Wednesday, March 31
by Sue on Wed 31 Mar 2010 11:13 PM EDT
First, a link to the blog of Senator Daylin Leach, Daylinsights. He's taking on AG Tom Corbett.
Well, truth well said. This is about pandering and politics, not protecting Pennsylvanians.
Joe Hoeffel has also been front and center on this issue.
We need leaders to stand up to political maneuvering which hurts Pennsylvanians. We should be working to ensure more people have access to health insurance, not throwing up roadblocks -- especially funded by our tax dollars.
Speaking of Joe, check out this article in the Philadelphia City Paper. Once again take note, that most Pennsylvanian's barely register that we have a governor's race much less identify with a candidate. Given that a single vote could have determined the entire Steel City endorsement, it shows how much of an impact you can have as one person. Pretty awesome to contemplate.
by Sue on Wed 31 Mar 2010 10:44 PM EDT
Courtesy of the GLCC News Blast and worth your attentiond
If you've been following the story about the young lesbian banned from taking her prom date to the school prom or the young man who was permitted to do so, but booted from his home -- you should learn more about GLSEN.
KidFest is back at the GLCC.
Good stuff to know.
by Sue on Wed 31 Mar 2010 06:45 PM EDT
Stuff is going on .
From Pam's House Blend ...more on the role of the Human Rights Campaign and the repeal of DADT. Things are a bit strained. Sheesh. While admin officials say repeal is the way to go, the DOJ files briefs in legal cases. Ahhhh.
LGBT Point of View thinks Code Pink has something to teach today's LGBTgeneration about activism. They tried to citizen arrest Karl Rove.
Ricky Martin came out. Debate is raging as to what this means for the Latino community. Here's one point of view.
For context, another significant coming out from the Latino music community. Her name is Rita Indiana and she's from the Dominican Republic and she's nowhere near as famous/wealthy as Ricky Martin. The link provides links to videos and some samples of her music. Check it out.
From the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force comes more on the horrific latest chapter in the papal sexual abuse scandal. It is just sickening.
Buffalo City Council just approved domestic partner benefits WITH a veto proof majority. Hurrah!
The Stonewall Democrats have a petition up to support the federal Student Non-Discrimination Act. If you think Constance should get to take her girlfriend to the prom, go sign the petition. It will take two minutes and you'll be making a statement supporting queer kids everywhere. WPXI has a little more up about the legal battle over Constance's prom.
Don't forget to check out exciting Pgh blogs
Ms. Mon's Salon on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website.
Pgh native and woman of might Jeanne Clark blogging at Ms.com (Jeanne is a long time ally who called out Dan Onorato on DOMA at the Steel City endorsement meeting)
And to remind us that many persons of faith stand strong behind the LGBT community, Reverent Janet Edwards at the Washington Post.
And, in closing, my favorite referral Google search .... "best lgbt hair salons in pittsburgh"
by Sue on Wed 31 Mar 2010 08:23 AM EDT
You must read Reg Henry today. Now. Click right now and do it.
Tuesday, March 30
by Sue on Tue 30 Mar 2010 10:52 PM EDT
This is one of my favorite songs ...
by Sue on Tue 30 Mar 2010 10:41 PM EDT
Ledcat came home and put the dogs out, then went upstairs. She happened to glance out the window in time to notice that our neighbor TOOK HER GARAGE down, leaving a giant gap in the yard where the garage wall had once been. She made it back down to the yard just in time to recall the dogs who were like "Hmmm, let's go see this new space."
Our awesome contractor friend came out to measure tonight and will start putting up the new fence section tomorrow. Our neighbor admitted she forgot we had dogs. I don't think ANYONE who walks by the backyard forgets we have these dogs, but I can definitely say that a relaxing evening does not begin with unexpected disruptions in your fence line.
I will not again say "can this week get any worse?" LOL. Apparently, the answer is yes and it is only Tuesday.
Thank goodness for Ledcat quickness.
by Sue on Tue 30 Mar 2010 10:29 PM EDT
The Steel City Stonewall Endorsement meeting was held Sunday afternoon on the Northshore. For a glimpse into "live" coverage, check out the hashtag PghGayPick. I was a little caught up in the 140 character frenzy because I wrote most of these tweets and can't interpret a few of them :-) Kudos to tweeps @Bram_R and @Maria_In_Pgh (who was doing double duty scribbling notes for the soon-to-be-published 2 Political Junkies blog post).
