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View Article  A little update on ENDA - Altmire, Murtha and Carney needs calls today

The ENDA folks are asking Pennsylvanians in the following Congressional districts.  Do you have time to make a call today?

Jason Altmire (PA), Christopher Carney (PA), John Murtha (PA),

"Does the Congressman support a fully inclusive ENDA, which includes sexual orientation AND gender identity and gender expression?"

The number for Congress is: 202-224-3121.

Not sure who represents you? Apologies in advance for the different formats.  FYI - you can find a map of the Pennsyvlania Congressional Districts here.




Murtha (sorry I can't find a good map)

Part of Allegheny County consisting of the Township of East Deer Ward 2, Forward Ward 3 and the Borough of Tarentum.

Part of Armstrong County consisting of the Townships of Bethel, Burrell, Gilpin, Kiskiminetas, Manor, North Buffalo - East, Parks, Plumcreek, South Bend and South Buffalo District Eastern, and the Boroughs of Apollo, Elderton, Ford City, Ford Cliff, Freeport, Kittanning, Leechburg, Manorville and North Apollo.

Part of Cambria County consisting of the City of Johnstown; the Townships of Adams, Barr, Blacklick, Cambria, Conemaugh, Cresson, Croyle, East Carroll, East Taylor, Jackson, Lower Yoder, Middle Taylor, Munster, Portage, Richland, Stonycreek, Summerhill, Upper Yoder, Washington, West Carroll and West Taylor; and the Boroughs of Brownstown, Carrolltown, Cassandra, Cresson, Daisytown, Dale, East Conemaugh, Ebensburg, Ehrenfeld, Ferndale, Franklin, Geistown, Lilly, Lorain, Nanty Glo, Portage, Sankertown, Scalp Level, South Fork, Southmont, Susquehanna - North, Summerhill, Vintondale, Westmont and Wilmore.

Part of Fayette County consisting of the Cities of Connellsville Ward Ward 1, 2, 3 and 6, and Uniontown; the Townships of Brownsville, Bullskin, Dunbar Districts 2, 3 and 4, Franklin, Georges Districts 3 and 4, German, Jefferson, Lower Tyrone, Luzerne, Menallen, North Union Districts 1, 2, 4 and 5, Perry, Redstone, Saltlick, South Union Districts 1 and 2, Springhill District 2, Upper Tyrone and Washington; and the Boroughs of Belle Vernon, Brownsville, Dawson, Dunbar, Everson, Fayette City, Masontown, Newell, Perryopolis, Point Marion and Vanderbilt.

All of Greene County.

Part of Indiana County consisting of the Townships of Cherryhill, Pine and White Districts 1 and 2, and the Boroughs of Clymer and Indiana Districts 2 and 3.

Part of Somerset County consisting of the Townships of Conemaugh, Jefferson, Jenner, Lincoln, Middlecreek, Paint and Quemahoning, and the Boroughs of Benson, Boswell, Hooversville, Jennerstown, Paint, Seven Springs, Stoystown and Windber.

Part of Washington County consisting of the Cities of Monongahela and Washington and the Townships of Canton, Carroll Districts 2, 3 and 5, Chartiers Districts 3, 5, 6 and 7, East Bethlehem, Fallowfield Districts 1, 2 and 4, North Bethlehem, North Strabane Districts 2, and 3 (only blocks 3016, 3017, 4004, 4005, 4006, 4007, 4011, 4012, 4013 and 4015 of tract 745100), Somerset, South Strabane Districts 2, 4 and 5, Union, West Bethlehem; and West Pike Run and the Boroughs of Allenport, Beallsville, Bentleyville, California, Canonsburg Wards 2 and 3 (Division 1), Centerville, Charleroi Districts 1, 3 and 4, Coal Center, Cokeburg, Deemston, Donora, Dunlevy, East Washington District 2, Elco, Ellsworth, Finleyville, Houston, Long Branch, Marianna, New Eagle, North Charleroi, Roscoe, Speers, Stockdale, Twilight and West Brownsville.

