According to one college football senior NFL teams have taken to asking college prospects about their sexual orientation at this year’s pro football combine. Top college players attend the combine in order to highlight their skills for NFL executives. During the combine players go through a series of drills to test their athleticism in addition to spending time interviewing with team personnel.
One prospect, Nick Kasa, a player from the University of Colorado, told ESPN radio that several teams had asked him questions such as “Do you have a girlfriend?” and “Do you like girls?” Said Kasa, “it was just kind of weird.”
Many who follow the NFL, including Mike Florio of NBC Sports feel that the questioning is directly related to the rampant rumors surrounding Notre Dame star Manti T’eo. "Here's the elephant in the room for the teams and it shouldn't matter, but we have to step aside from the rest of reality and walk into the unique industry that is the NFL," said Florio. "Teams want to know whether Manti Te'o is gay. They just want to know. They want to know because in an NFL locker room, it's a different world. It shouldn't be that way."
Rumors of T’eo being gay have been front and center since it was learned that he took part in a hoax in which his girlfriend of three years, Lennay Kekua, was found to be a fictional character and not, in fact, a real person.
Fox Sports Jason Whitlock penned an article yesterday in which he implored NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose brother is gay, to take a stronger stand against homophobia in the league.
Let’s be honest. I think it’s reasonable to assume that 15 percent of NFL players are gay and/or bisexual. Generally speaking, they’re forced to conceal their sexuality out of fear of being ostracized and potentially released from the team. They need to be set free, released from the grip of the most hostile work environment in America. Is there a more homophobic work setting than a football locker room? I can’t think of one.
There’s a terrific opportunity here for Goodell. He can make the NFL a zero-tolerance zone for homophobia. He can use the weight of his office and the power he wields because of the player-conduct policy to go after players and organizations that tolerate any form of sexuality discrimination. He could send a clear message the NFL commissioner is a friend to gays and will take every possible action to ensure they’re treated fairly. Goodell can create an environment that entices a closeted gay player to come out and be the hero/role model gay kids, parents of gay children and overgrown idiots need.
How can he accomplish all of this? He can start by partnering with gay-rights activists and establishing an oversight committee that investigates, monitors and trains NFL teams in issues related to anti-gay workplace hostility. He can then begin treating offenders with the same heavy hand he uses on players for illegal hits and off-field incidents.
A group of at least 75 prominent Republicans have signed a brief in support of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples that is being submitted to the Supreme Court, according to The New York Times.
The New York Times notes:
The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions.
Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is retired from Congress.
While briefs of this kind — called amicus, or friend-of-the court briefs — do not often sway Supreme Court justices, there is a sense that this brief may be an exception. More from the Times:
Tom Goldstein, publisher of Scotusblog, a Web site that analyzes Supreme Court cases, said the amicus filing “has the potential to break through and make a real difference.”
He added: “The person who is going to decide this case, if it’s going to be close, is going to be a conservative justice who respects traditional marriage but nonetheless is sympathetic to the claims that this is just another form of hatred. If you’re trying to persuade someone like that, you can’t persuade them from the perspective of gay rights advocacy.”
In an explosive interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour former Dominican Friar Mark Dowd claimed that half, if not more, of those attracted into the seminaries and the priesthood are gay. Dowd went on to say that homosexuality is “the ticking time bomb in the Catholic Church,”
“On the one hand the church teaches that the condition of same sex attraction is intrinsically disordered, those are Cardinal Ratzinger’s own words from 1986 and yet we know that actually about half, if not more, of all the people attracted into the seminaries and the priesthood are gay themselves,” said Dowd.
“When you have this culture of secrecy and guilt and repression,” he continued, “you have conditions which foster the potential for blackmail and for manipulation.”
Dowd, who is now a journalist, said that gay men are “massively over-represented” within the Church. He base his statements on what he called “on- and off-the-record conversations with members of the Church, as well as personal experience.”
Vatican journalist Marco Politi disagreed with Dowd’s claims and the recently reported notion of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican.
“The idea of a gay cabal is rubbish,” he said. “Here in the Vatican, there are monsignors who have love affairs, with women and with men. But they hide it. They are liberals or conservatives, but certainly they don’t act like a gay lobby.”
