Sara's News Roundup 12/26/10

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

United Nations, Fox News, December 21, 2010

Pam's House Blend, December 12, 2010

Washington, Advocate, December 22, 2010

Utah, Salt Lake Tribune, December 22, 2010

California, Contra Costa Times, December 11, 2010

Seattle Times, December 9, 2010

New York City, Advocate, December 24, 2010

CBS, December 20, 2010

The Hague, Netherlands, Fox News, November 30, 2010

U.K. BBC News, December 19, 2010

New York, New York Magazine, November 24, 2010

U.K., Telegraph, December 25, 2010

Jewish Journal, December 22, 2010

San Francisco, Advocate, December 23, 2010

Washington, Advocate, December 22, 2010

Christian Gay & Trans Resources

The Christmas season is a good time to highlight resources for LGBT Christians and people with Christian friends and family members. The Gay Christian Network, SoulForce and the Parents Reconciling Network are a few of the online resources that were recently recommended by Alaskans.

"I wish that you guys could post a link to The Gay Christian Network. [They have] amazing YouTube videos on helping people who are gay come to terms with their spirituality," wrote Mark Allred of Alaska Native Lutheran Church in Anchorage.

Mark encourages watching all 7 videos, but he thinks the one embedded below is the most useful. Watch Gay Christian Answers, episode 4: "Aren't we designed for heterosexuality?"

Matthew Moak at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Anchorage also recommends The Gay Christian Network, along with several other resources. Of course, MCC itself is a great resource.
  • What the Bible Says - and Doesn't Say - about Homosexuality (pdf) is an important resource from SoulForce, a group that "works to end the religious and political oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people."
  • Homosexuality And The Bible is a list of articles and websites by Christian Gays, a group that provides "the resources for any who wish to understand the ACCURATE interpretation of the Original Scriptures with regard to homosexuality."
  • SisterFriends Together "is an outreach ministry of Grace Unfolding Ministries, and we exist to provide a safe and welcoming online faith community for lesbian, bisexual, questioning and transgender women." They can also be found at ChristianLesbians, their previous name.
  • The Gay Christian Network is "a nonprofit ministry serving Christians who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and those who care about them."
  • Coming Out as a Transgender Person is a workbook created by MCC Transgender Ministries, which "provides opportunities for spiritual development for transgender people and their families and friends."
PRN is an organization of United Methodist parents of GLBT children. Rev. Johnathan of Church Life Alaska mentioned a new transgender resource from PRN in last week's Alaska GLBT News. The information came from Sara Boesser, who compiles the weekly LGBT News Roundup posted here on Bent Alaska.
What causes a person's sexual orientation is unknown. Causes for people being transgender or intersex are not fully understood. A huge variety of factors are at work in making each individual the person that they are and there is no one reason that causes people to be transgender. It has nothing to do with anything you did or did not do, nor anything your child did or did not do.

Families love their children and want what is best for them. You cannot change your child. However, you can change your response to your child. Your specific response can improve your child's health and happiness. Your consistent parenting and unconditional love does have a central and enduring influence on your child's life. Here are some parenting guidelines, shown by research, to improve the physical and mental health of LGBT children.
LGBT-friendly church groups
Most denominations have an LGBT or LGBT-friendly wing, and many of these movements have web sites with resource pages. A good list of national LGBT-friendly church groups can be found HERE. This does not imply that the local Alaska congregations are LGBT-friendly, unfortunately, but the online resources can be useful.

The Resource page on the Open and Affirming (ONA) site of the United Church of Christ (UCC) was suggested by a reader named Matt. He belonged to an ONA church before moving to Alaska, although he is not involved with the UCC in Alaska. None of the Alaska UCC's are listed as Open and Affirming on the Coalition's site, and I don't know if the local congregations are LGBT-friendly or not. But the national ONA site includes resources for gay and trans Christians.

A list of Alaska's LGBT-friendly churches and religious groups is posted HERE.

Do you know a good online LGBT-positive Christian resource that we didn't mention? Please leave the name and link in a comment below this list.

Video: President Obama signs DADT Repeal Act of 2010

"This is a good day," President Obama said on Wednesday to a grateful audience of approximately 500 people, including administration officials, congressmembers, former servicemembers and repeal advocates who worked 17 years to end the military's discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

This is a very good day!

Watch the President's speech and the bill signing ceremony:

A full transcript with the speeches of both the President and Vice President is posted on the White House website, and an article with photos is posted on the White House Blog.

