Showing posts with label Indiana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indiana. Show all posts

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Love Dick

Y’all can have Rhianna and Katy and Madge and Brit and Gaga — wait, is she still relevant or has it been fifteen minutes — but my gay icon is … wait for it … it’s unexpected … it’s not who you think … District Court Judge Richard Young.


See, Dick, as I like to think of him — and, No, not in that way — is the judge who struck down Indiana's same-sex marriage ban back in June. And yesterday he ruled in the case of Bowling v Pence, the state's last unresolved marriage equality lawsuit, and found in favor of the defendants, which now requires Indiana to recognize out-of-state marriages same-sex marriages.


Now, since Dick had already ruled on this once, his latest ruling came as no real surprise, but it’s what he said, and to whom he said it, that makes him swoon-worthy. He basically called Indiana Governor, and ISBL Asshat of the Week award winner, Mike Pence a big fat liar by saying that the governor's statements to the court were "bold misrepresentations" and then reinstating Pence as a defendant in the case as it moves ahead on appeal. 

See, last year Pence filed a motion to be removed as a defendant in the lawsuit because, he said, he had no authority to enforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and, based on that representation, the court agreed. But, when Dick, er, Judge Young, struck down Indiana’s marriage ban, Pence’s general consul began sending memos to all executive branch agencies directing them on how they were to proceed. 

Wait, what? Pence says he has no authority over the issue, but then when the case goes the way he doesn’t want it to, suddenly he’s all up in that business? Well, Dick wasn’t playing:
"...the Governor did what he claimed he could not do by directing executive agencies on how to proceed in enforcing the law."
That's judicial-speak for: Mike Pence is a big fat liar.


I love you Dick, er, Judge Young.
via NCRM

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Random Musings

Out in Indiana, anti-equality GOP Governor Mike Pence — who might make a run at the White House in 2016 — issued a memo ordering state agencies not to recognize the hundreds of same-sex marriages that took place in the brief period when marriage equality was legal and before a stay was ordered.

Asshat. And I cannot wait for what he’ll say, or how he’ll spin it, when the courts order equality to stand. How quickly might he change his tune in his bid at the presidency?

Flip-flopping asshatted tool.
Speaking of marriage ….

Last weekend I updated my Facebook status to tell friends and family that Carlos and I would be getting married this October:
Well, after fourteen looooooooong years together, Carlos and I have decided that, in the words of the immortal Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer, "Enough is enough is enough is enough is enough is enough ... it's enough" and we will be getting married this October. Who would ever saw that coming, eh?
And we received some lovely wishes from friends and family all over the globe, but there was one message that was, well, unexpected and eerie.

I noticed that I had a couple of personal messages and checked them out. One was from a friend just wanting to chat, but the other was just a smiley face ,,, from my sister.

Now, to be clear, the simple smiley face was sent by my sister as a sign-off to a chat we’d had back in December, two months before she passed away; and I had seen it back then, but how wonderfully eerie and sweet that, for whatever reason, it was once again listed as a new message right after I announced that Carlos and I were gettin' hitched?

My big sister is still looking out for me …
Oh geez, won’t this woman ever go away?

It seems that after The View fired Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd, the Mama Grizzly Bore™ weighed in the topic suggesting that she would be a good addition to the program.

Asked by a reporter — possibly from the lame-stream media she says she loathes — if she had any interest in doing a "political talk show," MGB™ replied, "I hear everyone recently got canned from 'The View,' maybe a show like that needs a punch of reality and a voice of reason from America's heartland to knock some humble sense into their scripts. You know, someone willing to go rogue."

By rogue she means, put the final nail in the coffin of a show that should have died years ago.
I am a goofball. I like to make jokes all the time, about anything and everything; sometimes cute little jokes and sometimes the most offensive things imaginable just to get a reaction out of people.

Carlos, on the other, while he has a fabulous sense of humor, isn’t so keen on being a goofball and the other night I tried to break him out of that shell.

See, there’s a commercial for Tropicana orange juice where you hear Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor sing “Good Mornin’” from  Singing in the Rain  and I always, always, sing along with it, adding some jazz hands for effect.

The other night I asked Carlos to sing it with me and he refused. I begged, pleaded, cajoled, threatened and he still said ‘No.’

I accused him of being uptight, and he uttered, in a somewhat high-pitched voice tinged with an English accent:

“I am not upt-i-i-i-i-ght.”

