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View Article  Tony Norman on Facebook
If you are a Tony Norman fan, go here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105546826151304
View Article  Civil Union Legislation May Be Introduced in PA House

From the Philly Gay News ...

A Pennsylvania lawmaker is gathering legislative support for a bill that would make civil unions for same-sex couples a reality in the Keystone State.

The measure, the first of its kind in the Pennsylvania legislature, is being spearheaded by Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Cohen (D-202nd Dist.).

Cohen said he?s so far secured cosponsorships from 24 lawmakers and another 10 are considering signing on. He expects to officially introduce the bill by April 14.

Cohen said that while he supports full-marriage equality for same-sex couples, he believes the more logical approach would be to first have the state adopt a civil-union law.

Representative Cohen is also the primary sponsor of HB 1393, the Medical Marijuana Bill.

Interesting turn of events. Marriage amendment quashed.  Marriage legislation alive in PA Senate.  I wasn't anticipating this and, frankly, it worries me.  While I certainly want progress on multiple equality issues, I worry that this dilutes resources we need to pass HB 300.  Cohen is a cosponsor of that legislation as well. 

Thoughts?

View Article  LGBT welcoming church in Duquesne; challenges in Kittaning

The Post-Gazette has a lovely description of a (somewhat) authentic Hungarian wedding which took place in Duquesne over the weekend at the Hungarian Reformed Church.  The bride's brother is a member of the LGBT community who recently relocated out of state.  Here's the interesting part:

Church leaders said they are hoping that groups not ordinarily associated with ethnic churches, such as the gay and lesbian community and non-Hungarians, will give them a try.

"We accept everybody the way they are," said Father Posta.

The congregation plans to celebrate its anniversary with a dinner on June 27 at the Westwood Golf Club in West Mifflin, including a performance by the William Penn Magyar Folk Dancers.

For more information about the church or the anniversary celebration, call 412-466-2300.

How nice to be invited to church. The article does, however, seem to play up the fact that the former members who happen to be gay were fundraisers so I'm curious as to the church's stance on LGBT issues in general.  Are we welcome in the "come join us" mentality or in the "we lift up your families" mentality?  This is certainly worth exploring.  From the description of the wedding, this sounds like the place to do it.
 
From Kittanning, PA comes word of potential protests tonight when the public library shows the LGBT themed film "Out in the Silence" Kudos to the library system for standing up to intolerance.  Several Pittsburgh based LGBT groups are sending representatives in a show of solidarity for Kittanning's LGBT community.  That hatefest include the American Family Association of Pennsylvania who have produced "Speechless:  Silencing the Christian Community" in response to the original film. 
 
I'll be in Kittanning on Monday so we'll bring some post-movie healing energy.  It is also good to read that Persad Center is providing general outreach services to Butler and Armstrong Counties. That sort of partnership with the library is good for the long term welfare of the LGBT community. 
View Article  Hoeffel and Leach

First, a link to the blog of Senator Daylin Leach, Daylinsights.  He's taking on AG Tom Corbett.

All of this is unnecessary. This lawsuit will proceed and the court?s decision will be binding on Pennsylvania with or without Mr. Corbett?s name on it, which begs the question of why he felt it necessary invest Pennsylvania resources in this endeavor. Mr. Corbett is using the tax dollars of people without health care to try to stop those same people from getting health insurance. He is doing so despite the fact that is involvement is irrelevant and well beyond his proper role as an elected official.

He should stop.

Well, truth well said.  This is about pandering and politics, not protecting Pennsylvanians.

Joe Hoeffel has also been front and center on this issue.

"[Corbett has] always struck me as a moderate Republican, and I think he?s desperately afraid of not satisfying the tea-bagging tea partiers. He looks at Sam Rohrer, who?s very sincere in his conservative views, and sees a threat."

We need leaders to stand up to political maneuvering which hurts Pennsylvanians.  We should be working to ensure more people have access to health insurance, not throwing up roadblocks -- especially funded by our tax dollars. 

Speaking of Joe, check out this article in the Philadelphia City Paper. Once again take note, that most Pennsylvanian's barely register that we have a governor's race much less identify with a candidate.  Given that a single vote could have determined the entire Steel City endorsement, it shows how much of an impact you can have as one person.  Pretty awesome to contemplate.

