Four years after Congress last seriously considered a federal constitutional amendment on marriage, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running as an independent for U.S. Senate, managed to broach the issue Sunday in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union.

Crist faces a tough, three-way race against Republican Marc Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek. As CNN reports, Crist finds himself in the awkward position of attempting to play all of his politics in a middle-of-the-road style – not as conservative as Rubio and not as progressive as Meek. Obviously, it is a strategy meant to appeal to moderates and independents. It’s also strategy that might have zero chance of working, especially if Crist’s confusing and/or unclear statements bring up specters of legislative fights long ago considered dead. That’s exactly what happened yesterday.

Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida wrote at yesterday: “Crist who is running as an independent for the US Senate has been charting a new political course aimed a pulling moderate Demorcrats, Republicans and Independents. His comments today threatened that delicate coalition.” Continue reading this post…


Domestic violence: ‘keep it quiet’

The mayor of Mulberry, Fla., was attacked by his partner in the early morning hours of Friday, June 19.

According to news station WTSP Channel 10, 29-year-old Eugene Ornelas came home at 5 a.m. in the morning with someone he met at a local bar. Ornelas is Mayor Julian Mullis’ partner. The couple has two children.

From the story:

The attack allegedly happened on a peaceful street in Mulberry early Friday morning inside the home of Mayor Julian Mullis. It’s a home he shares with his two kids and 29-year-old Eugene Ornelas.

Mullis told police that he and Ornelas are in a relationship and live together as a family unit.

Things got heated, though, when Ornelas brought a stranger home from a club at five in the morning. Steve Peacock is the Interim Chief of Police in Mulberry and says, “It was Mr. Ornelas, who I guess lost his cool somehow, and began throwing articles inside the residence and attempted to strike Mr. Mullis at one point but missed.”

Mullis told police that Ornelas swung at him and has Jeckel and Hyde type episodes.

Ornelas was arrested and charged with domestic violence. It’s not the first time he’s been in trouble with the law. He’s faced a DUI, possession of a controlled substance and battery charge in the past.

Some nitwit, probably slightly anti-gay, told the news station that Mullis should have “kept it quiet.”

Reaction from people who live in Mulberry is mixed. Nancy Ladner says, “I don’t have a problem with homosexuality. I don’t. Everybody has their thing they have to do. But, he is a public image in our town and he needs to keep it quiet.”

Yeah… domestic violence should be kept quiet. My god, where do these people come from?

At least some level of sanity was collected by reporters:

Heidi Strickland says, “They need to concentrate on the problems of Mulberry, not the problem of Mr. Mullis and his family, okay? They’re going to have to deal with that. Just like you have to deal with your family and I have to deal with my family. But, as long as he’s performing his job to the means that he’s supposed to be doing which, so far I haven’t seen any disagreements, then that should be the issue.”

It is quite saddening that their mayor becomes the victim of a domestic violence situation and all folks care to look at or talk about is their mayor’s sexual orientation. Sad, sad, indeed.

Double-whammy: WTSP Channel 10 wasted no time playing on the public’s anti-gay, anti-transgender emotions. Their headline for the story: “Mulberry mayor attacked by live-in cross-dresser.” Shouldn’t the headline have been, “Mulberry mayor victim of domestic violence,” or something?


Headlines: At the week’s end

A re-cap of the last week at and around the blogosphere.

Royal Queen
Prince Harry’s antics continue to raise eyebrows, being called racist one day and enlightened the next. Either way, it’s hot.

And the winner is…
On Tuesday, I urged you to vote your conscience for Best LGBT Blog in this year’s Weblog Awards. While I contribute to both and, and rooted for them the whole time, Towleroad shone through as the winner. Congrats!

Campus crusading
A Campus Crusade group wants to work with a campus LGBT group on HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness. I still can’t figure out how that’s going to work out.

‘Ex-gay’ lies
Exodus International’s Randy Thomas continues the legacy of the group’s long-standing disingenuousness, claiming no one is ever forced into “ex-gay” therapies. The stories from the long list of gay youth victimized by such therapies call such claims into question.

A model for the nation
Florida LGBT groups are teaming up in a united coalition to fight regional and statewide threats to equality. On Wednesday, I said such a coalition could serve as a model for countless regions around the nation, as well as our national LGBT community.

Secretary of the Gay
A Boston, Mass.-based grassroots group wants a “Secretary of GLBT Affairs.” The U.S. Department of Queerdom will have fabulous office furniture and impeccable interior design for sure.

