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Video found of Governor Romney discussing same-sex parents, says "It's not right on paper and it's not right in fact"

Posted by David Zimmerman October 30, 2012 03:20 PM

Over the past few months several articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, on and in Boston Spirit magazine calling into question former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's controversial statements on gay families and same sex parents.

In September Boston Spirit published an article detailing a meeting between then Governor Romney and several same sex couples from Massachusetts. In that meeting Governor Romney is reported as stating "I didn't know you had families," to the group of lgbt couples in the meeting. He later stated to Julie Goodridge, in response to her question on what to tell her daughter (if same sex marriage was repealed) the Governor responded "I don't care what you tell your adopted daughter." Goodridge's daughter is not adopted, she is her biological daughter.

Now video has surfaced of Governor Romney, speaking in 2006, to a group of supporters in South Carolina. In the video Romney states that same sex couples having children is "not right on paper and it's not right in fact." The video backs up a story published by Murray Waas of the Boston Globe last week.

In Waas' story he reports that "Romney overruled efforts by his own Department of Public Health to change birth certificates after gay marriage was legalized in the state in 2003. The department wanted to feature a box labeled "father or second parent." Romney refused to allow the change. Instead, he required review of individual births to gay parents by his own top legal staff. Once that special review was complete, hospitals and town clerks were authorized to cross off "father" and write in "second parent" on birth certificates, in pen."

Click Here to view the video of Mitt Romney speaking on gay parenting.

Doc Rivers discusses John Amaechi and gay players in the NBA

Posted by David Zimmerman October 29, 2012 07:06 AM

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Glen 'Doc' Rivers is about to begin his ninth season as head coach of the Boston Celtics. During that time he has seen his share of ups and downs and has handled them all with a sense of class that has restored the time honored tradition of Celtic Pride to its rightful perch in the NBA. Rivers led the Celtics to first place finishes in the Atlantic Conference for the past five years, advanced the team to the NBA Finals twice, and won the championship in 2008.

Rivers lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife Kristen and their four children. His oldest son Jeremiah plays basketball for Indiana University, while his daughter Callie played volleyball for the University of Florida. Rivers' younger son, Austin, played basketball for one year at Duke University before being drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in June of this year.

Recently Rivers sat down with Boston Spirit magazine to discuss former NBA player John Amaechi, the prospect of a gay player in the NBA, dealing with racial prejudice, and more.

Boston Spirit: You were one of the first people to come out and stand behind John Amaechi when he came out. Did you have to think about that at all? Were you worried what people might think?

Doc Rivers: No, I could care less what people thought and I didn't worry about it at all. It's not one of those things where we had to have a front office discussion. It's funny, I actually think someone in the front office wanted to have a discussion and I said 'For What? And that's how I felt about it. It was easy for me. John's a great, great guy.

BS: Was it a surprise to you when John came out?

DR: No, not really. Sexual orientation is always talked about in locker rooms just like everywhere. I was happy that he came out. It wasn't a surprise to me that he came out because he hadn't shared it — but he had, if you know what I mean. It probably was a surprise for others.

BS: Was it a surprise for his teammates?

DR: I would say it was about half and half. Later on I got some calls from some of his teammates. Some of them brought it up and some didn't some said they were surprised and some said they weren't surprised at all. What I was happiest about is that you could tell it wasn't a big deal for them. Obviously he was a bit removed because he made the announcement when he wasn't playing for us, it was later, but not one guy made a bad comment. It really wasn't a big deal.

BS: Is that your only experience during your time playing and coaching basketball with ‘the gay issue?’

DR: It's the only experience as far as someone coming out.

BS: ESPN asked some ‘experts’ recently which league would be the worst at handling a gay player and the NBA was the pick. Do you think that’s the case?

