Category Archives: Alabama

>The Gay News


From the ISBL NewsDesk:

New York Governor David Paterson is once again speaking out about gay marriage in his state:
“People who’ve lived together for 10, 20, 30 years are waiting, hoping that this legislation will pass while they still have the breath to elicit an ‘I do’ on the altar, and I think it’s time that it happens, and if I have to see legislation fail so I can identify who voted against it to better persuade them, then I’ll take that chance. In this case, I have a feeling if it got on the floor it would be voted up.”

And the defeat of marriage equality in Maine:
“I think there’s this feeling that if legislation fails that it’s this colossal loss for the cause. I find it to be motivational. I think that the public referendum in Maine should inspire us that there’s more work to do, more persuasion to be made, more understanding to be reached, and more sensitivity to be displayed, and those of us who have been a catalyst for marriage equality have to regroup and work harder.”

It’s refreshing to see and hear such open and honest discussion about equality, without mucking it up, like a certain asshat in Alabama is trying to do.

DuWayne Bridges, saying the University of Alabama Birmingham’s policy of offering health benefits to same-sex partners runs counter to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, has been gathering support for a proposal to block the benefits.

“I don’t think the univer­sity should waste money by making a liberal or politi­cally correct statement,” he said last week.

Equality is a liberal ideal now? I must have missed that breaking news story.

In opposition to Bridges asshattedness and backwoodsery, is openly gay state Representative Patricia Todd: “We don’t know how many gay, lesbian and transgender people there are in the country or even in Alabama, but we know that we’re present and we make a contribution and we’re not asking for any more or less than any other group of folks. We just want equality.”

To paraphrase Harvey Fierstein via SNL: We just want equality, is that so wroooooooong?

And, what else is wrong?

Oh yes, up in Maine, stories are emerging that the Democratic National Committee, which took our donations, put equality on the back-burner up there, while asking the people of Maine to help re-elect Jon Corzine in New Jersey. Nothing wrong with that, really, except the DNC sent fliers and emails to the people of Maine urging them to vote in last Tuesday’s election, but failed to mention what the election was about or which way to vote.

Where was the DNC in the battle for equality in Maine? They were too busy working in New Jersey. Think about that, and remind the DNC of that, the next time they hold out their hands for a contribution.

If they can’t contribute to equality, I’ll give my money to those who can.

And so, while we lick our wounds over Maine and vow to fight on, and while our anger may grow over the DNC, which, by the way, was the first major political party in the U.S. to endorse a homosexual rights platform plank, and its lack of support, either through funds or action in Maine, and as we brace for a marriage equality fight in New York and, perhaps, New Jersey and New Hampshire, I’ve found a candidate for us.

Congressman Joe Sestak is a Democratic candidate for United States Senate in Pennsylvania:

When we think of the civil rights movement, we tend to think of grainy footage of marches and speeches, Selma, Ala., and the National Mall.
But our generation, too, is a part of that movement and has a critical role to play. It has been a long journey for our country, but we are now close to finally realizing our founders’ vision of a society where all are created equal and endowed with the same inalienable rights.
It’s time to end the discrimination based on sexual identity or orientation that is the only form of institutionalized discrimination still permitted in our society. That is why I am working to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and am committed to equal rights for all Americans.
On Saturday, President Obama will address the Human Rights Campaign. I hope he will use the opportunity to clearly call for the swift repeal of these discriminatory policies. We can get it done this year, and human rights should not be asked to wait.
In my three decades as an officer in the United States Navy, I lost good sailors to the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law — sailors that I, and the nation, depended on for their training, skills, and courage.
Over the last 16 years we’ve lost 12,500 good servicemembers to this policy. In a time of war, our national security cannot afford to lose these troops, especially high-value specialists and linguists. But more so, our military cohesion depends on honesty and integrity. How can we demand that the 65,000 of our troops who are estimated to be gay act dishonestly and conceal information from their comrades and commanders? No one who serves in defense of liberty should be forced to live a lie.
I cannot imagine denying equal rights to anyone I served with. How can anyone say, we fought and served together, we depended on one another, we risked our lives for this country, but back home you shouldn’t enjoy the rights that you defended?
That’s why I have co-sponsored the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA and require the federal government to extend to the tens of thousands of legally married same-sex couples the more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits afforded to opposite-sex couples, including tax, pension, and benefits rights and the right to take unpaid leave to care for ill spouses. I have sent a letter urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring the bill up for a vote and I am circulating a petition to show support.
The struggle for equality has never been easy and it won’t be today. But I am confident. This is a historic and, indeed, an exciting time for America, when we declare once and for all that there is no such thing as equality that doesn’t extend to everyone, that we hold this truth to be self-evident.

