By Roy Steele
1. GAY LGBT PRIDE - The Morning After In San Francisco
San Francisco, California --- Getting around San Francisco can be hard during the best of times. When you add Google I/O, and Gay PRIDE to the mix, forget it. Getting around the city has been a nightmare.
I don’t hang out in bars and clubs, and I try to avoid big events, because I have an aversion to raucous crowds, and I hate the pushing and shoving, and endless search for a familiar face in a sea of strangers.
When nearly two million people descend on your city for a celebration of epic proportions, the last thing you want to do is dive into the middle of it.
Sure the sidewalks were impassable, and the drunks were forced to lay in the streets. In San Francisco we learned a long time ago, you just step over them.
Lithuanian visitors stopped me and said they were lost. I asked them where they were going, and they pulled out a map to point at their destination. How do you explain to Borat and his disinterested Soviet partner, that they took a wrong turn, and Faneuil Hall is three thousand miles away in Boston?
For some reason Japanese tourists seem to love PRIDE, and they aren’t shy about it. They press their noses up against the windows of their air conditioned buses, with a hand covering their mouths, as they point and stare, and the cameras point and click, unabashedly.
The San Francisco PRIDE Parade was fantastic, and the celebration in Civic Center Plaza was forgettable. In the past, PRIDE has had Lady GaGa and Margaret Cho, and the B-52’s on the mainstage, and this year there was a fiddle player with a performing poodle.
I will say that I saw more breasts , than a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon sees in their lifetime, and that was rather lovely.
I had some visceral reactions to different things throughout the day - ranging from the mundane (yawn) to being totally horrified - and that’s par for the course.
When me and my aching feet finally got home, I was smiling and felt a little overwhelmed, as I was filled with my gay PRIDE.
Late last night, I wrote down what I saw at San Francisco PRIDE using one word or less, and that’s what follows.
This is PRIDE.
Bosoms. Lots of bosoms. Dancing, drinking, cheering, clapping, laughing, crying, cruising, celebrating, shoving, singing, jumping, embracing, elbowing, kissing, smoking, and pissing.
Bare feet, dog collars, leashes, beer bellies, jockstraps, speedo’s, tops, bottoms, short shorts, back fat, hairy asses, handkerchiefs, bikinis, bras, bosoms, and electrical tape on nipples.
Boob tubes, boas, wigs, broken heels, torn panty hose, mom jeans, six packs, no jeans, underpants, pierced privates, leather harnesses, flabby asses, hot asses, sock puppets, acrylic nails, and ugly penises.
Did I mention that there were lots of bosoms?
Pet Peeve: The clueless masses and endless crowds of revelers oblivious to my urgent need to find a loo!
Rare Sighting: Lesbians in the wild! There were lesbians everywhere, and I was happy to see them so far from their motherland (Bernal Heights and Glen Park).
2. Gay LGBT Employment Discrimination
During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama pledged his support for the the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit private companies from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
This legislation has been introduced in Congress nearly every year since 1974, and has never been passed in both the House and Senate.
ENDA was considered by the US Senate on November 7, 2013, and nine Republican Senators joined 52 Democrats, and 2 Independents, to pass the bill, which surprised many of us who regularly keep tabs on Congress.
ENDA will not come to the floor of the House for a vote, because the Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) is a card carrying anti-gay homophobe, who doesn’t believe the legislation is necessary.
In fact, after President Obama announced a few weeks ago, that he would sign an Executive Order that prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination by private contractors that provide goods and services to the federal government, the Speaker of the House announced that he was going to sue the President in federal court, for overstepping his bounds, and issuing Executive Orders.
Speaker Boehner and the dysfunctional GOP object to these executive actions because there's NOTHING they can do to stop them. The issues that really rile them up are the Executive Orders that stop the deportations of undocumented immigrants, delay the implementation of some provisions in the Affordable Care Act, and raise the minimum wage for federal contractors.
Right-wing extremists in Congress have been throwing a tantrum that no one is paying any attention to, because the President has moved to expand gay rights, and close the gender pay gap for women.
It’s very strange that in 2014, the political party that once embraced wholesome values and wrapped themselves around Ronald Reagan and the American flag, dismiss the values that personify our nation. They fight against equality, equal pay, and treating people with dignity and respect.
President Obama could sign the Executive Order banning discrimination in the federal workplace today, or later this week.
And as life goes on for the majority of Americans, it’s perfectly legal in 29 states to fire an employee, or refuse to hire someone, simply because they’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Transgender employees face more challenges, and in 33 states it’s legal to terminate their employment because of their gender identity.
How very un-American.
3. Gay Marriage in Utah and Indiana
There was exciting news last week when two federal courts struck down Utah and Indiana’s constitutional bans on gay marriage.
The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, sitting in Denver, Colorado, ruled that Utah’s same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay couples, to equal protection and due process under the law.
The Tenth Circuit ruling has greater implications that extend far beyond Utah, because the decision applies to five state bans in their jurisdiction. The states are Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. New Mexico is a marriage equality state in the Tenth Circuit, so the ruling doesn’t apply.
The court stayed implementation of their ruling, pending an appeal to the US Supreme Court.
Salt Lake Tribune reporter Jessica Miller notes:
The majority opinion attacked the state’s arguments, which relied on a link between marriage and procreation. They said the argument failed because opposite-sex couples who do not or cannot procreate are still allowed to marry.
"Utah citizens may choose a spouse of the opposite sex regardless of the pairing’s procreative capacity," the opinion reads. "The elderly, those medically unable to conceive and those who exercise their fundamental right not to have biological children are free to marry and have their out-of-state marriages recognized in Utah, apparently without breaking the ‘conceptual link between marriage and procreation."
The court’s ruling affirms U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby’s decision, which struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage and prompted more than 1,000 same-sex couples to marry during a 17-day window before the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay, halting all such weddings.
In a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, Lori Stevenson expressed how absurd it is to be denied the right to marry.
On my way to work today, I heard Gov. Herbert say that he hopes an appeal to the Supreme Court of the 10th Circuit Court decision on gay marriage is quickly addressed. For perhaps the first time, I can say I wholeheartedly agree with the governor! I, too, hope that the Supreme Court quickly ends this absurdity of inequality. It doesn’t matter if people vote that they want to deny equal rights to their fellow citizens. Like I tell my children, just because you want it, that doesn’t make it right.
Chief Judge Richard L. Young, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, ruled that the state's gay marriage ban violated the Constitution's due process and equal protection clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment, and ordered Indiana officials to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
Writing for The Associated Press, Charles D. Wilson said that Indiana county officials were unprepared for the ruling.
Wednesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Young sparked a flood of same-sex weddings across the state and forced opponents to seek ways to blunt the impact of the decision, even as confusion continued across the state about how to implement it.
Many counties still weren’t issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of concern over the state-generated application form, which requests the names of the male and female applicants. While Marion County, the home of Indianapolis, instructed applicants to alter the forms to say “spouse” and “spouse,” other counties were hesitant to do so.
The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, sitting in Chicago, Illinois, issued a stay of Judge Young’s decision, and put marriages on hold last Friday, in response to Indiana State Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s motion that the state was going to appeal the decision.
I wonder what state will be next?
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