PABE


New York Times Prints Landmark Article on Same Sex Marriage
June 19, 2006, 4:01 pm
Filed under: entertainment, gay and lesbian, media and democracy

Kudos to the NYTimes for printing such a lovely, simple article that does so much to humanize our relationships.

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“I have to say, 10 or 15 years ago, I couldn’t have imagined an occasion like this,” Mr. Pinfold told the 157 guests, who sat in the stark and simple pews. “I couldn’t have imagined myself standing up in front of you all or any group and saying: ‘This is my beloved. To him I plight my troth.’ ”

To read more click here.



Morality, Politics and The Constitution
June 13, 2006, 9:32 pm
Filed under: democracy, gay and lesbian, media and democracy, politics

“If there is any document that needs to be preserved from religious squabbling and moralizing, it is the Constitution.”



Record Increase in Violent Crimes Last Year, Especially Midwest
June 13, 2006, 12:11 am
Filed under: crime, gay and lesbian, media and democracy

In case you were considering it, here’s another reason not to move to the Midwest:

The number of U.S. violent crimes increased 2.5 percent last year, the largest percentage gain since the early 1990s, led by more murders, robberies and aggravated assaults, the FBI reported on Monday.

It said the number of murders rose 4.8 percent, the largest percentage gain in 15 years. Robberies increased 4.5 percent while the number of aggravated assaults went up 1.9 percent. The only violent crime category to drop was rape, falling 1.9 percent.

The nation’s four regions all posted increases in violent crime in 2005. The Midwest had the steepest jump at 5.7 percent, followed by the West at 1.9 percent, the South at 1.8 percent and the Northeast at 1.4 percent.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.



Mary Cheney’s Book Tanks in Bookstores

According to THE ADVOCATE, Cheney’s book NOW IT’S MY TURN has sold less than 6,000 copies since its release a month ago. The book’s sales have declined each week since the release, selling a mere 574 copies for the week ending June 3. That’s a 77% drop in sales since the book released.

Simon & Schuster paid Cheney an advance of $1 million for the rights.



This is what a Feminist Looks Like
June 9, 2006, 6:07 pm
Filed under: democracy, feminism, media and democracy, politics, Uncategorized

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Marian Anderson (pictured) was one of the finest contraltos of her day. She sung before heads of Europe. A piece “Solitude” was written especially for her by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, one of the most internationaly popular composers of the late 19th and early 20th century.

But when Anderson tried to rent Constitution Hall in 1939 for her Washington, D.C. dubut, the all-white women’s society and building’s owner, the Daughter’s of the American Revolution (D.A.R.), denied her because she was African-American.

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When D.A.R. member and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (pictured) learned of this shameful discrimination, she promptly resigned from the D.A.R. in her syndicated newspaper column and brought in Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes (pictured) to arrange a performance for Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial.

75,000 people attended that performance, enough to fill several Constitution Halls. Four years later, the D.A.R. invited Anderson to sing at a benefit for the American Red Cross.

On January 7, 1955, Anderson became the first African-American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera. In 1958, she was officially designated delegate to the United Nations. She was awarded the UN Peace Prize in 1972.

Eleanor Roosevelt was appointed delegate to the United Nations in 1945.



Gay Marriage Could Alienate Jews
June 9, 2006, 4:05 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, media and democracy, politics

Today’s Jewish Journal makes a good point. Though Bush has successfully brought more Jewish votes to the Republican party than probably any other Republican President in American history, his latest move to push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage threatens to reverse this tide, turning Jewish voters off to his Evangelical Christian morality.

“Jewish Republicans, who have been trying to lure Jews away from their solid 3-to-1 support for Democrats, might have been dealt a blow, at least according to the amendment’s opponents.”

It’s unclear to me how the Republican Party will gain ground in the Jewish community by bringing forth a centerpiece of the religious right’s agenda,” said Mark Pelavin, associate director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center. “For a large section of the Jewish community, this is an issue of fundamental rights and they will be watching closely to see how their senators vote.



Statement by Judy & Dennis Shepard Opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment
June 7, 2006, 7:25 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, media and democracy, politics, Uncategorized

Going through the media today, I found myself overwhelmed and despondent by the sheer volume of blather and spin happening over the Federal Marriage Amendment. As most of you know by now, if you have a television, blackberry, cell phone, read the paper, internet or listen to the radio, the Senate rejected the proposed marriage amendment with 49 votes in favor and 48 opposed, numbers which fell 11 short of the 60 required to send the bill to a full tally Senate vote.

