Today we answer 5 burning questions related to gay marriage, equal protection under the law for the LGBT community in Texas, the implications of the immigration reform proposals in Congress on gay married couples, when will Hollywood’s biggest gay closet case fling open that door, and how does being gay effect the performance of an athlete.
Q: Is gay marriage coming to Minnesota?
A: The Minnesota state House of Representatives has scheduled a floor vote today on a bill to legalize gay marriage. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Speaker of the House Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) thinks that he has the 68 votes necessary to pass the legislation.
If the House votes in favor, Minnesota will be one step closer to marriage equality.
Q: Are Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans entitled to equality?
A: The Austin American-Statesman reports that five LGBT activists were arrested in Austin, Texas, yesterday - while protesting that the Texas state legislature has failed to act on legislation that would extend employment protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents of the lone star state. State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) introduced Senate Bill 237, which would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Michael Diviesti, a spokesman for GetEQUAL TX said:
“Over 400,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans go to work knowing that their jobs are not protected and that they can be fired simply for who they are or who they love with no legal recourse. This does not make for a safe and healthy working environment.”
Equality remains a dream for the LGBT community in Texas.
Q: Will binational LGBT couples be left out of the immigration reform bill?
A: During an interview with Politico, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressed his reservations about the proposed immigration reform bill. In it’s current form, the measure excludes legally wed gay binational couples from receiving the rights afforded to opposite sex married couples, and Senate Republicans have said that including gay partners or spouses will derail the bill.
Politico’s Lois Romano reports that Senator Leahy feels strongly that the Senate consider the bill’s impact on the LGBT community.
“On this particular issue, you know, at some point we’re going to have to face it, and we have to decide when is the best time to face it,” Leahy told POLITICO in a wide-ranging interview. “You can’t go into a state like mine or — it will be now 11 or 12 states and the District of Columbia — where same-sex marriage is legal, and say to this couple, ‘OK, we can help you with the immigration matter.’ Turn to another couple equally legally married and say, ‘Oh, we have to discriminate against you.’”
“I’m not going to speculate about where we’re going to be. Let us see what happens. … I want a bill, a comprehensive bill, on the president’s desk. … And I want to find a way that couples who are married legally, when one is not an American citizen, they can have the same rights as all other couples married legally.”
It’s too early to tell whether LGBT binational married couples will be covered by the immigration reform proposals in Congress. Call your member of Congress to make your voice heard!
Q: Will Hollywood’s biggest gay closet case ever ‘come out’?
A: The brilliant actress and comic Margaret Cho, a San Francisco native, discussed the closeted actor John Travolta in her stand-up act. Margaret is one of the most highly visible bisexual activists in Hollywood, and made the 1997 film Face/Off with Travolta.
"John Travolta is so gay!"
"I’m going to get in trouble but I’ll just tell you," she continued. "He’s not just gay. He doesn’t just like men. He is like Oscar Wilde gay, like Lord Byron gay. That kind of crazy, incredibly flamboyant gay."
"I feel bad for him, because I know he would be much happier if he could just come out," she says, "But he can’t."
"He was so pampered and so taken care of, it was the closest I have ever been to being in the presence of a king," before adding, "Or a queen, actually."
It’s almost too stressful to imagine the pressure that Travolta’s had to endure over the years. His “church” doesn’t accept homosexuality, and Hollywood wants their leading men to be straight. It’s pretty sad.
Q: Does a gay athlete’s sexuality have an impact on their ability to play?
A: A former University of Richmond gay football player has ‘come out’ in the wake of the NBA’s Jason Collins pronouncement. Kevin Grayson revealed his sexuality in an interview with WTVR, a Richmond, Virginia television station.
Writing for The Advocate, Jase Peeples writes [bold emphasis my own]:
“Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you can’t be the athlete you want to be. Doesn’t mean you can’t be a star. Doesn’t mean you can’t go out there and go just as hard as anybody else, if not harder,” Grayson said.
Grayson speaks from experience. During his career, he achieved a long list of accolades. He was already a decorated high school football player when he began playing for the University of Richmond, but as a wide receiver for the Spiders, Grayson helped his college team win the national title in 2008 and remains second on the list of all-time receivers in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
However, Grayson says he never considered coming out before because he didn’t want to become a distraction for his teammates and preferred to keep his focus on his sport. “If you are an athlete, you want to be an athlete. You want to be known for what you’ve done on the basketball court, football field, tennis court, whatever. You don’t want to be that person who it’s always ‘the “gay” athlete,’” explains Grayson. “You don’t want to be the focus in that way. Not to say that it’s a negative, but when you have people just asking questions about your sexuality and how teammates are taking it, it takes away from the importance of the preseason.”
However, today Grayson feels differently and hopes by coming out more people will realize an athlete’s sexuality has no impact on his ability to play. “Why can’t I be an athlete? Why can’t I be a star player?” asks Grayson. “Why can’t I be the guy making plays that helps my team win, and still on the flip side, be a gay male?”
I agree that an athlete will be judged on how they play, and their contributions to the team. At the end of the day, that’s what a successful team is all about.