Supreme Court rules 5 to 4 same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states
Written by Administrator
In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 decision. He was joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.
Justice Kennedy said gay and lesbian couples had a fundamental right to marry.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family,” he wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
When marriages begin? Developing...
Read the decision in full Events in the Central Valley: Fresno: https://www.facebook.com/events/498243886989305/ Bakersfield: https://www.facebook.com/events/1456320621349978/ Bakersfield: https://www.facebook.com/events/356195121241091
Robert Peterson of Bakersfield PFLAG will be our program speaker this Sunday, June 21, at the Tulare-Kings Counties PFLAG meeting. The meetings are held the third Sunday of each month, from 3 - 5 pm, at the Congregation B'nai David, Educational and Cultural Center, 1039 S. Chinowth, Visalia.
A daily pill is now available to prevent infection by the HIV virus. Robert Peterson will speak about this breakthrough preventive medication, Pre-exposure Prohylaxis to Prevent HIV Transmission, and how it can be an important part of the battle against HIV and AIDS.
PFLAG provides a safe and confidential space place to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity, and works to build a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.
There is no cost to attend, and membership is optional.
PFLAG Tulare and Kings Counties is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status.
President Obama issues LGBTQ Pride Month Proclamation
Written by Jim Reeves
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2015
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
From the moment our Nation first came together to declare the fundamental truth that all men are created equal, courageous and dedicated patriots have fought to refine our founding promise and broaden democracy’s reach. Over the course of more than two centuries of striving and sacrifice, our country has expanded civil rights and enshrined equal protections into our Constitution. Through struggle and setback, we see a common trajectory toward a more free and just society.
But we are also reminded that we are not truly equal until every person is afforded the same rights and opportunities — that when one of us experiences discrimination, it affects all of us — and that our journey is not complete until our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.
Across our Nation, tremendous progress has been won by determined individuals who stood up, spoke out, and shared their stories. Earlier this year, because of my landmark Executive Order on LGBT workplace discrimination, protections for Federal contractors went into effect, guarding against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Federal Government is now leading by example, ensuring that our employees and contractors are judged by the quality of their work, not by who they love. And I will keep calling on the Congress to pass legislation so that all Americans are covered by these protections, no matter where they work.
In communities throughout the country, barriers that limit the potential of LGBT Americans have been torn down, but too many individuals continue to encounter discrimination and unfair treatment.
My Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors because the overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that it can cause substantial harm. We understand the unique challenges faced by sexual and gender minorities — especially transgender and gender non-conforming individuals — and are taking steps to address them.
And we recognize that families come in many shapes and sizes. Whether biological, foster, or adoptive, family acceptance is an important protective factor against suicide and harm for LGBTQ youth, and mental health experts have created resources to support family communication and involvement.
For countless young people, it is not enough to simply say it gets better; we must take action too. We continue to address bullying and harassment in our classrooms, ensuring every student has a nurturing environment in which to learn and grow. Across the Federal Government, we are working every day to unlock the opportunities all LGBT individuals deserve and the resources and care they need.
Too many LGBTQ youth face homelessness and too many older individuals struggle to find welcoming and affordable housing; that is why my Administration is striving to ensure they have equal access to safe and supportive housing throughout life. We are updating our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to better address the disproportionate burden HIV has on communities of gay and bisexual men and transgender women.
We continue to extend family and spousal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. And because we know LGBT rights are human rights, we are championing protections and support for LGBT persons around the world.
All people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, we celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals have woven into the fabric of our Nation, we honor those who have fought to perfect our Union, and we continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2015 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
The Republic of Ireland became the first nation in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote. By a margin of 62% of votes cast, Irish citizens, on Saturday May 23, approved amending their constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. The BBC is reporting 1,201,607 yes votes, and 734,300 no votes, in a nation with a population of 4.6 million residents.
It became evident early on that the 'yes' vote was winning, and winning big. Both sides recognized the landslide that had a 60% turnout for the vote. Only one constituency (voting district), mostly rural Roscommon-South Leitrim had a majority 'no' vote, according to the BBC.
Today's vote comes only 22 years after homosexual acts were decriminalized in the island nation. Catholic Church ArchBishop for Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said the church "has a huge task in front of it. I think really the church needs to do a reality check."
Irish citizens from around the world were reported to have returned home to vote in the referendum. After the returns were announced, large crowds were reported in the capital city Dublin, celebrating the yes vote.
