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LGBT Lessons for Straight People: You Do Know Someone Who is Gay.

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Valentine’s Day Readers’ Stories

Editor’s note: This is one of five stories written by our readers, in honor of Valentine’s Day.

This is the story of my friend Kurt. I was the new kid in high school and I discovered that in a small town, it is difficult to break into social cliques. I was marginalized by the popular kids because my dad worked in a factory and I was from Chicago. One had to be in the right social circles. Somewhat ironic in a town of 8,000 after living in Chicago. One country club does not a social scene make.

The first student to approach me was Vicki, as she muttered in the library that they had no good books. She introduced me to  her brother, who was a living doll, cute butt and very funny. Kurt and I spent the better part of an evening at an “accidental”  date discussing the worlds problems, as teenagers love to do. I discovered that we had nothing in common and we argued for literally hours. He was a Republican, a bigot and, worst of all for this young hippie chick, he littered.

And yet, he was funny, witty, smart and completely charming. We became the best of friends and for many years people  believed that we were dating. It was always difficult to explain to potential boy/girl friends that we were just friends. Very few  got it and most were jealous. Kurt’s life became more troubled. He disappeared from school, starting doing drugs, then harder  drugs. His parents sent him to a psychologist and it got worse. When he returned after disappearing for a week, our circle of  friends discovered that he was doing heroin and had thoughts of suicide. We watched him like a hawk. He had many, many friends.

Not once did the thought cross my mind that he was gay. He chased girls like there was no tomorrow and he called kids queers and faggots. We would argue about that. He had me completely fooled.

After high school, we lost touch and when I looked him up, he was living in San Francisco, in the time of Harvey Milk. It was the only safe place to be out in that time.  He watched the White Night riots from his window as he lived near Civic Center. San Francisco was a place where he could be happy and began to accept himself. Then HIV came and wiped out the gay community. His partner died, his entire circle of friends died. He feel into a very deep depression. This was during the 1980’s when Republicans were doing things like putting bumper stickers on their cars that said “All the right people are dying of AIDS.”

Each day this month brings me closer to the grief that I know that I will feel. Because his birthday is at the end of September and his death was in early October. Outside of my husband, I was closer to him than any other man. He was my friend. We knew each other and loved one another unconditionally. I cannot begin to fathom the fear, the internalized homophobia and shame that he had to overcome. He was so smart and could have achieved anything. Instead, he fought a society that constantly told him that he was sick and a pervert. he loved his friends, was an amazing host, was knowledgeable in so many areas and was always entertaining. He was the epitome of graciousness, with lovely thank you cards and birthday cards. He was always excited when we visited and loved to show us his city. There is a hole in my heart that no one else will ever fill. I keep my memories of him alive on a flash drive, with photos, letters and music, that I store inside a little box from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, his favorite building. Not a gay bar. A church. An amazing church.

Every person who has lost a loved one, for whatever reason, knows what I mean. Everyone is human. Everyone is vulnerable and has feelings. Everyone can be hurt and struggles to protect themselves from hurt. My friend was as human, as worthy, as amazing as anyone else. Being gay was such a small part of his personality, of his potential. Yet others could see only that, not the real person underneath.

Someone you know IS gay. You may or may not know it. When I hear people say “I have gay friends and they know how I feel”, usually in reference to not supporting same sex marriage, I ask you “Are they really your friends? Have you asked them how your opinion makes them feel? Friend? Really? Or just acquaintances. While I applaud you for not preaching hatred, it is truly naive to believe that gay people don’t fall in love and don’t want stable, legal marriages. They are just like you and me. In the grand scheme of things, don’t each of us deserve the right to marry the person we love? How can love ever be wrong? How can a fight to legalize marriage take so long and so much money? How can love make us more uncomfortable than words of discrimination and marginalization. Do you really want to be the one to say “I won’t give you rights to Social Security, Medicare, tax benefits, the right to visit your partner in the hospital”.

