Standing Up for New Hampshire Families — a coalition of New Hampshire residents and business leaders — held a press conference today urging state lawmakers to abandon efforts to repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law and focus on jobs. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to approve a measure that would eliminate the law and enact civil unions. The full House is expected to take-up the issue in January.
The two separate bills would preserve existing same-sex marriages but replace the law with civil unions for unmarried adults, including relatives. Anyone would be able to discriminate against such couples “in employment, housing and public accommodations based on religious or moral beliefs.” A WMUR Granite State Poll from Oct. 14 found that voters want to keep marriage equality by a two to one margin.
28 Percent Of Audiences Watch LGBT-Inclusive TV Programming | Twenty-eight percent of audiences and advertisers watched programing that included LGBT characters, and such programs represented 24 percent of “broadcast primetime scripted and reality shows last season,” Nielsen is reporting. Interestingly, “LGBT-Inclusive characters were incorporated into shows that skewed towards Eastern and Pacific viewers and were less watched by Midwesterners. This differential was most pronounced among 18-24 year olds in the Midwest, especially when compared to 18-24 year olds in other regions of the U.S.” Look:
Judge Alison Nathan with her family and President Obama
Earlier this month, the Senate confirmed Judge Alison Nathan to a federal judgeship in New York. Shockingly, Nathan is only the third openly gay attorney confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the federal bench, and President Obama is only the second president to place an out judge on the bench.
The lion’s share of Nathan’s confirmation process went without serious controversy. Nathan’s nomination cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee by a lopsided 14-4 vote, and, even in this hyperobstructionist Senate, Republicans agreed not to filibuster Nathan’s nomination and allow her to go straight to a confirmation vote. By the week of the vote, Nathan appeared poised to be confirmed in a walk.
Schumer said he received a “friendly call” from one of his Republican colleagues about 90 minutes before the vote on October 14 to tell him that their conference planned to oppose the nominee uniformly. The senators had received an alert about the nominee from the conservative Heritage Action for America, which scores lawmakers on their votes, and a letter from the Concerned Women for America that took direct aim at Nathan’s sexual orientation.
“Nathan has a long history as political activism with Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) which calls into question her impartiality and judicial temperament,” said the letter, which cited her work as a member of the LGBT policy committee for the Obama campaign in 2008, and her pro-bono representation for groups including the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
So let’s be clear what happened here. Alison Nathan is a brilliant lawyer and former Supreme Court clerk. Half the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee saw no problem with making her a judge. No one in the Republican Caucus objected to giving her an up or down vote on the Senate floor. And then two anti-gay organizations threw tantrum, and the Senate GOP turned on a dime to oppose her.
Lt. Gary Ross explained how DOMA undermines families’ access to medical care during a segment with MSNBC’s Live Nation:
First Openly Gay NBA Player: Homophobia Is A ‘Massive Problem’ In Athletics |
John Amaechi was the first openly gay former NBA player and has just accepted an Officer of the British Empire Medal. Upon receiving it, he condemned homophobia in athletics, which he described as a “massive problem” that is often ignored or “relegated.” He also singled out how little is being done about it in soccer, offering, “If you compare their emphasis on racism to what they’ve done on homophobia, it’s an embarrassment.”
Rosie O’Donnell appeared on MSNBC with Thomas Roberts this afternoon to discuss her new talk show on OWN and how changes in the media may be contributing to the bullying of LGBT youth. Speaking of her now infamous feud with Donald Trump, O’Donnell said she was “pretty shocked on how many stations he was allowed to go on and sort of debase my character, my physical appearance, my femininity, every single thing about me…he was bullying for like seven months,” she said, adding that “some of the 24-hour news networks seemed to take pride in the fact that they bully people.”