I said, “Who are you supposed to be? Dame Judy Dench?”

He said, “Maybe.”

I said, “Sounds more like Dame Judy Clench.”

PS I’m still waiting for him to sing to me.
Last week Pope Frankie met with six victims of pedophile priests; his first such meeting since becoming The Head Cheese last year. He said that Catholic bishops "will be held accountable" for failing to protect children from sexual abuse, but made no move as to how this would work, leading many, including myself, to think this was just a media moment and means nothing in the long run.

Sure, I’m cynical about the Catholic Church protecting children from priests who rape them, but that’s because they haven’t shown any action at all in that area. It’s all lip service, though I am hoping Pope Frankie proves me wrong.
Madonna was called to jury duty this week in New York and appeared an hour late — some say she was told to show up late to avoid the crowds and the sensation that a fading pop singer who fails to act her age, might receive.

Madge, who had been excused in May thanks to a doctor’s note :::coughcough::: plastic surgeon :::coughcough:::  was surrounded by her security team as she entered the clerk’s office and not the regular jury assembly room. She was immediately excused because there were ‘ample jurors’ and she was also bypassed because her presence was causing a commotion.

Watch licking her armpits again? Calling her son the N-word? Posting a dozen or some Photoshopped pictures to Instagram? Because that would be Madge on jury duty; it would be all about her.
So, I watched some of the World Cup these past weeks, though without the fervor of most in the world, and many in this country; I do, however like, all the man-on-man groping and kissing and tugging down of the shorts, making the games seem almost soft-core porn.

Speaking of which …

I often caught ESPN’s panel of experts talking about the games and the winners and losers and there, right in the middle, was one gorgeous man, whom I assumed, because of his coloring was Latino—and you all know how I feel about the Hispanic Mens.

Michael Ballack was his name, and he was a former soccer player from Germany. Yes, he looks Hispanic but he’s German.

And oh so delicious.

Enough with the actual games, give me more recaps.
Julie Bindel — don’t worry, I never heard of her either — wrote a book called  Straight Expectations in which she argues that sexual orientation is a choice.

Well, except for her, I guess, because she said this …
“All I know is I’ve never been convinced by a scientific argument, or seen any evidence that is compelling that there is something innate about our sexuality. What I’m suggesting is, there are people who could go one way or the other and happily choose to be lesbian or gay.”
And then she said this about her choosing to be gay …
“Because I needed to leave home – there was nothing there for me in Darlington – and pursue my feminist possibilities, that meant starting a new life and all that was open to me. I fell in with a crowd [in Leeds] who spoke about lesbianism as part of women’s liberation. I never chose to be attracted to women.”
Huh. So she says I chose to be gay because there is no proof that it could be any other way and then says she didn’t choose it at all.

Siddown asshat.
District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree on Wednesday ruled that Colorado’s 2006 voter-approved ban violates the state and federal constitutions. He immediately put his ruling on hold pending an appeal.

Welcome to equality Colorado.

The march goes on …
This one makes me laugh … because, well, dumb.

Liberal Democratic Russian Parliament Member Roman Khudyakov has asked Russia’s Central Bank to change the 100 ruble note because, according to him, it “clearly” shows Apollo’s genitals and that runs afoul of Russia’s ban on exposing children to The Gays.

Khudyakov  complained that “intimate parts of the body” were visible on the banknote, which he says should have an “18+” rating under the anti-gay law.

I thought this was the height of stupidity, thinking that a statue on a piece of money would make the children gay but then I learned that in 2011 the real statue of Apollo, at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, was also censored when the exposed genitals were covered by a fig leaf.
Khudyakov doesn’t seem to think that Apollo’s microscopic penis on the currency might encourage lesbians to go straight.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Random Musings

Carlos and I were watching TV the other night and that commercial for Dove Chocolate came on; the one which stars a dead Audrey Hepburn selling candy. Don’t get me started on that! But to my surprise Carlos was offended, mumbling something about there only being one Audrey Hepburn. I was stunned; I never knew he was a fan of Audrey’s so, innocently, I asked:
Since when are you a fan of Audrey Hepburn?
I love her.
Really? Name one movie she was in …
Seriously, give me the name of one movie.
There are so many—
I know that’s why I asked for one, just one, movie. I mean, I can think of five right off the top of my head!
Well, there was the one where her father was artist and there was a car ….
What was that one called? My Father’s An Artist and There’s A Car?
Ten minutes pass. Ten minutes.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Bless his heart.
Yaz’min Shancez, a transgender woman who lived in Fort Myers, Florida was murdered, her body burned and then tossed behind a dumpster. Police are investigating but they don’t think it was a Hate Crime.

