Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Please Email Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

And ask her why has the U.S Government  been SILENT on the  death threats  against  Malaysian Civil Rights activists  for  their  posted  "Ït Gets Better" Videos.   Secretary Clinton  herself,  posted an amazing  video  to the "It Gets Better" project  eariler this year.

The  silence from  our State Department on these  death threats,  some made by Malaysian Government Officials,  is  very disturbing.

You can email  the United States Department of State  here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Receiving Death Threats for Giving Hope

From my friend Pang - Via Facebook
Dearest Seksualiti Merdeka friends

As you may have been aware, Seksualiti Merdeka, which champions the human rights of sexually marginalised communities in Malaysia, particularly the rights of LGBTs, has come under fire recently for our video project "It Gets Better in Malaysia". Right now we are being overwhelmed by the majority view that we are destroying Malaysian society. The videos have been mistakenly interpreted as a series of coming out videos set to insult the country's religion. Nothing can be further from the truth. In our statement released last week, we said:

"It Gets Better in Malaysia is a video project about giving hope to young LGBT Malaysians: even though things can be rough during the teenage years, it can get better. This message is targeted at the minority of young Malaysians who are growing up as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT).

"This project is in response to accounts of suicides and attempted suicides by LGBT teenagers and adults. Statistics of such suicides are anywhere between three to six times higher than by heterosexuals. This is due to the overwhelming feelings of loneliness, fear or hopelessness that result from the stigma and discrimination against them. Most people have their families to turn to. For LGBT youths, even their own families can be a source of rejection. They have no one to turn to. We decided it is up to us who have survived similar situations to reach out to young LGBTs. This is why the project was born. It’s not about making coming out videos. It is about giving hope to youths at risk." (Read the full statement here:

If anything, the widespread fear and ignorance towards LGBTs here, coupled with the state-sanctioned misunderstanding towards the community, prove that such messages of hope are necessary and vital. So far we have released 5 of the videos and intend to release more. But the one video that seemed to have attracted attention is the one by Azwan Ismail. ( And among the comments it attracted, some on blogs, are threats of violence, stoning and death towards him.

We have some support in blogs and commentaries, mainly in English-medium news portals. The mainstream news mainly carry articles quoting officials asking for action to be taken upon us. 

The individuals who have been quoted include Minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom and Perak Mufti Datuk Sri Harussani Zakaria, in Berita Harian and The Star respectively, asking JAKIM to take appropriate action. 

None of these people mentioned anything about the violent threats and death threats, almost as if legitimizing them. Harian Metro also ironically claimed Seksualiti Merdeka is threatening Muslims. (you can find the links to the articles at

Only The Sun Daily and The Star mentioned the death threats against Azwan, but neither carried statements by Malaysian officials condemning the threats. (The Star carried the inteview by Associated Press.)

But for now we would like to request for the support from Malaysian NGOs, personalities and our supporters to speak up for us. Below are some ways you may help:

1. To oppose all threats of violence, stoning and death. One comment we saw asked for "sula" to be meted out. Another blog, after listing three ways of killing homosexuals, suggested that if the authorities don't take action, Muslims should not be blamed if they took actions into their own hands. Please oppose the legitimising of hate speech and violence.

2. To oppose insults, disparaging remarks and jokes made at the expense of LGBTs in Malaysia. To oppose discrimination of LGBTs who have committed no crime just being who they are.

3. To oppose criminalising and punishing LGBTs for being who they are. To oppose criminalising and punishing members of Seksualiti Merdeka for empowering marginalised communities and doing social work.

4. To support that we have done NOTHING to insult Islam. In fact, we are simply making it possible so that young people don't take their own lives. (But seeing all these hate going on, it might just prompt them instead.) In fact, we too believe that sexuality is a responsibility, no matter whether you are straight or LGBT. We want to be given a chance to show people how to be responsible with their own sexuality. This include being self-aware, self-accepting, as well as being aware and accepting of others. And respecting each other's rights.

5. To support allowing LGBTs in Malaysia to have avenues to express ourselves in order to create more understanding. This is included in the 4 recommendations at the end of our statement, which we hope you will support.

