The Boy Scouts of America made history yesterday by voting to allow openly gay members into their ranks, but a New York lawmaker says they haven’t gone far enough.
Though it’s a progressive step for the 103-year-old institution, they’re still upholding their ban on openly gay leaders, and State Senator Brad Hoylman is not only stating his opposition, but introducing legislation that would remove the New York-based organization’s tax-exempt status if they continue the policy.
In December of last year, Politicker published a seven-page 1979 Essence magazine article where Chirlane McCray, the wife of mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, frankly discussed her identity as a lesbian. The news made waves, amplified by a New York Post cartoon condemned as offensive. Now, more than six months after our report and decades after the original essay, Ms. McCray returned to Essence‘s pages to discuss Mr. de Blasio, her sexual identity and more.
“I came out at 17. I hadn’t really dated any men. I thought, Whoa, what is this?” she said at one point in the Essence interview, when asked about entering her relationship with Mr. de Blasio. “But I also didn’t think, Oh, now I’m attracted to men. I was attracted to Bill. He felt like the perfect person for me.”
Earlier today, Washington Wizard’s center Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. And, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who’s vying to become the first openly gay mayor of New York City, is rather happy about it.
“What Jason did today is literally going to save lives,” Ms. Quinn said in a statement. “Because the greatest athletes – who are children’s heroes more than athletes? – are also LGBT and it’s okay.”
rudy to the rescue
Later this afternoon, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be holding a press conference on the steps of City Hall to specifically condemn a controversial campaign advertisement sent out in the Republican primary for a Queens State Senate seat.
The mailer, produced by attorney Juan Reyes’s campaign, accused his GOP rival, Councilman Eric Ulrich, of being hypocritical on gay marriage because, among other things, he has dinner with an openly gay colleague on the City Council and has hired gay staffers in his government office. New York State, of course, has a statute that would forbid this type of discrimination in hiring.
New York’s only branch of the controversial fried chicken sandwich chain Chick-Fil-A is located in an NYU cafeteria, but if a self-proclaimed Tea Partier running for State Assembly has his way the restaurant will soon set up shop in South Brooklyn. As a response to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s letter asking NYU to close the campus Chick-Fil-A after the owner of the chain declared his opposition to same-sex marriage, Mr. Gallo sent a letter of his own. Mr. Gallo wrote to Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-Fil-A, saying, “I would like to invite your company to consider opening a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in southern Brooklyn.”
“I want you to know that Ms. Quinn does not speak for all New Yorkers. I and many of my neighbors agree with your views on traditional family units. But more importantly, I’m sure we all could agree that no one in government should tell anyone what to believe, who to support and how to spend our money,” Mr. Gallo wrote.
Ron Paul’s official campaign website published a copy of a Minnesota Star Tribune op-ed by “Ron Paul activist and delegate” Craig Westover yesterday in which Mr. Westover argue media coverage of the “fringe of the Ron Paul movement” is akin to focusing on “the remnants of the gay-rights fringe,” which he describes as “shirtless hunks in leather tutus and motorcycling ‘Dykes on Bikes.’”
“Shirtless hunks in leather tutus and motorcycling ‘Dykes on Bikes’ are no longer the point of the gay-rights spear,” Mr. Westover wrote. “It’s the gay lawyer/gay accountant, lesbian legislator/lesbian physician–same-sex couples with kids and fundamental concerns about faith, family and freedom–who are now the face of the movement. Focusing commentary on the remnants of the gay-rights fringe is something the media would never do.”
Today, the Obama campaign announced the launch of “Obama Pride: LGBT Americans for Obama.” To mark the occasion, Obama For America LGBT National Vote Director Jamie Citron, National Campaign Co-Chair Joe Solmonese and campaign spokeswoman Clo Ewing held a conference call with reporters in which The Politicker asked them about recent polls, specifically one in Florida, showing President Barack Obama’s recent announcement in support of same sex marriage may hurt his chances of re-election. Both Ms. Ewing and Mr. Solmonese said they’re not concerned about the president’s gay marriage stance having a negative impact at the polls in November.
“I’d point to a couple different things; I’d point to the fact that there’ve been a number of polls that have come out, I haven’t seen that specific Florida poll that you’re referencing, but there have been a number of national polls that have come out since the president’s statement on marriage equality,” Ms. Ewing said. “What those polls show, are … more people supporting same sex marriage than before and … pointing to the fact that same sex marriage or marriage equality is not the first, second, third, or even fourth most important issue to them as they think about November and they head in to the ballot box.”
Love & Marriage
In a commencement speech at Liberty University this morning Mitt Romney praised anti-gay pastor Jerry Falwell and the founder of Chick-fil-A, a fast food chain that has donated millions to anti-gay groups. Falwell, who passed away in 2007, was the founder of Liberty University and an outspoken opponent of homosexuality.
“In his 73 years of life, Dr. Falwell left a big mark,” Mr. Romney said today. “The calling Jerry answered was not an easy one. Today we remember him as a courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel who never feared an argument, and never hated an adversary. Jerry deserves the tribute he would have treasured most, as a cheerful, confident champion for Christ.”