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Hillary Clinton speaks on importance of LGBT civil servants at 20th anniversary of GLIFAA

Posted by Jim Lopata November 28, 2012 08:57 PM

Hillary Clinton spoke today at the 20th anniversary of GLIFAA (Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies), a group representing LGBT people in the United States Department of State. The White House Office of Communications released her complete speech to press organizations.

Clinton’s remarks included a condensed history of LGBT participation in the State Department. She said:

Now, it wasn’t really that long ago since this organization was created, but in many ways it was a completely different world.  As we heard, in 1992 you could be fired for being gay.  Just think about all of the exceptional public servants, the brilliant strategists, the linguists, the experts fired for no reason other than their sexual orientation.  Think of what our country lost because we were unable to take advantage of their hard work, expertise, and experience.  And the policy forced people to make terrible choices, to hide who they were from friends and colleagues, to lie or mislead, to give up their dreams of serving their country altogether.

That began to change, in part because of the brave employees here at State, who decided that it was time for the bigotry, the ignorance, the lying, and discrimination to end.  The LGBT community deserve the same chance as anyone else to serve.  And indeed, as we all know, many had for many years, just without acknowledgment of who they were.  So enough was enough, and that’s how GLIFAA was formed.  And thank goodness it was.

We’ve come a long way since then, and we have seen milestones along that journey over the last 20 years.  I remember that I think on my husband’s first day in office back in ’93, he announced that gays and lesbians working in the federal government would receive equal treatment under the Civil Service Reform Act.  Two years later, Secretary Warren Christopher made clear those rules would be enforced within the halls of the State Department when he issued a statement that explicitly prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Now over the past four years, we’ve built on those and other steps to really acknowledge and welcome LGBT people into the State Department family and other agencies.  We’ve extended benefits to same-sex domestic partners of State and USAID employees, Foreign Service officers, personal service contractors, third country nationals at missions overseas.  We’ve institutionalized these changes by creating a classification for same-sex domestic partners in the Foreign Affairs manual.  We’ve also made it clear in our Equal Opportunity Employment statement that the Department doesn’t discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression.

We’ve helped to make it easier for transgender Americans to change the gender listed on their passports, because our mission is not only to protect the rights and dignity of our colleagues, but also of the American people we serve. 

And we’ve taken this message all over the world, including the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where we worked to pass the first ever UN resolution affirming the human rights of LGBT people. 

Now, together we have worked to make something very simple and right come true.  Our people should not have to choose between serving the country they love and sharing a life with the people they love. 

The complete speech, as released by the White House, is here:


NH's first elected transgender state rep withdraws over criminal background disclosure

Posted by Jim Lopata November 28, 2012 02:11 PM

The Nashua Telegraph is reporting that Stacie Laughton is withdrawing from becoming a New Hampshire state representative after it was revealed that she had been convicted of a felony for committing credit card fraud.

“After a lot of thought and after talking with the state party chair and my Democratic caucus director, I’ve decided to resign my position of state representative-elect,” Laughton was quote as saying in the Telegraph.

More from the story:

“A lot of my supporters did know, and the ones that didn’t know, they didn’t ask,” Laughton said, referring to her criminal past. “I would’ve been more than happy to discuss it with them if they had asked me if I had any criminal background … I don’t feel as though that I ever deceived anyone, but for those that feel as though that they were deceived, I am truly sorry and that was never my intention.”

The full story can be accessed here:

World AIDS Day 2012: Events around New England

Posted by Jim Lopata November 28, 2012 10:07 AM

Medicine Wheel vigil from World AIDS Day a few years ago. (photo: Medicine Wheel Productions)

This Saturday, December 1, is the 25th World AIDS Day.

Over 30 million people have died of HIV/AIDS-related causes since the disease was first documented in 1981, and over 34 million people are currently infected with the virus, according to UNAIDS.

