Kevin And Don Respond To Being Self Loathing

Looking back at their journey from the Stonewall Democratic Club to Log Cabin Republicans, they claim it was one that was actually started by the democrats. After being told that marriage as not a priority on the agenda in 1995, they became disillusioned with the DEMS. For a decade they felt like they did not belong until they met the republicans of the Log Cabin Republican Club and discovered they too shared a dream of marriage equality. This blog is now a digital time capsule of their time as Republicans and moderated by a friend and supporter.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

LAST DADT LAWSUIT REMAINING: Log Cabin Republicans v. USA Challenge to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" #DADT

MILITARY SERVICE
Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America
May 29, 2010
|By Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer


The battle over gays and lesbians in the military shifted to the courts Friday when a federal judge in Southern California rejected the Obama administration's attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

President Obama has pressed for repeal of the 1993 law that prohibits military service by homosexuals who reveal their sexual orientation. On Friday, the House passed a defense bill that would revoke the law and change the policy once the Pentagon completes a review of its impact. The Senate is expected to consider the bill this summer.

In the meantime, the Obama administration is defending the law in court against a suit by the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay-rights organization, which argues the ban is a discriminatory and irrational measure that serves no legitimate military purpose.

While agreeing that the law is discriminatory, the administration argues that Congress could reasonably decide that openly homosexual soldiers would weaken the armed forces. In seeking dismissal, however, government lawyers argued that the Log Cabin Republicans had no right to sue because they had not identified any members who were threatened with discharge under the policy.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips of Riverside disagreed. She said one of the organization's members, identified in the suit only as John Doe, is an Army reserve officer who served in Iraq and faces discharge if he reveals his name.

"This case presents the rare set of circumstances in which anonymity is appropriate," Phillips said. She said the government has argued that John Doe's name is essential to the suit but has refused to promise to protect him from discharge.

She also rejected the administration's argument that the law must be upheld if it has any rational justification. Phillips said she intends to use a more exacting standard, based on a 2008 federal appeals court ruling, requiring the government to show that its intrusion on the private lives of gays and lesbians is necessary to promote an important public interest.

The case could go to trial in July.


E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko@sfchronicle.com.
(C) San Francisco Chronicle 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Log Cabin Boys In The News

Proud to be at Long Beach for Pride weekend
By Alica Forneret, Santa Monica College CORSAIR Newspaper, May 26, 2010

Staff Writer
It is not a typical Sunday afternoon in Long Beach when you find shirtless, shaven, oiled up men in their underpants wheeling wagons full of condoms down Ocean Avenue. But one weekend a year, the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival gives onlookers that and so much more. 


The gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and ally (LGBTQQIA) community came together at the Long Beach Grand Prix Racing Grounds in downtown Long Beach on May 15 and 16. It was two days of blasting music, non-stop drinking, dirty dancing and informative tabling by a wide variety of organizations. Free merchandise, celebrity sightings and art exhibits offered diverse diversions to the partying and good times.

Of the organizations in attendance were the usual suspects, such as the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, AIDS Research Alliance, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Accompanying these expected, but appreciated, groups were other organizations usually on the outskirts of typical gay activist groups. 


Found nestled between the tents of groups like the Human Rights Campaign and Condom Revolution were LGBTQQIA-inclusive religious organizations such as Temple Israel, law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, and even a group of out-and-proud Republicans. 


Although Pride organizers have invited groups from all walks of gay life to be a part of the event for 27 years, they only recently developed a specific area of the festival for the transgender and queer community. One group that was instrumental in putting together a portion of the "Trans Awareness" section of Pride was AMP. 


AMP is an organization that hosts concerts, art shows, and community events in safe spaces for the do-it-yourself queer community to showcase their talents. 


AMP Executive Director Annie Parkhurst and AMP Program Director Sylvia Rodemeyer think that their attendance at Pride was necessary to provide an outlet for those whose interests are often overlooked at lesbian and gay events. 


"It's all main stream gay stuff out there," said Parkhurst. "Amp is about the subculture, the artists, the bands that want to get out there and do stuff away from the typical feather boa, West Hollywood kind of stuff. That doesn't speak to everybody. That doesn't speak to me."