And part of Westmoreland County consisting of the Cities of Arnold, Latrobe, Lower Burrell, Monessen and New Kensington and the Townships of Allegheny, Bell, Derry districts Alters, Brandenville, Cokeville, Cooperstown, Kingston, Loyalhanna, Millwood, New Derry, Peanut, Saxman, Scalp Level, and Simpsons, Derry, East Huntingdon District Bessemer, Fairfield, Hempfield Districts Bovard, Hannastown and Luxor, Loyalhanna, Mount Pleasant Districts Bridgeport, Duncan, Heccla, Laurel Run, Mammoth, Spring Garden, United and Westmoreland, Rostraver, Salem Districts Hugus and Mechlings, Sewickley Districts East Herminie, Lowber, Rillton, Sewickley and West Herminie, South Huntingdon Districts Jacobs Creek, Mineral, Port Royal, Wayne, Wyano and Yukon, St. Clair, Unity Districts Crabtree, Dorothy, Lloydsville, Pleasant Unity and Mutual , Upper Burrell and Washington Districts North Washington and Paulton; and the Boroughs of Avonmore, Bolivar, Derry, East Vandergrift, Hyde Park, Mount Pleasant, New Alexandria, New Florence, North Belle Vernon, Oklahoma, Scottdale, Seward, Smithton, Vandergrift, West Leechburg and West Newton.

Christopher Carney



View Article  HB 300: Attention Brentwood/Mt. Oliver/Southside LGBT residents

Steel City Stonewall cordially invites the residents of PA House District 36 to participate in a face to face meeting with State Representative Harry Readshaw.  Rep Readshaw is at the top of the list of targeted legislators whose vote is needed for HB 300. 

I know you are busy.  You work FT.  Your children have tap/swim/soccer commitments.  You need to conserve your PTO for children's sicknesses.  I know.

But you are the only one who can tell the story of your life to Representative Readshaw. You can make the everyday experiences of LGBTQ people living in his community real to him. You can remind him that the people he has been elected to serve need his vote on this legislation to ensure his neighborhoods are fair and tolerant. 

I know there are dozens of you out there.  I know there even more dozens of family and friends of LGBTQ persons.  Imagine if even half of you made contact with this coming week.  Just imagine what all those phone calls can do for this legislation and the rights of our community.

As Mr. Gentile said many a time in Geometry class, simply staggering.  Only he was being mean and sarcastic.  I'm being sincere and somewhat in awe of what could happen if you sent a link to this post on to whomever you know in this district. 

Don't worry.  Someone can go with you.  You can email the Women's Law Project for someone to handle all the technical/political language.  That would be sfrietsche@womenslawproject.org.  Email Sue and ask her to lend you a hand.  You just need to tell your story. 


Here is the map of Readshaw's district.  http://www.pahouse.com/readshaw/district.asp#MAP

Here are the main zipcodes in his district along with his phone number if you feel compelled to make an appointment or simply make a phone call. 

Readshaw   (key target)  -  district 36 (412) 881-4208




Pgh (Carson)


Pgh (Hazelwood)


Pgh (Mt. Oliver)


Pgh (Brentwood)


Pgh (Castle Shannon)        


Pgh (Caste Village)



View Article  Remember Sally Kern? Will a statewide Democrat show the moral leadership of Doug Shields?

Remember this from 2008?   Sally Kern of Oklahoma on gays. Followed by the response of Pittsburgh City Council President ...   more »

View Article  Response to PA Senator Eichelberger's "allowing [gays] to exist" comment

I'll try to keep this updated because I think it is important that we keep tabs on how this outrageous comment strikes our elected officials, the media and so forth.  The debate itself has been heralded in the gay media as a great example of a straight elected official laying out the argument for marriage equality. 

2 Political Junkies:  We're Allowing Them to Exist

NG Blog: We're Allowing Them to Exist




Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society

Pam's House Blend Diaries

Additionally, if you search Twitter for Eichelberger you'll see a lot of chatter.  I don't know how to post individual tweets, but some are very amusing.  Apparently, I need to master a new technological skill to push this story.

View Article  OUT in Pittsburgh has new online social network

Check out the new online social network site brought to us by Pittsburgh's OUT media. 


View Article  Call for cosponsors on Inclusive ENDA

US Representative Barney Frank has issued a call for cosponsors on legislation to provide employment protections based on sexual orientation, gender identify and gender expression (known as an inclusive ENDA).

Your charge is to contact your US Representative - by Tuesday - and simply ask them to cosponsor the legislation.  You can do this by telephone at 202-224-3121 (give the operator your zip code to be connected to the right office). Or you can fax a copy of a letter from Barney Frank which is attached to this post (see below).  Simply include a cover sheet with your contact information so that they know you live in their district and one sentence "Please cosponsor this legislation."  Feel free to add any personal anecdotes about your experiences of discrimination in the workplace.  Or anecdotes of your friends and family members. 