Fort Myers Police Lt. Jay Rodriguez:
“If you really think about it, a hate crime is killing someone for a specific reason, being black, Hispanic, gay. We’re investigating as we would any other homicide.”
Not a Hate Crime? Transgender woman, burned to death and then thrown away? Let me set this queer, again.

If Yaz’min was beaten and murdered because someone wanted her new phone, or her car, or maybe her credit cards and money that would be a hateful crime. But when a transgendered woman is beaten and tortured and burned to death and then her body is tossed away like garbage, that is Hate.

Are we queer on that now?
Apparently the GOP in South Dakota has nothing to do. I guess everyone in the state is working, the jobs are all good, health care in place, environment protected; it’s all good.

I mean, it must be, right, because how else do we explain that the South Dakota state GOP passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Obama.

The resolution says Obama has "violated his oath of office in numerous ways." It specifically cites the release of five Taliban combatants in a trade for captive U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, Obama's statement that people could keep insurance companies, and recent EPA regulations on power plants.

Allen Unruh of Sioux Falls sponsored the resolution, saying he has a “thick book on impeachable offenses of the president" and asking that South Dakota "send a symbolic message that liberty shall be the law of the land."

I have a better plan; rather than sending symbolic messages why don’t you do your f**king jobs?
I was home during the day on Monday and happened to catch an episode of The View. I stopped even glancing at the show when Joy Behar left because the table including idiotic Sherri Shepherd, daft Babs Walters, and Behar’s replacement, moronic non-thinker Jenny McCarthy. I only ever wondered how Whoopi Goldberg could stand to stay on that show surrounded by fools and morons.

I heard them discuss a story about Arkansas training teachers to carry guns in schools, and when McCarthy said it was a great idea, I nearly pulled out my gun and shot through my TV set.

Luckily, I don’t own a gun, because I can’t afford a new TV this month. But, seriously, Jenny? The solution to crazed people with guns shooting up schools is to put guns in the hands of teachers?

You know damned well that, god forbid there was a school shooting at the school McCarthy’s son attends, and a teacher didn’t protect her son, or a teacher accidentally shot an innocent child, or a kid got hold of a teacher’s gun, McCarthy would be the first person on social media ranting about it.

That woman needs to take a seat, on another show, where her opinions don’t matter.

So, there’s this on NBC called Taxi Brooklyn. It aired last night, and I, mistakenly, thought it would be a comedy; I was thinking Taxi and Brooklyn-9-9 but I was wrong. It’s your standard police procedural with a ridiculous twist, wherein a female detective is such a bad driver that she is not allowed to drive a police car so she teams up with a taxi driver to solve crimes.

Dumb. I know. But then there’s Jacky Ido, a gorgeous Black Frenchman playing Leo the taxi driver. Hot, with an accent. Did I mention hot? Accent?

Plus, in a rare twist, Raul Casso plays Ronnie, Leo’s roommate, a cross-dressing, sexually fluid war veteran and taxi driver. In one scene last night he blatantly flirts with a burly looking police officer and then offers up his card, saying, “Call me.” And the officer looks around, shrugs and then takes the card.

I kinda liked the surprise of that.

I’ll stick around and see if this show pans out, but mostly because there’s a Hot Black Frenchman.
Lotsa marriage news this week….
New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney married his partner of twenty-two years, Randy Gene Florke, over the weekend. Florke proposed in December after the youngest of their three children wrote to Santa wishing for her parents to be married—Maloney and Florke have three children ranging in age from 11 to 24.

Congratulations to the happy couple.

Out there to Indiana, the minute the same-sex marriage ban was declared unconstitutional, Craig Bowen and Jake Miller were wed in Indianapolis. They have been together for eight years.

The moment the decision came down, Jake texted Craig and asked him if he wanted to get married … now. Craig said yes, and they headed to the county clerk's office, where they were the first same-sex couple to arrive.

Congratulations to them, as well.
Also in Indiana, after the ruling striking down the same-sex  marriage ban, Marion County Clerk Beth White announced she was ready to marry some gay couples, and by the end of the day there had been 186 same-sex weddings.

