Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Sad Life of a Closeted Conservative

Everyone's reporting that Idaho Senator Larry Craig has plead guilty to lewd conduct in a public restroom. The Idaho Statesman has released a story outlining a long history of allegations that clearly indicates Senator Craig is indeed a closeted gay man.

Sen. Larry Craig, who in May told the Idaho Statesman he had never engaged in homosexual acts, was arrested less than a month later by an undercover police officer who said Craig made a sexual advance toward him in an airport men's room.

The arrest at a Minnesota airport prompted Craig to plead guilty to disorderly conduct earlier this month. His June 11 encounter with the officer was similar to an incident in a men's room in a Washington, D.C., rail station described by a Washington-area man to the Idaho Statesman. In that case, the man said he and Craig had sexual contact.

Craig, 62, was elected to Congress in 1980. Should he win re-election in 2008 and complete his term, he would be the longest-serving Idahoan ever in Congress. His record includes a series of votes against gay rights and his support of a 2006 amendment to the Idaho Constitution that bars gay marriage and civil unions.

This is just one more incident in a series, where hypocritical right-wing leaders have been caught expressing their homosexuality in inappropriate, criminal ways. And it is inappropriate and wrong to harass and solicit sex from minors, as Mark Foley did. It's wrong to sexually assault sleeping strangers, as Young Republican chair Glenn Murphy did, and Senator Craig's behavior is also wrong. Harassing people in public restrooms is inappropriate, wrong behavior.

These men are hypocrites, having championed legislation that oppresses the GLBT, and because of this, they are extremely irritating. More than that though, these men are extremely sad.

It is not homosexuality that causes them to act out inappropriately, it is conservatism. If these men were removed from the repressive right culture, they would be free to pursue happy, healthy lives as openly gay men. I just think the entire thing is very, very sad.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

GLBTube #9

Candidates on GLBT Rights: Then and Now

The next several GLBTube's will be presented as a series. I've been hunting for footage of each candidate for president, both past and present, so that we may see their evolution on our issues.

First in the series, for no particular reason, Barack Obama.

Then: 2004 U.S. senate race:

Now: HRC/Logo debate

Part 1

Part 2

HRC Maps Marriage

Human rights campaign has just released a series of national maps that illustrate our progress in the fight for marriage equality. There is one interactive map that lets you explore each state in detail (click on the image below to play with it).

Looking at all this data, I have to admit that its pretty sad. We're making so much progress. Public opinion is shifting dramatically in our favor, but a decade of conservative leadership at the national level has really done a lot of damage. In many ways they have succeeded in pushing our country further and more permanently to the right than many people would have ever wished. Of course, no one ever thought we'd be talking about marriage so soon in our fight for equality. It's a remarkable phenomenon that our country is even discussing the possibility of same-sex marriage.

Here's the data:

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Whoa... No Comment

Yesterday I reported that two openly gay men have been elected to lead the Young Democrats of America. Later that day, I stumbled upon this incredible bit of gossip.

From the Indiana blog Taking Down Words:

Glenn Murphy, Jr., the recently elected chairman of the Young Republican National Federation (also the RNC Chair for Clark County, Indiana and formerly the YRNF Secretary) has been accused of sexually assaulting a sleeping man. Immediately following the accusation, he came up with an unrelated reason to resign, and the YRNF cleansed their website of his name.

Allegedly, Murphy and another YR were drunk and crashing at Murphy's sister's house. The other man apparently awoke in the morning to find Murphy giving him a non-consensual blow job. The Clark County (Indiana) Sheriff's Department is charging Murphy with "criminal deviate conduct", a Class B felony.

It turns out that this isn't the first time Mr. Murphy has been accused of such a crime. In 1998 Murphy was investigated for perpetrating the exact same type of sexual assault on a different man. Here's the police report.

This story is just starting to break in the main stream media. Check the coverage at Indiana's News and Tribune and at the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Young Democrats Elect Gay Leaders

For the first time in its history the Young Democrats of America organization has elected two openly gay men to lead. Garnering an incredable 93% of the delgate votes, Texan David Hardt was elected president. Chris Anderson, another openly gay young democrat from Tennessee, was elected executive vice president.

This is just another example of how quickly things change. When it comes democratic politics, we're out of the closet. Its interesting that the Republicans have allegedly had gay men lead their party, but they kept it secret. Democrats, at least the young ones, are excited to celebrate their talented gay leaders.

The National Stonewall Democrats congratulated Hardt and Anderson:

"Young voters are the new base of the Democratic Party, and we are proud that the Young Democrats of America support equality for LGBT families and have placed their faith in the leadership of two great Democratic leaders who happen to be gay," Jo Wyrick, NSD executive director, said in a release. "The future of our party now has an opportunity to demonstrate to all Democrats how fully engaging our community is politically viable and smart."

Monday, August 06, 2007

New Study: Gay Support = Election Victory

Equality Forum has just released a study that affirms the Caucus mission: educate our community so that we may play a key role in electing pro-equality candidates.

Here's what happened in Philadelphia when the GLBT community got behind their long shot candidate:

The May 15, 2007 Democratic primary, which is tantamount to election in heavily-
Democratic Philadelphia, featured five well-known politicians: two longtime Members of Congress, a former City Councilman, a State Representative who chairs the Appropriations Committee in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and a wealthy former Deputy Mayor. The former City Councilman, Michael Nutter, spent most of the race lagging in fourth place before he surged to victory, garnering 36.6% of the citywide vote.

