Sunday, June 7, 2009

Polling suggest major shift in Michigan voters' attitudes towards gay rights and marriage

In 2004, Michigan voters adopted a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage by a 58% to 42% margin. Now polling suggests a nearly even split on the issue, with 46.5% in favor of same-sex marriage rights and 48% opposed.

The shift is even more profound when you look at other issues:

92.2% believe that same-sex partners should have hospital visitation rights, while only 6% are opposed.

70.9% favor inheritance rights when a gay or lesbian partner is deceased, while only 26% are opposed.

65.5% support domestic partner benefits for government and university employees, and only 29.7% are opposed.

63.7% are in favor of civil unions for gay/lesbian couples, while only 31.1% are opposed.

57.5% believe gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children, while only 35.9% are opposed.

Why the change in attitudes? Polling in 2004 suggested that only 56% of voters personally knew a gay or lesbian person. Now that number is sharply higher, 80.2%.

Source: The Glengariff Group Inc. poll of 600 registered Michigan voters conducted May 27-29. MOE +/- 4%.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Update on the story a few days ago about anti-transgender comments on KRXQ

Bank of America, Verizon and Chipotle are among those companies pulling ads after anti-transgender comments on KRXQ's morning show.

Read more here.

Gay marriage likely to bring the "creative class" to New England states

I have had several friends tell me about Richard Florida's book, The Rise of the Creative Class, which, among other things, tells of the importance of having a thriving gay community in a city and how it is an integral part of building quality of life. Although I haven't read the book yet, I am going to probably pick up a copy at Amazon in the next few days.

I just read an article from Reuters which told of the economic benefits many northeastern states will reap due to recent marriage equality laws. Here are a few key excerpts:

"The expansion of legal gay marriage across New England could deliver an economic windfall by attracting a youthful "creative class" of workers to a region with an aging population."

"New arrivals include John Visser and Nick Keffer, who recently moved to Hartford, Connecticut, from Raleigh, North Carolina. They plan to wed later this month.
"The sole, only reason why we moved was because it was now legal for us to get married here," said Visser, 42. 'No other reason whatsoever other than marriage equality. We were perfectly happy in North Carolina.'"

"The spread of gay marriage could serve as a recruiting tool for universities, health care companies and financial services firms that dominate the region's economy, experts said.

"It will be a selling point when it comes to trying to lure people with same-sex partners who are being wooed for a job," said M.V. Lee Badgett, a University of Massachusetts economist who studies gay and lesbian issues.

Same-sex couples in the so-called "creative class" were 2.5 times more likely to move to Massachusetts in the three years following the approval of same-sex marriage than they had been in the three prior years, according to a study released in May by the Williams Institute of the University of California.

That study also found that migrants relocating to the state were more likely to be younger and female than before same-sex marriage was approved.

Research shows that heterosexual members of the "creative class" -- a group that includes financial whizzes, software programmers and educators -- tend to regard states that allow gay marriages as more appealing places to live.

"It broadly suggests you have an environment in which people who are seen as different are accepted," said Gary Gates, the UCLA demographer who was the study's lead author."

The first economic effect Massachusetts felt from gay marriage was a boost in business related to actual wedding ceremonies performed over the past five years.

The 12,167 same-sex couples that have wed and their guests have spent about $111 million on weddings, from flowers and cakes to hotel rooms and meals for out-of-state guests, another Williams Institute study found.

Over the longer term, there could be a greater economic effect if gay couples decide they are unwilling to leave the region to move to states where their marriages would not be recognized. Forty-two of the 50 U.S. states have laws on their books prohibiting same-sex marriages.
"Once these states offer marriage to these families, they will not quickly, willingly or easily accept new assignments, transfers and promotions to states that don't offer them," said Bob Witeck, chief executive of Witeck-Combs Communications, a Washington-based marketing firm that focuses on gay and lesbian issues. "They're creating an economic wall in the region that is going to impact the ability of all national employers to move talent around."

Some married gay people said they would not consider moving to a state where their marriage would not be recognized.

"I just wouldn't do it. It's pretty straightforward," said Mike Swartz, 41, a vice president at a software company who lives with his husband in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Some couples said another key factor influencing where they would move is how states recognize their role as parents.

Marie Longo, 45, moved to Massachusetts before the state allowed gay marriage because its laws allowed her now-wife Allison to adopt Longo's twin daughters.

"Portability is a big issue for those of us now who have lived in a state where we have been legally married and respected and treated just like any other couple," said Longo, who works as a fund-raiser for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, a group that lobbies for gay marriage.
Knowing they could move from state to state and still have their marriage recognized made it easier for Visser, an interior designer, and Keffer, a real estate agent, to start a new life in the north, Visser said.