The Log Cabin Republicans are a group of gay and lesbian equal rights advocates that not only play for the other team but also are on the opposite side of the fence politically than many in the LGBTQQIA population. 


Representing this small group were gay rights activists and married couple Kevin Norte, a California Supreme Court Research Attorney, and Don Norte, a West Hollywood Department of Transportation and Public Works employee.


They find that regardless of how inclusive the general LGBTQQI community demands outsiders to be of their practices, many forget that within the rainbow there is a wide spectrum of beliefs that may not always be liberal. 


"We all talk about the rainbow flag, but the people who are at the end of the rainbow flag have the same right as the people in the center of the rainbow flag," said Kevin Norte.


Regardless of what faction members of the LGBTQQI community people may identify with, the festival opened its gates to a wide range of people interested in simply celebrating gay rights, lifestyles and the acceptance of diversity within the gay community. 


Pride's attendees and volunteers broke many stereotypes and misconceptions about who makes up the gay community. 


"I think there's a real change that's happening in the gay community," said Parkhurst. "The older, whiter, richer people are phasing out and I think there's a new brand of gay that's coming out, and that's queer. It's inclusive. And it's about street people, and gay people, and bi people, and colors and genders of all sorts."


Log Cabin's "JOHN DOE" Has Standing In Log Cabin Republicans v. USA Challenge to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" #DADT

Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America

Deadline nears as judge rejects procedural bar to 'Don't Ask' challenge
Amanda Bronstad, National Law Journal
June 01, 2010

The U.S. government has until next week to make its final pre-trial arguments against a lawsuit alleging that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is unconstitutional.

The deadline neared as Congress moved to repeal the law that bans service in the military by open gays and lesbians. The House of Representatives voted to approve repeal on Friday and a similar measure cleared a key Senate committee on Thursday.

In the lawsuit, which is being brought by the Log Cabin Republicans, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips, who sits in Riverside, Calif., refused on Thursday to grant the government's motion to throw out the case, rejecting the argument that the organization lacked standing. She also concluded that the legal standard for weighing the group's due process claims was established by a 2008 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Witt v. Dep't of the Air Force. She allowed both sides to submit further briefing on that issue.

The government's briefs are due on June 9; the Log Cabin Republicans have until June 23. The group comprises gay and lesbian members of the Republican Party.

"We are delighted with Judge Phillips' ruling on the standing issue and glad that she saw fit to reject that argument by the government," Dan Woods, a partner in the Los Angeles office of White & Case who represents the Log Cabin Republicans, said in an e-mailed statement. "We are cautiously optimistic about the remainder of the motion, which remains to be decided after further briefing requested by the court. If she follows her inclination, as explained towards the end of the decision, she would also be ruling in our favor on the standard of review to be applied to [the law]."

A call to Department of Justice spokesman Charles Miller was not returned.

In the meantime, the judge put the original June 14 trial date on hold, and both sides have been unable to come up with a new schedule, Woods said. He expected that a new trial date may be set in July.

In Thursday's order, Phillips disagreed with the government's argument that the Log Cabin Republicans, which filed the suit on behalf of two of its members, lacked standing because the individuals were not "bona fide" members when the suit was filed.

One of the individuals, John Alex Nicholson, joined the U.S. Army in 2001, only to be discharged one year later under the law. He was given an honorary membership in 2006 by the Georgia chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans.

The other individual, who is referred to in court papers as John Doe, joined Log Cabin Republicans in 2004. He is an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Phillips said that what mattered was their membership status when the amended complaint was filed, not the original complaint. The original suit was filed in 2004, but Log Cabin Republicans filed an amended complaint in 2006 attaching Nicholson's declaration. In 2007, the group attached Doe's declaration.

"Although it is true that there has been but one named plaintiff here for the duration of the action, an association that newly identifies a member for standing purposes is analogous to a class that newly identifies a class member with standing," the judge said.