Suze Orman recently penned a column detailing the inequities between heterosexual couples and same-sex couples when it comes to federal benefits. Inequities that, hopefully, will be corrected when the Supreme Court hears cases related to DOMA this spring.
Speaking on her own relationship with her partner, Kathy Travis, Orman writes:
If the federal government recognized same-sex marriage, then when one of us dies our assets would seamlessly transfer free of tax to the survivor. That's a basic right that every heterosexual married couple has.
But because there is no federal recognition of same-sex marriage, if I die first, or vice versa, before either of us can inherit what is now jointly our assets, there would be a federal estate tax bill that one of us would currently have to pay. Again, to be clear: If we were a heterosexual married couple, there would be no estate tax regardless of the size of the estate or who died first.
Orman goes on to detail other issues, specifically with Social Security:
Married heterosexual couples can maximize their Social Security retirement benefits by taking advantage of the highest-earner's benefit. When both spouses are alive, the lower earner can opt to collect a monthly benefit check that is equal to 50% of his or her spouse's benefit. For many married couples, that 50% spousal benefit is often much higher than what the lower-wage-earning spouse could collect based on his or her own earnings record. Most important, when the high earner dies, the surviving spouse is allowed to collect 100% of the deceased's higher benefit.
Because same-sex marriages aren't recognized on the federal level, gay and lesbian couples are not eligible for Social Security spousal benefits. The lower earner cannot claim any benefits based on the higher earner's benefit. A heterosexual couple married for just a few months is able to collect a federal benefit that same-sex couples who have been together for decades can't.
And finally, on health insurance, Orman details that the current regulations are costing same-sex couples nearly $200 million in additional costs and employers nearly $60 million.
Health insurance is another area of severe federal financial discrimination against gay couples. I am so glad to see more employers extending health insurance benefits to same-sex partners. But because same-sex couples are not considered legally married under the eyes of the federal government, the dollar value of the health coverage is considered taxable income.
A 2007 study estimated that this gay health insurance penalty costs same-sex couples an aggregate $178 million ($1,069 per household), while employers paid an additional $57 million in payroll tax on that taxable income. No heterosexual married couple or their employers pay that penalty.
CLICK HERE to read the entire piece.
St. Peter's Basilica seen through a keyhole at the Villa Malta (photo: AngMoKio/Wikimedia Commons)
An article in an Italian newspaper contends that Pope Benedict XVI may be resigning as a result of a scandal involving homosexuality at the Vatican.
A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.
The pope's spokesman declined to confirm or deny the report, which was carried by the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.
The La Repubblica story contends that Benedict decided to resign on the day that he received an internal report concerning the 'Vatileaks' case, which involved information leaked by the pope's butler.
More from The Guardian:
According to La Repubblica, the dossier comprising "two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red" had been consigned to a safe in the papal apartments and would be delivered to the pope's successor upon his election.
The newspaper said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation".
In an apparent quotation from the report, La Repubblica said some Vatican officials had been subject to "external influence" from laymen with whom they had links of a "worldly nature". The paper said this was a clear reference to blackmail.
Further, The Guardian helpfully provides broader context for the accusation of a 'gay network' at the Holy See:
La Repubblica's report was the latest in a string of claims that a gay network exists in the Vatican. In 2007 a senior official was suspended from the congregation, or department, for the priesthood, after he was filmed in a "sting" organised by an Italian television programme while apparently making sexual overtures to a younger man.
In 2010 a chorister was dismissed for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting. A few months later a weekly news magazine used hidden cameras to record priests visiting gay clubs and bars and having sex.
More at The Guardian: here.
The Advocate is reporting that popular, Christian quarterback Tim Tebow, is tweeting that he is withdrawing from speaking at First Baptist Church of Dallas, which has a history of using anti-LGBT rhetoric.
According the report, Tebow tweeted:
"While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ's unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, ... due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!"
Tonight, USA Network's Necessary Roughness imagines what it would be like to have a professional football player come as gay.