6. To support the human rights of all LGBTs in Malaysia regardless of their race, religion, age, gender identity or sexual orientation.

7. To support Seksualiti Merdeka's initiatives and the "It Gets Better in Malaysia" project.

We also hope you may offer your support, if possible, not only in English but also Bahasa Melayu, to be directed at the Malay-language media. We encourage you to write to the editors of the above publications, post blogs or facebook status or twitters to vocally support us.

Please check our website for our complete statement:

Thank you.

Pang Khee Teik
Seksualiti Merdeka

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Friend Pang takes a stand in Malaysia for equality

Pang Khee Teik, one of Malaysia's most recognisable sexuality rights activists, shares his journey from being a schoolboy in Singapore who was often bullied by his classmates to undergoing reparative therapy at a church for 12 years to self-acceptance as a gay man.

He is one of Malaysia's most recognisable sexuality rights activists. His quote "Stop censoring who I am" was even Time Online's quote of the day on 25 Feb 2009. At the time he wrote a lengthy letter to the press to protest Malaysian cable TV operator Astro's decision to censor the words “gay” and “lesbian” from Sean Penn's and Dustin Lance Black's Oscar acceptance speeches – for their movie Milk about American gay rights activist Harvey Milk – in which they called for equal rights for gay men and lesbians.

Pang Khee Teik, 36, co-founder of Seksualiti Merdeka
Pang Khee Teik is also the co-founder of Seksualiti Merdeka, Malaysia's annual sexuality rights festival; and Arts Programme Director of The Annexe, Central Market.
In this video, the fifth of the It Gets Better in Malaysia series, Pang shares his journey to self-acceptance as a gay man from as a schoolboy in Singapore who was often bullied by his classmates to undergoing reparative therapy at a church for 12 years where he was told that being gay is wrong and it is possible to change one's orientation from gay straight.

"For 12 years, I stopped myself from loving. Every time I fell in love or had a crush on someone, a guy, I stopped myself. I did not allow my heart to feel what it needed to feel... There are many ways to kill yourself. One of the ways is to stop yourself from loving, to stop yourself from living. And for 12 years I did that. And I died slowly everyday. Until one day I realised and I asked myself what is wrong with love."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

From Today's Huffington Post...

There is a lot that can, and  will be said about all this I am sure.  But frankly that can wait.  What is  important to say right now,  is simply this;

Today the Congress of the United States finally agrees with the  proposition that someone who is willing to risk  his or her life to defend this nation should  not be deemed LESS equal than the citizens  they are defending.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pope Benedict likes to watch....

This is quite possibly the creepiest thing I have ever seen....

Nothing  Gay here... No Sireee Bob... Just a bunch of "celibate" men in dresses  watching  a male strip show...

Other than the  gaggle of  drooling old men in cassocks,   you gotta admit the Pellegrini Brothers  are pretty amazing :)

Hat tip to  Towleroad  for this  totally not-gay item..

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mapping Facebook "Friendships"

From TIME Magazine Online:

Paul Butler, a Facebook engineering intern, transformed social data into a stunningly beautiful visual that outlines the geographical borders of Facebook friendships.

It worked like this--by using a random sample of ten million pairs of Facebook friends, Butler plotted both their locations and their connection to one another on a graph. By repeating that step with each member of his sample, Butler found that the resulting image formed the outline of a world map, with the most marked areas forming where major cities are located.

The result is this stunning map, which displays exactly what Butler had intended it to. "I was interested in seeing how geography and political borders affected where people lived relative to their friends. I wanted a visualization that would show which cities had a lot of friendships between them," he wrote on Facebook's engineering blog. (Which is also worth checking out for a more detailed explanation of his process plotting the map).

True, it's not exactly shocking that a visualization of Facebook friendship data shows that most connections are within short distances of one another and that major cities have more connections than remote regions. But so what? This map is so neat that it's worth the time this experiment likely took. (via All Facebook)

The GOP's False Patriotism

The since 2001, the Republican Party has long claimed that ONLY the GOP truly understood the implications of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001; and how "everything changed" on that day. In addition they often accuse the Democrats and President Obama of having a "Pre-9/11 mentality". (By which they mean soft on terrorism.)