And, White added that marriage licenses, and ceremonies, would resume again this morning at 8AM and that the civil ceremonies would be offered for a  voluntary donation of $50 to the Indiana Youth Group.

White has, so far, raised $4,000 for the IYG.

Get married and help a charity for LGBTQ youth? Win. Win.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued a 2 to 1 decision yesterday upholding a district court decision that Utah’s marriage ban for same-sex couples is unconstitutional.

The decision in Herbert v. Kitchen is the first from a federal appeals court on a state marriage ban since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor and this ruling puts the Utah case closest to arriving at the Supreme Court. And we all know what happened the last time … a year ago today!

 Interesting side note … although the Tenth Circuit stayed its order finding a marriage ban for same-sex couples unconstitutional in Utah, Boulder County, Colorado  began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as well since the Tenth Circuit includes Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. 

Yesterday was a great day in the March For Marriage!
More good news? Can you stand it?

Broadway actors Andy Mientus and Michael Arden announced their engagement. Arden has appeared on Broadway in The Times They Are A-Changin’ and Big River and has been seen on TV in series including Anger Management, Nurse Jackie and The Good Wife. Mientus, who makes his Broadway debut in this season’s Les Misérables, has also appeared in Anger Management and in NBC’s Smash.

Announcing their engagement on Instagram, Mientus quoted Shakespeare’s As You Like It:
"Come, woo me, woo me, for now I am in a holiday humour and like enough to consent." 

Congratulations to this happy couple.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WTF Tuesday! Indiana

It seems like just a week ago or so that the 18th and 19th states — Oregon and Pennsylvania, for those of you keeping score — declared they would become fully marriage equality states, and yet up there ‘round Indiana way it seems that time is running backwards.

Next month, Indiana Republicans will vote on a proposed party platform that reasserts GOP support of so-called “traditional” marriage.

Have they checked their watches? Did they stop in 2004?

This is a crazy, asshatted move, since it was just two years ago, in 2012, that GOP delegates eliminated their anti-equality position, but Jim Bopp, an attorney and a state GOP delegate, has introduced an amendment that states: "We believe that strong families, based on marriage between a man and a woman, are the foundation of society."

Seriously? Is Indiana the land that time forgot?

Now, to be fair, and it’s hard for me when the wingnuts get their homophobic knickers in a twist, delegates added language to The Bopp Amendment to recognize "diverse" family structures, you know, like the ones that aren’t Ward and June, but maybe Ward and Ward, June and June, or just June.

Those kinda diverse families.

Luckily, not everyone in the GOP in Indian is marching to this tune, though many would prefer just to take the silent approach, you know, acting like if they say nothing The Gays and their pesky marriage equality fight might just go away. It won’t.

Megan Robertson, a state GOP delegate, and an openly gay woman, who has worked against the proposed amendment:
"This is bad for the Republican Party. We all don't think one way on this, so my stance is we shouldn't put anything in there. [The platform is] not supposed to be on issues that divide people but on those that everyone can agree."

But try and get the GOP to agree on anything is quite a hurdle.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

UPDATE: Sarah Bray Is A Liar and A Batterer

Just the other day  I posted about Sarah Bray, an Indiana lesbian who claimed to have been denied hospital visitation rights after her partner, Jennifer Clemmer, supposedly overdosed as part of a suicide attempt. [See post HERE]

Turns out that story is not true, and it’s much different, and much worse than the original.

Yesterday Sarah Bray was arrested for assaulting Jennifer Clemmer and then trying to cover it up as a suicide attempt by drug overdose. Bray had claimed, through LGBT activists and the media, that the hospital, and Clemmer’s mother, had denied her the right to see her partner, but the fact is that Bray had been allowed to see Jennifer with supervision.  But once Bray had alerted the press and GetEqual Indiana, hospital staff became suspicious and the police were called.

And it was during an interview with authorities that a different story emerged.

Indiana prosecutors now allege that Sarah Bray attacked Jennifer Clemmer in front of Bray's two children in a dispute over household chores. In an effort to escape the attack, Clemmer sought refuge in the bathroom, and it wasn’t until hours later that Bray called 911 to claim she found Clemmer in that bathroom unconscious. Jennifer Clemmer says the last thing she remembers is dragging herself into the bathroom. Police allege that Clemmer did not overdose as part of a suicide attempt and instead believe Sarah Bray attacked Clemmer, who they report as being covered in bruises and scratches.