From the press release:
On Wednesday, Feb 20, tune in to see the emotional and provocative second half of USA Network's 'Necessary Roughness' at 10/9c as the team tackles their quarter's coming out. The fear, anticipation, support and relief will resonate with viewers who have faced this milestone and give strength to others faced with their own coming out not to mention the current fervor over the iron-clad closet of professional sports.
A trailer can be accessed here: http://usanet.tv/NR216cl1
Oscar Pistorius, the paralympic runner who captured the world’s attention at the London Olympics last year and more recently for being charged with premeditated murder in the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been dropped from South Africa’s “It Gets Better” campaign.
In the video, which is to be launched on February 20th, Pistorius says “Just remember that you’re special. You don’t have to worry. You don’t have to change. Take a deep breath and remember ‘It will get better’.”
According to South African prosecutors, Pistorius, who garnered the nickname “Blade Runner” for the prosthetic legs he runs on, shot Steenkamp multiple times through a bathroom door in his home. Pistorius claims he thought she was an intruder.
President Obama Speaks on Strengthening the Economy for the Middle Class in Chicago, including a mention about the importance of having “loving ... gay or straight parents” in society. (Video: The White House)
Has any president uttered the word ‘gay’ as much as President Barack Obama? It’s doubtful.
Much was made of his soaring rhetoric in his second inaugural speech, with words that have already attained legendary status in the LGBT community:
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; ...
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. ... Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- (applause) -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (Applause.)
But just in the past week, beginning with his State of the Union (SOTU) address last Tuesday, Obama has included ‘gay’ in his public remarks on three separate occasions, in three different ways.FULL ENTRY
Fowl play in the Galapagos (photo: James Lopata)
A British academic is accusing BBC nature host David Attenborough of ignoring homosexual animal behavior in his documentaries.
The UK news organization The Sun reports that University of East Anglia Professor Brett Mills:
claims Sir David’s BBC documentaries focus on family values in animals and shun “alternative interpretations”.
Sir David, 86, described male chimps hugging as “friendly affection”, while male sandpiper birds filmed circling each other were being “aggressive”.
"The central role in documentary stories of pairing, mating and raising offspring commonly rests on assumptions of heterosexuality within the animal kingdom.
"This is despite a wealth of scientific evidence which demonstrates that many non-human species have complex and changeable forms of sexual activity, with heterosexuality only one of many possible options.”
Both news outlets said that the BBC declined to comment.
Robbie Rogers, a player on the U.S. National Mens Soccer team, and former player for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, has penned an open letter on his website announcing that he is gay.
Rogers, 25, also announced his retirement from the sport:
The Next Chapter…
Things are never what they seem… My whole life I have felt different, different from my peers, even different from my family. In today’s society being different makes you brave. To overcome your fears you must be strong and have faith in your purpose.
For the past 25 year I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations. Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret. Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams.
Dreams of going to a World Cup, dreams of The Olympics, dreams of making my family proud. What would life be without these dreams? Could I live a life without them?
Life is only complete when your loved ones know you. When they know your true feelings, when they know who and how you love. Life is simple when your secret is gone. Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret.
Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently.
I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined… I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, The MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates. I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.
Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football. It’s 1 A.M. in London as I write this and I could not be happier with my decision. Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest. Honesty is a bitch but makes life so simple and clear. My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.
Illinois is now one step closer to joining the growing number of states to pass legislation for same sex couples to legally marry.
In a vote taken today (of all days, Valentine’s Day) the Illinois Senate approved a same sex marriage bill by a vote of 34 – 21. Governor Pat Quinn has already stated that if passed he would not veto the legislation and has gone so far as to urge the General Assembly to pass the bill
Recently Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady backed gay marriage, leading to an unsuccessful call for his removal by members of his party
If the bill is also approved by the state House of Representatives, Illinois will become the 10th state with legal marriage equality as well as Washington D.C
Has Facebook played a role in helping you find love (or even ‘like’?) If so there is a Facebook group for that! LGBTQ@Facebook is a page that has been launched to show
the "impact that every individual can have" by using Facebook.
According to the group’s creators, "We are dedicated to creating an environment where people can be their authentic selves and share their own diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and ideas. We understand that there are issues that are unique to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Facebook users and we are working with the LGBTQ community to better understand the needs of this population and offer helpful resources."