In the years that have followed, the Republican Party turned the memory of 9/11 into their party's political brand. Wrapping all of their candidates and polices in the red-white-and blue cloak of "September the eleventh"...

Last night on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show", host Jon Stewart talked about the sheer hypocrisy of Republicans who have used the attacks of September 11th, 2001 as a political marketing campaign to claim they love America more than anyone else; while at the same time voting AGAINST help for first responders injured in the aftermath of those same terror attacks...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lame-as-F@#k Congress
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

Just in What the Doctor Ordered...

And just in time for  Christmas too!

Interesting "status" seen on Facebook today...

"So, let me get this straight - Larry King is getting his 8th divorce, Elizabeth Taylor is possibly getting married for a 9th time, Britney Spears had a 55 hour marriage. Jesse James and Tiger Woods are screwing EVERYTHING, yet the idea of same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of marriage?? ...Really??"

Hat tip to Alex for this one...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

The End of the Obama Presidency...

The  Presidency of Barack Obama  ended  today.

The Republican Party has  discovered  the sad and very inconvenient  truth about Barack Obama,    President Obama, is a good man,  an intelligent man,  who is very weak.  President Obama is not a Leader,  he is a negotiator, and not a very good one.  On issue after issue, from Health Care Reform, to Wall Street Reform,  Congressional Republicans, found that President Obama, seemed to prefer a really bad agreement,  to no agreement.

As a result,  the GOP learned very quickly , that it was all too easy to  back  the President into a corner,  where his natural  urge to "find common ground",   meant  he would abandon  his stated principles and  simply  give in and give up. All the while making  very eloquent statements about the  value of  bi-partisanship.

Today  President Barack Obama  apparently decided he doesn't want a second term.  The great  irony here is  that he will likely suffer the same  electoral fate as the first President Bush.  George HW Bush agreed to the 1990 budget deal  with Congressional Democrats.  Then in 1992 the Democrats turned around and attacked Bush for  breaking his  "read my lips" pledge on no new taxes.  

Make no mistake, in 2012 the GOP will  firmly lay the deeper hole, that this  "compromise" will dig  in terms of the deficit and the National Debt, firmly  at the feet of  the President and the Democrats.  You can almost see the ads,  labeling  the trillions of dollars of added  debt as the  "Obama  Record".

This deal is  the GOP's  biggest Christmas wish come true.   The Democrats have just lost  their only  real campaign issue.  The wildly unpopular  "Bush Tax Cuts for  Millionaires  and Billionaires"  are now officially the "Obama Tax Cuts for Millionaires and Billionaires".

The one year  extension of  Unemployment Insurance benefits is a very good thing,  but  to think it could not have been accomplished  with out caving in on tax cuts  for the  wealthiest of the wealthy is  the biggest  political cop-out since Bill Clinton signed  the Defense of Marriage Act.

With solid majorities in both  houses of Congress  the Obama Administration refused to even consider using even the threat of  budget reconciliation  to get his agenda through congress.  

From National Public Radio:
Budget reconciliation, a provision of the 1974 Congressional Budget Act, is designed to force committees to make changes in mandatory – or entitlement – spending and revenues.  The rules for budget reconciliation in the Senate restrict the procedure to provisions dealing with the budget. They also set strict protocols for consideration of the bills in both chambers. Under the procedures for reconciliation bills, debate in both houses is limited to 20 hours, and no Senate filibusters are allowed.  

Congress has used reconciliation occasionally for non-budget legislation, including rewriting health care and welfare policy, as the Republican majority did in passing major welfare reform in 1996. 
Resorting to budget reconciliation is the legislative equivalent of breaking out the heavy artillery in a pitched battle. Since the early 1980s, it has been used 19 times, primarily to steer controversial fiscal and budgetary policies through the Senate, including former President Bill Clinton’s fiscal 1994 deficit reduction and tax package and President George W. Bush’s major tax cuts.

So instead  we have had two years of  eloquent words, and abandoned priorities. I never thought I  would  look at the Obama Administration,  and find myself wishing  it was more like the fictional Bartlett Administration  of  "The West Wing".

