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It’s Time The Most Diverse Group In History Became One



As an independent voice in LGBT politics, I have the luxury and the responsibility to support those ideas that bring us closer to our goals. I received an email yesterday from Tacoma Washington resident and Board Chair of Tacoma Rainbow Center, Willie Painter. In it, he addresses an issue I have struggled with over the past few months: our diversity, which is our greatest strength, is under-utilized, untapped, and, as a result, is becoming our Achilles heel. Our diversity has led us to our recent wins in Vermont, Maine, even Iowa, but is also inhibiting our ability to address challenges with one clear voice in the battlegrounds of New Hampshire, New York, and especially California. In fact, California has become the “Groundhog Day” in our fight for equality: we continue to loose there, over and over, and we will continue to do so until we figure out how to move our message forward.

It’s no secret we lost California because we didn’t talk to the right people, use the right words, or use our greatest strength: our selves. That’s changing, and, while the travesty that is Proposition 8 has won and won again, we are moving towards the right message. But our adversaries are waging an all-out war, using the most heinous of all weapons: lies told about children, using children. It’s time we call NOM and others on this ugly tactic.

We have simple truths: we are the faceless, nameless, average, ordinary citizens who live simple lives, unknown to most, and we are the superstars of stage and screen, science, and services. Many of us want families, and children, and many of us do not. There is a strong meme wafting about the Internet right now, bemoaning the gentrification and assimilation of our outliers, our most colorful and unique members. But the more we wage these battles within our group, the more we risk taking our eye off the ball. Already, this week, we let the media control the conversation: instead of focusing our energies on next week’s fight in New Hampshire, or the three weeks left in our New York battle, or the work left to do on the Hate Crimes Bill, we let our anger over a lost Proposition 8 move our efforts. Now, we risk two losses: the one we have already lost over and over in California, and, in my opinion, the more important battle in New Hampshire. Why more important? Because our battle in New Hampshire was won, by the people already there. They won the war the right way: by being themselves, convincing their friends and neighbors without outside armies. And, since 2003, the majority of New Hampshire voters support gay marriage. For us to loose a tangible result of the battle in which we have already won hearts and minds is inexcusable.

All this brings me back to where I started. I received an email yesterday from Willie Painter, a man I have never met, never spoken with, and until yesterday had never even heard of. We have exchanged a few emails now. And now, I will share with you his message. And following it, the thoughts of two of our better-known LGBT orgainzations: Freedom To Marry, and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Dear LGBTQ organization leaders:

In the past 24 hours, I have been solicited for donations by Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, my state’s local Equal Rights Washington, and a handful of others! All these aforementioned organizations have communicated their opinions regarding the California Supreme Court’s decision in response to Prop. 8. All these aforementioned organizations have made a plea for funds to enable them to advocate on behalf of LGBTQ people in the fight for marriage equality. However, in all of these communications, there has been no indication that these wonderful, like-minded organizations (and presumably many other federal and state LGBTQ organizations with a mission that seeks equality under the law for LGBTQ citizens) are collaborating and using donations in a collective, leveraging way to most effectively fight for equality on behalf of all those of us who desire and seek to get married and have marriage rights legally recognized in every state, throughout the United States.

We are strongest when we collaborate, when like-minded organizations are completely transparent with one another and their respective stakeholders, and when donors know that their donations are maximized by the leveraged use of their precious funds. I believe that we will soon see a day when LGBTQ people have the same legal rights as their heterosexual counterparts in every state. That day will come much sooner when all LGBTQ organizations commit and actively work together in ways that leverage the collective power of their respective supporters/volunteers/donors. So, that is a challenge I offer to all those in leadership positions of our LGBTQ organizations throughout the United States. And I, hopefully just like all the other hundreds of thousands of US citizens just like me, want our day, the day of true and actual equality, to come sooner rather than later. And I am confident that the hundred of thousands of US citizens just like me will become more actively involved than ever when LGBTQ organizations throughout the United States unite on this common front that will define this remarkable period in our humanity.