The Equality Forum study reviewed the votes cast in seven distinct Philadelphia gay
neighborhoods and found that Nutter garnered 74% of the vote in these neighborhoods. A review of the top 12 Philadelphia tracts identified in the U.S. Census as having the most same-sex couples residing in the same household found that Nuttter received 69% of the vote in these census tracts. The study compared the percentage of votes from the gay neighborhoods and census tracts to the percentage of votes each candidate received in the respective wards. The gay
voting divisions averaged a 17% higher percentage vote for Nutter than the respective overall ward percentage.

Spelling it OUT: Election Goals 2007

If nothing else, this blog has a reported the trend towards equality in our country. All of us owe a lot to the generations of activists that had to meet secretly, court voters with hushed voices, and negotiate with officials without the leverage of public accountability.

Those days are gone, and tolerance is surging, because our community is increasingly honest and open about our issues. In that spirit, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus has approved an official agenda for the 2007 city election. It's a list of specific policy goals. When we endorse candidates, it means that we believe they are the leaders that will helps us realize these goals as soon as possible.

Spelling it OUT: Election Goals 2007

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus has a vision for the future of Houston. During the 2007 campaign, our community will endorse and work tirelessly for candidates who will enable our city to realize the goals stated below. Equality and justice cannot come too soon.

  • We aim to cultivate a city that offers GLBT people liberty, equality, and respect. To that end, we will continue working to elect courageous school and government officials that are devoted to progressing GLBT equality.
  • We will work to elect a city council that will renounce discrimination in GLBT employment.
  • We will work to elect a city council that will provide everyone in the GLBT community with equal access to housing and public accommodations.
  • We will work to elect school officials that are committed to providing GLBT students with a safe, welcoming learning environment, without discriminatory curricula.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

2007 General Election Endorsements

Last night the Houston GLBT Political Caucus voted on candidates to endorse for the November 2007 general election. The candidates gave some great speeches, and the debate was lively and spirited about whom to endorse. There were also quite a few new faces at the meeting participating in the process, and we hope they'll all be able to make it to our next meeting in September. Below is the press release the caucus released following our endorsement meeting. Enjoy!

Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC Endorsements

“Membership Holds Annual Endorsement Meeting”

HOUSTON, TEXAS—The Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC is pleased to announce its endorsed candidates for 2007:
Controller Annise Parker
At-Large Position 2 Sue Lovell
At-Large Position 3 Melissa Noriega
At-Large Position 4 Ron Green
At-Large Position 5 Jolanda Jones
District B Jarvis Johnson
District C Anne Clutterbuck
District D Wanda Adams
District H Adrian Garcia
District I James Rodriguez
HISD, District 4 Paula Harris
HCCS Trustee, District 1 Kevin Hoffman

“We had outstanding candidates seek our endorsement and very difficult decisions had to be made. I am very proud of the work the membership has done, and we look forward to making sure our endorsed candidates get elected this fall,” said Jenifer Pool, president of the Caucus, which held its PAC meeting on Wednesday, August 1st.

The Caucus meets the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. The monthly meeting is held at the Havens Center, 1827 W. Alabama. Visitors are encouraged to attend the monthly meeting to learn more about the HGLBTPC. For more information about the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, Caucus events, or volunteer opportunities call 713-521-1000, email info@hglbtpc.org, or visit our web site at www.hglbtpc.org.

Partners in Crime

This is a fascinating story out of Philadelphia. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

A federal judge in Philadelphia has ruled that a long-term gay couple on probation has the same right to associate as a married couple.

Senior U.S. District Judge Marvin Katz issued the ruling in a case involving two Montgomery County men, Daniel Mangini and Steven Roberts, who were convicted in 2004 of dealing 100 grams of methamphetamine.

After their release from federal prison, the U.S. Probation Office declined to allow them to live together, citing a policy that forbids felons on probation from associating with other felons unless they are blood relatives or spouses.

Under the probation department rules, they were not permitted to speak, meet or e-mail during their five-year period of supervised release.

Before their arrests, Mangini and Roberts had lived together for 18 years, shared bank accounts, and helped raise a young girl.

"Defendants were in every way a family," Katz wrote in a 10-page opinion issued Tuesday. "The Due Process Clause [of the Constitution] protects highly personal relationships of deep attachment and commitment."

Amazingly, this case is establishing an extremely important precedent. Judge Katz is affirming the equal rights of same-sex couples. The ACLU press release describes the historic impact of this decision:
After acknowledging the long-term commitment that the couple has made to each other and noting the great strides both have made in their recovery, Judge Katz ruled today that the couple can no longer be barred from having contact with each other. Relying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, Judge Katz ruled that same-sex couples have the same right to form intimate relationships as opposite sex couples and that it is unconstitutional to treat same-sex couples differently.

"This is truly a great day for our clients who have been barred from having any contact with each other for more than a year," said Mary Catherine Roper, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Pennsylvania. "By honoring their commitment to each other and fighting to be together, Dan and Steven have helped to bring about ground-breaking law requiring equal treatment for same-sex couples."

In many ways, this was obviously a terrible ordeal for Mangini and Roberts. Thankfully, both men are now sober, moving forward with their life together.

I guess in this case, as far as the GLBT community is concerned, crime pays.