DR: I think the NBA might have been named as worst, and I don’t think it should be, because the NBA has always had an image problem, because people know who you are. They see you, the players are in shorts and tank tops, everyone sees your face and there’s only twelve of us. When you have people with baseball hats on, and helmets, you don’t really get to see them. People know us and I think that might be why the NBA got picked. I think the reaction by all the sports would be about the same. I don't think one would be better or worse than the other. Hockey has its ethics code; baseball has its own clubhouse rules, and football does too. I personally think people are more open-minded than they get credit for. I've always believed that. I remember when I was playing for the Knicks and I was doing something on Imus [the Don Imus radio program] — I think I was injured at the time — he asked me if there were any gays in basketball and I said "yeah, absolutely." The next day I got a call from the league and said "Did you say that?" and I said, "Listen guys, it’s a ratio, just look at the numbers." It was an obvious answer, it was easy.

BS: David Stern and Charles Barkley have both said that the NBA is ready for an openly gay player. In your opinion, is the league ready?

DR: I think it is. I think it would depend on the team but even with a bad team, I think it would be a story for about a week and then it would go away. It would really help if it were a good player [laughing]. If you're a bad player the team doesn't care what your sexual orientation is, and if you’re a good player the team doesn't really care what your sexual orientation is — that’s the bottom line.

BS: How about the players on the current Celtics, do they talk about a topic like this?

DR: Sexual topics come up all the time. Honestly, I try and stay out of the locker room, but I've heard them talk about everything. They argue about things. They laugh about things. And they laugh about every orientation. That’s what people do in locker rooms. But at the end of the day I think they would handle it great.

BS: Shaun Thornton of the Bruins told me that if one of the Bruins came out, he would fully support that player and he felt the rest of the team would too. He compared the team to a family. Do you feel the same thing would happen with your team?

DR: Absolutely. They would support him first, and then harass him second [laughing] — in a locker room fun way, not in a bad way. He would get razzed just like his teammates would get razzed. There would be no difference or change. I think it would be a one week story at home. Eventually one of the players would get upset because every time you go to a road game, the road reporter who hadn’t had a chance to ask the question would want to ask it and the player would finally say, "I'm done with this'" and that’s what would happen.

BS: You’ve played on and coached a lot of professional basketball teams over a number of years. How has the culture, as it relates to gay issues, changed (or not changed)? Any examples?

DR: Well, thinking in the world has changed and so if it’s changed in the world, it's changed in the locker room. I've always thought that sports is the leader, not the follower. For example, when you think of racial divisions, sports led the way, long before the active community. The reason is that we’re part of a team, and when you're part of a team that is trying to win, [teammates] don’t care what color you are; they don't care if you’re green. They just want to win. I remember in the ‘60’s, the high school I went to had a big racial riot and the thing that brought everyone together was the Proviso East basketball team that won the state title in Illinois, and all of a sudden, instead of having the state police split the road so the whites could walk on one side and the blacks on the other — they literally did that, it was on 60 Minutes — all of a sudden everybody was embraced because the team was mixed. I think that happens a lot in sports.

BS: What has shaped your way of thinking on this whole topic? Did you have any particular influences?

DR: You know, I am interracially married. I’m open minded, I've always been open minded. I don't think there was one thing that influenced me. My father was a cop, my mother worked on an assembly line. I don't like anyone that is prejudiced. I dealt with it growing up in Chicago. I don’t think you should be judged by anything except for your actions and what you do. That’s just the way I was brought up. Look, there are going to be people who hate in everything. There are people who hate me for being an awful coach or for being black or being whatever. That’s just the way it is. Like Bill Cosby said, he had the number one show on television for five or six years and he got 100,000 hate letters a year. So it goes to show, you’re not going to please everyone.

Boston Spirit magazine is New England's premier lgbt magazine. Click Here for a free subscription.

Love Free or Die: Bishop Gene Robinson in new PBS documentary and book

Posted by Jim Lopata October 27, 2012 10:30 AM

Bishop Gene Robinson (photo: Gillian Laub)

Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from a story in the November/December 2012 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

By Loren King

If ever there was a theologian uniquely qualified to make a case for marriage equality, it’s Gene Robinson, the first openly gay person elected (in 2003) as an Episcopal Church Bishop, serving the Diocese of New Hampshire. A recent documentary about him and a newly released book by him provide new platforms for his message.

