Tonight is Manhattanhenge, the twice-a-year alignment of the setting sun with the street grid of Manhattan.
On Sunday, May 31, the entire solar sphere will be visible just above the horizon at 8:17 p.m. EDT. The second opportunity comes later in the summer, with another half-sphere sunset on Sunday, July 12, at 8:25 p.m. EDT and a whole-sphere viewing on Saturday, July 11, at 8:25 p.m. EDT. These times are calculated every year by the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, who coined the term "Manhattanhenge." The "henge" comes of course from Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in the Salisbury plains of England. The large structure of stones and earthen mounds is thought to be a burial ground that was oriented to face the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.
Viewing parties are scheduled at the east ends of 34th and 42nd streets.
Kansas Abortion Doctor George Tiller Shot To Death At His Church
Dr. George Tiller, the nation's most famous abortionist and the subject of decades of protests and lawsuits, was shot to death today at his Wichita, Kansas church.
Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim. No information has been released about whether a suspect is in custody. Police said they are looking for white male who was driving a 1990s powder blue Ford Taurus with Kansas license plate 225 BAB. Homicide detectives and Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston have arrived at the church.
Operation Rescue has issued a statement deploring the murder, but over on Free Republic their supporters are hailing the death of a "satanist." Pro-life groups have protested and blockaded Tiller's clinic since the early 90's. In 1993 Tiller was shot twice by an anti-abortionist who remains in prison for attempted murder.
Thousands Rally At Fresno's Meet In The Middle For Equality Event
An estimated 3000 activists rallied in California's heartland yesterday for the Meet In The Middle 4 Equality event, which was preceded by a 14-mile march from the symbolically chosen town of Selma.
With lively chants and rainbow flags, several thousand people rallied in Fresno today, aiming to persuade California’s conservative heartland to support same-sex marriage rights. Just days after the California Supreme Court upheld a ban on same-sex marriage approved by voters in November, activists launched the rally with a 14.5-mile march from Selma to Fresno in the Central Valley. Hundreds participated in the march. Seeking to link the march with the 1960s civil rights movement centered in places like Selma, Ala., organizers said it was “a symbolic sign of respect for the social movements before us.”
Photo galleries here. Below (left) Lt. Dan Choi delivers another rousing speech. In the clip on the right activist Robin McGehee gives a tearful plea to President Obama.
Nevada Senate Overrides Gov. Gibbons' Veto Of Domestic Partners Bill
Yesterday the Nevada Senate overrode Gov. Jim Gibbons' veto of their domestic partners bill by a 14-7 vote, exactly the number needed for the required two-thirds majority. The bill originally passed 12-9, but two Republicans changed their vote with one citing lobbying from the casino industry as his reason. Go Jan Jones! The bill now goes back to the Assembly where two changed votes are also needed to override.
RELATED: Gibbons has earned the title "Gov. Veto," setting a record for the most bills vetoed by any governor since Nevada became a state in 1864,
Susan Boyle, the frumpy Scottish (possibly autistic) woman whose Britain's Got Talent audition went on to became the most viewed video clip in the history of the world, lost in that show's finals last night. The winner was hip-hop dance team Diversity.
As a commenter on Vanishing New York puts it, "No one moved to the East Village/Lower East Side to hear birdsong in the mornings and crickets at night," but the new Thompson LES Hotel's rooftop pool bar, which is literally inches from the windows of the surrounding apartments, has got the entire neighborhood in an uproar. Here's a 20-second clip taken by one of the hotel's neighbors, who lives a couple floors above the nightly pool parties. In the left of this shot are some of the apartment windows next door.
The hotel has offered to send its neighbors a weekly list of events. One neighbor responds: "What good will that do? So I know when not to stay in my own apartment in case I want to sleep?” There have been community meeting about the hotel, but it seems like they may be within the zoning regs, somehow. What would you do?
Pat Robertson famously predicted that hate crime legislation would legalize sex with ducks. Riki "Garfunkel" Lindhome and Kate "Oates" Micucci respond. I predict you'll be singing this to yourself later today. Very catchy.
The president dropped into a Five Guys burger joint in DC today. I only ever knew about the one in Dupont Circle, which I've made a ritual of visiting every time I'm down there - but Dr. Jeff recently clued me in that there's 400 locations, including three in Manhattan. Field trip this weekend!
The stage is set for another vote on gay marriage in the New Hampshire Legislature. A little over a week after the House rejected language Gov. John Lynch had demanded, House and Senate negotiators agreed to a compromise Friday that added one sentence and changed one word in the Senate-passed bill. Negotiators planned to sign off on the final language by Monday, allowing for a vote by the full House and Senate on Wednesday.