“When I was on T.V. …nobody was asking you if you were gay or not. You know, nobody ever asked me in the entire run of my show if I was gay, because it wasn’t part of the social zeitgeist, it wasn’t part of pop culture,” O’Donnell observed. “But then, after I was on a few years, Will and Grace went on the air and that changed everything. And then Ellen came out. You know, it changed. So you have to think that in the 15 years so many things have changed and some parts of the country have not really caught up.” Watch it:
Earlier this month, an audio recording captured an election volunteer for Virginia state Sen. Janet Howell — a Democratic incumbent running for re-election to the state Senate — admitting to “gay-baiting” Republican voters into opposing her openly gay Republican challenger Patrick Forrest. Kavita Imarti, an intoxicated volunteer for Howell, can be heard admitting to Forrest’s field director that the campaign is informing conservative voters of Forrest’s sexuality and claiming that he will push a “homosexual agenda” in schools. “We’re showing your party [is]… prejudiced against someone because of their sexuality,” Imarti shouts on the recording.
Yesterday, reporters asked Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) about the incident during a campaign fundraiser for Forrest. McDonnell responded that Republicans “stand for equal opportunities for all people” and insisted that supporting a gay candidate would not hurt his standing among the party’s more conservative social base:
“I don’t know what she’s doing but I can only say that Patrick and I — and I think all of us in our party — stand for equal opportunities for all people. I think you heard his message about job creation. He’s not focused on divisive social issues. He’s focused on the two things that really matter, getting people back to work and getting our spending and our government under control, and I think that’s what people care about, especially independent voters right now.”
But McDonnell’s own record on issues of “equal rights” is mixed at best. While McDonnell did eventually issue an executive directive prohibiting discrimination “based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation” in state employment, he doesn’t support extending workplace protections to gays and lesbians in the private sector, arguing that “there isn’t really any rampant discrimination on any basis in Virginia.” He also opposes marriage equality and gay and lesbian couples adopting children.
Mega church leader Joel Osteen reiterated his belief that being gay is a “sin” during an interview with the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn, but said that gay people should still purchase his new book “Everyday a Friday” and learn from its message of empowerment. “They don’t have to let people steal their power, especially all the bullying, things that we see going on with that,” he said. Osteen also suggested gays could be converted:
Somebody that maybe had this certain difficulty now, maybe in five years they’re not if we will love them. You know, I think one of the messages I speak on sometimes is, you know, we can love people back into wholeness. But sometimes we want to beat them down — you got this addiction and you shouldn’t have that, or you did this — I just don’t think that’s the best way.
Osteen said that he would attend a same-sex marriage but wouldn’t officiate it, before adding, “we’re all growing, we’re all changing.” “Somebody who has a certain difficulty now, maybe they won’t in five years. You know, one of the messages I speak to is, you can love people into wholeness.”
Same-Sex Marriage Not Discussed At Iowa’s Special Senate Seat Debate |
Iowa Republican Cindy Golding and Democrat Liz Mathis — the candidates in Iowa’s special Senate election — squared off in an hour-long candidate forum yesterday that focused on the economy and local issues. But as the forum ended, “one man shouted out that he wanted to know where the candidates stood on same-sex marriage and whether the candidates would support a House-passed resolution to put a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballot.” National anti-gay groups like the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) have attempted to insert the issue into the election since a Republican victory would evenly split the balance of power in the senate and pave the way for such a measure. But neither candidate sees the issue as a priority and as forum moderator Todd Dorman noted, “[A]mong the audience questions we got, not one was on the marriage issue.”
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT’s 8:45 AM round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here’s what we’re reading this morning, but let us know what you’re checking out too. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- The U.S. Agency for International Development will now “strongly encourage” contracting businesses to have non-discrimination policies that protect LGBT workers.
- A Joplin, MO teacher wrote on Facebook that she doesn’t think enough young people have committed suicide for anti-gay bullying to warrant attention: “11-13 ought to do it. Somewhere in that vicinity.”
- Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin says that gays should be treated with “the same respect and love as every other child of God,” then sentences later calls for the condemnation and disapproval of their sinful “lifestyle.”