Nothing will convince me that my LGBT friends are less worthy in any way. Not Shirley Phelps Roper, not Maggie Gallagher, not Pastor Steve Andersen, not Ann Coulter, not the Pope, not James Dobson, not the conservative in the cubicle half way down the hall from me, and most importantly, not the Bible. I have way too many LGBT friends. They are diverse, amusing, amazing, and a few are annoying. Because they are human. In the forty years that I have known gay people, and I’ve known a lot, not a one has tried to abduct my son or indoctrinate me with some kind of gay kool-aid. They talk about the same things as everyone else. Work, money, pets, car trouble, grocery shopping, their knee hurts, the kids don’t sleep at night, the cable company screwed up the bill. It’s only a myth that the gay lifestyle is glamorous. Most of them live just like you and me. Except we don’t have to be afraid that someone will kill us for being straight. Love is not a sin.

geekgirl, Jude, is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.

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Bartiromo Blasts Biden Administration for Encouraging Americans to Register to Vote

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Fox News Business anchor Maria Bartiromo is attacking the Biden administration’s efforts to encourage American citizens to register to vote. In interviews with several Republicans on Friday she claimed the federal government outreach only helps elect Democrats.

“Okay, so what are you all doing about it on the Republican side?” Bartiromo asked House Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise Friday morning. “As the government, Biden’s government, Biden’s administration seems to be using a whole on government approach to get people to vote Democrat?”

Sticking to GOP talking points, Scalise suggested it is “the weaponization of government.”

Bartiromo had cited an article on the right-wing website The Federalist, “9 Ways The Feds Are Using ‘Bidenbucks’ To Rig The 2024 Election,” that details ways the administration is helping or encouraging Americans to register to vote. There is no such thing as “Bidenbucks.”

READ MORE: Republicans Kill Bill to Protect IVF After Claiming They Fully Support It

The article points to several instances where the administration is encouraging voter registration, like at colleges, or by outreach to Native Americans, and to new Americans.

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within DHS, announced an update to its Policy Manual in August, which included provisions directing agency employees to ‘increase awareness and expand access to voter registration during naturalization ceremonies,’ in which eligible immigrants officially become U.S. citizens.”

It also claims, “Studies have indicated a voting preference among legal immigrants for Democrat candidates over Republican ones.”

The Federalist reports other federal agencies are encouraging voter registration. The include: The Treasury Dept., the Department of the Interior, Veterans Affairs, Labor, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Education.

Bartiromo also pummeled U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL): “What are the Republicans doing?”

Waltz replied the House has passed legislation to “defund” efforts to encourage American citizens to vote.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Injustice’: Experts Condemn Supreme Court’s ‘Fundamentally Corrupt’ Trump Decision

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Republicans Kill Bill to Protect IVF After Claiming They Fully Support It

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After the Alabama Supreme Court ruled two weeks ago that frozen embryos are “children,” causing several medical facilities to pause their in-vitro fertilization services, Republicans rushed to get ahead of the growing national outrage.

Many Republicans insisted that although they oppose abortion and support the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, they did not think it would have effects this far-reaching. And they insisted, repeatedly, on-camera, they absolutely support in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

“Once you pass a law or accept the view that life begins at conception, IVF & some forms of birth control are at risk, along with abortion. It was never ‘just’ about abortion & women pay the price for all of it,” wrote professor of law and MSNBC legal contributor Joyce Vance on February 23. Three days later she added, “It’s pretty simple. If life begins at conception, IVF is off the table. If you make an exception for IVF then we’re just having a conversation about who you’re willing to make exceptions for.”

Republicans insisted they were willing to make an exception for IVF.

RELATED: Nikki Haley: Frozen Embryos Are ‘Babies’

For years, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who has given birth to two children with the help of IVF, has tried to pass legislation to protect IVF.

Republicans each time have killed the bills.

Her latest attempt was Wednesday.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) on Wednesday spoke against the bill.

Sen. Duckworth stamped out Hyde-Smith’s claims, saying, “She said at one point the bill would allow for chimeras — human-animal hybrids — it does nothing of the sort. All the bill says if you want to seek reproductive technology you can …”

Sen. Hyde-Smith then killed the bill by formally objecting to Duckworth’s bill on Wednesday, which the Illinois Democrat tried to pass via unanimous consent.

It was the second time in two years Sen. Hyde-Smith has killed that bill.

They’re hanging this on Hyde-Smith. But the entire senate gop has now united to block a federal law to keep ivf legal,” observed Talking Points Memo publisher Josh Marshall. “They’re all coming out saying that frozen embryos are equal to living children.”

READ MORE: Democrats Discredit GOP Claims on IVF as Republicans Try to Regain Ground After Fallout

Also on Wednesday, the lone House Republican supporting legislation to protect IVF withdrew her sponsorship of that bill.