View Article  A few events coming up in Pittsburgh's LGBT community

Courtesy of the GLCC News Blast and worth your attentiond

GLSEN?s Prom

GLSEN Pittsburgh will be having a prom for LGBTQ high school students and allies on Friday, April 23rd. The prom will be at the University Club in Oakland in the first floor ballroom. Tickets will be limited and will be @25/student. There will be finger foods and beverages served from 8-10. The Pitt Police will provide security and of course there will be a DJ to keep the music playing. There are only 100 tickets available. Tickets can be purchased at the GLCC on Tues. and Thurs. evenings from 6:00 to 7:00 and on Friday evenings from 7:00 to 8:00.

If you've been following the story about the young lesbian banned from taking her prom date to the school prom or the young man who was permitted to do so, but booted from his home -- you should learn more about GLSEN. 

KidFest is back at the GLCC.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

210 Grant Street, Downtown

Come enjoy the festivities in celebration of all of our families!

Kidsfest

face painting

crafts table

ping-pong tournament

karaoke

Demonstrations by:

The Extreme Strings

Children?s Orchestra

$5 donation requested donation per family. Proceeds benefit the GLCC.

games & prizes

children?s reading hour

free check-ups*

Wii tournament

* check-ups by Adagio Health

Good stuff to know.

View Article  Meanwhile, outside of Pennsylvania ...

Stuff is going on .

From Pam's House Blend ...more on the role of the Human Rights Campaign and the repeal of DADT.  Things are a bit strained.  Sheesh. While admin officials say repeal is the way to go, the DOJ files briefs in legal cases.  Ahhhh.

LGBT Point of View thinks Code Pink has something to teach today's LGBTgeneration about activism.  They tried to citizen arrest Karl Rove.

Ricky Martin came out.  Debate is raging as to what this means for the Latino community.  Here's one point of view.

Perhaps for the jaded queen living in urban U.S., the oversaturation of gayness in the media has deemed Ricky insignificant and worthy of our dismissal. For that frightened and confused 12 year old in rural Chihuahua, it?s monumental.

My coming out process was stumped by the fact that I could not even imagine my queerness, let alone live it. At the time, the saturation of gayness was mostly strictly white. It wasn?t until queer brown men like Jaime Cortez and Emanuel Xavier fearlessly (or perhaps fearfully) exposed their work and their bodies to the sun of public criticism, that I was able to imagine myself.

Whether U.S. fags approve or not, Ricky is a prominent figure here, and more importantly, in Latino Am?rica. Ricky?s coming out makes it possible for young boys in countless homes to imagine themselves as something other than confused.

For context, another significant coming out from the Latino music community. Her name is Rita Indiana and she's from the Dominican Republic and she's nowhere near as famous/wealthy as Ricky Martin.  The link provides links to videos and some samples of her music.  Check it out.

From the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force comes more on the horrific latest chapter in the papal sexual abuse scandal. It is just sickening. 

Buffalo City Council just approved domestic partner benefits WITH a veto proof majority.  Hurrah!

The Stonewall Democrats have a petition up to support the federal Student Non-Discrimination Act.  If you think Constance should get to take her girlfriend to the prom, go sign the petition.  It will take two minutes and you'll be making a statement supporting queer kids everywhere.  WPXI has a little more up about the legal battle over Constance's prom.

Don't forget to check out exciting Pgh blogs

Ms. Mon's Salon on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website.

Pgh native and woman of might Jeanne Clark blogging at Ms.com (Jeanne is a long time ally who called out Dan Onorato on DOMA at the Steel City endorsement meeting)

And to remind us that many persons of faith stand strong behind the LGBT community, Reverent Janet Edwards at the Washington Post. 

And, in closing, my favorite referral Google search .... "best lgbt hair salons in pittsburgh"  

View Article  Reg Henry: Too Good Not To Read

You must read Reg Henry today.  Now. Click right now and do it. 

View Article  A Video Moment

This is one of my favorite songs ...

 

View Article  Fences Make Good Neighbors

Ledcat came home and put the dogs out, then went upstairs.  She happened to glance out the window in time to notice that our neighbor TOOK HER GARAGE down, leaving a giant gap in the yard where the garage wall had once been.  She made it back down to the yard just in time to recall the dogs who were like "Hmmm, let's go see this new space."

Our awesome contractor friend came out to measure tonight and will start putting up the new fence section tomorrow.  Our neighbor admitted she forgot we had dogs.  I don't think ANYONE who walks by the backyard forgets we have these dogs, but I can definitely say that a relaxing evening does not begin with unexpected disruptions in your fence line. 

I will not again say "can this week get any worse?"  LOL.  Apparently, the answer is yes and it is only Tuesday.

Thank goodness for Ledcat quickness. 

View Article  Of endorsements ...

