Gay AK: Music, Dance, Free Food & Guest Bloggers

Gay AK is a semi-regular column with short news items and up-coming events for LGBT Alaska.

The good news: my right shoulder should be healed in a week or two. The bad news: I'm right handed. I can manage the FB page, but would really appreciate a few guest bloggers so the blog doesn't go silent. Any LGBT Alaskans with something to say? Here's your opportunity. Send a few paragraphs to Bent Alaska.

Arctic Siren's First Friday Cabaret at the Snow Goose is $15 a person to benefit the Four A's. Friday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6:45 p.m.)

Womyn's Dance, 10/9 at the Snow Goose. We're back with new music and a new sound system! Come alone, bring a friend, an ex, a blind date or a gaggle of lesbians, but come on out to the Snow Goose the Saturday night of the Pride Conference. Doors open at 7:30pm and we'll dance until around midnight.

Marcia Stuber has offered to throw an end-of-summer Women's Retreat weekend at her resort in Sterling. Her cabins sleep 2-4, and she slashed the rate to only $100 per night per cabin. Located about a 9-iron from the Kenai River, this promises to be a weekend full of fun, fishing, friendship, campfires, music, an all-around blast! Alaska Red Fish Lodge

The long awaited revealing of the Fairbanks HAUS oF FUSION: Join Beyonca Fusion on her ultimate coming out on the town party event with the revival of the long lost tradition of Follies of Dollies: the ReMix. Downtown at the 310 1st Ave Banquet Hall on Saturday, Sept 18. Doors open at 8, drag show at 9. This is partly a benefit to "honor & give love to our dear friend Richard Welch, a pioneering community member who has been instrumental in the "art of the night" for many years." $9 @ door, 21+ only.

NE2010 was "a RAGING success with over 100 attendees enjoying three full days of educational classes and workshops taught by 8 national presenters on the SM and Leather lifestyles. Attendees were spoiled with a bustling registration brunch, brown bag lunches sponsored by the ICOAA and an off the hook farewell Seven Course Sinners Dinner with 10 performers and awards." The Dirty Dick Award was given to it's 8th recipient: Sarha was proud to award it to the GLBT community of Alaska.

Every Sunday night, Kodiak Bar and Grill on 5th Street hosts a totally free BarBQ at 7 pm. Chicken, steaks, burgers, fish, (different meats, different weeks, it's just a surprise) but always very good. Baked potatoes with sour cream, butter, shredded cheese, chips and dip. Of course, you are free to purchase your beverage of choice. Music and dancing after the dinner.

Sara's News Roundup 8/29/10

Note: Please excuse the open links - my right shoulder sustained a minor injury, and I'm not up to linking seventeen titles left-handed. Blog posting will be light until my shoulder heals. If you're a GLBTQ Alaskan and have something to say about local or national news and events, I'm seeking guest posts and topic suggestions, and appreciate your help in keeping the blog active. Thanks. - Ed.

Recent LGBT news selected by Sara Boesser in Juneau, Alaska.

1) Disgrace: Obama's increasingly absurd gay marriage position
Washington, New Republic, August 23, 2010

2) Military surveys spouses on 'don't ask, don't tell'
Washington, Washington Post, August 23, 2010

3) Jewish Films at TG Film Fest [Aug. 28, LA]
Los Angeles, Jewish Journal, August 16, 2010

4) Hospital Changes After Trans Woman Ridiculed
Muncie, Indiana, Advocate, August 26, 2010

5) Prop 8, Judge Walker and the Biblical View of Marriage Equality
Huffington Post, August 18, 2010

6) UPDATE: Former RNC chair Ken Mehlman is coming out., August 26, 2010

7) The Ken Mehlman Interview
New York City, Advocate, August 26, 2010

8) Rev. Eric Lee: Travesty of Justice
Los Angeles, Huffington Post, August 26, 2010

