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CA Assembly Speaker John A. Perez: It Gets Better


Cross posted at LGBT POV

By Karen Ocamb

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez is the third most powerful public official in California. And as an openly gay man, he has been deeply moved by the rash of gay teen suicides – and the knowledge of how stressful the holidays can be. Perez came out to his family during Thanksgiving and in this video, he shares how difficult – and ultimately rewarding – that experience was. “From the moment you free yourself from the closet, it gets better,” Perez says. Please watch. And Happy Thanksgiving.


  • 1. Sarah  |  November 28, 2010 at 10:41 am

    I love a good coming out story! It is so true that this can be a hard time for closeted people, with all of the family time that the holidays bring. Perhaps this campaign will help some people through this.

  • 2. Sarah  |  November 28, 2010 at 10:42 am

    ooOOoh, I was first! 🙂 Usually somebody else pops in there by the time I hit post.

  • 3. Kathleen  |  November 28, 2010 at 10:43 am

  • 4. JonT  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:14 am

  • 5. Ann S.  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:57 am


  • 6. RebeccaRGB  |  November 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm

  • 7. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:23 am

  • 8. grod  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:02 am

    @ Kathleen Briefly off topic
    By tomorrow, the names of the Appeal judges will be known, will it not. How does that news come to us? Could the particular selection make a difference?

  • 9. Kathleen  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Yes, we'll know which judges were assigned to the case tomorrow. The names will be listed on the calendar, which will be available here:

    I suppose the selection could make a difference. Though, in general, I like to think that judges make decisions based on the case in front of them, not personal ideologies. And this is a strong case.

  • 10. Ed Cortes  |  November 29, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Is this it then?

    Mon. 6 10:00 a.m. Courtroom 1, 3rd Floor <note starting time
    10-16696) Perry v. Schwarzenegger Rights N.Cal

  • 11. anonygrl  |  November 29, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Yep, that seems to be them.

  • 12. Ronnie  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:02 am



  • 13. Ronnie  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:04 am

    maybe I should check the box before I hit post comment?…lol….<3…Ronnie

  • 14. gunshowsigns  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:14 am

    You folks are so full of crap! Walker says not enough info? On What the world dying of AIDS. This moron cannot even use google to search the internet of the number of dying of AID's care of the SF gays that started the world epidemic. Then Hollywood fakes the election bring down the CA Sec of State website because the CA returns were following the rest of the country then Steve Cooley started losing after he declared victory. You dems have been faking elections since FL and beyond to LBJ's fake victory. Who are you fooling? Even down here in West Pasadena where dems ALWAYS fake elections Arnold terminator was suppose to vote electronic at the Jackie Robinson Center during the guvs special election. WHAT A FAKE ELECTION AND A THE ORIGINAL FAKE GAY MARRIAGE RULING BY THE CA SUPREMES REDEFINING MARRIAGE! You are full of crap!

  • 15. Ronnie  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

    No that would be you, you benighted un-American troll… : / …Ronnie

  • 16. atty79  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:39 am

    It's obvious from your post that you are angry. I can't help that. But I can correct you on a few misconceptions you seem to carry. First, the fight to overturn Proposition 8 for its illegality is not a democratic or republican issue. It's an American issue. I'm a republican (libertarian leaning). When you use "you dems", you run with the assumption that everyone on this site is a democrat. That's not true.

    Second, AIDs is a human disease, not a gay disease. Millions of straight people are infected. You do their suffering injustice by forgetting that they exist.

    Last, you obviously haven't read Walker's opinion. If you did, you wouldn't see his opinion as a failure to run a Google search. In fact, you would see it as quite the opposite. I suggest you take a breath. Prove that you are not the moron you allude to, do a Google search, find the opinion, and read it.

  • 17. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 28, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    A hearty "Hear, hear!" from an unenrolled (i.e., independent) voter.

  • 18. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 28, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Come on, gunshowsigns, everyone knows The Pentaverate controls everything.

  • 19. Sagesse  |  November 28, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Dan Savage did a good thing when he started this program.

  • 20. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    This is simply one of the best ones I've seen from an elected official. It's a critical message: the more we accept people for who they are, it becomes harder and harder it becomes to treat them differently under the law.

    I'll be honest, by modern standards I'm a pretty prudish person, so Dan Savage's sex advice columns usually make me cringe. But…he's done something amazing with the It Gets Better Project. If you're a fan of This American Life, his recollections of adopting a son with his partner (later husband) and about coming out to his parents are very much worth a listen.

  • 21. thoughtful  |  November 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I like this fight. It's a good one and it gets my money. Hang in there all you gay folks. It WILL get better. Maybe not in your lifetimes, but it WILL happen. It's inevitable. The homophobes will eventually be thought of no differently than any other nasty bronze age bigots. They already are by most people with at a functioning heart.

  • 22. anonygrl  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Thanks. 🙂

  • 23. Richard A. Jernigan  |  November 28, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Yes, it does get better. However, let us not forget that coming out is not a one-time event, but a lifetime process. And it is a process that is not only beneficial to us as LGBT people, but also to those we come out to, and it gives us a chance to educate them on the importance of so many human rights issues.