I had a senior manager at a former place of employment send me an email, using company resources, that featured a sexually vulgar reference to lesbians. I had the protection of working in the City where such action violates the Human Relations Act.  It didn't go that far because my company acted swiftly when I filed a complaint, but I do not underestimate the power of that legislation to prompt them to take said swift action. 

A call for co-sponsors has just been issued by Representative Frank's office. You are requested to call or fax your U.S. Representative to ask him or her co-sponsor the bill. The call ends Tuesday, June 23 at 6 p.m.

You can find the call for co-sponsorship at our new Inclusive ENDA web address:
http://bit.ly/11I6sV Look at the bottom of the page for the "Links" section of that page. The call for co-sponsorship is listed as #4. You can view in HTML or Word.

If you are not sure who your U.S. Representative is, and would like to find out, you can easily do so at watchdog.net by using your zip code.

The telephone number for Congress is 202-224-3121. If you prefer to fax, you can find your U.S. Representative's fax number at
http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/ (If you fax, be sure to include the recipient's name, and your name and telephone number. It might be best to call the office to ensure the request is received.)

If you are thinking "I don't have time today" please consider this.

* This past week, the Obama Administation's Department of Justice filed a legal brief that linked same sex marriage to incest and pedophilia.

* This past week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated that he does not have a single Senator willing to sponsor legislation repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

* This past week, Pennsylvania State Senator John Eichelberger made the statement "we are allowing them to exist" during a radio interview about marriage equality.  Guess who "them" is?  

How many slaps in the face will it take to get us to make the time to do these things?  The majority of you have cell phones with free long distance and need only five minutes to make this call -- sitting in your driveway before you leave for work, stepping outside for a quick break, during the fifteen minute elevator ride in the Cathedral of Learning, over lunch, after work, etc.  If not, you can access email addresses via the links above.  Email is not as effective as real contact.

According to the Inclusive ENDA project, there are currently 34 members of the House of Representatives who wholeheartedly support an inclusive bill.  A verion which excluded transpersons passed last year but went nowhere.  Exactly how many ways can you divide equality before we end up self-destructing?

  Definite Yes Probable Yes Undecided/ Unknown Probable No Definite No Source
Robert A. Brady    x       co-sponsor in 2007
Chaka Fattah    x       co-sponsor in 2007
Kathleen A. Dahlkemper      x     Sabrina Schnur: undecided as of 6-15-09
Jason Altmire      x      
Glenn Thompson      x      
Jim Gerlach      x      
Joe Sestak    x       co-sponsor in 2007
Patrick J. Murphy    x       co-sponsor in 2007
Bill Shuster        x   voted against in 2007
Christopher P. Carney      x      
Paul E. Kanjorski      x     Rachel Miller: still undecided as of 6-8-09
John P. Murtha      x      
Allyson Y. Schwartz    x       co-sponsor in 2007
Michael F. Doyle  x         co-sponsor in 2007; Sue Kerr: definite yes
Charles W. Dent      x      
Joseph R. Pitts        x   voted against in 2007
Tim Holden    x       co-sponsor in 2007
Tim Murphy        x   voted against in 2007
Todd Russell Platts  x         Co-sponsor 2009
Source:  Inclusive ENDA campaign.

Two definite yes responses (Doyle and Platts).  Even Allyson Schwartz is possible at best.  What? 

So, please get to work so we can have SOMETHING going on at a federal level that is not laced with the word "incest," okay?  I contacted Doyle's office and plan to follow up on Monday to determine if he will sign on to the legislation.  Southwestern Pennsylvania Democrats need more progressive leadership on LGBTQ issues.  They need more education and one source of that education is Congressmen Doyle and Altmire having hard numbers on how many constituents made time to do this important work. 

Rejoice because you can literally make a huge impact on the local, state and national level with three simple phone calls.  Call your Allegheny County Councilperson before the July 1 vote on the local ordinance.  Call your State Representative immediately on HB 300.  Call your US Representative about ENDA before Tuesday. 

We have opportunities to prove that we do not exist at the pleasure of our elected officials or anyone else.  Prove Senator Eichelberger wrong by existing your way to a telephone or fax machine.  Prove President Obama's Administration wrong by convincing your partner and loved ones to do the same thing. 

Or don't be surprised at what comes spewing out of the mouths of our elected officials next.

1 Attachments
View Article  PA Senator says he is "allowing [gays] to exist"

Just in from Keystone Equality comes word that Pennsylvania State Senator John Eichelberger made the following comments in his radio debate with Senator Daylin Leach about their dueling marriage equality bills.  Senator Eichelberger's bill would amend the constitution of Pennsylvania to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Here?s a partial transcript of Eichelberger?s remarks.  Times are approximate.