Will New Hampshire become the sixth state on Wednesday? Will both NH chambers, who narrowly approved marriage equality on the first round, do so again? If they do, will Gov. Lynch keep his word and sign the bill?
The #1 topic on Twitter at the moment is the train wreck that was 10 year-old Hollie Steel on tonight's semi-final of Britain's Got Talent. Either one of the most heart-breaking things you've seen on live TV or a well-coached play for a sympathy vote. Your call. Meanwhile Susan Boyle has been having serious problems of her own.
Anti-Gay Alliance Defense Fund Seeking To Oppose Federal Marriage Equality Suit
The anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund is seeking to formally oppose the federal marriage equality lawsuit filed by Ted Olson and David Boies.
The Alliance Defense Fund filed court papers Thursday asking U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to allow it to defend the constitutionality of Proposition 8. Gay couples prohibited from marrying filed a lawsuit in San Francisco federal court May 22 and allege that California's marriage ban violates constitutional equal protection provisions. The Alliance Defense Fund spent more than $37 million in leading the campaign to pass Proposition 8 in November and successfully defended it before the state Supreme Court. The judge will hold a hearing July 2 to consider the group's request and whether to temporarily suspend the ban while considering the lawsuit.
Despite their win with Prop 8, the ADF has lost numerous other challenges to LGBT rights laws, including NY Gov. David Paterson's directive that state agencies recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Olsen and Boies are bringing their case on behalf of the American Foundation For Equal Rights. They are representing plaintiffs Kris Perry & Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo.
“I would ask every man and every woman who’s had the blessing of having children, ‘Would you deny your son or your daughter the ecstasy of finding someone to love?' To love someone takes a lot of courage. So how much more is one challenged when the love is of the same sex and the laws say, ‘I forbid you from loving this person’?” - Maya Angelou, phoning New York state Sen. Shirley L. Huntley (D-Queens) and asking that she support marriage equality.
Sen. Huntley says that while she enjoys Angelou's poetry, her opinion on same-sex marriage is unchanged. “If they gave me a million dollars, tax free, I just wouldn’t vote for it.”
I swear to Black Catholic Priestess Brenda Lee, I am so frickin' sick of these snafus in our commenting system. As some of you have noticed by now, JS-Kit is having a really bad hair day at the moment. The post counters are totally off, but at least it seems like only a couple of comments have been eaten. BTW, last week I finally learned how to disable the "karma points" feature that so many of you disliked.
Sodomy is the only sin for which God came down from heaven to destroy. Though God dealt with many other sins in various ways, there is no other for which he came down from heaven to verify and destroy. In the New Testament, sodomy is declared to be “against nature.” And of the men, Paul in Romans 1 says they leave “the natural use of the woman....” In effect, there is no greater sin against God than to reject how he made you, and no greater sin against women than to reject how God made them. But will the Antichrist be a homosexual? Having seen what the Bible says of sodomy, we have no further to look than the book of Daniel, chapter 11 to find our answer. It says, “Neither shall he [Antichrist] regard... the desire of women....” As I said at the onset, I am not the first to draw attention to this, but the verbiage is clear.
This, of course, holds with the Freepers' contentions about Barack Obama, as they all buy into the Larry Sinclair story.
Porno Pete LaBarbera is using quotes from me and Michelangelo Signorile to plea for donations to end a "financial crisis" at Americans For Truth About Homosexuality.
I am writing to ask your help to lift Americans For Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH) out of a financial crisis, but also to you to do your part to lift America out of her moral crisis. If you support Americans For Truth, it’s probably because you appreciate our direct approach to the problem of homosexual activism. We at AFTAH don’t play politically correct games by trying so hard not to offend anyone that we water down Truth. No, we just tell it like it is, and the homosexual activists hate us for it.
Perhaps LaBarbera has been spreading himself thin as he dashes from one leather event to another while simultaneously flogging his dream for a hate-filled Christian theocracy in Maine and Illinois.
DADT Rolls On: Time Running Out For Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach
Over 200 gay soldiers have been kicked out of the military since Barack Obama took office. And time is running out for Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach.
The winner of nine air medals for distinguished service in flight, including one for heroism the night U.S. forces captured Baghdad International Airport in 2003, Fehrenbach is in the process of getting kicked out of the military a year after an acquaintance told his bosses he was gay. He thought he could hang on until the government eliminated the military's policy forcing gays and lesbians to keep their sexual orientation secret, but now he isn't so sure. Obama "was someone who had experienced discrimination firsthand and that's why I had a lot of faith," Fehrenbach said. "I thought, OK I can fight this, and maybe by January Obama could be inaugurated and this won't matter. That hasn't happened."