For Valentine’s Day the group is encouraging its members to share their stories of how Facebook has played a role in bringing them together.
Submit your story, or just read others. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find your true love.
LGBT activists are planning a rally at US Senator Marc Rubio's Florida headquarters at 3 p.m. ET, today, February 14. They are calling on the Republican legislator to be sure that LGBT people are included in the immigration law that Congress is considering.
National LGBT civil rights organization GetEQUAL is staging the demonstration. Here's from the group's press release:
On this Valentine's Day, LGBT immigrants with the group GetEQUAL -- a national civil rights organization fighting for the full equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans -- are asking Senate Marco Rubio not to leave them out of an immigration reform bill that is currently moving through Congress. While most loving couples will be celebrating, LGBT immigrants and their partners have to choose between the country they love and the person they love.
"LGBT immigrants are caught in the perfect storm -- we live in a country that doesn’t recognize our marriages and the broken immigration system leave us without a pathway to citizenship," says Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, GetEQUAL's National Field Director. "I grew up here and became undocumented while a young man. Even though I’m married to permanent resident, I’m still not able to adjust my immigration status."
Undocumented LGBT community members and allies will gather to take action outside Senator Marco Rubio’s Florida headquarters in Orlando. They will ask questions about Senator Rubio’s position on a clear pathway to citizenship, asylum rules, the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), and the end of harsh enforcement policies.
More information on the action can be accessed at GetEQUAL's website.
President Barack Obama is officially supporting Orlando, Florida's bid to host the 2018 Gay Games.
Watermarkonline.com is posting an image of the letter that the Orlando organizing committee received from the White House.
I am pleased to voice my support for the City of Orlando's bid to host the Gay Games 2018.
As President of the United States, I am committed to advancing equality for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community, both in America and around the world.
According to Outsports.com, this is believed to be the first such kind of support for a gay athletic games event from a U.S. president.
No other U.S. cities are bidding to host the 2018 Games. The 2014 Gay Games are to be held in Cleveland.
"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, ..." love only existed between one man and one woman. Until now.
But don't expect any hanky panky between Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo — not just yet anyway — Star Wars: The Old Republic is set 3,500 years before the start of the storyline made popular in the Star Wars films. Furthermore, same-sex relationships are currently limited to the planet Makeb.
A group of students, along with some parents and a teacher, at Sullivan High School in Indiana, have started the process to organize their own prom…one that would exclude lgbt classmates.
"We don't agree with it and it's offensive to us," said Diana Medley, a special education teacher at the school. "Homosexual students come to me with their problems, and I don't agree with them, but I care about them. It's the same thing with my special needs kids, I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason," said Medley. (Yes, apparently the special education teacher at Sullivan high feel that special needs kids and lgbt kids are in the same category)
Medley continued, "I believe that it was life circumstances and they chose to be that way; God created everyone equal. So the same goes for gays? Do you think they have a purpose in life?' No I honestly don't. Sorry, but I don't. I don't understand it. A gay person isn't going to come up and make some change unless it's to realize that it was a choice and they're choosing God." she said.
Apparently there is a group of students who agree with their teacher, including Kynon Johnson. "If we can get a good prom then we can convince more people to come and follow what they believe," said Johnson. Another unnamed student went on to add "We want to make the public see that we love the homosexuals, but we don't think it's right nor should it be accepted."
At last one local man, also using the church as the basis for his argument, disagrees with the ‘separate prom’ group. "We shouldn't be condemning people, and that's what judgment is. Christ came to save the people not to condemn them." said Jim Davis. "Love them as a person. You don't have to love what they do, because the gays may not love all the mistakes you make," he continued.
"The feeling of being loved and belonging is universal," said Davis.
A release today from Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announces the extension of benefits to same-sex couples.
Here's the statement:
"Seventeen months ago, the United States military ended the policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We have implemented the repeal of that policy and made clear that discrimination based on sexual orientation has no place in the Department of Defense.
"At the time of repeal, I committed to reviewing benefits that had not previously been available to same-sex partners based on existing law and policy. It is a matter of fundamental equity that we provide similar benefits to all of those men and women in uniform who serve their country. The department already provides a group of benefits that are member-designated. Today, I am pleased to announce that after a thorough and deliberate review, the department will extend additional benefits to same-sex partners of service members.