You can listen to the whole debate at: http://www.whyy.org/91FM/radiotimes.html

   How would he [Eichelberger] want to encourage stability in gay couples?

Eichelberger: I wouldn?t.  I mean they can practice whatever sexual activity they like to practice, but there?s no reason to give them special consideration.  We don?t give them special consideration in Pennsylvania for any reason.  Why in the world would we allow them to marry?

  How would he want to encourage stability in gay couples?

Eichelberger:  There is no reason to encourage that type of behavior in Pennsylvania.

  That comes back to the definition of family and that?s where we differ.  We can call all kinds of things families.  I mean, we can say a 3 party marriage is a family, or 7 or 8 people or marrying younger and younger children these days .

  Are you saying that by their very nature homosexual relationships are dysfunctional?

Eichelberger:  [Pause] Ummmm.  I guess I would say that.  I would say that.

  This changes the definition of marriage, allowing same-sex, and then like I said, 5-10 years from now it?ll be polygamy, marrying younger people, it?ll be whatever?It won?t be a 6 year old, it?ll be a 15 year old, then it?ll be a 14 year old, then it?ll be a 13 year old.

  Should our only policy towards [same-sex] couples be one of punishment, to somehow prove that they?ve done something wrong?

Eichelberger: They?re not being punished. We?re allowing them to exist, and do what every American can do.  We?re just not rewarding them with any special designation.

Sadly, that's pretty consistent with the rhetoric embodied in the Department of Justice briefing issued by the Obama Administration on the defense of DOMA.  It is an interesting week when Arlen Specter publicly supports the repeal of DADT (but doesn't offer to sponsor the bill) and Obama links gay marriages to incest and pedophilia. 

Back to Pennsylvania.  This is the rhetoric we can expect over the foreseeable future.  What you, dear readers, need to consider is that this is the mentality facing HB 300 which would amend the Human Relations Act to include protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. 

An elected official saying we have the privilege of existing?  Existing?  Are you kidding me?  This is what passes for civil discourse in our society among those elected to lead us.  The flip side of the coin is that "we" would have the ability to deny us the right to exist, isn't it?  That's horrifying.  It is one thing to disapprove of my identity or believe it is a choice, but quite another thing to suggest that I am permitted to exist in spite of my identity.  Should I be grateful to Senator Eichelberger for not condoning someone taking away my existence?

Think about this.  Seriously.  You are allowed to exist.  Your daughter, son, sibling or dear friends are allowed to exist.  That's where we are right now in this debate. 

You can take action with a message to Senator Eichelberger via Keystone Progress.

I think you need to do more.  You need to call YOUR Senator today or Monday and raise the roof over this outrageous comment.  Here's the link to find your Senator.  I called Senator Fontana and demanded he address this with Senator Eichelbeger and the Republican and Senate leadership.  No way is this okay.  I do not exist at the whim of Pennsylvania's Republicans or the hatemongerers masking as the ardent defenders of marriage. 

How far will you let elected officials go before you get involved?  Incest?  Pedophilia?  Your existence? 


View Article  Change in Commenting

Effective today, anonymous comments will no longer be permitted on pghlesbian.com.  Users wishing to comment will have to register and log in to do so.  I will also be moderating comments so there may be some delay in posting depending upon my access to email. 

If you have any questions about registering, let me know. 

View Article  Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Debate on WHYY Friday AM

Senator Daylin Leach, author of Pennsylvania's Marriage Equality legislation, will debate Senator John Eichelberger (R- Blair County), author of the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment" this Friday on Philadelphia's WHYY at 10 AM.

Recently, I introduced Senate Bill 935, a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania. S.B. 935 would allow our state to join ranks with our neighbors in Washington D.C., Maine, Vermont, New York, New Hampshire and New Jersey by offering full and equal marriage rights to same-sex couples in Pennsylvania.


While the bill would not require religious institutions to perform any marriage ceremonies or recognize any marriages that they do not wish to sanction, my legislation would dissolve all of the barriers to building families that gay and lesbian couples currently face, both at the state and federal level.  


Also quite recently, my colleague Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Blair, introduced an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would more strictly define marriage and essentially ban same-sex marriage in the Commonwealth.


No matter which side of the issue you agree with, both Sen. Eichelberger and I invite you to tune into WHYY Radio on Friday June 19th at 10 a.m. when he and I will debate the issue. Host Marty Moss-Coane will serve as the debate moderator. I am excited to share my views on the subject with you as we bring this important issue to the forefront of discussion in our state.