In Massachusetts, over 12,000 have died, and more than 18,000 are living with HIV, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Office of HIV/AIDS.

Several events are planned to observe World AIDS Day 2012. Here are a few:

Medicine Wheel
December 1: 24-hour Vigil
Boston Center for the Arts, South End, Boston

This year marks the 20th anniversary of this incredibly powerful, experientially immersive installation commemorating those affected by HIV/AIDS. Medicine Wheel creator Michael Dowling invites people to “bring a stone and a story” to place in the ongoing memorial this year.
More information:


Boston and Cambridge score 100% on gay friendly municipality index

Posted by David Zimmerman November 28, 2012 09:06 AM

The Human Rights Campaign has released its first ever Municipality Equality Index which rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; the municipality’s employment practices; inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement; and municipal leadership.

Boston and Cambridge join 9 other cities in the U.S. who scored a perfect 100%.

According to the HRC the 100 cities that scored 100% incorporate “excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, and cutting-edge city services”.

Provincetown and Northampton were also included in the Index. Northampton received a score of 64% and Provincetown came in at 59%. Both scored 0 in the Law Enforcement category which significantly impacted their overall score. See the entire report HERE and a detailed city by city breakdown HERE

Of the 137 municipalities included in the Index 25% received a score of 80% or higher.



Is the Salvation Army anti–LGBT? Yes

Posted by David Zimmerman November 27, 2012 07:31 AM

For many years those within the lgbt community have read stories in lgbt press regarding the Salvation Army. Most of these stories revolved around the fact that the nation’s largest charity is decidedly anti-gay.

Now, with the explosion of social media, the noise regarding the Salvation Army’s policies is getting louder. Recently America Blog began urging people to print out vouchers (see below) and to place the voucher in the red donation bucket in lieu of cash.


Significant anti-lgbt moments in the Salvation Army’s past include:

In 2002 the charity made waves when it announced a policy that would have offered health insurance for a “legally domiciled adult” living with an employee. Essentially granting health benefits for same-sex partners of employees. This policy was reversed after only 2 weeks

In 2003 the Washington Post reported that the Bush administration was working with the Salvation Army in an effort to issue a regulation making it easier for government-funded religious groups to discriminate against gay people in hiring. According to an internal Salvation Army report the Bush White House gave the charity a “firm commitment” to work to protect them from state and city laws that prevent discrimination against gays in hiring and domestic-partner benefits

At the time the Salvation Army spent approximately $100,000 to lobby in favor of President Bush’s faith based initiative. (The Bush administration wound up not working with the Salvation Army on the regulation)

In 2004 the charity threatened to leave New York City if Mayor Michael Bloomberg enforces a new ordinance requiring all groups with city contracts to offer benefits to the same-sex partners of employees. Bloomberg was against the ordinance and did not enforce it.

In June of this year the following passage appeared on the official website of the Australian Salvation Army:

"[Homosexual activity is] as rebellion against God's plan for the created order... Homosexual practice, however, is, in the light of Scripture, clearly unacceptable. Such activity is chosen behaviour and is thus a matter of the will. It is therefore able to be directed or restrained in the same way heterosexual urges are controlled. Homosexual practice would render any person ineligible for full membership (soldiership) in the [Salvation] Army."

LGBT Catholics celebrate 40 years of Dignity/Boston

Posted by Jim Lopata November 25, 2012 06:51 PM

Dignity Boston marching in the 2012 Boston Pride Parade this past June (photo: Chuck Colbert)

The nation’s largest LGBT Catholic organization, Dignity, has deep New England roots. The Boston chapter marks its four decades with an anniversary dinner this Saturday, December 1.

Note: The following story is adapted from a story that ran in the July/August 2012 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

By Chuck Colbert

Everybody has a story at Dignity/Boston. And storytelling is one important way that the local LGBT Catholic worshipping community is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its founding and honoring its legacy.

