Another State Added to the List: New York Votes for Marriage Equality

Tonight is another good night.  After a long week of expectations and delays, the New York Senate voted to approve same-sex marriage by a vote of 33-29.  In the Republican-controlled senate, four of those voting in favor of passage were of the majority party. 

After frequent internet checks all week, I started out the night checking tweets from various bloggers, but then went downstairs to try to find something on TV.  CNN was doing Piers Morgan re-runs, but when 8 o’clock hit, I switched of to see what Rachel Maddow was doing on MSNBC.  Of course, everyone is totally focused on the murder case in Florida, but after a bit, Rachel got off of that and started live coverage from Albany, New York.  At that point a couple of Republican senators who had previously not been committed either way gave speeches saying that they were going to vote in favor of the bill.  Then after a few delays in the procedures, the final votes were read and it was a done deal!

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who really pushed for marriage equality, will now need to sign the bill into law, after that, a 30-day wait, and the state of New York will begin executing same-sex marriage certificates.  Another good thing is that anyone can get married in New York, not just residents!

With New York now joining the states of Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, not to mention the District of Colombia, we are starting to see the old prejudices and discrimination starting to chip away.

Update:  Gov. Cuomo signed the bill into law before I had even finished my original post.  Congratulations to all those who worked so very hard to get this passed!

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“Did you learn to be a bigot or were you just born that way?”–One of the Best Lines from the Speeches at the National Equality March in Washington

The crowds at the National Equality March in Washington, D.C.

The crowds at the National Equality March in Washington, D.C.

I wish I could give credit for the quote in the title for this post, but it was given by one of the speakers at the National Equality March for LGBT rights, that’s taking place today in Washington, D.C.  Between checking out the NFL scores, I couldn’t find anything on CNN or MSNBC that showed the event.  Then with a mistaken click, there it was, right on C-Span.

I think going to the march would have been a great experience, but like so many other people, the cost of time and money just seemed too prohibitive.  Watching the speakers, though, on TV has been heart-stirring.  When I clicked on C-Span, actress Cynthia Nixon was speaking, and she, in turn, introduced, Judy Shepard, mother of murdered Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard.  A number of lesser-known local and state officials were just as inspiring, especially an openly-gay state senator from Utah.  (I’ll have find out more about him later.)  Lt. Dan Choi, the Arab linguist, who was kicked out of the Army because of DADT, and Lady Gaga, the pop diva, exemplify the range and demeanor of the speakers, but both demanding that President Obama take action on his promises.

Lt. Dan Choi, Army Arab linguist, who was kicked out of the military because of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Lt. Dan Choi, Army Arab linguist, who was kicked out of the military because of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Maybe watching from my comfortable sofa isn’t the same as being part of the multitudes of participants there in D.C., but still I could feel the emotion of the event.  It gives me hope that change will happen.  But just like what people are asking of Obama, there has to be action, not just words.

Pop singer, Lady Gaga, speaking at the National Equality March and asking President Obama to take action.

Pop singer, Lady Gaga, speaking at the National Equality March and asking President Obama to take action.

I’m starting by writing to my conservative congressman.  It may not be worth it; I’ve done it before, and somehow his people now think I’m a republican.

Ahmadinejad and Chavez: A Love Feast of Dictators, and Don’t Forget the Hezbollah Appetizers

"Meet me behind the hotel at 11 o'clock, and we'll see what other conniving we can do."

"Meet me behind the hotel at 11 o'clock, and we'll see what other conniving we can do."

Knowing a second language has a lot of benefits, and for far too long, most Americans have stuck their heads in the sand and thought because they know English, they have an advantage and don’t have to learn another language.  However, being fluent in two or more languages opens up so much more of the world.

Personally, I read a number of foreign language sites every day; some are news sites and some focus on some topic or interest that I have.

Usually at night time, I check abc.es, an online news site from Spain.  That way I can see what is happening in the world, usually before sites like cnn.com or msnbc.com pick it up.  Reading the news out of another country also gives a different perspective and often there is news that isn’t even highlighted by the U.S. media.

Such was the case in an article I read last night: Arranca la gira de Lieberman para frenar la expansión de Irán en América Latina, which tells about Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s 10-day visit to Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Colombia.  (Read a similar AP article in English.)

What I didn’t realize before reading the article, but have since corroborated through other sources is how much influence Iran and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, which Iran backs, have in Latin America.  Apparently, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have become BFFs and anyone who has been paying attention knows that both of these guys have found ways to manipulate the systems of their countries in order to stay in power. Hezbollah, for its part, because of connections with Lebanese immigrants to countries like Venezuela, seems to have gotten involved in that old Latin American standby–kidnapping; and not unlike other rebel/narco-terrorist groups (i. e. FARC in Colombia), uses the ransom money extorted from victims’ families as a way of supporting itself.  (Check out this in-depth article for more details.)

