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View Article  The Candidate Who Notices Important Steps Toward Equality




View Article  I know, I know ...

I promise I will post about the Mayor's LGBT Advisory Council meeting.  I can't promise to be particularly witty.  I've been debriefed by no less than five people about this meeting, including someone from the Mayor's team, so I'm already a little over it. 

However, I spent more than 12 months pushing for this Council to take shape and do something so I promise to stick with it for the long haul. 

I did live tweet the event.  You can read all about it here http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23LukeLGBTcmt

That's all I've got for right now. 

View Article  PG Stuff N That

Some good news from the PA Supreme  Superior Court ...

The PG does a thorough job with this story, explaining how the concept of custody rulings continues to evolve around the best interests of the child.  The idea that one type of parent is automatically a better custodial parent because of their identity (mother, white, married, etc) is set aside. 

I also like that the higher court slapped down the lower court judge for clear gender bias in his ruling.

View Article  Live Tweeting Mayor's LGBT Advisory Meeting Tonight

Tonight, the Mayor's LGBT Advisory Committee will be holding its first meeting with representatives of the community.  I will be live tweeting the meeting so you can be there, too! 

The invitation asked us to bring along our top three concerns/issues related to the LGBT community in Pittsburgh.  I have one very concrete, easy to address proposal (AND a solution that won't cost money).  Do you have any suggestions?  You can email or tweet me if you do. 

View Article  WV House keeps "marriage protection" amendment from floor vote

Good news from West Virginia. (h/t Fairness West Virginia)

GOP delegates unsuccessfully tried to force a floor vote on a bipartisan resolution (HJR5) called the "Marriage Protection Amendment." The proposal calls for a statewide referendum on whether to amend West Virginia's constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

This week, Republicans launched a push to make the House vote on measures they say Democrats have allowed to die in the legislative process.  They want to do that by "discharging" bills from committees, bringing them directly to the floor for a vote.

Except for Delegate Tom Louisos, D-Fayette, the House's Democratic majority on Tuesday voted to postpone consideration of the Republican motion to discharge the marriage amendment.

Later, the committee that controls the flow of bills decided to keep that motion off the House's agenda. 

The issue has some life in the WV Senate, but this is definitely good news. 

View Article  Joe Hoeffel ad

This was posted as a DailyKOS diary yesterday. Thoughtful people are not buying into the idea that we must capitulate on equality to run a viable candidate in the general election. 

[T]here's also a need to be bold enough that if you win, you have a mandate to actually pass laws that address the problems the state faces (like the lack of civil rights for LGBT people). Some people think Onorato or Wagner strike the right balance, and I respect their opinion. On the other hand, I remember how electability worked out in Bush vs. Kerry in 2004. In hindsight, a clearer contrast like Howard Dean might have been a better choice to go up against Bush.

I'm not against Onorato, Wagner or Williams. I just think we can do better.

Let's ask the gay employees of Allegheny County if we can do better. 


View Article  A Poll

View Article  Thumbs on the Keyboard, Dems!

My list of PA and Pgh politician tweeps continues to grow. I"m up to 87 accounts now.  http://twitter.com/PghLesbian24/politicians-pgh-and-pa

Republicans are jumping on board the social media wagon at a much faster rate than Democrats.  I did add the PA House Democratic Campaign Committee and Dan Keller who is running for the House seat in the 20th district (against Chet/Adam Ravenstahl who has no actual presence except for an allegedly hefty war chest).

But this morning, I learned that US Congressional candidate Mary Beth Buchanan is tweeting.  From her page, I found SIX GOP clubs that are using Twitter.  Three updated within the past 24 hours, 2 within the past month and 1 last tweeted in June 2009.  I also found another GOP State Senator and the Senate Republican Caucus.

The local GOP is actually conducting a full-scale social media training, including Twitter, for committee folks.  They are embracing this technology.  Democrats can't let Bill Peduto and Natalia Rudiak do all the heavy lifting. Complacency is not a good organizing tool. 

Surely all those $3000 fees that ACDC will be collecting this go around can pay for a little training?

View Article  CMU grad studet shares her experience under Don't Ask, Don't Tell in PG

I caught this op/ed piece in Sunday's Forum section of the Post-Gazette a little later in the afternoon.  I'm glad I held off writing about it because some interesting contextual information on DADT has since been released. 