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Filed under Alabama, David Paterson, Democrat, Joe Sestak, LGBT Rights

>An Abuse Of Taxpayer Money By The Not-So-Great State Of Alabama


There are people around the country who make fun of Alabama. Right or wrong, they say it’s one of the more backwards states in the union. Hillbillies, rednecks, morons, all live there. That’s what some say, and, I’ll admit, I’ve done my share of Alabama bashing. But now we have good reason to wonder if Alabama isn’t the sharpest knife in America’s kitchen drawer.

See, the Alabama House has approved a resolution that praises Carrie Prejean, a Miss USA wannabe-that-never-was,

for speaking out against gay marriage.

Yes, with all that is going on in this country, banks failing, people losing their homes, their jobs, their lives, torture, bullied children killing themselves, hate crimes, Alabama took time out of it’s busy day to praise Carrie Prejean.

Poor Carrie Prejean goes on TV to whine and cry that she should have won, would have won except….and that gave Repugnant Representative Jay Love all the ammo he needed to urge the Alabama State Government to pass a resolution praising a beauty queen.
Seriously, Alabama, you haven’t got anything better to do?


Filed under Alabama, Crazy, Idiotic, Ignorant People, Uncategorized

>Rosa Parks


I do like to save the best for last.

Rosa Parks is one of my heroes. Ask most anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I would have loved to have known her; that she is an inspiration to me, to stand up….or sit down….when you want to make a change.
She was born Rosa Louise McCauley on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her childhood brought her early experiences with racial discrimination and activism for racial equality. After her parents separated, Rosa’s mother moved the family to Pine Level, Alabama to live with her parents, Rose and Sylvester Edwards, on their farm. Both her grandparents were former slaves and strong advocates for racial equality.
In one experience, Rosa’s grandfather stood in front of their house with a shotgun while Ku Klux Klan members marched down the street. The city of Pine Level, Alabama had a new school building and bus transportation for white students while African American students walked to a one-room schoolhouse, often lacking desks and adequate school supplies. Rosa knew that, merely because of the color of her skin, she would not be treated equally.
In 1929, while in the eleventh grade, Rosa left school to attend to her sick grandmother in Pine Level. She never returned to school, but instead got a job at a shirt factory in Montgomery. In 1932, she married a barber named Raymond Parks who was an active member of the NAACP. With Raymond’s support, Rosa Parks finished her high school degree in 1933 and she, herself, soon became actively involved in civil rights issues.
Rosa Parks joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP in 1943, and served as the secretary to the president, E.D. Nixon until 1957.
Now, in those days, not so very long ago, in Montgomery, Alabama, city code required that all public transportation be segregated, and that all bus drivers be given “powers of a police officer of the city while in actual charge of any bus for the purposes of carrying out the provisions” of the code.
While operating a bus, drivers were required to provide “separate but equal”–there’s that old chestnut again–accommodations for white and black passengers by assigning seats. This was accomplished with a line, an actual sign, roughly in the middle of the bus separating white passengers in the front and African Americans in the back.
But African Americans didn’t just have to ride in the back. When they got on the bus, they would pay their fare, then get off the bus, walk to the back and reboard. No one wanted colored people walking in between the white people.
If the seats in the front of the bus filled up, and more white passengers got on, the bus driver would simply move the sign back, separating black and white passengers, and ask black passengers give up their seats so the whites could sit down.
On December 1, 1955, after a long day working at the Montgomery Fair department store, Rosa Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus for home. She got on, paid her fare, got off, walked to the back, got on again, and found a seat in the first of several rows designated for “colored” passengers.
Though the city’s bus ordinance did give drivers the authority to assign seats, it didn’t specifically give them the authority to demand a passenger to give up a seat to anyone regardless of color. However, Montgomery bus drivers had adopted the custom of requiring black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers when no other seats were available. If the black passenger protested, the bus driver had the authority to refuse service and could call the police to have them removed.
As the bus Rosa was riding continued on its route, it began to fill with white passengers. Eventually, the bus was full and the driver noticed that several white passengers were standing in the aisle. This apparently was unacceptable. He stopped the bus and moved the sign separating the two sections back one row and asked the four black passengers in that row to give up their seats. Three complied, but Rosa refused. She stayed seated.
The driver demanded, “Why don’t you stand up?”
Rosa replied, “I don’t think I should have to stand up.”
Can I get a You Go, Girl.