Chavez and Ahmadinejad negotiated a number of deals, and it’s not difficult for those who keep up with current events to see what is going on.  Chavez already has his emulators in office in several of the Latin American countries, the latest being Zelaya from Honduras.  And although there are those who are decrying the coup that pushed him out of the country as being un-democratic, what Zelaya was doing was trying to circumvent his own country’s constitution in order to allow himself to stay in office longer, nothing different than what Chavez did a few years back.  These guys don’t really want democracy built upon a long-standing constitution; they want to create their own “democracy”, which in effect validates their dictatorship. 

As for Ahmadinejad, anyone who is not aware of the corruption in the last election in Iran is walking around with blinders on, but what goes for democracy in Iran is only pretense anyway; there is no democracy when a malevolent theocracy is in place.

As citizens of this world, we need to remain informed, as having as much information as we can is a big part of maintaining our freedom and a way to make decisions about who we support or don’t support as leaders in our own countries.  And with the Internet, we also have the ability to access many sources besides our daily print newspaper.  Of course, we must also be able to judge the veracity of these sources and extricate the biases inherent in them.

Lest you think I have some kind of slant here based on religion or otherwise, let me say, “I don’t”.  From my own personal viewpoint, I see that these guys are bad guys, bad guys who want to have power and control over millions of peoples’ lives.  And, yes, the U.S. government doesn’t like these guys either, but in reality, they are not so different from Pinochet or Marcos, whom the Reagan and Thatcher governments supported only 20-some years ago.

A dictator is a dictator is a dictator and they are like noxious weeds in the gardens of this planet.

I Want My Gay TV (Part IV)

The Maury Povich Show helps quench the thrst for personal dirt.

The Maury Povich Show helps quench the thirst for personal dirt.

I had a chance last week to watch some daytime TV. I like to get my dose of the “judge” shows every once in a while; then I’m good until my next time off comes along. Even a few of the “DNA-who’s the daddy” Maury Povich Shows can glue me to the sofa for a bit.

The daytime talk shows, though, do nothing for me. Years ago Oprah might have been OK, but in that time slot, I will take Judge Judy over Oprah with or without the exclamation point.

Last Friday, my flipper finger did pause a bit and left The Ellen Degeneres Show stay on for a moment. As I said, I’m not really into daytime talk shows, not even Ellen. She’s funny as a comedian, but her talk show, even the dancing, doesn’t make me want to watch. I really haven’t seen her for maybe six months, so what has happened to her look? Why is she wearing all that makeup? Actually, she looks like Twiggy’s twin–today’s Twiggy, not the young Twiggy of the 1960s. All that makeup and pixie haircut on Ellen just doesn’t fit her personality. And it makes her look old.

Is somebody telling these high-profile lesbians that they need to “priss up”? I mean everybody knows Ellen Degeneres is not the lipstick lesbian in that family; her other half is Portia de Rossi after all!

And just now I was watching MSNBC, and there was another “not a lipstick lesbian” Rachel Maddow with her eyes all mascaraed up, cheeks blushed out, and lips over-evident with gloss. I watched The Rachel Maddow Show just last week and her makeup wasn’t shouting out through the TV screen.

I have nothing against makeup, but it needs to be done right and be appropriate for the person. I don’t see that with Ellen and Rachel.

Greek comes on at 7 PM on ABC Family.

Greek comes on at 7 PM on ABC Family.

Monday night two of my favorite shows are on; unfortunately, they start at the same time. The Big Bang Theory on CBS has become absolutely my favorite half-hour comedy show. I suppose there’s something in me that can identify with all of the “nerdliness”. Greek starts at 7 PM (CDT) also, but is an hour-long show focusing on college life, not so much on the study side, but more on the party/relationship side. In Greek on ABC Family, Calvin (played by Paul James, is an out gay fraternity brother, but so far this season, the story lines have given little focus to him. Loyal viewers have been left waiting for any kind of relationship for Calvin to begin.

When it comes to relationships, this past Sunday’s episode of my favorite show, Brothers and Sisters over on ABC had almost all of the romantic relationships ripping apart. The most stable relationship is that of Scotty (Luke MacFarlane) and Kevin (Matthew Rhys), despite last week’s reappearance of Kevin’s hot, ex-boyfriend Chad (Jason Lewis) and the big lip-smacker that he laid on Kevin on their encounter in the street. Actually, there are so many loose ends in the show that it makes one wonder how many of them will be tied up before the season finale, or whether we’ll be left hanging on many fronts over the summer.

Will Chad cause some kind of trouble in Kevin and Scotty's relationship?  (Jason Lewis and Matthew Rhys of ABC's Brothers and Sisters)

Will Chad cause some kind of trouble in Kevin and Scotty's relationship? (Jason Lewis and Matthew Rhys of ABC's Brothers and Sisters)

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(Also check out “I Want My Gay TV” Part I, Part II, and Part III.)