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View Article  AFA of PA abandons fasting tactics, sticks with good old fashioned gay-bashing prayer

One has to wonder how many meals homobigots must forgoe to win votes and influence legislators?  Three?  Six? 

It seems the AFA of PA is peeved with the PA Senate Judiciacy Committee, specifically Senator Jane Earll of Erie for weakening the Marriage Protection Amendment when they stripped the anti-civil union language.  Chief scribe and bigot Diane Gramley sent me this message:

Senator Jane Earll of Erie offered the amendment stripping the strong language of H.B. 2381.  Yesterday the AFA of PA delivered over 800 letters from her constituents in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment.  She will now have to face those constituents.
 
?Pennsylvanians understand the issue better than their Senators give them credit.  They understand that civil unions must be addressed or traditional marriage will be weakened because homosexual activists will continue pushing for same-sex marriage.  Even homosexual activists recognize civil unions will be used as a stepping stone to legalize same-sex marriage, continued Gramley.

If Senator Earll stood up to 800 Erians, what does that say about the 20 SW PA Democrats who kowtowed to hatred and prejudice?  Exactly ...

?If the Senate is not willing to deal with the issue of marriage in its entirety ? same-sex marriage and civil unions ? then they send the clear message to their constituents that they are not willing to take the tough stand necessary to protect one man one woman marriage,? Gramley concluded.

Diane, honey, the members of the Pennsylvania legislature are no more going to take a tough stance on ANY issue than they are going to vote to reduce their size.  The weenie Democrats in Southwestern PA didn't stand up FOR your little gaybashfest of a bill; they stood up AGAINST early retirement. 

View Article  The Drama of the PA Marriage Protection Amendment: Full Senate Will Vote on Amended Bill

Apparently, the AFA of PA was on to something ... the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send the amendment to the full Senate for a vote.  BUT they removed language in the bill prohibiting civil unions and domestic partnerships.  (365gay.com)

So what does this mean to the average homo?  Well, the bill that passes the Senate has to be the same version as passed the House.  So if this version passes, it has to go back to the House for another vote.  Or it has to be amended on the floor of the Senate before passing.  Either way, it all has to happen before the end of the session on June 30.

So what should you do?  Pittsburgh's own Steel-City Stonewall Democrats suggest you continue writing letters to the editor and contacting your Senator to ask why they aren't focusing on more pressing issues.   They offer this bit of comfort:

The good news is that our opposition is also now fighting the senate version of the amendment, dissatisfied that it now allows civil unions.

View Article  AFA of PA Ramps Up Anti-Gay Activity with prayer AND fasting

Those lovable homobigots at the American Family Association of Pennsylvania are desperately scrounging for last minute calls to the Senate Judiciary Committee which is scheduled to vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment today.

A vote to table or amend this legislation will be viewed as a vote to kill the Marriage Protection Amendment.  If there are any changes or amendments to H.B. 2381 the bill will die for this legislation session and all the hard work thus far will be all for naught.  Remember H.B. 2381 must be passed in the Senate by June 30th.  Any delay during this committee meeting will postpone the people?s chance to vote on marriage by at least TWO years!
 
ACTION NEEDED: 
 
1.)Fast and pray for passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment in the Senate Judiciary Committee and ultimately in the Senate by June 30th.
 
2.)  Call members of the Senate Judiciary Committee TODAY at their Harrisburg office and ask them to vote H.B. 2381 out of committee without compromising amendments.   Contact info below.  Please be respectful, but firm . . . you want a chance to vote on the definition of marriage and the only way that can happen is if they vote H.B. 2381 out of committee.  They need to hear from concerned Pennsylvanians TODAY.  A few pennies for the call and a few minutes of your time can make all the difference!

Pennies for a phone call?  An in-state long distance call in the middle of the day?  Who wrote this? 

Is it just me or does this sound a little skittish? 

Meanwhile, us homos sit and wait and hope that Senator Jay Costa who is minority chair of the committee will step and lead today.  We hope. 

View Article  Ohio Bill Expected to Die So Women Won't Have To

Another h/t to feministing ....

Ohio legislators expect a bill banning all abortions with no exceptions to get a brief hearing and then be put back in the drawer. 

As the Columbus Dispatch reports, even the Ohio Right to Life organization does not support the bill.  Does this mean that even fetus worshippers have some respect for the lives of women?  Umm, no.  This means that they recognize a tactical error when they see one ...

Ohio Right to Life is neutral on the bill being considered today.