It will be very hard  for Democrats to  campaign as the antidote to GOP fiscal insanity,  when their track record is just  as crazy.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Ok I have accepted the inevitable...

The Holidays are here...   The  Tree is up.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The biggest threat to bigotry...

Isn't  the potential overturning of  Prop 8 in CA...
Isn't the  potential overturning of  "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"...
Isn't  the long-overdue classification of  Bigots like Tony Perkins as leaders of  "Hate Groups" by the Southern Poverty Law Center...
Isn't  Rachel Maddow,  Dan Savage, Ellen Degeneres or even Ricky Martin...

Nope,  the single biggest threat to ignorance, homophobia and bigotry in the United States today is obviously..


major hat-tip to JoeMyGod

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Brilliance of Common Sense

The State of Illinois this week  approved  Civil Unions for  Gay and Lesbian Couples.    Given  the hate fueled hysteria on this issue across the border to the North in  Wisconsin,  it is  so refreshing  to see and hear  simple common sense  on this issue.   Cue IL State Senator  Rick Hendon...

Hat tip to JoeMyGod

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hey Middle Class and Poor Americans, The GOP Hates You...

The past week  has been  an amazing one in American Politics.  As the  outgoing lame duck Congress comes back into session  to  try to tie up a number of loose ends, the Republican Party  has decided to double down on their strategy of  preventing  anything  from  getting done, no matter the cost.
In one of the most remarkable displays of  politics at  its worst,  the  outgoing GOP minority has decided that  since  they have ignored sanity, reason, and  the good of American People for four years,  why should  they change now.    
With  over  two million  Americans  facing  the  expiration  of their unemployment compensation benefits at midnight tonight,  with a vital arms reduction treaty with  Russia  awaiting ratification,  and with pending action on the  debt ceiling  to  insure  ability of the  Government itself  to  continue functioning;  what  do you suppose  the  GOP  says  is  it's  ONLY  priority...
Tax cuts  for the  wealthiest of the  wealthy.  The  top 2% of  millionaires  and  billionaires.  The GOP is  so  concerned  about  giving  tax breaks  to the richest of the  rich that  today  they  announced that  they will  prevent  ANY and ALL  other  legislation from  being  voted on  until  the tax cuts for the uber-rich are  passed. Rachel Maddow  breaks it down for us.

So just to be clear, it is the  official position of the  Republican Party that Government stepping in to prevent  over  two million unemployed Americans from losing  their only means of  support  is completely  unacceptable,  because it would add  60 Billion Dollars to  the federal deficit in the short term.  But  giving  tax cuts to the wealthiest people in America  that would add more than 700 Billion Dollars to the  deficit...  THAT is  so important to Republicans that  they  will allow  NOTHING else to get done until  their tax cuts for the super rich are passed.  
It is clear that  in the mind of the GOP, anyone who dares  point  out that  tax cuts for the  mega rich do not  create jobs or stimulate  the broader economy,  (a FACT  that  the past 8 years have clearly shown)  must be  a socialist  who  clearly  hates America.  The GOP loves to talk about  Jobs, but  has no desire to  do ANYTHING that might actually  create more of them.  Again,  Rachel Maddow takes us down the  GOP's delusional garden path.

It is clear the if you are unemployed, or even if you are simply  not  among the wealthiest two percent of  Americans, the  Republican Party  thinks you  are  clearly  a lazy parasite and hates you  for standing between them and their beloved tax breaks for the ultra-rich.

Happy Holidays America!  For those of you who now will be  destitute because the  GOP wrecked the economy  and you lost  your job , and now have no unemployment benefits;  The  Republican opposition to you having  affordable  Health Care now makes sense.   They  want you to hurry up and die,  to  "decrease the  surplus population..."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Erza Klein in the Washington Post...

Pretty much sums up the last  two years...

Friday, November 19, 2010

These evil bigots are going to rot in Hell....

(hat tip to Joe over at  joemygod for this one...)
I hate  writing about these idiots.  I really do.   But  this  a new low even for  these anti-American, anti-Christian  hate mongers.

The self-proclaimed  "American Family Association" has thrown a hissy fit over a new policy from the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The new rule states that  hospitals that  bill back  to Medicare and Medicaid  cannot  deny visitation rights based on  sexual orientation.

