Jeremy Redlien, President of PFLAG in Oneonta/Otsego NY, launched a campaign to honor Glen Burke, the first openly gay baseball player who never been recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame.  As baseball is our National Pastime, it is incredibly important that the Baseball Hall of Fame acknowledge and promote diversity within the sport itself.  

To date, more than 20,000 people have joined the campaign on Charge.com, asking that The Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize Burke's contribution and popularization of the high five. In a late season game in 1977, Burke’s Dodgers teammate, Dusty Baker, hit a home-run, and Burke who was on deck, raised his right hand as Baker crossed the home plate and gave him a high five. 

“Glenn Burke came out to his teammates at a time when no one else was talking publicly about their sexual orientation, let alone athletes,” said Redlien. “We live in a world where the contributions of gay athletes to the history of sports is often overlooked. It’s time to recognize Burke’s bravery so that young people today can be inspired by this important figure in baseball.”

“It’s amazing to think that Glenn Burke not only made history by coming out as gay, but that he also popularized something that millions upon millions of people do, from T-ball players to professional athletes, whenever they want to celebrate a special moment,” added Redlien. “Burke’s story is something that everyone deserves to learn about, as the contributions of gay athletes are all too often overlooked in professional sports.”

Burke’s career in the Major Leagues was short. According to a PBS documentary from 2010, Burke’s sexual orientation caused friction between him and his managers, with a Dodgers official suggesting that Burke should get married to protect the team’s image. Burke retired in 1980, and said a few years later that “prejudice drove me out of baseball sooner than I should have, but I wasn’t changing.”

Burke passed away in 1995, after a battle with substance abuse and HIV/AIDS-related complications.

“I think if Burke had been supported by managers and teammates early on, he would not have left baseball so early, and could have been a contender for the Hall of Fame,” said Redlien. “Instead, Burke died tragically after feeling like he didn’t belong in professional sports. It is time for his favorite sport to give him the respect he always deserved.”

“Jeremy Redlien’s petition is mobilizing thousands of people who want to see Glenn Burke honored in some way by the Baseball Hall of Fame, they are speaking out *and joining Jeremy’s campaign in droves” said Joe Mirabella, Campaign Manager at Change.org. 

 
 
by  Dan Rafter at HRC     

FLAWED PAPER CLAIMS TO OVERTURN 30 YEARS OF CREDIBLE RESEARCH THAT SHOWS GAY AND LESBIAN PARENTS ARE GOOD PARENTS

Washington, DC, June 11, 2012 - A flawed, misleading, and scientifically unsound paper that seeks to disparage lesbian and gay parents was roundly criticized today by organizations that protect and advance the freedoms and equality of Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

The paper, “New Family Structures Study,” written by right-wing author Mark Regnerus (of the Department of Sociology and Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin) and funded in large part by the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute, makes a number of claims about negative outcomes for children raised by gay and lesbian parents.  However, for the most part, the paper doesn’t even look at same-sex couples raising a child together in a long-term committed relationship.

The Family Equality Council, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Freedom to Marry, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD) pointed out that numerous flaws and a biased agenda undermine the claims made by the paper.

“Flawed methodology and misleading conclusions all driven by a right-wing ideology,” said Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of the Family Equality Council. “That alone should raise doubts about the credibility of this author’s work. But on top of that, his paper doesn’t even measure what it claims to be measuring.”

“Because of the serious flaws, this so-called study doesn’t match 30 years of scientific research that shows overwhelmingly that children raised by parents who are LGBT do equally as well as their counterparts raised by heterosexual parents,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin

Griffin and Chrisler added that those conclusions are backed up by every major child welfare organization—whose sole objective is to ensure child welfare-- along with the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of Social Workers, who all confirm that LGBT parents make good parents.

Chrisler also said that these 30 years of research are grounded in the day-to-day reality witnessed by millions of Americans.

“Everyday people in this country see real-life examples of the love, commitment and caring these parents provide to their children, said Chrisler. “These parents are raising their children to be kind to their friends and neighbors, support their communities and uphold American values.  One biased paper cannot undo the truth nor demean the value of these families.”