CMU graduate student Karen Mesko shared her painful journey as a member of the Reserves which she entered after realizing that being in the closet as a gay woman would be too difficult for full-time enlistment. 

One part struck me. Because some of her coworkers at her civilian day job were also Reservists, she didn't even have the luxury of being out in her civilian life.  That one factor created a permanent wedge, she writes.

This sounds like a horrible way to live and a succint explanation of how DADT has a negative impact on the troops it ostensibly exists to protect.  Forcing people to lie to one another erodes the cohesion necessary for full effectiveness. 

It also erodes the human beings living with this weight on their shoulders.  We don't know if Mesko's work environment would have been welcoming to her identity as a lesbian, but the presence of other Reservists trumped whatever environment the corporate culture created.  Other Reservists can be anywhere and I had never considered that prior to this article. 

Kudos to Karen for sharing her story.  I urge you to read in its entirety.

In related news, Servicemembers United announces that Senator Lieberman will introduce legislation to repeal DADT.

?I have been asked by both the White House and by advocacy groups within the gay rights community to be the lead sponsor, and I?m glad to do it,? Lieberman is quoted as saying.

Debate over the repeal process itself has been swirling for months (years?).  Legislative action or Presidential decree?  Time frames?  It is incredibly complicated. I've been following the blog/national LGBT organization debate for months and I'm still confused.

SU's press release has this to say

To strengthen the prospects for the repeal of the ?Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell? law and to reduce political risk, the President can still order the Pentagon to include ?Set End-date / Delayed Implementation? repeal language in one of the legislative policy transmittals that will soon be sent to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees by the Department of Defense. These policy proposal packages serve as indications of White House and Pentagon support for policy changes to be included in the next National Defense Authorization Act.

Additionally, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee could insert Senator Lieberman?s new bill into the Chairman?s mark of the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, which will soon be drafted. Such a move, especially in combination with the Presidential action through Pentagon policy transmittals, could turn out to be the path of least resistance for repeal of the ?Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell? law and could help shield vulnerable members of the President?s and the Chairman?s own party.

From what I gather, most folks agree to suspect implementation of the policy so no one else will be discharged and the establistment of termination date for the policy.  Its just that no one wants to be the fall guy in the 2010 midterm elections. 

Another related note. The New York Times runs a piece on research indicating the LGBTQ soldiers don't disrupt units as has been much ballyhooed by opponents of the repeal.

The 151-page study, which updates existing studies on gay service members in Britain, Canada, Australia, South Africa and other countries, offers the first broad look at the issue in foreign militaries since Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for an end to ?don?t ask, don?t tell? earlier this month.

The report concludes that in foreign militaries, openly gay service members did not undermine morale, cause large resignations or mass ?comings out.? The report found that ?there were no instances of increased harassment? as a result of lifting bans in any of the countries studied.

In addition, the report says that none of the countries studied installed separate facilities for gay troops, and that benefits for gay partners were generally in accordance with a country?s existing benefits for gay and lesbian couples.

On implementation, the study said that most countries made the change swiftly, within a matter of months and with what it termed little disruption to the armed services. Mr. Frank said the study did not look at what happened if the change was implemented gradually because, he said, ?I don?t think any of the militaries tried it.?

Rip the bandaid off quickly and be done with it.  The US is going for a more delayed approach; I wonder if this data will have any impact?

Can we really afford to lost any more thoughtful, bright, articulate women like Karen Mesko before this is resolved?

Specter supports the repeal.  Casey hasn't taken a public stance.

View Article  Sunday Interests

A race is on for a local state House seat currently held by Mike Turzai (R) who voted in 2006 to amend the PA Constitution to "protect" marriage.  Democrat Sharon Brown of McCandless is challenging him.  Turzai is not supporting HB 300.  The marriage equality bills and hate crimes legislation haven't been introduced in the House so our litmus test is a bit thin.  Well, except for amending the Constitution.  Whatever you think of that.

We'll keep you updated on Brown's campaign.

Speaking of HB 300, you can follow its progress here

Maria of 2 Political Junkies reminds us that anti-choice can be very anti-woman, pointing out something I such much bandied about on Twitter yesterday - Utab is criminalizing miscarriage.  It has been the case that causing someone else to have a miscarriage was a crime. Now Utah can begin monitoring women's behavior to determine potential fetus threats.  A little too The Handmaid's Tale for my taste, eh?  We are not incubators.


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