The driver called the police, who arrested Rosa at the scene and charged her with violation of Chapter 6, section 11 of the Montgomery City code. She was taken to police headquarters where later that night she was released on bail. On December 8, Rosa faced trial and in a thirty-minute hearing was found guilty of violating a local ordinance. She was fined ten dollars, plus a four-dollar court fee.
The very evening she was arrested, E.D. Nixon, head of the local chapter of the NAACP, began to organize a boycott of Montgomery’s city buses. Ads were placed in local papers and handbills were printed and distributed in black neighborhoods. Members of the African American community were asked to stay off the buses Monday, December 5th in protest of Rosa’s arrest. People were encouraged to stay home from work or school, take a cab or walk to work. With most of the African American community not riding the bus, organizers believed a longer boycott might be successful.
On Monday, December 5, 1955, a group of African-American community leaders gathered at Mt. Zion Church to discuss strategies. They determined that the effort required a new organization and strong leadership. They formed the “Montgomery Improvement Association”–the MIA–and elected Montgomery newcomer Dr. Martin Luther King, as their first president.
The boycott of December 5th was a success, and so it was continued. Some African-Americans carpooled, others rode in African American-operated cabs. But most of the estimated 40,000 African American commuters walked, some as far as 20 miles to get to work.
Public buses sat idle for months, severely crippling the transit company’s finances. But the boycott faced strong resistance, with some segregationists retaliating with violence. Black churches were burned and both Martin Luther King and E.D. Nixon’s homes were attacked. Other attempts were made to end the boycott as well. The taxi system used by the African American community to help people get around had its insurance canceled. Other blacks were arrested for violating an old law prohibiting boycotts.
See, the black folks weren’t allowed to protest, or have an opinion, or stay seated.
But the African American community also took action. Under the Brown v. Board of Education decision that said “separate but equal” policies had no place in public education, a black legal team took the issue of segregation on public transit systems to federal court.
In June of 1956, the court declared Alabama’s racial segregation laws for public transit unconstitutional. The city appealed and on November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling. With the transit company and downtown businesses suffering financial loss and the legal system ruling against them, the city of Montgomery had no choice but to lift the law requiring segregation on public buses.
The combination of legal action, backed by the unrelenting determination of the African American community made the 382-day Montgomery Bus Boycott one of the largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation in history.
That’s right, people. The boycott lasted over a year!
Although she was now a symbol for the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks suffered as a result. She lost her job at the department store and her husband lost his after his boss forbade him to discuss his wife or their legal case. They were unable to find work and eventually left Montgomery.
Rosa Parks moved her family–her husband and mother–to Detroit, where she made a new life for herself, working as a secretary and receptionists in U.S. Representative John Conyer’s congressional office. She also served on the board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
In 1987, at age seventy-four, Rosa Parks, along with life-long friend Elaine Eason Steele, founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. The institute runs the “Pathways to Freedom” bus tours, introducing young people to important civil rights and Underground Railroad sites throughout the country.
In 1992, she published Rosa Parks: My Story, an autobiography recounting her life in the segregated South. In 1995, her memoirs, Quiet Strength, focused on the role religious faith played in her life.
Rosa Parks received many accolades during her lifetime including the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest award. She also received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award. On September 9, 1996 President Bill Clinton awarded Rosa Parks the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given by the U.S. executive branch. The next year, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award given by the U.S. legislative branch. In 1999, Time magazine named Rosa Parks one of the 20 most influential people of the twentieth century.
On October 24, 2005, at the age of ninety-two, Rosa Parks quietly died in her apartment. She had been diagnosed the previous year with progressive dementia. Her death was marked by several memorial services, among them lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. where an estimated 50,000 people viewed her casket. Rosa was interred between her husband and mother at Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery in the chapel’s mausoleum. Shortly after her death the chapel was renamed the Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel.
All of that because she wouldn’t give up her seat. People used to say that Rosa wouldn’t get up because she’d worked all day and was tired.
She, herself, said she wasn’t physically tired, she was just “tired of giving in.”
I know that feeling all too well.


Filed under Alabama, Black History Month, Bus Boycott, Civil Rights, KKK, Montgomery, NAACP, Racism, Rosa Parks, Separate But Equal