Fehrenbach says he was never asked, he never told. Somebody else ratted him out. "For 18 years, I played by the rules and I kept my private life private."
On The View yesterday, David Hyde Pierce talked about his still-legal California marriage and went off on the haters. "It's like 'Oh, great, we made the cut.'" The View has disabled comments on YouTube.
David Byrne will perform a free show in Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell on Monday, June 8th at 6:30pm.
In this free concert, David Byrne will perform Music of David Byrne and Brian Eno, featuring material spanning his collaborations with Brian Eno: three Talking Heads albums, 1981’s groundbreaking My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and last year’s Everything that Happens will Happen Today. An ensemble cast including dancers, background vocalists, and a singular band will amplify the spectacle.
PA Newspaper Takes Ad Calling For Assassination Of President Obama
The Warren, Pennsylvania Times-Observerhas apologized, saying that the person who approved the ad "didn't recognize the significance of the names" and that they have "notified the authorities." Seriously? Garfield and McKinley...sure. But Lincoln and Kennedy?
Anti-Gay "Journalist" Dragged Kicking And Screaming From Air Force One
The Secret Service had to drag Georgia-based "journalist" Brenda Lee (!) away from Air Force One in Los Angeles today when she refused to leave, saying she had to personally deliver a letter to the president urging him "to take a stand for traditional marriage." Lee, who claims she has White House press credentials, said she writes for the Georgia Informer, a Christian website aimed at an African-American readership.
On the Georgia Informer site, however, Lee is identified as Rev. Brenda Lee, where so far I can only find an incomprehensible editorial by her in which she thanks God for not destroying California with an earthquake, despite all the wicked people living there. It also doesn't look like the Georgia Informer site has been updated since last year. Is the good Reverend just another crazy Christianist liar, in addition to being a complete loon?
UPDATE: Ooh, it turns out her official title is Black Catholic Priestess Brenda Lee. From her Prop 8 post of last year:
GOD’S mercy is not everlasting. That is why there is death and hell. Californians will vote Yes on Proposition 8 to establish marriage between a man and woman or they will go down for their wickedness. In November voters all over the United States should demand that its political leaders reconfirm that the United State is a GOD fearing country or it will move closer to becoming a Third World Country. GOD will bring this country to its knees via natural disasters that will turn into financial disasters. From the presidential to local candidates, every politician who stands with and for gay marriage must be defeated in November. And then Americans must make it clear that the president and governors who nominate gay sympathizers to judgeships will be defeated in the next election.
Seriously, read it, it's a hoot. She is so from Crazytown.
UPDATE II: Black Catholic Priestess Brenda Lee explains her authority:
"On what grounds does Rev. Lee speak for GOD? Her credentials out weigh that of Benedict XVI and every other Christian, or religious leader in the world. They have not heard the VOICE of GOD and they do not have the gift of prophecy or healing. None are willing to meet her face to face and call upon the name of GOD, as of the days of old because they know that she ranks with John the Baptist and Saint Peter. "
Ooh, poppa tooney, we got us a looney. Please, please, please SNL - do something with this!
UPDATE: We have video! I almost fell off my chair at the audio.
The guys over at The Sword (NSFW) emailed me the results of their extremely scientific compiling of Craigslist M4M ads in ten American cities. According to the stated preferences of postings in those towns, NYC comes out slightly, er, on top. Houston, not so much. A lot, not so much.
A gaggle of sign-waving protestors milled around outside The Beverly Hilton, the sprawling hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. They must have caught the president’s eye when he arrived at the hotel from an earlier stop in Las Vegas because he relayed one of their messages to the crowd. “One of them said, “Obama keep your promise,’ ” the president said. “I thought that’s fair. I don’t know which promise he was talking about.” The people in the audience – who paid $30,400 per couple to attend – laughed as they ate a dinner of roasted tenderloin, grilled organic chicken and sun choke rosemary mashed potatoes.