In an interview with The Advocate, Obama said, "My strong sense is [implementation] is a matter of months… Absolutely not years."

Goodbye DADT, and good riddance!

Sara's News Roundup 12/22/10

Sara Boesser in Juneau, Alaska is back from vacation with another roundup of recent LGBT news.

U.S.A., Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 20, 2010

New York, SAGE, October 12, 2010

New York, Advocate, December 7, 2010

Britain, Daily Mail, November 15, 2010

Bloomberg, December 5, 2010

Southern poverty Law Center, November 29, 2010

Canada, Just Out, December 10, 2010

Time, December 6, 2010

Devon, Penn., Philadelphia Inquirer, December 9, 2010

Brasilia, Brazil, Bloomberg Business Week, December 10, 2010

Advocate, December 15, 2010

Ireland, Advocate, December 15, 2010, Pioneer Press, December 15, 2010, December 16, 2010

Illinois, Chicago Tribune, December 3, 2010

France, New York Times, December 16, 2010, December 2, 2010

San Francisco, Associated Press, December 17, 2010

Sara also sent four articles on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell:

Whidbey Island, Wash., KING 5 News, December 18, 2010

Yahoo News, December 19, 2010

Washington Post Foreign Service, December 18, 2010

Huffington Post, December 18, 2010

SantaLand Diaries elf tale by David Sedaris, a benefit at Out North

On the day after Christmas, Out North is presenting "The SantaLand Diaries" written by award-winning gay author David Sedaris and performed by Ben Brown of Juneau. Out North recently lost a major funding grant, and this show is a benefit so they can continue fulfilling their mission of Art for Everyone, No Exceptions.
You think you've had enough of Christmas shopping, piped-in holiday music, disgruntled Santas, crying children and occasional crying.

Take your holiday headache to Out North and have your yule attitude readjusted with "The SantaLand Diaries." Juneau-based actor Ben Brown performs David Sedaris' hilarious autobiographical tale about his stint as an elf in the annual holiday display at Macy's Department Store in New York City. Just as Sedaris took consolation in the fact that some of the other elves were TV extras on "One Life to Live," maybe you can take consolation in the fact that you're enjoying a great play, not out in the shopping mayhem still.

The SantaLand Diaries plays at 7 p.m. Sunday, December 26th at Out North (3800 DeBarr Road). Tickets are $10 at the door, $8 online. For more information, visit"

"The SantaLand Diaries" is a benefit show for Out North this year, and we greatly appreciate Ben's generosity. We look forward to spending the evening with you, and invite you to bring your friends.
The Grrlzlist shared this message last week from Out North to their supporters:
Thank you for your continued support of the cutting edge work Out North produces. Your donations in the wake of our funding pull has so far raised $25,000 in less than a month! The overwhelming majority of the donations have been less than $200. I know you know how incredible that is. We here are overcome with gratitude - and relief. Thank you for pushing so hard to keep Out North in Anchorage. We still have $55,000 to go to make up the shortfall, but clearly, together we can do this! If you have not donated already, I can assure you that you are backing a winner by supporting Out North right now. Your support now will mean that we can maintain our commitment to the artists and schools we had promised to support in Season 26. And it means that we can continue to bring you work you just can't see in Anchorage, as well as vital inclusivity for ALL people and ALL arts. What happened to us is not an isolated instance. Out North's funding was pulled because the funder did not want to support the kind of work we do here. To them, we went "too far" by programming a musical about marijuana and two films that featured the (award-winning) story of lesbian lives. To us, art is for everyone, no exceptions.
Please help support Out North - attend shows, buy season tickets, or donate directly.

New youth grant and AK staff from Pride Foundation

Pride Foundation of the Pacific Northwest is strengthening their commitment to Alaska's LGBT community by funding a full time regional staff position and continuing to provide grants for Alaska's LGBT non-profits.

Tiffany McClain, formerly of the ACLU of Alaska, was hired by the Pride Foundation to fill a newly-funded staff position as Regional Development Organizer for Alaska:
From Anchorage to Bozeman, to Eugene to Idaho Falls – Pride Foundation is deeply committed to building and sustaining local leaders and organizations to increase visibility for LGBTQ people across the greater Northwest. Over this past year, staff, volunteers and donors have been working together to determine how to best leverage and increase Pride Foundation's prior work in regional and rural communities. We're so excited to expand our regional commitment.

