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View Article  Rev Janet Edwards now regular contributor to national faith blog

Reverend Janet Edwards let me know that she is now a regular contributor to the "On Faith" section vis a vis Newsweek and Washington Post.  Here's a link to her contributions thus far.  Her most recent piece is about the Super Bowl:

I see this as an expensive effort on the part of Focus on the Family to raise their profile with an eternal hot button. When the ad comes on Sunday, I plan to go to the kitchen for chips. And since I feel so strongly about this, I will stop now, myself, giving Focus on the Family any more attention until their actions show they really want a serious discussion worthy of the women forced by life to think about abortion.

My heart cries out for a meaningful conversation about these important matters and I trust Jim Daly when he says he feels the same way. I wish we could agree that Super Bowl ads are not the way to do it.

I am so pleased that from the midst of a long struggle over marriage equality, Janet will now bring her wisdom and wit to a national forum.  What a wonderful coup for Pittsburgh.  Congratulations, Janet.  We look forward to reading more.


View Article  Looking to volunteer in Pgh's LGBT community?

If it is politics and advocacy that catch your fancy, then Steel City Stonewall Democrats has several opportunities to get involved.

 - Social Media Editor

- Development Director

- Recording Secretary

Steel City is a great way to make an impact whether your issue is marriage equality, Don't Ask, Don't Tell or you just want to throw the bums out.  You don't have to be a political whiz; everyone is welcome and it is a great place to learn more about politics.  Plus, you'll get multiple opportunities to interact with elected officials so you can bring your message right to the deciders.

ps:  membership in Steel City is as low as $15/person. 


Another way to get involved with the community is through the Gay & Lesbian Community Center. They are looking for individuals to donate 3 hours a month to staff the Center.

The next CRIS volunteer training dates will be
held at 210 grant street at the GLCC

February 11th at 6 PM (by Aaron)

and February 12th at 6 PM (by Rachel)

Current GLCC Hours are

Monday 6-9 PM
Tuesday 3-6, and 6-9
Wednesday 6-9
Thursday 3-6, and 6-9
Friday 6-9
Saturday 12-3, 3-6, 6-9
Sunday 12-3, 3-6

we have a network of great volunteers who help staff the CRIS desk

Are you willing to give three hours of your time a month for the LBGT

come join us!

For more information email volunteer@glccpgh.org


And there is always GLENDA for ongoing community building projects. 

All three organizations are great partners and worthy of your support.  I encourage you to visit the websites and look for the fit that is best for you. 

View Article  Obama calls out Uganda

I have a pretty intense week at work so I opted to enjoy the moment this morning when I learned that President Obama referenced the LGBT community, especially the Ugandan "kill gays" law, during his address at the National Prayer Breakfast. 

We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are -- whether it's here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.

Full text at Pam's House Blend.

Thank you, Mr. President, for using your bully pulpit to call out faith-based hate. 

While I hate that we even have a National Prayer Breakfast, I am so weary of the inch-by-inch revelations of good Catholic Democrats that I'm going to enjoy what I can get. 

View Article  Are you ready for the blizzard?

The arrest of a group of Baptists for child trafficking in Haiti illustrates the deep complexities of international child welfare.  I was appalled at the sheer ignorance of these folks ... they have done tremendous damage.  So very sad for everyone. 

Saddest is that every resource focused on this trial means fewer going to earthquake survivors. 


View Article  GLCC Kidfest Becomes Recurring Event

Some nice news for Pittsburgh's LGBTQ families.  The GLCC Board has approved expanding the Kidsfest event to 4x year, including a very special Pride edition.  I hear some nice feedback from folks about this recent event and I think it is a marvelous idea. 

They are accepting application for venders, performers and tabling interested folks.  Don't miss this opportunity to tap into Pittsburgh sizeable LGBT family community.  Ahem, advocacy groups.  I'm looking at you.
Spring Kidsfest will be Saturday April 10th from 1-4
and Pride Kidsfest will be June 12th from 1-4

So get your kid craft ideas flowing and build connections with a too oft under the radar group of folks ...

View Article  Philadelphia Frustration

The old joke about the divide between Pgh and Philly seems to have some truth which is not funny.

I'm going to try and do a better job of sharing developing Philly news with you. 

Philly has an LGBT Police Liaison Committee.  Dear Lord in Heaven. Can you imagine?  We can't even get a coherent spokesperson on the evening news.

On my quest for new information, I found EDGE Philadelphia.   Kind of club heavy, but there is a little good stuff there. It would be nice to see something like this in Pittsburgh.  Well, it really wouldn't matter because there's no local content and I don't care what rich gay people do in other states.  But I found it. 

ACT UP Philly has a blog.

I like Suburban Guerilla.

And that's it.  I sent 27 email messages out today and got 15 leads back to the same person who can't help me. 