Sergio Garcia stood in the gymnasium and told the senior class at Fairfax High School not to worry: If he was elected, he wouldn't wear a dress. "I will be wearing a suit," Garcia said, "but don't be fooled, deep down inside, I am a queen!" Garcia, 18, spent most of his years at Fairfax openly gay and wanted to be part of the Los Angeles school's prom court -- but not as prom king. He felt that vying for prom queen would better suit his personality, so he decided to seek that crown, running against a handful of female classmates. He said it started out as a bit of a stunt and challenge -- he wasn't sure the school would allow it. But his campaign for queen ended up being serious and sparking dialogue about gender roles on campus. A few days before the dance and election, the contenders gave short speeches on why they deserved the crown. "At one time, prom may have been a big popularity contest where the best-looking guy or girl were crowned king and queen. Things have changed and it's no longer just about who has the most friends or who wears the coolest clothes," Garcia told the crowd of seniors. "Sure, I'm not your typical prom queen candidate. There's more to me than meets the eye." The audience erupted in applause after his speech, and a group of his female friends spent the rest of the week wearing pink crowns and campaigning for him.
Fairfax High is the alma mater of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
ABC News is reporting that six more gay men have been found murdered by Iraqi militias as the genocide of homosexuals there continues.
Two gay men were killed in Baghdad's Sadr City slum, and police confirmed they found the bodies of four more men, all killed during a 10-day period after an unknown Shiite militia group urged a crackdown on homosexuals in the country. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs believes as many as 30 people have been killed during the last three months because they were -- or were perceived to be -- gay. In a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the human rights group Amnesty International called for "urgent and concerted action" to end the violence against the gay community, the group reported on its Web site.
Two gay men were found elsewhere in Sadr City, alive but bearing the scars of severe torture. They were beaten, their chests showed signs of cigarette burns, and when police found them they were rushed to the hospital. They had been sodomized with iron bars, sources said. Other men said they had had their chests slashed and their nipples cut off.
An Iraqi soldier told ABC: "Two young men were killed Thursday. They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor." Five coffee shops reported to be gay hangouts have been set on fire in the last ten days.
And our government continues to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
NY state Sen. Ruben Diaz is claiming that his recent anti-gay evangelical rally is responsible for this month's 7-point dip in marriage equality polling.
"I would take credit for the demonstration that we had in front of the governor's office on May 17," the Bronx lawmaker told Fred Dicker this morning on Talk 1300 AM. "Before that demonstration, it was 53 percent in favor of gay marriage...last month it was more," Diaz Sr. continued. "What I'm telling you is the demonstration, the education that we have been giving to the community is already achieving some positive note and the percentage is coming down."
Diaz continues to predict that the issue will never come to a Senate vote in this session, which ends in three weeks.
Almost a decade after the most famously failed merger in history, Time Warner is finally casting off AOL.
The divorce, announced Thursday, will spin out AOL as a separate Internet company run by former Google Inc. advertising executive Tim Armstrong. He was hired in March to try to restore the luster to a brand once known as America Online. Time Warner owns 95 percent of AOL and will buy out Google Inc.'s 5 percent stake during the third quarter. From there, AOL will be spun off into a separate publicly traded company around the end of the year.
AOL bought Time Warner for $147B in 2001. Within two years the value of the merged company had plunged $100B.
NOM has released a new ad to be aired in Albany and NYC. The clip hits the same tired Prop 8 moments, including the school kids who attended their teacher's wedding and Gavin Newsom's "like it or not" quote. Note the African-American announcer.
The group said it hopes the commercial, which is intended to raise doubts about an argument made by advocates for same-sex marriage — that allowing gay couples to marry is simply a matter of fairness and equality — will give opponents a louder voice in a debate that has been dominated by the other side. “We need to combat the relative vacuum on our side,” Maggie Gallagher, the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, said in an interview on Wednesday. “This message is that gay marriage will have consequences. And if you oppose gay marriage, pick up the phone, write a letter, drop an e-mail, send us some money.” Ms. Gallagher added: “Their most powerful argument is, ‘This won’t matter to you, so you can drop your opposition.’ ”
We're six days into Mayor Bloomberg's six-month experiment and so far opinions are quite mixed. Tourists love it and rush hour traffic on nearby streets is actually moving faster. Shop owners and delivery men are much less happy, saying that deliveries must now be hand-trucked for blocks through crowded sidewalks. Postal workers, UPS, and FedEx are all giving the project a thumbs-down for the same reason. Tour buses can no longer park in Times Square either, which is making souvenir shop owners apoplectic.
"A civil union has to do with death. It's essentially a document that gives you lower taxes and the right to let your faux spouse collect your insurance when you pass away. A marriage is about life. It's about a commitment. And this argument is about allowing people to have the right to make that commitment, even if it doesn't make sense to you. Anything else falls under the category of "separate but equal" and we know how that works out.