The Steel City Stonewall Endorsement meeting was held Sunday afternoon on the Northshore. For a glimpse into "live" coverage, check out the hashtag PghGayPick.  I was a little caught up in the 140 character frenzy because I wrote most of these tweets and can't interpret a few of them :-)  Kudos to tweeps @Bram_R and @Maria_In_Pgh (who was doing double duty scribbling notes for the soon-to-be-published 2 Political Junkies blog post).

The event was packed, drawing 76 voting members including 19 new members. There were more than 100 people in attendance. The evidence shows that the Steel City endorsement has gained in prominence and import. It will be interesting to see how the organization changes over the next year in response to lessons learned from this endorsement experience. 

The endorsements have been posted on the Steel City page, so check out that information. The event was quite significant both in who came (Congressman Mike Doyle, for example) and who didn't (Congressman Joe Sestak, for example).  Sestak did not capture the endorsement which truly shocked many in attendance. I can't help but wonder if a personal appearance would have made a difference? 

Another interesting turn of events was in the PA House District 20 (Don Walko's vacated seat).  Adam Ravenstahl didn't show up, but was apparently expected.  That was just a weird gaffe given that he expressed a desire to build a relationship with the LGBT community in his questionnaire

Question 1

Describe your familiarity with Pittsburgh's LGBT Community including any receptions, events, parades or other functions that you have attended that were sponsored by an LGBT organization.

Answer

I haven't had the opportunity to become involved in the LGBT Community, but I am eager to learn more and I will seek a working relationship with the Community.

This wasn't the best first step.  Someone gifted me with his official name tag which I will enshrine in my political memorabilia box.  Mark Purcell and Tim Tuinstra did show up and battled it out. I think Tim is more LGBT friendly, but Purcell did a bang up job driving home his support of repealing DADT and I think that's why he won the group's support--- ironic that he won't be able to actually do anything about DADT in this office, but there ya have it. 

The biggest stunner of the night was the endorsement in the Governor's race.  Joe Hoeffel and Dan Onorato tied to each receive a "Highly Recommended" statement of support from the organization. 

In the course of their speeches, Hoeffel affirmed his strong belief in full equality for the LGBT community and his commitment to progressive values.  Onorato announced plans for the still forming Allegheny County Human Relations Commission to oversee the extension of domestic partner benefits to County employees.  This is good news for Allegheny County which I will continue to follow. 

I was disappointed in Onorato.  He started off strong, laying out his accomplishments as Chief Executive.  Then he just grew angrier and angrier about "the blogs" distorting his record and suggesting he take action on domestic partner benefits.  The most disappointing moments were his 1) suggestion that Montgomery County has intentionally not passed its own human relations ordinance when he should be fully aware that they do not have a home rule charter and 2) completely blew the question on DOMA.  He had no idea that Pennsylvania has a statewide DOMA in place and was unable to answer a question about supporting its repeal.  His gay advisors did not prep him very well for the Q & A session.

Some have suggested that I am disproportionately hard on Onorato. I disagree.  He's from my neck of the woods and I've been following these issues for the past several years. It is important that the folks in Central and Eastern Pennsylvania understand that we have a vibrant progressive community clamoring for equality and willing to work for it.  If we don't hold our own elected officials accountable on those issues, we risk confirming the impression that we are a region defined by Darryl Metcalfe and Jane Orie.  I want the rest of the Commonwealth to remember that we've elected Bruce Kraus, Dan Frankel, and Amanda Green.  That we unelected Rick Santorum.  Ms. blogger and longtime ally Jeanne Clark came to this meeting, for pete's sake. Some may believe Pittsburgh and Western PA are far behind Southeastern Pennsylvania's progressive community.  I, for one, do not agree. 

The growing weight of the Steel City endorsement is good news for the region and the statewide LGBTQ community.  I've been very pleased that so many people have reached out to me since our "tweetfest" on Sunday, asking how they can get involved.  This demonstrates that the social media project is a rousing success even in its infancy, but also proves that people get motivated around a range of issues --- some were struck by the ascendency of the Ravenstahls, others by the movement on domestic partner benefits.

We will continue to disagree on the Governor's race and other issues. As I've learned more about the endorsement process for the Liberty City Democrats, I'm excited for the opportunity Steel City has to create forums for the dialogue to drive the endorsement process.  The fact that so many people are reading the blogs and the tweets is positive news -- people are paying attention.  And that is a very important lesson to all candidates -- the LGBTQ community, too, is paying attention.

Congratulations to Steel City for a successful, exciting endorsement meeting.  Stay tuned ...

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The Correspondents