"Taking care of our service members and honoring the sacrifices of all military families are two core values of this nation. Extending these benefits is an appropriate next step under current law to ensure that all service members receive equal support for what they do to protect this nation.
"One of the legal limitations to providing all benefits at this time is the Defense of Marriage Act, which is still the law of the land. There are certain benefits that can only be provided to spouses as defined by that law, which is now being reviewed by the United States Supreme Court. While it will not change during my tenure as secretary of defense, I foresee a time when the law will allow the department to grant full benefits to service members and their dependents, irrespective of sexual orientation. Until then, the department will continue to comply with current law while doing all we can to take care of all soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and their families.
"While the implementation of additional benefits will require substantial policy revisions and training, it is my expectation that these benefits will be made available as expeditiously as possible. One of the great successes at the Department of Defense has been the implementation of DADT repeal. It has been highly professional and has strengthened our military community. I am confident in the military services' ability to effectively implement these changes over the coming months."
A document outlining more details on the policy can be found here.
In a truly beautiful bit of irony Fox News columnist Suzanne Venker mistakenly used a photo of a lesbian couple (which was supposed to show a “traditional couple”) to accompany her column on the failures of feminism and female independence.
The photo, which first appeared on Huffington Post, is of Lela Mc Arthur and Stephanie Figarelle a lesbian couple from, Alaska on their wedding day. McArthur and Gigarelle were the first same-sex couple to marry at the top of the Empire State Building after New York State legalized gay marriage…recreating the famous scene from the movie Sleepless in Seattle.
In the article that accompanied the photo Venker says, “As products of divorce, the modern generation has few role models for lasting love. That alone is a problem. But young women have an added burden: they’ve been raised in a society that eschews marriage. They’ve been taught instead to honor sex, singlehood and female empowerment.”
She also identifies 2 major failures on the feminism movement as she sees it.
1. Women postpone marriage indefinitely and move in and out of intense romantic relationships, or even live with their boyfriends for years at a time. Eventually, their biological clocks start ticking and many decide they better hurry up and get married to provide a stable home for their yet-to-be-born children. Trouble is, their boyfriend’s not willing to commit.
2. Marriage becomes a competitive sport. The complementary nature of marriage—in which two people work together, as equals, toward the same goal but with an appreciation for the qualities each gender brings to the table—has been obliterated. Today, husbands and wives are locked in a battle about whom does more on the home front and how they’re going to get everything done. That’s not a marriage. That’s war.
Venker then concludes, “It’s time to say what no one else will: Feminism didn’t result in equality between the sexes – it resulted in mass confusion. Today, men and women have no idea who’s supposed to do what.”
Openly gay Massachusetts state Representative Carl Sciortino announced on his Facebook page today that he would be running for the US Fifth Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Edward Markety, who is running for US Senate.
Here is Sciortino's full announcement:
MEDFORD, MA – Today, Massachusetts State Representative Carl Sciortino (D – 34th Middlesex) announced his candidacy for the Commonwealth’s Fifth Congressional District.
“I am running to continue the strong progressive leadership that the families of the Fifth District have always counted on,” said Sciortino. “I look forward to bringing my record of accomplishment to Washington to fight for our progressive values.”
The Fifth Congressional District is currently represented by Rep. Edward Markey of Malden, the frontrunner in the special election to replace Sen. John Kerry, who was recently appointed Secretary of State by President Barack Obama.
“I am proud to call Ed Markey my Congressman and I am dedicated to helping elect him as our next U.S. Senator,” said Rep. Sciortino. “His record on behalf of Massachusetts families – fighting for jobs, consumers’ rights, and a healthier environment— is the kind of leadership Massachusetts needs in the Senate and it is a record I look forward to continuing in Congress.”
A leading progressive voice, Rep. Sciortino was first elected in 2004, upsetting a 14-year incumbent at age 25. One of the Commonwealth’s seven openly-gay legislators, Sciortino is the leading voice for LGBT rights on Beacon Hill, championing the fight for marriage equality and co-authoring the 2011 Transgender Equal Rights Bill. In 2007, Sciortino co-authored the bill which created the 35-foot buffer zone that protects the entrances to women’s reproductive health centers. He has led the fight to close corporate tax loopholes and make the state’s minimum wage the highest in the nation.
