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Archives – February, 2010

Beverly Hills Says No to “Miss Beverly Hills”

by Brian Leubitz

A couple of days ago, I mentioned “Miss Beverly Hills,” Lauren Ashley. Ms. Ashley is something of a Carrie Prejean wannabe. By talking trash about what she heard told about what the Bible says (but doesn’t actually say), she gets some press time.

And that’s really what this is all about. She saw that Carrie Prejean was able to parlay her ignorance into fifteen minutes of fame, so why not double down? And if you can say you are from Los Angeles, or better yet from Beverly Hills? Well, that should just make the press oogle over you more. And, to an extent, she was right.

Except, well, she’s not from Beverly Hills; she lives in Pasadena. She just kind of took that moniker because it was available and sounds oh so fancy. However, there isn’t actually a beauty pageant for Beverly Hills, and the participants in the pageant get to choose their own locations. And the city of Beverly Hills would rather she not be associated with their simple town.

In a statement Wednesday, the city said it was “shocked” by Ashley’s description of herself as “Miss Beverly Hills.” The city “does not sponsor a beauty pageant and has no association with Miss California USA,” the statement said. “As such, there should be no individual claiming the title of Miss Beverly Hills.”
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To Beverly Hills Mayor Nancy Krasne, those were fighting words. “We are dismayed by any potential association with the city of Beverly Hills, which has a long history of tolerance and respect,” Krasne said. (LA Times)

It’s easy to make a name for yourself these days, just say something outrageous and/or controversial. You can turn yourself from an obscure beauty pageant contestant into a right wing cause celebre in no time. But for this story, even the media sees right through the story. But, when it comes down to it, the world will move on to some other Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan wannabe in no time, and Ms. Ashley will be left carrying the bitter mark of intolerance that is left by her misguided Biblical interpretation.

112 Comments February 25, 2010

Don’t Lie, Don’t Misinform

By Julia Rosen

The right is incredibly effective at spreading lies and distortions in an attempt to stop change and reform. That’s why it is crucial that the truth gets out about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, especially when we have seen the enormous damage done to attempts at reforming health care, the banking industry and many more. The Courage Campaign proudly signed on to a letter and a great piece of research from Media Matters debunking a number of myths that the right is spreading in an attempt to stop the repeal of DADT.

The letter is below the fold, and was also signed by AMERICAblog’s John Aravosis, GLAAD’s Jarrett T. Barrios, Human Rights Campaign’s Joe Solmonese, Knights Out’s Becky Kanis, Media Matters’ President Eric Burns, National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Kate Kendall, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Rea Carey, National Security Network’s Heather Hurlburt, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network’s Aubrey Sarvis, Servicemembers United’s Alex Nicholson, Truman National Security Project’s Rachel Kleinfeld, VoteVets’ Jon Soltz, and last but not least our friend and yours, Lt. Dan Choi, US Army Infantry Officer and Arabic Linguist. It’s not all that often that all of these folks sign on to the same letter and it is a testament to the excellent resource produced by Media Matters and importance of pushback on the lies.

Here are a few of the myths and links to sources that debunk the claims. I urge all of you to help spread around the accurate information whenever you see someone making an inaccurate statement about DADT.

MYTH: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is working

REALITY: Over 13,500 service members reportedly fired under law, including decorated officers and those in “critical occupations.”

MYTH: Repeal would undermine morale and unit cohesion

REALITY: Unit cohesion argument “not supported by any scientific studies.”

MYTH: Military experts oppose the repeal of DADT

REALITY: More than 100 retired generals and admirals have called for DADT’s repeal.

MYTH: The public does not support repeal of DADT

REALITY: Numerous polls find broad support for gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military

MYTH: Right-wing attacks on DADT repeal are not anti-gay

REALITY: Prominent right-wing figures opposing repeal have a history of anti-gay rhetoric.

MYTH: DADT repeal would adversely affect retention

REALITY: Myth defies experiences of several other countries that have allowed gay men and lesbians to serve openly.

MYTH: Experience of other nations aren’t relevant because “nobody counts on” their armies

REALITY: Several nations have fought in wars after allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly.

MYTH: Only progressives support the repeal of DADT

REALITY: Polls show support for repeal of DADT among many Republicans, conservatives.

MYTH: DADT repeal would expose servicemembers to greater HIV risk

REALITY: Military regulations and procedures already exist to prevent the spread of HIV.


85 Comments February 24, 2010

Same Ol’

by Brian Leubitz

Marriage equality is important, and for that reason it has sort of glommed up the spotlight for the so-called gay agenda.  Yet, if it wasn’t clear that there are other issues remaining, it should be abundantly clear after figure skater Johnny Weir’s performance.

During coverage of the men’s figure skating competition last week, Mailhot asked Goldberg if he thought that Weir, who came in sixth, lost points because of his costume — a low-cut, pink-and-black outfit with ruffles — and his body language.

Goldberg replied that Weir was setting a “bad example” for other male skaters. “They’ll think all the boys who skate will end up like him,” he said.

The pair also wisecracked that Weir should undergo gender testing and should compete in women’s events. (Xtra)

Now, I can’t say that I’m a figure skating expert, but from having seen a photo of the costume, it’s hardly that shocking. It’s black and has some pink accents. Outrageous! But, apparently that’s enough for some announcers to throw out homophobic remarks.