By investing in full-time staff members in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Western Washington to lead our philanthropic and community development strategies, we know that we can increase our understanding of local issues and work better and even more collaboratively to build the future of equality in the Northwest.
The five Regional Development Organizers start their new positions in January 2011. Here is Tiffany's staff bio. (Learn about the other regional team members here.)
Growing up in St. Louis, MO – a humid, mountain-less city of brick and concrete, where two weeks of Girl Scout camp seemed like the roughest of adventures – I never imagined I'd end up living in Alaska. But I've never felt more at home than I do in Anchorage and am excited that I've been offered the opportunity to engage my passion for social justice and community organizing while living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Grants from Pride Foundation made possible many of the projects I worked on as the LGBTQ Public Policy Coordinator for the ACLU of Alaska and now I get to support the efforts of other activists, artists, and service-providers who are working to improve the lives of LGBTQ Alaskans. When I'm not working, you can find me outside soaking up Alaska's beauty, daydreaming about my next travel adventure, or hiding from the cold in a nice, warm movie theatre or bookstore.
Congratulations to Tiffany, and thanks to Pride Foundation for funding this local position.

In addition to a staff member for Alaska, Pride Foundation awarded a youth grant to Identity to bring LGBT youth from rural communities to the annual Pride Conference in Anchorage.
Pride Foundation has awarded more than $200,000 in grants to 48 projects that support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trangender and queer (LGBTQ) community in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Youth-related grants were the largest recipients of funds.

This year's youth-related grantees include Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound in Washington, Idaho Safe Schools Coalition, and Identity Inc's Alaska Bush Youth at Pride Conference 2011, a project aimed at connecting LGBTQ youth in remote parts of Alaska to community services and networks of support – addressing the disproportionately high rates of LGBTQ youth suicide in remote Alaska.

A year-end giving appeal to the public allows donors to specifically give to LGBTQ youth-related projects. To donate, visit

These grants are just one way Pride Foundation works to empower and support the next generation of LGBTQ people. Of course, Pride Foundation grants focus on more than just youth. Dozens of grants were also awarded in the areas of 1) Arts & Recreation, 2) Education, Advocacy & Outreach, 3) Health & Community Services, 4) HIV/AIDS Service Delivery & Prevention, and 5) Lesbian Health.
This is the description of Identity's rural youth project grant:
Identity Inc. (Anchorage, AK) : $3,500 for travel expenses to insure the attendance of youth from Southeast Alaska, Fairbanks, Kenai Peninsula, and from bush villages at Identity Inc.'s 2011 Pride Conference in Anchorage. The conference will focus on these youth sharing their experiences of being LGBT in their home communities. Youth traveling from remote Alaska will have the opportunity to meet and interact with other LGBT youth and to enhance their personal self-esteem and self-worth. Published suicide data predicts 95% likelihood that a young person between the ages of 12 and 19, who is an Alaska Native, lives in a village, is male and is gay will attempt suicide.
Thanks to Identity and Pride Foundation for addressing this important issue and funding the project.

Alaskans Together on DADT repeal

Alaskans Together for Equality sent a message to their members and supporters following the senate's historic vote to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy on Saturday. Alaskans Together is the statewide LGBT advocacy group for Alaska.
Just over an hour ago the Senate by a vote of 65 to 31 repealed the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Today's vote allows lesbian, gay and bisexual people the ability to serve openly and honestly in our military. It's a wonderful step forward in our fight for full civil equality. We are extremely pleased to report that both Sen. Murkowski and Sen. Begich voted in favor of the repeal!

Your efforts made a big difference! This repeal couldn't have happened without you and your calls and emails.

Please take a moment in the next few days to call and email both Sen. Murkowski and Sen. Begich and thank them for their vote to repeal DADT. It is great to have two Senators that believe in fairness and equality in our military.

Senator Murkowski
Email or Phone: 202.224.6665

Senator Begich
Email or Phone: 202.224.3004

Please thank Sen. Murkowski and Sen. Begich for representing all Alaskans with their vote to repeal DADT today. Our military has become even stronger with today's vote.

Also, be aware there is still work to be done for the implementation of a full repeal of DADT. There is a 60-day waiting period, during which soldiers can still be discharged under the policy. We will post on our blog in the coming days when we have more details.

With all of our continuing efforts we are confident that we will have more victories to celebrate in 2011 on our road to achieving full civil equality in Alaska.