In other words,  hospitals can't deny the same sex partner of a patient the right  to visit them in the hospital.  Something that until these new rules,  was  all too common in the United States. Even in cases where  same-sex couples had medical powers of attorney. 
Surely something as  basic as  allowing  someone in the hospital to be visited by their loved ones couldn't possibly  be  controversial .   After all, only  a heartless, soulless bastard  would  say to someone; "We don't care who you love,  you deserve to die alone..."   This is a no brainer  right?
Wrong.   -  Cue the hate filled hysteria  on the  America's  wing nut bigoted  Right.  The American Family Association calls the rule "special visitation rights" under the headline "Fed To Hospitals: Go Gay Or Go Broke."
"Certainly there are Catholic hospitals and Baptist hospitals that recognize homosexual behavior as sinful behavior and they do not want to take part in affirming homosexual sin under the strong arm of the government." 

This from Liberty Counsel's limp-wristed little spokesbigot, Matt Barber. Who objects to the new federal rules which stipulate that any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding must allow LGBT patients to be visited by their partners. The rule goes into effect in 60 days. 
These anti-Constitutional hate mongers go on to say the new rule grants Gays and Lesbians "Special Visitation Rights".    So according to the American Taliban,  having the SAME rights to visit a loved one in the hospital  just  like anyone else, is a "special right" if you happen to be Gay or Lesbian.

For these obsessed  bigots,   extending  ANY rights  to LGBT Americans  constitutes  "special rights".  To the point where these unbelievably evil people would oppose letting a patient in a hospital see his or her loved ones.
On their national radio show, these Nazi's  decried  how they could no longer force  Gays and Lesbians to die alone..
These people are insane..  They are  the domestic equivalent  of the Taliban,  seriously.   They hate  America,  they hate our freedoms,  they hate our diversity.  They seek to take a narrow ultra fundamentalist  religious perspective and  make it the law of  the land.  They may not use the same tools and tactics,  but their goals are  no different  than the radical clerics in the Middle East who seek to impose religious law on their own people.    
The American Family  Association is anything  BUT an association for American families.   They are  a hate group, no different than the Klu Klux Klan.  

British Prime Minister David Cameron - It Gets Better

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back in San Francisco..

Made it back to SF from Malaysia just fine...  Except I was wide awake at  445am today,  the joys of jet lag...

Lots to blog about  but  need to  get by body clock back on track for anything I write to make sense  :)

So... Stay tuned!

- Dave

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Greetings from Malaysia

Greetings from  Kuala Lumpur,  Arrived here  last Monday,  and am enjoying the  90 degree heat and  humidty sooooo much.  (Sarcasm alert...)

You know, I  think I found the best way to deal with US election crazyness,  vote early then leave the country for two weeks!    Here for  a short  holiday with Eric to visit his family and actaully spend some quality time together in the same  time zone for a change. 

Have no fear dear readers, I have not abandoned  you , and will have pleanty to say about the  U.S. Midterm elections  and how they were viewed from Asia, when I return to the States in two weeks.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity..."


Rather than try to blog about  this   I will let the man speak for himself...  Brilliantly.

The greatest  thing  I have heard  in  YEARS  at ANY rally in Washington, DC -  "We live in hard times,  not "End Times"."

Thank you Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bishop Mark Hanson - It Gets Better

Bishop Mark Hanson, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, lends his voice to the "It Gets Better" project in a new video.
Says Hanson: "Sometimes the words of my Christian brothers and sisters have hurt you. I also know that our silence causes you pain...You are a beloved child of God. Your life carries the beauty and dignity of God's creation...There is a place for you in this world, and in this Church."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dear Wisconsin GOP.. Really?? THIS is your idea of a Lt. Governor?

Hat tip to Eric Dolan over  at  RAWStory for this  little gem  from my  home state...
Republican candidate for Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch compared same-sex marriage to marrying a clock during a radio interview.

"This is a slippery slope," Kleefisch said. "In addition to that at what point are we going to be okay marrying inanimate objects? Can I marry this table or this, you know, clock? Can we marry dogs?" "This is ridiculous," continued Kleefisch. "And biblically, again, I'm going to go right back to my fundamental Christian beliefs marriage is between one man and one woman."