The fact is that nobody, no figure skater, no hockey player, not even Ted Haggard, should be forced to conform to somebody’s sensibilities for what it means to be masculine or feminine, straight or gay.

Unfortunately, from all corners of the globe, we saw insensitive and ridiculous comments just like this. While it is great that we are moving forward on marriage equality, we must also continue to move forward on breaking down stereotypes and the associated bigotry.

89 Comments February 24, 2010

Trial Reenactment: Day 2 Episode 5

By Julia Rosen

The last episode from Day 2 of the trial from is up and ready for your views.

Please do use this as an open thread to chatter amongst yourselves.

48 Comments February 23, 2010

Ooh, Look, A Carrie Prejean Wannabe

by Brian Leubitz

As if one Carrie Prejean wasn’t enough, now we have another wannabe:

Miss Beverly Hills 2010 Lauren Ashley is also speaking out in support of traditional nuptials.

“The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. In Leviticus it says, ‘If man lies with mankind as he would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them.’ The Bible is pretty black and white,” Ashley told Pop Tarts.

“I feel like God himself created mankind and he loves everyone, and he has the best for everyone. If he says that having sex with someone of your same gender is going to bring death upon you, that’s a pretty stern warning, and he knows more than we do about life.” (Fox)

First, let’s point out that Ms. Ashley is missing a lot of the context of the Leviticus section in question. Here’s a snippet from Liberated Christians:

Leviticus does not say that a man to lie with man is wrong or a sin. Rather, it is a ritual violation, an uncleanness ; it is something dirty ritualistically, just as was eating shellfish, mixing fibers etc. Lev 18 is to distinguish the Jews from the pagans among whom they had been living, or would live. The prohibition of supposedly homosexual acts follows immediately upon a prohibition of idolatrous sexuality (the female temple prostitutes worshipping the pagan fertility gods) (often mistranslated fornication but a obvious mistranslation in the proper context).(Liberated Christians)

I highly recommend that Lauren takes a look at the Liberated Christians website on the subject, there’s a lot of background information in there, including context regarding translations from Hebrew to Greek to English. it’s actually quite interesting, no matter what your faith background is.

But the bottom line is that the Leviticus simply does not say that sex with someone of the same gender will “bring death upon you.” That is nowhere in the section of Leviticus that she is referring to, and frankly, nowhere in the Bible at all.

This isn’t about the Bible. This is about one woman’s bigotry, and the garbage that she has apparently been fed.  And sorry, the “I have gay friends” line which she uses later in the article just doesn’t work. It never did, particularly when you don’t even bother to get the facts straight from where you pull your bigotry.

149 Comments February 23, 2010

Asking and Telling: Lieberman and the DADT repeal

By Julia Rosen

Get ready for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to be all over the media starting tomorrow. The Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator Levin will bring the heads of all four branches of the military to testify about DADT on Tuesday and Thursday. It is some will be in favor of repeal more than others. One of the big questions is just how strongly Gen. James Conway, head of the Marines, will oppose changing the policy. He is known widely as not being in favor of change to DADT. The Republicans have been looking forward to getting him on the stand.

Meanwhile, it appears that Senator Leiberman will be the lead Senator introducing repeal legislation in the Senate. The Advocate:

In a statement released by his office, Lieberman said, “I will be proud to be a sponsor of the important effort to enable patriotic gay Americans to defend our national security and our founding values of freedom and opportunity. I have opposed the current policy of preventing gay Americans from openly serving in the military since its enactment in 1993. To exclude one group of Americans from serving in the armed forces is contrary to our fundamental principles as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and weakens our defenses by denying our military the service of a large group of Americans who can help our cause. I am grateful for the leadership of President Obama to repeal the policy and the support of Secretary Gates and Chief of Staff Admiral Mullen.”

No specific details on the legislation have been released. The big question is the timeline and just how aggressive Lieberman will be in pushing to get legislation passed this year. There are secondary questions about just how this gets through Congress.

Nicholson said the stand-alone bill could also be incorporated into the Department of Defense authorization bill, also known as the National Defense Authorization Act, while the funding bill is still in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Repeal advocates generally agree that ideally a repeal measure would be included in the original draft of the NDAA — or the “chairman’s mark” — before it comes out of committee, as opposed to either trying to add an amendment to the defense funding bill later or passing free-standing repeal legislation.

“It’s of course possible for a stand-alone bill to be inserted into the chairman’s mark of the NDAA, and we hope that will be the next step because I think that’s safest option for getting ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repealed in 2010,” Nicholson said.

Got all that? The stand-alone bill would be the legislation that Lieberman will introduce and work to whip his fellow Senators to become co-sponsors. The reality is that it’s much easier to get repeal passed if it becomes part of a larger “must pass bill” like the defense authorization bill. That’s how hate crimes legislation got passed last year. Generally speaking, the earlier it gets attached to the authorization bill, the easier that path is (ie. needs less votes).

So, if this bill has a date-certain for repeal and gets added as a “chairman’s mark” in the Armed Services Committee, that Levin chairs that is the easiest path for passage.

Stay tuned this week as this story develops. There are a lot of unknowns right now. We should know a lot more by the end of the week than we do now.

163 Comments February 22, 2010

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