9) Misunderstandings common about gays
Rock Hill, S.C., Herald, August 22, 2010

10) Johnny Weir Takes on Sexuality
Advocate, August 27, 2010

11) Transgender rules on driver's licenses changed
Harrisburg, Penn., Philadelphia Inquirer, August 26, 2010

12) Mexico Supreme Court Comes Through Again
Mexico City, Mexico, Gay City News, August 18, 2010

13) Sykes Rejected By Childhood Crush
Contact Music, August 26, 2010

14) Hundreds dance in Nepal's 1st international gay parade
Kahtmandu, Nepal,, August 25, 2010

15) Church Rules Against Spahr
Napa, Calif., Advocate, August 27, 2010

16) Conservative British MP Comes Out
U.K., Advocate, August 27, 2010

17) Corvino: Ken Mehlman's new beginning?
Washington,, August 27, 2010

Meet Actress Sheetal Sheth at her Alaska film premiere

Yes, it's true! Join this hot actress for a Q&A session following her girl-gets-girl action in the Alaska premiere of two award-winning lesbian movies, I Can't Think Straight and The World Unseen, playing as a double-feature at Out North on October 8 & 10. And it's a benefit! Tickets go on sale at Metro in September.

The timing is great. It's right before National Coming Out Day (Oct 11) and the same weekend as the annual Alaska Pride Conference (Oct 9 at APU in Anchorage) and the biannual Womyn's Dance (Oct 9 at the Snow Goose). With the conference all day on Saturday, the dance Saturday night, and the films and Sheetal on Friday and Sunday, you'll definitely want to Come Out and join us!

Maureen Suttman is the organizer of the premiere. She chose I Can't Think Straight and The World Unseen (see the trailers below) partly because of their rich multi-cultural perspectives and the long term lesbian couple who created the films.
"They have earned over 30 international awards AND haven't been screened here," she wrote to Bent Alaska. "I happened to cross emails with Sheetal and stepped out there and invited her, and she has been saying "yes" for the last 2 months about coming here. Alaska sure does help in sparking interest."

"Last Spring, I saw 2 films that have been gaining the attention of both lesbians and the greater GLBT community. One set in London and a romantic comedy, the other set in South Africa and a drama, they both take on multiple layers of culture without losing underlying relationship themes--and while bringing tremendous heart and thought provoking images to the screen. Looking more, I found that between the two films they have won over 30 awards from around the globe. Further research into the production house behind them showed that at its helm are 2 women who are long-term domestic partners (and moms to their boys). Shamim Sarif is an award winning novel writer turned screen writer turned director. Hanan Kattan is her partner and the films' producer. Together they head London-based Enlightenment Productions and are gearing up additional novels to movies, music and television projects."

"Thinking others here would be interested in the films and the women behind them, I found myself compelled to show them in Anchorage. I sought out permission from EP's main office and am happy to report that on October 8th and 10th there will be a benefit screening of the films I Can't Think Straight and The World Unseen at Out North. In addition, and by an incredible stroke of good luck, Sheetal Sheth--co-star of both films (and NOH8 campaign supporter!) is coming to join us and will be available for audience Q&A and after-film conversation. Tickets will go on sale at Metro Music and Books in September."

"Since the films' releases, Sheetal's co-star Lisa Ray was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and underwent stem cell replacement treatment. Though now in remission, she was unable to work throughout treatment. Out of concern for her, there was an outpouring of fan support and a project to generate income for her was set up. The benefit film screenings will support both the Lisa Ray audio book project fund, as well as our own Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Anchorage."

"Check out Enlightenment Productions for more info on the films and the very creative gals behind them. More information on the Lisa Ray audio book project can be seen on Shamim Sarif's blog."

"Check out Sheetal at Her email address is there so why not leave her a message in anticipation of her visit? Personal experience suggests she will likely answer especially if you reference Alaska in the subject line."