Now the spin wars are happening. Though the amendment failed, the right says it’s gaining in votes so this is really a victory for the larger picture of “projecting traditional marriage.” Meanwhile, those who favor marriage-equality are also declaring victory. As in 2004 when this issue was first voted on, the Senate again voted not to support the anti-gay marriage amendment.

But within all of this noise, I have yet to find one statement out there that gives me any hope that the politicians involved in any of this remember that they’re dealing not with politics but with real human lives. People are at stake.

That’s why I’m choosing not to report today on any of the mainstream press coverage of the federal marriage amendment, but to reprint what Mathew Shepard’s family has to say about all of this. Saddly, they know better than most of us what’s at stake here.

Statement by Judy & Dennis Shepard Opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment

After viewing the President’s press conference on Monday and the Senate debate the past two (2) days regarding the so-called “Marriage Protection Amendment”, we feel compelled to respond to those who would write discrimination into the Constitution.

It was hatred directed towards the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community that personally harmed our family and took away our son, Matthew, not the love and commitment expressed each and every day between same-sex couples. Love is the foundation for marriage, not a threat to it. That love should be celebrated by society, not diminished. The love and strength of the GLBT community and their allies that helped us significantly during the difficult times of the past seven (7) years now sustains us and encourages us to continue the fight for GLBT rights. As a society, we should encourage and support our fellow man as the GLBT community has done for our family.

It saddens us that the President and Senate Majority Leadership, in the guise of protecting the institution of marriage, are using the lives and jeopardizing the futures of GLBT individuals and their families for political gain leading up to the 2006 mid-term elections. In their opinion, marriage between a man and a woman needs to be protected or the world as they know it will collapse along with modern society. It ain’t so. During the course of our 33-year marriage, the only time our family has needed protection is when hatred and discrimination took the life of our son Matthew.

This is the same type of regressive thinking that led to prohibition (which failed and the Constitutional amendment was repealed) and racial discrimination and segregation (which also failed). Will modern civilization disappear if same sex marriages are recognized as having the same equal rights as those of opposite sex marriages? Only in the closed minds of those currently in political power, especially the older generation, who think it is their duty and God-given right to tell the younger generation what is right and what is wrong; only in the closed minds of those in political power who are worried about the fact that the ‘younger generation’ is more open-minded and accepting of diversity of all kinds, including same-sex marriage; only in the closed minds of those in political power who are worried about losing an election over other domestic and international policy failures; and only in the closed minds of those fundamentalist church groups who are attempting to purchase a Constitutional amendment through political votes and donations to justify their existence. As far as the President and Senate Majority Leadership are concerned, it’s okay to take away the rights of a significant portion of taxpaying, law abiding, God-fearing Americans, as long as it isn’t them losing those rights, privileges, and, possibly, families.

Since when is it wrong for a gay American to want to fight for, and protect, the country of birth by serving in the military? Where is the threat to our family and the families of other Americans? Our biggest threats come from an ineffective President and Senate Majority Leadership that can’t conclude a war, can’t improve the current state of the educational system, can’t provide decent health care for every American, can’t reform the Social Security and Medicare system to prevent them from going broke, can’t protect our borders, can’t reduce the debt, and can’t bring back the world-wide goodwill, integrity, and reputation that America held before the second Gulf War.

Everything is a ‘can’t’ so the obvious solution to these problems is to focus on an issue that half the country believes is a non-issue.- gay marriage. Why? It turns attention away from the real problems and keeps the religious right happy that something is going to be done. It’s so obvious that an Amendment will not pass. But it allows the President and Senate Majority Leadership a so-called ‘photo-op’ – an opportunity to put on a public display of good intentions, letting them pretend to do what is good for America in order to reach for those all important votes and donations,Anyone who believes the hatred behind this amendment is any different than the hatred that led to our son’s murder is fooling themselves and doesn’t understand what is happening every day in our society. Instead of trying to enshrine discrimination into the U.S. Constitution for a threat that does not exist, let’s spend the time more wisely by building and supporting rights for all citizens to work, play, marry, raise families and live in a country that was founded on the proposition that all citizens are accorded equal rights.

For more information, please go to the Mathew Shepard Foundation.