Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 40 / 2 October 2014
 

Senate passes ENDA

The Senate Thursday (November 7) approved the flagship piece of legislation that the LGBT community has fought for over the past 19 years and more.

The 64-32 vote marked the first time the Senate has approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The only other Senate vote, in 1996, failed on a vote of 49-50.

ENDA seeks to add language to the federal Civil Rights Act to prohibit employers from taking adverse employment actions against employees or job applicants based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” It applies to employers with more than 15 employees but exempts some employers based on the degree to which they are involved in religious activities.

(Senator Tammy Baldwin. Photo: Chuck Colbert)

(Senator Tammy Baldwin. Photo: Chuck Colbert)

While the bill is not as comprehensive as the original legislation introduced by the late Representative Bella Abzug in 1974 and championed by the late Senator Ted Kennedy beginning in 1996, it is considered to be both a critical step toward securing equal rights for LGBT people and a powerful symbolic asset.

The major hurdle now is the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has repeatedly said he would not bring ENDA to the floor for a vote, saying he does not believe the legislation is necessary and that it would lead to frivolous lawsuits.

That looming hurdle did not dampen the enthusiasm of senators praising the Senate for its passage of the bill.

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), who took the lead on ENDA in the Senate after the death of Kennedy, praised Kennedy’s leadership and that of others in both political parties.

“From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution to our battles over slavery, our battles over gender discrimination, race discrimination, we have fought to capture that vision of equality and liberty and opportunity and fairness embedded in our founding documents and our founding vision,” said Merkley, at a press conference after the first two votes were secured. “We’ve taken a huge stride today in that direction.”

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who championed the bill in his Senate committee, said, “Today is an historic day.” He noted that the Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1994.

“Now, we have sort of finished the trilogy,” said Harkin, who also praised Merkley’s leadership on ENDA.

“We wouldn’t be here without Jeff Merkley,” said Harkin. “He spearheaded this whole effort.” And Harkin called out Senator Tammy Baldwin’s (D-Wisconsin) involvement “instrumental.”

The passage of ENDA came after the Senate first rejected an amendment to dramatically expand the number of employers who could claim a religious exemption to ENDA. The amendment, introduced by Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), needed 60 votes to pass.

Section 6 of the original bill stated, “This act shall not apply to a corporation, association, educational institution or institution of learning, or society that is exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

On November 6 the Senate approved, by voice vote, an amendment from six Republican senators led by Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to ban state and local governments from “retaliating against religious groups that take action only permissible because of the religious exemption clause” in ENDA. While LGBT groups were not enthusiastic about the Portman amendment, they didn’t oppose it.

But nearly every LGBT group and supporter opposed the Toomey amendment. It sought to expand the exemption to include entities “managed by a church or religious organization, officially affiliated with a particular religion, or [that] teach a curriculum directed toward propagating a particular religion.” It would also apply to organizations with “both religious and secular functions.”

Speaking on behalf of his amendment Thursday morning, Toomey said ENDA “makes a strong stand” for equality. But he said religious freedom is also an important value. He said he thinks his amendment “strikes an appropriate balance.” He said he was concerned the courts have not been consistent in recognizing which religious institutions should enjoy the religious exemptions that currently exist in the Civil Rights Act.

Harkin spoke in opposition to Toomey’s amendment, saying that changing the existing language of the Civil Rights Act will call into question language that employers are already familiar with and know how to comply with. He said the Toomey amendment “officially affiliated with a particular religion” to discriminate.

“This is a new term that is undefined in the text of the amendment and could lead to thousands of pro-profit businesses being allowed to discriminate,” said Harkin. He said an employer might be considered “affiliated” simply by receiving a newsletter from a religious group. “It threatens to gut the fundamental purpose of ENDA,” said Harkin.

Baldwin, the Senate’s only openly gay member, said the current religious exemption in ENDA is a “very carefully negotiated bipartisan” exemption. She urged the Senate to reject Toomey’s amendment.