Rep. Sciortino, a graduate of Tufts University, represents the 34th Middlesex District, including parts of Medford and Somerville. He resides in Medford with his fiancé. To learn more or get involved, visit www.carlforcongress.com.
President Barack Obama announced the nomination of two people to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, including an openly gay lawyer, Todd Hughes.
If confirmed, Hughes would be the first out gay judge on a federal circuit court.
Todd Hughes, a lawyer in the Department of Justice's civil division, was nominated for the Federal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He would be the first openly gay circuit judge in the country if confirmed.
The Federal Circuit hears patent appeals from around the country, including high stakes cases like Apple Inc's smartphone battle against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. Its docket also includes trademark cases and some claims against the federal government.
The administration previously nominated Edward DuMont for the Federal Circuit in 2010. He would have been the first openly gay circuit judge had he been confirmed. However, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee did not hold a hearing and DuMont ultimately withdrew, saying some Republican committee members opposed his bid. DuMont did not identify those senators.
Hughes graduated from Harvard College in 1989, according to a biography provided by the White House:
Todd M. Hughes is Deputy Director of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice, a position he has held since 2007. He also has served as an adjunct lecturer in law with the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and as an instructor for Duke University’s writing program.
Hughes received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1989 and completed a joint degree program with Duke University, earning both his J.D. with honors and his M.A. in English in 1992. After graduating from law school, Hughes clerked for the Honorable Robert B. Krupansky of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1994, he joined the Commercial Litigation Branch as a trial attorney. Five years later, he was appointed to be Assistant Director for Commercial Litigation, a role he held until assuming the title of Deputy Director in 2007. Throughout his career with the Department of Justice, Hughes’s practice has been devoted to matters of federal personnel law, veterans’ benefits, international trade, government contracts, and jurisdictional issues regarding the United States Court of Federal Claims. He has extensive experience before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Court of International Trade, and the United States Court of Federal Claims, and he has garnered a number of special commendations from the Department of Justice and a special contribution award from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In the wake of several anti-gay proclamations last week by professional athletes, most notably San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has taken to twitter to air his thoughts.
Last week Schilling sent out two rapid fire tweets. From @gehrig38 (Schilling's twitter name):
Also, I've never understood this 'issue' with gay players? Who cares? I know I played with some, their sexual orientation never had much to
That tweet was quickly followed by:
To do with how they hit with RISP, or pitched in late and close situations, why the hell would what they do in the bedroom ever matter?
Last week Culliver, in a pre-Super Bowl interview stated "I don't do the gay guys man, I don't do that. No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do." In response to a question regarding the possibility of gay players on the 49ers.
Culliver later apologized for his statements and will begin sensitivity training before starting volunteer work The Trevor Project.
“He’s so passionate about youth and people being comfortable with who they are and accepted by all,” Culliver's spokesman told NESN. “He’s excited to learn. The plan is with The Trevor Project, and their concerns are that he is genuine about his words.”
Today the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Board put off until May a decision on changing its membership policy to include gay scouts.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin issued a statement in response to the Board’s inaction.
“Every day that the Boy Scouts of America delay action is another day that discrimination prevails,” said Griffin. “Now is the time for action. Young Americans, gay and straight, are hurt by the inaction associated with today’s news. The BSA leadership should end this awful policy once and for all, and open the proud tradition of Scouting to all.”
HRC also cited statistics showing that most American voters support ending the ban on openly gay scouts.
oll results released today by Quinnipiac University shows a strong majority of U.S. voters believe it is time for BSA to end its ban on openly gay members. Only 33 percent of voters said the ban should remain in place.
For more information, connect to the HRC web site here.
The 'ex-gay' movement took another blow when Christian Post columnist and self-professed ex-gay Matt Moore was discovered with a profile on popular gay hook-up app Grindr.
The Huffington Post reports:
An "ex-gay" Christian advocate, who blogs about how religion saved him from a life of homosexual sin, was recently discovered on gay hookup app Grindr.
