MSNBC Suspends Alec Baldwin Over Anti-Gay Slurs, Heat Is On Hate Speech Actor

Alec Baldwin is now feeling some heat over yelling the phrase

Cocksucking f*g

at a news reporter (not a paparazzi, there is a difference). Baldwin claims the noun beginning with F was

fathead

and that acoustic analysis will prove he used a self-reflective epithet. Anderson Cooper thinks Baldwin’s explanation is ridiculous and funny. MSNBC is taking the matter seriously, pulling Up Late with Alec Baldwin from their schedule for this week and next. (Not that it really matters, like who will notice? The show has lost 75,000 viewers since its debut last month–a 43% drop from its high of 175,000 watchers. Keeping him on may have boosted ratings, so yanking the program demonstrates MSNBC must really care). Let’s hope Baldwin finds the doors for a mea culpa PR tour closed to him until he does some real work on himself and for the LGBT community. How about volunteering at an LGBT homeless youth shelter and an HIV hospice for a few weeks and getting to know people who are directly impacted by the harsh words you use?

GLAAD’s Vice President of Communications, Rich Ferraro, responded to MSNBC’s decision:

Alec Baldwin still needs to take real action. MSNBC has sent a message that anti-gay slurs carry consequences, and that’s an important standard to uphold at a time when LGBT people continue to face disproportionate levels of bullying and violence just because of who they are.

Baldwin excused his actions on the MSNBC website, writing:

I would like to address the comments I made this past week.

I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have – and for that I am deeply sorry. Words are important. I understand that, and will choose mine with great care going forward. What I said and did this week, as I was trying to protect my family, was offensive and unacceptable. Behavior like this undermines hard-fought rights that I vigorously support. I understand “Up Late” will be taken off the schedule for tonight and next week.

I want to apologize to my loyal fans and to my colleagues at msnbc – both for my actions and for distracting from their good work. Again, please accept my apology.

Enough with the sorry, Alec.  Do something, something aside from revealing you have a gay hairdresser in tragically transparent

Look I have a gay friend

move (and  really if you tip well, is that person your real friend, or just a paid one?)  TMZ did a follow up interview with the hairdresser, Nick Berrios, and the video is worth watching to the end when Berrios is asked

if it’s ever OK for anyone to use the f-word.

The conflict faced by Baldwin’s paid friend is poignant.

Oddly, People for the American Way, who have in the past been vocal about transphobic remarks, haven’t said boo about Alec Baldwin’s homo-hating outburst. Hope it’s not because he’s a board member…

Financial and vocal support of marriage equality doesn’t give Alec Baldwin or anyone else the right or a free pass to use slurs whether in anger or in everyday conversation.  The support becomes lip service, donations tainted, the giver’s true colors revealed when words like

c*cksucking  f*

issue forth.

Meanwhile anti-bullying advocate and author Dan Savage had tweeted Thursday:

First Thing to Do November 1: Skip “Ender’s Game”

There are many reasons why I’m not going to see Ender’s Game. Orson Scott Card’s homophobia; I don’t care for science-fiction; Orson Scott Card advocates government overthrow; no actors I care about; Orson Scott Card plays the victim; there are way better movies opening and in theaters already; Orson Scott Card, as a producer stands to make money from Ender’s Game, and if the film does well, from subsequent sequels and merchandising.

KSL anchor and reporter Carole Mikita on the “Deseret News Sunday Edition” interviewed Card this past weekend, and the author went for the victim move with a neener-neenr combo:

The only reason I’m being attacked for it is because ‘Ender’s Game’ is coming out as a movie, so that was something that was going to get a lot of publicity for the people attacking. I’ve had no criticism…

I’ve had savage, lying, deceptive personal attacks, but no actual criticism because they’ve never addressed any of my actual ideas. Character assassination seems to be the only political method that is in use today, and I don’t play that game, and you can’t defend against it. All you can do is try to offer ideas, and for those who want to listen to ideas, great. For those who simply want to punish you for not falling in line with their dogmas, there’s really not much you can do about it…

Actually Card, who was on the National Organization for Marriage’s board of directors, wanted to punish people who didn’t fall in line with his dogma, and he has been personal in his attacks. Via The Daily Dot:

1990: Card argued that states should keep sodomy laws on the books in order to punish unruly gays–presumably implying that the fear of breaking the law ought to keep most gay men in the closet where they belonged.

