Friday, June 19, 2009

HRC Statement on Signing of Presidential Benefits' Memorandum

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HRC President Calls Signing "Only the Beginning" in Achieving Full Equality for LGBT Community

WASHINGTON -- Today, in an Oval Office signing ceremony, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum granting non-discrimination protections and some same-sex partner benefits for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender federal employees.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement tonight after the ceremony:
"Moments ago in the Oval Office, President Obama signed a memorandum committing his Administration to adhere to principles ensuring that the federal workplace is free from discrimination, including the extension of some benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. This first step granting benefits such as giving federal employees the ability to provide their partners with access to long-term insurance and requiring supervisors to extend leave policies so that LGBT employees can take care of their loved ones, is a welcome and long-overdue movement towards bringing the government’s policies in line with the overwhelming majority of America’s businesses.

Earlier today, OPM Director John Berry affirmatively stated that this newly signed presidential memorandum will give him the authority to ban workplace discrimination for all members of the LGBT community.

Although today’s actions are only the beginning in what will be a multi-step process towards achieving real and tangible equality for our community, it is no doubt an important first step. We commend President Obama and his administration for taking this action to provide some basic benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees and his endorsement of legislation that would provide domestic partner health benefits.

Presidential leadership can be a powerful tool as we work to protect LGBT people under the law and President Obama’s continued leadership is what we need and expect as we move forward.”

Prior to today's ceremony, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued this statement

"Today's Presidential memorandum committing to a federal workplace free from discrimination, including the extension of some benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers, is a welcome and long-overdue step toward bringing the government's policies closer in line with what America's largest companies understand is good for business. Today’s presidential signature is the first brick in paving what is a long path toward equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.

We commend President Obama and his administration for taking this beginning step to level the playing field but we look forward to working with him to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, overturn 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' and guarantee the entire American workforce is free from discrimination."

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Podcast - Episode 7

Episode 7 of "Thoughts From A Lezzymom" is now available FREE on iTunes. You can subscribe and listen to it here. Please use the tell your friends link in iTunes and spread the word about the show. If you don't have iTunes use the player in the sidebar on the blog to listen to the show.

In this episode of the podcast I discuss the latest in LGBT news. Some of the topics discussed are the California Supreme Court's decision on Prop. 8 and what's happening in NY with the Senate mix up and what it has to do with marriage equality. Also I interview Steven and Zeniff Vanderran about the discrimination they are facing from their HOA. They have been told they can no longer fly their rainbow flag.

Listen to their story and then take action. Contact the Cambria HOA President at and the secretary at

Our song of the show is by Adrina Thorpe and is called "Midnight" from her Album Halflight & Shadows which is her second album. I found Adriana on the Podsafe Music Network. You can find more information about her music at

Our featured interview is with Jennifer Chrisler the Executive Director from the Family Equality Council. We discuss their great work in helping LGBT families achieve equality. They provide amazing education on many topics for LGBT families as well as help push public policy. Some of the hot topics we discuss are the federal lawsuit filed against Prop. 8, adoption rights moving backwards, and how the movement is missing out on LGBT families as stong activists. Jennifer also talks about Family Week which is an annual event held by the organization.

Finally I give my thoughts on the recent attacks on the Human Rights Campaign made by The Daily Beast. HRC called the report "an outright lie and recklessly irresponsible." I discuss not only the facts and what happened after the attack but how HRC may have been able to avoid the attacks in the first place.

Thanks for listening and remember you can send me comments and show ideas by emailing me at

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Nevada Recognizes Gay Relationships

Yesterday the Nevada legislature was able to override the Governor's veto of a domestic partnership bill. This makes Nevada the 13th state to provide some sort of relationship recognition for LGBT couples. It's not marriage equality but it is a step. The following is the press release from the Human Rights Campaign:

Human Rights Campaign Applauds Nevada Legislature’s Override Vote Recognizing Domestic Partnerships

Vote to override Governor’s veto makes Nevada the thirteenth state to offer some sort of relationship recognition for same-sex couples

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today applauded the Nevada legislature for voting to override Governor Jim Gibbons’ veto of SB 283 and recognizing domestic partnerships for lesbian, gay and unmarried straight couples. The state Senate voted 14-7 late Saturday to override the veto and the state Assembly followed by voting 28-14 last night, making Nevada the thirteenth state to offer some form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples. The Nevada legislation goes into effect October 1, 2009.

“This bipartisan vote to override the Governor’s veto is proof positive that this is not a Democratic or Republican issue, but one of fairness and equal treatment under the law for all Nevada families,” said Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign President. “This is a law that will strengthen families and give meaning to the promise of equal rights for all. Today would not be possible were it not for a united coalition effort and we congratulate Senator David Parks, Harrah’s Entertainment, MGM Mirage, the ACLU of Nevada, R&R Partners, The Nevada Resorts Association, PLAN, the Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada, and the Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus for their tremendous effort.”

The Human Rights Campaign and its Nevada volunteer leadership mobilized its more than 5,000 supporters in Nevada to advocate for this legislation. Through HRC’s efforts more than 1,000 phone calls and emails were generated by constituents reaching out to their legislators. HRC also partnered with the coalition to hold Nevada’s first LGBT Lobby Day in Carson City on April 21-22 where HRC Associate Director of Diversity, Allyson Robinson, was a featured speaker. In 2006 and 2008, HRC worked for fair-minded leadership in the Nevada legislature, including sending a staff person to Las Vegas in 2008. HRC also held a Camp Equality activist training in 2008 seeking to give local advocates the tools needed to play key volunteer roles in Nevada campaigns.

