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View Article  Pennsylvania not interested in protecting gay kids in foster care?

Jesus, Mary and Joseph ... this is exactly why we need a strong gay ally at the helm of the Commonwealth.

Representative Phyllis Mundy of Luzerne County says she has introduced her ?Children in Foster Care Act? legislation during every session since 2005. But this time, she?s made some adjustments that may make the bill more popular, by omitting a section that would have protected children against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Because many children are in foster care because of their sexual orientation, she says the clause would be relevant in the bill of rights. However, since she?s had trouble passing it with that inclusion, she says she?d ?rather pass an imperfect bill than no bill at all.?

They can't pass a bill that protects children from being abused in foster care based on their sexual orientation?  I know we are battling mightily to add sexual orientation to non-discrimination laws, hate crimes laws, etc.  But this is pretty despicable.

I'd be lying if I said I'm incredulous.  Three years in foster care taught me quite a bit, mostly about the wonderful kind people who step forward to parent children in foster care.  The best foster parents I knew were able to separate their personal opinions from the requirements to provide care consistent with the regulations.  Christian parents kept Jewish and Muslim children connected to their cultures. This was true across boundaries of race, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, etc. 

That doesn't mean there aren't unscrupulous people who don't fulfill their duty and moral obligation to these children.  This issue hasn't been on the radar that I've seen. I'm going to get more information.  Clearly, LGBT adults need to do some educating of our legislators on this issue. 

This is just a post to raise awareness that this is an issue.  The campaigns are sexy, but we can't lost site of issues.  I don't know if we can make an impact now or later on this issue, but I hope we can at least make sure we keep it on our radar.

View Article  Liberty City Democratic Club posts candidate questionnaires

The candidates questionnaires are up at the Liberty City Democratic Club site.  I like how they handle this - all of the candidates in each race are listed so you can see clearly which candidates took the time to respond and which did not. 

Now granted they misspelled his name, but how can Arlen Specter ignore the gay democratic club in SE Pennsylvania?  How can Anthony Williams ignore them when he is gunning for some of Hoeffel's supporters?  How can all three Lt. Governor candidates ignore them?

Now I've attached the three gubernatorial questionnaires to this post so they are preserved for posterity.  Something odd I noticed --- the Wagner campaign submitted the Steel City aka Pittsburgh questionnaire to the Liberty City aka Philadelphia group. They aren't the same. 

I strongly urge you to either visit the site or download the attached .pdf files and review the candidate information.  The Philadelphia specific information may give you some insight into how the candidates may govern on a statewide level.

I think if you review the significant LGBT indicators you'll agree with me that Joe Hoeffel is clearly the strongest leader and the only progressive candidate.  Jack Wagner has a decent track record -- he has introduced legislation and voted on LGBT issues.  His anti-choice stance makes him the second best candidate.  Onorato, well just read for yourselves.  He can safely be in third place with no LGBT voting record and waffling on the choice issue. 

There's a clear choice for the LGBT community and you can see that from the candidate's own words as well as their track records. 

3 Attachments
View Article  Yesterday was a great day to be gay (and so is today ...)

What a big day Tuesday was ....

The defeat of the PA Marriage Amendment was a huge deal. No drawn out drama. No legislative time wasted.  The bill went back on the table.  Huge victory.

I'm finally making some headway in my attempts to find out exactly how domestic partner benefits can be extended to County employees.  It has taken more than two months to get this information (why the big secrets, even setting side the snowstorm delay?). I should clarify that County Council has provided me with information, but the County Administration continues to avoid answering my questions.  

I hope to continue making progress on this issue.  If the process is the barrier to Mr. Onorato being able to provide these benefits, let's make sure we understand the process and put pressure in the right places.  I've spoken with too many County employees who aren't comfortable being out in their workplace because of the culture of homophobia.  It is our responsibility to help Mr. Onorato understand why even one employee so oppressed deserves his leadership.  They are his team and they deserve to be treated with the same respect as their heterosexual colleagues.