2004:  He claimed that most homosexuals are the self-loathing victims of child abuse, who became gay “through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse.”

2008: Card published his most controversial anti-gay screed yet, in the Mormon Times, where he argued that gay marriage “marks the end of democracy in America,” that homosexuality was a “tragic genetic mixup,” and that allowing courts to redefine marriage was a slippery slope towards total homosexual political rule and the classifying of anyone who disagreed as “mentally ill.”

2009: He joined the board for anti-gay lobby The National Organization for Marriage, which was created to pass California’s notorious Proposition 8, banning gay marriage.

2012: He supported his home state North Carolina’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage by arguing that gay marriage “will be the bludgeon [The Left] use to make sure that it becomes illegal to teach traditional values in the schools.

And let’s not forget Card’s call to arms against the US Government:

Because when government is the enemy of marriage, then the people who are actually creating successful marriages have no choice but to change governments, by whatever means is made possible or necessary… Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.

But they key, in his interview, excerpted in the Deseret Times is this:

[The criticism] won’t affect my work. Will it affect the reception of my work? Of course, but not in ways that they expect. My sales go up with such attacks.

So let’s join in solidarity and be the allies we would want to have, supporting the LGBT community, especially those in states still working for marriage equality, by boycotting Ender’s Game, and prove Orson Scott Card wrong, as the sales figures for Ender’s Game tickets go down.

Elton John to Play Moscow: “I’m Doing It for Gay Russians”

Oh Elton, Elton.  I am so confused, but I just can’t quit you. Remember when his remark about being very happy with civil unions became a rallying cry for Prop 8 and anti-equality forces? Once there was a hue and cry about his naivety ignorance of basic facts, he came around and ended up playing an amazing concert as a fundraiser for AFER and becoming a spokesperson for marriage equality. Then he played Rush Limbaugh’s wedding for  huge fee. (I’d like to hope that he donated that fee to pro-equality groups as a puckish fuck you to the forces at the EIB, but I guess I’ll never know).

Elton John played Sun City  in South Africa during apartheid, and yes that was 30 years ago. He played Tel Aviv just three years ago saying:

Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That’s what we do. We don’t cherry-pick our conscience.

Oh?

Then Sir Elton thumbed his nose at China’s cultural politics by publicly dedicating his 2012 concert in Beijing to  to “the spirit and talent” of dissident artist Ai Weiwei,  prompting the Chinese culture minister, Cai Wu, to demand that only stars with university degrees be allowed to play in China. Sir Elton told the Guardian:

“Ten thousand people went ‘Eugh!’, but how could you not?. He’s become a friend, and what he’s suffered as an artist is unbelievable. During and after the show, my tour manager was interrogated for three hours, and what he said to them was true: I bought a beautiful Ai Weiwei piece, I was grateful and we’ve become friends. I didn’t feel in any danger.

Sir Elton adds a new item to his wish list: He’d like to go back to China and talk to the government about AIDS. According to the performer:

the country’s leading AIDS activist has claimed that the government’s estimate of 650,000 HIV cases is barely a 10th of the real figure.

Elton John wanted to play in front of the Pyramids of Giza, but claims be was banned because he is gay. And his very public gayness has ruffled feathers in other locales, the Guardian reports:

a church in Tobago organised a protest against his appearance there, while he received threats from an Islamic group when he played in Morocco.

So what about his proposed December concert date in Moscow?

Listen, I went to Russia in 1979 and I knew we were being watched all the time: I had an interpreter that they’d clearly set up. Actually, I ended up having sex with him on the roof of my hotel.  I’m supposed to be going to Moscow in December. I’ve got to go. And I’ve got to think about what I’m going to say very carefully. There’s two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go.

Elton John certainly flies in the face of Putin’s  ban on homosexual propaganda. He and longtime partner David Furnish united in a civil union ceremony in 2005, one of the first in Britain, and are planning weddings in Britain and in California now that it is legal to do so– and the couple has two children Zachary  and Elijah. In 2009 the Ukrainian government block Sir Elton’s adoption of an HIV+ baby, citing his age and single status; the Ukraine does not recognize same-sex unions.  Adoption officials had another point of view:

Albert Pavlov, head of the Happy Child foundation for orphaned and sick children in Zaporizhia, said he opposed adoption by gays, but called for removing age and marriage restrictions for adopters.