The documentary, Love Free or Die, played many film festivals this past year and airs Monday October 29 on PBS Television’s Independent Lens series. This excellent film details Robinson’s life accomplishments and his fight for LGBT people to receive full acceptance in church and state.

a_robinsonbook_a.jpgIn his book God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage (Knopf), Robinson traces his own journey from his upbringing in Kentucky, his conflict over his homosexuality, his 13-year marriage to “Boo” Martin, a woman he genuinely loved, the births of their two children, their divorce, his coming out and his 25-year union with Mark Andrews, whom Robinson married in 2010 when marriage equality came to New Hampshire. Through eleven cogent chapters, Robinson discusses some of the questions routinely used by “religious” people to undermine marriage equality, such as “Doesn’t the Bible Condemn Homosexuality?” and “What’s Wrong with Civil Unions?” In each section, Robinson discusses each issue with reasoned arguments based on his understanding of the Bible, common sense and compassion.

More information on the PBS broadcast of Love Free Or Die can be found here:

More information on the book, God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage, can be found here:

Obama Endorses Marriage Equality in Washington, Maryland and Maine

Posted by David Zimmerman October 26, 2012 08:55 AM

President Obama released statements yesterday on three upcoming state ballot initiatives on marriage equality. In all three cases the President, as expected, spoke in favor of marriage equality.

Portland Press Herald:

"While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect’” said Michael Czin, Northeast regional press secretary. “The president believes same-sex couples should be treated equally and supports Question 1."

Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

"While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. Washington’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally’ and that is why the President supports a vote to approve Referendum 74."

Baltimore Sun:

"We're moving forward to a country where we treat everybody fairly and everybody equally, with dignity and respect, and here in Maryland, thanks to the leadership of committed citizens and Governor O'Malley, you have a chance to reaffirm that principle in the voting booth in November. It's the right thing to do>"

On the flip side, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been consistent in his opposition to marriage equality.

Romney in the Des Moines Register:

"The actions that I take as president depends in part on the state of play in Washington, the people that are there and what options exists - but certainly I would defend the Defense of Marriage Act which the current president has refused to defend. I believe that the Defense of Marriage Act was well constructed and should be maintained."

MassEquality calls on the New England Patriots to produce an It Gets Better video

Posted by David Zimmerman October 22, 2012 01:48 PM

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In response to an October 10th tweet from New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes, MassEquality has called on Spikes, and the New England Patriots team, to produce an It Gets Better video. MassEquality's Executive Director Karen Sufredini, pointing out in a statement that the tweet took place in the middle of National Anti-Bullying Month, noted the need to focus on "continued action to make all people, particularly young people, feel safer."

She goes on to say;

For too long anti-LGBT putdowns—whether they are made on the playground or on social media—have been simply laughed off. But bullying is not a joke. In Massachusetts, which as the first state in the nation to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples is seen as a beacon of equality for the rest of the nation, one-third of Massachusetts gay, lesbian, and bisexual students report that they’ve experienced bullying.

LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, and eight times more likely to when their families reject them; up to 40 percent of our unaccompanied homeless youth population identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and the vast majority of them are living alone on the streets because their families have, in fact, rejected them. Gay and bisexual men represent four out of 10 new diagnoses of HIV, and the state Department of Public Health reports that the mere fact of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in Massachusetts results in higher stress and poorer health outcomes.

Failing to take seriously offensive remarks by public figures is one of the reasons why we see statistics like those. If Brandon Spikes is serious about the fact that he was joking, then let him prove it by making an 'It Gets Better' video. In fact, we like to see the New England Patriots join the Boston Red Sox in making an 'It Gets Better' video. That would send a tremendous message to Pats fans everywhere that there is no place for bullying on the sports field or off.

While quite a few professional sports teams have produced It Gets Better video’s, so far the only Boston based professional team to do so is the Boston Red Sox.

Professional gay boxer wins first fight since coming out.

Posted by David Zimmerman October 20, 2012 10:20 AM

Orlando Cruz, highlighted in a recent Boston Spirit blog post (see below) as the first active professional boxer to come out as a gay man, made history again last night. Cruz, the World Boxing Organization's fourth ranked featherweight became the first openly gay boxer to step into the ring and, fittingly, he won.

Cruz won a unanimous decision again Jorge Pazos in Kissimmee Florida.