Let's enjoy today's victory.
Also, three Anchorage-based gay service members were interviewed by KTVA about the effects of the DADT policy and why repeal is necessary. The local troops are members of OutServe, a national network of gay and lesbian active-duty service members. (The clip was posted earlier this week, before Congress passed the stand-alone DADT repeal measure.)

Congress REPEALS Don't Ask Don't Tell!

We did it!

The Senate voted today to repeal the military ban on openly gay and lesbian troops, following the House vote in favor of the repeal earlier this week. Both Senators Begich and Murkowski voted for repeal. Rep. Young voted against it.

Saturday morning (very early for those in Alaska watching the live broadcast), the Senate voted for cloture on the DADT repeal, voting 63-33 where they needed at least 60 votes to avoid a filibuster. The cloture vote was the main hurdle, since repeal itself needed only a simple majority to pass. After a few more hours of debate, they passed the repeal 65-31. Now it goes to the President to be signed and certified.

Please thank both Senators Begich and Murkowski for supporting all of our troops and voting to repeal this discriminatory law.

However, it is not safe for gay and lesbian troops to come out yet, as the policy will not be fully implemented for at least several months. Even after the President signs the bill, service members will remain at risk for investigation and discharge. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will still be the law until 60 days after the Commander-in-Chief, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs certify that repeal can happen.

President Obama on the Senate's DADT vote:
Today, the Senate has taken an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend. By ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell, no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.

As Commander-in-Chief, I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known. And I join the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the overwhelming majority of service members asked by the Pentagon, in knowing that we can responsibly transition to a new policy while ensuring our military strength and readiness.

I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Senators Lieberman and Collins and the countless others who have worked so hard to get this done. It is time to close this chapter in our history. It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed. It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly. I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.
The Senate also voted for cloture on the Dream Act this morning, but the motion failed to get the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. Both senators from Alaska voted in favor.

Sen. Murkowski will vote for DADT repeal

The stand-alone Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal measure is set for a cloture vote in the senate on Saturday, with a final vote possible on Monday, and both of Alaska's senators have agreed to vote for it!

Senator Murkowski's spokesman Michael Brumas verified on the phone on Thursday:
"Senator Murkowski will vote in favor of DADT cloture on Saturday morning. She will also vote to repeal DADT when it comes to a vote on Monday."
The comment was made to clarify an earlier statement. A blog post titled Snowe and Murkowski Vow To Vote For DADT Repeal quoted Brumas as saying:
"Sen. Murkowski will support a stand-alone repeal of the DADT law. With the tax package out of the way, and legislation to fund the government on a glide path to passage, Sen. Murkowski will vote to move to DADT when it is brought to the floor."
That did not sound like a 'vow to vote for' this repeal measure, and a Facebook friend of Bent Alaska asked her office for an explanation. Murkowski recently expressed support for repealing DADT, but voted against cloture on the repeal last week when it was attached to the defense budget. Repeal supporters were disappointed by her no vote and want to be sure we understand her position on the current measure.

Senator Murkowski is still being pressured by opponents to vote against this repeal measure.
Please call Sen. Murkowski today, thank her for supporting all of our troops and remind her to vote for S 4023, the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, this session: 202-224-6665 (DC office) or 877-829-6030 (AK office).
The stand-alone DADT repeal passed the House by a wide margin on Wednesday, although Rep. Young voted against it.

A few hours after the House vote, several news sites said that Sen. Murkowski "announced" support for the stand-alone DADT measure, but they didn't quote or link the announcement.

Senator Begich continues to support the repeal of DADT and voted for cloture last week.

On Thursday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) unexpectedly filed cloture on the stand-alone DADT repeal passed by the House and on the DREAM Act, and announced that he will hold the cloture vote on both measures on Saturday.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who introduced the stand-alone DADT repeal, said "We can get it done by Monday, maybe Tuesday at the latest, and then go back to the START treaty."

They expect to get the 60 votes needed to stop a filibuster by Sen. McCain. Here's the breakdown, according to the Advocate: of the 58 Democratic senators, 56 are likely to vote for passage (excluding Sen. Joe Manchin, who joined the last GOP filibuster of the defense authorization bill, and Sen. Ron Wyden, who was recently diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing surgery Monday); but the support of GOP senators Susan Collins, Scott Brown, and Lisa Murkowski brings the count to 59, and most believe Sen. Olympia Snowe will also come along since she stated support for repeal though not specifically for the stand-alone bill. A few other GOP senators, such as Richard Lugar and George Voinovich, are also potential votes.