How will Putin and Russian government deal with Elton John, a venerable and flamboyant, visibly gay figure in pop music who refers to himself as the Queen Mother? Madonna and Lady Gaga  played St Petersburg and spoke out from the stage, violating, according to the Russian government, the terms of their visas.  Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to ban fans under 18 years old from Gaga’s concerts. Madonna and Gaga are post-modern hetero-normative, basically straight ladies who like teh gheys, have a platform to speak out, and do. Elton John is waaay more risky–he’s clearly queer and the very act of playing in Russia is pretty subversive/transgressive, especially given his outspokeness on  stage and off.

In July, 2103 Elton John was scheduled to play a concert in Krasnodar, Russia which caused great consternation.

Local party leader Mikhail Abramyan recommended that Elton don a knee-length kaftan, knee-high leather boots, and a fur hat for the July 14th gig.

He said: ‘It would be more respectable.  We have suggested it to the promoters and we hope he’ll wear it.’, according to Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

Despite calls from Krasnodar clergy to ban Sir Elton’s July 14th concert because the singer represents homosexual propaganda, no ban was issued. Rather the concert was postponed, then cancelled due to the singer’s illness.

Somehow I think, and maybe I am just an optimist, that Elton John playing Moscow is his attempt at activism, and is motivated by the desire to make a positive change, rather than to line his pockets. It will be interesting to see what bombshells, like that in China, he drops from the stage–maybe playing “All the Young Girls Love Alice”? And I wonder if Edward Snowden will be backstage! Now that would be a Facebook photo op!

HT: Back2Stonewall

Ender’s Game: GLSEN to Honor Lionsgate, Studio Behind Orson Scott Card Movie

 

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is honoring Lionsgate, the studio behind Ender’s Game at their annual $,1000/ticket  Respect Awards in October. Disgusting. It’s shameful that GLSEN would do this, and looks really bad especially since Lionsgate responded to GeeksOut’st call to skip Ender’s Game by saying:

Lionsgate will continue its longstanding commitment to the LGBT community by exploring new ways we can support LGBT causes and, as part of this ongoing process, will host a benefit premiere for Ender’s Game.

I see what you did there. Gross.

Along with giving an award to Lionsgate, the Respect fundraiser for GLSEN will also honor Jim Parsons, Sheldon from the tv show, Big Bang Theory and his husband, designer Todd Spiewak (the newlyweds just founded a production company, That’s Wonderful Productions, and they are actively looking for projects, ranging from TV and movies to plays); and award winning producer and writer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (she was responsible creating Designing Women and wrote and directed all three of Bill Clinton’s Democratic Convention films, including the iconic Man from Hope, as well as the 2008 Democratic Convention film for then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton).

The work done by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network is important and impressive. With 36 chapters in 23 states, GLSEN works to make sure that every member of every school community is valued and respected, regardless of sexual identity, gender identity or gender expression. So why the flying monkeys are they lauding Lionsgate this year with their Chairman’s Award? Because presumably Lionsgate can sell tickets and get their stars to show up. Think The Hunger Games franchise, The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn—Part 2, Now You See Me, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, Tyler Perry’s Temptation, Warm Bodies, Perks of Being A Wallflower, The Expendables 2, The Possession, Sinister, The Cabin in the Woods, Mud and Arbitrage–and that’s just movies. They also produce 28 television shows on 20 different network,s including iconic brands such as the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mad Men and recent hits such as Orange is the New Black, Anger Management and Nashville.

However, this year Lionsgate has stinky stench associated with it: Ender’s Game is based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, a homo-hatin’ card-carrying (ex?) board member of the National Organization for Marriage, and a staunch opponent of marriage equality who advocated for government overthrow should federal marriage equality be granted (now there’s a guy who needs an NSL!). Insiders suggest Card stands to make millions of dollars between the story rights, distribution rights, and his box office percentage through Lionsgate and their partner Summit Entertainment.

Julia Marella of Slate PR, a public relations firm based in Hollywood, CA, replied to Back2Stonewall’s query to GLSEN’s involvement with Lionsgate:

Lionsgate has a long and rich history of creating LGBT-inclusive and affirming films. The studio has also been an industry leader in ensuring workplace protections and benefits for LGBT people. When Lionsgate acquired Summit Entertainment last year, the company inherited its library of current projects, including Ender’s Game. Though GLSEN flatly rejects book author Orson Scott Card’s support for the discrimination of LGBT people, we stand behind Lionsgate’s similar rejection of Card’s personal beliefs and its long-standing commitment to support the LGBT community.

If GLSEN, which counts Kyra Sedgwick as a board member, wasn’t an organization involved with kids, I would use some very strong language about selling oneself. Interestingly, when Back2Stonewall contacted  GLSEN’s  press person, Andy Marra about Lionsgate, it was Slate Public Relations, one of the heaviest hitters in Hollywood that  responded, and Hollywood publicists are  not cheap, they start at about $4,500/month.  In the past, Slate handled the PR for the 2013 Tony Awards and the 2013 Emmys. Basically, if you buy a table (1oK) you’ll be covering the publicist’s fees.

Ender’s Game opens November 1. Patrick Yacco of Geeks Out emailed me about the Respect fundraiser, Lionsgate and Ender’s Game:

Until Lionsgate and their subsidiaries are more transparent about their production deal with homophobic activist Orson Scott Card for the rights to Ender’s Game, it’s difficult to see them as deserving of such an award.  Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that those details will ever be revealed, so I feel that LGBT fans have few options to support that film, and should skip it when it’s released later this year.

But for now, shame on GLSEN for accepting this obvious pinkwashing. Shame, shame shame!

H/T: Back2Stonewall

Ender’s Game: Orson Scott Card Gets Even Crazier, More Hateful

Orson Scott Card is the homo-hatin’ author of Ender’s Game who is also a producer of and presumably profit-taker from the eponymous film due out in November from Lions Gate.  He has proven himself to be an equal opportunist disliker of non-white people and a loony-toon nutter in this May 9, 2013 essay, originally published in something called The Rhinoceros Times. Card spins a paranoid (admitted) fantasy about Obama becoming a dictator, and at one point gets all sandy-pantied about

young out-of-work urban men

who he speculates will be recruited as Obama’s jackbooted personal militia:

Obama will put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against Obama’s enemies.

Instead of doing drive-by shootings in their own neighborhoods, these young thugs will do beatings and murders of people “trying to escape” — people who all seem to be leaders and members of groups that oppose Obama.

Card cloaks his racism and paranoia in speculation

 as a science fiction writer and a student of history

(because since he, like, studied history, he knows stuff) as he proceeds to spin what he calls a

a little thought experiment

involving Obama running Michelle Obama for President (one of his earlier columns in The Rhinoceros Times claimed that the First Lady’s appearance on the Oscars was a warm up for her 2016 run, so this is a recurring fear/theme for Card) so Barack Obama can stay in power forever as a Hitler-esque dictator who will put his young urban male troops in armored vehicles as they ride the streets enforcing Obama-laws against Obama-enemies.  Part of Obama’s power plan, according to Card:

Barack Obama needs to have a source of military power that is under his direct control. Like Hitler, he needs a powerful domestic army to terrify any opposition that might arise.

Obama called for a “national police force” in 2008, though he never gave a clue about why such a thing would be necessary. We have the National Guard. We have the armed forces. The FBI. The Secret Service. And all the local and state police forces.

Actually Obama called for a

civilian national security force that is just as strong and well funded…

and Salon points out the excerpt Card quotes was used by Obama

to describe how he’d “expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots,” “double the size of the Peace Corps,” and “grow our foreign service.” That was five years ago, and he actually failed to do it.

Orson Scott Card is a card-carrying, tin-foil-wearing wacko whose “speculation,” while unpleasantly crazy, is his to spew as he wishes. And his loathing of gays, anger over marriage equality, funding of NOM, and urgings to overthrow the United States government over marriage equality and liberal thought will be underwritten by any profits made from the film Ender’s Game, its merchandizing, and sequels. Card has written this following not as speculation:

Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Skip Ender’s Game.

H/T Back2Stonewall

Ender’s Game: Comic-Con Panel, Filmmakers Discuss LGBT Issue: Basically “Please Don’t Boycott”

 

Last week, Orson Scott Card, a National Organization for Marriage board member and author of the popular Ender’s Game series, said his views on marriage were

moot

because of the DOMA repeal. He said this because Geeks OUT! called for a boycott of the film version of his book. Card is one of the film’s producers. Producers stand to make money if the film is profitable. As a Mormon, Card tithes at least 10% of his income to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which actively opposes, and has repeatedly campaigned against, marriage equality.

Oh, and Card wrote in 2008 about marriage equality:

What these dictator-judges do not seem to understand is that their authority extends only as far as people choose to obey them.