"That was my moment, my opportunity, my event, and I won," said Cruz. "I was very happy that they respect me. That's what I want — them to see me as a boxer, as an athlete and as a man in every sense of the word," he continued.


For the first time in the history of professional boxing, an active fighter has come out as gay. Featherweight Orlando Cruz, a 2000 Puerto Rican Olympian with a professional record of 18 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw, released a statement yesterday in which he called himself “a proud gay man.”

From the statement:

"I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself. I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man."

"I don't want to hide any of my identities. I want people to look at me for the human being that I am. I am a professional sportsman that always bring his best to the ring. I want for people to continue to see me for my boxing skills, my character, my sportsmanship. But I also want kids who suffer from bullying to know that you can be whoever you want to be in life, including a professional boxer, that anything is possible and that who you are or whom you love should not be impediment to achieving anything in life."

"I want to thank my family, especially my mom, who's my inspiration and my best reason to continue to live and my brother and my sister. I want to thank my friends for their love and support. And I also want to thank my team for believing in me and being so supportive not only in this decision, but throughout my career. I am and will always be a proud Puerto Rican gay man."

Cruz’s next fight is scheduled for October 19th , against Jorge Pazos, in Kissimmee, Florida.

Boston Spirit magazine, New England’s premier LGBT magazine, is published six times per year. For a free subscription click here.

Second Circuit Court of Appeals finds DOMA unconstitutional

Posted by David Zimmerman October 18, 2012 03:36 PM

According to a breaking news release from the ACLU, a federal appeals court ruled today that the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) unconstitutionally discriminates against married same-sex couples.

In striking down DOMA, the court held that government discrimination against lesbians and gay men now is assumed to be unconstitutional and that DOMA's defenders could not offer any good reason for treating married same-sex couples differently from all other married couples.

This is the first federal appeals court decision to decide that government discrimination against gay people gets a more exacting level of judicial review, known as "heightened scrutiny." The law had been challenged by Edith "Edie" Windsor, who sued the federal government for failing to recognize her marriage to her partner Thea Spyer, after Spyer’s death in 2009. Windsor and Spyer, who were a couple for 44 years, were married in Canada in 2007, and were considered married by their home state of New York.

"This law violated the fundamental American principle of fairness that we all cherish," said Windsor. "I know Thea would have been so proud to see how far we have come in our fight to be treated with dignity." In her lawsuit, Windsor argued that DOMA violates the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution because it requires the government to treat same-sex couples who are legally married as strangers. Windsor's lawsuit was filed by the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

When Thea Spyer died in 2009, she left all of her property to Windsor, including the apartment they shared. Because they were married, Spyer's estate normally would have passed to her spouse without any estate tax at all. But because DOMA prevents recognition of the otherwise valid marriages of same-sex couples, Windsor had to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes.

"Yet again, a federal court has found that it is completely unfair to treat married same-sex couples as though they’re legal strangers," said James Esseks, Director of the ACLU LGBT Project. "Edie and Thea were there for each other in sickness and in health like any other married couple, and it’s unfair for the government to disregard both their marriage and the life they built together and treat them like second-class citizens."

Windsor, a senior computer systems programmer, and Spyer, a clinical psychologist, met in the early 1960s, and lived together for more than four decades in Greenwich Village. Despite not being able to get legally married, they were engaged to each other in 1967. Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and Windsor helped her through her long battle with the disease. They were finally legally married in May 2007.

"We are pleased that the federal circuit that represents three states that provide their gay and lesbian citizens with the right to marry affirmed the decision of the district court," said Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, counsel to Ms. Windsor. “Given her age and health, we are eager for Ms. Windsor to get a refund of the unconstitutional tax she was forced to pay as soon as possible."

Windsor has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case. The court has not yet decided whether to hear her case, or any of several other challenges to DOMA.

"Edie and Thea’s home state of New York has long respected the marriages of same-sex couples and explicitly supports the freedom to marry'" said Mariko Hirose, staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union. "It is only right that the federal government respect the state’s decision and treat all married couples fairly."