In the United States, 38 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage (2 of those states with some limitations) but only the state of Washington has implemented that recognition through popular vote. All others have been through court actions. The Supreme Court of the United States will rule on the question this session, after hearing oral arguments earlier this year.
BSA President Gates urges lifting of adult gay leadership ban
Written by Jim Reeves
Dr. Robert Gates, former CIA Director, former Secretary of Defense, and now Boy Scouts of America President, addressed the annual BSA business meeting May 21, where he urged change to the national policy to ban gay adult leaders (transcript here). In his remarks, Gates cited the rapid change in the views of the public, the upcoming Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, and declining membership as reasons to end the current policy.
"...I must speak as plainly and bluntly to you as I spoke to Presidents when I was Director of CIA and Secretary of Defense. We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained."
Gates told the assembled leadership of the BSA that he would not move to revoke the charters of the Greater New York Council, nor the Denver Area Council, among others, who have openly defied the national organization and allowed openly gay leaders to be a part of their troops. He said doing so would only serve to
"deny the lifelong benefits of Scouting to hundreds of thousands of boys and young men today and vastly more in the future. I will not take that path."
BSA is urged by Dr. Gates to take control of it's future now, rather than allow possible legislative or court action determine their policies.
Gates urged the attending leadership to change national policy, permitting local Councils to set leadership requirements. Most Scout troups are sponsored by churches, some of which have no qualms about gay men serving as leaders. Others may want to continue their prohibitions on gay leaders, but, in Gates' view, should have the option to decide for themselves. Some troops are sponsored by non-religious organizations, and would also be able to determine their own standards for leadership positions. (Such groups could also end the current ban on atheists serving as Scout leaders, another growing concern of non-discrimination advocates.)
In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled the BSA was a private organization, and could set membership requirements as it saw fit. This confirmed the Scout's policy of banning any boy who identified as gay from becoming or remaining a Scout, and of prohibiting or removing any adult leader who was gay. On January 1, 2014, BSA dropped the ban on gay boys being Scouts, but maintained the adult ban. This had the curious, and indefensible, effect of telling young men, many who achieved Scouting's highest honor of Eagle Scout, that it was no longer acceptable for them to continue in Scouting as adult leaders. Large national donors began publicly withdrawing as sponsors of the Scouts, and declining to continue their monetary donations. Between those funding cutoffs, and a declining membership as people expressed their own personal dissatisfaction with the gay bans, the BSA is experiencing a crisis. As Gates said, this is not sustainable.
Pressure is building on the Boy Scouts of America to end a policy rooted in prejudice and ignorance. They should follow the leadership evidenced by the Girl Scouts of America, who have no bans based on sexual orientation for their members or leaders. GSA is in the forefront of this issue, and even leads in issues of transgender youth.
The Boy Scouts of America has a long path to follow to bring itself into the 21st century. Some of the more intransigent and religiously conservative members will have difficulties adjusting to the new realities, but if they want the positive aspects of Scouting to endure, they and the rest of the BSA need to adapt to the social, moral, and legal realities of the times. Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity will not be policies that ensure Scouting remain a strong presence in the United States. The general public, which the BSA purports to serve, will no longer allow it.
The disappointing aspect of Dr. Gates' speech was not that he urged the BSA to change, but the reasons he gave. He did not stand for changing the policy as the moral thing to do, but merely as the acts required to insure the survival of the organization. The positive effects on boys was almost an afterthought. He missed a chance to be a strong moral leader to the BSA and Americans in general on the issues of discrimination and acceptance. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth to deeply, I suppose we should be happy for baby steps.
Mike Buford, of the Tulare County Prayer Breakfast Team, takes exception to comments posted here and at my blog at my Alternating Currents blog at the Visalia Times Delta's website. In a letter to the editor, Mr. Buford says:
BEWARE OF SPLC
I certainly hope people see what is happening to our freedom in the wake of the redefinition of marriage.
A letter by Jim Reeves (May 1) complained about the speaker at the recent Tulare County Prayer Breakfast. The speaker was Tony Perkins, a former elected official, a veteran of the United State Marine Corps, and a former police officer, who is now head of an organization that has promoted Christian values in our nation's capital for more than 30 years.
In fact, the Family Research Council is the organization that spearheaded the successful effort last year to secure the release of Mariam Ibraheem, the Sudanese mother sentenced to die for her Christian faith.
The complaint was focused on a claim by a liberal advocacy group, Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that has actually been linked to domestic terrorism in a federal court of law. The activities of this organization are so questionable that the FBI dropped them as a resource and the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army have removed SPLC's materials from their programs.