The Senate did so, by a vote of 43-55.

The Senate then voted 64-34 to approve a procedural motion to close debate on ENDA. (All roll call votes are available on the Senate website approximately one hour after they are recorded.)

ENDA supporters were clearly hoping for a robust vote in support of the underlying bill and were heartened that not one senator, over the course of four days of allotted debate time, spoke in opposition.

Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) did express concern about the addition of language to protect people on the basis of gender identity. Flake indicated he had prepared an amendment that did not make it to the floor, but suggested that his concerns were addressed.

“When I voted for ENDA in the House in 2007, it did not contain the provisions with regard to gender identity,” said Flake. “Those added provisions have concerned me in terms of potential costs of litigation or compliance. I still have concerns, and I hope that as we work through the process and this bill moves onto the House that we can find ways to make sure that employers can implement these provisions in a way that is reasonable and proper.”

Thanking Baldwin for working with his office on “these issues,” Flake said, “I have a better appreciation for what needs to be done and what we can do with this legislation as it moves through the process.”

Baldwin, speaking at the press conference after the first two votes were taken, said “For folks, like myself, in the LGBT community, the opportunity to be judged in the workplace by your skills and qualities, your loyalty, your work ethic, is an important pronouncement for this nation.”

She talked also about the “symbolic impact” of the vote.

“When we something is wrong and it shouldn’t be done,” said Baldwin, “that sends a powerful message to prevent discrimination in the first place.”

“This is a really tremendous milestone,” said Baldwin, “a day I will never forget in my service in the Senate.”

– Reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, November 7, 2013 @ 12:58 pm PST
Filed under: News,Politics


Board prez and Assembly candidate David Chiu ties the knot

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President and state Assembly candidate David Chiu got married over the weekend, according to a post on his Facebook page.

(David Chiu and his new wife, Candace Chen. Photo courtesy Chiu's Facebook page.)

(David Chiu and his new wife, Candace Chen. Photo courtesy Chiu’s Facebook page.)

“On Sunday [October 20], Candace and I were married at Calvary Presbyterian Church in a ceremony surrounded by our family and friends,” Chiu wrote. “I am so happy to be starting our life together. Thanks so much to all of you for your love and support.”

Chiu married Candace Chen, whom he met seven years ago. According to media reports, the two were friends for awhile and she was a volunteer on his 2008 supervisorial campaign.

Chiu is running for the 17th District Assembly seat against his board colleague, gay Supervisor David Campos.

With the two Davids, both Democrats who serve on the local party’s oversight body, often voting similarly on policy issues at City Hall, it is likely that voters will be swayed by other factors, such as race and sexual orientation, in determining which of the two to back, the Bay Area Reporter‘s online Political Notes column reported this week. Campos, 42, would not only maintain LGBT representation in the seat, he would also be the first Latino to represent San Francisco in the state Assembly.

A victory by Chiu, 43, would mark the first time that Asian Americans represented both of the city’s Assembly districts. Last fall Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) won election to the 19th Assembly District covering San Francisco’s western neighborhoods.

— Cynthia Laird, October 24, 2013 @ 12:03 pm PST
Filed under: News,Politics


Updated: SF Pride board retracts self-serving endorsements

[Updated 9/13/13, 6:45 p.m.] Late Friday afternoon, a letter from the San Francisco Pride Committee to members retracted an earlier letter whereby the board members seeking re-election endorsed themselves.

The letter, from Pride board President Davace Chin and Pride’s interim attorney Julius Turman, said in part that the previous 9/12/13 email sent 24 hours prior, “was sent in error and, accordingly, the email and its endorsement message are hereby retracted. We sincerely apologize for this error.

“SF Pride, as an organization, has not and will not make any endorsement of any candidate for its board.”

The letter went on to provide the names of all the candidates running, including those who have been endorsed by San Francisco Pride Members for Democracy, Accountability, and Transparency. Those candidates have been sharply critical of the current Pride board’s operation and decisions made this year.