American Unity Super PAC commits $500,000 to Tisei campaign

Posted by David Zimmerman October 18, 2012 09:54 AM


Republican Super PAC American Unity PAC has committed more than $500,000 to the campaign of Massachusetts congressional candidate Richard Tisei. Tisei, a gay Republican and the former Massachusetts senate minority leader, is in involved in a very close race with incumbent Congressman John Tierney. Tisei could become the first non-incumbent openly gay Republican elected to Congress, and the first Republican elected to represent Massachusetts in the House in nearly 20 years.

The funds will be used primarily for broadcast advertising with a smaller portion going to online advertising.

American Unity PAC was launched by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer and has contributed to campaigns supporting marriage equality in New York and New Hampshire. The Super Pac also supports presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

According to their website American Unity PAC

“is the voice of Republican voters who are committed to equal rights and full relationship recognition for gay and lesbian Americans. We are committed to the values of freedom – limited government, free enterprise, individual liberty, personal responsibility, a strong national defense and the importance of family. In the spirit of these values, we believe the promise of America should be extended to all, regardless of their orientation. Our mission is to engage in federal elections to protect and promote inclusive Republicans.”

Ann Coulter tweets "disown your [gay] son day"

Posted by David Zimmerman October 16, 2012 03:28 PM

Conservative media pundit Ann Coulter has tweeted a message in response to last week's National Coming Out Day;


While apparently a joke, Coulter's tweet has not gone unnoticed by lgbt organizations around the world. Aaron McQuade, director of news and field media for GLAAD, released in a statement:

I recognize that this is a joke, and that she is not really taken seriously in any context anyway, but with this coming right after National Coming Out Day, at the start of Ally Week and just days before Spirit Day, I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about this idea of hers. There was a time in our culture's history when, if thousands of LGBT kids were to come out on the same day, the next week genuinely would be exactly what Ann describes, all across the country. Fathers disowning their sons and kicking them out onto the street. Mothers locking up their daughters or sending them to charm school. Children forced to undergo electro-shock or even worse forms of "therapy" to rid themselves of their orientation. To learn how to not be true to themselves.

And although we've come a long way from those ideas as a cultural collective, I have no doubt that last week, more than a few American households experienced the tragedy that Ann joked about. Approximately 50% of LGBT youth experience some degree of family rejection. There are as many as 100 thousand homeless LGBT youth on our nation's streets, and it's estimated that LGBT youth make up as much as 40% of our nation's homeless youth population. LGBT youth who are completely rejected by their parents are more than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide. Pretty funny, right?

Again, I know it’s a joke, but ANYTHING that adds to the idea that family rejection of LGBT young people is expected, or even "normal" enough to be casually joked about, causes harm. The kind of harm that Spirit Day was specifically created to protect against.
So this week we'll let the rest of America stand up for those young people. With Spirit Day on Friday, I thought it would be a nice thought to list some of the corporations and individuals who will be standing up against Ann Coulter's idea, and showing their support for LGBT youth this week by going purple:

Facebook, the NBA, Major League Soccer, Times Square, the New York Stock Exchange, the hosts of ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘The Talk,’ ‘E! News,’ ‘Chelsea Lately,’ Dianna Agron, Sir Ian McKellen, Fun., Bernadette Peters, the cast of Days of Our Lives, Joel McHale, Cesar Milan, the Duke Energy Tower, Toyota Financial Services, AMC Entertainment, NBCUniversal, Nielsen, Omnicom Group, American Apparel, AT&T, PepsiCo, American Airlines, Thomson Reuters, Warner Bros.

Not to mention the millions of everyday people across North America who will be participating, and standing up in support of every LGBT young person, including – and especially – those who came out last week. Like I said, I've never taken Ann Coulter seriously, and I'm certainly not going to start now. But the idea of family rejection is one that does deserve serious attention as a society. Go purple on Friday, not just to show LGBT young people that you support them, but to show Ann Coulter what you stand for.

Modern Family Stars Auction off Dinner in Support of Marriage Equality

Posted by David Zimmerman October 12, 2012 11:30 AM

The Human Rights Campaign is launching a sweepstakes opportunity that will send a winner and a guest to California, where they will have dinner with Modern Family stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet.

The participation of Ferguson and Stonestreet represents one of the first times celebrities are lending their voices to raise funds for the nationwide marriage equality fight in the 2012 election cycle and beyond.

