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NEWS: Democrats Debate, John Stamos Kisses, Atheists Unite, James Cameron Dives


Towleroad-roadicon As Democratic leaders discuss adding marriage equality to the party agenda, tensions develop behind the scenes:

... sources told The Huffington Post that the DNC has been asking advocates for patience, worried that more sweeping platform language would put the president in an awkward bind.

"The DNC folks -- their political shop -- have been calling people and really pressuring them," said Paul Yandura, a political and fundraising strategist at the firm Scott+Yandura who led gay and lesbian outreach on both Bill Clinton and Al Gore's presidential campaigns. "Look, I'm not going to claim that they're pressuring them not to be for it, but this 'let's wait' thing is always what happens in politics -- let's wait so they can find a way to slow this down and maybe get a good reason not to do it."

"But that doesn't mean that activists and other people have to wait and see," Yandura added. "I think that we have to keep up the pressure."

Melanie Roussell, a spokesperson for the DNC, did not directly refute Yandura's assertion. Instead, she emphasized the party's commitment to equality and inclusion, with respect to both LGBT Americans and the platform process.

"The President and the Party are committed to crafting a platform that reflects our values and a belief that this is a nation in which everyone deserves a fair shot and hard work is rewarded," she wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. “The time will come to consider the content of the platform but not a single platform committee member has been chosen and the process has yet to begin."

Towleroad-roadicon Last week, Andy reported on an imminent pro-marriage rally in Cleveland; the brain-child of 17-year-old Adam Hoover. The rally's over, and it looks like it was a smash -- but Hoover's disconcertingly absent from the press coverage. Give the guy some credit!

Towleroad-roadicon Cuddling with full-grown lions atop a car painted like a zebra: Why not? 

IMG091-1024x768 Towleroad-roadicon The Reason Rally: More than 10,000 nonbelievers gathered Saturday on the National Mall:

The Reason Rally, sponsored by 20 atheist, secular and humanist groups, was billed as a “coming-out” party in the heart of Washington for a segment of the American population that is growing faster than any religious group.

“There are too many people in this country who have been cowed into fear of coming out as atheists, secularists or agnostics,” said the event’s star turn, Richard Dawkins, the British scientist and best-selling atheist author.

“We are far more numerous than anybody realizes."

Towleroad-roadicon The next morning, Dawkins turned up on Up! w/ Chris Hayes to chat with Jamila Bey, Steve Pinker, et. al. Watch the discussion here.

Towleroad-roadicon Salman Rushdie: Socialite.

Towleroad-roadicon Christiana, Denmark's most famous hippie enclave, could be shut down by the man.

Towleroad-roadicon It is mathematically improbable that Rick Santorum will be the Republican nominee for the American presidency.

Towleroad-roadicon Sometime in the last week, people began tweeting things hashtagged "#tomyunbornchild." The tweeters don't want gay kids.

Towleroad-roadicon As I type these words, James Cameron is the deepest man alive:

The director ... used a specially designed submarine called "Deepsea Challenger" to dive nearly seven miles. He completed his deep dive a little before 8 a.m. Monday local time, according to Stephanie Montgomery of the National Geographic Society.

"All systems OK," were Cameron's first words, according to a statement. He arrived at a depth of 35,756 feet early Sunday evening on the U.S. East Coast.

Towleroad-roadicon OutQ News interviewed veeps at the GLAAD Media Awards last night ...

Towleroad-roadicon ... where John Stamos auctioned off a rather enthusiastic gay kiss. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...


Posted Mar. 25,2012 at 8:04 PM EST by in 2012 Election, Barack Obama, Democratic National Convention, Democratic Party, GLAAD, James Cameron, John Stamos, Ohio, Religion, Republican Party, Science | Permalink | Comments (22)

Madonna Visits Ultra Music Festival: VIDEO


Madonna took a break last night from sparring with Russian homophobes to put in an apparently spontaneous appearance at Miami's Ultra Music Festival. She looked fantastic. She did no singing. She swore her lifelong fealty to electronic music and asked if everyone present had "seen Molly." (Madge's new album is called MDNA, and "Molly's" the street name for MDMA. Wit!) Then she introduced the DJ Avicii, and proceeded to dance to a remix of her own song. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...


Posted Mar. 25,2012 at 6:12 PM EST by in Madonna, Miami, Miami beach, Russia | Permalink | Comments (9)

'A Boy To Be Sacrificed'

ABDELLAH-TAÏAIt's unusual and wonderful for the words of the writer Abdellah Taia to show up in an English-language publication, as they did in this morning's New York Times. It's also a little nervous-making. To read Taia is, very often, to be heartbroken.

That's the case today. In "A Boy To Be Sacrificed," Taia describes the experience of growing up in early-80s Morocco, captive to an unwitting effeminacy -- "something in the way I moved my hands, my inflections. A way of walking, my carriage. An easy intimacy with women, my mother and my many sisters" -- which set him apart from his community, and made him an outcast even as a child:

By the time I was 10, though no one spoke of it, I knew what happened to boys like me in our impoverished society; they were designated victims, to be used, with everyone’s blessing, as easy sexual objects by frustrated men. And I knew that no one would save me — not even my parents, who surely loved me. For them too, I was shame, filth.

