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Posts Tagged ‘gay

Obama Transition Team ‘Took Notes,’ ‘Listened’ During Meeting With Gay Rights Leaders

Oh how kind of the incoming Obama administration to listen to the concerns of the wee gay community. Having pandered to the gay community during his entire campaign, the president-elect appears ready to actually hear what we have to say. Over a week ago, “gay activists met with members of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team last week in a two-hour session focused on policy issues and presidential appointments,” reports Southern Voice. Of course, this was before Obama selected Pastor Rick Warren to say a prayer at his inauguration.

“Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, said transition team officials were attentive during the meeting and very appreciative of the clarity of recommended policy changes. ‘They were taking notes, they were listening, they were responding, they were asking questions, they were a very, very engaged transition team and that bodes well for our community moving forward,’ she said.

“About 60 people attended the Dec. 10 meeting, including transition leaders such as John Podesta, co-chair of Obama’s transition team; Jim Messina, who is in charge of Obama’s personnel decisions; Mike Strautmanis, director of public liaison and intergovernmental affairs; Melanie Barnes, whom Obama tapped to become the White House’s domestic policy director; and Parag Mehta, the transition team’s liaison for minority groups, according to activists.

“Carey said activists also told transition officials that the gay community is interested in being part of the major issues of the day, including the economic crisis or health care reform.

“Activists made it clear that the gay community wants to be “part of creating solutions to these problems” and asked transition officials to make sure that “LGBT people are not left behind when these discussions are taking place,” Carey said.

“Solmonese said his role at the meeting was to discuss non-legislative changes that Obama’s administration could make to improve the lives of gay and transgender Americans.

“He said he presented the transition team an 80-page document of proposed changes.”

Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Homeowners group allows only married couples to rent

A Central Florida homeowners association covenant prohibits owners from leasing their homes to couples who aren’t married, raising the ire of gay rights advocates and homeowners who can’t locate tenants, reports Local 6 News in Orlando

The development is near the University of Central Florida. The rules were created, in part, to prevent the homes from becoming similar to nearby college apartments.

But abandoned homes are forcing current residents to maintain the properties.

A man who owns a home in the development had to move to Texas for employment reasons is trying renting the house for $1,600 a month, including HOA fees.

“It’s ridiculous,” says Eric Marberg. “I might have to quit my job here and move down to Florida and try to get something going.”

“Whether intended or not, this HOA law discriminates against many types of people,” said Tom Dyer, publisher of The Watermark, an Orlando gay and lesbian magazine. “And what’s most offensive is they’re saying the only kinds of people who can form a cohesive responsible household unit are married heterosexuals. And that discriminates against lots and lots of people.”

Fair or not?

You decide.

Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Gay father begs for help to find the son he had with a lesbian

A GAY father today pleaded for help in an international search for his son after the boy vanished with his lesbian mother following a custody battle.

Michael Turberville, 41, has not seen seven-year-old Ashley Skinner since the boy’s mother, Joanne Skinner, disappeared with him more than a year ago.

The IT consultant has launched a public appeal to find him with the backing of Britain’s top family court judge.

There is evidence that Ms Skinner, 35, fled abroad. Mr Turberville believes she may be living with Ashley in Australia.

The president of the High Court family division, Sir Mark Potter, has also lifted reporting restrictions which apply to disputes over children in the hope that publicity will help trace Ashley.

“It is gut-wrenching not to be able to see my son,” Mr Turberville said. “I love him so much. This has ripped my life apart. He was like a little me. I miss him every day.” Mr Turberville, of Reading, fathered the boy with Ms Skinner after advertising in a newspaper for a “like-minded” lesbian. He and Ms Skinner were both in same-sex relationships.

He travelled to her Islington home so she could inseminate herself. Ashley was born in 2001. Until just after his third birthday, she allowed Mr Turberville to see the boy. She then changed her mind and he began court proceedings.

Later, she made criminal allegations against Mr Turberville – unconnected with Ashley – of which he was acquitted by a jury and exonerated by the family court in September last year. Trade union worker Ms Skinner and her son then disappeared. Court orders aimed at tracing them have been unsuccessful.

In April, Ms Skinner’s mother received a letter from her sent from the US, but Mr Turberville believes it was written in Australia and passed on for someone in America to send.

In it she claimed Ashley had started school, and that she was not officially registered at her address. Mr Turberville is originally from Alabama but was born to a British mother and has dual citizenship. He has reported his son missing to Thames Valley Police. He said: “I’m pleading who might know where Ashley is to alert the authorities.”

Sir Mark Potter said: “This mother’s behaviour is to be deplored. She has gone to extreme lengths to cover her trail.” Ashley was being “deprived of a relationship with his father” because of her actions, he added.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Tipstaff to the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 020 7947 6200.

–Jack Lefley

Written by kickingalion

December 18, 2008 at 4:24 pm

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Gay man backed as Navy secretary

Some top retired military leaders and some Democrats in Congress are backing William White, chief operating officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, to be the next secretary of the Navy – a move that would put the first openly gay person at the top of one of the services.