Wow... the only things she's  missing  are Tina Fey glasses,  and a husband who doesn't speak but  just  poses with a dead moose and a snowmobile.  But I say  let's take  little  Becky Kleefisch  at her word and she really means it  when she says;  I'm going to go right back to my fundamental Christian beliefs".   

So if she wasn't lying and just  trying to use  homophobia  to rally her tea-bagging, civil rights fearing, home skooled minions.  And we accept  that  she  truly holds real honest to God, fundamentalist Biblical beliefs;   Then we can expect Kleefish to announce any day now, that  she is quitting the race and submitting herself to death by public stoning.  The fundamentalist biblical punishment  for a woman daring to speak in public and seek public office with out her owner's (Father's, husband's  or oldest male sibling's) permission.

We can expect in her next speech on agriculture,  one of Wisconsin's major industries;  Kleefish will confirm her deeply held  belief that any WI Farmer  who plants  different  crops side by side  is to be arrested  and put to death for committing  an abomination unto the Lord Thy God.

And since  Kleefisch holds her fundamentalist beliefs  so  deeply and honestly,  we  can safely assume that any member of her campaign staff  wearing  clothing made from two different  types of  material  will also be  turned over to the authorities  for capital punishment.      Not to mention the fact that  The Kleefish campaign certainly  has NEVER held any events  or done any campaigning on  Sundays, as  that would be in violation of the Sabbath itself.

In fact,  lets  take  a good look at exactly how  the GOP Candidate for  Lt. Governor of  Wisconsin's fundamentalist  beliefs  actually DO define  the institution of  marriage...

But in all  seriousness...  Rebecca Kleefisch is a either a  blasphemous  bigot or an idiot.    What I find most interesting about tea-bagging  troglodytes like  Kleefisch,   is  their  constant  selective  bible thumping.   They say the "Bible" is the inerrant word of God and want to use it to deny civil rights and basic freedoms to other Americans, but  they NEVER practice what they preach.

Their mis-use of the Bible is to pick bits of it selectively  and use  ONLY  random lines  that  can be taken  completely out of context to support  whatever it is  they are saying at the time.  But that isn't even  the real issue  here.   Neither  is Kleefish's  tired  re-used  comparison  of  Same Sex marriage to someone wanting to marry  a piece of  furniture or their  pet..

It was the same  argument racists  screamed in opposition to inter-racial marriage.  It was bigoted nonsense then, and  it still bigoted nonsense  now.

But what is most  galling  about  Kleefisch's  homophobic bile,  is not her  assertion that  somehow her beliefs are "Christian", nor is it  her desire to make those beliefs  the basis  of public policy in the State of Wisconsin.    What is most galling about  what Kleefisch does, is  that when she says "Christian Beliefs"  she really means  only HER beliefs.

I am a Christian,  and I worship regularly at one of the  oldest  protestant  churches  in the  Western United States.  St. Mark's  Lutheran Church in San Francisco is in fact,  the oldest  Lutheran Church west of the Mississippi River, founded in  1849.    I am the son of Lutheran Pastor  and  yes,  have  even taught Sunday School and  Confirmation classes.

So  when Sister Rebecca  over there  starts  talking about  what  Christians  believe,  she certainly  doesn't speak for me,  or  millions of Christians  just like me,  who DO believe that  all of us  Gay and Straight are loved  equally by God, and deserve the SAME rights.  Including the right to get married.

When you claim  that  religion  has the right to dictate  to the State  how to function,  you then by that very fact,  must allow the State to dictate to the Church in the same way.   THAT is what Thomas Jefferson knew and was warning against,  when he spoke of  the separation of Church and State.   If you truly don't believe in that separation  then you don't really believe in  religious freedom either.   Without  a  the clear  constitutional separation of Church and State,   America  would  be essentially  no different  than Saudi Arabia,  or Iran,   or  the Taliban in Afghanistan .

