How Facts and Figures Led to the End of DADT

February 19, 2014

THE ADVOCATE | Feb. 19, 2013 | As LGBT advocates continue to press their agenda forward, they rightly look back at the past to learn what works. While some view “the past” as meaning the start of the Obama administration, understanding the true, long-game strategy that was necessary to secure our advances in recent years is critical to building on those gains, both for LGBT issues and other kinds of progress.

Winning the Hearts and Minds of Even Our Most Ardent Opponents

February 5, 2014

THE ADVOCATE | Nov. 19, 2012 | The LGBT movement has made enormous progress in recent years, in large part by focusing, laser-like, on what’s come to be called the “movable middle.” We identified that third or so of the American population that was not hateful toward LGBT people but was uncomfortable with full equality. They were not yet with us but were open to change if we allayed their anxieties by reassuring them that we wanted no more or less than what they wanted — equal opportunity, fair treatment, safety, security, and dignity.

AP Pronounces Them Wife and Wife

February 5, 2014

Los Angeles Times | Feb. 22, 2013 | Facing intense criticism, the Associated Press announced Thursday that it would revise its influential stylebook to include a single standard when referring to gay and straight spouses. It will add this entry for "husband, wife": "Regardless of sexual orientation, 'husband' or 'wife' is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. 'Spouse' or 'partner' may be used if requested."

The Narcissism of Today’s Homophobia

February 3, 2014

SLATE | Feb. 3, 2014 | Rapper Macklemore took heat from both the left and right for singing his pro-gay anthem, “Same Love,” at the Grammys last month. Now, in the latest challenge to the wrongly besieged musician, Christian rapper Bizzle has released an anti-gay version of the song stressing biblical rationales for stigmatizing gay people. In an era when even Glenn Beck favors gay equality, it’s become almost bold to publicly oppose it. Which makes full-throttled expressions of homophobia like the Bizzle riff an excellent opportunity to unpack just what’s going on in the minds of America’s shrinking but persistent anti-gay population.

Has Support for Gay Rights Confused Our Understanding of Morality?

January 20, 2014

SLATE | Jan. 16, 2014 | There’s a lot to love about this week’s federal court ruling striking down Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban. Among other things, it dismantles the crucial but thin argument that banning gays from getting wed does anything to protect marriage: “Excluding same-sex couples from marriage has done little to keep Oklahoma families together thus far, as Oklahoma consistently has one of the highest divorce rates in the country.” It also rigorously reviews the relevant history of the state’s anti-gay law and notes that its champions defended the law by calling it an effort to “uphol[d] morality” and ensure that only “what God has ordained as traditional marriage” would be recognized by state law—both constitutionally impermissible rationales for a law.

Note to Mary Matalin’s Gay Friends: She Won’t Hide You in a Gay Holocaust

January 20, 2014

SLATE | Jan. 20, 2014 | My Bubbie and Zada used to tell me my gentile friends wouldn’t hide me in another Holocaust. I like to think they were wrong (and that there won’t be another Holocaust). But that won’t stop me from invoking their wise spirit with a warning to conservative pundit Mary Matalin’s gay friends: She won’t hide you in a gay Holocaust. The famously crabby GOP strategist shrugged off a growing human-rights crisis in Russia on Sunday with a glib dismissal of even discussing the anti-gay policy and violence there, just as the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games have finally brought much-needed mainstream media coverage to the problem.

Should You Respect Gay People If You Find Homosexuality Immoral?

January 9, 2014

Slate | Jan. 6, 2014 | Of late, many opponents of gay equality have taken pains to insist that, whatever they think of homosexuality, they not only love gay people, they also respect them. It’s the latest incarnation of “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Defending himself against allegations by punter Chris Kluwe that he went on an anti-gay tirade in the Minnesota Vikings locker room, special teams coach Mike Priefer released a statement denying that he said gays would burn in hell and claiming he was “respectful of all individuals.” Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida who is now running to re-take the office as a Democrat, gave an interview to an LGBTQ website apologizing for his earlier anti-gay positions. “I love everyone!” he giggled, explaining that his parents “raised us to love everyone” and be nice to everyone until you no longer could. Even the pope has now said that Catholics should not judge gay people, despite official church doctrine.

Does the Bible Say What Phil Robertson Thinks It Says About Homosexuality?

December 24, 2013

SLATE | Dec. 23, 2013 | Last week, Phil Robertson, the patriarch from Duck Dynasty, a popular reality show on A&E, was suspended from the network for offensive comments he made in a GQinterview. In addition to ignorant, racially insensitive remarks, the interview included a rant that called homosexuality sinful and morally wrong. The controversial suspension gave conservative and religious groups a new cause célèbre in their effort to cast gay equality as anti-Christian, a claim that is preposterous but gained steam from the fact that Robertson’s remarks were close paraphrases of what the Bible says.

Writers and Their Pets: Nathaniel Frank

November 3, 2013

Romeo was a rescue dog from a city shelter in East New York. He was all Brooklyn from the get-go. So it wasn’t hard to figure out where to scatter his ashes when he finally left us. Every morning for years, we had started the day trotting through Fort Greene Park, which Walt Whitman helped create and Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison used as a writing perch. That seemed the obvious choice. Still, I had to spend some real time deciding. After all, Romeo was one of the most widely traveled dogs I know

Will Someone Please Ask Chris Christie Why He Believes Gay Marriage Is Wrong?

October 22, 2013

SLATE | Oct. 22, 2013 | The political calculation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s surrender on gay marriage—he announced yesterday he woulddrop his appeal of a court’s ruling that finally allowed gay couples to wed—is not hard to decipher. As a likely GOP presidential candidate for 2016, Christie must woo the party’s anti-gay right wing to win the primary, and avoid, for the general election, seeming out of step with the dramatic national movement toward marriage equality. So he has consistently opposed gay marriage personally while stating that he would support it if the state’s populace did so in a vote.

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