"Thanks and hope to see everyone there!"
Thanks to Maureen for inviting this internationally-known actress to visit Alaska with the premiere of these two great films! Let's give Sheetal a warm Alaska welcome and fill that theater.

Where: Out North, 3800 DeBarr Road
When: Friday October 8 at 6:30 p.m., and Sunday October 10 at 1 p.m.
How much: $15 for the double feature

Watch the trailer for I Can't Think Straight:

Watch the trailer for The World Unseen:

Pentagon's DADT spouse survey & letters from same sex partners

Following the biased DADT survey sent to members of the military in July and returned by less than 30% of those asked, the Pentagon has now sent 150,000 new surveys to the straight spouses of service members asking how their lives might be effected by serving with open gays and lesbians. Who will be surveyed next - their children, neighbors and pets?

The irony is that the people who carry the real burden of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy - the gay and lesbian service members, their same sex partners and family members - cannot be included without outing themselves and their loved ones and getting fired.

So each morning, SLDN is posting letters from family members and spouses of former service members impacted by DADT: "As the Pentagon sends 150,000 surveys to the heterosexual spouses of service members this week, we will continue to tell the stories of families that have felt the injustice of this terrible law. The Pentagon needs to hear the stories of ALL military families now."

The first letter is written by Lynne Kennedy, partner to Capt. Joan Darrah, U.S. Navy (Ret.). They have been together for 20 years this December.
Dear General Ham and Mr. Johnson:

In 1990 – while working as a reference librarian at the Library of Congress -- I met Joan Darrah, an active duty Naval Officer. I already knew about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but I soon woke up to the harsh reality that loved ones of gay and lesbian family members are forced to serve in silence, too.

Over the years, Joan had adjusted to living two lives -- in the closet at work and out after hours. For me, it was a bit of an adjustment as I had been fortunate to work for an employer who valued my skills and expertise and realized that my being a lesbian in no way detracted from my ability to do a great job.

I knew that Joan could be deployed at any moment. She may be away from home for two or three years. I realized that being with an active duty military officer was even more constricting than I could have possibly imagined and I worried constantly about Joan's well being. Yet, through it all, I knew our relationship was worth the compromises. I knew we had to make it work for Joan to continue to serve our Country.

There were so many things that we had to be careful about. For example, Joan had asked that I not call her at work unless it was truly an emergency. When we were out in public if Joan saw someone from work, I learned to "disappear," until Joan's co-worker moved on. We didn't dare go to nice restaurants on Valentine's Day or even Saturday nights. We could not show any familiarity while out in public. I went to parties at colleagues' homes alone lest a guest I didn't know learn that Joan was in the Navy.

The events of September 11, 2001, caused us both appreciate more fully the true impact of DADT on our lives and the reality of our mutual sacrifices. At 8:30 a.m. that morning, Joan went to a meeting in the Pentagon. At 9:30 a.m., she left that meeting. At 9:37 a.m., the plane flew into the Pentagon and destroyed the exact space that Joan had left less than eight minutes earlier, killing seven of her colleagues.

In the days and weeks that followed, Joan went to several funerals and memorial services for her co-workers who had been killed. Most people attended these services with their spouses whose support was critical at this difficult time, yet Joan was forced to go alone, even though I really wanted to be with her to provide support.

As the numbness began to wear off, it hit me how incredibly alone I would have been had Joan been killed. The military is known for how it pulls together and helps people; we talk of the "military family," which is a way of saying we always look after each other, especially in times of need. But, none of that support would have been available for me, because under DADT, I didn't exist.

In fact, I would have been one of the last people to know had Joan been killed, because nowhere in her paperwork or emergency contact information had Joan dared to list my name.

Whenever I hear Joan recount the events of that day, I relive it and realize all over again how devastated I would have been had she been killed. I also think of the partners of service members injured or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are unable to get any support from the military and they must be careful about the amount of support they offer to their closeted service member loved ones.

The events of September 11th caused us to stop and reassess exactly what was most important in our lives. During that process, we realized that this discriminatory law was causing us to make a much bigger sacrifice than either of us had ever admitted.

