Inclusion

Yesterday’s Inauguration of President Obama was stirring on many levels.  First to see the transfer of power calmly and the oath of office administered by the Supreme Court Justices is an inspiring moment.  Around the world people hunger for this kind of civil and democratic process.  As the Arab Spring continues to struggle with Democracy and as Syria is a place of bloodshed and civil war as Mali and the Congo are ruled by militia, and other countries around the world can only dream of this kind of peace and this kind of government by the people, we ought to be heartened as Americans.  Even with our flaws and bitter elections and even our gridlock that seems to haunt the halls of Congress the symbols of our Republic that were on full view yesterday continue to inspire hope that we can overcome our differences.

Also inspiring was the inclusion on display at yesterday’s Inauguration.  For the first time in my life I felt my whole self present.  President Obama’s acknowledgement of the struggles of the LGBT civil rights movement affirmed what I have long worked for.  The struggle for LGBT people to be fully included into society and offered the same rights and responsibilities as all its citizens including the right to form our families and protect them is no less important that Women’s Suffrage or the dignity and freedom of the African- American civil rights struggle.

Inclusion also means acknowledging those who are poor not just the wealthy who financed the campaigns.  And President Obama did so.  He acknowledged those whose children are differently-abled and included all! And those who long to yet become part of America-those whose have come to this country and have yet to be a part of it!

But President Obama didn’t stop there. He acknowledge that America is diverse in ethnic heritage and it was on display in the Inauguration Parade as a Chinese – American Ethnic dancers, Mexican-American Mariachis, Native American marchers participated midst the military troops and marching bands.

This is an America that I am a part of. This is the kind of America I want to be a part of.  I hope we won’t get bogged down again but can indeed find a way to help lift up all those who are a part of the fabric of America.

We Remember Matthew

Remember today Matthew Shephard who died on October 12, 1998 after a brutal beating on October 7, 1998.  He was left for dead, tied to a fence.  He was beaten to death because he was a gay man.  We remember him on this anniversary of his death.  We pray for his soul to be at peace. We pray for his parents Judy and Dennis who have become champions of acceptance and love of LGBT people.  And we pray that the day will come when no one has to endure such violence and murder because of their sexual orientation.

Remember today Matthew Shephard who died on October 12, 1998 after a brutal beating on October 7, 1998.  He was left for dead, tied to a fence.  He was beaten to death because he was a gay man.  We remember him on this anniversary of his death.  We pray for his soul to be at peace. We pray for his parents Judy and Dennis who have become champions of acceptance and love of LGBT people.  And we pray that the day will come when no one has to endure such violence and murder because of their sexual orientation.

 

Obama affirms “same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Today President Barak Obama came forward to affirm marriage equality for Gay and Lesbian Couples!  Thank you.  I know that in a heated race for President this was not an easy one (although LGBT activists have wanted you to affirm this for many years!).  But as you ran on Hope and Change as your themes in 2008, I am glad to see that you have the ability to change and grow.  I know the Republican leadership will try and discredit you-more than they have already done so-because at the core of their party are Christian right wing supporters who really don’t see gay men and lesbians as full human beings or full citizens.  

Our public policy has made marriage a cornerstone.   If you deny access to that institution then you deny access to the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.  If someone chooses not to get married that is again their personal choice (more people are doing just that-not marrying), but for those couples who want to -it ought to be available.  Marriage is a civil right.  If any church or synagogue believes differently they can deny their wedding sacraments to anyone who crosses their threshold.  But the local county registrar may not. 

Thank you again Mr. President and Mr. Vice-President for “evolving” and growing on this issue and showing that it is possible to learn and change one’s mind with a sense of integrity.

OBAMA: I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.

 

Gays and Lesbians in the Holocaust

Please read this article about the importance of GLBT presence!  Here is one reason President Obama included in his speech on Holocaust Memorial Day the fact that gays and lesbians were persecuted by the Nazi’s as well.  

 

See the importance of having the gay and lesbian experience represented in history matters.

 

 

http://queerplanet.net/2012/04/23/obama-includes-gays-in-holocaust-speech/

Should the 9th circuit rule this week

The Federal Court Case about Prop 8 will be handed down any time now.  If so there are plans to gather the day of the decision.  Here is the latest information about the local gathering. This will be on tap no matter which way the decision will go.  So pay attention to the NEWS!

SAME-SEX COUPLES, FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CLERGY TO GATHER ON DAY NINTH CIRCUIT PROP 8 RULING IS RELEASED
Anti-marriage equality proponents have had their day in court, again. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has heard both sides of the issue and is due to announce their decision on the challenge to Proposition 8 any day now. Communities through-out California are prepared to gather to either celebrate or rededicate their resolve to achieve full marriage equality.

