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View Article  ACDC Call to Action on Health Care Reform

I received this via an email list.

Call to Action: We Need Your Help

With the House of Representatives expected to vote on health insurance

reform as early as next week, the Allegheny County Democratic Party and

Organizing for America (OFA) are stepping up our efforts as we head into the

"Final March for Reform."

OFA is hosting "Final March for Reform" events across Allegheny County,

ranging from phone banks to letter writing parities and Congressional office

visits. Click here http://my.barackobama.com/PACalltoAction to sign up to

attend an event.

Our opponents are already planning to spend millions more on their campaign

to kill reform. We must fight back and show our members of Congress that

Pennsylvanians support health insurance reform-and that we will be there to

back them up when they support reform. Can you donate an hour to two this

weekend to fight back?

Sign up here: http://my.barackobama.com/PACalltoAction

President Obama's plan for health insurance reform will put an end to the

outrageous rate hikes crippling Pennsylvanians and prohibit their worst

abuses like denying care based on a pre-existing condition. At the same

time, the President's plan makes health insurance more affordable by

providing middle-class families with the largest health care tax cut in


This is a critical moment for reform and everything we have worked for over

the past year is on the line. Join me on the "Final March for Reform" by

signing up today to attend an event.


Very Truly Yours,

Jim Burn, Chair,

Allegheny CountyDemocratic Committee


View Article  Janet Edwards on DC Catholic Diocese decision regarding family benefits

Pittsburgh's own Reverend Janet Edwards examines the decision of former Pittsburgher, now D.C.'s Archbishop Donad Wuerl to eliminate family benefits (including health care) for Catholic Charities.  This came in response to the legalization of marriage equality in D.C.  As we wrote last month, Reverend Edwards is now a regular contributor to the Washington Post blog, on Faith.

Jesus' example has inspired Christians through the ages to reach out to the hungry and needy, the orphan and the widow, including the long mission of Catholic Charities in the Washington Archdiocese. This service has been life-giving and a witness to the love of Christ for all.

And so it grieves me to see Archbishop Wuerl and the Catholic Charities choose to deny help to those in need because they have judged certain parents unworthy of adoption, and certain employees' spouses unworthy of health care and other benefits.

As Christians who strive to follow Jesus' example, we are called to minister to the weak and to rejoice when the longsuffering find relief -- including the stalwart LGBT couples who have waited so long to get married. We all know Jesus loved a good wedding feast.

I hadn't really thought about the Catholic Church being called to minister to LGBTQ families and individuals as part of their long history of social service outreach.  Typically, when one thinks of ministering to the LGBTQ community, one thinks of "pray away the gay" or the very dedicated LGBTQ community of faith.  I have struggled to understand why otherwise sane gay people remain wedded to their Catholic culture.  Perhaps Janet is right and the ministers on the front lines grasp this in a way that Archbishop Wuerl has chosen to reject?

I suggest you keep up with Reverend Edwards' column as she continues to frame LGBTQ issues within the American cultures of faith.

View Article  Can Daryl Metcalfe get any wingnuttier?

As you recall, Metcalfe is running for Lt. Governor. In spite of his lofty looney ideals, he's also pragmatically running for his House seat, too.  Cause powerful is as powerful does.  Something like that.

Metcalfe told the Post-Gazette that he isn't about to be some namby-pamby Lt. Governor. He'll govern like a man, for God's sake (literally).  God help the gays, women, immigrants, veterans, environmentalists, poor people, and pretty much anyone who isn't a god-fearing, sermon-swallowing, blue eyed blond haired, baby popping patriot. Amen.

Mr. Metcalfe shrugged off the angry calls for his resignation that greeted his criticism. He has been similarly outspoken on issues such as gay marriage, charging that proponents of liberalized marriage laws were advancing "a homosexual agenda."

Mr. Metcalfe said he is optimistic that he will emerge at the front of the nine-candidate GOP field that includes Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley, who was endorsed last month by the Republican State Committee.

"I think that we have a very strong base of supporters across the state from our work on areas like the Second Amendment, pro-life, marriage, illegal alien issues," he said. "I think we're going to have a very good chance of upsetting the establishment and its hand-picked candidate."

You know my recent visit to the Marriage License office in Allegheny County has made me completely unsympathetic to defenders of marriage.  The idea that allowing a 16 year old to marry while forbidding me at 39 to make that same decision is ... stupid.  16? 
I suppose we have to give Mr. Metcalfe props for not using the terms "illegals," but otherwise it is the same shameful hate-mongering that continues to plague the Republican party. 

Gotta love when the white guy with a hefty salary and a pension is critiquing "the establishment." 
View Article  Enough is enough. Tell the PA Senate to put a stop to discrimination.