I'll save my conclusions until I've gathered more data.  Home Rule Charter - big reading fun. 

My understanding is that even though the Governor has extended dp benefits to State employees, not all state unions have embraced them.  So there is work to be done on that level, too, which is why we need to elect a Governor who will be proactive on this issue.  We certainly can't afford to let equal rights opportunities slip away!   Health care is a front and center issue so we need good information on all the players -- Executive, Legislative, Labor, Non-Unionized Workforce, etc -- to ensure our families have access to health insurance. 

Last night was also the Steel City Stonewall meeting.  THREE candidates for the Board are putting their names forward which is very exciting.  Questionnaires have been returned and should be up on the Steel City website tonight.  Some questionnaires are still MIA, but you'll be able to see for yourself.  Do you think members should know which candidates turned in a questionnaire by the deadline and which turned it in days, even a week, late?  Does that have any meaning?

The endorsement meeting is March 28 from 2-5 PM.  If you are interested, follow Steel City on Twitter @StonewallPgh for up to the moment information. 

Steel City also needs your membership. You can pay at the door and vote that day.  This is a critical time to take a political stance.  You have everything you need .... you can research the candidates in advance so you know what you are voting about, you can ask questions (guess what I'm going to ask of whom?), you can make an impact with one vote (trust me on that one). 

If you stay home, you allow power to decide the future of your family to rest in the hands of folks who maybe don't quite understand your family experience?  That's never good. 

View Article  A nice win in the PA Senate Judiciary Committee

Kudos to Pennsylvania for stepping away from discrimination with today's vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee to table the proposed "Marrriage Amendment" introduced by Senator Eichelberger.  I was rather excited when I got the news ... thanks to the magic of social media, it hit Twitter, Facebook, my inbox and my cell phone within 60 seconds.

Technically, the legislation still exists (just like the gays!), but it is unlikely to be brough up for another committee vote which means it is effectively dead. 

Committee members who voted for the motion to table SB 707 included Republicans Pat Browne, Jane Earll, and Mary Jo White and Democrats Daylin Leach, Lisa Boscola, Wayne Fontana, Michael Stack, and Jay Costa.

Things got pretty heated yesterday when blogger John Morgan from the Pennsylvania Progressive offered to out hypocrites.

As one commenter put it, six legislators voted against tabling the amendment.  Will John need to make good on his promise?

View Article  Guest Piece Published on Pennsylvania Progressive
Hey, always nice to be promoted by other blogs.  The Pennsylvania Progressive published a guest post about a Pgh queer perspective on Onorato.  Check it out.  You probably won't be surprised :-)
View Article  Blogging for Equality

 

A marriage amendment has sprung up again in Pennsylvania. Its any easy way to pander to the right-wing conservatives who seem to populate this state. As has been practiced throughout history, fear is always a great way for a politician to get points with the constituents. I have been reading a great book about the rise of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, two politicians who figured out how to use fear, and it's twin sister, ignorance, to win elections.

And here we go again, because it's not like we don't have real pressing issues in Pennsylvania that affect married heterosexual couples such as health insurance, poverty, hunger, crime--the list goes on. Discrimination against lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people is one of the last battles to be won in civil rights. It's still around because it wins elections and builds political careers -- see Metcalfe, Daryl --on the basis that if the LGBT community is permitted to marry it will destroy the fabric of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

This is repeated along with the obligatory biblical references without any evidence that any LGBT person's relationship and marriage has destroyed anyone's heterosexual marriage. In fact, every marriage that has been destroyed--particularly those of said right-wing fear mongering politicians has been done in by infidelity via a heterosexual partner such as a soulmate in Argentina or the sterotypical hooker.   