The secretary’s job is a civilian position, so it would not run afoul of the ban on gays serving in the military, but it would renew focus on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office.

“He would be phenomenal,” said retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, pointing to Mr. White’s extensive background as a fundraiser for veterans’ and military causes.

Retired members of the Joint Chiefs have contacted Mr. Obama’s transition team to urge them to pick Mr. White, and members of Congress said he would be a good choice for a service secretary.

“He’s very capable,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, whose district includes the Intrepid Museum, a retired aircraft carrier berthed on the Hudson River in New York City.

Mr. Nadler said Mr. White has become a friend of the military, and particularly the service members and their families, both through the Intrepid and through Fisher Houses, which offer a place to stay so families can be close to military members who are receiving medical care.

A spokeswoman for the Obama campaign said they won’t comment on personnel decisions.

Others are in consideration, such as Juan Garcia, a former naval aviator who was defeated for re-election to his seat in the Texas House. Mr. Garcia is friends with Mr. Obama from their Harvard Law School days and was chairman of Mr. Obama’s Texas campaign.

Democratic members of Congress from Texas sent a letter to Mr. Obama earlier this month supporting Mr. Garcia for the position.

A spokesman said Mr. White would not comment.

If Mr. White were nominated, he likely would face questions during a Senate confirmation hearing over how his nomination would square with the military’s policies on gays.

In 1993, President Clinton signed into law a ban, and White House and congressional leaders settled on a new policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Under it, gay service members must keep their sexuality private or face expulsion. About 12,500 people have been discharged under the policy.

Supporters of the ban said nominating Mr. White would send the wrong signal.

“It’s a matter of judgment, and I think that would be very poor judgment on the part of the commander in chief,” said Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, which opposes gays serving in the military. “It would be very demoralizing to the troops.”

But Mr. Nadler said the military policy that says gays are a threat to unit cohesion is “nonsense,” and it shouldn’t apply to Mr. White anyway because as secretary “he’s not in the foxhole, he’s not on the ship.”

Gen. Shelton called Mr. White’s work at both the Intrepid Museum and the Fisher House Foundation “legendary.”

“He has always been a staunch advocate of our men and women in uniform,” Gen. Shelton said.

–Stephen Dinan

Written by kickingalion

December 18, 2008 at 4:20 pm

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First Openly Gay Person Named to Obama’s Cabinet

Barack Obama’s selection of Nancy Sutley as chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality marks the first prominent, openly gay or lesbian to join his cabinet.

The news was widely covered in the gay press and Web sites.

“President-elect Obama’s nomination of Nancy Sutley is another step toward full equality for gay Americans,” Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute, said in a statement.

“It sends a signal to young people that they can participate in their government at its highest levels, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender or ethnicity.”

Sutley is currently the Los Angeles deputy mayor for energy and environment and the mayor’s rep on the board of directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She also was a member of Hillary Clinton’s California Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender steering committee during the state’s primary.

Sutley has spent more than a decade in senior environmental, energy and water policy-making positions in California, according to The New York Times. A former aide to Carol Browner, the former EPA director during the Clinton administration and now Obama’s czar for policy, Sutley also has experience dealing with budget and legislative matters at the state and federal level. She is closely tied to figures in Los Angeles city and California state politics.

Sutley, 46, holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University and a master’s in public policy from Harvard.


Written by kickingalion

December 17, 2008 at 4:22 pm

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TV Ads with Gay and Lesbian Families Promoting the Repeal of Proposition 8 to Air Inauguration Week

Written by kickingalion

December 17, 2008 at 4:19 pm

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From Page Six:

NOT all gays are gaga over Sean Penn‘s portrayal of homosexual martyr Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant‘s biopic “Milk.”

In an article, writer James Kirchick slams Penn for his political leanings, arguing that any adulation he receives from the gay community should be tempered because of his affection for Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez and Cuban strongman Raul Castro.

Chávez and Castro are guilty of flagrant human-rights abuses, Kirchick writes: “Gay rights are human rights, as Milk said, and Penn discredits both when he rationalizes illiberal ideologies as ‘anti-imperialist’ and rushes to the defense of thugs who posture as victims of the West.”

Penn has long been a supporter of the dictator duo. In this month’s issue of The Nation, he lavishly praises both Chávez and Castro after paying them a recent visit. He asserts, for example, “It’s true, Chávez may not be a good man. But he may well be a great one.”

Kirchick’s story includes a quote from Human Rights Foundation President Thor Halvorssen, who says: “That Sean Penn would be honored by anyone, let alone the gay community, for having stood by a dictator who put gays into concentration camps is mind-boggling.”

Penn’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, tells Page Six: “Kirchick’s commentary about Sean Penn’s cover story neglects to include that Penn in fact addressed the issue of oppression toward homosexuals in Cuba in his full essay which was printed on the Huffington Post site on Dec. 1.

“The Nation printed an adapted excerpt only, but made it clear that the full article was on Huffington. James Kirchick didn’t do his homework.”

Written by kickingalion

December 17, 2008 at 4:17 pm