"Connecticut is a very small state," Visser said. "Hartford is the center and it only takes an hour to get to the state border in any direction, so for us to be able to establish ourselves in the surrounding states, it broadens our opportunities. We feel less restriction."

New England has a graying population, particularly in Maine where 14.7 percent of the population is 65 or older, compared to 12.5 percent for the nation as a whole, according to U.S. Census data. Economists and academics say this will take a toll on the region's economy, both by limiting innovation and growing the demand for government services.

Video footage from Saturday's rally for marriage equality in Rhode Island

According to Marriage Equality Rhode Island, over 400 people joined to rally for marriage equality at the Rhode Island statehouse today. Some video footage is below.

Almost all of the other states in New England are on board. Come on Rhode Island! Get with the program!

Although gay Floridians can not adopt, gay male penguins are already doing it

According to the Chicago Sun-Times:

"A German zoo says a pair of gay male penguins are raising a chick from an egg abandoned by its parents.

Bremerhaven zoo veterinarian Joachim Schoene says the egg was placed in the male penguins' nest after its parents rejected it in late April. The males incubated it for some 30 days before it hatched and have continued to care for it.

Schoene said the male birds are one of three same-sex pairs among the zoo's 20 penguins."

I wonder if a Florida judge would force this penguin into the foster care system?

Shanghai to city's first gay pride festival

A week-long gay pride festival gets under way in Shanghai this weekend, the first time the city has held an event like it.

There will not be a parade. The organisers took legal advice which suggested that might get them into trouble with the authorities.

Instead, there will be film screenings, talks, an art exhibition and a large, all-day party at a privately-owned venue.

Gay sex was decriminalised in 1997 in China. Before that, people used to be prosecuted under "hooliganism" laws.

Homosexuality was described officially as a mental illness in China until 2001.

Although China is a very conservative society, surveys suggest the majority of the population are reasonably tolerant of gay people.

However, there is intense pressure on young Chinese to get married, so it can be difficult for gay Chinese to be open about their sexuality.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dick Cheney steps out on gay marriage issue

The ice is cracking under opponents of marriage equality and equal rights for gays and lesbians. Although it wasn't perfect, the former vice-president offered support for gay marriage at the National Press Club. His support was for states to be free to allow gay marriage, yet he did not support action at the federal level. Because this is a civil rights issue and one of equal protection, I have a problem with that.

It is still amazing to see such a stubborn, right-wing nutbag actually step away from toeing the party line. Some of his language was awkward and his position is less than ideal, but it is still better than the position of President Obama, and I appreciate that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

KRXQ radio hosts encouraged violence against transgender children

Hat tip to GLAAD for bringing this issue to everyone's attention.

June 2, 2009— In a lengthy May 28 tirade on the Rob, Arnie & Dawn in the Morning radio show heard in Sacramento, California on KRXQ 98.5 FM and Reno, Nevada on KDOT 104.5 FM, hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States verbally attacked transgender children. While discussing a recent story about a transgender child in Omaha, Nebraska and her parents’ decision to support her transition, the two hosts spent more than 30 minutes explicitly promoting child abuse of and making cruel, dehumanizing and defamatory comments toward transgender children.

You can listen to the entire segment beginning at 4:48 by clicking this link:

Among the comments made by the hosts:

ROB WILLIAMS [11:12]: This is a weird person who is demanding attention. And when it’s a child, all it takes is a hug, maybe some tough love or anything in between. When your little boy said, ‘Mommy, I want to walk around in a dress.’ You tell them no cause that’s not what boys do. But that’s not what we’re doing in this culture.

ARNIE STATES [13:27]: If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him. Because you know what? Boys don’t wear high heels. And in my house, they definitely don’t wear high heels.

ROB WILLIAMS [17:45]: Dawn, they are freaks. They are abnormal. Not because they’re girls trapped in boys bodies but because they have a mental disorder that needs to be somehow gotten out of them. That’s where therapy could help them.

ROB WILLIAMS [18:15]: Or because they were molested. You know a lot of times these transgenders were molested. And you need to work with them on that. The point is you don’t allow the behavior. You cure the cause!

ARNIE STATES [21:30]: You got a boy saying, ‘I wanna wear dresses.’ I’m going to look at him and go, ‘You know what? You’re a little idiot! You little dumbass! Look, you are a boy! Boys don’t wear dresses.’

ARNIE STATES [29:22]: You know, my favorite part about hearing these stories about the kids in high school, who the entire high school caters around, lets the boy wear the dress. I look forward to when they go out into society and society beats them down. And they end up in therapy.

