Archive for the ‘LGBT’ Category

A Message on Proposition 8…

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

A Message on the Passage of Proposition 8
From the Executive Director of Outfest

 

One week later, the passage of Proposition 8 still resonates in our community. We were poised to join the “more perfect union” envisioned by the Bill of Rights – the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, blatant discrimination was written into the California state constitution leaving many of us frustrated and angry. That anger and frustration is now a catalyst for working together even harder to continue the fight for equal recognition and protection under the law.

 

For the past 27 years, Outfest has represented and served our community by fostering and screening images that reflect and document the LGBTQ experience. Now more than ever our mission to nurture, showcase, and protect LGBTQ culture has a profoundly relevant purpose in helping to change the hearts and minds of our foes and achieving our equality.

 

I believe in what President-elect Barack Obama said on Tuesday night: “For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected.”

 

Outfest, with your help as an audience and as supporters, will continue to showcase our struggle and our triumph. Together we will help to change the discussion, support LGBT artistic expression and ultimately achieve equality.

    

 

Sincerely,

Todd Heustess, Executive Director
Outfest
www.outfest.org

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Schwarzenegger Says ‘Don’t Give up’…

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Schwarzenegger tells backers of gay marriage: Don’t give up

 

 

 

 

The governor expresses hope that Proposition 8 would be overturned as protesters continue to march outside churches across California.

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By Michael Rothfeld and Victoria Kim
Los Angeles Times
November 9, 2008

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Reporting from Sacramento and Pasadena — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today expressed hope that the California Supreme Court would overturn Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage. He also predicted that the 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who have already married would not be affected by the initiative.

 

“It’s unfortunate, obviously, but it’s not the end,” Schwarzenegger said in an interview on CNN this morning. “I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area.”   (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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Stars Angry Over Marriage Ban…

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Stars join the furor over gay marriage ban

 

 

Melissa Etheridge says she won’t pay taxes because, ‘I am not a full citizen’

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The Associated Press
Nov. 7, 2008
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LOS ANGELES – Thousands of protesters are angry about California’s ban on gay marriage — and so are the stars.

 

Many celebrities grieved the passing of Proposition 8 in California this week. Some — such as Wanda Sykes, Rose McGowan and Lance Bass — attended a Wednesday protest criticizing the state’s gay marriage ban. Others — like Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Samantha Ronson and Melissa Etheridge — vented their frustrations online, on TV, and onstage.

 

Blocks away from the Thursday rally of more than 2,000 gay-rights advocates outside the gates of a Mormon temple, several stars — including James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, Anjelica Huston and Sean Penn — said they supported the protesters while walking the red carpet at the BAFTA L.A. Brittania Awards at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.

 

“I think it might be an idea to go out and join them shortly,” Penn said. “It was a shameful decision that was made.”   (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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Saving Marriage…

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Saving Marriage

 

 

Produced and directed by John Henning and Mike Roth

 

When Massachusetts becomes the first state to recognize gay marriage, a constitutional amendment immediately emerges that would take that right away. Now, seasoned lobbyists and rookie activists are in the battle of their lives. The holy grail of gay rights is within reach, and their fight to save marriage will change forever how people – including them — view same-sex relationships. Civil rights history begins a new chapter in Massachusetts, and Saving Marriage is there on the scene as the drama unfolds.

 

READ ANDRE SOARES Q & A WITH SAVING MARRIAGE DIRECTOR, MIKE ROTH AT THE ALTERNATIVE FILM GUIDE

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Celebs Support ‘NO on Prop 8’…

Friday, October 17th, 2008

California gay marriage fundraiser reaches for stars

 

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Thu Oct 16, 2008
By Alex Dobuzinskis
Reuters

 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Battling to save the right to same-sex marriage in what is expected to be a close state vote next month, California gay rights backers are turning to Hollywood celebrities for help at a major fundraiser.

 

Actress and singer Barbra Streisand is expected at the event on Tuesday and singers Melissa Etheridge and Mary J. Blige will perform, organizers said on Thursday.

 

Supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle will host the event at his Beverly Hills home (Green Acres), with a private $25,000-a-plate dinner. Among other entertainment figures planning to attend are actor/director Rob Reiner.

