Monday, March 29
by Sue on Mon 29 Mar 2010 06:56 PM EDT
Ledcat and I attended this last year and it was very nice. My massage was a little vigorous, but the hand wax was really cool. I also felt super hip with my henna tattoo. :-)
Sunday, March 28
by Sue on Sun 28 Mar 2010 09:47 AM EDT
The Steel City Stonewall Endorsement meeting is here, today and I'm pretty excited. How fare we've come since I was the lone blogger reporting from last year's event. This year we'll have a variety of instantaneous feedback via the various tweeps planning to attend (hashtag #PghGayPick) along with the usual bloggers. What's most exciting is that some of our allied tweeps are getting involved in the organization and bringing the might of their thoughtful advocacy to the table for the LGBTQ community.
This shows that projects like Blog for Equality are having a systemic impact. People are paying attention. They are educated on the issues. Allies and LGBTQ alike are stepping forward to create meaningful advocacy for our community. We may not agree on the candidate best suited for Governor, but that's the beauty of the primary after all. All this hullabaloo is proof positive that more people are paying attention and using social media.
That's an amazing difference since I first began covering LGBT political events back in 2006. I am excited to follow the hashtag and know that our endorsement will be covered by the region's largest political blog (2 Political Junkies).
If you cannot attend, please do the same. Weigh in, retweet, whatever you like ... just pay attention and help us keep the movement going.
The PA Governor's Race: Hoeffel, Onorato and Wagner. All three have strong gay backers. Wagner could be a surprise spoiler -- he does have a gay positive voting record to atone for those atrocious City Council votes, a claim Onorato cannot prove.
The Senate: Neither Sestak not Specter can attend so it really will be interesting to see how the inevitability argument plays out in this race.
PA House Wheatley v Payne: Jake and Tonya are both allies. Allegations of petition fraud (on the party of MY City Councilor nonetheless) are a last minute twist. This will be a close vote. I'm curious if Mr. Lavelle will make his first post-election appearance at today's meeting to lend his support.
There are other races of course, but these are the hot ones. Alliances are shifting every day. The bylaws require a 2/3 vote to receive a Strong Endorsement; 50% will get you a Recommendation.
I want to commend my State Representative Chelsa Wagner and my State Senator Wayne Fontana for submitting questionnaires even though they are unopposed. Fontana helped squash the marriage amendment and Wagner is a cosponsor and proponent for HB 300. They deserve a nod.
So let's see what today holds in store for us ...
Saturday, March 27
by Sue on Sat 27 Mar 2010 01:48 PM EDT
From Berks County comes word of a Pennsylvania lesbian couple stuck in legal limbo. They married in Massachusetts, but to obtain a Massachusetts divorce will need to reside there for one year. To get divorced in Pennsylvania, their marriage has to be legal in Pennsylvania which it is not. Thus, their divorce petition was turned down.
Berks County is in Southeastern Pennsylvania
This is certainly not the first report of a same sex couple caught in a legal limbo due to the patchwork quilt of marriage equality laws in the United States and they certainly aren't the only couple in Pennsylvania who face this dilemna. Faced with the dissolution of marriage, it is unreasonable to expect someone to move to Mass just to obtain a divorce.
Pennsylvania has just recently squelched attemps to amend the PA constitution to restrict marriage to one man, one woman. Another bill is sitting in the Senate which would legalize same sex marriage. That's not going to happen, but I'd certainly like to see elected leaders such as Pennsylvania Senator Daylin Leach tackle the thorny issue of the divorce. Forcing people to remain in legal limbo is not acceptable. It is bad enough to have your marriage semi-acknowledged when YOU acknowledge it. Being "sort of married" when you aren't with your spouse any longer is a real problem.
We need real solutions. Clearly, marriage equality is the ultimate solution which allows people to make their marital decisions without legal maneuvers and political power plays. But is there something else that can be done? A Rhode Island court denied a petition for divorce even without the DOMA law Pennsylvania has in place. A New York court, however, granted a divorce because children were involved. This can be a very sticky wicket that requires thoughtful solutions as the full impact of second-class citizenship continues to fall out throughout the nation.
I say the solution in the short term is for us to work to elect allies who will show leadership on LGBTQ issues and tackle this sure to be growing legal problem for Pennsylvania families.
by Sue on Sat 27 Mar 2010 10:17 AM EDT
The deception with tact, just what are you trying to say?
by Sue on Sat 27 Mar 2010 09:06 AM EDT
This is what caught my eye this morning ...
The military thinks we are stupid enough to accept a faux-relaxing of policies in lieu of real reform on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. You still aren't supposed to tell, but now if a third party tells on you --- they aren't so quick to take action. Geez.
I completely missed this Tribune-Review posting on State Rep Darryl Metcalfe's run for Lt. Governor.
Here's the scary ... and comforting ... part.
The homo card will pay off in the primary, especially in Jason Altmire's district. Great. At least, we can *hope* that the actual Lt. Governor will support Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclamations.
The Trib also reprints an AP story questioning whether loosening DADT will impact military benefits for the families of LGBT soldiers.
It really is just a matter of time folks until these walls finally crumble down, but it is tough to wait it out especially when we watch our so-called allies doing patchwork that keep the wall up. Imperfect analogy, but you get my point.
by Sue on Sat 27 Mar 2010 08:28 AM EDT
From the Post-Gazette:
At least this was resolved amicably, but how very sad that entire congregations are so rooted in bigotry against the LGBTQ community that the church must change hands. Even more sad that the "theologically conservative" denominations are preying on these same fears to swell their ranks.