I ask you leaders to strongly consider holding a summit to tie the bond that your respective organizations share–equality. Please seek to find a way to most effectively and collaboratively advocate on behalf of us LGBTQ people in the United States who, perhaps more than ever before, need your leadership during this pivotal time of our shared future, soon to be our shared history. Let’s together make the transition from future to history one that we can all be proud of.


Willie Painter

I reached out to a few friends in the LGBTQ arena. I’m grateful to them for their responses:

“While we know all of our partners in the movement for the freedom to marry work hard to collaborate, it’s also true that there should be more.  With the progress recently achieved in the number of states joining Massachusetts and Connecticut in embracing marriage and the increasing efforts being made by our opponents to slow that progress through fear and innuendo, now is clearly the time for us all to work together as closely and forcefully as possible.  We need to win more states and build the climate for change nationally, and that will only happen if we all individually talk about why marriage matters with our friends and family, neighbors and colleagues while helping to support a co-ordinated, collaborative movement of partner organizations, both gay and non-gay, in the struggle to end discrimination in marriage. “   —  Evan Wolfson, Freedom To Marry

“We agree that a collaborating movement is a stronger movement! The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has worked with numerous LGBT and non-LGBT organizations over the last 36 years. While each LGBT organization makes a unique contribution to our movement, we are proud of our extensive history of collaborative initiatives. For example, we:
work in partnership with SAGE (the premier LGBT organization working on aging issues) to address LGBT aging concerns and we receive collaborative funding for this work;
work in ongoing coalition with many national LGBT advocacy organizations in lobbying for pro-LGBT legislation and administration policy changes;
have hosted for over a decade the National Policy Roundtable (over 35 national LGBT organizations coordinating policy work and sharing strategies) and the National Religious Leadership Roundtable (a convening of over 65 faith leaders working to counter religious-based bigotry and promote understanding of and respect for LGBT people);
worked side by side with state, local and national organizations to win marriage equality in Massachusetts and Maine, and work with states across the country on nondiscrimination measures and marriage equality. And we have worked in partnership with organizations in California for over five years on marriage equality.
Our National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change has been called the “Town Square of the Movement,” where our colleagues come together to strategize about collaborative efforts, share resources and hone new skills and technologies. We invite advocates and activists from across the country to join us for next year’s Creating Change in Dallas, Texas.

We are honored to collaborate with so many talented and dynamic organizations.”
—  Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

For the record, I agree with Willie: It’s time our LGBTQ organizations find a way to work together, publicly, to move the ball forward. Our diversity is most effective when it’s leveraged. Together.

So, what’s your thought? How do you feel our leaders are serving us? What do you feel are the necessary next steps for us to achieve full equality, in marriage and civil rights, for all LGBTQ peoples?


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



One week after the Alabama State Supreme Court ruled frozen human embryos are “children,” causing several medical institutions to pause their in-vitro fertilization (IVF) programs, Alabama and the GOP have seen tremendous nationwide anger, upset, and confusion from the left and the right over the decision, the Christian nationalist chief judge, and the Republican Party that set this in motion.

Now, GOP lawmakers and political groups are trying to regain ground after some Republicans quickly embraced the decision that, as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre predicted Tuesday, would cause “exactly the type of chaos that we expected when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and paved the way for politicians to dictate some of the most personal decisions families can make.”

“As a reminder,” Jean-Pierre added, “this is the same state whose attorney general threatened to prosecute people who help women travel out of state to seek the care they need.”

President Joe Biden condemned the Alabama ruling: “The disregard for women’s ability to make these decisions for themselves and their families is outrageous and unacceptable.”

But U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) cheered his state’s Supreme Court, while appearing to not fully grasp what IVF is.

READ MORE: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Biden Campaign Blasts Trump Christian Nationalism Plans

“I was all for it,” he said of the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, calling young people “our number one commodity.”

But when pressed, Tuberville declared, “I’d have to look at the entire bill, how it’s written, I have not seen it,” referring not to legislation but the ruling.

And when told that women will now not be able to have IVF treatments, Tuberville repeatedly replied it was “unfortunate.”