Lavender Folder
A Charlotte talk show host took shots at several North Carolina and Charlotte LGBT organizations in his Jan. 15 broadcast. Audio included.

OUT Florida will bring into a grassroots coalition a number of local and regional LGBT organizations.

OUT Florida will bring into a grassroots coalition a number of local and regional LGBT organizations.

A handful of local, state and regional LGBT organizations have come together to form a single coalition-level organization, according to The South Florida Blade.

The new coalition, Organizations United Together (OUT), “will act as a network of myriad local GLBT groups and allies to address equality issues throughout the state and attempt to bring increased visibility in communities where gay groups are lacking,” Blade journo Juan Carlos Rodriguez wrote.

The groups working to establish OUT include SAVE Dade, Palm Beach Human Rights Council and Sarasota Equality Project. Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy and lobbying organization, has not joined the effort.

Continue reading this post…

In my hometown paper’s weekly religion section last Saturday, an article profiling a Florida Campus Crusade leader noted the leader’s initiative to start an HIV/AIDS outreach group with a campus LGBT student organization:

Josh Spavin knows the stereotypes about evangelical Christians — judgmental, sanctimonious, narrow-minded. He may not buy into the image, but he knows how real — and damaging — it can be.

So that’s why Spavin, a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida and an intern with the university’s chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ International, wants to start an HIV/AIDS outreach with a campus gay-lesbian group.

“Because of the way they perceive us,” Spavin, 25 said. “What we wanted to do is find common ground where we can serve along side with them…. We don’t necessarily agree with their choices, because that’s not part of our faith, but we still love them.”

Spavin will be walking a thin line — one that separates Christian charity and anti-gay proselytizing. The article doesn’t interview anyone with a campus LGBT group, but I hope they are wise enough to put into place restrictions on how Campus Crusade can approach those LGBT people with HIV/AIDS. It’d be an awful sight to see the Crusaders take this opportunity to show gay and lesbian people “the evil of their ways.” The campus gay group certainly wouldn’t want to be known as the group that enabled it.

Despite my skepticism, I wish Spavin the best of luck. Maybe he will change something. Maybe he’ll learn real life lessons he’s never had the chance to know before.


Voices from the right: James Richardson founder, writer James Richardson founder, writer James Richardson

It seems as though every moderate political blog in the world has fallen in love with former RNC manager James Richardson. I’ll tell you a secret: I have, too.

Over at his, Richardson comes out in favor of adoption rights by gay parents. jumps in on the fray with some solid criticism, though.

But Richardson deserves some props, like the Yglesias Award bestowed by Andrew Sullivan.

Richardson says:

Joining Florida’s dubious ranks are Utah—a state settled largely for the Mormon Church’s non-conventional marriage practices (discontinued in 1890)—who bans unmarried straight or gay couples from adopting or fostering children, and Mississippi—a state with a less than sterling record in upholding the rights of minorities—who has legislation to ban gay couples, but not single gays, from adopting. What is it about gay couples like Frank Gill and his partner that are so toxic to children? Florida’s current listing of “adoptable” children includes 453 Boys, 274 Girls and 39 Sibling Groups – none of which can be adopted by gay men and women. Having the government (i.e. Katrina bunglers) raise the next generation of Americans seems much more preferential than a loving, stable home with, God forbid, two same-sex parents…

Hop over to Richardson’s blog for more.

And… As commenters on Richardson’s blog poured into to trot out the Folsom Street Fair as an argument against adoption by gay parents, Richardson tweeted: “As an argument against gay adoption, people keep pointing to the Folsom Street Fair debacle. Really, you need a better line of defense.” More props.

Oh, and… definitely more props for taking the gay compliments so well (just skip to the bottom of his post, lol). Gotta love the Southern boys in pink shirts!

A Florida doctor who has served on several non-profit and public boards and committees has written in a conservative blog site that the Massachusetts Department of Health should “reduce the number of gays.”

Speaking on a recently released Massachesetts study on the health disparities between LGB and straight people, Dr. Richard Swier states:

Reduce and eliminate health disparities? How about we eliminate gay, lesbian and bisexual behavior? Perhaps the Department of Health, Governor and Legislature should create strategies to reduce the number of gays, lesbians and bisexuals. That would solve this health crisis.

Swier is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel. He currently serves on the board of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and an advisory committee of the county school system. In the past, Swier has twice chaired the Sarasota Better Business Council and once sat on the board of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. He is the president of the Sarasota County Veterans Commission and was appointed chairman of the Sarasota National Cemetery Advisory Committee by Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan.