Minutes after the Massachusetts Senate voted to repeal a 1913 law that would open same-sex marriage to out-of-state couples, the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow posted an Associated Press article detailing the legislation’s passage.

They changed the headline (and all the words “gay” to “homosexual”) to read: “BREAKING NEWS: Out-of-state homosexual ‘marriages’ on East Coast horizon.”

The original headline read: “Mass. Senate votes to let out-of-state gays marry.”

Talk about flipping out.

Somebody at The AP really needs to jump on the AFA. According to AP guidelines, AP story text cannot be changed and must be printed as is. OneNewsNow has been changing AP text like there’s no tomorrow.

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Not the usual Mormon view

Needless to say, the LDS church isn’t too happy with the calendar. That isn’t to say that I’m not, though.

Beautiful. Absolutely stunning.

More at Bilerico.com and Queerty.com.

(h/t DailyQueerNews)

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Anti-gay bi man gives it up

David Benkof/David Bianco, who recently made waves with a string of anti-gay op-eds in gay and mainstream news publications, has decided to give up his alliance with anti-gay, radical right activists.

“I no longer feel comfortable being allied with the people running the Prop. 8 campaign, and the same-sex marriage movement in America in general, with a few exceptions – most notably Maggie Gallagher,” the former Q-Syndicate founder/owner told Wayne Besen’s Truth Wins Out. “I have made a tentative decision not to publicize the disturbing information that caused me to end my promotion of man-woman marriage in the United States. But there is very little that I know about those subjects that a journalist, blogger, or activist cannot find out through diligent googling and asking the right questions of the Prop. 8 campaign.”

Benkof echoed similar thoughts on his blog:

It is with great sadness that I announce that I feel I must withdraw from openly supporting man-woman marriage in the United States. I recently learned quite a bit of disturbing information that makes it impossible for me to continue supporting a movement I no longer respect. I have not yet decided when or even if I will write about why I’m ending my participation in this debate.

The Carolinas’ QNotes, where I am employed, ran into a bit of a skirmish with Benkof in May. Box Turtle Bulletin reported on that situation.

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Editorial: A truly beautiful tragedy

My editorial from the July 12, 2008 issue of QNotes:

A truly beautiful tragedy
Editor’s Note
by Matt Comer | July 12th, 2008

Hardcore. Metal. Punk. Emo. Indie.

I don’t know what the differences are between these music styles — hell, I grew up listening to Country and Southern Gospel. But, I can say without the tiniest doubt that some of the absolutely fabulous band members in these genres are among the hottest creations on God’s green earth.

This comes to mind because I was recently searching high and low for a queer punk (or whatever) band based in the Carolinas to profile as part of this issue’s Q-Living featured topic — which is music. Unfortunately, my search came up empty. I couldn’t find a single one.

Despite the apparent lack of queer punk/emo/screamo/whatever bands, I was surprised by the scope of the overwhelmingly active indie music scene in the two states.

Via DirtySouthBlog.com and MySpace.com’s band profiles, I peeked into a world I’ve never been too familiar with. To say the least, there are some great sounding artists around our parts. A good portion of them have full concert schedules working small-to-mid-sized nightclubs spread across the Carolinas and elsewhere.

After losing myself for a few hours drooling over the hot boys, I was brought back to the harsh reality of what it means to be queer in this area. The reminder came in the form of an email response to my inquiry about a particular group’s sexual orientation.

Read the rest at QNotes Online.

Headlines from the July 12, 2008 issue of QNotes.

Charlotte, Raleigh among top 10 ‘Gay Ghettos’
N.C. cities were cited for their thriving arts and business climate
by Matt Comer | July 12th, 2008

CHARLOTTE — Two North Carolina cities have been named in an annual list of the top 10 “Gay Ghettos” in the U.S.

Compiled by the owners of GayRealEstate.com, the list is topped by a two-way tie between Atlanta, Ga., and Portland, Ore. Charlotte comes in at third, with Raleigh ranked fourth in a tie with Tampa, Fla. Charlotte and Raleigh scored high marks for their strong business climate and arts opportunities.

Jeff Hammerberg, founder and president of GayRealEstate.com, told Q-Notes that the “Gay Ghetto” rankings are measured by how many LGBT people are moving to a city, living there and requesting information.

More than 50 Carolinas LGBT or friendly real estate agents show up in a search of GayRealEstate.com. The site bills itself as the nation’s “number one source representing the rights of gay and lesbian home buyers and sellers.” Read the rest…

Time Out Youth CEO resigns
Board will be ‘deliberate’ in search for new agency head
by David Stout | July 12th, 2008 | exQlusive

CHARLOTTE — Time Out Youth CEO Janine K. Eustache resigned her position with the support and advocacy organization for LGBT and questioning youth on June 17.

Her departure came three days after a Q-Notes investigative article revealed serious allegations by ex-interns and youth members suggesting the agency’s leader was uncomfortable working with the LGBT community and uninformed about its issues. There were also concerns that she did not want to be publicly associated with the organization.

Eustache, who is heterosexual, was formerly the southeast regional director of Save the Children, a global child relief organization; an executive at LaFace Records in Atlanta, Ga.; and the executive director of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. Prior to TOY, she had no experience working with LGBT organizations or serving the unique needs of LGBTQ youth. Read the rest…

Carolinas see black rainbow
S.C. Black Pride ‘one big family’
by Gareth Fenley | July 12th, 2008

COLUMBIA — As five days of South Carolina Black Pride came to an end with an awards ceremony on June 29, Ra’Shawn Flournoy was glowing with excitement. “It was phenomenal, seeing the love,” Flournoy said, as he tried to describe his feelings during the first Pride of his life, which he attended with his male fiancee and an estimated 500 other people. “It’s been one big family here. Words can’t compare to it.”

Organizers were happy and exhausted after staging the first 100 percent, locally hosted Pride celebration in the capital for people of African descent who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or same-gender-loving. “It’s all about community,” said Pride committee chair Todd Shaw, an African-American studies professor at the University of South Carolina. “We’re all part of a larger LGBT community, but it’s all right to have family reunions.”

Connecting to ethnic brothers and sisters is a way to feel valued and beautiful that can literally save lives, Shaw said emphatically. Read the rest…

Read more news at QNotes Online.

Our fabulous InterstateQ contributor Casey Pick — who is currently on “hiatus” while she is working for the Log Cabin Republicans — made her debut on this site with a commentary rebuttal to my Feb. 7, 2008 post, “Why don’t they just come out and say it already?”

In that post, I detailed just a few of the numerous reasons why the GOP “doesn’t like poor people” and how they’ve done their best to ensure lower-income Americans continue to live in a mire of economic depression.

In response, Casey said:

So, why don’t conservatives just admit we hate poor people? Very simply, because most of us, like most liberals, don’t. We care deeply about the poor – some of us, myself included, have even lived below the poverty line for much of our lives – and generally we view ourselves as compassionate, reasonable human beings. We just have different beliefs about what will best serve the least among us.

Granted. She has a point. Not all Republicans hate the poor. I’d venture to say that most Republicans care deeply about the living and economic situations of America’s most low-income citizens and families. Someone should relay the message and copy the memo to the GOP leadership in Washington, and in particular, the miserably failed Bush Administration.

There’s a very simple philosophy that you’d think Americans would have learned by now: If you aren’t counted, you don’t count. Really, it’s quite similar to if you don’t vote, you don’t count.

Continue reading this post…

On Monday I posted again about the N.C. Christian Action League’s misleading words and tactics regarding the School Violence Prevention Act (HB 1366). That was after first exposing their inaccurate op-ed written by Mary Frances Forrester, wife of anti-gay, anti-marriage amendment supporter state Sen. Jim Forrester (R-Gaston).