“We are working diligently to ensure that the board of directors’ election will be conducted fairly, impartially, and with the utmost professionalism. We wish the very best to each of this year’s candidates on their campaign,” the letter concluded. End of update. Original post below.]

Just days before members are set to vote for new board members, incumbent board members sent out their own slate list of endorsed candidates – themselves.

The move raised questions from some board candidates who were not included, since it was sent out on Pride letterhead to the entire membership.

“Recently you received several emails from a group that identifies themselves as SFPMDAT [San Francisco Pride Members for Democracy, Accountability, and Transparency]. Their recent email included a slate of candidates they endorse for SF Pride Board of Directors,” the SF Pride slate letter states. “Pride is a membership-driven organization and while we welcome participation by all of our members, we have received multiple inquiries from other general members about this slate and wish to clear up any confusion.”

The letter continues, “The slate you may have received is not an official endorsement by the current board members of SF Pride. We welcome you to come to our [Annual General Meeting] on Sunday, September 15. There are many good candidates that are running and we hope that you can come, listen to the candidates and make your own decision.”

The letter then listed the slate of incumbent Pride board members Kirk Linn-Degrassi, Pam Grey, Shaun Haines, Justin Taylor, and Javarre Wilson. It also included Community Advisory Board member Rochelle Fortier Nwadibia, who is running for a seat.

The seven-member SFPMDAT slate consists of Kevin Bard, Joey Cain, John Caldera, Jose Cital, Marsha Levine, Jesse Sanford, and Gary Virginia.

(Gary Virginia raised questions about Pride's election process. Photo: David Curan)

(Gary Virginia raised questions about Pride’s election process. Photo: David Curan)

Neither newly installed interim CEO Lisa Williams, who previously served as board president, nor newly appointed President Davace Chin, signed the email. Chin denied any knowledge about it. Williams left a Board of Supervisors hearing Thursday, September 12 and was unavailable to comment.

In response to the Pride board candidates’ self-endorsement, Virginia sent a scathing email to Williams, Chin, Pride attorney Julius Turman, and Supervisors David Campos and Scott Wiener saying it “jeopardized” his candidacy. He also questioned why he was not considered for SF Pride’s endorsement.

Virginia further questioned the fairness of Sunday’s election as incumbent board members seeking re-election will conduct the election and determine the outcome.

Virginia is seeking written answers to seven questions concerning the San Francisco Pride Committee’s unusual self-endorsement before the Sunday election.

“At this point, I’m considering seeking legal counsel to see if any California laws have been violated,” he stated in the email.

Sunday’s Annual General Meeting takes place at 2 p.m. at the W Hotel, 181 Third Street. Registration begins at 1:30.

– Reported by James Patterson

— Cynthia Laird, September 13, 2013 @ 9:59 am PST
Filed under: News


Parties, bike ride kick off Pride weekend in Oakland

Back for a third year, fiveTen Productions has several events planned this weekend, in the run-up to the fourth annual Oakland Pride festival Sunday, September 1.

FiveTen (the Oakland area code) is a mix of dance parties, live performances, and a bike ride. It’s promoted by Eden Pride Events and produced by Christine De La Rosa and Chaney Turner. The events are open to men and women alike.

(The Memorials will headline the fiveTen Pride after-party Sunday in Oakland.)

(The Memorials will headline the fiveTen Pride after-party Sunday in Oakland.)

First up is Casino Royale Friday, August 30, the official Oakland Pride kickoff party. The action takes place at the Den inside the historic Fox Theatre, 1807 Telegraph Avenue, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

There will be blackjack, roulette, craps tables, and more. Guests who purchase advance tickets will earn $100 in credit to play at the tables. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Eden LGBTQ Youth Foundation. DJs Val G, Lay Fingaz, and Trinity will be spinning the hottest beats.

The foundation, which launched earlier this year, is a separate entity from Eden Pride Events. The events are produced by fiveTEN Oakland Events.