Regnerus is well known for his ultra-conservative ideology and the paper was funded by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation - two groups commonly known for their support of conservative causes. The Witherspoon Institute also has ties to the Family Research Council, the National Organization for Marriage, and ultra-conservative Catholic groups like Opus Dei.

Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson said it is these anti-gay groups and their dangerous ideologies that, in fact, create some of the biggest legal, social, and economic challenges that LGBT families do face.

“The two million kids being raised by 1 million gay parents in this country are doing great, and would do even better if their parents didn’t have to deal with legal discrimination such as the denial of the freedom to marry, and ongoing attacks such as this kind of pseudo-scientific misinformation and the disinformation agenda that’s funding it,” said Wolfson. 

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick added, "A growing majority of Americans today already realize the harms this kind of junk science inflicts on loving families. If the media decides that this paper is worth covering, journalists have a responsibility to inform their audiences about the serious and glaring flaws in its methodology, and about the biased views of its author and funders."

Key problems with the “New Family Structures Study” include: 
  • The paper is fundamentally flawed and intentionally misleading. It doesn’t even measure what it claims to be measuringMost of the children examined in the paper were not being raised by parents in a committed same-sex relationship—whereas the other children in the study were being raised in two-parent homes with straight parents.
  • Given its fundamental flaws and ideological agenda, it’s not surprising that the paper doesn’t match the 30 years of solid scientific research on gay and lesbian parents and families. That research has been reviewed by child welfare organizations like the Child Welfare League of America, the National Adoption Center, the National Association of Social Workers and others whose only priority is the health and welfare of children and that research has led them to strongly support adoption by lesbian and gay parents.
  • In addition, the paper’s flaws highlight the disconnect between its claims about gay parents and the lived experiences of 2 million children in this country being raised by LGBT parents.  Americans know that their LGBT friends, family members and neighbors are wonderful parents and are providing loving and happy homes to children.
  • The paper fails to consider the impact of family arrangement or family transitions on children, invalidating any attempt on its part to assess the impact of sexual orientation on parenting.  The paper inappropriately compares children raised by two heterosexual parents for 18 years with children who experience family transitions – like foster care – or who live with single or divorced parents, or in blended families. Moreover, the limited number of respondents arbitrarily classified as having a gay or lesbian parent are combined regardless of their experiences of family instability.
 
 
From: Paul Guequierre @ HRC

New HRC President Chad Griffin calls tremendous disparities between LGBT and straight young people a call to action

Human Rights Campaign released a groundbreaking study of LGBT-identified young people and a corollary study of straight teens that shows tremendous disparities between the two groups.  With more than 10,000 respondents ages 13-17, “Growing Up LGBT in America” is the largest known survey of LGBT teens and shows how critical the work of achieving equality is for future generations.

Among the report’s key findings:
Over one-half of LGBT youth (54%) say they have been verbally harassed and called names involving anti-gay slurs;
Nearly half of LGBT youth (47%) say they do not “fit in” in their community while only 16 percent of non-LGBT youth feel that way; 67% of straight youth describe themselves as happy but this number drops to 37 percent among LGBT young people; 83% of LGBT youth believe they will be happy eventually, but only 49 percent believe they can be happy if they stay in the same city or town; 6 in 10 LGBT youth say their family is accepting of LGBT people, while a third say their family is not; 92% say they hear negative messages about being LGBT – 60 percent say those messages come from elected leaders.

When asked to describe their most important problem, straight teens articulated the usual challenges of grades and college and finances.  On the other hand LGBT teens’ worries were directly related to their identity as LGBT including non-accepting families and bullying. “No one would say that growing up LGBT is easy, but this survey is a stark wake-up call to the daily toll that discrimination takes on vulnerable young people,” said new HRC President Chad Griffin who begins his tenure by releasing this survey. “We have a responsibility to change that, because we know all too well that there are real life consequences to inaction.”