Other people have blogged eloquently today about our relationships and our families and that's important. But we in the LGBT community have to take a page from other civil rights movements and become politically involved even if it's no more than taking five minutes to vote. I have heard a lot of people in our community tell me that they are not political but, unfortunatley, that's just not an option. The politicans out there don't want to focus on the real, hard issues pressing this state. They want to focus on YOU and keep us from enjoying the same rights and benefits of society that they enjoy. So take some time and tell them we are human beings as worthy of rights as they (and their mistresses are).   

View Article  In Other News ...

Very excited to see the debut of the Post-Gazette's first female opinion blog, Ms. Mon's Salon.  She'll be blogging daily so pull up a seat and hold on ...

Our friend and LGBTQ ally Kevin Acklin is coming out as a Democrat and running for committee.

Acklin says his party change reflects a mix of pragamatism and political philosophy. Echoing critiques he made in 2009, he says that he's found himself increasingly at odds with the GOP -- largely because of its hardline position on social issues like equality for LGBT citizens. And he's found Democrats to be more accepting.

Well, let's hope he doesn't become too entrenched in the Democrat party handline position on issues like equality for LGBT citizens.  This ain't Philly, Kevin. 

Bruce Kraus is out on the street doing the dirty work.  Someone has to and I sure wish we could get some of this "roll up the sleeves and get stuff done" energy going on over here in my neck of the woods. I just got off the phone with 311 yet again about the cars/drugs/etc at the house down the street. 

View Article  Life Goes On: Blog for Equality 2010

I don't think there's much I can add on the "Marriage Protection" amendment that I haven't covered in the past 4+ years. You have the contact information.  We need you to call today. Today is the day.

Sunday, I woke up at 7:30 AM, let out the dogs, put on the coffee and grabbed the newspaper.  We got ready for our day in our very mundane ways ... showers, searches for matching socks, feedings of various pets, etc.  We had breakfast. 

We went to the grocery store. Nothing says weekend chore like Giant Eagle on a Sunday afternoon.  We fuss over how to load the groceries and who gets to push the cart.  We haggle over items that aren't on the list.  We have a check-out routine and determine whose turn it is to get the fuelperks.  We lug the groceries to the car and drive home.

Unload. I put things away while she clears space in the fridge. One of us runs the disposal while the other takes the trash outside. Someone tosses in a load of laundry. Litter boxes get scooped.  Laundry is changed. The dog bedding is examined for contraband cat toys. 

Dinner is started.  We chat back and forth.  The Siamese cat changes hands repeatedly to prevent disaster. More laundry.  Final round of trash to the curb. Dinner. Dishes. More animal feedings. 

Oh, we folded towels, too.  And we read the newspaper and watched 60 Minutes. 

Why can't we just have our domestic little life and not be demonized and dehumanized by the Pennsylvania Constitution?  Is that really so much to ask?  

I wonder how many fuelperks it would take to earn civil rights?

View Article  Liberty City Endorsement

The Liberty City Democratic Club endorsement is just around the corner

2010 Primary Candidate Nights

Candidates for the 2010 Primary are invited to address our membership at the following meetings:

Thursday March 18th - US Congress, State Representatives

Monday March 22nd - Governor, Lt. Governor, State Senate, US Senate

Contact Matthew Woodcock, Chair of the Endorsement Committee here regarding attendance.

Meetings will be held at the William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107.
Social Hour begins 6:00 pm, Meeting begins promptly at 6:30.

 

Candidate questionnaires for the statewide races will be on the Liberty City website so you'll be able to compare with the Steel-City Questionnaires prior to the local endorsement should you wish. 

View Article  Pgh Blog for Equality 2010 - Tomorrow

Reminder to log in tomorrow to see what the blogosphere has to say about the PA "Marriage Amendment." I do not know how many blogs are participating, but I hope we can count on your support.  Please consider updating your Facebook status or Twitter status and it would be great if you change your Facebook and/or Twitter profile pic to use our image on Monday. 

Need some motivation? Darryl Metcalfe is running for Lt. Governor.

I'm still mulling over my post. 

Here's the logo.

Follow PghLesbian24 on Twitter

The Correspondents