Lourdes Rodríguez-Nogués, for example, moved to Boston from Puerto Rico in 1977 to attend graduate school. “I was looking for a place to worship that was Catholic,” she said. Rodríguez-Nogués found that place on Easter Sunday that year and has been a local chapter and national organization mainstay, having served as chapter president and now president of DignityUSA.

“It was so moving,” she said recently over the telephone, “everybody was friendly.” Rodríguez-Nogués admitted she was “a little anxious” about her first Dignity Mass. “I didn’t talk to anyone, left right away, went straight to my car, and started to cry.” Now “Dignity is my parish church,” she said, “where all my spiritual needs get met, not only going to church on Sundays, but also other needs. ... People know my name and my family,” she continued. “Dignity is a community,” a close-knit group of “people whom I care about, and who care about me.”

Dignity/Boston officially turns 40 this year and the local chapter plans a weekend celebration, including a dinner dance on Saturday, December 1, at the Holiday Inn on Beacon Hill. The next day, during a 5:30 p.m. liturgy, the congregation will celebrate a Catholic Mass, the gathering to be held at the Episcopalian Church of St. John the Evangelist in Boston’s Beacon Hill.


Big City Homosexual Art Comes to Small Town Maine

Posted by Jim Lopata November 20, 2012 10:11 AM

Kymara Longran, of The Kymara Gallery and a director on the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation’s board, with Forrest Williams' "Two Men on a Porch" (2006/7, Collection of Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art)

Editor's note: The Kymara Gallery's “Two Loves — Sex, Art, and the Love that Dare not Speak its Name” runs through November 30. The following is adapted from a story that is running in the November/December issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

Andy Warhol, Paul Cadmus and Keith Haring show up in Biddeford via New York’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

By Tony Giampetruzzi

Biddeford, Maine is the embodiment of the typical, not-quite-yet rehabilitated New England mill town. A handful of the seemingly ancient textile factories have been completely polished-up and inhabited by both the young professionals looking for inexpensive lofts and the entrepreneurs who enjoy the reasonable rents they won’t find in Boston or Portland for their cafés and galleries. But, despite the gentrification, this still-largely Franco-American Catholic community is the last place you’d expect to find an exhibit featuring a series of explicit, homoerotic Andy Warhol screen prints from the ‘70s; an equally provocative Keith Haring original ink on paper titled “Three Men” (use your imagination) from the ‘80s; a Paul Cadmus etching from the ‘30s; and dozens of other pieces of homoerotic art, all on loan to the The Kymara Gallery from the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York.

Tucked well inside a maze of hallways at the North Dam Mill complex, the gallery, which originated in nearby Kennebunkport (home of George H.W. Bush) is hosting the exhibition Two Loves—Sex, Art, and the Love that Dare not Speak its Name, which runs through November 30. Comprised of selections from the Leslie-Lohman Museum’s permanent collection of important original paintings, sculpture, and photography ranging from the years 1650 to 2010, visitors to Biddeford can visually feast on rarely seen works by the likes of Warhol and Haring, as well as a host of other artists who worked in various mediums.


Local options for an lgbt friendly Thanksgiving

Posted by David Zimmerman November 19, 2012 09:31 AM

With a few days to go before Thanksgiving there are a few great options for anyone looking to combine great food and philanthropy for the lgbt community. For those of you interested in the restaurant experience on Thanksgiving, Club Café (209 Columbus Ave. – on the corner of Columbus and Berkeley Streets) will be serving up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (complete with turkey and roast prime rib carving stations) between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.. The cost for the dinner is $28.95 per person and 10% of all food sales will be donated to the Boston Living Center.

Great food, great friends, and donating to a great cause….sounds a pretty good way to spend Thanksgiving. More information and reservation information can be found on Club Café’s website.

If you plan on having a more traditional ‘in-home’ Thanksgiving dinner then you might want to check out Community Servings ‘Pie in the Sky’ option for your dessert. The pies are donated by 150 of Greater Boston's best chefs, bakers, and caterers. They cost $25 each and can be ordered ONLINE.