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn. [emphasis mine]

So really, this guy is a homo-hatin’ seditionist. That’s a good reason not to give him money at the box office!

Lionsgate, the studio behind Ender’s Game, has tried to buy off the boycott by offering to have a premier party and donate the proceeds to a worthy cause (uh, they’d be having a premier anyway). So far, wisely, no LGBT org has stepped up to take the offer. At Comic-Con, the mega-geek fest where all good (and some bad) sci-fi films go for boosting, Summit, the film’s distributor, staged a mega presentation planned long before the Card controversy raised its ugly, bigoted head. Another of the film’s producers, Robert Orci was on the panel, as was director Gavin Hood. According to Variety:

When brought up during a Q&A session during Summit’s Comic-Con presentation for the film, Orci said, “The truth is you never want to court controversy, but we decided to use the attention on us to support Lionsgate’s statement of support of LGBT rights. So rather than shy away, we are happy to embrace it and use the spotlight to say we support LGBT rights.”

Hood backed up the producer, saying that the film has themes of “compassion” and “empathy” “and I hope I’ve delivered that” to the 6,000 filling the San Diego Convention Center’s massive Hall H.

In other words:

Please come see our movie even though some of the ticket price will go to support a guy who hates gays and wants to overthrow the government because marriage equality is now federal law.

Wayback Machine: Obama Supported Gay Marriage in 1996

feb-08-2007-vid00075_1.thumbnail.jpgIn 1996, while the tormented post-teens of Beverly Hills 90210 were dealing with secondary characters like Joni and her stripper daughter Lily and Tara-the-psycho-Kelli-wanna-be, Barack Obama was running for Illinois state senator.

As part of his campaign, he answered  a questionnaire for a Chicago gay and lesbian newspaper Outlines (now merged with the Windy City Times) and another for IMPACT which was then “Chicago’s main GLBT political action committee.”

His responses, part of  1996 article were never challenged or corrected by Obama. The original questionaires were recently uncovered by editor-in-chief Tracy Baim while she was going through some old boxes of papers. Eureka!

In his typed answers to the Outlines questionnaire, Obama clearly stated he was in favor of same-sex marriage, which he has since opposed on the public record during both his U.S. senate run and his campaign for president:

I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.

At the same time, Obama completed another questionnaire for IMPACT which discussed a pending same-sex marriage resolution. Obama, in his own handwriting, wrote:

I would support such a resolution.

In 2004 during his bid for the U.S. Senate, Obama sat down with Tracy Baim at Windy City Times for an interview. Here are some excerpts:

WCT: But you think, strategically, gay marriage isn’t going to happen so you won’t support it at this time?

Obama: What I’m saying is that strategically, I think we can get civil unions passed. I think we can get SB 101 passed. I think that to the extent that we can get the rights, I’m less concerned about the name. And I think that is my No. 1 priority, is an environment in which the Republicans are going to use a particular language that has all sorts of connotations in the broader culture as a wedge issue, to prevent us moving forward, in securing those rights, then I don’t want to play their game.

But as Baim points out in this weeks’ cover story about the questionnaires and interviews:

civil unions are not “marriage” unless 100 percent of the benefits are the same across all states and the federal government.

In the 2004 interview, Obama also comes out against a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage, saying:

I would oppose that.

Which gives hope that DOMA will be repealed–if it can get through the House and Senate.

[H/T Ben Smith at Politico]

Hey, Mr. President, America Has Some Ideas!

eleggua.thumbnail.jpgSo there’s this great thing on change.gov called the President’s Briefing Book, where real folks can write up an idea which gets voted on, and the most popular ideas will be brought to Obama.  Lots of them are really good, and show the wide range of concerns held by the American people from light rail transportation to the Employee Free Choice Act.

 There are a lot of things I’d like to see implemented in this country, a lot changes made, and from reading what I write you pretty much know that marriage equality is a huge issue for me, and there are several suggestions in the briefing book including the repeal of  DOMA. I voted on ideas important to me and then I…uh, wrote up one myself.

Rather than be redundant and draw away from the many articulate ideas I share with others who had posted their  (far less typo-ridden) thoughts, I wrote something new something I hadn’t really gone into before, which like Civil Marriage Equality, won’t cost the government very much money, won’t raise taxes and will benefit millions of citizens: Opening scientific medical research exchange with Cuba. I know it’s a tiny weird idea, but Cuba’s CIM, the Center of Molecular Immunology, has made some amazing strides in immunology research projects  focused on cancer immunotherapy, especially the development of molecular vaccines. Yeah, cancer vaccines.