Eight months later, in June 2002, Joan retired from the U.S. Navy, and I retired from the Library of Congress. If it wasn't for DADT, we might both still be serving in our respective positions.
The second letter is from the mother of a former army sergeant fired because of DADT, and the third letter is by a retired military sailor whose partner was fired because of DADT.

Visit the SLDN blog Frontlines to read those letters, and return on Thursday and Friday for the next letters.

SLDN is also urging supporters of repeal to call, write, and schedule meetings with their senators as the defense budget, which contains the repeal amendment, moves to the floor. Alaska's Senator Begich supports the repeal, but Sen. Murkowski has avoided the issue in the months leading up to yesterday's primary election. Will she be more likely to support the repeal of DADT if she wins the party nomination, or if she loses it? (As of this writing, she is behind, but the race is too close to call.)

Primary election: Hollis and Ethan on LGBT rights (results)

UPDATE: Ethan Berkowitz and Diane Benson will run for Gov. & Lt.Gov. on the Democratic ticket against Republicans Sean Parnell and Mead Treadwill. The big news from Tuesday's primary election is that Tea Party candidate Joe Miller is leading Sen. Lisa Murkowski for the GOP nomination for her senate seat!

Alaska's primary election is Tuesday August 24, and the main contest on the Democratic ticket is between progressive Hollis French and moderate Ethan Berkowitz, two Anchorage LGBT allies running for Governor. Only one will take on the Republican candidate in November. How do they compare on LGBT issues?

The French campaign sent a flyer to Bent Alaska a few days ago, reminding the LGBT community of his support for partner benefits in the legislature and for the Anchorage equal rights ordinance.

The small print on the poster is paraphrased from his statement on the rights of LGBT Alaskans, posted last fall on Bent and currently posted on French's campaign website.
"A few years ago the civil rights issue being discussed in Juneau was whether same sex couples should enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples. In 2005 the Alaska Supreme Court ruled unanimously that they should, but some legislators objected, and in 2006 they introduced measures to amend our constitution to shrink the meaning of 'equal protection under the law.'
"I fought that measure as a member of the Judiciary Committee and I fought it again when it came up for a vote before the full Senate. The debate spilled over into 2007, when an advisory vote asking whether our constitution should be amended was placed on the ballot statewide and it narrowly passed. In response another constitutional amendment was introduced in the Legislature, and I was proud to help other like-minded legislators defeat it."
Yes, French is an ally. But the poster's big print claims that he is "the ONLY candidate for Governor to OPENLY support the Alaskan GLBT community." How is that true? I asked for clarification, but did not get a reply.

Ethan Berkowitz is also an ally, and he was endorsed by the national LGBT rights group HRC in 2008 because he supported same sex benefits in the legislature. His statement on the HRC endorsement was posted on Bent during that election.
"I am proud of my record on civil rights. During my ten years in the Alaska State House, I fought to protect the personal liberties enshrined in the state constitution and to defend individual civil rights against the tyranny of the majority. Those positions might not always have been popular, but they are founded in the belief that the rule of law extends constitutional rights to all Americans, and protects minorities against institutional prejudices and bigotry like racism and sexism. That's why I stood for subsistence rights. That's why I spoke out for same-sex benefits, and against changes to the state constitution. That's why I know that a better future for this state and this country means living up to the values of 'liberty and justice for all.'"
The Berkowitz statement isn't focused on LGBT rights like the French statement, but he does openly state his support. (And so did former-candidate Bob Poe.) So what's up with the "only" stuff?

Well, anyway, here's how they compare on visible support for the LGBT community:

1. The French statement in support of gay equality is on his campaign website and highlighted as an issue. The Berkowitz statement was on his website in 2008, but is not on his current site.