The SPLC has become the premier anti-Christian organization and in its push to redefine marriage, labels anyone who opposes them as a "hate group." I cannot think of anything more un-American. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion is essential to the future of our nation.
We must not allow this type of intimidation and silencing of the views of a majority of Americans.
Tulare County Prayer Breakfast Team
I've submitted the following to the Times Delta as a letter to the editor of my own:
In Mr. Mike Buford's letter of May 6, there are several serious mistakes of fact. The "link" to the Southern Poverty Law Center and a domestic terrorist is, in the criminal's own
words, "I found them online, did a little research, went to the website, stuff like that." Hardly the stuff of conspiracy, except in the right-wing echo chamber.
The FBI still lists SPLC as a group it works with, check out their page at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/hate_crimes/overview , scroll down to "Public Outreach" and find them listed with other nationally recognized civil rights organizations. (Several Federal agencies have removed various organizations, the SPLC included, from some pages. It's a policy of linking only to government sites. The FBI didn't "drop" them.)
The SPLC has very specific requirements for inclusion on their hate group lists. You don't make it just because you "oppose" them. Groups have to work very diligently to make the cut.
I've noticed that since SPLC has branched out from the Klan and neo-nazi skinhead groups, and started identifying religious organizations as hate groups, that the right has begun vilifying them, in an effort to discredit. The SPLC was fine, until it started highlighting the hate coming from these groups. Now, it's an "anti-Christian organization".
As for Perkins himself, he has said, on the record, gay rights advocates are "going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians".(June 2014) "While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. ... It is a homosexual problem." Family Research Council website, 2010. Both are blatantly false. This is why I call him a liar.
Perkins has also recently appeared on television claiming the majority of Americans oppose marriage equality. That hasn't been true for some time now, and Perkins' knows it. He just can't bring himself to accept the fact, and continues to lie about it.
It is indicative how quickly and often a critizism of a religious organization is twisted into charges of "intimidation and silencing". Conservative Christians have, as they have for centuries, claimed victimhood for themselves, whenever anyone challenges them. Mr. Buford has fallen into the same pattern. My critizism of Perkins as the Prayer Breakfast's invited speaker is more along the lines of "you could easily have found someone much more positive, uplifting, and Christ-affirming, than Perkins." That your organization picked him, tells us all a lot about your real values.
Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and now Tony Perkins. All brought to our area by local conservatives. Who next?
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AND OUR ALLIES SHOW UP AND RESPOND WITH PROTEST. WE NEED TO LET IT BE KNOWN THAT TONY PERKINS'--NOR HIS HATE GROUP--WILL BE WELCOMED IN TULARE COUNTY.
TRUE CHRISTIANS PREACH LOVE, NOT HATRED. *************************************************************** On the morning of Monday, May 4, Tony Perkins will be speaking at the Tulare County Prayer Breakfast .
303 E Acequia Ave, Visalia, CA 93291 from 6:30am to 9:30am
But come for as long or as short as you can. We need your support. Please see our Facebook Event for sign ideas and carpools.
If his name rings a bell, it's probably because you've heard his organization's name--Family Research Council--listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of recognized hate groups, along with groups like the National Organization for Marriage, and the Westboro Baptist Church.
The Family Research Council has time and time again fought to keep LGBTQ+ people oppressed through malicious propaganda, often disguised in religious context. They are most well-known for being strong opponents of marriage equality.
"...one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the 'prophets' of a new sexual order."
"Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement."
"Supporters of V. Gene Robinson, the newly consecrated homosexual Episcopal bishop, claim his elevation sends 'a powerful message of love and tolerance.' However, it is not 'tolerant' to brush off opposition to the consecration of a homosexual bishop. Nor is it 'loving' to suppress evidence that homosexual behavior is a 'death-style' that is sending young people to an early grave."
With their history of such radical hate speech, we can't help but wonder why anyone would choose this man to represent a religious, Christian event.
Hate Group Leader To Speak At Tulare County Prayer Breakfast
Written by Jim Reeves
It was certainly disappointing to be out of state on vacation, and learn that the leader of a recognized hate group had been invited to speak at the Tulare County Prayer Breakfast.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the premier organization for tracking and identifying hate groups in the United States, has designated the Family Research Council an anti-gay hate group since 2010.
It's not easy to gain such an 'honor', but it's one Perkins and the FRC have worked hard to achieve.