For the cost of one pie Community Servings is able to feed a critically ill person for an entire week. To recap…for a cost of $25 you and your family/friends get to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dessert AND feed a person in need for an entire week. Is there a better definition of Thanksgiving?

Here’s hoping you have a fun, safe and healthy ThanksGIVING.

National Organization for Marriage sees sharp drop in donations following election night defeats

Posted by David Zimmerman November 17, 2012 08:32 AM

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) saw a steep decline in the amount of money it raised in 2011 – dropping to $6.2 million from the $9.1 million it raised the previous year. Just two donors were responsible for funding 75 percent of the anti-gay group – the organization reported two donations of approximately $2.4 million each. The information is available in NOM’s 2011 990, which NOM made available this evening after the Human Rights Campaign requested the documents.

“The National Organization for Marriage continues to push the notion that there is some sort of grassroots support for their discriminatory anti-gay agenda,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “Last week, that notion was soundly rejected by voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State. Now, NOM’s own financial records are serving as the latest proof that support for LGBT equality is common-sense and mainstream. NOM is nothing more than a conduit channeling the anti-gay agenda of a few secretive, wealthy donors.”

The sharp drop in funding is notable also because NOM experienced significant financial growth each year since its founding in 2007, when it was formed to demonize LGBT people in California as part of efforts to pass Proposition 8. 2011 marks the first year in which the anti-gay group’s funding declined.

In addition to illustrating that more than $4.7 million of NOM’s total $6.2 million reported came from just two mysterious mega-donors, the documents also reveal some interesting information about NOM’s closest affiliates. For example, NOM paid $870,000 to CC Advertising – a group HRC recently filed an FCC complaint against for spamming unsuspecting cell phone users with anti-gay, anti-Obama text messages. The organization also paid nearly $375,000 to Frank Schubert, their ad guru who makes his living largely off of promoting anti-LGBT propaganda.

NOM spent upwards of $5.7 million on attempts to prevent marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington; write discrimination in Minnesota’s constitution; and politicize Iowa’s judicial system. Voters in all five states soundly rejected NOM’s discriminatory messaging. The anti-gay organization remains embroiled in several legal battles over revealing the identities of the few mega-donors who fund their work.

More background on NOM, including information on the organization’s leadership and details on its close financial ties to religious institutions such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus and the Church of Latter Day Saints, is available via HRC’s NOM Exposed project.

2013 Corporate Equality Index reveals LGBT support from corporate America

Posted by David Zimmerman November 16, 2012 02:42 PM

The nation’s barometer for workplace equality -- the HRC's Corporate Equality Index (CEI) – was released this week. In the 2013 CEI a record 252 businesses achieved the top rating of 100 percent, earning the coveted distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.” By comparison, 13 businesses earned a 100 percent in the first CEI 11 years ago. The policies, benefits and practices businesses must implement to earn a perfect score are best-in-class demonstrations of corporate commitments to LGBT workers.

The top rated businesses span across industries, geographies, and size.

“Corporate America continues to raise the bar in workplace fairness,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “LGBT-inclusive workplace policies are not only the right thing to do and good business practices, they are the new normal. Americans have spoken, and as we celebrate our victories at the ballot box, we hope Congress will follow corporate America’s lead and create a level playing field – including passing fully-inclusive workplace non-discrimination legislation.”

This year’s report at a glance:

• A record 74 major businesses and law firms publicly supported pro-equality legislation at the state and federal levels – including those that took an active role in the marriage campaigns this fall.
• The 2013 CEI saw the largest growth in the survey’s history with 54 new businesses participating. The number of employers officially rated in the CEI has skyrocketed from 319 in 2002, to 688 this year, a jump of 116 percent.
• This year’s CEI marks the first time a majority of Fortune 500 companies have nondiscrimination policies that cover gender identity (from 50 percent to 57 percent), while an astonishing 84 percent of overall CEI participants cover gender identity.
• Transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage continues to rise. Now in its second year as a mandatory criterion for a company to earn 100 percent, 287 (42 percent) participating companies offer comprehensive healthcare coverage to their transgender workers, up from 19 percent last year.

