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Last Saturday, thousands of people – gay and straight – joined together across more than 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada and kissed their loved ones, in public.

The Great Nationwide Kiss-In, a celebration and affirmation of the right of ALL people to kiss their loved-ones in public, was a triumphant success. In five short weeks, we took an idea I had in response to repeated reports of same-sex couples being harassed, detained, and even arrested – for kissing – from concept to completion.

The goal was simple: raise awareness across America that kissing in public is not illegal or immoral, that no one should be intimidated or incarcerated – regardless of their gender, or their partner’s, for sharing a simple kiss. Mission: Accomplished!

Mission accomplished, yes. But problem solved? No way.

The Great Nationwide Kiss-In received tremendous coverage in the media. Immediately after my July 13 call for a nationwide kiss-in, the press got hold of the story and ran with it. But on July 31, a same-sex couple was thrown out of a San Francisco wine bar – for kissing. Adding insult to injury, they claim they were called “faggots,” and “perverts.” Remember, this was in San Francisco!

In Springfield, Maryland, a lesbian couple was asked to leave the Tastee Diner on August 12, just three days before the Kiss-In, after they shared a kiss and a gentle embrace. They were told it was a “family establishment” and their actions might make some of the customers “sick.”

The day after The Great Nationwide Kiss-In, the AP ran a story about the Kiss-In, the Mormon Church, and their image problem with gays, titled, “Gay marriage fight, `kiss-ins’ smack Mormon image.” A friend wrote me he saw the AP headline on the news ticker in Chicago. One more small step in raising awareness.

The August 15 Kiss-Ins were as large as 200+, and as small as three. They were held in big cities and small ones, in red states and blue. They were organized by gay couples and straight couples. Which was also the point: having people see that a gay couple kissing is no different than a straight couple kissing. Side by side, we really do look the same. Because we are.

The beauty of the Kiss-In also was its simplicity, and its ability to be shaped by the local organizers. Most importantly, Kiss-Ins were held where people wanted them badly enough to do the work to hold them. And the areas that have proven to be less “tolerant”of same-sex couples were the areas that really stepped-up. We had four Kiss-ins in Texas (where two of the same-sex kissing incidents that inspired The Great Nationwide Kiss-In took place,) ten in California (one of which included actor Hal Sparks,) and two in Georgia. All told, The Great Nationwide Kiss-In was held in over 50 cities, across 24 states, plus D.C., Saipan, a U.S. territory, and Canada, making us an international LGBTQ event!

We even had Kiss-Ins in West Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and, yes, Utah.

The Salt Lake City Kiss-In was one of the largest, with more than 200 attending, proving that despite the reign of the Mormon Church, despite the fact that there had been several earlier kiss-ins over the past month in response to the highly-publicized arrest of a same-sex couple there on July 10, the good citizens of Salt Lake are unwilling to grow complacent. (Note to 2010 vs. 2012 ballot debaters, given the ten Kiss-Ins we held in California, I would say California is aching for equality.)

Some more good news: The Fayetteville, Arkansas Kiss-In had 100 attendees. That’s Arkansas!

Was The Great Nationwide Kiss-In well-received? Absolutely! Did we have our share of detractors? Absolutely!

As I wrote here, on Bilerico just one day before the Kiss-In, the Religious Right was “warning” people about The Great Nationwide Kiss-In, and threatening to protest our events. Well, there was one protest, in North Carolina. Suffice it to say, we changed more hearts and minds than they did.

And yes, we had our share of detractors from within the LGBTQ community too. A few folks wrote us, furious, demanding we let them protest in front of Mormon temples. We refused. By design, The Great Nationwide Kiss-In was not a protest, it was a celebration. And educational celebration, but a celebration just the same. Which is part of the reason we were able to get so much support and so many people (over 5000) to sign up. There’s a time and place for everything. The Great Nationwide Kiss-In is not a place for protest. It would have been counter-productive to celebrate our demonstration of love with a demonstration of hate.

In five short weeks, along with the tireless efforts of my Co-Founders: Willow Witte, the Director and Co-Founder of Join The Impact, and David Mailloux, who writes DYM-SUM, The Great Nationwide Kiss-In changed hearts and minds, and kept the focus on gay rights in the lull of summer. (As I wrote here in “Fill The Void,” keeping the focus on gay rights this summer was another one of my goals.) We worked hard. We had fun. Most importantly, we succeeded in bringing people of all backgrounds and beliefs together, united in the belief that something so simple yet important as a kiss could be such a simple yet powerful metaphor for equal rights and recognition for all.

Will we do it again? Yes! That’s a promise – sealed with a kiss!

The Great Nationwide Kiss-In: SANTA MONICA

The Great Nationwide Kiss-In: DENVER

The Great Nationwide Kiss-In: CHICAGO

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Trump Team’s Efforts to Rein Him ‘Wilted’ in Waco as He Invoked ‘Retribution and Violence’: Report



Any hope that Donald Trump’s new re-election team may have had that they could steer him into running a more conventional campaign appears to have been swept aside as he used his first major rally to whip up the crowd with a litany of grievances and personal attacks.

According to the Guardian’s David Smith, during Trump’s appearance in Waco late Saturday, the former president used his speech to “invoke retribution and violence” at his perceived enemies, with attacks on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) who might possibly challenge him for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.