On Saturday, August 31, fiveTen will host its second annual Oakland Pride Bike Ride. Participants should meet at lake Merritt (El Embarcadero Street) at 5:30 p.m.; the ride goes from 6 to 8 and ends at New Parish, 579 18th Street, where valet bike parking will be available The ride is free.

Following the ride, New Parish will host WERQ! Vogue Ball until 2 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. The party will feature two dance floors, food vendors, an outside patio and a vogue competition. The night will feature some of the bay’s finest voguers, whackers, and house dancers who will all battle it out for cash prizes and ultimate vogueing supremacy. The party is hosted by Lady Lana and Aima the Dreamer.

Finally, fiveTen’s events will conclude Sunday, September 1 with a music fest and after-party from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Oakland Metro, 630 3rd Street. VIP tickets are $20, general admission is $15 in advance or VIP $25, general $20 at the door.

This year’s line-up is amazingly diverse with headliners The Memorials, Lila Rose, Aima the Dreamer joined by Raw G., Billie Jr., Micah Tron, Queens D. Light, we have artists representing multiple genres of music. Hip-hop, R&B, indie rock and soul music.

For more information on any of the above events, visit http://www.fivetenoaklandevents.com.

As for the Oakland Pride festival, it takes place Sunday, September 1 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the city’s Uptown district. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids between 2-12. Entrance is at 20th and Broadway, near the 19th Street BART station. For more information, visit www.oaklandpride.org.

— Cynthia Laird, August 29, 2013 @ 10:58 am PST
Filed under: Arts,News


Manning comes out as transgender

Convicted Army Private Bradley Manning on Thursday (August 22) released a statement in which she said that she is a transgender woman and will now be known as Chelsea E. Manning.

(Private Chelsea E. Manning)

(Private Chelsea E. Manning)

Manning, 25, was sentenced by an Army judge this week to 35 years in prison for leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks. Manning was found guilty of most of the charges against her during a court-martial but the judge, Colonel Denise Lind, acquitted Manning of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy.

Lind also ordered that Manning, a former private first class, be reduced in rank to private and be dishonorably discharged from the Army.

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in her statement. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.”

“I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.”

Manning is expected to serve his sentence at a military facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Gay rights and civil liberties groups quickly issued statements in support of Manning’s decision and calling for appropriate medical care for her.

“Regardless of how she came to our attention, Private Chelsea Manning’s transition deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” Jeff Krehely, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “As she requested in her letter, journalists and other officials should use her chosen name of Chelsea and refer to her with female pronouns. Using the name Bradley or male pronouns is nothing short of an insult.”

Krehely also said that Manning should be afforded appropriate care while incarcerated.

“As Private Manning serves her sentence, she deserves the same thing that any incarcerated person does – appropriate and competent medical care and protection from discrimination and violence,” he said. “The care she receives should be something that she and her doctors – including professionals who understand transgender care – agree is best for her.”

Krehely also noted that Manning’s case is unique.

“What should not be lost is that there are transgender service members and veterans who serve and have served this nation with honor, distinction, and great sacrifice,” he said. “We must not forget or dishonor those individuals. Private Manning’s experience is not a proxy for any other transgender man or woman who wears the uniform of the United States.”

The America Civil Liberties Union also released a statement referencing Manning’s future medical care.

“[P]ublic statements by military officials that the Army does not provide hormone therapy to treat gender dysphoria raise serious constitutional concerns,” said Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT Project. “Gender Dysphoria is a serious medical condition in which a person’s gender identity does not correspond to his or her assigned sex at birth, and hormone therapy is part of the accepted standards of care for this condition.”

Strangio pointed out that the policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which does not oversee military detention facilities, and most state agencies is to provide medically necessary care for the treatment of gender dysphoria. Courts have found that denying such care based on blanket exclusions violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, he added.