  • 24. anonygrl  |  November 29, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Well said, thank you Richard.

  • 25. anonygrl  |  November 29, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Looks like the judges have been announced…

    Mon. 6 10:00 a.m. Courtroom 1, 3rd Floor
    10-16696 Perry v. Schwarzenegger

  • 26. Kate  |  November 29, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Waiting impatiently for Kathleen's take on these judges….

  • 27. Kathleen  |  November 29, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Welcome back, Kate!

  • 28. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  November 30, 2010 at 12:59 am

    Ditto! How are you feeling Kate? The trip was lovely I imagine but could be tiring as well… Love, Gregory

  • 29. Ann S.  |  November 29, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Judgepedia on Stephen Reinhardt:

    He joined the Court in 1980 after being nominated by President Jimmy Carter.

    Judge Reinhardt, on November 18, 2009, ruled in favor of the federal government in regards to a gay couple having their spousal health care benefits denied.

    Judgepedia on Michael Hawkins

    He joined the court in 1994 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.

    Hawkins graduated from Arizona State with his Bachelor's Degree in 1967 and later from Arizona State Law with his Juris Doctor degree in 1970. Hawkins obtained his Masters of Law degree in 1998 from Virginia Law Hawkins served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Special Court Martial Military Judge from 1970 to 1973.

    I'm not sure which Smith is referred to.

  • 30. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  November 29, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Doesn't inspire confidence….

    "Judge Reinhardt, on November 18, 2009, ruled in favor of the federal government in regards to a gay couple having their spousal health care benefits denied"

    "U.S. Marine Corps as a Special Court Martial Military Judge from 1970 to 1973." (as Marines typically are least tolerant of gays..… )

  • 31. Ann S.  |  November 29, 2010 at 2:10 am

    But wait, there's more!

    From Wikipedia:

    Stephen Reinhardt is married to Ramona Ripston, who is Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California[2] until her February 2011 retirement.

    Reinhardt, known as one of the most liberal judges on the courts of appeals, is also one of the most-reversed judges before the Supreme Court.

    In The Matter of Brad Levenson (9th Cir. 2009) [1]: In his role as Chair of the Ninth Circuit’s Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders, Reinhardt ruled that the application of the Defense of Marriage Act in denying health insurance benefits to Levenson's same-sex spouse violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

  • 32. Ann S.  |  November 29, 2010 at 2:12 am

    More on the Levinson / Sears case from The Advocate:

    A gay couple in Los Angeles was awarded compensation Tuesday for being denied spousal benefits by the federal government.

    U.S. ninth circuit court of appeals judge Stephen Reinhardt ruled in February that federal public defender Brad Levenson and his partner, Tony Sears, were wrongfully denied health benefits on the basis of sexual orientation, which is banned by California law. He is now ordering the federal government to calculate and pay what it owes to him.

  • 33. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  November 29, 2010 at 2:20 am

    tx for research Ann…

    All this legal wrangling is so maddening. I stopped sending "It get's better" videos to my hubby as now in his mid-30's it has gotten worse and worse. DOMA is suffocating him as a person and every day is a struggle for him to survive. Putting much energy and hope for prop 8 trial to be ruled in our favor…and equality on a national level to come speedily!

  • 34. Ann S.  |  November 29, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Judge Hawkins hasn't inspired a lot of press, it seems.

    Here is an interview he gave to a site called "How Appealing", that makes for some interesting reading. Judge Hawkins sounds like a likable and reasonable fellow, but I can't say much more than that.

  • 35. atty79  |  November 29, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Judge Reinhardt's selection is good news! His opinions on sexual orientation discrimination have been very favorable toward gays.

    The synopsis of the spousal health care benefits order is a bit misleading. True, Judge Reinhardt didn't force the federal government to insure the same-sex spouse of the federal employee in question. But his ruling was in favor of the employee. The judge granted the employee back-pay equivalent to the benefits he should have been receiving to insure his spouse but wasn't receiving because of DOMA.

    In his analysis, Judge Reinhardt (for the second time) decimates the federal government's stance on DOMA, calling the law unconstitutional. He found that it violated the due process clause, that it doesn't even withstand rational basis review (much less the heightened scrutiny review which he said is warranted).

  • 36. Ann S.  |  November 29, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Thanks for the added info! Do you know anything about Judge Hawkins, or which Judge Smith might be referred to?

  • 37. anonygrl  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Gotta be Norman Randy Smith, appointed by Bush in 2007. Wikipedia doesn't say much about him other than he is from Pocatella, Idaho, and was nominated twice before being confirmed, and he is a Bringham Young graduate.

  • 38. Kathleen  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:07 am

    The third judge is NR Smith. That must be referring to Norman Randy Smith. This doesn't look good. I'll see what I can find on cases in which he's ruled. But, from the Federal Judicial Center's Biographical Directory of Federal Judges.