The event was packed, drawing 76 voting members including 19 new members. There were more than 100 people in attendance. The evidence shows that the Steel City endorsement has gained in prominence and import. It will be interesting to see how the organization changes over the next year in response to lessons learned from this endorsement experience.
The endorsements have been posted on the Steel City page, so check out that information. The event was quite significant both in who came (Congressman Mike Doyle, for example) and who didn't (Congressman Joe Sestak, for example). Sestak did not capture the endorsement which truly shocked many in attendance. I can't help but wonder if a personal appearance would have made a difference?
Another interesting turn of events was in the PA House District 20 (Don Walko's vacated seat). Adam Ravenstahl didn't show up, but was apparently expected. That was just a weird gaffe given that he expressed a desire to build a relationship with the LGBT community in his questionnaire.
This wasn't the best first step. Someone gifted me with his official name tag which I will enshrine in my political memorabilia box. Mark Purcell and Tim Tuinstra did show up and battled it out. I think Tim is more LGBT friendly, but Purcell did a bang up job driving home his support of repealing DADT and I think that's why he won the group's support--- ironic that he won't be able to actually do anything about DADT in this office, but there ya have it.
The biggest stunner of the night was the endorsement in the Governor's race. Joe Hoeffel and Dan Onorato tied to each receive a "Highly Recommended" statement of support from the organization.
In the course of their speeches, Hoeffel affirmed his strong belief in full equality for the LGBT community and his commitment to progressive values. Onorato announced plans for the still forming Allegheny County Human Relations Commission to oversee the extension of domestic partner benefits to County employees. This is good news for Allegheny County which I will continue to follow.
I was disappointed in Onorato. He started off strong, laying out his accomplishments as Chief Executive. Then he just grew angrier and angrier about "the blogs" distorting his record and suggesting he take action on domestic partner benefits. The most disappointing moments were his 1) suggestion that Montgomery County has intentionally not passed its own human relations ordinance when he should be fully aware that they do not have a home rule charter and 2) completely blew the question on DOMA. He had no idea that Pennsylvania has a statewide DOMA in place and was unable to answer a question about supporting its repeal. His gay advisors did not prep him very well for the Q & A session.
Some have suggested that I am disproportionately hard on Onorato. I disagree. He's from my neck of the woods and I've been following these issues for the past several years. It is important that the folks in Central and Eastern Pennsylvania understand that we have a vibrant progressive community clamoring for equality and willing to work for it. If we don't hold our own elected officials accountable on those issues, we risk confirming the impression that we are a region defined by Darryl Metcalfe and Jane Orie. I want the rest of the Commonwealth to remember that we've elected Bruce Kraus, Dan Frankel, and Amanda Green. That we unelected Rick Santorum. Ms. blogger and longtime ally Jeanne Clark came to this meeting, for pete's sake. Some may believe Pittsburgh and Western PA are far behind Southeastern Pennsylvania's progressive community. I, for one, do not agree.
The growing weight of the Steel City endorsement is good news for the region and the statewide LGBTQ community. I've been very pleased that so many people have reached out to me since our "tweetfest" on Sunday, asking how they can get involved. This demonstrates that the social media project is a rousing success even in its infancy, but also proves that people get motivated around a range of issues --- some were struck by the ascendency of the Ravenstahls, others by the movement on domestic partner benefits.
We will continue to disagree on the Governor's race and other issues. As I've learned more about the endorsement process for the Liberty City Democrats, I'm excited for the opportunity Steel City has to create forums for the dialogue to drive the endorsement process. The fact that so many people are reading the blogs and the tweets is positive news -- people are paying attention. And that is a very important lesson to all candidates -- the LGBTQ community, too, is paying attention.
Congratulations to Steel City for a successful, exciting endorsement meeting. Stay tuned ...