A diverse coalition of community organizations has come together to plan the following events statewide — this coalition includes but is not limited to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Marriage Equality USA, GetEQUAL, CA Faith for Equality, the Coalition of Welcoming Congregations, Poz Activists Network, Our Family Coalition and the Gay Straight Alliance:

Los Angeles, CA
    What: Community Rally, then a march down Santa Monica Blvd.
    Where: West Hollywood Park on N. Robertson Blvd. (next to the Abbey Bar)
West Hollywood, CA 90069
    When: 6:00 PM on Day of Decision
    Contact: Tristan Blaine (805) 657-4150

 

Ros-Lehtinen joins Congressional letter to the IRS asking for clear guidelines for LGBT taxpayers

Ros-Lehtinen joins Congressional letter to the IRS asking for clear guidelines for LGBT taxpayers.

 

Florida Congress woman (A Republican, no less) signed on to a Congressional Letter asking the Internal Revenue Service to clarify the tax code in regards to LGBT headed families and couples. It is confusing and often difficult.  While our marriages and domestic partnerships are recognized at some level at home, the Feds continue to follow the discriminatory DOMA policy. Thus making filing Federal taxes a nightmare.  Sometimes dummy federal returns must be created to figure things out and yet we are still having to file as single although legally married.  Those of us in community property states -taxed as if everything is community property -face further complications as the Feds have no way to track things.  It is a nightmare and can lead to over-taxation as well as the expense of preparing multiple tax returns.

Even some CPA’s who specialize in the gay community are confused by the changing interpretations and whims of IRS agents.

So let’s get it together.  As we enter the last quarter of 2011  and quarterly payments to the IRS are due September 15, the time to get it right is now.  Let’s just make it simple and throw out DOMA!

President Proclaims GLBT Pride Month

Today is June 1.  It is the Start of Gay Pride Month!  Even the President declares it so.  Here is the Official Proclamation for Gay and Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month made by our President.

The White House Emblem

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
May 31, 2011

Presidential Proclamation–Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

——-
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since taking office, my Administration has made significant progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans. Last December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. With this repeal, gay and lesbian Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for the first time in our Nation’s history. Our national security will be strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully recognized.

My Administration has also taken steps to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans in Federal housing programs and to give LGBT Americans the right to visit their loved ones in the hospital. We have made clear through executive branch nondiscrimination policies that discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the Federal workplace will not be tolerated. I have continued to nominate and appoint highly qualified, openly LGBT individuals to executive branch and judicial positions. Because we recognize that LGBT rights are human rights, my Administration stands with advocates of equality around the world in leading the fight against pernicious laws targeting LGBT persons and malicious attempts to exclude LGBT organizations from full participation in the international system. We led a global campaign to ensure “sexual orientation” was included in the United Nations resolution on extrajudicial execution — the only United Nations resolution that specifically mentions LGBT people — to send the unequivocal message that no matter where it occurs, state-sanctioned killing of gays and lesbians is indefensible. No one should be harmed because of who they are or who they love, and my Administration has mobilized unprecedented public commitments from countries around the world to join in the fight against hate and homophobia.

At home, we are working to address and eliminate violence against LGBT individuals through our enforcement and implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. We are also working to reduce the threat of bullying against young people, including LGBT youth. My Administration is actively engaged with educators and community leaders across America to reduce violence and discrimination in schools. To help dispel the myth that bullying is a harmless or inevitable part of growing up, the First Lady and I hosted the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in March. Many senior Administration officials have also joined me in reaching out to LGBT youth who have been bullied by recording “It Gets Better” video messages to assure them they are not alone.

This month also marks the 30th anniversary of the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has had a profound impact on the LGBT community. Though we have made strides in combating this devastating disease, more work remains to be done, and I am committed to expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Last year, I announced the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. This strategy focuses on combinations of evidence-based approaches to decrease new HIV infections in high risk communities, improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS, and reduce health disparities. My Administration also increased domestic HIV/AIDS funding to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention, and to invest in HIV/AIDS-related research. However, government cannot take on this disease alone. This landmark anniversary is an opportunity for the LGBT community and allies to recommit to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and continuing the fight against this deadly pandemic.

Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer to fulfilling its promise of equality. While progress has taken time, our achievements in advancing the rights of LGBT Americans remind us that history is on our side, and that the American people will never stop striving toward liberty and justice for all.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2011 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

BARACK OBAMA