohibition on same-sex marriages. Two committee members opposed the bill, while a third proposed sending the issue to a statewide referendum. Some of the lawmakers who supported the bill called it a move toward civil rights and equality for gay Americans.

Yes, It is equality. Pure and simple.

“I want my kids to grow up in a place where everyone is treated equally and fairly and with respect,” said openly gay Democratic Senator Lawrence Bliss.
Opponents of marriage equality predict that the bill, if passed by the Legislature, would end up going before the people of Maine, where they hope it will be defeated. I’m not so sure about this since we’ve seen a growth in people in favor of marriage equality in the United States. I think people are beginning to understand that this is a simple civil rights issue, a case for an end to discrimination of gay Americans.

The discussion leading up to the vote forced lawmakers to look at this new legislation as a matter of law, of upholding the state constitution, not based on religious beliefs. That is what we call ‘Separation of church and state” fellas, thanks for using that approach.

Crazy showed up, however, when a woman shouted at the panel that there was “only one true marriage” and accusing the lawmakers of immorality and lack of leadership. This particular wingnut held a handwritten sign that said “The Judiciary does not have the moral authority to redefine marriage.” She continued ranting after leaving the committee room, and was escorted out by police.

Just a note, dear. The judiciary is not “redefining” marriage, that’s been done to death. What they are doing is holding up the state constitution allowing that all citizens of Maine deserve equal treatment and protection under the law.

You can’t “redefine” equality.

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Filed under Equality, LGBT, LGBT Rights, Maine, Marriage Equality, Uncategorized

>Years In The Making

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Finally!

The US House of Representatives passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, yesterday with a bipartisan majority.

Those who supported the bill say it will provide local law enforcement agencies with additional resources to investigate hate crimes motivated by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. It will also allow federal agencies the means to participate in local hate crimes cases when local agencies can’t, or won’t, investigate.

Two key provisions of the law expand federally protected categories to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Statistics show that one in six hate crimes are committed against an LGBT person, and that number is rising.

“The nation cannot wait any longer to protect all of its citizens,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “We should all be able to walk the streets without fear.”

Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau, rejected the idea, that many have put forth, that the law would limit free speech or religious rights. “Nothing in this bill prevents people from saying what’s on their minds in the streets and certainly not from our nation’s pulpits,” she said.

Free speech is protected. You can say whatever you want about us, but you cannot physically attack us anymore. Even the ACLU, the enforcer of free speech, supports the bill.

Caroline Frederickson, director of the ACLU’s Washington legislative office, pointed out that authorities will have the authority to investigate issues of speech only when the speech act in question is directly linked to the crime under investigation.

Still, and unbelievably so, GOP opposition to the Matthew Shepard Act centered on seeing hate crimes as modes of free expression protected by the Constitution.

Murder is not speech; it is not an expression. Brutality is not speech; it is not an expression. Just when you think the GOP cannot go any lower, you discover an entire sub-basement of their stupidity.

This one is for Matthew Shepard because we will never forget.

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Filed under Hate, Hate Crime, Hate Crimes Legislation, LGBT, Matthew Shepard

>Ladies & Gents: A Republican

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I can only imagine that after seeing this beacon of Repugnant intelligence, Arlen Specter is sure he made the right choice to drop the GOP for the Democrats.

GOP crazywoman Michelle Bachmann finds it “very interesting” that the last Swine Flu epidemic broke out in the mid-70s when another Democrat was president. Trouble is, Michelle, honey, that last outbreak of Swine Flu occurred in ’76 when Gerald Ford was in the White House.

Ever heard of a fact-checker, Michelle, or do you like looking stupid. I mean, you do it so well.

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Filed under Idiotic, Ignorant People, Michele Bachmann, Republican

>The Old Switcheroo

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Growing as discontented with the disjointed Repugnant Party as many Americans, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania announced this past Tuesday that he was switching to the Democratic Party, gifting the Dems with a possible 60th vote, and the power to break Senate filibusters.

Specter, who decided that the Repugs have moved too far to the right–a idea I never thought possible–said: “I’m not prepared to have my 29-year record in the United States Senate decided by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate, not prepared to have that record decided by that jury….I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”
If Al Franken prevails in his ongoing court case

in, and Specter begins caucusing with Democrats, Democrats would have 60 votes and the ability to deny Republicans the chance to stall legislation. Specter was one of three Republicans who supported President Obama’s economic recovery legislation.

The news shocked Senate Republicans–really?–who had been hanging on to the thread of being able to block legislation. Repug leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, called an emergency meeting of party leaders. I can only imagine what the conversation was like when that coven gathered.
Democrats, obviously, were jubilant.
President Obama got the news from an aide and almost immediately called Specter to offer his complete support. Apparently, Obama told Specter the party was “thrilled to have him.”
Understatement!

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Filed under Arlen Specter, Democrat, President Obama, Republican

>More discrimination Of Gay America By The US Government

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The Social Security Administration has reversed a decision to deny benefits to the children of a disabled gay father following a three year battle waged on behalf of the family by Lambda Legal.

“This is long awaited relief for Gary Day and his children, who just want to be respected as the family that they are,” said Lambda attorney Beth Littrell in a statement. “The Social Security Administration is supposed to provide families with help in a time of need regardless of a parent’s sexual orientation. After three long years and a federal lawsuit, the SSA has finally come through for these children.”
In February 2006, Day completed the applications for Child Insurance Benefits for his children. He provided birth certificates and court documents that acknowledge him as a legal parent of the children. The SSA acknowledged that they received the application and promised to provide a response in 45 days and yet more than a year passed and he received no response whatsoever.
Then Lambda Legal sent a letter on Day’s behalf and still the SSA still did not provide an initial determination of eligibility citing unspecified “legal questions and policy issues” involved with the application.
Gary Day did all the right things, all that he was asked. He provided the necessary documentation to establish a legitimate parent-child relationship and fulfilled all of the SSA’s prerequisites, yet his family was left without the social safety net that Day had paid into for decades and that all other families are provided on a regular basis.

In May 2008, over two years after his initial request, Lamda Legal and Gary Day had had enough. They filed suit against the SSA forcing the agency to act on Day’s application, urging them to recognize Day as a legal parent of the children. Finally, just last Friday, almost a year later, the SSA recognized the legal relationship between Day and his children without discrimination based on his sexual orientation or family status.

“As a parent, it is my job to provide for my children,” said Day. ” I am relieved to be able to fulfill my promise and also relieved that the SSA will provide the benefits my family needs, just as they do for other families.”

This was man who simply wanted to provide for his children, and was denied, at the most, or ignored, at the least, in trying to do so. It’s another form of discrimination that gay Americans face every day, that straight Americans take for granted.

It was a good day, then, for Gary Day, and gay America.

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Filed under Discrimination, Equality, Gary Day, LGBT, LGBT Rights, Social Security