Archive for the ‘Gay’ Category

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A footnote to the story of Larry Sinclair, the gadfly whose long criminal record I wrote about this morning: He was arrested by Washington, D.C. police after his press conference there today, two officials at D.C.’s First District station confirmed to Politico.

Sinclair is wanted in Colorado on theft and forgery charges, but police officials I spoke to wouldn’t discuss the charges. Reason’s David Weigel first reported the arrest.

New Scientist: Brain scans have provided the most compelling evidence yet that being gay or straight is a biologically fixed trait.

The scans reveal that in gay people, key structures of the brain governing emotion, mood, anxiety and aggressiveness resemble those in straight people of the opposite sex.

The differences are likely to have been forged in the womb or in early infancy, says Ivanka Savic, who conducted the study at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

“This is the most robust measure so far of cerebral differences between homosexual and heterosexual subjects,” she says.

Previous studies have also shown differences in brain architecture and activity between gay and straight people, but most relied on people’s responses to sexuality driven cues that could have been learned, such as rating the attractiveness of male or female faces.

These people are just sheer comedy.

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History was ushered in at 5:01 pm PST today as California began marrying same-sex couples, becoming the second state in the nation to do so.

Cake_3In San Francisco, 87-year-old Del Martin and 84-year-old Phyllis Lyon were married after being together for more than 50 years. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom officiated:

“Well-wishers cheered when they emerged outside Newsom’s office after the ceremony. Dozens of couples gathered outside the clerks offices in Alameda, Sonoma and Yolo counties, where hours were extended to accommodate gay couples who wanted to be among the first to marry. Derek Norman, 23 and Robert Blaudow, 39, from Memphis, were in the Bay Area for a conference and decided to get married at the Alameda County clerk’s office. ‘We might wait a long time in Tennessee, so this is our chance,’ Blaudow said. First in line to pick up a marriage license in Sonoma was Melanie Phoenix, 47, and Terry Robinson, 48, of Santa Rosa. They have been together for almost 26 years and plan to be wed in August.”



At 5:01pm today, history will be made as gay and lesbian couples begin marrying in California, led symbolically by the marriage of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, the couple of 50 years who were first married in San Francisco City Hall in 2004 (above). I’ve rounded up some of the significant reporting here.

road.jpg Profiles of some of the key figures in the same-sex marriage struggle (both for and against) including Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, Hillary and Julie Goodridge, Gavin Newsom, and Ronald George.

Weddingroad.jpg A new CBS poll shows reveals America’s shifting views on same-sex marriage: “Twenty-eight percent think same-sex couples should be permitted to form civil unions, but more than a third – 36 percent – say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship. Last month, the California Supreme Court struck down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage, paving the way for gay and lesbian couples to marry there. Americans’ views on this issue have changed since 2004, although opinion has not changed substantially in the last two years. In November of 2004 (soon after the presidential election) just 21 percent of Americans supported the idea of same-sex couples being allowed to marry.”

road.jpg A California business specializing in interchangeable figures for wedding cakes is seeing a windfall. More on the business boom, below.

road.jpg What churches are participating? “Episcopalians, Unitarian Universalists, rabbis, a Methodist and even a Catholic priest are planning to bless some same-sex marriages when they are set to become legal in California on Monday. ‘I believe the family is a cornerstone for a strong society, and I’m all in favor of everything we can do to build up the values that make strong families,’ said the Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, which has been blessing same-sex unions for 16 years. ‘I think the values matter more than the gender of the people making up the heads of those families,’ Russell said.” NPR reports on the coming clash between equal rights and religious expression.

road.jpg Some couples don’t plan on rushing to the altar: “As of yesterday, more than 700 same-sex couples had made appointments to get a marriage license in San Diego County, including 190 for Tuesday. Michael Kimmel, a Kensington psychotherapist who counsels gay couples, said the pressure to wed is prompting some couples to re-evaluate the strength of their relationships.”

road.jpg The NYT notes that couples may be wise to look to examples in Massachusetts.

road.jpg The San Francisco Chronicle visits the town where the highest percentage of residents (83%) voted for Proposition 22, the successful state ballot initiative that limited marriage to a man and a woman, and gets its take on the same-sex marriage laws: “Most residents still don’t like the idea of allowing men to marry men and women to marry women. Some residents say they don’t know any openly gay people, and others have trouble even saying the word ‘gay.’ One man called it being ‘of the homosexual persuasion.'”