The first in a series of efforts to analyze the landscape for LGBT youth, the report summarizes the major findings from a general analysis of all survey responses. Over the next several months, HRC will be engaging in additional analysis that will provide a better understanding of the unique experiences of specific groups of youth, for example transgender youth, those of different races, religious traditions, etc.

“We applaud the Human Rights Campaign for shining a spotlight on this vulnerable group of teens,” said Christine James-Brown, CEO of the Child Welfare League of America.  “We look forward to collaborating with HRC on policy and educational initiatives to address the compelling needs and concerns of the thousands of LGBT youth who responded to this survey.”

A full copy of the report is available at: www.hrc.org/youth.
 
 
From Mike Jones  at Change

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA OFFICIALS PROPOSE ALLOWING LOCAL TROOPS TO ACCEPT GAY YOUTH AND LEADERS AFTER EAGLE SCOUT DELIVERS 275,000 PETITIONS AT NATIONAL ANNUAL MEETING

NEW YORK, NY – Sources have confirmed that Boy Scouts of America officials have proposed a new policy -- which could be voted on as early as 2013 -- that would allow local chartering organizations to decide whether or not to accept gay youth and leaders.

The proposal comes after Eagle Scout Zach Wahls delivered more than 275,000 signatures to the National Annual Meeting of the Boy Scouts of America from a popular petition on Change.org. The petition calls on the Boy Scouts to reinstate a lesbian den leader in Ohio, Jennifer Tyrrell, who was removed from her position because of her sexual orientation, and to end the Boy Scouts’ long-held policy barring openly gay scouts and scout leaders.

“Last Wednesday I delivered 275,000 petition signatures -- including the signatures of thousands of scouts and scout leaders -- to the Boy Scouts of America because I love the organization and I refuse to stand by idly as it forfeits its cultural relevancy at the very moment this country needs it most,” said Wahls. “In proposing to allow local charter organizations to decide whether or not they’ll include gay youth and leaders within their ranks, the Boy Scouts of America has taken an historic step forward, and I applaud their bravery in doing so.”

Wahls met with the Boy Scouts of America’s Public Relations Director, Deron Smith, and other top-ranking Boy Scout officials who asked not to be named after delivering the 275,000 petition signatures to the organization’s annual national meeting last Wednesday.

“As both an Eagle Scout with a personal investment in the success of the Boy Scouts of America and as the son of a lesbian couple, it means a lot to see this change finally set in motion,” added Wahls.

Wahls, the author of My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family and whose online video in support of his two gay moms went viral last year, delivered the signatures on behalf of Jennifer Tyrrell, a lesbian mom who was removed as den leader of her seven-year-old son’s Cub Scout troop in Ohio last month. After being removed from her position, Tyrrell started a petition on Change.org asking to be reinstated, and urging the Boy Scouts to stop dividing families and communities with a policy that excludes gay families, scouts and leaders.

“When I got the call from the Boy Scouts of America signaling that I could no longer serve as my seven-year-old’s Cub Scout den leader, I was heartbroken. But the blow was softened by the outpouring of support I received from my community and the parents of the boys I had dedicated myself to,” said Tyrrell. “I know if it was up to my community, I’d still be a Cub Scout Den Leader today, so this news is definitely a huge step in the right direction for the Boy Scouts of America.”

Tyrrell’s petition on Change.org earned the support of scores of celebrities, including most recently GLEE’s Dianna Agron, who signed the petition this past weekend at the GLAAD media awards in San Francisco, where Tyrrell was featured and addressed the crowd. Other celebrities endorsing Tyrrell’s petition include Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, Ricky Martin, Fran Drescher, Kelly Osbourne, Benicio Del Toro, and more.

“Zach and the thousands of scouts and scout leaders who have joined Jennifer’s campaign were able to connect through the petition in a way that has never happened before, which definitely caught the attention of the Boy Scouts of America,” said Mark Anthony Dingbaum, Campaign Manager at Change.org. “Change happens when everyday people like Jennifer are brave enough to share personal stories that inspire hundreds of thousands to take action -- and that’s what Change.org is all about.”

