As it is well documented that Jeb Bush has evolved on gay and lesbian marriage, media outlets are reporting that Bush is the “gay-friendly republican.” Buzzfeed described Bush’s likely 2016 campaign strategy.
“When Bush officially launches his presidential bid later this year, he will likely do so with a campaign manager who has urged the Republican Party to adopt a pro-gay agenda; a chief strategist who signed a Supreme Court amicus brief arguing for marriage equality in California; a longtime adviser who once encouraged her minister to stick to his guns in preaching equality for same-sex couples; and a communications director who is openly gay.”
Not so fast, HRC, decried in a press release, “At the end of the day, it isn’t rhetoric or hiring practices that count, it’s what a candidates stands for. A candidate who is truly committed to LGBT equality will support marriage equality and support protecting all LGBT Americans from discrimination. While the tone of Jeb Bush’s language and word choice may have changed, he hasn’t yet articulated different policies from when he opposed marriage equality and opposed discrimination protections as governor. There are more questions than answers on where Bush stands today.”
Despite the uncertainty of what a Bush run in 2016 will look like, it’s refreshing to see how far the entire political landscape has changed on marriage equality in just a few short years.
Despite some hurdles from Republicans, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, announced today that that the FCC voted in support of net neutrality—supporting President Obama’s demand that Internet providers not charge for faster speeds. According to the NYTimes:
The proposed rule change would reclassify broadband Internet services under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, giving the FCC the authority to enforce rules preventing Internet providers from providing favorable treatment—such as faster speeds—to companies in exchange for money. In other words, Netflix or Hulu can’t pay to have their video delivered more quickly than a competing but smaller company. Perhaps more importantly, these rules also apply to mobile broadband, meaning that cell phone companies can’t decide to throttle or block data coming from certain services. The hope is to give all Internet companies, regardless of the size of their wallets, a fair shake at competing, and make sure that consumers have access to the content they want, without interference from providers.
Facebook will now allow users to add their own description beyond the pre-set options to accurately describe their gender identity. Users can also control with whom they share their gender identity, an important safety and privacy feature.
The change builds on the “Custom Gender” option introduced last year by Facebook, which provides users a list of more than 50 gender identities they can choose from to describe themselves while building their online profile at the site. The feature will now include a free-form field in which individuals who use Facebook in US English can self-identify with their own words.
“Facebook’s new free-form field for gender identity is a huge step forward for transgender, gender nonconforming and gender queer youth,” said GLSEN Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard. “The Internet is an essential source of resources, support and community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, and one of its most important ‘living rooms’ now better reflects their reality and self-understanding.”
The wind-chill factor may have been zero degrees outside on Monday night, but numerous dyed-in-the-wool Broadway musical theater fans, who may that morning have complained, “Oh, How I Hate to Get up in the Morning,” nonetheless thought it worth their while to “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag” and “Charleston” over to the Town Hall to hear two dozen singers “Say It with Music” in the latest edition of the popular Broadway by the Year series.
Apple Inc., the world’s second-largest information technology company, issued the following statement condemning the anti-LGBT bill in Arkansas, HB 1228 – a bill that could allow any person to undermine state laws by citing their personal religious belief as an excuse to discriminate against others:
“At Apple inclusion inspires innovation. Our employees in Little Rock have a right to equal treatment under the law, as do their coworkers in Cupertino and around the world. We join the many voices across Arkansas in opposing HB1228 and we urge the State’s legislators to vote against the bill.”
As written, HB 1228 would allow individuals to sue government actors—including teachers, firefighters and police officers—if that individual believed that their personal religious beliefs were being violated. Yesterday, the bill suffered a setback in the Senate Judiciary Committee. HRC Arkansas remains committed to fully defeating the bill.
“I’m just so glad I found soul mate,” Boccio says in her Long Island accent and begins to tell us how the two girls found one another. Not surprisingly, Japan played a big role in bringing the two together. During Japan Day in Central Park, the two learned that they were both massive fans of the Japanese “metal” band Dir En Grey. “I basically stalked her and we hung out forever in our group of friends, and I eventually asked her out,” she says. “So, if we win the trip to Japan, we have to see bands play when we’re there, oh and see this island that’s filled with deer!” Boccio says. Hittel looks up from the goings on of her dressers and her eyes light up. “I have to go there,” Hittel confirms nodding her head rapidly, sending her finely placed decorative hair flowers into a tizzy.
I leave the girls who are getting anxious for the big debut. When they appear on the small stage, there is no mention of their gender. Little kids sit around the stage, older men and women munch on Japanese tofu hummus and pita chips, and the woman who dresses them makes no comment either. She discusses the importance of tradition and traditional dress. “Western dress is becoming more and more fashionable, but this traditional style is way more beautiful,” she says finishing up dressing Boccio by sticking a “sword” into her breast pocket and she steps back in awe of herself for dressing these two beautiful soul mates.
In a teaser posted online today, Lady Gaga announced that she will be included in the fifth season of the wildly popular show, American Horror Story. The latest installment of the show, created by openly gay Ryan Murphy, is called American Horror Story: Hotel. Though, we can only speculate exactly what the new season’s premise will be and what role Gaga will play.
Check out the teaser after the jump…
While a new poll shows that a majority of Swiss people support the legalization of gay and lesbian marriage, the European country still doesn’t have marriage equality. But now, a committee in Switzerland’s lower house has advanced legislation. In a 12 to 2 vote, Switzerland’s Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council advanced a “marriage for all” initiative that was submitted by the Green Liberal Party that calls for all couples, regardless of gender, to be legally allowed to marry.
Georgia Equality, an organization working to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for LGBT communities and allies throughout the state, has joined forces with HRC for a project called “Georgia Unites Against Discrimination.” Launched by Georgia Equality in January of this year, Georgia Unites Against Discrimination is a grassroots campaign dedicated to protecting LGBT Georgians from discrimination and ensuring that individuals and businesses aren’t able to use their religious beliefs to harm others.
Georgia Unites Against Discrimination is specifically focused on defeating discriminatory legislation in Georgia that would use religious language to undermine LGBT equality, as well as working to pass a bill protecting state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Threatening fairness and equality in the state, the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act has officially been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, and Georgia lawmakers will soon consider and vote on this dangerous bill that would grant a “license to discriminate” against LGBT Georgians. The bill essentially allows individuals to use their religious beliefs to harm others, paving the way for challenges to virtually any law designed to protect Georgians from various forms of discrimination.
A press briefing today at the White House has confirmed that President Obama believes that transgender soldiers should be allowed to serve openly in the military. Secretary Carter said at an event in Kandahar: “And I’m very open-minded about…what their personal lives and proclivities are, provided they can do what we need them to do for us. That’s the important criteria. Are they going to be excellent service members? And I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.”
See a transcription of today’s press briefing in which a reporter asks about Carter’s comments.
Q Thanks, Josh. During a military town hall event yesterday in Kandahar, Secretary Carter expressed an openness to the idea of openly transgender service, saying only suitability for service should bar an American from enlistment. Does the President share Secretary Carter’s views on this?
MR. EARNEST: Chris, I’ve seen the reports of Secretary Carter’s comments. I can tell you that the President agrees with the sentiment that all Americans who are qualified to serve should be able to serve. And for that reason we here at the White House welcome the comments from the Secretary of Defense.
But in terms of additional steps the Department of Defense will take to address this matter, I’d refer you to the Secretary’s office.
Q Is there any coordination going on between the White House and the Pentagon right now to coordinate those steps?
MR. EARNEST: Well, again, to talk about what those next steps might be, I’d refer you to the Department of Defense.