Once Clemmer was hospitalized, Bray alleged that Clemmer's mother had banned her from the hospital room, but now it appears that Bray was allowed to visit, only under supervision, because there was a fear that she might harm Clemmer to keep her from speaking to police.

It was then that Bray contacted LGBT activists and the media and told her “story”.

Once awake, Clemmer told police that Bray had attacked her, and Bray's children confirmed the story to detectives, saying their mother told them not to say anything else. And neither the hospital or Jennifer Clemmer’s family confirmed the overdose theory, and there is a belief that the police simply played along until Clemmer awoke to avoid alerting Bray to the investigation.

Family members and friends allege in the affidavit that Bray has a history of mentally and physically abusing Clemmer.

Sarah Bray was booked into the Marion County Jail on charges of felony criminal confinement, felony battery, and misdemeanor battery charges. She faces two felony and one misdemeanor charge and is being held on $11,000 bond; if convicted, Bray faces up to four years in jail.

I hope they throw the book at her. How dare she play the anti-LGBT card when so many times in this country this story really happens to same-sex couples. As we fight for equality, we come across all sorts of people who seek to deny us our rights, and when one of our own, like Sarah Bray, trys to use the system to cover her crimes, it lessens our struggle in the eyes of those who stand against us.

She ought to be ashamed; she ought to go to jail.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sarah Bray Banned From Her Partner's Hospital Room

Sarah Bray and Jennifer Clemmer have only been since May but have known each other for 13 years; they had plans to marry in Iowa next month, and Bray was set to adopt Clemmer's son, but that may have to wait.

Last week Jennifer Clemmer was discovered lying face down on a bathroom floor, foaming at the mouth. Bray says Jennifer overdosed on several medications in what she believes is a suicide attempt. Clemmer was taken to St. Francis Hospital, where she worked, and Sarah and their sons were able to visit her for about an hour. During that time she called Jennifer’s mother to tell her what had happened; when the mother arrived she ordered Sarah Bray and her sons out of the room.

In the days since, Bray hasn’t been allowed to see Jennifer, and says the hospital ­sided with the mother’s wishes to keep her away. Bray said the other woman does not support her daughter’s lesbian relationship and, when reached at the hospital by a local paper for comment, Clemmer's mother said, “We’re not interested,” and hung up.

But Sarah Bray isn’t giving up.
“She’s playing with the wrong person, because I know that I have rights, and I’m going to fight for those rights no matter what.”—Sarah Bray
And she’s gotten several groups involved in her fight to simply visit her partner in the hospital. Yes, in 2013, even though it’s illegal, some gay men and women have to get advocacy groups and lawyers involved just to visit their loved one in the hospital.

Bray contacted Get Equal Indiana, who call the situation “a clear violation of LGBT hospital visitation rights” because, in 2010, President Obama signed a memorandum that extends hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners at hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid — even in states like Indiana that don’t recognize same-sex partnerships. It also extends patient care decisions to same-sex partners if they have been designated as the next-of-kin representative.

But, since Bray’s partner never designated her as a next-of-kin representative, the hospital does that, and they made the choice that the woman’s mother is in charge. However, that next-of-kin representative needs to make a strong argument to ban someone from ­visiting a patient, such as concerns over disruption or harm to the patient and, it seems, that this woman, this mother, has no valid reason other than she doesn’t want her daughter in a same-sex relationship.

Sarah Bray doesn’t want to make any decisions about her partner’s treatment or care; she simply wants to be in the room.

Joe Stuteville, a hospital spokesman, acknowledged that the hospital usually gives the upper hand to a patient’s next-of-kin representative to ­determine who can or can’t visit: “Without having the specifics on this case, I can only say we do not discriminate. We understand end-of-life issues.”

How sad, though, that this woman, who may have attempted suicide, and may die—the repercussions of her overdose are not known, and it’s unclear if she’ll survive—will not be allowed one visit from her partner, the woman she said she wanted to marry, because she has a narrow-minded mother.

I hope Bray gets lawyers involved and I hope a lawsuit is filed against the hospital for violating the law. As I said, Bray isn’t asking to make life decisions, or medical decisions for Jennifer, she just wants to be able to see her. How can that be wrong?

And, yes, this is yet another reason we need same-sex marriage to be federally recognized, because if we leave things up to the states, little pockets of bigotry and hatred like this hospital in Indiana will still exist. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

In Indiana, Gay Couples Face Jail Time For Filing A Marriage License

It was just last week That I posted about anti-marriage equality, Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, and his staff, deleting pro-marriage equality comments from the governor’s Facebook page. The governor called the deleted comments uncivil and rude, but the ones I found were anything but, making Pence, and Indiana, seem kinda hate-filled against The Gays.