“Jesse and Eric are longtime allies both of the LGBT equality movement and of the Human Rights Campaign,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “We’re thrilled to have them once again speak out for marriage equality and help us in raising funds for the critical work we have to do in ensuring that all families are treated with dignity and respect. Jesse and Eric have magnetic personalities, and we’re confident that with their help we’ll be able to continue making impactful investments in this fight.”

In the video, the two make the case for why they’re getting involved in the fight for marriage:

“Whether you are gay or straight, the family we portray on TV might remind you a little of your own and this election year couldn’t be more important for securing equality for committed relationships, like the one we are,” says Ferguson. “…on TV”, adds straight ally Stonestreet.

24th Annual National Coming Out Day Promotes LGBT Awareness

Posted by David Zimmerman October 11, 2012 07:22 AM

Today, October 11, marks the 24th anniversary of the first National Coming Out Day (NCOD). NCOD was launched after a march on Washington by more than half a million people in support of lesbian and gay rights on October 11, 1987. The purpose of National Coming Out Day is to promote government and public awareness of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender rights and to celebrate homosexuality.

Back in 1987, after recognizing that the LGBT community often reacted defensively to anti-gay actions, Rob Eichberg (who ran a personal growth workshop called, The Experience) and Jean O’Leary (who was the head of National Gay Rights Advocates) came up with the idea of a national day to celebrate coming out and chose the anniversary of the march on Washington as the day.

While only18 states supported the very first NCOD, today the day is recognized by all 50 states as well as many countries around the world including Australia, Canada, Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In the US National Coming Out Day is currently organized by the Human Rights Campaign.

In association with the day the Human Rights Campaign has published a series of guides designed to help people interested in “coming out”, as well as A Straight Guide to LGBT Americans for heterosexuals who identify (or would like to identify) as an ally to the lgbt community.

Some highlights of National Coming Out Day over the years include:

* Rob Eichberg and Jean O'Leary were the originators of the idea of NCOD in 1987
* In 1990, Lynn Shepodd, who later became a member of HRC’s Board of Governors, was hired as executive director and obtained tax-exempt status for the organization
* In 1991, Geraldo Rivera hosted a coming out day TV program that featured Dick Sargent, a gay actor famous for playing Darren on Bewitched, openly gay California Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl and Eichberg.
* Candace Gingrich, half-sister of then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, became a National Coming Out Project spokesperson and full-time activist in 1995
* Dan Butler, who played the character Bulldog on NBC-TV's Frasier, was NCOD spokeperson in 1995
* Rock musician Melissa Etheridge did a radio public service announcement, reminding people that "Labels belong on records, not on people."
* Fashion photographer Don Flood in 1996 shot past spokespeople Bearse, Butler and Gingrich, along with Olympic diver Greg Louganis, actor Mitchell Anderson, newly minted gay activist Chastity Bono and Sean Sasser, who had appeared in MTV's The Real World.
* In 1996, actress Judith Light, pro golfer Muffin Spencer-Devlin and, in her first appearance at a gay rights event, Cher spoke at a Come Out Voting rally in Washington, DC
* In September 1997 the project brought in its first straight spokesperson, Betty DeGeneres, mother of actress/comedian Ellen DeGeneres.
* Patrick Bristow (formerly of the Ellen TV show), Dan Butler, San Francisco Supervisor Mark Leno, longtime activist Donna Red Wing, Betty DeGeneres, Gingrich and SF Mayor Willie Brown were featured in a 1998 NCOD event in San Francisco’s Delores Park
* Chicago-native and founding member of the rock group Styx Chuck Panozzo celebrated a special homecoming in 2001 when he came out at the Human Rights Campaign annual Chicago dinner.
* On National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11, 2002, a benefit CD featuring the songs of openly LGBT musicians and straight allies was released. Cyndi Lauper, Queen, k.d. lang, Jade Esteban Estrada and Sarah McLachlan are among the artists who donated songs to the album.
* Etheridge's name appears on a poster celebrating the 2002 theme along with 18 other openly LGBT artists, including Ani DiFranco, Michael Stipe, the Indigo Girls, RuPaul, Rufus Wainwright and The Butchies

HRC Foundation and PFLAG National launch guide for coming out as a straight supporter

Posted by David Zimmerman October 9, 2012 11:30 AM

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and its Coming Out Project, in partnership with PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), the original family and ally organization, and its Straight for Equality project, today released a comprehensive update of Coming Out as a Straight Supporter.