"The support of legalizing gay marriage is in no way meant to change the ideals of the section of Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin. But we should refuse to let other people's ideals shape the way we live our lives. Each of us has a short ride on this earth and as long as we stay in our lane, and don't affect someone else's ride, we should be allowed to drive as we see fit." Grammy-winning rocker Rob Thomas writing for Huffington Post.
About 200 gay activists appeared outside the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles tonight to protest President Obama's perceived inaction on LGBT rights. The president was inside attending a DNC fundraising dinner.
During the protest, the crowd chanted, “Out of the court, into the streets, we are ready to fight, we won’t be beat.” It was a reference to Tuesday’s state Supreme Court decision to uphold Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. “The president made a promise when he made his speech about hope,” said Rick Jacobs, who chairs the Courage Campaign, an organizer of the protest. “I bought that promise and I still buy that promise, but it’s time for him to start fulfilling that promise for all Americans.” Jacobs, who worked on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in California, said that gay rights groups had collected 140,000 signatures for a petition asking the president to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and to stop the firing of U.S. Army Lt. Dan Choi, an Arab language specialist who was ordered discharged after recently declaringthat he was gay on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. For the demonstration, Gustavo Yanez, 40, of Los Angeles had made a banner saying, “Obama. We voted for change. Stop discrimination.”
Code Pink also protested, waving pink banners against the Iraq war. It's unknown if the president saw or heard either group.
Several dozen gay activists are occupying the San Diego County Clerk's office, saying they won't leave until they get a marriage license.
The event, organized in response to the state Supreme Court's decision yesterday to uphold the state's gay marriage ban, began around noon at the County Administration Center in downtown San Diego. Michael Anderson, 27, and Brian Baumgardner, 26, arrived at the office shortly after that and asked for a license. In response, Diana Bradrick, chief deputy recorder/clerk, said, “I'm sorry, but under state law, we aren't allowed to issue licenses to same-sex couples.” With that, Anderson and Baumgardner, who live in North Park, joined in a circle with supporters in the waiting area. They said they will not leave until they get a license. The group is chanting, singing and reading pieces aloud, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The office closes at 5 p.m. Bradrick said she won't ask for police intervention unless the demonstrators disrupt business or get unruly.
County employees are directing regular traffic into another room while the protest continues.
Levi Strauss, perhaps the strongest corporate supporter of LGBT rights, is dressing mannequins in their store windows nationwide with the White Knot - the symbol of marriage equality. Store employees have been trained to discuss the issue with inquisitive customers.
In Levi’s-owned stores in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, that means more than just marking the passing of Memorial Day, the traditional date to begin wearing white: in 20 stores, the mannequins’ white Levi’s jeans and shirts are adorned with White Knots, a symbol of solidarity with the same-sex marriage movement. The symbol was made more timely by the California Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday to uphold Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state. Developed by Frank Voci, a digital media consultant, as a response to Proposition 8’s passage last November, the White Knot for Equality is a white ribbon tied in a knot.
Last year Levi's was the only corporation to file an amicus brief on behalf of the effort to repeal Proposition 8. They also partnered with the producers of Milk to market the film nationwide and sponsored the premiere at San Francisco's Castro Theatre.
The Levi Strauss Foundation today announced that it will make a $25,000 donation to the National Center For Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and $25,000 to The San Francisco LGBT Community Center (“The Center”). The Levi Strauss Foundation is providing this support for efforts to achieve full and equal access to civil and human rights for all. NCLR’s most heartfelt thanks go out to Levis for their support.
While our inclinations may be to get fired up about boycotting companies that do us wrong, it also behooves us to remember to reward the folks that continuously do the right thing.
A broad coalition of LGBT rights organizations have expressed opposition to the planned federal lawsuit for marriage equality announced yesterday by lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies. From Freedom To Marry:
In response to the California Supreme Court decision allowing Prop 8 to stand, four LGBT legal organizations and five other leading national LGBT groups are reminding the LGBT community that ill-timed lawsuits could set the fight for marriage back. The groups released a new publication, “Why the ballot box and not the courts should be the next step on marriage in California.” (PDF) This publication discourages people from bringing premature lawsuits based on the federal Constitution because, without more groundwork, the U.S. Supreme Court likely is not yet ready to rule that same-sex couples cannot be barred from marriage. The groups also revised “Make Change, Not Lawsuits,” which was released after the California Supreme Court decision ending the ban on marriage for same-sex couples in California. This publication encourages couples who have legally married to ask friends, neighbors and institutions to honor their marriages, but discourages people from bringing lawsuits.
Earlier today many of you expressed suspicion as to the true intent of the men behind the federal lawsuit. Those suspicions may be well-founded.