It's going to be close!

House passes DADT repeal, Rep. Young votes no

The House today passed a stand-alone bill to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" by a vote of 250-175, with 15 Republicans joining 235 Democrats to end the discriminatory policy. Rep. Young voted against repeal. Now the measure goes to the Senate, where advocates will try to bring it up for a vote by the end of next week.

Sen. Begich supports repeal, although he isn't listed as a co-sponsor. News reports mention Sen. Murkowski as one of 4 senate Republicans who support repeal - but will she actually vote for repeal this time?

Call Senator Murkowski and ask her to vote for the DADT repeal: 202-224-6665 (DC) or 877-829-6030 (AK office).

After the House vote, Senator Snowe (R-Maine) said that she now supports the repeal of DADT. If she will vote for the stand-alone measure, that puts repeal within one or two votes of passing.

Sen. McCain and others opposed to gay and lesbian troops are trying to run the clock down on the session to avoid a vote, but allies are determined to see this pass before the new, more conservative Congress begins work in January.

Ask AK senators to co-sponsor S. 4023, the stand-alone DADT repeal

On Friday, Senators Lieberman and Collins introduced a stand-alone bill to repeal DADT, named S 4023. As of Monday morning, there are 27 co-sponsors of the bill. Neither of Alaska's Senators are co-sponsors, even though both are on record as supporting repeal.

Please contact both Sens. Begich and Murkowski and urge them to co-sponsor S 4023, the stand-alone legislation to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski
202-224-6665 (DC) or 877-829-6030 (toll free)

Sen. Mark Begich
202-224-3004 (DC) or 877-501-6275 (toll free)

The full name of the bill is "S. 4023: A bill to provide for the repeal of the Department of Defense policy concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell." It was read into the calendar today, but will only be brought up for a vote if they have the 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.

We need Sen. Murkowski to tell Lieberman and Collins that she will vote for this!

Should all go well, we will be able to provide a nice holiday gift to the estimated 66,000 LGBT servicemembers currently serving our country.

Senate rejects DADT, Murkowski votes NO, stand-alone bill likely *Update: Maddow on DADT*

The senate held an unexpected cloture vote today on the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal and the defense budget, and the vote fell mostly along party lines, with 57 yes votes and 40 no votes. Although a majority voted in favor, they needed 60 votes to stop McCain's filibuster.

Alaska's senators were split - Sen. Begich voted yes as promised, but Sen. Murkowski voted no despite yesterday's statement that she supports the repeal of DADT. (The official Senate vote is HERE.)

After the vote, Senators Leiberman and Collins announced that they will introduce a separate DADT bill before the lame duck session ends, and Senator Reid agreed to bring it forward. Speaker Pelosi confirmed that the House has the votes to pass a stand-alone DADT repeal if the Senate acts before the recess.

Call Sen. Murkowski and tell her (politely) what you think of her No vote on DADT today, and encourage her to vote Yes on the stand-alone DADT repeal: (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-666.

Rumors abound on other options for DADT, including attaching it to the 'tax cut for billionaires' bill to ensure GOP support.

LGBT bills usually wait until the 'news dump' days right before a holiday, but anything could happen in this partisan Congress. Stay tuned for updates.

President Obama's statement on today's defense budget/DADT vote:
I am extremely disappointed that yet another filibuster has prevented the Senate from moving forward with the National Defense Authorization Act. Despite having the bipartisan support of a clear majority of Senators, a minority of Senators are standing in the way of the funding upon which our troops, veterans and military families depend. This annual bill has been enacted each of the past 48 years, and our armed forces deserve nothing less this year.

A minority of Senators were willing to block this important legislation largely because they oppose the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal this discriminatory law, a step supported by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and informed by a comprehensive study that shows overwhelming majorities of our armed forces are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian. A great majority of the American people agree. This law weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality.

I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin, and Senators Lieberman and Collins for all the work they have done on this bill. While today's vote was disappointing, it must not be the end of our efforts. I urge the Senate to revisit these important issues during the lame duck session.
More reactions:

Today's vote is heartbreaking and demoralizing to all members of OutServe - and the tens of thousands of gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members who must continue to serve in silence and live a lie. No words can describe how it felt to watch our U.S. senators uphold discrimination and perpetuate the deceit and compromised integrity that consistently result under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We had more faith in our elected officials to heed the advice of military leadership and vote against prejudice. Instead, a minority of senators have successfully blockaded the entire defense spending bill on the basis of prejudice and politics.