As Smith wrote, “Efforts by Trump’s team to steer a more conventional, disciplined candidacy have wilted in recent days as the 76-year-old unleashed words and images that – even by his provocative standards – are unusually dehumanising, menacing and dangerous,” before adding nothing the past week Trump used “increasingly racist rhetoric as he launched ever more personal attacks against Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, raising fears that supporters could try to lash out on his behalf. Trump even shared an image of himself holding a baseball bat next to a picture of Bragg.”

RELATED: Trump is giving his ‘violent followers’ time to get organized: former FBI official

According to the Guardian report, “Wearing a dark jacket, white shirt and no tie, he said: ‘I got bad publicity and my poll numbers have gone through the roof – would you explain this to me … It gets so much publicity that the case actually gets adjudicated in the press and people see it’s bullshit.'”

The former president also, once again, called his 2024 run the “final battle.”

“Our opponents have done everything they can to crush our spirit and to break our will. But they failed. They’ve only made us stronger. And 2024 is the final battle, it’s going to be the big one. You put me back in the White House, their reign will be over and America will be a free nation once again,” he told the crowd.

You can read more here.

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Trump Desperate to Keep Any Possible Criminal Evidence From Supreme Court: Legal Expert



Donald Trump’s decision to allow one of his lawyers to speak before a grand jury on Friday morning, instead of appealing all the way to the Supreme Court, may have been made out of fear of what the justices on the nation’s highest court might see if they reviewed the case.

According to MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin, under normal circumstances, the former president would have dragged out a legal fight over attorney-client privilege that would have kept attorney Evan Corcoran from testifying under oath about Trump’s possession of government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort that led to the FBI showing up with a warrant.

As Rubin notes, the fact that Trump let Corcoran testify over three hours raised eyebrows.

“For one, yes, it is indeed unusual, if not unheard of, for a lawyer to be litigating against a party one day and then testifying under court-ordered examination by that same party the next one,” she wrote before suggesting Trump and his legal team were looking at the long game when he might need the predominantly conservative Supreme Court to lend him a helping hand.

RELATED: Revealed: Emails show how Trump lawyers drove Michael Cohen to turn on the president

Writing, “Trump has made clear he believes this Supreme Court — controlled by conservative justices, three of whom he appointed — owes him one,” she added, “My hunch is that Trump’s team let Corcoran’s testimony happen because of what’s likely involved in any request to pause, much less, review a crime-fraud-related ruling: the evidence.”

“Put another way, if Trump had petitioned the Supreme Court to stay Corcoran’s testimony and document production, the justices would have seen some, if not all, of what Judge Howell and the three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit have already reviewed: proof that Trump misled Corcoran and engaged in criminal conduct,” she elaborated.

Rubin went on to note that Trump would likely appeal any conviction to the Supreme Court, writing, “And for someone whose one last hope, if he is ultimately charged or tried by any of the multiple entities now investigating him, is that same Supreme Court, letting the justices see evidence of his alleged crimes now would be a bridge too far.”

“Trump can’t afford to lose the Supreme Court yet,” she suggested.

You can read more here.

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No TX Congressional Republican Will Say If They’re Attending Trump’s Rally in Waco – Will He Have Trouble Filling Seats?



Donald Trump‘s Saturday campaign rally in Waco, Texas, falls during the 30th anniversary of the 51-day siege that community is known for, when 86 people died after a failed ATF raid on an anti-government religious cult suspected of illegally stockpiling firearms amid allegations of sexual abuse, statutory rape, and polygamy.

Experts have been warning for a week that Trump’s choice of Waco, synonymous with violent anti-government extremism, was no accident. His rhetoric this week, including most recently Friday when he warned of “potential death & destruction” should he be indicted, has been seen as encouraging violence.

NCRM was among the first news outlets to report experts’ concerns over Trump’s choice to hold a rally in Waco during the 30th anniversary of the deadly siege.

Not a single congressional Republican from Texas will say they are attending, nor has the town’s GOP mayor, according to a report from Insider, which contacted over two dozen Republican lawmakers and other elected officials.

“None of the 30 Texas Republicans Insider contacted about the event said they were going,” Insider reveals.

“Most of the 30 GOP members contacted about Donald Trump’s inaugural visit to the site of a 30-year-old standoff between cult leader David Koresh and federal authorities did not respond to requests for comment about whether they intended to rally with the scandal-plagued candidate and perhaps say a few kind words,” Insider reports.

“Rep. Pete Sessions, a Waco native who now represents the surrounding 17th congressional district, praised Trump for shining a light on his hometown but said he’d have to miss the spectacle,” Insider adds. “Aides to Rep. Troy Nehls, one of the four House Republicans from Texas who have formally backed Trump’s 2024 run, told Insider he wouldn’t be heading to Waco because of a prior commitment in Washington, DC, this weekend.”

READ MORE: ‘Utter Cowardice’: Jim Jordan Blasted for Telling Reporter He Can’t Read Trump’s Violence-Threatening Post Without Glasses

Meanwhile, in addition to guest list challenges – the campaign refused to tell Insider who the guest speakers will be – Trump may have trouble filling seats.

Mary Trump, the ex-president’s niece who opposes him, has been running a campaign to get anti-Trump Americans to “sign up” for tickets to the Saturday rally, in the hopes of being able to turn away supporters.

“Donald has a rally in Waco this Saturday,” she also said via Twitter. “It’s a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI. Scores of people died. He wants the same violent chaos to rescue him from justice.”

“But we can stop him. If we book the 50,000+ venue, we can make sure most of the seats are empty when the traitor takes the stage,” she said. “We can no longer fail to hold powerful men accountable for their crimes against our country.”

Image via Shutterstock

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