On Thursday night, speaking to a group of religious broadcasters, Donald Trump denounced the Alabama ruling and vowed to protect IVF. On Friday, the beleaguered Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) issued a memo directing Republicans to defend IVF. Also Friday, the Attorney General for the state of Alabama, mentioned earlier by the White House Press Secretary, effectively suggested he would ignore the state supreme court’s ruling, promising to not prosecute IVF families, as ABC News reported.

But Democrats are making clear that despite whatever claims or promises Republicans make, the IVF ruling is the direction conservatives are taking the Republican Party.

READ MORE: Smirnov Scandal: Experts Call for Investigations, Warn GOP of Possible Conspiracy Charges

“First Republicans banned abortions so women couldn’t terminate a pregnancy. Now they are coming for IVF so women can’t begin a pregnancy. The GOP agenda is about one thing: government control of women,” observed U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (photo).

CNN congressional correspondent Lauren Fox reports a new NRSC memo “instructs [GOP] candidates to reject clearly and concisely government attempts to restrict access to IVF.”

Just hours later, Sen. Murphy responded, saying, “umm the chairman of the NRSC sponsored the bill to ban IVF.”

He added, “newsflash: no matter what they tell their candidates to pretend, when they get power they use it to control women.”

The NRSC’s goal is to help get Republicans elected to the U.S. Senate. It is chaired by Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, a MAGA Republican and member of the Senate’s Pro-Life Caucus.

As Bloomberg’s Matthew Yglesias notes, Senator Daines is an original co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act.

The Center for American Progress’ Colin Seeberger adds, Daines “quite literally has been a longtime co-sponsor of the Lifetime at Conception Act, which would establish legal protections for the unborn just as the Alabama Supreme Court ordered and has led to the suspension of fertility care across AL.”

Meanwhile, Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz notes that the “text of GOP‘s most recent platform claims that ‘the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed’ and calls for a constitutional amendment that would ban all abortions — and jeopardize IVF — by granting 14th Amendment rights to fetuses.”

READ MORE: Why Was GOP’s Star Witness Re-Arrested? He May Have Been Trying to Flee the Country: Report

Indeed, as The New York Times reported, far-right Christian conservative Tony Perkins, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-LGBTQ extremist group Family Research Council, called the Alabama Supreme Court ruling a “beautiful defense of life and the Alabama Constitution.”

Friday afternoon Donald Trump followed up his vow to protect IVF with a social media post that claims in part, “Under my leadership, the Republican Party will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families. We want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder! That includes supporting the availability of fertility treatments like IVF in every State in America. Like the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of Americans, including the VAST MAJORITY of Republicans, Conservatives, Christians, and Pro-Life Americans, I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby.”

Former Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer responded, asking: “Why would anyone believe this? In 2016, Trump pledged no cuts to Medicaid and then spent four years trying to gut the program.”

And as Axios reports, “House Democrats’ main super PAC is promising to pour money into attacking Republicans on fertility treatments in the wake of a controversial, first-of-its-kind Alabama Supreme Court ruling, Axios has learned.”

“Trump’s call came a day after President Biden’s re-election campaign blamed him for the ruling, noting his appointment of conservative justices to the Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade,” Axios adds. House Majority PAC, in a memo set to be released Friday, listed nearly a dozen current and former House Republicans in competitive districts who have co-sponsored at least one version of the Life at Conception Act between 2021 and 2023.”

See the social media posts and video above or at this link.

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Why Was GOP’s Star Witness Re-Arrested? He May Have Been Trying to Flee the Country: Report



The re-arrest of Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant who allegedly may have provided House Republicans with Kremlin propaganda that was the basis for their efforts to impeach President Joe Biden and attack his son Hunter, raised some eyebrows on Thursday.

Smirnov, once considered House Republicans’ Jim Comer and Jim Jordan’s star witness, was re-arrested even after a magistrate judge ordered him released, and at his attorneys’ offices, raising eyebrows from even national security experts, insisting there had better be a good reason for it.

Now, according to a noted legal expert, it appears there was.