Matt Moore, a blogger for the Christian Post, writes extensively about how Christianity has helped him to turn away from a gay lifestyle. But, apparently it didn't help him quite enough to steer him away from Grindr.
Freethought Blogs writer Zinnia Jones, LGBT rights activist and HuffPost GayVoices blogger, was the first to expose Moore's Grindr account on Monday. At first, she questioned if the account could be a fake, but Moore later admitted the Grindr profile was his.
The full story can be accessed here.
As if the more than 50,000 "It Gets Better" videos weren't enough to demonstrate to bullied LGBT teens that life improves — for the most part — after the acne years, a new scientific study proves the point with numbers.
High school students who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual tend to face higher rates of bullying in school than their heterosexual peers. But a new study suggests that things get better for these young people, with harassment declining as they get older and leave school.
The improvements, however, are relative for gay and bisexual boys, who face a greater likelihood of being victimized than heterosexual peers.
The full article can be accessed here.
President Obama, in a pre-Super Bowl interview with CBS' Scott Pelley yesterday, called on the Boy Scouts of America to end their ban on gay on gay scouts and leaders.
The President had a simple, one word answer, when asked if gays should be allowed in the Boy Scouts, "Yes."
He then went on to say, "Gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everyone else does."
You can view Pelley's question to the President, and the President's answer HERE.
Texas Governor and former presidential hopeful Rick Perry, an Eagle Sout, took a different position. "Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make Scouting this very important and impactful organization. I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I," said Perry.
Perry concluded by saying, "to have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate. I think you get tolerance and diversity every day in Scouting."
The scouts Board is expected to vote on the anti-gay policy in the next week.
Support for marriage equality in Rhode Island is at an all-time high, according to a poll released yesterday by Public Policy Polling.
The results show a strong 57 percent of Rhode Islanders support same-sex couples' right to marry. Only 36 percent opposed marriage equality. Support has increased from just one year ago, when a PPP survey found 50 percent supported marriage equality, while 41 percent opposed.
Rhode Island’s Senate is expected to vote on marriage equality legislation in the spring, after its historic passage in the House last month.
From Public Policy Polling:
The other main finding on our Rhode Island poll is that voters in the state strongly support legalizing gay marriage- 57% support it to 36% who are opposed. When we polled the state on this issue in February 2011 there was 50/41 support for it, and the 12 point increase in the margin in favor of same sex marriage reflects the national movement on this issue over the last few years. Among Rhode Islanders under the age of 45 there's 65/31 support on the issue. Looking more broadly at legal rights for same sex couples 85% of voters, including 75% of Republicans, at least support civil unions. “If public opinion has anything to do with it Rhode Island will legalize gay marriage this year,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Voters in the state strongly favor it and support is increasing by the year.”
Elton the Gay Dog. Sounds a bit like a children’s book used to teach kids about the lgbt community doesn’t it? Sadly it isn’t. It is the true story of Elton, a male pitbull/American bulldog mix who was sent off to be euthanized by his owner because he thought the dog was “gay.” And why did the owner, who lives in Jackson Tennessee, think his dog was gay? Because the dog was “humping” another male dog’s leg.
Fortunately the story has a happy ending. The story of Elton got picked up on Facebook and a campaign was started to try and save him. From Facebook:
This guy was signed over to RC, not bc he's mean or bc he tears things up, but because... His owner says he's gay! He hunched another male dog so his owner threw him away bc he refuses to have a "gay" dog! Even if that weren't the most assinine thing I've ever heard, its still discrimination! Don't let this gorgeous dog die bc his owner is ignorant of normal dog behavior! He's in kennel 10L and he WILL be put down tomorrow bc there is no room at the inn!
Stephanie Fryns saw the Facebook campaign and posted that she would be adopting the dog. "I am adopting this big boy first thing in the morning," she wrote on the Facebook page. "He will be neutered/ htwm tested/ and vetted. He will be temperament tested and then places in a rescue verified and approved home."
Stephanie adopted Elton yesterday morning only hours before he was scheduled to be euthanized. According to Stephanie, Elton is doing well so far. "[Elton] was pretty friendly so far. He’s pretty scared of everything, which is understandable. But he loved the car ride.”