See me standing in from of Gilbert Baker's fancy new March On Washington banner? Can you tell I'm dying a little inside? You see, the MOW is tentatively scheduled for October 10th, which happens to be my 50th birthday. Very cool, you say? No, no, dammit NO.
About six months ago my generous and beloved family of friends decided that we would make a mass excursion to San Francisco to celebrate my birthday at this year's Remember The Party, where my pal DJ Jerry Bonham will spin the classics of the venerated Trocadero Transfer at its original location. My pals created one of those fancy private invitation websites, we've booked a huge place to stay, and lots of the guys have already bought their plane tickets. At this writing, it looks like I have about 25 friends coming from NYC, Philly, DC, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami. Plus all my SF peeps who've signed on. I've been so verklempt about the whole thing, such amazing love shown to me, that I tear up any time I look at the invite page and see all those faces.
So yeah, we're kinda screwed about the March On Washington. And almost ALL of these guys would have gone, definitely. It's killing me. KILLING ME, I tells ya. Our only hope is that our ruling gay overlords decide on any date other than Columbus Day weekend. Hey, I hear DC is amazingly lovely in November.
NYC's Gotham Knights rugby club will hold their annual bachelor auction next Wednesday, June 3rd, at Manhattan's Splash Bar.
Kick off Pride month by staking your claim on Gotham’s hottest gay and straight real-life ruggers! Win tickets to fantastic theater, dining and media events, which are part of each bachelor's, er, package. And it's tax-deductible! Date packages include tickets to taping of Saturday Night Live and other popular shows, prime seating at New York Jets games, and a Day at the Spa. Raffle prizes include Nintendo Wii Fit, 3-month gym membership, and more. Proceeds from the auction, will benefit the development of Gotham, and increasing diversity within the sport of rugby. A portion of the proceeds will benefit God’s Love We Deliver. Check out Gotham's hot ruggers, and their date packages in the Auction Catalog.
Show up at 7pm for a meet-n-greet with the bachelors, the auction starts at 8pm.
The Courage Campaign and a coalition of other progressive groups will protest Barack Obama's continuing silence on marriage equality when he appears at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser dinner tonight at the Beverly Hills Hilton.
President Barack Obama, the most LGBT-friendly president in history, will be at the Beverly Hilton the evening of Wednesday, May 27th, for a DNC fundraiser. Let's take this opportunity, just one day after the CA Supreme Court makes its decision on Proposition 8, to show our President our support for his daring promise to our community and to highlight the growing movement towards FULL FEDERAL EQUALITY. Join us at a rally at 6PM in front of the Beverly Hilton on Wednesday, May 27th. At 7PM we will be joined by Lt. Dan Choi and other LGBT servicemen & women in opposition to Don't Ask Don't Tell. They will ask for response from President Obama to the letter signed by 136,000 people asking the president not to fire Lt. Choi by ending DADT. Regardless of what decision comes down regarding Prop 8 it is time for us all to demand equality on all fronts for all people! Sponsored by the Courage Campaign, Equality Network, Equal Roots Coalition, FAIR, Stonewall Democratic Club, White Knot
Yesterday White House press secretary Robert Gibbs declined to comment on the Prop 8 ruling, angering activists nationwide.
All eyes turn to central California this Saturday for the giant Meet In The Middle 4 Equality march, in which activists take the battle to the heart of "the enemy" in Fresno.
Starting with a 14.5-mile march in Selma - the Fresno County town with the same name as the Alabama city iconic to the 1960s civil rights movement - and ending with a rally in Fresno, the event foreshadows efforts by same-sex marriage advocates to branch into middle America-like regions of interior California where opponents of Prop. 8 did little outreach last year. Organizers hope to reach Latinos, faith communities and African Americans, constituencies into which they previously failed to make in-roads. Their approach aims to blend slain San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk's put-a-human-face-on-the-issue activism with Barack Obama's neighbor-to-neighbor organizing.
Trip planning, hotel accommodations and other information is here.
NYC Comptroller: Gay Marriage Would Bring $210M To State Economy
NYC Comptroller William Thompson has issued a report declaring that marriage equality for LGBT couples would garner the state an additional $210M in revenue in the first three years.
“New York State and New York City stand to benefit economically if marriage equality is passed in our State,” Comptroller Thompson said. “Legalizing marriage for same-sex couples is not only good for the couples, but also for our economy. “And while other states across our nation have legalized marriage for same-sex couples since my last report, I expect New York to still stand as a prime destination for many couples because it will stand as a welcoming beacon of diversity and acceptance.” Thompson’s analysis updates his 2007 study, “Love Counts: The Economic Benefits of Marriage Equality for New York,” assessing the financial and economic affects of the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples on New York City and State. The new analysis takes into account both the legislative strides and the economic straits across the nation.