While basic protections for LGBT employees have become the norm, record numbers of American businesses have also updated their larger benefits packages, adding “soft benefits” for LGBT workers, including things like retirement benefits to domestic partners and relocation assistance. With benefits accounting for roughly 20 percent of an employee’s compensation, companies recognize this as a matter of equal pay for equal work.

Over the past 11 years, the CEI has become the gold standard for corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees and their families. The CEI rates companies on 40 such policies and practices. A total of 889 businesses have been rated in the 2013 CEI, including the entire Fortune 500. This year a record 293 of the Fortune 500-ranked businesses have an official CEI rating, with the other 201 rated based upon publicly-available data.

CLICK HERE for a free subscription to Boston Spirit magazine, New England's premier lgbt magazine

Roman Catholic Church spent $2 million to defeat marriage equality

Posted by David Zimmerman November 15, 2012 10:43 AM

According to a new report released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Roman Catholic Church spent approximately $2 million in an effort to defeat marriage equality initiatives in the four marriage ballot states of Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington this election cycle. An updated HRC report, available HERE, provides a snapshot of just how much money the Church, along with its close ally the National Organization for Marriage(NOM), poured into campaigns aimed solely at depriving LGBT Americans of dignity and respect.

In Minnesota, the Roman Catholic Church spent upwards of $1.3 million, funding nearly 25 percent of the failed attempts to write discrimination into the state’s constitution. The Church’s funding included hundreds of thousands of dollars from dioceses across the country. The report also highlights the Roman Catholic Church’s donations to states where voters affirmed marriage equality – more than $100,000 in Maine; well over a quarter-million dollars in Maryland; and $307,000 in Washington.

Despite voters rejecting the anti-LGBT agenda financed by the Roman Catholic Church and NOM, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently re-committed to fighting against equality for LGBT Americans. San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone – a leading anti-LGBT voice within the Roman Catholic Church and one of the chief architects of Prop 8 - said the Church must continue funding discrimination because people “don’t understand” marriage.

The report breaks down publicly reported in-kind and cash expenditures from the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the Knights of Columbus, and NOM to the four ballot states. Final campaign figures from Maine and Maryland will be available in the coming weeks.

Transgender Awareness Week kicks off in Boston

Posted by Jim Lopata November 12, 2012 03:00 PM

On November 28, 1998, two men followed transgender woman Rita Hester to her apartment in Boston and fatally stabbed her inside.

One year later, transgender activists in San Francisco remembered the event with a candlelight vigil, which has become an annual, globally commemorated observance known as the Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

Recently, organizations like the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) inaugurated Transgender Awareness Week.

This year, MTPC is working with Fenway Health to provide an array of events, including launching of a new video. Other organizations, including local colleges and towns, have also scheduled activities.

Here’s some of what is being offered:


UPS ceases funding for Boy Scouts of America due to anti-gay policy

Posted by David Zimmerman November 12, 2012 02:42 PM

According to, United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), a corporate donor of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), has announced a new policy that will “cease all future funding to the Boy Scouts until gay Scouts and leaders are welcome within the organization.”

UPS, much like Intel Corporation (which was one of the Boy Scouts largest corporate donors), gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Boy Scouts despite the organization’s anti-gay policy.

Both UPS and Intel have traditionally scored high marks on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

”UPS showed true bravery today in standing with the 80,000 Americans, including thousands of Scouts and Scout leaders, who oppose the Boy Scouts’ hurtful anti-gay policy. That bravery is what Scouting is all about,” said Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality. “Corporate America gets it better than most: policies that discriminate aren’t simply wrong, they’re bad for business and they're hurting the Scouting community. You would think that after all the Boy Scouts have lost as a result of this policy, they would understand that,” he continued.

