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View Article  Lambda Foundation on Facebook

If you are on Facebook, please become a fan of The Lambda Foundation page.  Lambda has been at the heart of many, many LGBT projects, programs and services throughout the past 25 years. 



View Article  How do Jon and Kate + 8 fit into the equal marriage debate?

Justin Kidd of Squirrel Hill has definitely put a very modern twist on the marriage equality debate.  Kidd references the tabloid sensation of the allegedly disintegrating marriage of the TLC reality family, Jon and Kate.

Another front-page story, explains how the train-wreck docudrama episode featuring pseudo-reality stars' failing marriage gained the TLC show its highest ratings to date. Marital infidelity problems, like those alleged to have plagued the pseudo stars' marriage, are a bigger threat to traditional family values than allowing gay people to marry.

Now Mr. Kidd simply thinks that preserving marriage should mean helping couples like Jon and Kate rather than banning gay marriage.  Interesting premis. 

The problem is helping people make the leap from the reality series trainwreck to their own lives.  Half of the nation loves the show and how All-American cute they are.  The other half is appalled at the exploitation of the children (hello, seen a preschool beauty pageant lately?).  Either way, I suspect people would not assign the possible disintigration of the marriage to anything typical because of their fame.  I'm also not sure the whole marriage issue isn't part of the storyline. 

Thanks for writing, Justin. 

View Article  Post-Gazette poll on marriage equality
Vote here: http://postgazette.com/polls/?pollID=3095
View Article  Letter to the Editor: PG didn't go deep enough on marriage analysis

I think Donna Evans of Upper St. Clair meant well when accused the Post-Gazette of shallow examination of the "marriage protection" amendment. 

I am again overwhelmed by the lack of depth of the PG editorial board. Your editorial "Same Old, Same Old" (May 26) espouses the same old marginalization of the enormous societal debate on gay rights to a one-sided issue of tolerance. Yawn! Even the same old divorce rate argument rears its tired head.

This is where I expected her to offer some unique insight into the implication of this legislation.  Something good as opposed to the "same old" one-sided issue of tolerance. 

Unfotunately, Ms. Evans dragged another dusty dinosaur out of the closet:

Herein lies the problem. To deny the religious what is and always has been a profound part of their faith is, now listen, intolerant. To deny gays the financial, health care and other societal benefits bestowed only on heterosexual couples is mightily unjust.

Ms. Evans wants to pit LGBT equality against religious freedom.  What she doesn't acknowledge is that nowhere in this nation does any state entity compel religious institutions to acknowledge or perform same sex marriages.  No ministor, pastor or priest will be required to violate their religious beliefs.

What does happen is that civil employees of the state or county who marry people must comply with the law.  Some cry "what about my religious freedom?"  If we start down this slippery slope of excusing people from their civil jobs to accomodate their religious beliefs, where will it end?  Could a white supremacist refuse to serve African-American children in the restaurant where he works?  Could a Christian refuse to arrest anti-choice protestors?  Or participate in their trial. 

People have all sorts of civil jobs that force them to comply with laws that they may not support or endorse.  There's nothing new under the sun when it comes to civil rights.  Women didn't suddenly stroll into the workplace and get a sunny reception from their male coworkers.  Religious belief does not transcend your civil responsibilities and obligations. 

This is a false dichotomy to stoke the "poor persecuted Christian" imagery with the intent of stirring up the latent zealot in many believers.  You may not feel strongly about gay rights one way or the other, but no one better force you to sit next to them in the pews!  No one better take away your guns, er, communion wafers!  No one better take away your control of women, er, unborn babies!

State Sen. John Eichelberger's bill may be debatable, but you frame it as refusing dignity to one group without any consideration as to how it maintains dignity for another. Semantics may be the problem here, but we all need bigger solutions to this vast and complex issue -- whether you are religious, gay or both. Maybe the PG could serve us all better by digging a little deeper.

Donna, the truth is that this issue has been mined to death.  Society is not equal when people are denied their rights because of who they are.  Society is not equal if people can opt out of the laws they don't like.   That's not about stripping people of their dignity, dear. It is about holding people accountable for their responsibilities and their rights.

I personally do not think this is big or vast. The social dynamics of homophobia, especially as they intersect with struggle over class, race, gender and economic condition, are quite vast.  The manifestation of that homophobia in anti-marriage equality efforts is just plain bigotry.  Nothing particularly vast.  The idea that the voters or politicians should decide who gets civil rights and who doesn't should be simple enough, but we have learned little from history.  That's complicated.