Denise Mackura, director of government relations, said while at least 100 abortion-rights opponents are expected at the Statehouse to express their views, she?s concerned the bill would eliminate a number of critical state laws, such as a ban on partial-birth abortion.

While that might appear to make sense, if the court tosses out the bill, all the other laws might get tossed with it, she said.

Mackura is unconvinced that an abortion ban is the best way to get Roe v. Wade overturned. Rather, she expects it would come from a case challenging, for example, a law restricting abortion funding or parental notification.

Mackura said she would rather see Ohio pass an abortion ban that goes into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. She also wants to take away state funding for abortions.

"It?s always useful to send a message to the court that people do think the law has gotten too extreme," she said.

So a bill that would allow women to die attracts 18 co-sponsors.  And it gets a hearing, albeit a brief hearing.  In a state were domestic violence laws no longer apply to unmarried women. 

Got that?

View Article  F*ck Mary Cheney, Let's Talk About Thrive

I've still got this really nasty taste in my mouth from the Mary Cheney interview.

So I'm trying to figure out this MySpace thing b/c someone from the Steel Queer N'At collective posted my post about their performance ... there.  That's a horrid sentence.  But you get the point.  Anyway, I'm trying to figure it out and I notice that one of the acts from the collective is performing this Friday at Quiet Storm.

They are Thrive, three poets The Black Ass Bombshell..aka Vanessa German, Sweet Thunda aka Bekazela Mguni and Savannah Montana..aka Becca Cooper

We were very impressed by their acts.  The Black Ass Bombshell did this wicked piece about Jorge and I was so enthralled by their outfits that it took me at least two minutes to realize who Jorge was.  Then tonight I discover that Vanessa German is the woman who won the national SLAMBUSH contest.  And I think I heard her at the Peace Rally in 2005.  Where I was very impressed but it ended up I had been marching on a broken foot all along so the incredible pain sort of edged everything else out.  That's right -- I marched for peace on a broken foot. Then I went to Starbucks. 

So it all sort of swirls together to prompt me to go to The Quiet Storm this Friday at 8 PM to see Thrive perform en masse.  After marching for dykes on a never really gonna heal from being broken foot.  Then I'll march for Pride Awareness on that same foot. 

Thank god my father wants to spend Father's Day at the movies.  At least there'll be no marching. 

I would greatly appreciate if there could be a blogging for peace/equality/healthy feet/Starbucks event in the near future. 

View Article  McIntire Does Mary Cheney - The Interview Live

7:01 PM  ------- Live tonight on KDKA, John McIntire talks with Mary Cheney for the lesbian perspective on the Ben Roethlisberger situation .... tune into 1020 AM ....

7:15 PM -------- Mary Cheney's book has sold less than 6,000 copies since its May debut according to OnePageQ.

7:16 PM -------- Marriage amendment "its a bad idea, how about that?" says Mary.

7:17 PM -------- She sounds like she's chewing on a duck.  She came "darn close to quitting."  She was troubled working for George Bush, but she stayed for Daddy.  He thinks discrimination should be left to the states.  She also stayed b/c terrorists will hurt our country so she didn't have the luxury to be concerned about same sex marriage. 

7:20 PM --------

7:23 PM -- ----- President Bush has at least tried to have a civil discussion around this. 

7:25 PM ---------  President Bush wakes up every morning thinking "what am I going to do to keep this country safe?"  Just like her Dad. 

7:27 PM --------- "People can look at it that way and its a valid opinion.  People can look at it another way and its a valid opinion."   WTF?

7:29 PM ---------- John tosses gay rights softballs to Mary Cheney. She is possibly the most boring controversial guest he's ever had on the air.

7:29 PM ---------- The Western state of mind.  People treat people as individuals.  Even gays.  Or poor people.  Maybe even poor black gay people.

7:30 PM ---------- KDKA is going to my hometown West Mifflin this week.  Our former police chief faces more than 19 counts of drug charges.  Its a great town. 

7:32 PM ---------- Mary's partner Heather is a nice person who doesn't bitch slap people.  She's supportive blah, blah, blah. 

7:34 PM ---------- Parents come to her book signings and her book helps them deal with having a gay child.  Or they are happy that she says nice things about her parents.  Because people don't do that these days.

7:35 PM ---------- We have purposeful and decisive leadership in Iraq.  They've held 3 elections.  A cabinet has been named.  We got the big one.  But there are still a few insurgents.  John: "and 100,000 innocent civilians are dead."   Mary: "give me a name to verify that."

7:40 PM ------I try to call and the phone rings incesssantly.