 

In recent weeks, director Steven Spielberg and actor Brad Pitt each donated $100,000 in support of the campaign to preserve the right to gay marriage.

 

The fundraiser comes as backers of same-sex marriage fight to stem a tide of support for Proposition 8, a November 4 ballot measure that seeks to define marriage under the California Constitution as only between a man and a woman.

 

A poll released last week by Survey USA showed 47 percent of Californians supported the measure, while 42 percent opposed it.

 

“We’re feeling very good about the surge in the campaign,” said Sonja Eddings Brown, a spokeswoman for Protect Marriage, the group advocating for a “Yes” vote on Proposition 8.

 

The “Yes” campaign has raised $25.4 million, compared with $15.8 million for those who wish to maintain the right to gay marriage.

 

In recent weeks, advocates of same-sex marriage have chided the Hollywood community for failing to contribute cash to the campaign to defeat Proposition 8.

 

But Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said the fundraiser would show Hollywood’s support for same-sex marriage rights.

 

“Having support from Hollywood leaders who are visible, who reach a wide audience, is critical to our success,” Kors said.

 

“It’s always really scary when you’re being outspent 2 to 1 in an election, and when your rights are at stake and someone’s trying to take your rights away,” he added.

 

In recent days, opponents of same-sex marriage have stepped up their television advertising and warned voters that if Proposition 8 is defeated, children will be taught about gay marriage in elementary schools.

 

Gay-marriage supporters call that argument misleading.

 

In California, an estimated 11,000 same-sex couples have married since the state’s highest court in May overturned a state ban on same-sex marriage.

 

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and actress Portia de Rossi wed in August in one the most high-profile same-sex unions. Etheridge has said she plans to marry girlfriend Tammy Lynn Michaels before November 4.

 

DeGeneres released an online video message this week urging California voters to strike down Proposition 8.

 

Gay and lesbian marriage was legalized last week in Connecticut, bringing to three the number of U.S. states that allow it. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant and Peter Cooney)

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Matthew Shepard Anniversay…

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Fear, ignorance, hatred take lives of Shepard and King

 

Matthew Shepard

 

Today is the 10th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. Ten years ago, on a cold October night on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming, the 21-year-old gay college student was brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead. He was found 18 hours later and rushed to the hospital, where he lingered on the edge of death for nearly five days before succumbing to his injuries.  OFFICIAL WEBSITE

 

 

On the night of Oct. 6, 1998, a young man in Laramie, Wyo., was brutally beaten and then hogtied to a split-rail fence where he lay for more than 18 hours. The 21-year-old, who had been left to die, was Matthew Shepard.

 

Six days after the savage attack, Matthew died with his family by his side.

 

His death was a wake-up call. Many were appalled by the horrific, senseless nature of the crime. But as time passed, we forgot. We were lulled into complacency until last winter.

 

On Feb. 12, almost 10 years after Matthew’s death, our community was struck by a similar tragedy. Fifteen-year-old Lawrence King was shot in the head by a fellow classmate in his English class. Though doctors initially thought he would survive, he was declared brain dead the next day. Lawrence died two days later.

 

Although Wyoming and California are hundreds of miles apart, and these tragedies are separated by an entire decade, they are tied together by common threads.

 

Matthew was brutally killed for being gay. To justify their crime, his attackers said they were driven to violence after Matthew hit on them. Attorneys for Lawrence’s shooter have used a similar line of defense. According to friends and classmates, Lawrence told friends he was gay. He was sometimes harassed for his appearance. I was overwhelmed by the fact that such violence could take place right here in my own community. Hadn’t we learned our lesson after what happened to Matthew Shepard?

 

Lawrence King

 

The facts are still emerging in Lawrence’s case, but what is clear in both of these heartbreaking instances is that two lives were cut drastically short because of fear, ignorance and hatred. Neither Lawrence nor Matthew will have the opportunity to realize their dreams, to enjoy another Thanksgiving with their families, to watch a movie with friends, to pursue a career and find their places in the world.

 

These tragic deaths highlight the need for us to stand up and ensure young people feel safe in their schools and in their communities, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We must find a way to prepare teachers and parents to deal with school bullying and hate in our communities. We must ask ourselves, do we want to be responsible for creating an environment where gay and transgender youths live on the margins of society in fear, or do we want to lead the charge in fostering an environment where everyone is valued, accepted and nurtured?