OK, I'm exaggerating. I had 2 cubes of cheese for dinner and the Wii yelled at me for being too rigid so my mood is decidedly lacking in chipper.  For those of you who follow the Wii adventures, I finally FINALLY aced the soccer ball balance game so I did end my session on a high note. 

Seriously.  Philly?  What's up?

View Article  A few things of interest

The Post-Gazette sums up Sunday's Gubernatorial Debate with nothing particularly earthshattering with regard to LGBT political news. This was during the 14th Ward Independent Democratic Political Club debate, considered one of the most significant progressive endorsements in the region.

I really wish a moderator would ask about the disconnect between supporting civil unions and the lack of domestic partner benefits on the County level. 

The PG has some modest hope of action on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  Don't hold your breath.

The National Prayer Breakfast is upon us.  Did you know Congress sponsors a private Christian prayer breakfast?  Did you know they've invited the authors of the Ugandan Kill Gays bill to attend?

A Monroeville Lutheran church did not jump ship over LGBT ordination. I know a gay couple that attends this church and I hope they take some hope that their family interactions changes hearts.


View Article  Untitled

So much has been happening.  I've been so busy at work that I've hardly had time to keep up with email and Facebook, much less blog. 

Let's do the LGBTQ stuff first.

The bastion of Catholic goodness, Notre Dame, is suffering some backlash after publishing this cartoon in the student newspaper.   (h/t Pam's House Blend)

The paper has apparently apologized for letting this slip through the cracks, but an interesting note is the mounting student led pressure for reform on campus -- a change in attitude.  This story resonates here in Pittsburgh because of the eminence of Duquesne University and the never-ceasing struggles of local Christians over LGBTQ issues.  I believe that Duquesne University has a gay-straight alliance called Lambda.  Local LGBTQ orgs often mention the Pitt and CMU alliances -- perhaps we are called to reach out to the Duquesne group, too?

The cartoon is absolutely despicable.  My reference to reaching out to the Duquesne gay-straight alliance is evidence that I am just as capable of contributing community building suggestions as I am lampooning foolishness. 

Here's the "ManCrunch" ad rejected for the Superbowl.  Amusing stuff.

It is Grammy weekend and notorious homophobic Buju Banton is nominated for a Grammy.  GLAAD is not pleased and has taken out an ad in Variety to remind the entertainment industry that we should not reward "art" that promotes killing faggots. 

Still, we are a nation that gave an Oscar to a white director who raped a child.   

Is there a difference between the actions of the artist (rape) and the art itself (kill the faggots)?  I guess we should ask girls who survive rape and Jamaican LGBT folks.

Anything else?  Oh yes POTUS is going to repeal DADT.  Yawn.  Maybe we can have a contest to see what happens first -- Domestic Partner benefits in Allegheny County or the repeal of DADT? 


Meanwhile, around the Burghosphere ...

The Comet closes up shop.

Slag Heap looks at Sestak's actual plan to repeal DADT. 

Roddy on Hait (h/t That's Church)

PopCity on some new local blogs.



View Article  Saturday on the couch with a cup of coffee

The boys decided they really had to visit the backyard at 6:30 AM so up I got.  Now I'm coffee'd up and had the wonderful joy of listening to my neighbor laying on her horn for ten minutes to get her kids out of the door. 

Which brings me to the number one topic of the morning, the Pennsylvania Governors Debate last night at the PA Progress Summit 

I followed last night on Twitter.  The hashtag for upcoming debates is #pagovdebate, btw.  Next debate is Sunday here in Pittsburgh.

Anyway, here's the Morning Call wrap up.

In response to a question from an audience member, Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty and Hoeffel said they would support marriage rights for homosexual couples.

''As the only one here who performs weddings, I don't have a problem with same-sex marriage,'' Doherty said. ''People have a right to be happy. This is America. We should provide everyone with the same equality and respect.''

Onorato stressed his support for anti-discrimination measures in Allegheny County, and would also favor civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

Auditor General
Jack Wagner said he believes marriage is a union between a man and a woman, but also voiced support for protection from discrimination for the state's gay and lesbian community.

This is what I'm afraid of ... people out East are going to fall for Onorato's "pragmatic progressivism" which in the case of anti-discrimination legislation means jumping on the bandwagon at the last possible moment and then taking credit for the heavy lifting.  He's a liar, but he's feeding them lies they want to hear so how on earth will the truth get out?  I would love to invite a leader from Philly's LGBT political community to talk with some of the LGBT folks who can't necessarily afford to jet out to Philly for the high profile fundraisers and house parties, but have been present at critical junctures. We are at the mercy of political dilettantes who have a hell of a lot more money than we do.  All we have is a voting record and an informed populace of LGBTQ leaders who are being excluded from the Onorato table because they seemingly are more Q than G. 

Even Team Luke invites the Qs for God's sake!