I don't often pull over in the middle of the work day to make a phone call, but today was an exception.  When I received an email about a potential vote on the so-called "Marriage Protection" amendment, I dialed fellow blogger Maria Lupinacci of 2 Political Junkies and asked her to help me organize a blog swarm on the topic.  Within minutes, she agreed and a few hours later, had a logo in my inbox.  See earlier post for that! 

We have a chance to "make some history" folks, according to the ACLU.  Twice this amendment has come up in the Senate and both times it was defeated by procedural maneuvers.  It has never been simply voted down. 

This year, we have a chance to get that vote down once and for all so the Senate can focus on the business of governing this Commonwealth instead of monitoring my family like we are terrorists.  Remember that 100+ day delay with last year's budget?  Should we really waste a precious moment of the months leading up to budget negotiations on an issue that has already been legislatively addressed by the Pennsylvania DOMA? 

Here's what you can do.

This is a list of the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee.  Maybe you recognize a name or two?

Who to call.  Call the Harrisburg office (use your cell phone). Email messages are not going to work on this one. 

Mary Jo White  (717) 787-9684 Butler (part), Clarion, Erie (part), Forest, Venango and Warren (part) Counties

** Special note that Senator White has spoken against this amendment in the past.  Please thank her for that and ask her to vote no. This is a vote that can make an impact **

Jane Earll  (717) 787-8927  Erie (part) County

Jane Orie  (717) 787-6538  Allegheny (part) and Butler (part) Counties 

Our friends who always appreciate a thank you

Jay Costa (717) 787-7683 Allegheny County

Wayne Fontana (717) 787-5300  Allegheny County

This is quite important.  Many of the folks in this committee use Facebook, Twitter and so forth.  I have a list here. Use social media to spread the word to your friends, family and contacts. Update your FB status.

We have an unprecedented 5 day (including the weekend) window to make contact with these Senators.  I know you know gay folks and allies up in Jane Orie's district.  Don't write her off.  Let her know you are paying attention.  Never underestimate yourself. 

View Article  Blog for Equality 2010 - Stop the Discrimination, Join the Blog Swarm

This is now a sticky post to remain at the top of the blog until Blog for Equality Day is Over. Read below for more current posts


Back in 2008, 14 Pittsburgh blogs participated in our first Blog for Equality event to speak out against the attempt by the Pennsylvania Senate to amend our constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, the so-called "Marriage Protection" Amendment.  The "blog swarm" as it is sometimes described was successful, albeit not singlehandedly responsible for the failure of that legislation to make it out of committee. 

Still, you might like to revist what the 14 bloggers had to say in 2008.

Fast forward two years.  The Senate is once again discussing this issue and we anticipate a vote in the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 16, 2010.  More details from the ACLU of PA:

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill 707 next Tuesday, March 16, at 11:30am.  As you know, SB 707 is the latest incarnation of a state constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage.
Like many controversial, close votes, this could go either way.
It's not hyperbole to say that we have a chance to make history.  We have never won an up-or-down vote on the marriage amendment.  We've beaten this in the past by winning procedural maneuvers.  But now we have that chance.  Let's make the most of it.

So I am announcing Blog for Equality Pittsburgh 2010.  I ask my comrade bloggers throughout the region (and the Commonwealth) to dedicate one post on Monday, March 15, 2010 to the topic of this amendment. 

We have an official Blog for Equality Pittsburgh 2010 button for you to add to your post (h/t 2pj Maria)

html is:

<p><a href="http://www.pghlesbian.com/blog/_archives/2010/3/11/4477944.html"><img src=" http://www.pghlesbian.com/B4E2010.jpg" /></a><p>

If you'll send me a link, I'll update this page with a permanent archive of bloggers speaking out against embedding discrimination into our Constitution.  The swarm is open to any and all bloggers so please spread the word.  You don't have to be gay to disapprove of discrimination and you certainly don't have to have a politial blog to participate in a day of action. We have an unprecedented opportunity to vote NO on discrimination and allow the State Senate to move forward on the critical issues all of our families face.

More later on how you can help make sure this amendment is not voted out of committee. 


Participating blogs

Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents - Sue

Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents - Ledcat

2 Mums and a Boy

A Spork in the Drawer

Lucy & Ethel Have a Baby

Adam and Steve

2 Political Junkies - Maria

2 Political Junkies - David


Jason Cable's GLBT Podcast and Blog

Froth Slosh B'Gosh

The Pennsylvania Progressive

Ms. Mon's Salon

No Longer the World's Slowest Blog



Pgh Is a City

after the bridge


The Narrative in the Blog

Cognitive Dissonance in Pittsburgh and Beyond

Amadi Talks

The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat

The Dallas Voice is covering the vote.