That such a person should be invited to Visalia to speak to a religious group is outrageous.
Visalia, in the years since the Visalia Unified School District was sued for discrimination directed at a gay student (VUSD lost), to the Pride Month proclamations presented by the City Council in recent years, has come a long way toward equality and tolerance. With Perkins' being invited to speak at a prayer breakfast, it's clear that we still have a significant amount of backwards and bigoted thinking going on, and it's coming from the faith community.
Shame on you, Tulare County Prayer Breakfast, and shame on religious and political leaders who attend, and lend legitimacy to a hate group by your presence.
Note: please excuse any typos or rough construction of this post. It's being done from Kansas, via my iPhone.
ACT for Women and Girls is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to eradicating the oppression that lies deep in the roots of Tulare County and its surrounding Central Valley region. They empower women to be leaders and raise their voices to be heard in ways that impact our society.
The April meeting will be held at the Educational and Cultural Center, Congregation B’nai David, 1039 S. Chinowth,Visalia, CA 93277, on Sunday the 19th (third Sunday of each month), 3 – 5 pm.
PFLAG provides a safe and confidential space place to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity, and works to build a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.
There is no cost to attend, and membership is optional.
While in Jamaica, Presidential photographer Pete Souza captured an image of the Gay Gods blessing President Obama, and recharging his "fabulous" levels as he left the country. I'm sure with the anti-gay atmosphere currently rampant there, they felt he needed the jolt as he was leaving on Air Force One Thursday.
Now he can return to Washington and continue his work to insure LGRTQ equality.
Porterville hater makes veiled threat to kill gays
Written by Jim Reeves
Well known in the Porterville area, local gay-hater Rodney Martin chimed in on line article in the Visalia Times Delta regarding Attorney General Kamala Harris' request to the courts to invalidate the ballot initiative "Sodomite Suppression Act".
In the comments, Martin said this:
Gotta love all the Christian love from this one. Hey, Rodney... Exodus 20:13
Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to appear at Tulare-Kings PFLAG
Written by Jim Reeves
A contingent of theLos Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will appear at the March meeting of the Tulare-Kings Counties PFLAG. Sunday, March 15, 3 pm, with the Sisters making their presentation at 4pm. Come hear about the good works done by the Sisters in their charitable works. PFLAG meets in the Education and Cultural Center, Congregation B'nai David, 1039 S. Chinowth Rd, Visalia.
For a little background on Tulare-Kings PFLAG, here's my Letter to the Editor published recently in the Visalia Times Delta:
Founded in 2008, the Tulare & Kings Counties Chapter of PFLAG (formerly Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) continues to serve the parents, families, friends and supporters of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning community in Tulare and Kings Counties.
From its founding in New York City in 1972 by Jeanne Manford, a mother determined to support her gay son, PFLAG has grown into an international organization dedicated to, as mentioned in the Tulare-Kings PFLAG’s mission statement, “promoting the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights.
“PFLAG provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.”
The rapid change in our society’s acceptance of the LGBTQ community, especially in the past decade, has left many people wondering how they can help, or how they can obtain factual, reliable information concerning friends and/or family who come out as LGBTQ. PFLAG chapters across the country, and in other nations around the world, provide a safe, confidential, local source of support and community.
Tulare & Kings Counties PFLAG meets at 3 p.m. every third Sunday of the month, at the Educational and Cultural Center, Congregation B’nai David, 1039 S. Chinowth Road, Visalia. Meetings are open to the public, and individuals and families who are looking for information and support, whether they are interested in learning more about the LGBTQ community, or are coping with the news that a loved one is LGBTQ, are encouraged to attend. Members of the LGBTQ community are also invited to attend, to give and receive support.
Each meeting begins with introductions and announcements, followed by break-out groups for discussion and support. The second hour is a presentation by invited guests or members to speak on topics of concern to the LGBTQ community, their families, and the general public. Future presentations will include speakers from the Female Leadership Academy, discussions of LGBTQ youth homelessness, and issues facing the transgender community.
Hello, GayVisalia. As this is my first post here, I thought I'd do a basic introduction, for those of you who don't know me.
My name is Jim Reeves. I've lived in Visalia for almost all of my life, and work as a 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatcher at the Tulare County Sheriff's Office. I've been dispatching for over 20 years now, and can't imagine anything I'd rather do. (Well, I'd quit in a hot minute to be an astronaut, but NASA doesn't seem interested, so dispatching it is)
In my spare time I dabble in HAM radio, and my callsign is KC6YRU. I was first licensed in 1991, and have radios in my home and car. It's a great hobby, and a huge step up from my younger days as a CB'er.
