Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on February 28, 2011
Hey folks! Alright.. so now that our hosting migration is done, here’s everything we missed today. Kinda nice, all your LGBT news in one single post! I’ve also included a transcription of Senator Ben McAdams powerful speech from the Senate Floor today.
New Orleans – Infamous anti-gay pastor Grant Storm, who protests every LGBT event that he can, was arrested for masturbating in his van while parked outside a playground and watching children.
Maryland – Doctor James Madsen (also an Army Colonel) testified before the State House in support of marriage equality. His son is gay, and here’s the kicker… he’s Mormon. Also, the Maryland House is expected to vote on full marriage equality within the next few days. It has already passed the Senate, so unless they make changes which would need to be ratified by the Senate the bill will head from there to the Governor (who has already pledged to sign it).
The Army has published its guidelines to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). Interestingly enough, their website very clearly outlines that gay couples will not be provided with any of the usual benefits to same-sex spouses or partners (like the medical insurance Tri-Care which spouses of military members usually receive) because the so-called “Defense Of Marriage Act,” or DOMA, is still in place. This makes the Obama Administration’s recent announcement that they will no longer defend DOMA in court quite apt timing.
England – Cricket star Steven Davies came out of the closet. He’s the first professional cricket player to do so. He gave a very poignant video interview with the Telegraph if you want to see it.
Elton John and his partner David Furnish may be asking Lady Gaga to be the godmother of their new baby boy.
New Jersey – A jury awarded $3.15 million to a gay couple who were bashes by a Burger King manager and several employees after being chased from the store and called homophobic slurs. Several of the employees are awaiting trial on aggravated assault charges.
Utah – In one final try, Senator Ben McAdams (D, SLC) made a motion in the Senate to have SB 148, “Utah Fair Housing and Employment” brought out of Rules and assigned to a committee for a public hearing. Until now the Rules Committee, led by Senator Margaret Dayton (R, Provo) has refused to even let the bill have a hearing. Despite desperate pleas from Senate Democrats, the Senate voted 21-7 (1 absent) to deny the bill a hearing. Remember that this bill would have provided protections against job and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
I’m including video below that I took from the Senate site, showing the full debate as well as the vote. I know the quality is crap and the sound is off from the video, but that’s how it came – sorry folks. I’m also including below the text of Senator McAdams final speech, which was amazing. Highly recommend everyone send him an email thanking him for trying his best for us (you should email all the Senate Dems for that matter). His email is email@example.com.
“Senate bill 148 would enact protections against discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, similar to protections adopted first by Salt Lake City and now by 10 other cities in Utah. This bill is necessary for several different reasons. Firstly because discrimination exist in Utah, as studies have shown (and I’m happy to provide that data, and that data WAS provided at the beginning of the session). I believe that most Utahns are respectful and welcoming of others, yet there are those who will fire, or evict a person because of their orientation. Secondly, while Utah is a warm and welcoming community, that is not how we are perceived nationally. Frequently, businesses and employers looking to locate in Utah ask if their employees and their families will be treated well in our state. Now we know they will, and when we are asked we are able to demonstrate the great community and lifestyle Utah offers. Undoubtedly, however, many businesses never ask and simply look to locate their job-creating enterprises in another state.
The symbolism of this bill goes beyond the protections it offers in housing and employment, allow me to take the liberty to adapt to our Utah circumstances comments made by Harvey Milk. Somewhere in Bountiful or in Provo, Emery or Saint George there is a young gay person who fears that if their landlord finds out, they might be tosses out of their apartment. Their employer may fire them, and their neighbors and family might turn their backs on them. And that person has several options, they can stay in the shadows and hide, or they can leave the fellowship of loving family, friends and childhood mentors for a community that will respect them. Then one day that person might open up the paper and read that the LDS Church has endorsed Salt Lake City’s non-discrimination ordinances, or ‘the Utah Legislature adopts anti-discrimination protections,’ and they realize there is another option: they can stay in their home in Provo or Saint George. They can reach out to parents and loved ones for understanding and support. They can be accepted by their childhood community.
On the day that the Salt Lake City ordinances were adopted I got a phone call from a friend of mine, who is gay, that my wife and I know very well. This friend had lunch scheduled with his brother on that day. Knowing that I had been integrally involved with the crafting of the SLC ordinances, he related to me that the topic of the ordinances came up in his lunch-time conversation. Tearfully, he explained that the event of the passage of these ordinances was the impetus for a conversation with his brother that was several decades in the making.
Since the passage of the SLC ordinances in November of 2009, healing conversations have taken place in city council chambers throughout Utah. 10 cities have followed SLC in passing these protections. Healing conversations have taken place at dinner tables, family reunions, and among neighbors and friends. This conversation now comes to this Senate chamber in the People’s House. Some of you are worried about the confrontational or hateful emails that may ensue if this conversation is allowed to move forward. You may prefer to sweep this under the rug, or hope that it will go away. I can’t promise that you won’t receive hateful emails or phone calls, some of you unfortunately already have. But I believe the dialogue will be respectful and it will be constructive, it can be a Healing Dialogue. I refuse to accept that Religious Liberty, is incompatible with protections for gay and transgender Utahns in their homes and at their jobs.
Utah can pioneer legislation that balances respect and protections against discrimination with the robust religious liberties we value dearly. I believe my bill, reflective of the protections passed by SLC and 10 other cities, strikes this balance and is fair and reasonable. I’m willing to listen to ideas, to criticisms and make adaptations to achieve a better balance if new ideas come forward. We can’t find this balance unless we are willing to open our doors for a public discussion. My constituents have bestowed their trust in me to begin this dialogue and I ask for my colleagues in the Senate to give me a similar measure of trust. This legislation is important because discrimination is real, but is also important so that the person in Bountiful or Provo, in Emery or Saint George, and the thousands upon thousands like them know that there is hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow and we have got to give them hope! I ask for you support to start this healing dialogue and send this bill to a committee hearing for a public dialogue.” – Senator Ben McAdams.