2. The French statement focuses on LGBT rights, discussing his support for both partner benefits and the Anchorage ordinance. The Berkowitz statement lists his support for civil rights in general, and only mentions LGBT Alaskans twice, briefly. (See the paragraph quoted above for one mention.)

3. Both supported domestic partnership benefits at the state level, and the Anchorage equal rights ordinance. Berkowitz attended the first ordinance hearings, while French issued a written statement against the mayor's veto of the ordinance. It's the same French statement linked above, and includes this on the ordinance:
"This year's effort to expand the meaning of 'equal protection' was the ordinance passed by the Anchorage Assembly that would have prohibited discrimination in jobs and housing based on sexual orientation, much the same way that discrimination is prohibited based on race, gender, age and religion. As we all know, the measure was vetoed by Mayor Sullivan and the Assembly was one vote short of an override. That setback for the civil rights of Alaska's citizens will someday be righted; perhaps through a citizen's initiative, or perhaps through the election of a new mayor, or through the election of one more equal-rights minded assembly member.

"Thus, the struggle goes on. The tide of history is clear, though. We are on the right side of this issue, and we will prevail."
4. The French campaign created and sent a flyer, reaching out to the LGBT community and reminding us of his support. The Berkowitz campaign didn't produce anything on LGBT issues during the current election, as far as I know.

It seems fair to say that Hollis has been more openly supportive of the LGBT community in this election, especially in writing. But the main difference between their campaigns is not about their mutual support for LGBT issues - it's about the gas pipeline and energy taxes. (Note: the link goes to an article on the ADN, which has now endorsed French.)

Either way, we will have an ally to vote for in November. Which one has the best chance of winning that election?

45% of Alaskans support same sex marriage

Approximately 45% of Alaskans support same sex marriage, according to data from recent polls, and that puts Alaska squarely in the center among the 50 states on our opinion of marriage equality.

When Congress debated and passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1994-6, only 25% of Americans - and 23% of Alaskans - said that gay and lesbian couples should have the right to marry. New polls show a 20% increase of support nationally, while local support has risen 22% in the last 15 years.

The New York Times gathered the information from several polls, created the graph in this post showing the increase of support state by state, and highlighted the main points of progress:
"A CNN poll this month found that a narrow majority of Americans supported same-sex marriage — the first poll to find majority support. Other poll results did not go that far, but still, on average, showed that support for gay marriage had risen to 45 percent or more (with the rest either opposed or undecided)...

In 2008, the year Proposition 8 was approved, just under half of Californians supported same-sex marriage. Today, according to polls, more than half do. A similar shift has occurred in Maine, where same-sex marriage legislation was repealed by ballot measure in 2009.

In both New York and New Jersey, where state legislatures in the past have defeated proposals to allow same-sex marriage, a majority now support it.

And support for same-sex marriage has increased in all states, even in relatively conservative places like Wyoming and Kentucky. Only Utah is still below where national support stood in 1996."
Alaska is a "relatively conservative place" with an independent streak. The opponents to last summer's job and housing ordinance scared a few assembly members into thinking that Anchorage isn't ready for gay rights. But polls like these show that a shrinking percent of Alaskans oppose LGBT equality, even on marriage.

The polls also show that people under age 30 in all regions support marriage equality more than older adults do, so the trend towards equality will continue, in Alaska and across the nation. We've reached the tipping point!

Sara's News Roundup 8/22/10

Recent LGBT news selected by Sara Boesser in Juneau, Alaska., Christianity, August 9, 2010
Live Science, August 15, 2010
Berlin, AFP, August 17, 2010
Washington, Philadelphia Inquirer, August 14, 2010
Massachusetts, Advocate, August 19, 2010
U.S., Brandon Sun, August 2, 2010
Cherry Hill, N.J., Daily Record, August 17, 2010
Anchorage, Alaska, Anchorage Press, August 20, 2010
New York, Lambda Legal, August 20, 2010
Oklahoma, ABC News, August 18, 2010
Melbourne, Oregon,, August 3, 2010
Illinois, Advocate, August 19, 2010
Berlin, Germany,, August 20, 2010
Religious Dispatches, August 20, 2010
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Volume 8, Issue 1 2008
Augusta, Georgia, Augusta Journal, August 20, 2010

Coronation 2010 - Kickin' it Old School!