Since about 2008, I've been blogging at various sites. First was for my own entertainment on MySpace (boy, those were the days!), then at QueerVisalia and Queerlandia. A few years ago, I was invited to be a community blogger at the Visalia Times-Delta's online site, one of several 'at large' bloggers. You can find my blogs at Alternating Currents. I also have my personal site, at Jimmiejoe.com. You can follow or friend me at my Facebook page, my Twitter feed, and Instagram.
July's Tulare-Kings County PFLAG meeting is coming up! It will be held on Sunday, July 20. The meeting will take place at 3:00 PM. The meeting will take place at the Educational and Cultural Center, Congregational B'nai David, 1039 S. Chinowth Ave in Visalia. Refreshments will be served at the meeting. We hope to see you there!
André Gomez, in partnership with Gay Visalia and Gay Porterville, is bringing The National Gay Blood Drive to Visalia. The National Gay Blood Drive aims to shed light on the FDA’s ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.
“There is a constant need for blood and donors are essential in maintaining an adequate supply. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans gay and bisexual men from donating blood.”
Any man who has had any sexual contact with another man since 1977 is barred and banned from giving blood. This is due to the fear of spreading blood-borne illnesses such as HIV. However, this law is outdated and unnecessary. This also contributes to the fearful and negative stigma surrounding the gay and bisexual community, and those who are HIV +.
On Friday, July 11th, we ask every gay and bisexual man, along with their sponsor (friend, relative, etc.), to join us at the Central California Blood Center at 1515 S. Mooney Blvd in Visalia, CA. While there, we will have our awesome sponsors donate blood in our place. With The National Gay Blood Drive, we hope to show the FDA how much blood they are missing out on.
If you’re a gay or bisexual man, find a sponsor, and meet us there on Friday, July 11.
In Visalia, the event is happening 8:30am to 5:30pm at: Central California Blood Center 1515 S Mooney Blvd, Visalia, CA 93277
Bring the kids for a super fun event! We are very excited to announce Oklin Bloodworth will be singing and performing! It will be a great time to hear this talented children's musician live and with a small audience.
Kids Day at the U-Farm is a day for kids (and adults) to play on the farm and enjoy the tree house, rope swing, face paintings, sing-a-longs, bounce houses and other farm games. Bring a picnic or eat with us. Food will be available for purchase.
$10 per kid. Order tickets online in advance for $8 per kid. Adults get in FREE! As always, fun is included.
A Quick Crash Course on the "Grow a Pair" Ordeal, from Gay Porterville
Written by Elliot Trueblood
As many of you already know, Porterville has faced quite the controversy over the past couple of weeks. On Tuesday, May 6, Councilwoman Virginia Gurrola presented an item to the council—a Safe Zone program to be implemented into the community by local students from the Burton School District. Students would be able to place placards on community buildings, designating them as safe places for students who were being bullied to go to for help. What a crazy concept, right? Allowing an anti-bullying program that was requested by the students to make its way into our city seemed like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, other members of the council—including our mayor—did not see it as so. What happened next can only be described as ridiculous, and a total embarrassment to this city.
After Gurrola presented the item, our oh so lovely mayor, Cameron Hamilton, proceeded to utter his now infamous remarks.
“I mean, I am against bullying, but I am getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything that ills the world when all most people have to do is grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves.”
The emotional damages inflicted upon those that are bullied range from anxiety and depression, and can lead all the way to suicide. Imagine being bullied to your breaking point, reaching out to an adult that you trust for help, and being told, “grow a pair.” It is safe to say that if a student is to reach out to an adult, the bullying has already spun out of their control. They are likely already feeling the fears, intimidations, and feelings of hopelessness that come along with being bullied. The last thing they need to be told is to “grow a pair.” They need intervention, support, and a solution to the issue they are facing. Perhaps, you know, a safe place to go for help. Kind of like a safe zone. Cameron Hamilton’s remarks were a huge slap in the face to anyone who is being bullied, has been bullied, and to anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide that was brought on by a bullying situation. He has issued no public apology, and continues to stand by his idiotic statements. This is a true embarrassment to the community.
One question that has been brought up again and again is, “How is this an LGBT+ issue?” This is an LGBT+ issue because the LGBT+ community was used as a tool by the councilmembers to block the Safe Zone item from reaching fruition.