— Cynthia Laird, August 22, 2013 @ 10:40 am PST
Filed under: News


Pride board gets an earful at Manning meeting

Members of the San Francisco Pride board of directors agreed to decide the “next step” in their handling of the Bradley Manning fiasco after listening to angry community members sound off during a raucous three-hour meeting Friday at a Castro church.

Within a week, the board of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee is expected to make a decision on several options mentioned by speakers at the May 31 meeting, held at Metropolitan Community Church-San Francisco to accommodate the large crowd. Those include reinstating Manning as a grand marshal, letting the Bradley Manning contingent lead the Pride parade, or finding an alternative honor for Manning.

Manning, 25, is the gay Army private accused of leaking 700,000 classified government documents to WikiLeaks. He was initially named a grand marshal by the Pride Committee in late April. But the Pride board rescinded the honor two days later, claiming it was a “mistake.” Since then, many people have denounced the Pride board.

During the meeting, SF Pride CEO Earl Plante, board President Lisa Williams, and other board members listened quietly, respectfully, and took notes as 50 predominately angry community members used their two minutes to mostly call them liars and demand they re-instate Manning as a grand marshal.

(SF Pride CEO Earl Plante shows his anger during a heated exchange during Friday's meeting. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

(SF Pride CEO Earl Plante shows his anger during a heated exchange at Friday’s meeting. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Only three people spoke in support the board’s decision to rescind Manning’s grand marshal honor. One of them, Chris Bowman, called Williams “courageous.” When Bowman, a local gay Republican and political consultant, said the Log Cabin Republicans supported the board’s decision not to honor Manning, he was greeted with loud hissing from the crowd.

Gay radio journalist Scott Shafer with KQED moderated the meeting and tried to keep speakers civil and within their time allotment, but he was largely ignored and disrespected. This went on for two hours and 15 minutes before chaos erupted.

Daniel Kim took the microphone and angrily called Williams a murderer to her face.

At that point, Plante jumped from his seat, screaming, “Don’t call me a murderer! This meeting is over!” He started to walk out, but Williams and other board members restrained him.

San Francisco Patrol Special Police Officer Ken Craig and other community members led Kim away from the microphone.

Williams and others calmed Plante and he tried to resume the meeting, but it was out of control and no one knew what to do.

It was at that point that gay San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, who had put pressure on the Pride board to hold the public forum, calmed the crowd. To a quieted audience, Campos called Manning “courageous.”

“The LGBT community is not afraid to speak truth to power,” Campos said. He suggested Manning “saw a wrong and tried to right it.”

He asked the Pride board “to move us forward collectively” and “reconsider” its decision. The capacity crowd shouted and gave Campos a standing ovation.

A noticeably frustrated Plante and the board tried to answer questions from speakers, but there was little order and nothing he or board members said were popular with the crowd.

At end, the board agreed to decide on “the next step” in seven days. Local attorney David Waggoner and others demanded an immediate decision before the meeting ended. The board declined with treasurer David Currie doing most of the talking and being shouted down by the crowd.

Williams managed to end the meeting. She and Plante quickly exited the church.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more coverage of the meeting in Thursday’s edition.

– Reported by James Patterson
[This post has been updated to reflect that not all the speakers were angry.It was also updated to correct that Mr. Kim's comments were directed at Williams, not Plante, and that Plante got up but did not jump over the table.]

— Cynthia Laird, June 1, 2013 @ 7:04 am PST
Filed under: News


TLC takes top spot in Give OUT Day

The inaugural Give OUT Day, an online opportunity for LGBTs to donate to their favorite LGBT nonprofit, was declared a success by organizers, who reported more than a half-million dollars was collected during the 24-hour event.

San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center took the top spot nationally in the May 9 fundraiser, garnering $17,555 from 294 unique donors. With prize grants for winning the top spot and matching grants, TLC’s total take for the day was $32,085.

Organization leaders were ecstatic and said that Give OUT Day was the “perfect storm for the transgender community and Transgender Law Center specifically.” Nathan Harris, TLC’s development director, said the agency has been boosting its social media presence. It showed on Give OUT Day.