To her credit, co-host Dawn Rossi stood up to Williams and States during the segment.Despite her apparent lack of familiarity with transgender issues, Rossi repeatedly defended transgender people and made an on-air apology for her colleagues’ defamatory remarks.

Please contact KRXQ management in Sacramento, California, where the show is produced and demand that radio show hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States publicly apologize. Call on KRXQ to hold Williams and States accountable for their remarks and establish clear standards to ensure their media platform will not be used to condone or promote violence against any parts of the communities they serve.

John Geary
Vice President & General Manager
KRXQ-FM(916) 339-4209

Arnie States
On Air Personality
KRXQ-FM(916) 334-7777

Rob Williams
On Air Personality
KRXQ-FM(916) 334-7777

Please alert any of your friends and others who may also wish to take action. When contacting KRXQ, please ensure that your emails and phone calls are civil and respectful and do not engage in the kind of name-calling or abusive behavior.

A letter from a 10-year-old about her family and equality

I received an email from a reader with this letter. The writer of the letter, Ali, is ten years old. I had to strip out some of the pictures, but the main one which is referenced first is intact. Enjoy!
Dear Reader,
I am writing this after witnessing several videos in which hundreds of people protest for what they believe in. Just think about it! There were 18,000 gay-married couples in California who got off easy. But there are more people in this world than that! My family is my 14 year old brother, my mom, and her wife, Tanya. Tanya is part of our family now, and she is loved. I oppose Amendment 2 with all my heart. The HEART is the thing now. We love, and that keeps our world spinning. Never mind who we are, what race we are, what gender we are: Love is an equal right. Love makes a family.
What do you see in the above picture? An insult to marriage? An intrusion to marriage? A threat to marriage? Or do you see what I see? I see all that belongs to a family. I see 2 women who marry and live, even when laws and people and cars drive by and flip them off for standing in the rain protesting the hate that is heaped upon them. But love shall win. Love shall always conquer hate. So we shall stay out here in the rain, wondering: why? Not wondering why we fight, or why the rain comes down, not why the heck we chose this path. But wondering why these people choose to flip us off when they could stop and think: That little girl can’t be much older than my daughter/son. And that woman is drenched but she’s got a purpose and shows no sign of stopping now. Or even: They are all soaked. What drives them on? The answer being, of course: Love. L-O-V-E LOVE!
All you need is love. - John Lennon
What do you see here? 2 confused women? Hundreds of confused people? Guess what I see? Love. Not only do I see love, but I see people ready to defend the rights of that love. What I see are people, ready for whatever might come. For instance, I’m going to post this on my profile and kids in my class might laugh at me. I DON’T CARE!!!!!!! THEY CAN SNICKER ALL THEY WANT, BUT NOT BY A LONG SHOT WILL I LOSE GROUND!!!!!! IF IT BECOMES COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT MY MOTHER HAS MARRIED A WOMAN, NOT ONLY DO I AVOW IT, I EMBRACE AND TAKE PRIDE IN IT!!!!!!!
What truly saddens me is not only how many people support Proposition 8 and/or Amendment 2, but the fact that they exist. What person is so vain, stupid, or scared that they have nothing to do but sit around and criticize other people’s marriages? What person decided to crash the wedding, the domestic partnership certificate? Who decided love wasn’t enough to make a family?
Guess what? Love does make a family!
Thank you,
Ali T. -10 years old.

How to Come Out on Facebook

How fitting, since most of you found out about us through Facebook. Interesting read IMO.
From Caryn Brooks' article on
The transparency that online social networking imposes is something that takes getting used to. For many people, exposing yourself to a potentially immense and judgmental community can be new and scary. But many gay people love that function of Facebook because it makes one primary but traditionally fraught ritual of gay and lesbian life so much easier. That would be coming out. Facebook is like drive-thru coming out: quick, cheap and open all night.
Coming out used to be an exhausting process. You had to come out again and again and again to all your friends at different times. Nowadays, even with social networking, gays still have to come out, but one of the key differences between our pre-profile selves and our new online presentations is that now (finally!) the burden is also on our friends to discover and digest our identities. For the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, Facebook et al have finally leveled the identity field, and it's kinda nice.
Keep reading at and please post your experiences with coming out online in our comments section!

Dr. Jill Biden speaks to GLSEN about her commitment to making schools safe for all students

From the article:

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, delivered opening remarks at the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network's sixth annual Respect Awards in New York City on Monday evening. In an appearance marking the first time someone from the presidential or vice presidential area of the Obama-Biden administration addressed a gay organization, she voiced their “commitment” to making schools safe for all students, including LGBT youths.

Read the full article at The Advocate.


From the official White House release:

"I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists."

Earlier in the release:

"My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."

Read the full release at The White House web site and post your comments here on The Gayborhood Times!