Late last evening, the Christian Action League sent out an action alert on the bill and I immediately noticed one major problem with it, besides the obvious double talk.

Of the more than 600 words in the alert, written by the League’s executive eirector Mark Creech, only one time — yes, one — did Creech speak about the children:

The bill was passed by the House last year, but the Senate wisely removed the list of enumerations such as “race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory disability.” The Senate concluded that no enumerations were needed to effectively protect all of the state’s children. Bullying should be prohibited for any reason.

It seems as though the bill’s supporters, those like Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) and Rep. Earline Parmon (D-Forsyth), have spent much more time and energy talking about North Carolina’s public school children and the need to provide them with a strong anti-bullying bill. The bill’s opponents, those like the Christian Action League, the N.C. Family Policy Council and Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Wake), have spent the majority of their time balking over the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender-identity.

Again, from the action alert:

The evil of this legislation is that it elevates “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” on the same levels with race, color, ancestry, national origin, gender, physical appearance, mental, physical, or sensory disability,” which clearly are immutable or unchangeable characteristics. Homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender are not immutable or unchangeable. But approval of this legislation would be a societal affirmation to that end. Moreover, it would also elevate a sexual perversion on the same level with the sacred – religion – which generally speaking defines homosexuality as sinful. What better way to negate the two strongest voices of criticism against homosexuality in society – elevate an individual’s sexual preference to the same level as immutable characteristics and religion and by statute say it deserves the same recognition and protections.

If this legislation should pass it would essentially require North Carolina public schools to teach these behaviors are normal and perfectly acceptable. The premise for this contention would be the law itself.

The Christian Action League’s next statement — “Certainly, every conscientious Christian is opposed to bullying persons in all circumstances.” — is an empty one. Just two paragraphs prior they just called LGBT youth’s identity “sexual perversion” and called the bill that would protect them from bullying by peers and teachers “evil.”

While the Christian Action League and other anti-gay organizations are busy balking over anal sex and man-on-man romance, thousands of LGBT kids will be waking up this morning afraid to go to school. If they do decide to go, and not skip class like many do, they’ll face a barrage of verbal insults and physical abuse. If a teacher is present, she might be like the teacher Rep. Parmon had to discipline when she found the teacher not stopping the physical abuse of a gay student. Finally, if teachers and staff continue to ignore the abuse (because there is no law telling they can’t), these students might drop out.

Out of a 600 word action alert on a bill about protecting kids, the Christian Action League mentioned children only once. The rest of their time was spent bashing the existence of these youth. That should tell us where their priorities lie.

Take Action…
You can call your state senator and ask him to push his colleagues and Senate leadership to vote on the final conference report for the School Violence Prevention Act (HB 1366). You can also help EqualityNC reach out to the members of the Conference Committee. Click here to go to EqualityNC’s website and email the House and Senate Conference Committee members.

My letter to Sen. Daniel Clodfelter (D-Mecklenburg):

July 7, 2008

Dear Sen. Clodfelter,

My name is Matt Comer. I am 22 years old and moved to Charlotte at the end of September 2007 to take a job as editor of the lesbian and gay, bi-weekly newspaper based here. I switched my voter registration soon after moving here so that I could be able to vote in the primary and general elections.

It is very important to me that the Senate hear and vote on the conference report for HB 1366, the School Violence Prevention Act. I hope that you can push your colleagues and the Senate leadership to take a stand and vote on the conference report for this very important piece of legislation before the end of this year’s session.

I graduated from R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 2004. As an openly gay student I was constantly made the victim of a barrage of daily insults. Physical abuse by my peers was also common. Because my school system and the board of education chose to do nothing to protect students like me, I was forced with my friends to advocate on our own behalf. No student should ever have to beg for safety in schools. It should be a given… a promise… a guarantee.