Taia proceeds to describe the night the frightened child he was gave way to the rather Cynical (though seldom "cynical") man he became -- a night when a group of drunk men gathered outside his home, rather like the Sodomites of Genesis, and demanded that Taia be released to them for their pleasure. He was 12 or 13 years old at the time:

I was far, then ... from understanding that the problem wasn’t me. I was simply afraid. Very afraid. And I hoped my big brother, my hero, would rise and answer them. That he would protect me, at least with words. I didn’t want him to fight them — no. All I wanted him to say were these few little words: “Go away! Leave my little brother alone.”

But my brother, the absolute monarch of our family, did nothing.

Taia ultimately made it to Sweden, and then to France, where he studied at the Sorbonne. He lives in France still.

Posted Mar. 25,2012 at 3:06 PM EST by in Abdellah Taia, Gay Youth, Morocco | Permalink | Comments (24)

Texan Cafe Owner Sued For Gay Jokes

 628x471You know Frank's Place. It's one of those greasyspoon cafes where the same people chug bottomless coffee cups every morning and share vaguely antagonistic banter. This particular greasyspoonery happens to be in Johnson County, Texas. It's owned by a Ms. Phon Vang Meter, and until 2009 was regularly patronized by Benny Dale Morris. No longer. According to WLUK-TV, the vaguely antagonistic counterbanter ceased to be amusing when Ms. Phong Vang Meter began to joke that Benny Dale Morris and his very close friend Glen Warren were lovers.

Now Morris calls Meter an "evil old woman. (She's 73; he's 75.) After the alleged gay-calling three years ago, Morris sued Vang Meter for "defamation of character" and "intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress." Vang Meter calls Morris a liar. "All he wants is my money," she says. And he may have it. A Johnson County District Court ordered Vang Meter to pay Morris $5,000, and to cease insinuating that Morris and Warren are anything other than straight dudes who are totally secure in their masculinity.

But Vang Meter isn't taking this lying down. According to WLUK-TV:

The 10th Court of Appeals in Waco upheld the District Court ruling, leading Van Meter to appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, saying there isn't enough evidence to prove that she defamed him or caused him anguish. Her attorney, Norman Maples, suggests what on the surface appears to be an argument between two former friends could have First Amendment consequences about what can and can't be said in public, even in jest. The Supreme Court has not [yet] taken the case.

Maples points out that upholding the previous ruling would effectively make actionable ribbing, joking, barbing, and all kinds of verbal horseplay between ostensible friends. (Which is, it's worth adding, what draws a lot of people to greasyspooneries like Frank's in the first place.) Morris's lawyer argues that it's always libelous to say untrue things about a person, and that he doesn't know why Van Meter was "so mean."

More details at WLUK-TV.

Posted Mar. 25,2012 at 12:22 PM EST by in Law - Gay, LGBT, Texas | Permalink | Comments (14)

Santorum's 'Google Problem' Solved

Rick-santorum-blacksIt's a good time to be Rick Santorum. Not only did Santorum stomp Mitt Romney in yesterday's Louisiana primary -- the former senator has, it, seems, overcome his "Google problem." This is according to The Daily Caller, and a cursory investigation suggests it's true. "Spreading Santorum," the Dan Savage website created to radically redefine Santorum's surname, no longer even on appears on the first page of search results when one Googles "Rick Santorum." 

The campaign sounded a triumphal note in The Daily Caller:

“The word Santorum is more relevant to Rick’s campaign,” Pasi explained in response to a question about the topic during a breakfast at Google’s Washington, D.C. offices Friday.

Pasi speculated that Savage had success with his campaign to disparage Santorum because “he had a huge platform through his columns to say go ahead and search for this, link to this.”

...That all changed as the campaign heated up and the campaign website got “inbound links from the New York Times” and other top news websites.

“We’re obviously a major player now,” Pasi said.

Early in his campaign Santorum petitioned Google to ban "Spreading Santorum" from its searches altogether, or at least demote it to the rear pages of search results:

He said then that Google “has repeatedly on more than one occasion taken down sites, taken down searches for folks like Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, but has left it out there for me for 10 years so people can be exposed to the most horrific filth that you ever want to see.”

He must be glad now that Google doesn't rank web sites' relevance according to its programmers' whims. Otherwise, "Spreading Santorum" could return to the top of Santorum's search results with the flick of a button. But it doesn't work that way. If "Spreading Santorum" should rise again, it will be because of lots and lots and lots of links.

Posted Mar. 25,2012 at 10:52 AM EST by in 2012 Election, Dan Savage, Rick Santorum | Permalink | Comments (64)

Vote For Marriage NC Has A New Ad: VIDEO

This is the new ad from VoteForMarriageNC. It's not big on specifics, but it sounds like someone's attacking these heterosexual Christians' marriages. The woman pictured above says she's been married 30 years -- to the "same man" whom she "loves dearly" -- and, as she says, marriage was around long before any of us were born; before North Carolina was even a state, and she doesn't want it "taken away." Agreed, lady. Anyone who would take it away from you is a monster.



Posted Mar. 25,2012 at 10:30 AM EST by in Gay Marriage, Law - Gay, LGBT, North Carolina | Permalink | Comments (28)


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