As much as $149M of that money would come directly to New York City.
Two very well-known lawyers that once fought each other over the Bush-Gore election result have announced that they will join forces to file a federal challenge to yesterday's California Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8.
Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, who represented then-Vice President Al Gore in the contested election, have joined forces to tackle the same-sex marriage issue, which has deeply divided Californians and left 18,000 gay couples married last year in legal isolation. In a project of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, Olson and Boies have united to represent two same-sex couples filing suit after being denied marriage licenses because of Proposition 8. Their suit, to be filed in U.S. District Court in California, calls for an injunction against the proposition, allowing immediate reinstatement of marriage rights for same-sex couples.
John Aravosis at Americablog has this to say about Ted Olson taking on gay marriage:
Now I've seen everything. Ted Olson. Also known as George Bush's Solicitor General. Also known as the guy who represented George Bush at the Supreme Court in the Bush v. Gore case. Also known as Mr. Burns. The man is pure evil. And he's now representing a gay couple in a legal challenge in federal court to overturn Prop 8. Just called Joe. We're both speechless. It's difficult to explain in words how much each of us loathes Ted Olson. Of course, not any more. But you get the picture. It doesn't get any more conservative and nasty than Ted Olson. And now he's supporting gay marriage. And not just supporting it, but putting his legal muscle behind it. First off, thank you Mr. Olson. Seriously. And to our readers, this just goes to show you that even I can be fooled into thinking that some people are too far gone. As I've written on this blog many a time: Don't write people off, and don't mock people who reach out to the enemy. You'd be surprised what sometimes happens when you treat even bad guys with a modicum of decency.
The New York Times is reporting that AT&T may have "swayed" the voting during the finals of American Idol by hosting two hometown parties for fans of eventual winner Kris Allen, during which they were showed how to send ten times the allowed number of text votes at a time.
Representatives of AT&T helped fans of Mr. Allen at the two Arkansas events by providing instructions on how to send 10 or more text messages at the press of a single button, known as power texts. Power texts have an exponentially greater effect on voting than do single text messages or calls to the show’s toll-free phone lines. The efforts appear to run afoul of “American Idol” voting rules in two ways. The show broadcasts an on-screen statement at the end of each episode warning that blocks of votes cast using “technical enhancements” that unfairly influence the outcome of voting can be thrown out. And the show regularly states that text voting is open only to AT&T subscribers and is subject to normal rates.
Adam Lambert's fan forums are going apeshit, of course, but with almost 100 million votes cast in total, it seems doubtful to me that what AT&T did could have had that much of an effect on the result. For their part, Fox is refusing to comment on the situation.
The deep thinkers at the Maine Marriage Alliance point to a survey about monogamy among gay male couples and come to this conclusion:
Legal recognition for openly non-monogamous gay unions would effectively destroy the taboo on adultery. The result is a continual downfall of families and society. Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at Stanford University explains: “What we need to understand — but do not — is that gay marriage will undermine the structure of taboos that continue to protect heterosexual marriage — and will do so far more profoundly than either the elimination of sodomy laws, or the general sexual loosening of the past thirty years. Above all, marriage is protected by the ethos of monogamy — and by the associated taboo against adultery. The real danger of gay marriage is that it will undermine the taboo on adultery, thereby destroying the final bastion protecting marriage: the ethos of monogamy.”
The survey they cite, a 1996 study by gay researchers Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen reportedly concludes that "the cheating ratio of ‘married’ gay males, given enough time, approaches 100%." The Maine Marriage Alliance does note that this "outside sexual activity" occurs by agreement, but really, so what?
San Francisco police arrested about 175 protesters who were part of a group that blocked a major intersection for hours today in response to the state Supreme Court's ruling upholding Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. Hundreds of people filled the intersection of Grove Street and Van Ness Avenue late this morning after word spread of the ruling. The court also ruled that roughly 18,000 existing same-sex marriages in California remain valid. Around 12:45 p.m., officers were seen placing plastic handcuffs on protesters and leading them to police vans waiting nearby. With each new arrest, the crowd cheered.
There were no reports of injuries or property damage. Twitter member 1Struggle1Fight documented the entire day.