It's almost Labor Day weekend and you know what that means - Coronation!
Please join The Imperial Court of All Alaska, Emperor 37 Kevin Holtz, and Empress 37 Miss MeMe Jenkins for

"Coronation XXXVIII: Kickin' it OLD SCHOOL: Back to Our Roots - A Trip Down Memory Lane"

on September 2-6, 2010 in Anchorage, Alaska.


Thursday, September 2 at 5 PM:
Annual meet-n-greet hosted by Empress 31, Sister Mary Sunshine
WHERE: Sub Zero Lounge, 6th Avenue & F Street in downtown Anchorage
(no cover)

Thursday, September 2 when we're done with Sunshine Over Siberia
An irreverant look back at Kevin & MeMe's year, brought to you by Duke & Duchess 9 of Anchorage, Mikel Wiles and Colleen Crinklaw. Please be prepared to skewer Their Most Imperial Majesties one last time!
WHERE: Either Sub Zero or Mad Myrna's - we haven't decided yet.
(no cover)

Friday, September 3 at 9 PM; Doors at 8 PM
The best of the Alaskan Court Members will entertain you for hours! The worst of them will just get you drunk! Hosted by Their Most Imperial Majesties, Kevin & MeMe!
WHERE: Mad Myrna's

Saturday, September 4 at NOON
Whatever you do - don't wear jeans with holes in them. Jus' sayin... Meet at The Raven Bar to board the busses no later than 11:30. Don't be late, or we'll leave you in the parking lot. Hosted by the Candidates for Emperor and Empress!
WHERE: The Raven Bar (didn't you just read that?)

Saturday, September 4 at 9 PM; Doors at 8 PM
Visiting Monarchs dazzle us with their talents! Hosted by SoFonda Peters and Sister Mary Sunshine
WHERE: Mad Myrna's

Sunday, September 5 at 6 PM SHARP! Doors at 5 PM
We highlight the 2010 College of Emperors and Empresses Scholarship Recipients, honor our stepping-down monarchs, and crown the newest leaders of the ICOAA.
WHERE: The Sheraton Anchorage Hotel

Monday, September 6 at NOON
Eat, cry, eat some more, applaud, drink, and cry! The BEST brunch on the circuit!
WHERE: Mad Myrna's
Visit ICOAA Coronation for updates and to purchase tickets for all Coronation events.

Fairbanks officer discharged under DADT

West Point graduate and Former Army Capt. Jonathan Hopkins was stationed in Fairbanks until last Tuesday when he was discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military's ban against openly-gay service members.

Hopkins lived in Alaska for several years between combat missions to the Middle East. He was outed early last summer, and continued to work on the base in Fairbanks throughout the investigation. His boyfriend of ten months, Finely Bock, of Ninilchik, Alaska, said the soldiers Hopkins led in Alaska were "very accepting" toward him and his relationship with Hopkins after it was revealed, according to the Seattle Times.
Hopkins, once the fourth-ranking graduate of West Point out of 933 cadets and an officer who led three combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, was kicked out of the Army for being gay. His last day of service was Tuesday in Fairbanks, Alaska. He left behind — grudgingly — nine years of risking his life and training soldiers.

"I love the Army, I've always loved the Army. Otherwise I wouldn't have spent nine years depriving myself of the ability to have happy personal relationships with others," Hopkins said on "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC.

Fourteen months ago, on the same day he learned he was going to be promoted to major a year early, Hopkins was told by his battalion commander that he had been outed for being gay. After years of paranoia — he didn't fully realize he was gay until after graduating from West Point — the fatigue of living a lie had caught up with him.