According to GLAAD, due to the UPS Foundation’s new non-discrimination policy organizations (like the boy Scouts) that adhere to an anti-gay policy will no longer be eligible for funding.

UPS released the following statement:

“The UPS Foundation seeks to support organizations that are in alignment with our focus areas, guidelines, and non-discrimination policy. UPS and The UPS Foundation do not discriminate against any person or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable law, as well as other categories protected by UPS and The UPS Foundation in our own policies. These include, but are not limited to race, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, age and religion.”

The decision by UPS reverses an earlier statement in which the said they would continue to support and donate to the Boy Scouts.

”The time is now for the BSA to end this outdated and unpopular ban before other corporate funders pull dollars and scouting families drop their support’” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “All of the great work that the BSA does to help young people will continue to be overshadowed by their blatant discrimination until they join other inclusive organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA and the 4-H Club.”

New England colleges excel in LGBT-friendliness

Posted by Jim Lopata November 10, 2012 09:44 AM

As high school seniors around the country are completing their admission applications and zeroing in on the colleges they hope to attend next fall, LGBT-friendliness has risen as a factor in the decision-making process.

To aid in the process, we are posting an article that ran in the September/October 2012 issue of Boston Spirit magazine that looks at the way campuses are rated on LGBT issues, with a focus on schools in the Northeast.

One of the most comprehensive surveys is the Campus Climate Index (CCI). Of the 35 schools with CCI public ratings in the New England area, 19 have a rating of 4.5 or 5 stars; meaning that, although area colleges only account for 10 percent of the total schools on the survey, they account for almost 20 percent of the highest ranked schools.

How Proud is Your College?

Boston Spirit takes a close look at universities’ LGBT-friendliness ratings

By Alan Tran

“I had some bad experiences at other schools that I visited,” said Cory Hernandez, a junior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), “At Hamilton College, I didn’t really feel comfortable being queer. And at Wabash College, I felt extremely uncomfortable since I heard ‘fag’ and ‘gay’ quite frequently, and other homophobic remarks.”

Then Hernandez visited MIT. “I went to MIT’s Campus Preview Weekend in April and saw the Rainbow Lounge and learned about their programs, the Living Pink Guide, G@MIT, and other things, and was sold at that time,” Hernandez explained in an e-mail to Boston Spirit.


The National Organization for Marriage responds to election night defeats

Posted by David Zimmerman November 9, 2012 09:37 AM

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), has issued a statement in response to Tuesday night's election results which saw all four states with ballot initiatives pass marriage equality.

Brown, as expected, does not see the results as an affirmation of marriage equality, but more as an issue with funding, voters in 'blue states' and the media.

From the statement:

"Obviously we are very disappointed in losing four tough election battles by narrow margins. We knew long ago that we faced a difficult political landscape with the four marriage battles occurring in four of the deepest-blue states in America. As our opponents built a huge financial advantage, the odds became even steeper. We ran strong campaigns and nearly prevailed in a very difficult environment, significantly out-performing the GOP ticket in every state.

Despite the fact that NOM was able to contribute a record amount to the campaigns (over $5.5 million), we were still heavily outspent, by a margin of at least four-to-one. We were fighting the entirety of the political establishment in most of the states, including sitting governors in three of the states who campaigned heavily for gay marriage. Our opponents and some in the media will attempt to portray the election results as a changing point in how Americans view gay marriage, but that is not the case. Americans remain strongly in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The election results reflect the political and funding advantages our opponents enjoyed in these very liberal states.

Though we are disappointed over these losses, we remain faithful to our mission and committed to the cause of preserving marriage as God designed it. Marriage is a true and just cause, and we will never abandon the field of battle just because we experienced a setback. There is much work to do, and we begin that process now."