In the United States cancer is the second leading cause of death, with some half a million people dying every year from that disease. Cancer knows no political boundaries, the immune system is not a political entity, and scientific research–like art–is both inspiration and hard work.

But in 2003 the  Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") established a regulation stating that publishing works–articles, short stories, research papers–from Cuba, Libya, Sudan and Iran was in violation of the embargos imposed on those countries, and required a license in order to publish anything from poetry to scientific articles. Those who did not comply with the regulation could have been fined up to $50,000 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A group of publishers and editors quickly filed suit and the matter was thankfully resolved in 2007. Now I’d like to see that embargo further lifted to allow scientists from the US and Cuba to  inspire and work together in laboratories.

Opening the door for Cuban researchers to work with their American compatriots in the field of immunology allows for the exchange of ideas and information that can help speed cures and vaccines, not only for cancer, but for diabetes, hepatitis C, diabetes, allergies and HIV/AIDS. Unlocking the secrets of the immune system can lead to lowered health care costs; better, cheaper drugs in the pipeline; and and overall growth of scientific research. And yes, an end to cancer and other immune system disorders.

 So have fun in the Briefing Book, write up your own ideas, vote for what’s important to you and enjoy this new way of making our thoughts and concerns known to our new administration.

New Mexico’s Proposed Domestic Partnership Law Raises Issues

new-mexico-1.thumbnail.pngNew Mexico–one of five states that does not have laws or a constitution that defines marriage–also has no domestic partnership law. Domestic partnership bills have passed the House of Representatives three times in the past, and two years ago, the Senate came within one vote of passing the bill.

Conservative Republican Sen. Bill Sharer said in a recent legislative session he tried to craft a bill with language that

would have given couples who live together — including homosexual couples — virtually all the rights that married couples have, including hospital visits, inheritance rights and other legal and financial rights.

But Sharer’s legislation would have also defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, something which gay rights advocates protested. That bill died.

Now the Democratic chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Cisco McSorley, has introduced new legislation minus the definition of marriage, and is "optimistic" it will pass, telling the Santa Fe New Mexican:

It has a great chance of passing. There’s a lot of new legislators who are for it who have replaced legislators who were against it.

Sharer though sees the McSorley’s legislation as a way to open the door to civil marriage equality:

Supreme courts in California and Connecticut ruled that banning gay marriage was unconstitutional

adding that those decisions were based on domestic partnership laws, and predicting a battle over the proposed legislation. Supporters of the new bill deny trying to use domestic partnership as a gateway to civil marriage equality. Explains McSorley:

There’s lots of people in New Mexico who need, for whatever reason, to live together and share finances. This bill provides a device, virtually free, to allow couples to share financial and legal responsibilities.

And how do those affected feel about it? In an interview with the New Mexican, Linda Siegle, a lobbyist with Equality New Mexico, emphasized that McSorley’s bill is not a marriage bill, and allowing legal domestic partnership arrangements still is a "separate and unequal" situation for same-sex couples. The federal government does not recognize a domestic partner relationship as a married couple and 1130 federal rights granted married couples are denied to those in domestic partnerships.

But a domestic partnership law would be far better than the status quo.

Which right now is nothing.

Imagine: John Lennon Speaks From Beyond the Grave for One Laptop Per Child

Okay this is sorta creepy: John Lennon, who was shot and killed 28 years ago, has been resurrected to speak out for the first time since his death. And the subject: One Laptop per Child, a campaign to deliver solar-powered XO laptop computers to the world’s poorest children (no word yet whether internet accessibility will be filtered). The ad which digitally synthesized Lennon’s voice and face, was approved by Yoko Ono.

The reconstituted Lennon, whose image is seen briefly speaking, says:

Imagine every child no matter where in the world they were could access a universe of knowledge. They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want. I tried to do it through my music, but now you can do it in a very different way. You can give a child a laptop and more than imagine, you can change the world .

A spinoff from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the One Laptop per Child Foundation started producing the XO laptop late last year at a manufacturing cost per machine of less than $200.  They’d like folks to donate to provide kids everywhere with a computer. Which is real nice, except potable water, food and vaccines are a more pressing concern for kids in under-developed and developing nations.

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