"It's a job that we risk dying doing, and yet we have to be more scared of somebody realizing we're gay, more paranoid about that, than whether the enemy is going to blow us up," Hopkins said, referring to the more than 14,000 gay people who have been kicked out of the military. "You have to keep that all secret and tell lots of lies."

"It's time for the best, most powerful military in the world to allow gays to serve in the armed forces."
Hopkins and Bock are moving to Washington D.C. where Hopkins will attend graduate school this fall at Georgetown University.

Watch Rachel Maddow interview Captain Jonathan Hopkins about being fired from the U.S. Army under DADT:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Catholics reject ceremony for Alaska's married gay-friendly Episcopal Bishop

The consecration of Bishop-Elect Mark Andrew Lattime to the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska was set for Sept. 4 at a Catholic church in Anchorage, but the venue for ordaining the married religious leader was aburptly changed to a Methodist church.

Catholic news sites announced the event last week, focusing on Lattime's LGBT ministry:
"Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will ordain an Episcopal cleric from New York State as the Episcopal bishop of Alaska on September 4. The ceremony will take place at a Catholic parish in Anchorage.

"Until recently, Lattime was a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester's Committee for Gay and Lesbian Ministry, which "seeks to further the cause of recognition and legitimization of lesbian and gay relationships within the church and in civil society." Lattime is married and has three children."
Oh, no - he has a wife!

Lattime's resume for the Alaska position said he is a three-time deputy to General Convention from Rochester, NY, where he served on the diocesan council and as a dean of the southwest district and a stewardship consultant, among his many posts. He is also a certified private pilot and was a volunteer ambulance driver for the Fire Department.

The Catholic news sites didn't mention any of his qualifications, only that he was a member of a committee on Gay and Lesbian Ministry. He wasn't the chair or founder, just a member. They didn't say what work he did on the committee, or how long he was on it. He was involved with a gay and lesbian ministry, and that's enough.

The consecration was to take place in the Lady of Guadalupe Church in Anchorage, but is now scheduled for First United Methodist Church. After the ceremony, a reception will be held at the church, and a no-host banquet will be held at 7 p.m. in the Sheraton Hotel - where, in a sweet coincidence, The Imperial Court's Coronation is also being held that weekend.

Kudos to The Episcopal Diocese of Alaska on the election and consecration of Bishop Lattime, and to First United Methodist for hosting the ceremony after the Catholic church backed out.

Protesting 101: How to make fun of anti-gay bigots

The Westboro Baptist wackos are threatening to protest Wednesday's memorial service for Senator Ted Stevens held at Anchorage Baptist Temple. Most likely, they won't come - they announced several Alaska protests over the years but only showed up once, protesting Anchorage PrideFest in 2003.

Many state and national dignitaries are attending the ABT memorial for Stevens, the iconic senator of Alaska who died in a plane crash last week with four others. Stevens was respected by Alaskans of all stripes, and a protest against him will not win points with anyone, not even with locals who support WBC's anti-gay message.

But the irony of America's most anti-gay, media-craving, batsh*t crazies protesting at the home of Anchorage's most anti-gay, media-craving, batsh*t crazies is not lost on Alaskans.

Last summer, ABTers held Homos are going to Hell protests against the equal rights non-discrimination ordinance, which was passed by the assembly but vetoed by the mayor. Their mass produced signs with large block lettering on primary colored backgrounds, similar to Westboro's 'God Hates Fags' signs, were designed more to get media attention than to get assembly votes.

The LGBT community of Anchorage and our allies held Equality Rallies outside the assembly chambers, focusing on positive messages in favor of the ordinance. The signs were creative, clever and individually made.

But our LGBT friends and allies in the lower 48 have dealt with years of anti-gay protests. They honed the counter-protesting of anti-gay bigots into an art form, bringing signs that turn the protest on it's head by making fun of the haters.

