Wednesday, July 11, 2007

News Round-up 11 July 2007

US House Keeps Cheney Budget Intact

Yesterday, I was heartened to hear that a bill had been introduced in the US House to cut off funding for the Office of Vice-President Dick Cheney. This bill was introduced in response to the Vice President's legal efforts to avoid providing documentation and details of his activities to House oversight. The apparent secrecy of this administration is unprecedented in my lifetime and I lived through the Watergate scandal and the Nixon administration. I had hoped that his bill would succeed in bringing the Vice President into line to recognize that he and his office are not above the law. Sadly, the bill was narrowly defeated today.

URGENT: Please call your Senators to support Senate Bill 1105, the Matthew Shepard Act

From the Human Right Campaign:

Today Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) offered the Senate hate crimes bill, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, as an amendment to the Department of Defense Reauthorization bill currently being debated on the Senate floor. The House of Representatives version of the bill passed with strong bipartisan support on May 3. The Senate bill, S. 1105, could be voted on as early as today. Joe Solmonese issued a statement on today's filing.

The right wing is in high gear on Capitol Hill today to fight the bill's passage and Senate leaders need to hear strong - and repeated - messages of support for the hate crimes bill from our side.

Call your senators ASAP at 202/224-3121 and urge them to vote in favor of the Matthew Shepard Act, S. 1105.

For those of you who live in North Carolina, please remind your Senators that Matthew Shepard lived in North Carolina before going to Laramie, Wyoming, where he was brutally beaten and left to die tied to a fence post because he was gay.

In a related story, the HRC has posted an article about Hate Crimes as perceived in the African-American Community.

HRC and LOGO Channel Presidential Debate to Focus on LGBTQ Issues

The Human Rights Campaign and LOGO Channel, the LGBTQ television channel, have announced the first ever Presidential Debate to be hosted by an LGBTQ organization. Please read the press release of the initial disclosure, a more recent update from the HRC that hints at a burgeoning controversy about the debates, and then this piece from Queerty Blast.

My opinion on this last topic

I have written both the HRC and LOGO to express my disappointment in their decision to limit candidate participation based upon their ability to raise money. As many of you know, I support grass-roots efforts to address HIV/AIDS- and LGBTQ-related issues. Money prevents many of us from taking part in the process that runs this country and that needs to change. We need to provide access to our allies, no matter what their financial situation, if they can bring alternative ideas to the table for discussion. Which of our current Presidential candidates who are funded beyond the $100K limit might gain from hearing Mike Gravel's ideas on LGBTQ Equality?



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