Keystone Progress is on top of the issue.

Philly.com weighs in on the impending vote.

The Lehigh Valley Independent weighs in with their local angle.

Info from Change.Org on Gay Rights

And MyGov365.com which is still in beta is gathering feedback on the bill to pass along. I've been a beta tester and they were responsive enough to modify LGBT information already.

We have a shout out from Pam's House Blend via twitter ....

Local blogger Thomas Waters has been writing about this topic all month and has this post up with general information on the legislation.

On the other hand ... The National Organization for Marriage has a post up, too. 

View Article  Virginia? Yeah, I'm sending my lunch money to Joe Hoeffel - lessons for Pennsylvania

What a bizarre twist of events.

Virginia does not include sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression as protected classes in the state's anti-discrimination laws.  Some Universities, Colleges and private employers in Virginia do include some or all of these classes.

Recently, the Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) issued a legal opinion aka warning to the public academic community (recipients of state funding) that they could not unilaterally broaden the protected classes, something many students have worked tirelessly to accomplish.  Response from the student community and groups like the Young Democrats was swift.

Response from nearby Maryland was swift, too. Maryland State Senator Richard S. Madaleno (D-Montgomery) issued this statement with regard to an employer deciding between  Maryland and Virginia (all about the jobs!)

Madaleno, who is gay, wrote that new Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) are "turning back the clock" on gay rights, as Maryland's attorney general has announced the state will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Virginia voters in 2006 amended the state constitution to prohibit gay marriage.

Virginia Governor McDonnell blinked and decided to the "right" thing by issuing a useless directive instructing Virginians not to discriminate against LGBT persons.  It has no enforcement-ability. It is a move designed to pander to the business community ("Please don't go to the state that has actual tolerance!") without protecting Virginia residents. 

Virginia's legislature, on the other hand, tried to actually make discrimination against gays illegal.

Del. David Englin (D-Alexandria) also rose to address the House, recalling his parents and grandparents' stories of anti-Semitic discrimination by employers. Englin said the state must act to protect Virginia's reputation as a desirable place to do business because some companies might see the state as intolerant.

"Let there be no mistake - Ken Cuccinelli wants to hang a sign in front of the public colleges and universities of this Commonwealth that reads 'Gays need not apply,'" Englin said.

But Del. Robert Marshall, (R-Prince William) argued that gay people needed no "special protections" and said that the term "sexual orientation" was so broad that it would protect behaviors that could not be discussed in public.

Sound familiar?  Well, it should, dear reader.  Because Pennsylvania is not the far removed from this scenario. 

Lack of protections in Pennsylvania?  Yes, it is legal to refuse housing, fire people and kick them out of restaurants because we are gay or trans. A friend reported that this recently happened to her uncle in Beaver County.  And there's not a damn thing he can do about it.  CHECK

Universities with expanded protections?  Yes, this has been an issue of contention but some public (and many private) Universities and Colleges include these classes in their anti-discrimination protections.  CHECK

Wingnut Attorney General?  CHECK

State threats against academic institutions?  Yes, in 1999 the Commonwealth passed a law that exempted universities from providing domestic partner benefits in spite of municipal non-discrimination ordinances.  Pitt eventually did the right thing, but the precedent for the State Government to meddle has been established.  CHECK

Pending legislation? Legislation (HB 300) sits in the House awaiting movement.  It will amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to include gender identity, sexual orientation and gender presentation. Meanwhile, the Senate has for the third time introduced legislation to amend the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.  CHECK

Differences?  Our wingnut AG is running for Governor. The three main contenders for the Democratic endorsement all state support for HB 300.  Wagner has an established, albeit uneven, voting record on LGBT issues but not support full LGBT equality.  Onorato has no voting record, has taken no action to offer domestic partner benefits to his own employees and does not support full LGBT equality.  By "full LGBT equality" I mean marriage.

Joe Hoeffel has an established voting record. Employees in his County have domestic partner benefits.  He supports full and total equality for the LGBT community.

Based on their records, not their promises, who do you think is most likely to issue a "directive" rather than lead government to legalize equality? 

To being the Virginia analogy full circle, who among these three men do you think will create a culture in Pennsylvania that welcomes businesses who value tolerance and equality because they need to attract the best and the brightest?  Maryland is not that far away from Pennsylvania.  Can we really risk losing employers and well-paying jobs by electing a Governor who will not stand FIRM against attempts to take us backwards? 

We don't need marriage equality tomorrow to continue being economically viable.  We do need an Executive Branch that is proactive in creating a more tolerant state culture for everyone. 

Virginia is only for certain lovers.  Let's make Pennsylvania for everyone.  Joe Hoeffel for Governor. Donate today.  Your $10 can make a difference.