Tea-bagging wing nuts  like  Rebecca Kleefisch,  Christine  O'Donnell,  and  Sister Insanity herself,  Sarah Palin  will spew nonsensical rantings about the "threat" of  Sharia (Islamic religious) Law, being imposed upon the United States.  Then in the same breath,  selectively advocate for codification  of  some of  the Sundry Laws  from the Old of  Leviticus.

The hypocrisy  and ignorance   on display in the Wisconsin Republican Party of 2010,  would  make the men who gathered in that school house in Ripon Wisconsin  and established that party, break down and weep.

Rebecca Kleefisch says that all Americans  having equal rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, would lead to people marrying ....a piece of furniture.    Hardly surprising, since  Kleefisch just proved she clearly has the intelligence of one.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tonight's "Special Comment" on MSNBC

Keith Olbermann breaks it down clearly and concisely. The GOP/Tea Party wins next Tuesday,  ALL of America  will lose...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

President Obama Makes the Case...

From Library Mall  in my hometown.. Madison, WI

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Message from The President of the United States

Thank You Mr. President...

and  Thank you  Dan Savage.  You started a conversation that now reaches  from small town America  to the Oval Office.   Well done.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Google it! Search Result = "It Gets Better"

Show Your Support Today ....

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is asking Americans to wear purple on Oct. 20 to show their efforts to support the end of anti-gay bullying.
GLAAD has set up a website that lists a number of steps participants can take to help stop the bullying of gay, lesbian,  bisexual and transgendered people.
Organizers say those who participate in "Spirit Day" can change their Facebook profile picture and/or Twitter profile to reflect that they're wearing purple for the occasion.
According to GLAAD's website, the event was created by teenager Brittany McMillan earlier this month, following several high profile suicides following alleged anti-gay bullying in September. Rutgers University Freshman Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate allegedly broadcast video of Clementi having sex with another man online. Seth Walsh, a California 13 year old, committed suicide after reportedly being bullied because he was gay.
Facebook pages have also been set up by several participants, one with the message that "This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marriage Equality... It really DOES feel different.

In  the musical  "Guys & Dolls", long suffering  night club star, Adelaide  has been "engaged" to gambler Nathan Detroit for  fourteen years.   In the song  "Adelaide's Lament"  she  sings of her desire to FINALLY get married  and how  the stress of not knowing when or if she ever will,  is giving her a cold.

At the risk of being  completely clichéd,  the  now  decades long  saga of  marriage  equality has,  had same sex couples in the United States  feeling  a lot  like  Adelaide.  back in the  1990's Bill Clinton  was going  to be the champion for  LGBT  Equality,  but instead  he signed both  the  Defense of Marriage Act,and the military's  "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy  into law.

Then came the 2008 election and  Illinois Senator Barack Obama.  Candidate Obama said he didn't  believe in  "Gay Marriage" but  said he fully supported Civil Unions and  promised to repeal the  Defense of Marriage Act.

Yet just this week,  President Obama had  "his Justice Department" file an appeal in federal court defending the Defense of Marriage Act  and putting forward the argument that  allowing same sex couples  equal rights somehow would cause harm to  the United States.   Thanks a lot  Mr. "Fierce Advocate"...

And  in the middle of all this  debate on DOMA and  Proposition 8 here in California, which banned  same sex marriage.   We have not even touched the  issue of how the lack of  Marriage Equality impacts  bi-national same sex couples;  Where one person is an American and the other is not, and many couples are forced apart by that.   

Or,  as is becoming more and more common,  the American half the couple is forced to choose between love or country,  and  move to one of the twenty nations   that give equal treatment under the law to same sex couples.

And that is where our story begins.   in 2008 and 2009, my partner Eric and I did what a lot of  same sex couples did.  We waited to see if President Barack Obama would keep the promises he made as  candidate Barack Obama.

When it became clear that the inspiring words he spoke to LGBT voters were just that,  words,  we began the process  to apply for a Civil Partnership Visa,  for me to move to the U.K.
The United Kingdom has Civil Unions for same sex couples that have the same rights as Heterosexual marriages.   So  Eric  would be able to sponsor me as a spouse to live and work in the  U.K.   We started this process back in  January  and it is a long, tedious and  very expensive one.    Back in July  we  finally submitted all the required documentation, financial records, letters from friends and family,  airline ticket receipts, telephone bills and skype chat transcripts all proving our relationship was real.  
Then we waited  to hear back from the U.K. Home Office if the visa was approved,  and have been waiting ever since.