7:41 PM ------ A woman calls her on working for the Coors family and reaching out to gays for a conservative company.  Mary takes credit for making the entire Fortune 500 gay friendly.

7:43 PM ------- NOW ITS MY TURN! Mary is making a difference by being open about who she is.  Iraqi gays have more important thiings to worry about than being gay. Then I got cut off.  Oh well ....

7:45 PM ------- I should have listened to my gut and watched the rerun of Friends and Seinfeld.  Or cleaned the cat litter.  I can't believe I got suckered into calling.  Note:  I allowed myself to get suckered -- I was not the sucking victim of any one particular person.

7:47 PM -------  Her goal was to write a book that she could be proud of and sell a few copies.  Pittsburgh is not on the book signing list.

*************************************

Overall, this was not very exciting.  She had nothing noteworthy to say about gay issues.  She did show some spunk defending the Iraq war, but has this weird delusion that the President wakes up every day thinking how to keep America safe.  I think Paris Hilton has more insight into the life of the typical American homo than Mary Cheney.  Ah well ... kudos to John for putting her on the air.   

View Article  Will Ohio OutLaw ALL Abortions and One Up South Dakota?

h/t Feministing

A bill outlawing all abortions - even in the case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother -- is scheduled for a hearing in the Ohio House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Right wing antics to win elections?  You bet.  Tapping into misogeny to garner votes?  Absolutely.

This piece legislation has 18 co-sponsors.

Yet another reason I'm glad there's a bit of West Virginia between me and most of Ohio.

View Article  The Hardest Question Ever: Correspondents Weigh In

This past Friday, we accepted an invitation to catch the local performance of "The Hardest Question Ever," a puppet show performance art piece examining the societal role in creating and punishing violence through the prism of incarceration.  The show was put together by Indicator Species, a Pittsburgh based collective of teachers, artists and activists who work on prison issues. 

The show opened with live music from Ricardo who took our collective breath away.  His acoustic guitar performance and lyrics were just stunning.  I hunted him down at the end and ordered him to add us to his email list.  :-)     He told us he'd be performing live soon so we'll keep you informed.

The show itself was a 1/2 hour mixture of live action, puppets, and music.  I was skeptical at first as I always am when surrounded by a crowd of seemingly preternaturally thin people who made me feel incredibly mainstream .... one of the nightmare moments when someone points at you and yells "She's wearing Mom jeans" while everyone laughs.  Then someone's actual mom sat down in front of us with her two staunch suburbanite lady friends and I felt a the comforting shift back to slightly left of center.  Whew.  As soon as the group took the stage, all sense of discomfort fell away and I merged right into a crowd waiting to be taught.

The stage included a life-sized prison cell that is used for solidary confinement.  The walls were constructed from thousands of letters the artists had received through their books for prisoners program Book 'Em, a project of the Thomas Merton Center.  The show included 4 acts reconciling the horror of crime with the horror of prison.  Through live narration of cases based on the real life experiences of the artists, the show explores the complicated nature of something mainstream media and politics tends to oversimplify -- delving into the gray.  One case involved a former friend and comrade who had raped and murdered a woman -- the dialogue was a refreshing examination of all that had come before. 

I have to give the Indicator Species credit -- they really did ask the hardest questions.  When someone you know has raped and murdered, what does that mean for our own complicity in creating a violent society?  To simply say that you could not have physically prevented the crime is not enough of an answer.  What about all that came before -- at what point can we as a society prevent any crime?  And how does the way we treat our criminals reflect back on our values? 

"The cracks I fell through were the indifference of the people around me."

Indicator Species will be taking their show on the road for a two month tour.  For more details on upcoming Pittsburgh performances fedup@riseup.net or trust_the_shadow@yahoo.com

It was a good show -- thoughtful, earnest and personal.  It was obvious that the members of the collective put a huge investment of their personal stories, fears, hopes, and values into this show.  That investment touched me from the first chord and lifted me over any bumps in the road.  I would see this again when it returns to Pittsburgh.  And I'm going through my books to donate to the program.   

View Article  PrideWeek in Pgh: Marching Dykes, Margaret Cho and Governor Rendell?

(I'm keeping this at the top of the blog throughout PrideFest.  Scroll down for other current blog posts since Monday)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - Pittsburgh City Council will approve the PrideFest Proclamation, 10 AM, City Council Chambers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006 - The 3rd Annual Pittsburgh Pride Theater Festival, a showcase of eight one-act plays with lgbt themes, will take place June 15-25, 2006 at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co., 542 Penn Avenue (at the corner of Penn and 6th in Pittsburgh's cultural district), downtown. Tickets for show times are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. You can contact the box office at 412-288-0358 or email them at pittsburghpridetheaterfestival@yahoo.com for more information.