But that was just the beginning, I guess.

Now, it appears that a same-sex couple applying for a marriage license in Indiana, where same-sex marriage is against the law, could be arrested and jailed for up to three years simply for submitting a marriage license application to their county clerk; even if the license is denied.

See, up there in Indiana is an old law from 1997 state law that says it’s a Class D felony to submit false information on a marriage license application or lie about the physical condition, including gender, of a marriage license applicant.

So, if two men, or two women, who wished to marry—or just fill out an application in protest—their signing of the application would trigger the law, because Indiana’s electronic marriage license application specifically designates "male applicant" and "female applicant" sections for gathering required background data.

Now, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that anyone could be arrested for filling out a marriage license application and writing a man’s name in the ‘female applicant’ section—or even vice versa for a lesbian couple—but It is against the law in Indiana where the governor remains virulently anti-marriage equality.

And, there is a recently approved reform of the state's criminal code will, starting July 1, 2014, that will drop the crime to a Level 6 felony, punishable by a maximum of just 18 months in prison and a potential fine of up to $10,000.

Big deal, eh?

The odd part of this bass-ackwards law is that a county clerk who ignores Indiana's same-sex marriage ban, by issuing a license to a same-sex couple, would face minimal punishment. The same law that makes it a felony to submit false information on a marriage license application declares it only a Class B misdemeanor—punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000—for a clerk to issue a marriage license based on that false information; and, because the charge is not a felony the clerk would not face removal from office upon conviction.

It’s a felony to submit false information, but it’s a lesser crime to act upon the false information, even when you know it to be false.

Indiana is set up for a marriage equality fight next year over whether to add its existing marriage equality ban to its state Constitution. The GOP-controlled General Assembly will decide during the January-March 2014 session whether to submit the proposed constitutional amendment—which also bans any form of civil union, you know, just in case—to voters for ratification.

If lawmakers approve the amendment, supported by Governor Pence, then the matter will be placed on the November 2014 ballot.

Letting the majority decide what the minority can, and cannot, do.

The good news is that, right now, many Indianans are opposed to amending the state Constitution with discrimination. But, still, in Indiana you have a governor trying to manipulate the conversation on marriage equality into his favor, and you have laws that would jail same-sex couples who fill out an application for a marriage license.

Not good, Indiana, you can do better.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Governor Mike Pence's Staff Edits His Facebook Page So It Seems Like Folks Agree With Him

Be careful what you post on social media sites, because sometimes it’s inappropriate, and sometimes, if you’re Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, things he doesn’t agree with are posted on his Facebook page and his staff removes the comments.

It appears that Governor Pence’s staff deleted hundreds of comments from his official Facebook page because he, or someone, deemed them uncivil. Most of the comments were in response to a posting by Mike Pence, reaffirming his support for a proposed state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage before Indiana voters in 2014.

Pence’s office began moderating the comments as soon as they were posted; last Thursday morning, the number of comments on the Pence’s marriage equality statement approached 1,200, but by the afternoon, even though more comments had been posted, there were just 800 or so.

Many who commented say their posts were removed, not for being rude or uncivil, but for simply being opposed to the governor’s, soon-to-be-antiquated opinion, and, initially, Pence maintained that his staff did feel the deleted comments were uncivil, while pointing to other posts that weren’t removed and yet were critical of the his stance.

But, here’s a comment that was deleted for being uncivil: Jessica Strope said: “This Hoosier stands for equality. Too bad so many of the ‘Right’ stand on the complete WRONG side of history.”

In another, Beth Hollandbeck Barnes asked Pence, in part, to explain to three of her children why their older brother, who is gay, “doesn’t deserve the same rights they do.” She said her family was traditional and that Pence was wrong to assume he speaks for Hoosiers: “I figured they were just deleting hateful stuff, so I made sure to have a cogent point.

That her post was later removed, she said, showed that “voices like mine aren’t valued.”

Of course, there were some that were rude, and childishly offensive, like the one that called Pence a “simple minded hairless ape” but is that really worthy of deletion? Isn’t that sort of stepping on Free Speech?

The debate over the deletion of the posts has a legal dimension, as US courts still struggle to adapt to social media, and some feel officials who monitor, and edit, their social media outlets risk running afoul of the Constitution.

Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky, a law professor at the University of Florida, says that’s because people have a First Amendment right to express their views in a public forum, and she believes Pence could face legal issues if his Facebook page—even if operated by staff members—were viewed by a court as a public forum:
“If a government actor sets up as part of a government action a place for citizens to come and speak and interact, then the rule is that you can’t cherry-pick the viewpoints you like and eliminate the viewpoints you don’t like.”
Still, Governor Pence said that wasn’t his staff’s motivation, adding that “I’m somebody who really believes that civility and mutual respect are important. I do know our staff has a long-standing policy that many news organizations have had regarding name-calling and vulgar comments, and I’m confident our staff was just administrating that in the way that we do in any other debate.”

All well and good, in some instances, but where was the vulgarity in Jessica Strope’s comment?

Naturally, the ironically named anti-LGBT, anti-equality groups are rallying behind Pence. Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute and one of the leading advocates for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, supports the governor’s efforts to keep the debate respectful, and yet censored:
“I applaud the governor for policing the conversation and steering the tone toward a more civil conversation. He has a unique role as our state’s governor. He has a particular responsibility (on his Facebook page) to make sure the comments are uplifting and edifying and appropriate.”
The lack of a clearly stated policy on Pence’s Facebook page left many users scratching their heads at the deleted comments.

Kyle Straub had a feeling when he posted his comment about 10 p.m. Wednesday, after users had noticed other posts had disappeared, that it might get deleted, so he took a screen shot; his comment had been deleted by morning: “You want to avoid the ‘brain drain’ and better keep Hoosiers in Indiana after graduation? Well, I’ll give you a hint on where to start: the right side of history. Times are changing.”

And Liz Pelloso says she was actually blocked from interacting with the page after her comment was deleted. One of her deleted comments was a complaint that Pence’s staff was deleting comments.

In a twist, of course, without taking any responsibility, Governor Pence has since issued an apology, expressing regret that some comments were deleted from his official Facebook page “simply because they expressed disagreement with my position.” But there was no word on whether the staff members who took it upon themselves, or were instructed, to remove the comments have been fired or reprimanded.

Here’s the deal, this whole marriage thing is a huge conversation, but how can we have the conversation when people like Mike Pence take it upon themselves to edit out the parts with which they don’t agree?

I know people write hateful, stupid, bigoted, hurtful things on Facebook; I’ve seen them. I’ve seen them on my own blog. But if the comment is just one that disagrees with your position, wouldn’t it be better to leave it in and keep the conversation going? That way minds can be opened and mouths can be shut.

Governor Pence, who is responsible for his staff, and their actions, as the boss, ought to be ashamed of himself for trying to manipulate the discussion to his side.

Just sayin’.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Indiana Revokes LGBT Youth Group's License Plate

It was scarcely two months ago when i posted about Indiana and South Carolina offering pro-LGBT license plates [see post HERE]. The Indiana plate would benefit Indiana Youth Group, which helps LGBTQ youth in the state. The South Carolina plate supports SC Equality.
Good news, except.....
In Indiana, bigot, homophobe, Republican, of course, state senators got their wish when the Bureau of Motor Vehicles [BMV] revoked revoked the Indiana Youth Group's specialty license plate for violating "state law and Indiana Administrative Code" by giving donors low number plates.
These asshatted legislators, who apparently have nothing better to offer their state because Indiana is doing just fine, thankyouverymuch, in unemployment, housing, the environment, the economy, had wanted to backdoor....and I'll let that pun just lie there like an Indiana state legislator....legislation targeting the group's specialty plate, but their constituents wanted no part of it.
So, they, um, listened to the people who put them in office? No. Republican State Senate President Pro Tempore and Grand Poobah Asshat, David Long, found a new "solution" by demanding the BMV revoke the plate on contractual grounds.
A press release issued by the BMV notes, "After the Senators brought this violation to our attention, the BMV reviewed the websites of all other organizations currently participating in the Special Group Recognition License Plate Program and found that the Greenways Foundation and the Indiana 4-H Foundation have also violated state law and administrative code by publicizing the sale of low-digit special group license plates for their respective organizations."
So, these morons punished the Greenways Foundation and the 4-H Foundation as kind of collateral damage in their campaign against LGBTQ youth.
Typical GOP.
Don't do what your constituents want, just stomp on LGBT community. 

via Bilerico