The Biden campaign on Thursday blasted Republicans for claiming to support IVF then killing the bill that would have protected it.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

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‘Injustice’: Experts Condemn Supreme Court’s ‘Fundamentally Corrupt’ Trump Decision

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Legal and political experts were stunned by the Supreme Court announcing Wednesday it will take up Donald Trump’s claim of presidential immunity, despite there being no contradiction in the lower courts. Compounding experts’ surprise and concern over granting certiorari was the length of time it took to announce the decision, and that they will not hear arguments until April 22.

“The Supreme Court heard and decided Bush v. Gore in THREE DAYS. THAT was expediting a case of national importance,” noted Tristan Snell, the former New York State prosecutor who led the successful investigation and $25 million prosecution of Donald Trump’s Trump University. “The Supreme Court apparently now thinks expediting means THREE MONTHS. Clearest evidence yet that SCOTUS is corrupt and broken.”

Professor of law and MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann, the former FBI General Counsel who served at DOJ for decades, asked: “Why on god’s green earth did the S Ct [Supreme Court] not take the case earlier when the Special Counsel sought review directly from the District Court? They have really played into Trump’s hands.”

He adds: “The Supreme Court is going straight for the capillaries: an issue the DC criminal case does not raise, namely the outer bounds of a presidential immunity doctrine.”

READ MORE: Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

Weissman Thursday morning noted that the Supreme Court’s actions essentially make Trump “de facto immune.”

Foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and author David Rothkopf replied, “I think you have answered your own question. The only reason to handle this the way they did is to, at best, play Trump’s delay game and, at worst, set the stage for one of the most indefensible, corrupt decisions (or outcomes) in US history.”

“Those who did not understand the urgency of stopping the threat posed by Trump, MAGA and the dark money right, those who did not actively hold them accountable with every available institutional tool, may have been the undoing of American democracy…no matter their intentions,” he noted.

“Let’s not beat around the bush, decision by the Supreme Court to hear the Trump immunity case is outrageous and, at its heart, fundamentally corrupt,” Rothkopf also wrote. “The Appeals Court decision was bullet proof and there is no case Trump has any sort of immunity. The decision not to hear it until late April makes further significant trial delays likely. They are deliberately delaying the trial without any reasonable legal reason to do so. This is a political decision and, in my estimation, an ugly one.”

“If a special counsel had been appointed early in 2021,” Rothkopf also wrote, “if Trump obstruction of justice had be prosecuted, if Trump had not been granted special treatment on his theft of classified documents, if the classified documents case had been brought in DC as it should have been, Trump might very well be in jail now.”

READ MORE: Comer Announces Public Hearing After Hunter Biden Closed Door Testimony

He also pointed to this monologue from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, calling it “correct.”

University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University Laurence Tribe blasted “the SCOTUS decision to slow-walk Trump’s outrageous immunity claim — the claim everyone knows would be rejected 9-0 by any self-respecting court.”

Noting the Supreme Court could have taken up the case back in December, Tribe told CNN, “There’s nothing new under the sun” in this case. “It doesn’t make any sense to stretch this out this way.”

“We can be sure that they want to use this case to settle a whole broad range of issues, contrary to their supposed practice of deciding no more than you must decide. In fact, the Chief Justice once famously said, if we don’t have to decide something, that means we have to avoid deciding it. He’s obviously violated that mandate here and the struggle within the court results in injustice for the nation.”

Tribe also slammed the Court for choosing to announce it will decide “the broadest possible question.” He suggests they could stretch it out even more, by taking the case, hearing it, then sending it back to the lower courts again.

Daily Beast columnist and “recovering attorney” Wajahat Ali observed: “A thoroughly corrupt Supreme Court with right-wing justices bought out by conservative billionaires and beholden to Christian nationalism should not be expected to side with justice, the rule of law, or democracy. Elections matter.”

CNN Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic on Wednesday said, The fact that they delayed this order … suggests that they certainly did not embrace the urgency that Special Counsel Jack Smith tried to impose upon them, way back in December.”

“Former President Trump’s effort to run the clock has a partner in the Supreme Court at this point,” she notes.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘How Extremism Is Normalized’: Schlapp Furious as Critics Slam CPAC Over Report of Nazis

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