My morning routine usually includes about 10 minutes of lying in bed and scrolling through my Facebook and Twitter feeds to see what, if anything, happened overnight. Most mornings it’s quite dull, except for the occasional I-can’t-believe-they-posted-that moment. March 15 was very different.
On that morning, my feeds where filled with friends and news organizations touting Sen. Rob Portman’s flip on marriage equality. I was thrilled that another conservative Republican was speaking out in favor marriage equality. It is worth remembering that Portman, R-Ohio, was on Mitt Romney’s short list as a potential vice-presidential candidate. During his interview with CNN, the senator stated that during the vetting process he informed Romney that he had a gay son and it was a “non-issue.” Most likely, it wasn’t.
I recently read an article by Shannon Bream that was posted on the Fox News website. I know that reading such a site is bound to give a progressive heartburn, but about once a week I do it anyhow. The article was about the recent decision of outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to extend certain benefits to same-sex military couples. While I applaud the secretary for his commitment to equality for those who choose to serve in our volunteer military, Bream should be embarrassed by her article.
The article uses pejorative language, which in no way serves to educate the broader community. Instead, it furthers dangerous stereotypes about the LGBT community and repeatedly cites as the “topic expert” Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. For those of you who are not familiar with Sprigg, he believes in deporting LGBT people and wants reinstatement of laws punishing homosexual behavior.
For several weeks I’ve been doing a lot of traveling: Long Beach, Calif., Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Each trip has been to attend a conference that has offered a unique and meaningful opportunity to learn and grow personally and organizationally. The most meaningful was Creating Change, hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in Atlanta.
Two parts of that conference really stood out for me. The first was an all-day session called the “Racial Justice Institute.” The session’s focus was to help individuals understand their privilege and appreciate the challenge that people of color face every day. We can certainly see those struggles in Milwaukee. Ours is one of the most segregated cities in America, and our organizations reflect that problem.
How many of these accomplished lesbians do you know about?
Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) is most famous as the lyric writer of “America the Beautiful,” which she penned after being awestruck by the glorious view from the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado. Her words were set to the hymn “Materna” by Samuel A. Ward, and the song has become a beloved anthem notable for its love of our country’s natural beauty and democratic values rather than its militarism.
With the outrageous amounts of media attention over the “election” of a new pope to head the Roman Catholic Church, I have been suffering from what Elizabeth Cady Stanton used to call a “woman’s rights convulsion.”
Actually, it’s broader than that, more like a “human rights convulsion,” and it’s inspiring my annual anti-Catholic diatribe. Hell hath no fury like an ex-Catholic.
During the interim, MPS spent $65,000 of taxpayer money to conduct a “best practices study” on how to qualify same-sex couples for benefits that are routinely extended by most of the state’s largest institutions as well most Fortune 500 companies. And since Wisconsin is fortunate enough to have a domestic partner registry, the mechanism for qualifying employees for such benefits already exists.
On Feb. 14, you can do something to end violence against women. Join the “One Billion Rising” protests scheduled throughout Badgerland and demand that Congress pass the Violence Against Women Act.
For 15 years, the Feb. 14 V-Day campaign has publicized the atrocious levels of violence against women worldwide. Playwright Eve Ensler founded V-Day to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Performances of her popular play “The Vagina Monologues” and other V-Day events have raised millions of dollars for direct services for abuse survivors and for schools and clinics in countries where girls and women are denied education and health care.
It was a bipartisan spectacle, one served up for Americans craving cooperation in an era of divided government and persistent gridlock.
From one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other, President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress made what seemed like an attempt to work together. Republicans dined at and a few blocks from the White House and the president visited Capitol Hill, each essentially on the others’ home turf. Talk – in public at least – focused on areas of possible collaboration. The phrase “grand bargain” was tossed around as if big, across-the-aisle deals were in the works.
February is Black History Month and a good time to learn about the contributions of African-American gays and lesbians.
Eagle Scouts in Wisconsin have been asking Gov. Scott Walker, an Eagle Scout himself, to take a stand against the Boy Scouts' anti-gay ban. Walker has had numerous gays and lesbians work for him over the years, including two close associates who were indicted on criminal charges stemming from a probe of his administration when he served as Milwaukee County Executive.
While the Internet has brought enormous benefits to society, it should be used with caution. The embarrassing hoax perpetrated on Notre Dame footballer Manti Te’o spotlighted the latest Internet scam of catfishing, one of the numerous hazards facing cybersurfers.