Servicemembers United
This was a major failure on the part of the Senate to simply do its job and pass an annual defense authorization bill. Politics prevailed over responsibility today, and now more than one million American servicemembers, including tens of thousands of gay and lesbian troops, are worse off as a result. Since the votes are there in isolation, the Senate should still consider a stand-alone bill to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law before adjourning for the winter holidays.

We support Sen. Lieberman's plan to move a standalone bill. We also believe another viable option is the Continuing Resolution (CR) coming over from the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate and the President must remain in session and in Washington to find another path for repeal to get done in the lame-duck. We implore all who support repeal to join us outside the Senate tomorrow at noon.

Update: Rachel Maddow covers the DADT vote and the next possible option for repeal - the new standalone bill S 4022.

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

Sen. Murkowski: "It is time to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law." CALL HER TODAY

Big news on DADT: The cloture vote on the defense budget with the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is likely to happen TONIGHT, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski released a statement today saying she will support the repeal if the amendment process is open.

But opponents are swamping Senate offices with protest calls. Please call Senator Murkowski again today and encourage her to follow through on her statement of support and vote to repeal this discriminatory law!

Senator Lisa Murkowski: (202) 224-6665 or (202) 224-3121.

"After reviewing the DOD report and the testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee by Defense Secretary Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, I have concluded that it is time to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law. We expect all who serve to serve with integrity, but under current law gay and lesbian service members may speak about their sexual orientation only at the risk of being discharged from performing the duties they have trained hard to carry out. America is the loser when it denies those who are willing to make the great sacrifices demanded of our men and women in uniform the opportunity do so on grounds of sexual orientation. I agree with Defense Secretary Gates' view that the military can successfully implement a repeal of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law provided that proper preparations are implemented.

"I fully understand that the repeal of this law comes with some reservations and hesitancy among the military's Service Chiefs. During their testimony last week before the Senate Arms Services Committee, each of the Chiefs expressed concerns over the timing of the repeal and a desire to ensure that the military was afforded ample time to implement service-wide training and policy reviews before a repeal went into effect. I understand their concerns about the implementation of a repeal while the country is engaged in two wars, but through their leadership and devotion to ensuring that our military remains the world's premier fighting force, I believe this policy can be successfully repealed with minimal risk to unit effectiveness. I trust that the Service Chiefs will develop and execute a plan to implement the DOD report recommendations as well as ensure that post repeal policies and regulations are addressed in such a way that the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention are not negatively impacted.

"However, my support for moving the Defense Authorization bill forward, which includes a repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, will depend on whether the majority allows for an open and fair amendment process. This is a weighty, policy-laden bill that normally takes several weeks to debate and amend. If the majority attempts to push it through allowing little or no debate or votes on amendments, I will be inclined to oppose those efforts."

Ninth Circuit hears first Prop 8 appeal

A 3-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held a Prop 8 hearing on Monday, focusing on who has the right to appeal and how the case may be ruled. Here is a quick video report on the hearing:

Good written reviews of the appeals court hearing are posted at LGBT POV and Prop 8 Trial Tracker. The 2 1/2 hour telecast is available on C-SPAN (HERE). If you want to skip the issue of standing and start with the larger issues of Prop 8, watch part 2 HERE.

The panel's decision is expected in a few months, and will most likely be appealed to the full court.

Sara's News Roundup 12/5/10

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

Washington, Associated Press, November 30, 2010

Advocate, November 29, 2010

New York, New York Daily News, December 2, 2010

Los Angeles, MSNBC, December 1, 2010

Kenya, Africa, Advocate, November 29, 2010

Tennessee, Advocate, November 29, 2010

National Black Justice Coalition, November 2010

Delaware, The Transcript, November 18, 2010

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Advocate, December 3, 2010

Florida and Sri Lanka, Telegraph, December 1, 2010

Delhi, India, BBC, November 28, 2010

Boulder, Colorado, Daily Camera, October 9, 2010

Washington, New Kerala, December 2, 2010

Malta, U.K., Malta Today, December 1, 2010

U.S., National Catholic Reporter, December 2, 2010

Kenya, Africa, Advocate, December 2, 2010

California, Time, December 2, 2010

Copyright © 2008 by Bent Alaska.