The most recent national polls taken show that approximately 53% of those asked support marriage equality while approximately 39% are opposed.

Recap: A historic night for the nation's LGBT Community

Posted by David Zimmerman November 7, 2012 08:55 AM

As last night’s election results are dissected and reviewed one thing is perfectly clear, it was a historic night for the nation’s LGBT community. Starting with the victory for President Obama, the first sitting US President to endorse marriage equality, to the election of the first openly gay Senator, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, there were positive results across the country.

As of the posting of this article, voters in three of the four states voting on marriage equality have voiced, loud and clear, their support for the right for LGBT couples to marry. Our neighbors to the north, in Maine, have joined majorities in Maryland and Minnesota in ensuring marriage equality for all. While optimistic, we await results from Washington State. It looks, however, as though marriage equality will prevail in all four states in which it was on the ballot.

In Massachusetts voters have elected Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren who is considering a very strong ally for the LGBT community.

In Rhode Island openly gay congressman David Cicilline was reelected for a second term. In New York Sean Patrick Maloney defeated Congresswoman Nan Hayworth to become the first openly person elected to represent New York in Congress.

In upstate New York, Republican Senator Mark Grisanti, who voted for the marriage equality legislation that passed the New York state legislature last year, won his race for reelection, and in Hawaii Mazie Hirono, an LGBT-friendly U.S. representative from Hawaii, will move up to the Senate with her victory over Linda Lingle, who as the state's governor had vetoed civil unions legislation.

Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement regarding last night’s historic results:

“Tonight we celebrate, but tomorrow morning we get up and get back to work so that the victories we hail tonight are felt everywhere across this great country. Too many people are denied the ability to marry. Too many people go to their jobs without workplace protections. Too many young people go to bed at night and stare at the ceiling, sleeplessly wondering what awaits them the next day at school or at church or in their own home. Thanks to all the hard work in achieving tonight’s victories, we finally have momentum on our side and we will not rest until the promise of equal justice under the law is realized for every single person living in every single corner of this vast country.”

Poll: 90% of gay voters supported Barack Obama

Posted by Jim Lopata November 7, 2012 01:40 AM

One out of every 10 gay voters supported Barack Obama in the 2012 election, according to pre-election polling by Community Marketing Inc.

In a national survey taken a few days before the November 6 election, six percent of the gay voters said they were casting votes for Mitt Romney and four percent declared for other candidates.

The poll also found:

- 95 percent of gays and lesbians said they intended to vote;
- 41 percent of gay and lesbian indicated they participated in early voting; and
- 41 percent said they had donated money to the Obama campaign.

Here’s additional information from the press release:

The election poll of 6,625 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) United States citizens was administered November 2-4, 2012 and responses were received from all 50 states. LGBTs represent an estimated 5% of United States voters and an overwhelming majority supported the coalition that produced Barack Obama’s victory. 90% support for Obama was seen in all Battleground States and the percentage was similar to the level that Obama received from the African American community.

For more information, connect to the Community Marketing Inc. web site here:

Open letter from Ohio senate candidate's family opposes his LGBT beliefs

Posted by David Zimmerman November 3, 2012 08:01 AM

In a fascinating story of family and politics the family of Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel have penned an open letter in opposition to his beliefs on same-sex marriage.

The letter, signed by eight cousins of Mr. Mandel's wife and appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News yesterday, details the wedding of Ellen Ratner and Cholene Espinoza, two cousins of Ilana Shafran Mandel, Mr. Mandel's wife. Ellen and Cholene were married eight years ago in Massachusetts.

According to a Mandel campaign spokesperson, the candidate "has never met any of those 'cousins' who signed that letter, but looks forward to having the opportunity to meet them someday."