Monday, March 29
by Sue on Mon 29 Mar 2010 06:56 PM EDT
Ledcat and I attended this last year and it was very nice. My massage was a little vigorous, but the hand wax was really cool. I also felt super hip with my henna tattoo. :-)
Sunday, March 28
by Sue on Sun 28 Mar 2010 09:47 AM EDT
The Steel City Stonewall Endorsement meeting is here, today and I'm pretty excited. How fare we've come since I was the lone blogger reporting from last year's event. This year we'll have a variety of instantaneous feedback via the various tweeps planning to attend (hashtag #PghGayPick) along with the usual bloggers. What's most exciting is that some of our allied tweeps are getting involved in the organization and bringing the might of their thoughtful advocacy to the table for the LGBTQ community.
This shows that projects like Blog for Equality are having a systemic impact. People are paying attention. They are educated on the issues. Allies and LGBTQ alike are stepping forward to create meaningful advocacy for our community. We may not agree on the candidate best suited for Governor, but that's the beauty of the primary after all. All this hullabaloo is proof positive that more people are paying attention and using social media.
That's an amazing difference since I first began covering LGBT political events back in 2006. I am excited to follow the hashtag and know that our endorsement will be covered by the region's largest political blog (2 Political Junkies).
If you cannot attend, please do the same. Weigh in, retweet, whatever you like ... just pay attention and help us keep the movement going.
The PA Governor's Race: Hoeffel, Onorato and Wagner. All three have strong gay backers. Wagner could be a surprise spoiler -- he does have a gay positive voting record to atone for those atrocious City Council votes, a claim Onorato cannot prove.
The Senate: Neither Sestak not Specter can attend so it really will be interesting to see how the inevitability argument plays out in this race.
PA House Wheatley v Payne: Jake and Tonya are both allies. Allegations of petition fraud (on the party of MY City Councilor nonetheless) are a last minute twist. This will be a close vote. I'm curious if Mr. Lavelle will make his first post-election appearance at today's meeting to lend his support.
There are other races of course, but these are the hot ones. Alliances are shifting every day. The bylaws require a 2/3 vote to receive a Strong Endorsement; 50% will get you a Recommendation.
I want to commend my State Representative Chelsa Wagner and my State Senator Wayne Fontana for submitting questionnaires even though they are unopposed. Fontana helped squash the marriage amendment and Wagner is a cosponsor and proponent for HB 300. They deserve a nod.
So let's see what today holds in store for us ...
Saturday, March 27
by Sue on Sat 27 Mar 2010 01:48 PM EDT
From Berks County comes word of a Pennsylvania lesbian couple stuck in legal limbo. They married in Massachusetts, but to obtain a Massachusetts divorce will need to reside there for one year. To get divorced in Pennsylvania, their marriage has to be legal in Pennsylvania which it is not. Thus, their divorce petition was turned down.
Berks County is in Southeastern Pennsylvania
This is certainly not the first report of a same sex couple caught in a legal limbo due to the patchwork quilt of marriage equality laws in the United States and they certainly aren't the only couple in Pennsylvania who face this dilemna. Faced with the dissolution of marriage, it is unreasonable to expect someone to move to Mass just to obtain a divorce.
Pennsylvania has just recently squelched attemps to amend the PA constitution to restrict marriage to one man, one woman. Another bill is sitting in the Senate which would legalize same sex marriage. That's not going to happen, but I'd certainly like to see elected leaders such as Pennsylvania Senator Daylin Leach tackle the thorny issue of the divorce. Forcing people to remain in legal limbo is not acceptable. It is bad enough to have your marriage semi-acknowledged when YOU acknowledge it. Being "sort of married" when you aren't with your spouse any longer is a real problem.
We need real solutions. Clearly, marriage equality is the ultimate solution which allows people to make their marital decisions without legal maneuvers and political power plays. But is there something else that can be done? A Rhode Island court denied a petition for divorce even without the DOMA law Pennsylvania has in place. A New York court, however, granted a divorce because children were involved. This can be a very sticky wicket that requires thoughtful solutions as the full impact of second-class citizenship continues to fall out throughout the nation.
I say the solution in the short term is for us to work to elect allies who will show leadership on LGBTQ issues and tackle this sure to be growing legal problem for Pennsylvania families.