In a painfully obvious inference to the LGBT+ community, Councilman Greg Shelton asked Councilwoman Gurrola if the Safe Zone initiative would cater to one specific group over another:
“Listen…is this thing discriminatory at all? Is it for everybody? It doesn’t favor one over another? […] I just wanna make sure we’re not going down that path.”
If you are even slightly familiar with Porterville’s councilmen, it is simple to understand what he is getting at. Of course there is no anti-bullying program that would only cater to one specific group. Even nonprofit organizations like The Trevor Project are all-inclusive, and would not turn away anyone who needed help. Unless Shelton is truly that ill-informed on how society operates, he knew that as well.
Later, during the oral communications segment of the meeting, townspeople got their chance to speak. This is when individuals came forth and asserted that these safe zones would be indoctrinations into a certain lifestyle. It was said that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. I wonder what they could have possibly meant by that?
To fully understand how and why this was painted as an LGBT+ issue by the council and the community, you can check out the video on Gay Porterville’s YouTube Channel. I cannot express enough the importance of watching this video. It’s a real gem; a perfect introduction to the attitudes and unprofessionalism of our city councilmen.
To sum up, the LGBT+ community and our dedicated allies were once again dragged through the mud by our city councilmen. This is how this whole ordeal got painted as an LGBT+ issue. Are you frustrated with that? Trust me, so are we.
We’ve been dealing with this kind of nonsense for years, and the homophobia is getting real exhausting. So far, under our belt, we’ve got quite the collection of shameful anti-LGBT stances from our city government. In 2008, Porterville was the only city in all of California to openly endorse Proposition 8. In 2013, we were faced with the reprehensible rescinding of Porterville’s Pride Proclamation. As a direct result, Virginia Gurrola was removed from her seat as mayor, seemingly for supporting the LGBT+ community of Porterville. That’s how we ended up with Mayor “Grow a Pair” in office. He’s been a real pleasure, as you can see…Next, in October of 2013, the council voted against recognizing National Coming Out Day, effectively belittling the struggles and hardships associated with coming out of the closet. This brings us to the “Grow a Pair” controversy, in which councilmen and community members employed harmful rhetoric pertaining to “the gays” as a way of opposing the Safe Zone initiative, throwing Porterville’s LGBT+ community under the bus once again.
Unfortunately for the children of Porterville, the Safe Zones will not even be considered again until July. This was revealed at the May 20 meeting; the same one from which Cameron Hamilton bolted from during oral communications for a news interview (yet another slap in the face to his community). If you screw up royally, and the constituents you represent want to voice their frustrations with you, you grow a pair and you listen to them. You don’t take off in the middle of the meeting to go defend your backward remarks to CNN and Fox News. This action displayed his true colors.
Out of all of this, one thing is for certain. Cameron Hamilton owes every single member of this city a public apology.
My name is Georgia Robinson, and I'm a sixty-nine years old, disabled widow on a fixed (Social Security) income. I'm not writing this for me, though. I'm trying to come up with enough money to give my exhausted, stressed out care provider (my son) a few days away for his birthday.
I know that this might seem frivilous on the surface, but I'm begging you to please understand how much he needs to get away, and how much he deserves to.
I suffer from post-polio syndrome, as well as several other health problems. I've had over a half dozen cancer scares over the years. As my health has gotten worse and worse over these past twenty years, my son, Amos, has had to sacrifice more and more of his own life to take care of me. He can't work outside the home anymore because of my needs. He has absolutely no social life anymore, much less a romantic life. He never goes out! He's mentioned wanting to go back to school (to take some college classes), but my health and our finances make that impossible. I have someone who comes in through In-Home Supportive Services, but the State only allows about two hours every day, and this is while Amos is asleep. When the IHSS care provider is gone, and I need something, I ring this bell and Amos comes to help me. Some days are better than others, but I don't think he's gotten a full night sleep in years!
Every morning, my son helps me out of bed, and into my wheelchair. sometimes he has to help me onto, and then off the toilet. He Sets up my shower for me, and helps me get in and out of it, too. Sometimes he has to help me get dressed, especially since the arthritis in my hands stop me from being able to fasten buttons, or tie my shoes. Amos cleans the house. He cooks for me. He takes me to the mall to exercise and so that I can socialize (I hate going to the Senior Center here! It's so depressing!). I know he hates the mall, but he sits patiently, waiting until I'm ready to go.
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