“This is a great achievement for fairness and equality in Nevada. It would not have been possible without the relentless efforts of the members of the coalition,” said Sen. David Parks, the bill’s primary sponsor. “The Human Rights Campaign played a significant role in activating its membership and providing strategic advice. I sincerely thank them for their unrelenting efforts.”

“It’s wonderful to see the Nevada legislature recognize that the rights of thousands of Nevada families cannot and should not be neglected due to one individual’s opinion,” said Steve Amend, HRC Las Vegas Political Co-Chair. “Today the State of Nevada has taken a giant leap forward towards equality and we look forward to continuing the dialogue with the legislature to further advance our cause with regards to discrimination issues.”

Including Nevada, thirteen states plus Washington, D.C. have laws providing at least some form of state-level relationship recognition for same-sex couples. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont (as of September 1, 2009) and Maine (as of mid-September 2009, pending possible repeal effort) recognize marriage for same-sex couples under state law. Five states - California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington (as of July 26, 2009, pending possible repeal effort) - plus Washington, D.C. provide same-sex couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships. Hawaii provides same-sex couples with limited rights and benefits.

New York recognizes marriages by same-sex couples validly entered into outside of New York. California recognized marriage by same-sex couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which amends the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. Recently the California Supreme Court upheld the validity of Prop 8, but also allowed the nearly 18,000 same-sex marriages already performed to stand.

Legislatures in New Hampshire and New York are considering marriage legislation that would permit same-sex couples to marry in those states, and the D.C. Council has passed legislation that would recognize marriages by same-sex couples legally entered into in other jurisdictions (that legislation is going through a Congressional review period).

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state. To learn more about state by state legislation visit:
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Obama Delcares June LGBT Pride Month

President Obama has come under a lot of scrutiny from the LGBT community. There has been virtually no comment from the White House on many of the big topics that have hit the media recently - Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Prop 8 decision, and the many Marriage Equality decsions happening in the states. People are upset that our fierce advocate seems to have gone in the closet on our issues.

Today however may show a shift in Obama's plans. There have been rumors that LGBT issues will be getting lots of White House attention in June. Apparently whatever they are up to starts with a Proclimation from the President.

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 1, 2009




Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration — in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Time will only tell is Obama is finally ready to be our fierce advocate and come out of the closet. I know that this country has many problems left by the previous administration and maybe LGBT rights aren't first on the list. But if we let our priorities drop something else will always come up. It's time for the President to use his strength and get Congress to pass protections for us. With Hate Crimes in the Senate and Employment Non-Discrimination Act coming to the front soon we need him to be on the front lines. And we need him to be a leader when it comes to repealing DADT. I understand he alone can't stop it but he needs to speak out and use the power he does have by issuing stop losses so the firing of the soldiers can be stopped.

President Obama this is a great start. I am not surprised that you made this move. We know you believe in our equality but we need you to continue to use your voice and to start to make things happen in Congress.

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Blogging for LGBT Families - Typical Family

Today is the 4th annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day. It's a time to bring attention to LGBT families and things we have to go through. Even though I don't blog much about my family and personal life I felt today would be a good day to change it up.
Life as a parent is challenging. You are always worried about something – are my children learning enough? Am I spending enough time with them? Are they eating right? Are they learning to share? Did they out grow their shoes yet?

The funny thing is, none of these things are new and none of them are about being a lesbian parent – they are just things that every parent deals with. But there are some things that are specific to LGBT parents. For example, the choices of how to have a child in the first place – adoption, artificial insemination, or surrogacy. Also, second parent adoptions (or lack there of here in Arizona), and other legal protections are something LGBT parents are constantly struggling with.

My family is like many in Arizona. I have a 7 year old daughter that I have shared custody with my ex-partner. I have a two year old son with my current partner. So we have a little bit of everything – divorce (not legally since their of course was no “marriage”), stepmoms, the fun of explaining that our princess has four moms every school year, as well as the terrible twos.

I truly believe it takes a village to raise a child and our situation is no different. Our village comes equipped with four sets of grandparents. Some days it seems like it takes every one of them to just make it through. Let me share a typical day in our house.

My wife gets up at 5am to go to work. I am up at 6:45am (if the little man lets me sleep that late) to get ready to go pick up the princess from my ex. With the little man in tow, we head to the rendezvous point and bring the princess back. Now it’s time for breakfast and the finishing touches on getting ready for school. At 8:30am it’s off to school.

After the big drop off, it’s back home to spend some time with the little man. Some days this includes playing with friends, play-doh, or playing outside. Then around noon it’s time to meet up with Grammie so I can head to work. From there she and Granddad are in charge of the little man and picking the princess up from school. Then my ex will pick up the princess when she is done with work and have her until the morning.
Some evenings Grandma and Grandpa will pick the little man up and take care of him until my wife is done with work. Then she will pick him up and have him for the evening. Sometimes I see him before he is asleep for the night but not usually.

See what I mean about a village. Somehow we all make it work and the kids get to be with family all day everyday – except for school. I can’t think of a better team to have my kids around. And my wife and I are so grateful to all our friends and family that make our village such a great place for our kids to grow up.

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