“Transgender Law Center has been building a robust social media presence in the past few years resulting today in over 13,000 Facebook fans and over 6,000 Twitter followers,” Harris said in an email Friday. “That made a major difference.”

Give_Out

Nearly 400 nonprofits participated in Give OUT Day. TLC also took first place in the Bay Area, followed by the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, which pulled in $4,066 from 96 unique donors. Finishing third was the New Conservatory Theatre Center with $4,091 raised from 64 unique donors.

All told, nationally Give OUT Day raised $556,400 from 5,474 unique donors. The idea for the coast-to-coast endeavor was implemented by New York-based Bolder Giving, which teamed up with crowdfunding site Razoo.com to create the online platform. The Horizons Foundation served as a sponsor.

Nationally, the Greater Twin Cities United Way took second place with $12,866 raised from 226 unique donors. Minnesota has a similar one-day, online giving event and it was a gay man, Charlie Rounds, who lives in Minneapolis, that suggested the idea for an LGBT-specific online donor drive to Bolder Giving Executive Director Jason Franklin, who is also gay. Rounds is a longtime trustee of the Kevin J. Mossier Foundation, which provided a three-year grant of $425,000 to Bolder Giving for Give OUT Day.

Rounding out the top three national groups was OutServe-SLDN, the merged group of LGBT military personnel and veterans. The organization raised $10,599 from 205 unique donors.

In TLC’s case, Harris said that volunteers, including board and development committee members and major supporters, made Give OUT Day a priority by leveraging their personal social media networks.

“Janet Mock, Cecilia Chung, Margaret Cho, and many others tweeted and retweeted our announcements,” Harris explained.

Additionally, an anonymous donor, Leonie Walker and Dr. Kate O’Hanlan, and Rose Hayes provided an incentive challenge and matching grants that “quadrupled our donor gifts up to $4,000,” Harris added.

There were also transgender issues in the news Thursday that helped bring attention to TLC and its programs, Harris said. The state Assembly approved AB 1266, a measure by gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) that ensures that transgender students in California have equal and full access to programs and facilities on the basis of their gender identity.

Another bill, AB 1121 by out Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), also passed in the Assembly. It would help ensure transgender people have access to identity documents that accurately reflect their gender identity.

Both bills now advance to the state Senate.

“We’d like to thank everyone who participated – it was a huge victory nationally in the ongoing effort to increase philanthropy toward LGBT causes,” Harris said. “To those who placed the transgender movement prominently in the national spotlight as part of that historic moment, we are totally humbled.”

— Cynthia Laird, May 10, 2013 @ 2:15 pm PST
Filed under: News


New traveler’s lecture series launches in SF

Travelers curious about living and working abroad, taking a sabbatical to gallivant around the world, or simply going on a spiritual journey can take their first steps to an adventure at Waypost, a new monthly travel lecture series.

Lee O’Brian, co-founder and co-host of Waypost, will kick off the discussion on January 23 exploring living abroad and the lessons he’s learned with “Expat Life – As Good as it Sounds?”

O’Brian, 37, lived and worked for a decade in four different countries and eight different industries, according to the lecture series website.

O’Brian, a straight man, co-founded and co-hosts Waypost with follow global vagabond Cathrine Lindblom Gunasekara, 29, who was born and raised in Norway. Like O’Brian, she’s lived and worked on three continents and traveled to more than 40 countries.
They have both settled – for the moment – in San Francisco.

Hungry to hear stories from fellow travelers and friends, rather than the more formal travel conversations they created Waypost with the assistance of Jetpac, the iPad app for travel inspiration.

“We are hoping travelers and aspiring travelers will enjoy listening to ‘behind the scenes’ stories and will get inspired to set out on the next journey they’re dreaming of,” said Gunasekara.

The free travel lecture series will be held on a Wednesday each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Stanza Coffee Bar, 3126 16th Street, San Francisco. Space is limited, to RSVP visit http://www.meetup.com/traveltalks/.
Discussions in the fall will focus on LGBT travel.