 

As Californians who value fairness and just communities, we must resolve to put a stop to bias-motivated crimes and such vicious acts of intolerance. Implying that an openly gay victim shares responsibility for being attacked, or that an attack was justified because of an unwanted romantic or sexual advance, is totally unacceptable. We must focus on solutions, so that no family and no community is touched by this kind of violence and bigotry ever again. After another decade passes and we pause to remember the deaths of Matthew and Lawrence, I pray that we will live in place where no one is targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

Jay Smith is executive director of the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance in Ventura.

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Hollywood Challenge…

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

A challenge to Hollywood

 

 

By Tina Daunt
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 30, 2008

 

Ohio entrepreneur and political activist Jonathan Lewis on Tuesday challenged the entertainment industry to donate money to fight California’s Proposition 8, which would bar same-sex marriages.

 

“With election day six weeks away, we are concerned that the entertainment industry hasn’t stepped up to the plate to fight this unnecessary initiative,” Lewis said in a statement. “We are pleased to see the leadership of Brad Pitt and Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg. Now it’s time for the entertainment industry as a whole to take the lead.”

 

He added: “My family and I are issuing a $500,000 challenge to the entertainment industry. We will match the next half-million dollars that entertainment industry leaders contribute. This is an urgent time in the campaign, and we have to act now.”

 

So far, few in Hollywood have gotten involved in the anti-Proposition 8 campaign (Pitt and the Spielbergs have each donated $100,000).

 

Lewis said the match also applies to Florida’s Proposition 2, an initiative similar to California’s Proposition 8.

 

 tina.daunt@latimes.com

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Stars Struggle with Coming Out…

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Hollywood stars still struggle with coming out

 

 

Days of Rock Hudson-style facades over, but discrimination still an issue

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By Michael Ventre
MSNBC contributor
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Even though, as Simon Cowell pointed out, discovering that Clay Aiken is gay is like “being told Santa Claus isn’t real,” apparently there are a few adults out there who still sit home on Christmas Eve hoping that St. Nick can navigate his way in foul weather.

 

Message boards devoted to the former American Idol runner-up included comments like, “This is really shocking news, as I had no idea he was gay” and “I feel numb I’m so upset; this can’t be real!”    (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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Brad Pitt Supports Gay Marriage…

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Pitt donates $100,000 to support gay marriage

 

 

Actor fighting California initiative that would overturn same-sex marriages

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The Associated Press
Wed., Sept. 17, 2008
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Brad Pitt has donated $100,000 to fight California’s November ballot initiative that would overturn the state Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

 

It’s the first time voters will be asked to ban same-sex marriage in a state where gay couples already have won the right to wed. Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts and California.

 

“Because no one has the right to deny another their life, even though they disagree with it, because everyone has the right to live the life they so desire if it doesn’t harm another and because discrimination has no place in America, my vote will be for equality and against Proposition 8,” Pitt said Wednesday.

 

Trevor Neilson, Pitt’s political and philanthropic adviser, told The Associated Press that Pitt was surprised that his colleagues in the entertainment industry had not donated more money to support the battle against Proposition 8.

 

Earlier in the week, Pitt and Angelina Jolie announced they donated $2 million to help fight HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in Ethiopia.

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George Takei Marries…

Monday, September 15th, 2008

LGBT NEWS

George Takei marries longtime partner

 

 

Star Trek stars Nichelle Nicols, left, and Walter Koenig, right, pose with Brad Altman, second from left, and George Takei at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Los Angeles on Sunday. Takei and Altman were married at the center. (Mario G. Reyes / AP)

 

‘Star Trek’ star, Brad Altman wed in multi-cultural ceremony

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The Associated Press
Mon., Sept. 15, 2008
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LOS ANGELESGeorge Takei and his longtime partner, Brad Altman, have agreed to live long and prosper together.

 

Takei, 71, and Altman, 54, were married Sunday in a multicultural ceremony at the Japanese American National Museum that featured a Buddhist priest, Native American wedding bands, a Japanese Koto harp and a bagpipe procession.   (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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