The solution will have to tread carefully around the smoldering zealots, tis true.  There is a core group of people who loathe LGBTQ folks and refuse to concede that we deserve equal treatment.  They will use any weapon, including fanning religious smoke screens, to drive their agenda.  Galvanizing persons of faith from within the demoninations is critical.  It is great to have very liberal, gay friendly communities of faith.  I think, however, it would more important for all the Catholic parents (like mine) who love, respect and value their LGBTQ children to speak out from within the structure.  My parents would be very uncomfortable with my trying to change their religion, but they would happily attend my marriage ceremony.  I'm sure there are plenty of other parents like that.

Down with the false dichotomy! 


View Article  PA Senator plans to introduce marriage equality bill

OK, on the one hand we have the "marriage protection" amendment that would embed discrimination in to the Pennsylvania Constitution.  Been there, tried to do that.

Today comes word that another Pennsylvania Senator plans to introduce a marriage equality bill.

Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, today announced plans to introduce a bill that would offer "full and equal marriage rights to same-sex couples in Pennsylvania." The measure also would recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states.

"There has never been a more propitious time for Pennsylvania to embrace equality and enshrine the civil right of all Pennsylvanians to marry," Mr. Leach said.

But don't tell that to Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Blair. He wants to strengthen Pennsylvania's 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as only permitted between one man and one woman.

Mr. Eichelberger has a bill to amend the state constitution to define marriage as only allowable between one man and one woman. He thinks that would make it more difficult for an "activist court" decision to overturn the 1996 law.

Before you raise the religious infringement argument, please note that Senator Leach's legislation would not require any religious group or organization to recognize or perform marriages which they "don't sanction."  No word from Diane Gramley and the American Family Association of Pennsylvania on this newest twist in Pennsylvania equality efforts.

Wow.  I am very curious as to how this will play out. The argument against the "marriage protection" amendment has been the Pennsylvania DOMA which prohibits same sex marriages.  In other words, the existing law was good enough to "protect" opposite sex marriage so no need to amend the Constitution.  That's no longer absolutely true.

Will this move force socially conservative legislators to move to the right in support of the amendment or to the middle in support of neither bill (and perhaps to pass the less scary HB 300 as no one has argued that housing protections will destroy heterosexual marriages --- yet)?  Will this galvanize the progressive wing of Pennsylvania and create a surge of grassroots energy to move the Commonwealth closer to equality for all citizens?  I'm fairly certain it will galvanize the wingnuts, but the trifecta of state legislation might just divide their energies as folks pick their poison to speak. 

I had a conversation with the President of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats who continues to urge concerned citizens to schedule face to face meetings with their legislators.  That is the single best tool you have to push for full equality. 

There's a lot on the table -- the two anti-discrimination bills, the pending hate crimes bill, the anti-gay "marriage protection" and now this effort to promote marriage equality.  This is an important time to take action.  Make a Pride resolution to add a few hours of meeting time to your celebration time. 

Remember, Stonewall was about standing up and fighting back against oppression and discrimination.  Celebrate the spirit by being part of the solution.


View Article  Western Pennsylvania Humane Society fundraiser gone wrong

The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society conducted an "e" cyling event to recycle electronic goods.  They partnered with a company called EarthEcycle. 

I was perplexed as to how ecycling could be a fundraiser given that most companies charge consumers to dispose of electronic goods. I asked a few question and was promptly attacked by staff, volunteers and the EarthEcycle owner for essentially hating dogs and those who want to help them. Oh and I was "possibly" engaged in corporate espionage.  All because I wanted to make sure my television wasn't being dumped in a remote Thai village. 

It was an ugly, ugly exchange. 

Tonight WDUQ and WTAE ran stories about allegations that the company is shipping a portion of the materials overseas.  The Humane Society is backtracking.  $150,000 funds raised might do that.

I wonder if any of those proceeds will be used to help the animals whose welfare is irreparably damaged by the ewaste dumping?


Stay tuned for a Post-Gazette investigation.

View Article  Outrage the Movie to Open in Pittsburgh

Today I received word that the movie Outrage will be showing at the Harris Theater, starting on June 19, 2009!