View Article  Attention Pgh Area LGBT Executives

This caught my eye ...

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates invites emerging LGBT business leaders to apply for its 2010 Executive Forum, set for April 19-21 in New York City

March 10, 2010
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is inviting qualified applicants to take part in the 2010 Out & Equal Executive Forum?s class for emerging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender business leaders.Set for April 19-21 at the Le Parker Meridien in New York City, the Executive Forum will bring emerging executives together for a unique, two-day experience that is designed to enhance participants? effectiveness as leaders in their workplaces.
Only a limited number of seats are available for this exciting, new opportunity being added to the Executive Forum, now in its third year and known as one of the premiere conferences tailored for senior LGBT executives.
"Over the years, we have created a program - a foundation - that gives LGBT business leaders from around the world the opportunity to learn best practices from one another and become role models and examples for millions of people on how to be successful while being true to oneself," said Out & Equal Founding Executive Director Selisse Berry.
At the Executive Forum, participants will:
?          Hear from experts on issues that intersect with participants' professional roles, their LGBT identities and their advocacy
?          Engage in dialogue with peers on the toughest issues related to the LGBT equality movement
?          Gain a greater understanding of their roles as leaders in their corporations and as leaders creating inclusive workplaces
?          Learn successful strategies and tactics for an executive to further an out and equal workplace
?          Receive encouragement and coaching from peers on how to be their most authentic and powerful self
?          Benefit from expert facilitation to help reflect on and process provocative questions that arise during the Executive Forum
Out & Equal is especially targeting leaders who identify from the transgender community, the bisexual community and the communities of color.
The 2010 Out & Equal Executive Forum will conclude with the Leadership Celebration on April 21 at the Le Parker Meridien. This incredible celebration - including an exclusive reception and a special dinner - will celebrate those making a difference in the movement for LGBT workplace equality.
The cost to participate in the Executive Forum?s Emerging Executive Class is $1,600, and includes both the Executive Forum and the Leadership Celebration. To apply or learn more about the Executive Forum, please visit our website at www.OutandEqual.org.
If you know someone who meets the qualifications, please forward anomination to us. If you have any questions about the Executive Forum or the Leadership Celebration, please contact Associate Director of Summit & Events Anthony Bannon at abannon@outandequal.org or 415-694-6516.
# # #
Out & Equal? Workplace Advocates is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Out & Equal champions safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The organization advocates building and strengthening successful organizations that value all employees, customers, and communities. Visit our website, www.OutandEqual.org, for more details.

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates offers a wide range of programs and services to promote LGBT workplace equality, including the Out & Equal
Executive Forum, set for April 19-21, 2010 in New York City, and the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, set for Oct. 5-8, 2010 in Los Angeles.






View Article  LGBT Films at Jewish Israeli Film Festival in Pittsburgh



View Article  Hoeffel Press Release on Three (3) Democracy for America chapter endorsements
For Immediate Release:
March 9, 2010
Democracy for Pittsburgh Endorses Joe Hoeffel

Joe Hoeffel?Democratic candidate for governor? now has three Democracy for For America  (DFA) chapter endorsements.  Last week he received the third, an endorsement from Democracy for Pittsburgh.   Last month, Hoeffel received endorsements from Philly for Change and Montgomery County DFA, also local coalition partners of the Democracy for America, the nation?s largest progressive political action community.

 ?I am very pleased to have earned the endorsement from Democracy for Pittsburgh,? said Hoeffel.  ?I am proud to know that I have the grassroots support of voters in Western Pennsylvania who want to see our government claim the progressive center by supporting healthcare for all Pennsylvanians, a growing economy centered on the development of green jobs, and investment in education.?

The endorsement bolsters Hoeffel?s credentials as the progressive candidate in the race for governor.  Dan Onorato and Jack Wagner?both Pittsburgh residents?also sought the group?s support, but failed to gain the combined votes they would need to prevent an endorsement from occurring.  An endorsement from Democracy for Pittsburgh requires a candidate to earn 70% of the vote from voting members.



View Article  Washington DC Couple Love Story

From the Washington Post comes the touching love story of the first same sex couple to apply for a marriage license in DC.  They wed today.

"This is for everyone who wants to get married," she says. She used to run a support group for black LGBT women and would end sessions by inviting everyone to submit questions for the group to talk about. One day she unfolded a slip of paper that read, "I feel like committing suicide, but I'm scared." To this day, whenever Young is out, she looks for the writer of that note. She has never seen her.

"I am doing this because I love my partner and we deserve to be married," Young says. "But I am also doing this because the first one is always the hardest."

Someone has to pave the way. She still may run into that woman, and if she does she wants to be able say, "Now, sweetheart. Now you can come through the door."


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