Straight supporters are so important to our fight for full equality for LGBT Americans,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Just as it takes an incredible amount of courage to come out as LGBT, it also takes courage to stand up and say, I am a straight supporter.”

PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby said, “PFLAG was founded by Jeanne Manford, the Mother of the Straight Ally movement, 40 years ago: a time when standing up and saying ‘I have a gay son,’ or ‘I have a lesbian friend’ was unheard of. Since she came out as an ally, we’ve seen the power of parent allies in PFLAG, and friends and colleagues through our Straight for Equality project. This guide provides support for that first step in the coming-out process for straight allies.”

The resource is intended to be a welcoming guide for straight supporters to build bridges of understanding when someone they know comes out to them. The guide answers initial questions, and shares facts, strategies, and ways to show your support of LGBT equality.

The revamped resource is released as a growing chorus of high-profile straight individuals have spoken out in support of LGBT equality. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, NFL player Brendon Ayanbadejo, actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, actress/singer Beyonce Knowles, Microsoft founder and CEO Bill Gates, musicians Jason Mraz and Carrie Underwood and more have joined millions of everyday straight supporters who have stood up for their LGBT friends and relatives.

Polls in recent years show that nearly 80 percent of Americans know someone who is lesbian or gay, and a majority of Americans have a close family member, friend or coworker who is lesbian or gay.

“With National Coming Out Day approaching on October 11, this resource can prove to be an important tool in helping LGBT people and straight supporters on their coming out journeys,” Griffin said.

“It’s crucial,” says Huckaby, “that straight allies come out, too, and this is another great resource to support how they will take that action on and speak up.”

Fran Lebowitiz is coming to town to tell it like it is

Posted by Jim Lopata October 6, 2012 12:13 PM


"I think I could be elected by a dinner party; not the Democratic Party," says Fran Lebowitz in a new interview ahead of her appearance with Frank Rich in 'A State of the Union Conversation' at Sanders Theater, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 10 at 8 p.m.

Note: the following interview with Fran Lebowitz first appeared in the September/October issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

By Loren King

At a time when anyone with a Twitter account has an opinion and can’t wait to share it, Fran Lebowitz is among the few who’ve mastered the lost art of conversation. Even Martin Scorsese knew enough to simply turn a camera on the writer and let her hold forth (mostly from her regular table at the Waverly Inn in Greenwich Village) for his 2011 HBO documentary about her, Public Speaking.

Area audiences will get the opportunity to hear Lebowitz, author of the seminal essay collections Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, in a conversation with Frank Rich, writer-at-large for New York Magazine, on October 10 at 8 p.m. at Sanders Theater, Harvard Square, Cambridge. Part of the Celebrity Series of Boston, “Frank Rich & Fran Lebowitz - A State of the Union Conversation” will be a lively exchange between these two erudite cultural commentators about the 2012 presidential election.

But, as she did in her last Boston appearance at the Coolidge Corner Theater when Public Speaking premiered, Lebowitz will take audience questions, which will allow her to riff on a variety of topics.

Boston Spirit arts writer Loren King spoke with Lebowitz, 61, over the phone from her apartment in New York City. Her rapid fire, off the cuff responses, marked by deadpan humor and punctuated by the sound of her lighting cigarettes (with what sounds like a heavy old Zippo) are reproduced nearly verbatim here. When Fran Lebowitz talks, you let her talk.

Boston Spirit: You moved recently to the Village. Do you live alone?

Fran Lebowitz: I moved to this apartment a little over two years ago. I have lived by myself since I was 18. And as you well know, that, for a lesbian, is an accomplishment. I loathe domestic life. I don’t want to hear footsteps unless I open the door. Every cent I’ve ever made I spent to have space because in my apartment I have about 9,500 books in alphabetical order. When I was looking for apartments, realtors would say, ‘Why do you need so much space? You live alone. Do you entertain a lot?’ No, I do not. I have all these books and they are coming with me. Friends will say, ‘Get rid of them, put them in storage’ and I say, ‘You have three children. Why don’t you put them in storage and then you could have a smaller apartment.’ I suppose to most people I live by myself. To me, I live with my books.