From fearless documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film is Not Yet Rated) comes a searing indictment of the hypocrisy of closeted politicians who actively campaign against the lesbian and gay community to which they covertly belong. Outrage reveals the hidden lives of some of the most powerful policymakers in the US, and the damage done by keeping secrets. It presents analysis from many prominent members of the gay community, such as Congressman Barney Frank, former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, activist Larry Kramer, and controversial blogger Mike Rogers ? whose blog has spearheaded the movement to out closeted, anti-gay-rights politicians. This bold film is sure to stir debate, and perhaps make an impact on the continuing same-sex civil rights battle. (Kirby Dick; USA; 2009; 87 min)

This movie is sure to outrage you as the depth of hypocrisy comes to light.  Southwestern Pennsylvania has three individuals alone connected to this outrageous conduct --- none are politicians so stop speculating about that.  Go to http://www.blogactive.com/ and see for yourself.

Kudos to the Pittsburgh Filmmakers for making this happen.  I think this is an important film and hope you will make plans to see it.

Mike Rogers, btw, will be in Pittsburgh for the NetRoots Nation Conference in August.  If you want to meet him, stayed tuned for the opportunity. 


View Article  Prop 8 Upheld

You probably heard this.  The California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8, but also said that existing same sex marriages are valid.

Tune in here for the latest responses from the LGBTQ community and leaders. 

Here are photos from the protest. 

Simply outrageous that voters can strip minority groups of their rights.  Have we learned nothing from history?  Seriously!

What to do?  Pick up your phone and call your elected officials to remind them that equality in Pennsylvania is non-negotiable. 

View Article  In case you didn't see it ...

The Post-Gazette editors remind you that recycling the "marriage amendment" is getting tiresome.

Conservative lawmakers in the General Assembly are always trying to save the institution of marriage from an imagined horror. This year is no different. Although marriage suffers its greatest damage when heterosexuals divorce, the threat is always identified as gays wanting to marry.

Further, the remedial action sought is always a reaction to no discernible state problem. Pennsylvania has had the Defense of Marriage Act since 1996 and that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. To be sure, courts in other states have found a constitutional right for gays to marry, but that seems unlikely in this socially conservative commonwealth.

Ya got the social conservative part right.  Other states are surging ahead in creating equal societies and eliminating second-class citizenship, but Pennsylvania has looped back around to scapegoat our community for society's ills. 

It isn't like the loss of a job or wiped out savings might put some stress on a marriage, is it?  Sigh.

Remember our recommendations to stand up to the ongoing "separate but equal" mentality: join Steel City Stonewall Democrats and/or make a donation to the Women's Law Project. 

ps:  There's also a letter from Bill Huber of Moon mocking Carrie Prejean.  It is a little bit funny, but could have been more witty about Prejean (one of my Facebook friends) using Jesus wanting his religion back. 

This will also allow Carrie to continue her fight against Satan and all his followers. Watch out for Carrie and The Donald! They've got Jesus on their side ... and they're coming to a church near you!



View Article  Veggie Update Again

Well, I've gone six days without meat and it hasn't been too bad.  It was easy enough to substitute shrimp when dining out and one of our meals was at The Quiet Storm which has delicious veggie options.  I had a falafel with chick peas as the protein.  Otherwise, I had a veggie omelet, cheese pizza, shrimp tikka masala, etc. 

I've been trying to replace meat with lots of veggies instead of more carbs.  Tonight I made Ledcat shish kabob with chicken and veggies.  I threw some extra mushrooms on mine and basically had a big serving of grilled veggies plus applesauce and a pear for dessert.  I also bought some tofu to try and marinate for grilling later in the week. 

I am fortunate that Ledcat is willing to try vegetarian fare.  We are making tacos tomorrow night with fake meat crumbles.  She agrees that once you add on the seasoning and the fixins, it is all about texture not taste.  I also ponied up to buy the socially responsible salmon -- we have a little guide from the Aviary of all places that lists all the good, so-so, bad fish to buy. It usually takes me about 15 minutes to compare all the options to my guide which seems to annoy the fish people.

Finally, I stocked up on some frozen vegetarian options to keep me from succumbing on those nights when there isn't anything else in the house. 

At this point, the biggest issue for me is convenience.  Finding meals that suit both our choices takes a bit of effort.  Work will also be an issue -- we have a daily luncheon in our dining room and I like to go up a few times each week to socialize.  The food is heavy on the meat and potatos while veggies are pretty dull.  So I've got my egg salad, pb&j and yogurt ready to roll.  I'll just have to incorporate socialization without succumbing to the very appealing comfort foods. 

I'm sure once the newness wears off, it will be more difficult. I really like meat.  It tastes good.  Finding other tastes is a good experience, but we'll have to see.

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