Phillips rejected the government's arguments that Doe lacked standing because he had not yet been affected by the law. "Here, the [Don't Ask, Don't Tell] Policy on its face shows that there is a reasonable threat that it will be enforced against Lt. Col. Doe if the military learns his identity," she wrote.

As for the due process claim, the U.S. Air Force in Witt discharged a nurse after superiors learned that she lived with a woman off base. A federal judge threw out her case, but the 9th Circuit reversed, in part based on Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a Texas law that criminalized private, consensual sodomy.

The recent House vote was on an amendment to the defense authorization bill, which also contains money for an alternative engine for the controversial F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The White House has indicated it would veto the bill if the engine funds remained.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill this summer. The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved an amendment repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

The legislation in both chambers requires that the repeal become law only after a Defense Department review of the policy is completed in December and Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates certify that the military is prepared for the change.

Amanda Bronstad can be contacted at abronstad@alm.com

Senator Ashburn SWITCHING SIDES on Gay Rights?

Outed senator easing stance against gay rights
Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

(06-01) 04:00 PDT Sacramento - --

State Sen. Roy Ashburn has begun taking some tentative steps toward backing gay rights, a little less than three months after the Bakersfield Republican was outed after a drunken driving arrest near the Capitol.

He vowed at the time to continue his staunch opposition to the expansion of gay rights - he has one of the strongest anti-gay records of any lawmaker - saying that is how his constituents would have him vote.

But since then, Ashburn has held several meetings at the Capitol with a major gay rights organization that he previously avoided, and on Thursday made an unusually personal speech that showed he is re-evaluating his thinking on some issues. Senate colleagues say he seems happier.

"I would not have been speaking on measures dealing with sexual orientation - ever - prior to the events that have transpired in my life over the last three months," Ashburn said on the Senate floor, surprising some of his colleagues. "However, I am no longer willing or able to remain silent on issues that affect sexual orientation (and) the rights of individuals. So, I am doing something that is quite different and foreign to me and is highly emotional."

Ashburn was arrested March 3 on suspicion of drunken driving after reportedly spending the evening at a Sacramento gay club, and pleaded no contest to the charge in April. Several days after he was arrested, he confirmed that he was gay during a radio interview, during which he also pledged to continue his voting record against gay rights.

Opposing 'don't ask'
But on Thursday, Ashburn argued for a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays and lesbians serving in the military, voting for the measure that he had opposed twice, most recently last year.

"The current policy of 'don't ask, don't tell' is clearly out of date and discriminatory," he said. "I rise in support of this resolution because it calls upon our nation's best instincts and seeks to correct a basic discrimination that is hurtful to people and our country."

But Ashburn voted against another measure that would state explicitly in law that people opposed to performing marriages for same-sex couples for religious reasons would not be forced to do so, and that religious organizations would not lose their tax-exempt status if they did not hold such marriages.

Ashburn said he liked that idea, but the bill, which passed without his support, also inserts the word "civil" before references to marriage in state code.

He called it "troublesome" and noted the vote on Proposition 8 last year, the legal challenges to that proposition that outlawed same-sex marriage and the likelihood that the issue would return to the ballot in future years. He said passing the bill would create "a confusing, untenable situation," though he added that it was "with great difficulty" that he urged the Senate to reject the bill.

In 2005, he helped lead a rally in Bakersfield opposing same-sex marriage, but last week he said "gay marriage is a very complicated issue."

The changes, though minor, have caught the attention of advocates for gay rights.

"Just like everyone else, we were surprised to see these statements come out of his mouth," said Charles Moran, spokesman for the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP organization.

Changing policy views
Ashburn, a divorced father of four, is the highest-ranking openly gay Republican in California, and while Log Cabin officials have yet to meet with him, Moran said his speech may be the impetus for that.

"Here is somebody who is open and out of the closet and has truly changed their policy position," Moran said, though he added that while gay people have wide-ranging views on marriage, "I still think he may have a long way to go and that's what was demonstrated in his marriage vote."

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, the author of the marriage legislation, said he did not understand Ashburn's logic in voting against the bill.

Leno, who is gay, said he hopes Ashburn's being out during his remaining few months in office "will be an opportunity for his leadership not only in his district but also in his caucus to bring some rational thinking and light to the subject of LGBT civil rights." Ashburn is termed out of office at the end of this year.

Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, wrote the "don't ask, don't tell" resolution, and said she thinks Ashburn's openness will spur change in the Republican caucus. Kehoe, who is a lesbian, said Ashburn has told her he feels like a weight has been lifted off him and that he is even contemplating attending the San Diego gay pride event in July.

Gay rights group
Ashburn also has held several meetings with Equality California, the state's largest gay rights group, in the past few months. Ashburn indicated he was "open to learning more about legislation and considering our bills on their merits," said Vaishalee Raja, spokeswoman for Equality California.

Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, has been friends with Ashburn for years. The relationship started over a mutual interest in advocating for mental health services, and since Ashburn publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation, Yee said his friend and colleague is more relaxed and seems happier.

"I think whenever you're truthful with yourself, that's a good thing," said Yee, who is straight. "The coming out process is an enlightening process, so I think he's coming to terms with his sexual orientation and that's what you're seeing now."

Ashburn has also been publicly talking about the changes in his life, though he was unavailable to be interviewed for this article. He told a columnist at the Bakersfield Californian that he had stopped drinking alcohol and that he was sorry for many of his votes against gay rights legislation.

He also said he was reassessing much of his life. "I'm taking care of a lot of old baggage," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

E-mail Wyatt Buchanan at wbuchanan@sfchronicle.com

This article appeared on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

© 2010 Hearst Communications Inc.

Log Cabin Republicans Name R. Clarke Cooper As New Executive Director

Log Cabin Names New Director

The Log Cabin Republicans, a national gay and lesbian Republican grass roots organization, has named R. Clarke Cooper as its new executive director, EDGE Boston reports. Cooper served under George W. Bush for eight years in various foreign affairs positions and served in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army.

“Log Cabin is fortunate to have Clarke’s skills and experience to lead the organization at this critical time,” said Terry Hamilton, who serves as the group’s National Board Chairman, in a press release. “As Congress is debating the failed ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, we could not have a better advocate in ensuring that this policy gets overturned.”

Cooper will also head up the Liberty Education Forum, which “focuses on reaching out to conservatives and people of faith about issues affecting gay and lesbian Americans.” Cooper takes over for Patrick Sammon, who lead the Log Cabin Republicans since late 2006.

Log Cabin Republicans v. USA Challenge to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" #DADT To Proceed Despite Obama's Attempt To Dismiss DADT Lawsuit

Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America

'Don't ask, don't tell' suit will go forward
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The battle over gays and lesbians in the military shifted to the courts Friday when a federal judge in Southern California rejected the Obama administration's attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

President Obama has pressed for repeal of the 1993 law that prohibits military service by homosexuals who reveal their sexual orientation. On Friday, the House passed a defense bill that would revoke the law and change the policy once the Pentagon completes a review of its impact. The Senate is expected to consider the bill this summer.

In the meantime, the Obama administration is defending the law in court against a suit by the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay-rights organization, which argues the ban is a discriminatory and irrational measure that serves no legitimate military purpose.

While agreeing that the law is discriminatory, the administration argues that Congress could reasonably decide that openly homosexual soldiers would weaken the armed forces. In seeking dismissal, however, government lawyers argued that the Log Cabin Republicans had no right to sue because they had not identified any members who were threatened with discharge under the policy.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips of Riverside disagreed. She said one of the organization's members, identified in the suit only as John Doe, is an Army reserve officer who served in Iraq and faces discharge if he reveals his name.

"This case presents the rare set of circumstances in which anonymity is appropriate," Phillips said. She said the government has argued that John Doe's name is essential to the suit but has refused to promise to protect him from discharge.

She also rejected the administration's argument that the law must be upheld if it has any rational justification. Phillips said she intends to use a more exacting standard, based on a 2008 federal appeals court ruling, requiring the government to show that its intrusion on the private lives of gays and lesbians is necessary to promote an important public interest.

The case could go to trial in July.

E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko@sfchronicle.com

This article appeared on page A - 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle

© 2010 Hearst Communications Inc.