For more information, visit http://wayposttraveltalks.tumblr.com/.

- Filed by Heather Cassell

— Cynthia Laird, January 22, 2013 @ 11:14 am PST
Filed under: News


Supes OK landmark status for gay bar

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved designating the Twin Peaks Tavern to be a historic landmark. The longtime gay bar sits at the corner of Castro and Market streets and was the first known gay bar to feature full length open plate glass windows, becoming a visible beacon in the LGBT movement.

The Twin Peaks Tavern was designed a historic landmark by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

The legislation was sponsored by gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener.

“Twin Peaks Tavern has been at the center of our LGBT community for over 40 years,” Wiener said in a statement. “I’m excited to celebrate the historical significance of this iconic bar in the heart of the Castro.”

The tavern was founded in the 1930s. In 1972 it was purchased by two lesbians and began its life in the middle of the Castro and LGBT community.

Jeffrey Green and George Roehm currently own the bar.

“We feel the importance of this action is to preserve this not only for ourselves but for future generations, and not only in San Francisco but as a model for other communities and cities nationwide,” Green and Roehm, who are gay, said in an interview last fall. They added that their spouses are “silent partners” in the bar.

Among the benefits of landmark status, California’s historical building code provides alternative building regulations for permitting repairs, alterations, and additions necessary for the preservation, rehabilitation, relocation, related construction, or continued use of a qualified historical building.

— Cynthia Laird, January 15, 2013 @ 5:28 pm PST
Filed under: News


Breaking: Frank wants interim Senate post

It looks like former Congressman Barney Frank isn’t quite ready to leave Capitol Hill after all.

Barney Frank, who retired from the House of Representatives this week, is interested in the interim Massachusetts Senate seat. (Photo: Rudy K. Lawidjaja

One day out of retirement as a member of the House of Representatives, Barney Frank said today that he has asked Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to appoint him as the interim senator to replace John Kerry, who is expected to be confirmed Secretary of State later this month.

Frank, a gay Massachusetts Democrat, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe talk show panel on that he would like to serve as U.S. senator from Massachusetts for the several months before a special election chooses Kerry’s replacement.

Host Joe Scarborough, racing to close off the eight-minute free-for-all “exit interview” with Frank, asked: “Former Congressman Barney Frank, would you consider possibly being future Senator Barney Frank if the governor calls you and says …”

“Yeah,” said Frank, before the question was fully out of Scarborough’s mouth.

” … fill in for a few months?”

“A month ago, a few weeks in fact, I said I wasn’t interested,” said Frank. “It was kinda like you’re about to graduate and they said you’ve got to go to summer school. But that [temporary fiscal cliff] deal now means that February, March, and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial …”

“So, you’d consider it?” interjected Scarborough.

“Yes, in fact, I’m not going to be coy, it’s not anything I’ve ever been very good at, but I’ve told the governor that I would like, frankly, to do that because I would like to be a part of that.”

President Barack Obama nominated Kerry December 15 to replace retiring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Patrick said, at a press conference December 21, that he would not name anyone to the seat until after Kerry is confirmed. But that process is not expected to take long because Kerry appears to have widespread support from his Senate colleagues in both parties.

Other names being tossed around the rumor mill as potential interim senators include Mike Dukakis, a former Democratic governor of Massachusetts, and Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Frank has the advantage of still having a residence and staff in Washington.

Meanwhile, former Senator Scott Brown, a Republican who held the Kennedy seat until he was replaced by newly sworn-in Senator Elizabeth Warren this week, is expected to run for the Kerry seat. And, at the moment, Democrats in Massachusetts appear to be coalescing behind Representative Ed Markey, who has announced his bid for the Kerry seat.

Frank, 70, who just retired after more than 30 years in Congress, said he is not interested in running for the Kerry Senate seat.

- Reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, January 4, 2013 @ 10:28 am PST
Filed under: News,Politics


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