“A California judge seems to be suggesting [Smirnov’s] lawyers are complicit in his efforts to flee, in a remarkable line ordering detention for the FBI source whose lies propelled Biden impeachment efforts,” writes professor of law and MSNBC legal contributor Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney.

READ MORE: ‘Insultingly Stupid’: Trump’s Move to Toss Out Classified Docs Case Torn Apart by Experts

U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II in his order wrote on Thursday: “It has come to this Court’s attention that counsel for defendant has sought an emergency hearing in the District of Nevada to arrange the release of Defendant Smirnov, likely to facilitate his absconding from the United States.”

After detailing Smirnov’s arrest and release, Judge Wright ordered his re-arrest, adding: “The U.S. Marshal Service is advised there is to be no deviation from this Order.”

Just Security’s Adam Klasfeld calls Judge Wright’s order “wild,” and adds that Smirnoff’s lawyers released “a terse statement about the extraordinary order.”

“They did not respond to questions about the language in the judge’s order suggesting a ‘likely’ aim to ‘facilitate’ their client ‘absconding from the United States.'”

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Vaccine-Laced Lettuce and Tomatoes? Tennessee GOP Lawmaker Worried



A Tennessee Republican state lawmaker says he’s worried Tennesseans might overdose on vaccines if they eat too many tomatoes.

State Rep. Scott Cepicky claims vaccines can already be added to foods like lettuce and tomatoes, and to tobacco products, so he has filed legislation to require grocery store items containing vaccines to be labeled.

“University of California Riverside has already perfected the ability to put human vaccines into our lettuce right now,” Rep. Cepicky told his fellow lawmakers Wednesday while discussing his legislation. “Also, tomatoes, has the ability to do that also per UC Berkeley. And then big tobacco, RJ Reynolds and stuff has perfected the ability to put a human vaccine in tobacco products.”

NCRM could find no evidence supporting his claims, although researchers starting in 2021 were studying if it is possible to do so.

Cepicky, who has been endorsed by U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), warned, “there is no law, deeming those that when you go into a grocery store, you should know as a consumer, this head of lettuce is a head of lettuce. The head of lettuce right next week could contain a vaccine in it. All we’re saying is if it does have the vaccine in it, make sure it’s listed as a pharmaceutical so people can get the proper dosage.”

READ MORE: ‘Insultingly Stupid’: Trump’s Move to Toss Out Classified Docs Case Torn Apart by Experts

Facing some pushback from Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons, Cepicky went on to say, “This is more of a consumer protection bill right here, is to make sure that if you’re going in to buy tomatoes, and there’s a polio vaccine in there, that you are aware of what you’re buying has a polio vaccine. The problem you have is if it’s not treated as a pharmaceutical, being the size and difference between you and me, how many tomatoes do I have to eat to get the proper dosage versus how many tomatoes that you have to eat? And if you eat too many do you get a overdose?”

Asked if his legislation was necessity, Cepicky added, “Well, if you’d have a child that is allergic to a certain vaccine, and it’s not disclosed, when you go to buy that, that vegetable, whatever it is, and your child dies from that, I would think that having place is going to make sure that that is treated as a pharmaceutical so that the consumers know exactly what they’re buying.”

Anti-vaxers gained a foothold during the COVID pandemic, spreading false claims about vaccines. Last year the fact-checking website Snopes deemed it “false” that “mRNA from COVID-19 vaccines has entered the food supply via genetically modified plants bred to contain it or through the consumption of vaccinated livestock.”

“Claims regarding COVID-19 vaccines ‘in your salad‘ have persisted on the internet and recirculated due to misreadings or misinterpretations of several press releases or scientific research,” Snopes added, “Mike Flynn, during a September 2021 podcast appearance, referenced this research, describing it as ‘putting the vaccine in salad dressing.'”

READ MORE: Kremlin Infiltration of Congress Alleged by Ex-Trump Prosecutor: Republicans ‘Duped or in on It’

Flynn, the former Trump U.S. national security advisor, is a far-right Christian nationalist and Trump MAGA activist.

Tennessee lawmakers voted to move Rep. Capicky’s forward.

Watch Rep. Capicky’s remarks below or at this link.


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