 
 
Labor union vows to advocate on behalf of transgender workers during contract negotiations

Washington – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), applauds the member-delegates of the 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for passing a resolution at their 2012 national conference in Denver yesterday.  The resolution states that SEIU local groups and members will bargain for transgender-inclusive heath care coverage as part of their contract negotiations with businesses and employers.

“This is a tremendous step forward in the fight for workplace equality for LGBT people,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “Our friends at SEIU recognize that all workers should be treated equitably, and that includes being free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  We are incredibly grateful to Mary Kay Henry and the SEIU member-delegates for continuing to be champions of justice and equality.”

With the passage of this resolution, SEIU joins the HRC Foundation, who, for the last decade, has been working to make workplace policies and protections more inclusive for transgender employees and their families through its Corporate Equality Index (CEI). This year the CEI rating criteria was made more stringent, requiring employers to have transgender inclusive health insurance coverage.  A remarkable 206 companies met the criteria.  Furthermore, HRC's Healthcare Equality Index recommends that all U.S. healthcare facilities provide transgender-inclusive health coverage to their employees.

Historically, transgender people have been categorically denied health care coverage for medically necessary treatment, irrespective of whether treatment is related to sex reassignment/affirmation.  Until recently, nearly all U.S employer-based health insurance plans contained “transgender exclusions” that limited insurance coverage for this population.  

 
 
Newly filed lawsuits challenges the discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples under state law.

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, lauds Lambda Legal and the ACLU for filing coordinated lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Illinois disparate treatment of same-sex couples under state law.  The cases, limited to the state of Illinois, seek recognition from the courts of the inferior status of civil unions.

“Thank you to the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and most importantly to the courageous couples who have made their stories public in order to achieve equality for all same-sex couples in Illinois ,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “These laws suits are a critical step on our journey. ”

HRC will continue to work in coalition with advocates in the state, such as Equality Illinois,  to advance marriage equality legislation in the state House and Senate. Both the lawsuits and legislation promote critical conversations on the impact of discriminatory laws on same-sex couples and their families. Pursuing two strategies increases the odds of success in Illinois.                          

 
 
From: David Cohen
Publisher/Owner of PINK/PINK PAGES

Dear PINK Readers,
I want to share with you this important email i got few minutes ago from Dan Rafter, the Online Campaigns Manager at Human Rights Campaign.  This is what he wrote:

Dear david, 
Have you seen this video yet? Have you shared it?

It's shocking footage of a North Carolina pastor's plan "to get rid of all the lesbians and queers"by putting them all in a concentration camp until they die.

I'm completely serious. Over 30,000 HRC supporters have spoken out against this rank bigotry since we posted about it on Facebook this week. We need to triple that total before we deliver the messages next week – will you help?

Watch this horrifying video, share it with everyone you know, and sign the petition. ( see above)

Here's what he says:
"Build a great big large fence, a hundred fifty, hundred miles long... put all the lesbians in there... Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out..."
"...And you know what, in a few years, they'll die out... Do you know why? They can't reproduce."

Don't let him get away with these sickening, hateful remarks – speak out and share this with everyone you know.
Please forward this email, share the video on Facebook and Twitter, and help spread the word. We can't let this kind of thing go unanswered.

Thanks for standing against hate,

Dan Rafter, 
Online Campaigns Manager
Human Rights Campaign

 
 
Equality at the Pump: ExxonMobil’s Hometown Newspaper Tells Company to Protect LGBT Employees

Dallas Morning News Editorial Board Advocates for Equality

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, joins the Dallas Morning News in calling on ExxonMobil to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the company’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy. This morning, the Dallas Morning News editorial board weighed in on the controversy surrounding ExxonMobil’s 13-year refusal to add the protections, publishing a scathing editorial

The fight to make ExxonMobil’s non-discrimination policy inclusive dates back to 1999.  Before Mobil Corp. was acquired by Exxon Corp., Mobil prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and offered health benefits to domestic partners of its employees. Upon its 1999 merger with Exxon, the non-discrimination policy was removed and the domestic partner benefits program was closed to new employees. Since that year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation along with other groups such as the New York City Pension Funds, has filed a resolution to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories in the company’s EEO policy.