Friday, June 16, 2006 - Pittsburgh's 1st Dyke March kicks off at the Carnegie Mellon lawn at Forbes & Moorewood Avenue.  Gather as early as 5 PM to mingle, make signs and meet the organizers.  The March itself kicks off at 6:30. We are bisexuals, trannydykes, lesbians, boi-dykes, femmes, butches, femmedykeboi's, butchdykeboys, multisexuals, brazen femmes, soft butches, genderqueers, and many more ...For more information, dykemarchpgh@yahoo.com.

Friday, June 16, 2006 - Pride Movie by the Pittsburgh Lesbian & Gay Film Society.  "Say Uncle"   7 PM at the Southside Works followed by after-party at Tuscany (with ticket stub).  For more information, www.plgfs.org

Saturday, June 17, 2006 - Pittsburgh PrideFest

Awareness March - kicks off at Ross Street at 12 PM, winds through town and the Arts Festival then across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to the festival location on the North Shore. 

Festival -  1 PM - 5 PM at Riverfront Park on the North Shore (near Heinz Field)  Performers, tons of vendors, a DJ second stage, and a chance to see all the homos who come down to Pgh once a year to mingle in a big family friendly homo loving environment (my words). 

Pride Night at PNC Park  -- come out and be part of the homo-contingent rooting for the buccos.  How gay is that!  Tickets will be on sale at PrideFest (yes, the Pirates are setting up a booth).  A portion of the sales go to the GLCC.

Sunday, June 18, 2006 - Family Pride Pancake Brunch at East Liberty Presbyterian Church.  10 AM worship; 11:30 am brunch. 

Click here and here for more specific. 

Now there are two interesting rumors floating around.  First, is that Governor Ed Rendell will be kicking off the Awareness March with a few well-chosen words possibly including "Ladies Start Your Engines!" to our very own dykes on bikes. 

Second, is that the divine and delightful Margaret Cho may be popping up at PrideFest since she is in town for the weekend performing at the Improv. 

Remains to be seen ....

 

View Article  Round Up on PG Gay Marriage Amendment Coverage

The PG contained three letters to the editor all in support of gay marriage and clearly opposed to amending either the state or federal constitutions.

Wilma Hutchings of Aspinwall writes, "Now the fools need to pass a no-divorce law. Divorce is much more devastating to the family than gays getting married."

Joseph Kowalski of North Huntington writes, "Constitutions, state and federal, should be used to expand on human rights, not to limit the rights of an entire segment of the population. Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage are nothing more than a political diversionary tactic to keep voters from focusing on the very real problems facing Pennsylvania and this nation."

Finally, Roy Frye resident of Squirrel Hill and registered Republican writes," As a registered Republican I want to congratulate Sen. Arlen Specter for voting against the federal amendment intended to ban gay marriage.  This measure would have only fomented division and resentment between fellow American citizens. Since this is the land of the free and the home of the brave, we should be brave enough to allow our fellow citizens who are a little bit different from us to be free in their personal pursuit of happiness. "

Columnist Sally Kalson takes a stab at understanding Metcalfe's rational, but can only conclude that he and his merry band of zealots don't know any homos:

There's only one way social conservatives could believe the things Mr. Metcalfe said about gay families: They don't know any, or don't realize they do. They've never been to their homes, watched them interact with their children over meals, schoolwork or upset stomachs, gone with them to worship. In that vacuum, they've invented cardboard characters who don't share love and commitment, don't need health coverage, joint custody, power of attorney or inheritance rights that others take for granted.

Perhaps some gay parents should invite Mr. Metcalfe over to see if their families are really so different from his own. It won't change his convictions, but it could break down some of his preconceptions.

She also does a nice dissection of that fact that 20 Democrats from Southwestern Pennsylvania voted in support of the Amendment. 

20 House Democrats from the Pittsburgh area voted for this redundant, mean-spirited amendment. Of course it's a cynical ploy to distract voters from the lawmakers' abysmal record. But it works because it taps a visceral fear that gay people have gained too much ground and must be slapped back into the margins. Then God-fearing "normal" people can go back to pretending they don't exist.

God bless her, Sally may be onto something.  But guess what --- the homos aren't going to go quietly into the margins this time.  No matter how hard Catherine Specter tries to drag up all back into the 1950's, it ain't gonna happen.

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