Sen. Eichelberger and I hope that many of our constituents, supporters and people who want to learn more about both sides of the issue will tune in on Friday.


?I always look forward to a good debate and am excited about this venue with my friend Senator Leach,? Eichelberger said.

The debate will air on the program, Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane. Internet listeners can tune in here to listen live.

Senator Leach's legislation has been hailed by some LGBTQ advocates as a step toward equality.  Others view the timing with skepticism, especially worried about the inevitable rightwing backlash harming HB 300 which would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender presentation. HB 300 advocates are working fervishly around the Commonwealth to bolster support for the legislation viewed as a necessary next step to securing economic and family stability for LGBTQ persons and their families.

Leach recently met with LGBTQ couples from the Pittsburgh area to share his view that a marriage equality bill will spur the sort of discussion on fairness that can only help HB 300 attract legislators who want fairness for their residents even if they wrestle with marriage equality. 

My opinion?  The discussion will be interesting and certainly worth having.  It is somewhat exciting to have dueling bills, but I urge you to take your excitement and channel it into the work we need to attend to here and now.  The Allegheny County hearing on the Human Relations Ordinance will be July 1, 2009 -- be there.  The work on HB 300 continues on -- get excited and get involved.  Your 10 minute visit with your state legislators to talk about your life and make gay people real to them is invaluable and our best weapon in this battle.  See my recent write up on the presentation of Sue Frietsche from the Women's Law Project for more on how why you should must get involved.

I believe Senator Leach means well and I applaud him for taking a bold step, but let us not forget that our stalwart champions and allies have been working tirelessly on these issues in Harrisburg for years.  As we've learned from President Obama in recent days, we must put our confidence in track records rather than podium promises.  I'm certainly not suggesting Senator Leach is anything less than genuine, but his staff will need to work closely with Western Pennsylvania advocates to learn the "gay" of the land to achieve sustainable progress for Pennsylvania's LGBTQ community.  We are a blue collar, socially conservative, parochial part of the state where many, many semi-openly gay individuals sing in the Catholic choir and define themselves as anti-choice.  Many of the more progressive queers are not affluent liberals from the Southeast regions -- they are working class folks who are very concerned about health insurance coverage and finding decent housing and medical decision making. We don't fit any one mold and the nuances are very important to understand.

Tune in to WHYY on Friday (or check out the podcast when it is archived) for insight into this intriguing dialogue.


View Article  Would the ACDC notice if you stopped donating?

My head has been spinning.  In between trying to get some work done, I was flipping through my Blackberry to keep up with the breaking news on federal events.  The LGBTQ community is getting mightily angry with the Obama administration and it looks as if, as Pam Spaulding puts it, the queer ATM might be shutting down until we get some federal action.

Today, Obama signed a memo that extends domestic partner benefits.  Except for health insurance and pension privileges.  Oh, and only until his term ends.  Wow.  I feel so validated. 

You just need to go read all of the Pam's House Blend posts for the past day or two.

There are calls for gays nationwide to stop financially supporting the Democratic party until they grow a spine and do something concrete.  Continue to support progressive candidates individually, but no more checks to the DNC or other party affiliates. 

I'm wondering if local gays stopped donating to the ACDC and the coffers of waffling allies, would it register?  I mean who would fall into the "good voting record/allies" category?  Frankel, of course.  Shields, Peduto, Kraus, and Dowd.  Amanda Green.  Fitzgerald.  Lamb.  For the record, I'm talking about elected officials who have a track record, not candidates who seem like they might do well.  Chelsa Wagner has stepped up.  Wayne Fontana seems to be an ally.  Don Walko.  Who am I missing? 

Could this work?  Imagine if the mighty mights turned their fundraising support to candidates who have a proven record of strong support for the gay community?  Is it a pipe dream? 

Now I also have been thinking that we need to get organized to hire a damn organizer.  We have an exhausted crew of volunteers who work tirelessly, but are tired.  We need to find a way to make this happen and maybe this is an impetus to make something happen.  Who knows? 

Go read the major LGBTQ blogs for a variety of perspectives.  I'm just curious what it could mean locally if Dan Onorato received not a penny of gay money for his Gubernatorial bid.  Do gay people even go to ACDC events?  And, yes, I mean the "closeted" gays that everyone knows about.  What if people actually did this? 

And, please spare me the comments about the backroom wheeling and dealing.  Frankly, you suck at it. What have you accomplished? Nothing.  The on the ground, in the trenches organizers are making headway, but they are the ones who need the money not the do-nothing Democrats.


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