Next time ABT and the local bigots hold an anti-gay protest, we can take our cue from the signs in this video and respond to their idiocy with humor:

Alaska conservative supports LGBT rights: "Their time is coming"

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals extended the hold on same sex marriages until they review the Prop 8 case in December. The waiting couples will have to wait longer, but the case is being fast-tracked and the Prop 8 supporters will have to prove their right to appeal, which is still in doubt.

One side effect of this slow but inevitable progress toward marriage equality in the U.S. is that the issue is splitting the GOP, even in Alaska.

While the culture war conservatives are raising holy heck about Prop 8 being overturned and proposing a Constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage, the mainstream GOP is trying to avoid the issue, and big name conservatives are coming out in favor of marriage equality.

For example: Arnold Swartzenegger, the Republican governor of California, will not appeal Judge Walker's decision and asked the court to allow the marriages to resume. Attorney Ted Olson is co-counsel on the case representing the gay couples and touts the conservative arguments in favor of same sex marriage. Republicans like Cindy and Meghan McCain are vocal supporters of marriage equality. Fox contributor Margaret Hoover wrote an editorial last week encouraging the GOP to listen to young conservatives and be on the right side of civil rights history. Even Glen Beck said that he doesn't care if gay and lesbian couples get married.

But did you know that some Alaska conservatives are in favor of same sex marriage? Conservative ADN contributor Paul Jenkins wrote a strong piece on LGBT equality. Jenkins wonders
"why gays and lesbians are forced to fight so hard for rights the rest of us take for granted. How did we come to believe -- and blindly accept -- that gays and lesbians have fewer rights? How did we start being comfortable thinking of them as lesser people, second-class citizens at best?

As a conservative, I wonder at those who think the Constitution takes sides, picks winners and losers. Count me among those who believe it protects us all equally; that it means what it says and exists to provide equal opportunity and freedom from an oppressive government. No one group has more rights than any other. I've read the Alaska Constitution, and nowhere does it say, "except for gay people or anybody different," and I'm here to report the U.S. Constitution does not either, at least the copy I read. In no place did I find, "but not gays or people we are not particularly fond of."

Too many of us believe our prejudices somehow trump those documents; that our hatreds are somehow codified in them and therefore acceptable; that some of us, incredibly, do not deserve the same protections as others.

Some believe that enshrining religious beliefs and taboos in a constitution is not only acceptable but necessary. Face it, in this country you are allowed to hate anyone -- as long as you do not act on your hatred. You are allowed to think what you want, feel what you want, resent, loathe or despise anybody who strikes your fancy. You can be prejudiced. You can be a jerk. But you have no more rights than anybody else -- straight or gay.

Too often, too many of us forget that. We use our differences and our fear of gays and lesbians to demean them, at least constitutionally. We have no right.

No matter the outcome of the ACLU lawsuit against the city and state, or the California federal court decision, gays and lesbians are here -- and have been since the dawn of time. They are part of our community. Now they are demanding the rights we have denied them, and it is increasingly difficult, even for bigots, to justify denying gays and lesbians the very rights we take for granted.

Their time is coming soon. Get used to the idea. We'll all be better for it."
Wow, great piece. So why are conservatives, even in Alaska, writing articles in support of gay rights?

Conservatives see the writing on the wall - gay rights are coming, and they might as well get their base ready for it. The GOP doesn't want a war over this because they know they will lose, they have more important issues, and the youth overwhelmingly support LGBT equality.

Besides, gay rights is a great opportunity for the fiscal conservatives to take back control of their party and put the bigots back on the fringe where they belong.

Making marriage equality a bipartisan issue is good news for mainstream conservatives, and excellent news for gays. It's also good for Democrats who have supported us all along and celebrated our victories. They know that once LGBT's have equal rights, we can focus our political skills on other issues that are important to us and our allies.

The only losers are the bigots who continue to push an agenda of hate and fear after everyone else has seen the light.

Our time is indeed coming.

Copyright © 2008 by Bent Alaska.