NYC: Thousands March And Rally For Marriage Equality
Undeterred by and in defiance of Proposition 8, thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets tonight for a march from the West Village to Union Square, where a now-familiar roster of speakers rallied the crowd, warning everybody that only 24 days remain in the New York Senate's current session. A second rally will take place this Sunday in Astoria, Queens, where activists will attempt to sway Sen. George Onorato. I asked some of the folks in the slideshow below to give me their best "fightin' angry" face. Full-screen versions of these photos are here.
"Most of us in Nevada absolutely support gay and lesbian rights. This is a big fight. We're not ready to give up. We want to override the veto. We’re not walking away from you; don’t walk away from us." - Senior vice president of Harrah's Entertainment Jan Jones, telling the Advocate that her company continues to stand behind the LGBT people of Nevada.
Jones urges gay tourists to continue to patronize the major hoteliers of Las Vegas that support Nevada's domestic partners bill, which was vetoed yesteday by Gov. Jim Gibbons. Both Harrah's and the MGM-Mirage chain offer benefits to partners of gay employees.
I usually complain about getting so damn behind on my blog emails, but I want to thank everybody for sending in so many tips, photos, and links today. I can't get back to everybody personally, but y'all are making it a lot easier to run this here one-man website thingy. A lot of what I get, I get a couple of dozen times, but don't let that hold you back. You guys rule.
Follow along as Twitter member 1Struggle1Fight tweets the demonstration. It's fascinating to me that while the first round of Prop 8 protests were clearly a Facebook phenomenon, today belongs to Twitter, where the number one hashtag today is #rejectprop8.
Maybe I spoke too soon when I predicted scant public disruptions over this widely-expected verdict. San Diego Pride says:
"San Diego Pride and its many supporters will continue focusing on public education and coalition-building in a newly energized movement determined to achieve marriage equality for scores of same-sex couples who are unfairly denied the privilege. That means forging the most skilled individuals and groups from both inside and outside the LGBT community who are dedicated to effecting change on this issue once and for all. [snip] We encourage the use of nonviolent civil disobedience to further these causes, and we are committed to finding the most effective ways to achieve and secure full equality for all LGBT individuals."
Whatever you do folks, please do not physically endanger yourselves or others and do not damage private or public property. Rage, yes. But keep it to words and signs. Civil disobedience. Everything that may happen today, no matter how seemingly justified in the moment, will likely be filmed for use against us. Remember the styrofoam cross lady. Stay classy, San Diego.
UPDATE: The SFPD is about to commence arresting the demonstrators who are peacefully blocking Van Ness Avenue, the city's major north-south thoroughfare.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who opposed the initiative, praised the court for leaving the previous marriages intact and urged opponents of the decision to respond "peacefully and lawfully." "While I believe that one day either the people or courts will recognize gay marriage, as governor of California, I will uphold the decision of the California Supreme Court," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
Immediately after the ruling, a few hundred activists stopped traffic near the intersection of Market and Van Ness in San Francisco. I imagine that's the most we'll see as far as civil disobedience.
As expected, the California Supreme Court has ruled to uphold Proposition 8 by a vote of 6-1. The existing 18,000 same-sex marriage will stand.
UPDATE: Stop8.org was ready for this decision and provides advice on what's to come.
UPDATE II: Here's what the Court said.
We conclude that each of the state constitutional challenges to Proposition 8 advanced by petitioners and the Attorney General lacks merit. Having been approved by a majority of the voters at the November 4, 2008 election, the initiative measure lawfully amends the California Constitution to include the new provision as article I, section 7.5.
Finally, we consider whether Proposition 8 affects the validity of the marriages of same-sex couples that were performed prior to the adoption of Proposition 8. Applying well-established legal principles pertinent to the question whether a constitutional provision should be interpreted to apply prospectively or retroactively, we conclude that the new section cannot properly be interpreted to apply retroactively. Accordingly, the marriages of same-sex couples performed prior to the effective date of Proposition 8 remain valid and must continue to be recognized in this state.
Two weeks ago my beloved Dugout inexplicably and officially became the Ramrod. Out went the jukebox so skillfully curated all these years by DJ Superdaddy. In came go-go boys, a leather shop, and a live DJ with a love for Britney and Madonna. Heavy, heavy sigh. A poster on the door gives the impression that "Ramrod has come back!" to its original location, but as Vanishing New York shows, the original Ramrod was actually on West Street. As you can see above, the crowds are holding up so far, although many of us have discussed moving our weekly family get-together elsewhere - even to Jersey City's Star Bar, a new place owned by our pal Sister Betty. As I've noted here before, the Dugout was the first place in NYC that I actually felt "home", after that fateful afternoon when I walked by and had my bee girl moment (start at 2:10) looking through the gates. Dammit. Dammit all to hell.