In March, ExxonMobil again asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow it to omit a resolution, sponsored by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its EEO policies from its shareholder meeting which will be held May 30.  The SEC rejected the request to block the shareholder resolution.  

“ExxonMobil has resisted offering basic employment protections for their LGBT employees for years,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “With each passing year, it becomes more apparent that instituting inclusive non-discrimination policies is the right thing to do.  This year alone, the New York State Comptroller said it’s fiscally responsible, the SEC cleared a path to progress, and the oil giant’s hometown newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, called on the company to protect all workers” 

On HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, ExxonMobil received a score of -25. In contrast, oil and gas companies such as Chevron, BP, Shell, and Spectra received scores of 85 or higher. As of 2012, 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their EEO policy and 50 percent include gender identity.

More information on the HRC Corporate Equality Index is available at www.hrc.org/cei.

 
 
 Human Rights Campaign Announces Endorsement of Tom Barrett for Governor

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign – announced the endorsement of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett for Wisconsin Governor.  Barrett is a strong supporter of LGBT equality and will fight for fairness for all Wisconsinites.  Current Governor Scott Walker’s record is fraught with divisiveness and anti-LGBT sentiment.  In addition to his “divide and conquer” approach to union labor in the Badger state, Walker supported the 2006 Wisconsin anti-marriage amendment and does not support basic rights and protections for LGBT people. 

“Tom Barrett has been a champion for equality throughout his career in public service,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “His dedication to the LGBT community and his commitment to fairness for all Wisconsin families make him the right choice for Governor.”

Tom Barrett is a strong supporter of equality, he opposed the 2006 amendment and earned 100 percent on HRC’s scorecard in the last Congress in which he served. He is also a leader in the community and has the support of local and national Democratic leaders, labor leaders, and education leaders.

“Tom Barrett’s energy and courage is needed in Madison.  When elected, he will fight for all Wisconsin families.  Tom has proven himself an effective leader – exactly what the people of Wisconsin need,” added Solmonese. 

Paid for by the Human Rights Campaign. Jim Rinefierd, Treasurer. Not authorized by any candidate, candidate’s agent or committee.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness

 
 


From: National Press Secretary • Media Matters for America

Fox's Tammy Bruce Says She's "Been Told" She'll "Never" Guest Host For O'Reilly Because She's Gay

In a subsequent post on her blog, Tammy Bruce wrote that she was being snarky and sarcastic in her tweet and defended Fox for being "willing to hire an openly gay women before anyone else in television." She added that she had been told she would never guest host O'Reilly because of her sexual orientation by "a friend of mine" and that she has "never even asked to host the Factor (or any other show at Fox), and no one at Fox ever told me I couldn't." 
Longtime Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce tweeted yesterday that she's been told she'll never guest host The O'Reilly Factor because she's gay. Bruce did not specify whether she had received that message from the network's personnel, but replied favorably to a fan who responded to her tweet by criticizing the network.

Bruce is a conservative radio show host who regularly appears on The O'Reilly Factor with host Bill O'Reilly. According to Nexis, Bruce most recently appeared on the program's April 6 broadcast with guest host Juan Williams.

Bruce is openly gay, a fact she's noted on The O'Reilly Factor. A biography posted on WMAL, which carried her radio show (the program now streams "exclusively at TalkStreamLive"), states that when her radio show "debuted in Los Angeles in 1993, she was the first openly gay woman in the country to host a show on a mainstream talk radio station."

Bruce's comments came in response to a follower who told her she needs "to fill in for O'Reilly sometime." Bruce replied: "I'd love to fill in for O'Reilly, but I've been told it will never happen because I'm gay. Go figure..."