BS: They are your friends.

FL: Oh, they’re much better than friends. Far superior to friends, to lovers, to relatives. There’s no companion like a book, which you are completely in charge of. It doesn’t talk to you until you open it up. They’re also very neat.


Bruce Springsteen speaks out for marriage equality

Posted by David Zimmerman October 3, 2012 12:45 PM

A new website called 'The Four 2012' has launched in an effort to keep people informed on upcoming votes in 4 states for marriage equality for gays and lesbians. The 4 states in question are Maine, Minnesota, Washington and Maryland. Among the celebrities highlighted on the site as supporters of marriage equality is Bruce Springsteen, long an ally to the lgbt community.


Other celebrities on the site include Lady Gaga, Josh Charles (who spoke at the HRC dinner in Boston recently) and Pink.

According to the website, polling in all 4 states is showing that a majority of voters are in favor of allowing same-sex marriage with Maine showing the largest lead.


From the site:

Marriage equality is about to take a huge step forward. Momentum is on our side and - if we can create a massive groundswell - we can create a massive victory for marriage equality in the United States. In FOUR states there are marriage ballot initiatives - FOUR states we have to win.

With enough of us talking about marriage, sharing, tweeting and donating - we can drive people out to vote on November 6 and deliver marriage equality in 3 states while fighting off a total ban in another.

We can make history by winning marriage equality ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland and Washington State. In Minnesota the fight is a different one - we’ll be stopping a total ban on same-sex marriage.

Every day, The FOUR will be putting out a new piece of interesting content from a celebrity or artist - if you like it, all you need to do is share it.

Anti-gay and anti-human rights organizations in our country are mobilizing - putting vast sums of money and resources into all four states to defeat us. In the past, despite great polls - we have lost ballot initiatives. Our opposition is organized and well-funded. But we have what they don’t - we’re fighting for love, not against it.

Rhode Island majority supports gay marriage, says new poll

Posted by Jim Lopata October 2, 2012 03:03 PM

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Rhode Islanders say they are either "strongly" or "somewhat" in favor of "legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island," according to a new poll by, Eyewitness News. The survey results can be accessed here.

A story about the poll, as well as a look at out U.S. Representative David Cicilline's current lead in the polls in his re-election campaign, can be accessed here.


Mayor Menino to host fundraiser for Equality Maryland

Posted by David Zimmerman October 1, 2012 01:10 PM

On Wednesday night, October 3rd, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake will be co-hosting an event to support marriage equality in Maryland. The event will take place at Club Café (229 Columbus Ave.) from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

In 2012, The Civil Marriage Protection Act was passed by Maryland's General Assembly and signed by Governor Martin O'Malley. Pending voter approval in November, the law will go into effect on January 1, 2013 and same-sex couples will be able to marry in Maryland.

Maryland is one of four states that will have the issue of marriage equality put to public vote in November. Current polling shows that Maryland, Maine and Washington all show a majority of voters supporting same-sex marriage. Recent polling in Maryland indicated that about 51% over voters in the state support same-sex marriage with approximately 43% opposed. In Washington the numbers are even more impressive with 56% in favor and 38% opposed.

As for our neighbor to the north, citizens in Maine look like they are also poised to legalize same-sex marriage although the numbers are still very close. Current polling numbers show that 52% of Mainers are in favor of legalizing marriage equality with 44% opposed.

The closest race remains in Minnesota with 48% in favor, 47% opposed.

For more information on Wednesday’s event at Club Café CLICK HERE.

Boston Spirit magazine, New England’s Premier lgbt magazine, is published 6 times per year. For a FREE subscription CLICK HERE.

About the author: Boston Spirit Magazine’s daily blog brings you all of the information you need on New England’s LGBT community. In addition to highlighting local and national LGBT news, we will also highlight local leaders from the worlds of business, politics, fashion and entertainment and keep you up-to-date on all the latest events and parties, hot spots for travel, shopping, dining, and more!

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