The enumerated categories including sexual orientation and gender identity are needed in HB 1366. Without them, schools systems like those in Winston-Salem will continue to ignore gay students. Leaders, such as Forsyth County Board of Education member Jeannie Metcalf, will continue to be able to say, “I think homosexuality is a sin. If they want to make fun of them, I don’t have a problem with it” (Jeannie Metcalf, Winston-Salem Journal February 4, 2003).

Please push your colleagues and the Senate leadership to hear and vote on this final conference report for HB 1366.

Thank you,

Matthew M.H. Comer

InterstateQ.com was the first to tell you about the Christian Action League of North Carolina and the misleading, inaccurate op-ed written by Mary Frances Forrester, wife of anti-gay state Sen. Jim Forrester (R-Gaston County).

Now, the Christian Action League is misleading the public and their members again.

From a recent Christian Action League article on the advance of the School Violence Prevention Act (HB 1366), emphasis mine:

“We can’t get any legislation facilitated on a Defense of Marriage Amendment, yet in a short session, when we are told that lawmakers are not to take up controversial issues, the House leadership is giving the homosexual forces a thumbs up on the anti-bullying bill,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. The organization issued an action alert this week calling for supporters to urge Senators to put a halt to the pro-gay bill parading under the guise of “school violence prevention.”

Christian Action League Executive Director Mark Creech’s willingness to lie, or simply slightly fudge the truth, is concerning. As a minister and a Christian he should be more truthful and accurate.

With the statement above, Creech implies that the hearing of the School Violence Prevention Act is somehow out of the ordinary, or that its hearing should not have occurred during this year’s short session. A member of the public or one of his members unfamiliar with the legislature’s rules and traditions might walk away thinking their state representatives are breaking protocol by hearing this “controversial bill.”

The facts, however, always speak for themselves, and no amount of truth-bending will change them. The short session of the N.C. General Assembly is set aside for a number of tasks, but primarily:

  1. the hearing of the state budget,
  2. the hearing of local bills,
  3. the hearing of state constitutional amendments, and
  4. the finalization of bills both houses passed in the previous long session but failed to agree upon.

The School Violence Prevention Act falls directly in the latter category. In May 2007, the House passed the original version of the act. The Senate also passed its own version, stripping out the enumerated, protected categories that include sexual orientation and gender-identity. The differing versions had to be wrapped up this year.

Mark Creech and the Christian Action League should watch the way they talk about the issues. They should be honest and refrain from misleading uninformed citizens. Honesty is their obligation not only as a public, special interest advocacy organization, but also as Christians.

What concerns me most, however, is not the misleading nature of the Christian Action League, but rather their apparent lack of care for the children of North Carolina. Students, whatever their differences, deserve a strong anti-bullying bill. Anyone with children knows that simply saying, “Don’t do that,” doesn’t work. Children need specific rules and instruction. While I don’t have any children, I am the oldest of five siblings. I know quite well that saying, “Don’t do that,” will be immediately followed with a, “Why?”

Passing a strong anti-bullying bill will help North Carolina’s children, gay and straight. Too bad the Christian Action League can’t see gay kids as fully human and deserving of protection. “The little ones” so fondly spoken of by Christ have been so easily tossed under the bus by His “followers.”

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Vintage Jesse

A lot of these are vintage… for real… the sound and video quality ain’t all that great, but they’re funny nonetheless.

TV Nation fights Helms’ homophobia with love songs…

MadTV: Helms on Elizabeth Dole – “A lesbo-feminazi”

1990 NBC report on Helms vs. Gantt
Embedding disabled on this video, click here to view.

Helms “Racial Quota” ad, 1990 election

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The death of Jesse Helms

Numerous items for you…

QNotes has a brief story up now, with video from CNN and a poll. Expect a longer, feature article in the July 26, 2008 issue.

Faith in America’s statement.

The WRAL story. Helms worked here as a journalist and conservative commentator before moving to do his dirty deeds on the Senate floor.

The N&O story.