Mandel currently trails his Democratic opponent in the senate race,

Here is a copy of the letter as it appeared in the newspaper:

Open Letter to Josh Mandel, Republican Candidate for U.S. Senator from Ohio

Dear Josh,

Four years ago you came into our family. We still remember the excitement surrounding your wedding, and how happy our family members were as they described it afterwards. So we were deeply saddened when you announced during your October 18th debate with Senator Sherrod Brown that you believe only some people should share this right to marry the person they love, while others should not.

Your cousins, Ellen Ratner and Cholene Espinoza, are among the many wonderful couples whose rights you do not recognize. They were married almost eight years ago in Massachusetts, at a time when it was the only state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage. Their wedding, like yours, was a beautiful and happy occasion for all of us in our family. It hurts us that you would embrace discrimination against them and countless other loving couples in Ohio and around the country.

We are equally distressed by your belief that gay men and women should not be allowed to serve openly in the military. Like you, Cholene spent many years in the armed forces. A graduate of the Air Force Academy and an accomplished pilot, she became the second woman in history to fly the U-2 reconnaissance plane. And yet, you have argued that she, like many gay and lesbian soldiers, should be forced to live a life of secrecy and lies.

Josh, as you know, our roots are deep in the Cleveland area and we have friends and family we love throughout Ohio. This family is sprawling and diverse, but it has always believed strongly in the values of equality and inclusiveness. Your discriminatory stance violates these core values of our family. Nevertheless we hope that over time, as you advance in years and wisdom, you will come to embrace the values of inclusiveness and equality as well.

Your cousins,

Michael Ratner, Bruce Ratner, Karen Ranucci, Pamela Lipkin, Rebecca
Ratner, Elizabeth Ratner, Patrick Markee, Jacob Ratner, Ana Ratner

Religious "leaders" blaming Hurricane Sandy on the LGBT community

Posted by David Zimmerman November 1, 2012 12:08 PM

Earlier this week chaplain John McTernon claimed on his website that Hurricane Sandy was the result of God punishing America for its pro-gay agenda. From McTernon's website:

God is systematically destroying America. Just look at what has happened this year. There was an incredible heat wave and drought that destroyed massive amounts of the crops. This drought has not let up and now covers about 65 percent of the country. The drought triggered record forest fires in the West. The East was not affected by the drought, but now the most powerful hurricane on record is heading directly towards Philadelphia and New York City. It could do catastrophic damage to the entire Northeast! If you add the area of the drought and now the hurricane together, it would be about 80 percent of the country! As I said, the Holy God of Israel is systematically destroying America right before our eyes. Just last August, Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans seven years later, on the exact day of Hurricane Katrina. Both hit during the week of the homosexual event called Southern Decadence in New Orleans!

McTernon went on to sate (in response to a comment posted to the article) that

It is not the homosexual community that is the cause, it is the government of the United States making homosexuality an ordinance which is the cause of the judgment. If you commit the act of homosexuality that is between you and God. When a nation promote homosexual "marriage" then it faces God's judgment.

Not to be undone, just yesterday, as reported on, Rabbi Noson Leiter of Torah Jews for Decency, stated on the radio program Crosstalk that "the Great Flood in the time of Noah was triggered by the recognition of same-gender marriages." He went on to say "The Lord will not bring another flood to destroy the entire world but He could punish particular areas with a flood, and if we look at the same-gender marriage recognition movement that's occurring, that certainly is a message for us to learn. We have to learn that the Lord does watch what we do and if we don't shape up He will deliver divine justice."

According to their website,

The Crosstalk Radio Talk Show is heard each weekday on over 90 radio outlets across America and worldwide on the Internet. Crosstalk covers the issues that affect our world, our nation, our families and the Christian church from a perspective centered in the Word of God. Whether we discuss the economy, the political scene, the continuing moral collapse of our nation, legislation that affects the family, or the state of evangelicalism, our authority is found in the unchanging standard of the Holy Scriptures. Veteran co-hosts Dr. Vic Eliason and Jim Schneider have worked as a team for over 20 years to bring solid information to the body of Christ.

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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