road.jpg California businesses are poised to receive a windfall: “Faced with a wilted economy, water shortages and sticker shock at the gasoline pump, many California businesses are welcoming ‘the dinks’ (double income, no kids) with open arms. ‘It’s basically a godsend,’ said Daniel Doiron, the general manager of the Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs, which is offering honeymoon specials from $479 bargain basement (boutonnieres, 15-minute wedding, 20 guests) to the ‘Elizabeth Taylor’ at $29,999 (poolside villas, wedding cake and reception, ice sculptures, flowers, sit-down dinner for 200 and three nights in the honeymoon suite). ‘We’re just blessed to help.’ Ten couples from New York, Las Vegas and Phoenix have signed up for the options.”

Advocate: Puerto Rico’s house of representatives has denied a measure to toughen a ban on same-sex marriage.

Rep. Victor García San Inocencio says Resolution 99 failed on Thursday to make it to the house floor for voting, effectively killing the proposal for this legislative term.

The measure would have amended the U.S. territory’s constitution to establish that marriage is between a man and woman and that no other types of unions could be recognized. Thus, it would have made it harder to allow civil unions or grant marital rights to unmarried couples.

Critics said the amendment was unnecessary because local laws already ban same-sex marriage. Others argued it was discriminatory.

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McCain in a Town Hall today “I will not impose a litmus test on any nominee.”

McCain in 2000: “Somewhat surprisingly, McCain had the support of Gary Bauer, the social conservative, who had dropped out of the race by that time. ‘I wanted a commitment from either George Bush or John McCain that if elected he would appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court,’ Bauer told me. ‘Bush said he had no litmus test, and his judges would be strict constructionists. But McCain, in private, assured me he would appoint pro-life judges.'” [New Yorker, 5/30/05]

McCain 2007. McCain said, “I do not support Roe v. Wade. I think it should be overturned.” [New York Times, 2/24/07]

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Advocate: The Pew Research Center released new findings on Tuesday in a study gauging the importance of gay marriage as a voting issue among Americans. These findings were compared to opinions collected before the last election in 2004 and again in 2007.

According to the study, gay marriage is going to be a hot-button issue at the polls come November. Interest in gay marriage as a voting issue has increased across the board from October 2007 to May 2008, when the study was conducted, soon after the California supreme court overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage.

In the past year, there has been a particular revival of interest in gay marriage among conservative political parties and religious groups. The study reported that the majority of the increase was found among Republicans (up 14% from 2007), Catholics (up 11% from 2007), and white evangelical Protestants (up 10% from 2007).

Advocate: Eighteen-year-old Katherine Patrick, daughter of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, came out as a lesbian during an interview she conducted with her father by her side. “I’ll always remember the first thing my dad did was, [he] wrapped me in a bear hug and said, ‘Well, we love you no matter what,’” Katherine Patrick told Bay Windows, an LGBT publication that covers New England.

Governor Patrick and First Lady Diane Patrick fully supported Katherine’s decision to come out publicly, despite acknowledging that if their daughter were straight, she would not have had to make a formal announcement about the matter. “But the world is such and my job is such that rather than have someone do a ‘gotcha,’ [story about Katherine’s sexuality] and our giving the misimpression that this wasn’t completely natural in our family, then we thought, ‘Alright, let’s just say it and move on,’” Gov. Patrick said.

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The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Capeheart warns of the potential trouble with an Obama-Nunn ticket, seen as a significant problem with gay fundraisers over Nunn’s involvement in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell controversy in 1993.

When Bill Clinton sought to keep his 1992 campaign promise to end the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, he met strong resistance in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. Nunn, one of the most adamant opponents, led a series of hearings that were stacked against ending the prohibition. Critics noted that Nunn held more hearings about and spent more time on gays in the military than he had on the defense budget or even the Navy’s Tailhook sexual harassment scandal.

Already, the prospect of an Obama-Nunn ticket does not sit well with some prominent gay Democratic fundraisers. “It would without question irrevocably diminish my enthusiasm for the democratic ticket,” a longtime Clinton supporter told me in an e-mail. “Sam Nunn not only opposed [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s] rights to serve in the military, he viciously campaigned against it.”