LBGT

Notorious New Bern

Stingray Cafe. One more bigoted North Carolina restaurant owner putting our state in the harsh spotlight of national news.

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On Not Doing 9/11, Or, Right Now, I’ve Got A Desk To Clear

I’m going to be really honest with you: after all the fights at the mall to get just the right present for everybody and the giant hassle of going to the Post Office so I can get the perfect stamps for my cards – and then worrying that I left someone off the list – I am just not in the mood to do a 9/11 story.

And it’s been getting worse every year. I mean, just like the “It’s Christmas Every Day Store”, I know there’s one of the “9/11 Every Day” stores open, in the all-too-human form of Rudy Giuliani, and I’ve learned to live with that, but it seems like they got started with the 9/11 earlier than ever this year – and by the time the TV memorials and analysis and retrospectives are all over, to paraphrase Lewis Black…I’m going to hate freedom.

In an effort to stave off this fate, we’ll be headed in a different direction today: I have three stories to pass along; each is important enough that you really should know about them, and yet they’re each very much bite-sized and easily digestible.

It’s all good stuff…so let’s get right to it.

Why a constitutional amendment on marriage is wrong for North Carolina

Four words.

If there ever was a litmus test for upholding the separation of church and state, the idea that something "is a biblical issue" should put the matter to rest.

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On Reopening For Business, Or, What? No Flying Cars?

So I took a bit of a break this past month, and I figured by the time I came back y’all would have things sorted out: people would be surely by flying around with jet packs by now, God would have sent fires and floods to smite the unrighteous, and, if I really got lucky, Barack Obama would have “grown a pair”.

And now that I’m back, debt negotiations are about to commence between that same Barack Obama and the Republican Congressional Leadership, things like Social Security and Medicare cuts are apparently on the table in order to protect tax cuts for the rich, and certain quarters of the Republican Party aren’t even trying anymore to hide their racism.

All of which suggests that I shouldn’t be looking for a jet pack anytime soon.

But there is some good news: God is apparently working hard, and states like Oklahoma and Arizona and Florida and Georgia and Texas have been alternately aflame or aflood, apparently as a result of their unrepentant behavior…and on the economic front, New York City’s Stonewall Inn is going to make a ton of money this summer hosting weddings.

That gives us a lot to talk about…so let’s get right to it.

DADT Update: The Service Chiefs Report, The Republicans Fret

There’s been a great deal of concern around here about the effort to prepare the US military for the full repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), and I’ve had a few words of my own regarding how long the process might take.

There was a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee last Thursday that had all four Services represented; with one exception these were the same Service Chiefs that were testifying last December when the bill to set the repeal process in motion was still a piece of prospective legislation.

At that time there was concern that the “combat arms” of the Marines and the Army were going to be impacted in a negative way by the transition to “open service”; the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Army’s Chief of Staff were the most outspoken in confirming that such concerns exist within the Pentagon as well.

We now have more information to report—including the increasing desperation of some of our Republican friends—and if you ask me, I think things might be better than we thought.

On Why Method Matters, Or, Lawrence O’Donnell, Let’s Talk About DADT

I had the MSNBC on last Thursday night, and Lawrence O’Donnell was talking to Ari Berman of “The Nation” about the new Obama Campaign Chief of Staff, Jim “Not Part Of Loggins &” Messina.

In the course of that conversation O’Donnell said something about the recent repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) legislation that suggests to me that he could use a short reminder of how that legislation fits into the larger view of what the LBGT community is looking for as the march toward true civil rights continues.

Luckily for Mr. O’Donnell, I am available to help him out on this one; that’s why today we’re going to audit “LBGT Agenda 101”—or at least the “Cliff’s Notes” version, anyway.

On Actually Ending DADT, Or, “Could It Really Take Another Year?”

So we got the good news that legislative repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy that kept LBGT folks from openly serving in the military has occurred, as the Senate voted Saturday to first cut off debate on the question (that’s the vote that required 60 Senators to pass) and then to pass the actual repeal legislation (which also garnered more than 60 Senate votes, even though it only needed 51).

Most people would assume that once Bill (remember Bill, from Schoolhouse Rock?) made it out of Congress and over to the President to for a signature that the process of repeal will be ended—but in fact, there’s quite a bit more yet to do, and it’s entirely possible that a year or more could go by before the entire process is complete.

Today we’ll discuss our way through why it’s going to take so long; to illustrate the point we’ll consider an actual military order that is quite similar to the sort of work that will be required from the Department of Defense (DOD) before the entire “DADT to open service” transition is complete.

On Asking And Telling, Or, 115,000 LBGT Troops? How Many Is That, Exactly?

I took a couple of weeks off, as Thanksgiving and snow came around (a subject we’ll address in a day or so), but we are all again occupied as lots of things we’ve been talking about either will or won’t come to pass, and it seems like all that’s happening all at once.

Today we’ll take on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT); this because the Pentagon’s top leadership just came out and reported that revocation of the policy, following a period of preparation, would be their preferred way to go.

There will be lots of others who will take on the question of what’s right and wrong here, and exactly how implementation might occur; my interest is, instead, to focus on one little fact that makes all teh rest of the conversation a lot more relevant.

That is the fact that about 70,000 LBGT troops serve in the military today, DADT notwithstanding, and, that if it wasn’t for DADT, almost 45,000 more troops would be serving that aren’t today.

And that one little fact leads to today’s Great Big Question: exactly how much military would 115,000 troops be, exactly?

On Asking Experts, Part Two, Or, What's An LBGT Voter To Do?

It’s been a few days now since we began a conversation that addresses the issue of how frustrated some number of LBGT voters are with the Democratic Party this cycle; this because they find themselves either frustrated at the lack of progress on the civil rights issues that matter to them, or because they see both the Democratic and Republican Parties as unreliable partners in the struggle to assure equal rights for all.

In an effort to practice some actual journalism, I assembled a version of an online “focus group” at The Bilerico Project (“daily adventures in LBGTQ”), with the goal of gathering some opinions on this subject in the actual words of those frustrated voters.

Part One of this story focused on “stating the problem”, and today we’ll take on Part Two: in this environment, with Election Day staring us in the face, what is an LBGT voter to do?

As before, there are a variety of opinions, including a very informative comment I was able to obtain from a genuine Member of Congress, Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania’s 8th District, and that means until the very end you won’t hear much from me, except to help “set the stage” for the comments that follow.

On Asking Experts, Part One, Or, Do Democrats Really Understand Their LBGT Problem?

Stories begat other stories, or at least they do for me; this two-part conversation came from a comment that was made after I posted a story suggesting that voting matters this time, especially if you don’t want environmental disasters like the recent Hungarian “toxic lake” that burst from its containment and polluted the Danube River happening in your neighborhood.

Long story short, we are going to be moving on to ask what, for some, is a more fundamental question: if you’re an LBGT voter, and the Democratic Party hasn’t, to put it charitably, “been all they could be” when it comes to issues like repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” or the Federal Defense of Marriage Act...what should you do?

Now normally I would be the one trying to develop an answer to the question, but instead, we’re going to be posing the question to a group of experts, and we’ll be letting them give the answers.

And just because you, The Valued Reader, deserve the extra effort, for Part Two we’ve trying to get you a “Special Bonus Expert” to add some input to the conversation: a Democratic Member of Congress who represents a large LBGT community.

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