This brought to mind the Washington Post blog of Reverend Janet Edwards, a Pittsburgh based minister in the Presbyterian Church. She writes that the call of pastoral ministry is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
While it is comfortable to see the lack of acrimony among the church and the presbytery play out across the front pages, I can't help but wonder if genteel agreements about the distribution of property are the way to go. Is the further entrenchment of the gay-friendly and the gay-phobic faith community consistent with the obligations of the pastors, the bishops -- the calling?
Friday, March 26
by Sue on Fri 26 Mar 2010 08:15 PM EDT
by Sue on Fri 26 Mar 2010 05:59 PM EDT
This is an updated version of a very useful resource. It is a .pdf file which you can download or you can go to the Allegheny County Health Department website.
HEALTH SERVICES DIRECTORY UPDATED FOR UNINSURED & UNDERINSURED
Guide to Remain Valuable Tool Until Health Care Reform Fully Goes Into Effect
The Allegheny County Health Department has updated its directory of local health centers and clinics that serve people with minimal or no health insurance.
?Until the new health care reform law fully goes into effect and expands access to health care, our guide will remain a valuable resource for the uninsured and underinsured,? said County Health Director Dr. Bruce W. Dixon.
The directory has been expanded to include additional resources such as help for compulsive gamblers, Neighborhood Legal Services, the
First published in 2007, the directory is intended primarily for social service agencies and other community organizations dealing with the uninsured, but individuals also may find it useful as a handy guide to health care providers.
Most of the providers listed in the directory use a sliding fee schedule based on household income and family size for patients with no insurance. The fees may be as little as $25 or less and possibly even waived in cases of extreme financial hardship.
The 34-page guide lists more than 40 local clinics and health centers as well as resources available to help with other needs, including prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and transportation. It also features a listing of health insurance options for the unemployed and low-income families.
Wednesday, March 24
by Sue on Wed 24 Mar 2010 06:37 PM EDT
Just an FYI. I've turned on comment moderation and will now require commenters to register with blogware. I encourage anyone who feels silenced to go to blogspot and start a blog!
by Sue on Wed 24 Mar 2010 06:05 PM EDT
Today, I was unsuccessful in getting the Onorato campaign or executive office to provide follow up information to the reports of a commission to provide domestic partner benefits to Allegheny County. One gay supporter confirmed the existance of the commission, but could not name its members. So I've tried another round of contacts with the blessing of other advisors.
I'm speculating that they are saving the reveal for Sunday to achieve maximum impact for the LGBT endorsement. I'm looking forward to the details because I sincerely do not understand how this works. As I've shared, I've been researching the domestic partner benefit process through County Council and the Executive branch. County Council has been very helpful with information from the Home Rule Charter. I can't say the same for the Chief Executive's office. I sort of got the brush off (read I was ignored), but I also really want my friends who work for the County to have domestic partner benefits. They deserve health insurance for their families, just like all of the married heterosexual employees.
The process is very important. Our next Governor will need to expand statewide domestic partner benefits to the state workforce because while the benefits exist, not all of the unions are playing ball. We need a Governor committed to equality to ensure that everyone on his team has access to these benefits and that requires a significant culture shift in the workforce as well as going out on a limb politically.
I guess the next four days will show us if Mr. Onorato is the kind of Governor we need. Yes, I might be somewhat arrogant to assume I deserve an answer in four days. But I've been asking for two years. And never once in that entire period has Mr. Onorato's team even acknowledged me. No matter how politely I've asked. No matter how many proper channels I've followed. No matter how many allies I've approached. No matter that I'm a resident and a voter. They've just ignored the question and all that it represents.
I've been accused of bashing Onorato. The truth is that I'm the one who has been on the beat down side of this entire discussion. I have no money, no power, no particular influence. No one has even paid attention to this issue until the past few months. Where have you all been these past years? I've been responding to every inch of newsprint even hinting of a City-County merged function (ask Michael Lamb how often I've emailed him).
So condemn me for being negative on this issue, but I think years of good faith efforts to get to the truth when I didn't have campaign contributions to help me -- I think that gives me a little room to be skeptical. I can show you the email from the County HR Director saying she'd be in touch ... then show you how she didn't, even when her colleagues at County Council urged her to do so.
Something changed Monday evening. The question was acknowledged by Onorato himself. So now we wait to see if this is more than another promise to be in touch. And we keep hoping that our families get what they deserve.
After four + years of covering the LGBT community in this region, I was depressed that Onorato was the best we could get for our next Governor. Then I met Joe Hoeffel last September and was immediately struck by his intelligence, his broad grasp of issues and his willingness to learn (even from me!). I began reading about is position on the environment, especially Marcellus Shale drilling. I learned about the way he treated his campain staff when health insurance for campaign staff wasn't sexy. Taxes, education, PennDOT funding, issue after issue. So much that makes me hopeful, so pleased to find someone who stands behind his convictions.
But mostly, I'm still struck by how intelligent he is. I want the smartest person possible to be at the helm of our Commonwealth. I want someone who can govern Pennsylvania, not just someone who can be elected.
My hope is that Joe Hoeffel's candidacy shines a light on what an equal society can look like. Let's elect a Governor who has more to offer us than more promises to be in touch. Let's elect the Governor who *is* in touch.