Is that what Philly wants in our next Governor?  Is that what you want?

Three of the four candidates ? Hoeffel, Doherty and Onorato -- all said they would veto legislation criminalizing abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court votes to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

Wagner said he would work to improve services for children and
pregnant women.

''I'm for less abortions??but at the same time, I strongly support existing law,'' Wagner said. ''But it's more than that. It's more than simply a law. It's about supporting children. It's about supporting women with good health care choices. It's about supporting existing laws on the books.''

If I were anti-choice, I'd be howling except I know this is codespeak for get the progressive vote and then let the conservative Senate do what the hell it wants so its really all okay for the fetus. 

Wagner's right that we need better services for women and children, period.  Not just pregnant women.  Women who need access to safe, affordable healthcare across the board so they can make informed decisions about their lives, including their reproductive choices.  There's a lot we can do to reduce the number of women who have unwanted pregnancies, but it doesn't start by squelching their Right to Privacy.  It starts much much further back along the line, probably somewhere that led to four white men standing on a stage in 2010 discussing their bid for Governor.  Until they acknowledge that privilege, this "support for existing law" needs to be called out for the ridiculous non-position that it is.

Back to Onorato, from the Post-Gazette coverage of the debate (big emphasis on Liquor Control Board)

Why doesn't the Post-Gazette ever mention that Mr. Onorato has not supported domestic partnerships for the past six years that he has been the boss of County employees?  Why does the Post-Gazette edit out references to gender identity and gender orientation?  Why do they obsess about marriage equality instead of finding out for themselves what the key indicators of LGBTQ quality of life are in the local gay community? 

Because marriage equality is sexy shorthand for the mainstream media too lazy to do their homework on these issues. 

Look, I don't have patience for the plodding along from "gays are okay" to marriage equality continuum, but supporting civil unions doesn't give you a pass on other issues.  It may be smart strategy in Pennsylvania where civil unions or marriage won't see the light of day for a decade so you won't actually have to vote on it.  But smart strategy is probably good enough for the affluent gay men who have the bounce of a thick wallet to take the sting out of being kicked in the ass by a politician who tolerates your campaign contributions. 

Smart strategy doesn't help actual gay people here in Pittsburgh.  We aren't getting married anytime soon, but we do have to feed our families, keep our jobs and figure out healthcare.  Plus, catch a bus to work, prevent our kids from being swept away in Wal-Mart landslides, pay for childcare, take care of our senior family members and find somewhere safe to live.  Whew.  We are busy.

I cannot wait for the Steel City Stonewall Democrat endorsement where I will finally get to ask Onorato to publicly explain a six year (and counting) lag on domestic partner benefits in contrast to Mr. Hoeffel's County providing them for the past nine years. 

There is more to my concern than choice and LGBTQ civil rights.

I'm getting tweets and FB notes from LGBTQ folks also concerned about the environment, job development, health care, public transportation and so forth. 

It is heartening that people are paying attention and, as I've said before, social media is driving more people to this election. 


View Article  Breaking: Pennsylvania Courts to Offer Domestic Partner Benefits

Another step forward for Pennsylvania's public employees.  From the Philly Gay News:

Employees of Pennsylvania?s court system who are in same-sex relationships will now be entitled to the same benefits as their heterosexual married counterparts.

The domestic-partner policy, announced Jan. 29 to all employees through a memo with their paystubs, will allow the partners of gay and lesbian staffers to be included on the medical, dental, vision and prescription-drug plans currently offered to married heterosexual couples.

Art Heinz, communications coordinator at the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts, said the policy will apply only to same-sex partners of the employees and will not be offered to unmarried heterosexual couples. Support materials for those wishing to enroll in the program will be available shortly, Heinz said, and the program will officially open March 1.

Disappointing that this only applies to LGBT couples, but still a step forward.  This applies to nearly 1,000 elected officials. 

Imagine -- openly gay judges. 

This is the most excellent response to the "if the budget allows" hedging we've heard here in our neck of the woods.

McCaffrey concurred that the cost should be minimal, but said finances did not play a large role in the Supreme Court?s decision.

?There were some numbers thrown back and forth, but we didn?t feel it was going to be a big number,? the justice said. ?We of course don?t know the number of people who are going to use this, but as I said to my colleagues, when the U.S. Supreme Court was deciding ?Brown v. Board of Education,? never once did the issue of money come up. It was about equality, fairness, equal rights. And that?s what we focused on.?

Equality, fairness, equal rights.  So refreshing. 

Expect an announcement from Team Onorato next week.  Sources tell me he will reiterate his support for civil unions, something the Governor cannot actually make happen given the rabidly conservative tenure of the Senate.  No word from Chief Executive Onorato on domestic partner benefits for County employees.

Kudos to the PA Court system for treating their own staff with equality and fairness.



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