This afternoon I was sitting at  my desk at work,  it was one of those days that you could swear someone had tied invisible weights to the hands the the clock because the day  was just going by so slowly.   I had just finished a very long and  somewhat dry conference call , when I heard the  familiar  buzzing sound of my blackberry and felt  the vibration on my hip.   

As I started working on a power point presentation, I  took out my Blackberry and  hit the key to open the email that had just come in.   What I saw on the screen was this:  

 "Your application has been approved and the visa has been issued.  Please check your visa immediately on receipt to ensure that we have completed your visa correctly. Please send details of any errors or omissions to ASAP."    

 Many well intentioned  people, both inside and outside the LGBT Community have often asked what is the "big deal" about  Federal recognition  of Same Sex couples,  after all  with powers of attorney, living wills and the like,  Gay couples can have the same basic rights and protections  as opposite sex couples.  

Did it really matter if the Government gave its blessing or even its permission?   Libertarian friends of mine have long argued that  Government has no business being involved with marriage at all, and  it should be simple matter of  contract law.   So does  having  a Government say  "Ok, you can get  married"  really make any difference?  I often wondered that myself.  Many couples  have "commitment ceremonies" with family and friends in spite of the lack of  civil recognition.  Does  some sort of official civic approval really matter?

Then today I sat at my desk and  saw that short, to the point email message, in which  the Government of the United Kingdom was essentially saying to me;   "We approve of you and Eric  wanting to spend the rest of your lives together,  Cheers!".  The answer to that question was as clear as the text  on my blackberry screen.  

Yes,  it does make a difference.    

It does  feel different  when Government, the  civic will and voice of a society says  that  you matter,  you count  just  as much as everybody else does.  Your relationship,  your love,  your life that  you  want to build together,  is just as valid as everybody else's.    

How does that feel?  It feels incredible.

I have to admit  I didn't get much work done after that.   Instead I found myself staring at my blackberry with a huge grin on my face,  thinking one thought for most the rest of the day.

I'm Getting Married!

Ok... this was pretty funny

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Welcome to Norman, Oklahoma - Gay Teens Please Kill Yourselves...

From the Dallas Voice - A 19-year-old gay man from Oklahoma has taken his own life, and his parents say a hate-filled recent City Council meeting he attended may have driven him over the edge.

Zach Harrington was a talented musician who’d endured years of struggles due to his sexual orientation in high school in conservative Norman, Okla.

On Sept. 28, Harrington attended a three-hour public hearing on a proposal to declare October gay history month in the city. Although the council ultimately approved the proposal, Harrington’s parents described the meeting as potentially “toxic” for their son, a private person who internalized his feelings.

From the Norman Transcript - One man said he moved to Norman because he thought it was the kind of place that would never accept the GLBT community with open arms. A woman, who described herself as “bi-racial,” said she was tired of the GLBT plight being compared to Civil Rights. Some of those who opposed the proclamation claimed that members of the GLBT community would use it to infiltrate the public school system, essentially allowing the “gay lifestyle” to become a part of the curriculum.

For those in attendance, it was hard to ignore the intolerant grumblings, the exasperated sighs and cold, hard stares that followed comments from supporters of the GLBT proclamation.

Zach's family, who described him as a private young man who internalized his feelings and emotions, said it was this “toxic” environment at the Sept. 28 council meeting that may have pushed their gay son and brother over the edge. Nikki Harrington, Zach’s older sister, said her brother likely took all of the negative things said about members of the GLBT community straight to heart.

The  message  the people in that  room sent to  19 year old  Zach Harrington was  loud and clear;   You don't belong here,  you are  something "less than" the rest of us,  God is sending you to Hell,  and  what's more,   we know that you  are  really out to  destroy us all,  and our town.

I think the next  act by the Norman City Council should be to approve  sister city project with Terhan, Iran.  As both cites  are clearly full of  fundamentalist religious extremists  who are terrifed  by diversity, and feel threatened by democracy.