    Smith, N[orman] Randy
    Born 1949 in Logan, UT
    Federal Judicial Service:
    Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    Nominated by George W. Bush on January 16, 2007, to a seat vacated by Thomas G. Nelson; Confirmed by the Senate on February 15, 2007, and received commission on March 19, 2007.
    Brigham Young University, B.S., 1974
    J. Reuben Clark School of Law, Brigham Young University, J.D., 1977

    Professional Career:
    Associate/assistant general counsel, J.R. Simplot Company, 1977-1981
    Adjunct professor, Boise State University, 1979-1981
    Private practice, Pocatello, Idaho, 1982-1995
    Adjunct professor, Idaho State University, 1984-present
    District judge, State of Idaho Sixth Judicial District, 1995-2007

  • 39. Ann S.  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:13 am


    Reinhardt and Hawkins historically have ruled in favor of liberal causes, according to court observers. Smith has trended toward conservative in his rulings. The 2-1 split seems typical of the Ninth Circuit panels.

  • 40. atty79  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:16 am

    Well, hopefully Judge Reinhardt can convince the other two judges on the panel to favor our side. I'm not too concerned though. Judge Walker's decision was so thorough and well reasoned that any appellate court would have to turn the law on its head to reverse that decision. Of course, it wouldn't be the first time that a court would do that. I just see the system as favoring our side–the side of reason and fact.

  • 41. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:34 am

    I have known quite a few BYU graduates (even some from Logan – though those are mostly family members) – Smith might surprise us all. I still feel the outlook looks incredibly favorable for Perry.

    And, like atty79 states 'reason and fact' are on our side.

  • 42. Kathleen  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:52 am

    I'm with you on this LLB. Although we can make a pretty good guess at Smith's religious affiliation, there are many people, especially judges, who can recognize the difference between their own religious beliefs and basic guarantees of the US Constitution. I'm taking a wait and see with Smith.

  • 43. Ronnie  |  November 29, 2010 at 1:38 am


    WASHINGTON, DC, November 29, 2010 – OutServe, the underground network of gay and lesbian actively serving military members, today announced the worldwide locations and contact information for each of its 27 chapters, including the chapter for those based in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    OutServe currently has more than 1,200 members worldwide. The organization’s largest regional chapters are those in Southern California and Germany, with 110 and 83 members, respectively. OutServe’s Afghanistan/Iraq chapter has 50 members. The organization’s average chapter size is 45 members.

    OutServe Chapters
    Continental United States
    Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, New England, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern California, Oklahoma, Service Academies, Southern California, Texas, Virginia, Washington State, Washington, D.C.

    Afghanistan/Iraq, Cuba, Diego Garcia, Germany, Guam, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, United Kingdom

    (me) Well it looks like the Armed Forces has its work cut out for it….I mean all the money, time & innocent trees they will have to kill (paperwork) to search out all these courageous & patriotic people to discharge…Too bad for McCain DADT will be repealed eventually either through the courts or through Congress…Get over it McCain…stop disrespecting soldiers who are risking their lives for your freedom…….

    That's right Tony Perkins, Brian Brown, Maggie "Shoe Flinger" Gallagher, Bryan Fischer, etc etc…..American LGBT soldiers are not only serving worldwide but are right in our own states….Yup, that's correct, Homophobic BIGOTS!!!….LGBT soldiers are, as you read this, fighting for your freedom….INGRATES!!!!


  • 44. Bob  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:34 am

    right on kudos to OUTSERVE finally those LGBT members presntly serving, have found a way to make themselves accessible to media, and there is contact points for reaching them,

    Very brave stand they have taken, teling the world, we are here,

    Also very very important, to list those contact numbers for those members who may need assistance with dealing with the intlolerable stress they could be under at this crucial time in ending DADT, I think of the member reported to have been under suicide watch. All those not out but pressured, have contact info to reach out for support. That is such a huge thing, I'm so grateful to OUTSERVE to step up to the plate in this way…..

    OUTSERVE is no longer underground, but visible to the public ……….. well done

    These next few days are crucila for DADT, I'd love to see a post dedicated to OUTSERVE and what it does

  • 45. James A Tuttle  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Well I'm glad we know who the judges are. Does anyone know if it has to be all four judges agreeing or can it be a 3/4 split? I dont know how this all works. I'm excited to see what Kathleen has to say about these judges.

  • 46. Kathleen  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:24 am

    James, it's only three judges. Two appear fairly liberal and the third was born in Utah and educated at BYU. I'm guessing that makes him more conservative. While I appreciate the vote of confidence, I really don't know anything more about these judges than what's reported out there. Ann S, atty79 and others are doing a good job of finding information on their prior rulings, so I'm going to get some coffee.

  • 47. Kathleen  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Didn't answer your question! A 2-1 vote in our favor is all that's needed.

  • 48. NetAmigo  |  November 29, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Judge Smith is the former Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party. We'll see if he applies the law or his religion. The religious right has fought strenuously for years in an effort to corrupt our judiciary so it applies religion rather than the law as the basis of it's rulings.

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