Today's Mighty Oak

Alright, let’s see what we have today, first up, amazing wood-carved nintendo cartridges!  That you can really play!

Two Political Junkies fixed a recent Post-Gazette headline.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, there is going to be a Mr. Rogers biopic!  I am so, so excited about this!

My favorite Super Bowl ads were from Tide:

Philadelphia Eagles flocked to a bar called ‘The Eagle’ due to its name.  Here’s a hint, if there’s a bar named ‘The Eagle,’ chances are it’s a gay leather bar.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, Deadpool live tweeted it.

And speaking of Ryan Reynolds, as much as I’m against the remake, he will be staring in the new Clue, which I think he’ll do well in.

An amazingly cute and heartwarming story of a woman who called a gay bar after her son came out to her.

The new Harry Potter movies are hiding the fact that Dumbledore is supposed to be gay, and it’s bullshit.

There is going to be a Harry Potter cruise however.

The Olympics may be over, but this video will be with us forever:

I’m calling bullshit on the ‘gay Porgs’ in Star Wars.  The fact that this is a multibillion dollar franchise so embedded into our culture and we get gay background animals if we squint and know some obscure fact, instead of actual representation is humiliating.  LucasFilm and Disney can do better.

Bermuda has rescinded their marriage equality, much like California did with Prop 8.

Trulia now shows you the rights you’ll have as a queer person when looking at homes on the market.  Our rights are a patchwork and it can be really confusing remembering what rights I have where, so this is a really nice feature, but so sad that it’s needed.

A California court has sided with an anti-gay baker.  I will remind you that this is not really about cake.  It’s about basic human dignity.  And the fact that I have to worry about what hospital and doctors I see, because they can turn me away.  It’s about the fact that funeral homes can turn loved ones away all by citing religious freedom.  It’s about bigotry.

And research has showed that acceptance of the queer community has actually dropped.  Less than half of the adults surveyed are comfortable with my existence.  Neat.

Alright, that’s it for now, go back and watch those Olympians strip down!

Alright, let’s see what I have going on today.  First up, before the Windsor and Perry rulings by SCOTUS, the Voting Rights Act was gutted.  Justice Ginsberg summed it up well:

A 4,000 year old Egyptian statue started rotating in its case in a British museum.  Creepy.

Also in the news, was Wendy Davis, who, with the help of other Democrats and the citizens of Texas, filibustered an anti-choice bill in Texas.  And while I think that so many of the “three strikes” used to stop her filibuster were Republicans stretching the rules, they still (generally) played by the rules, except for not voting on the third and then trying to change the congressional record to show they voted before midnight.  But my favorite moment of the night was the fifteen minutes of the citizens screaming nonstop to stop the bill.  Check out Slog’s coverage here.

A great ad via Norway (it’s okay if you only speak English):  

The ad campaign from Italy for their alzheimer’s foundation, brilliant and moving

And what is being called the best coupon in history.  If I wasn’t lactose-intolerant, I would agree.

A few more follow-ups from the DOMA and Prop 8 cases.  YouTube put together their #ProudToLove campaign:

Dan Savage hits it out of the park with a few articles.  First up, “I Can Die Now,” which gets to the heart of why the Windsor case was so important, and what people take for granted.

Conservative Christians and their “cheeseburger” moment, and no, it doesn’t include cat memes.

And while they didn’t lose a single thing, we can celebrate what we’ve won, including a man, thirty minutes after the rulings came out that was saved from being deported:

At 10:30 a.m. EDT this morning in a New York Immigration Court, attorneys from our law firm (Masliah Soloway) requested and were granted a continuance in removal (deportation) proceedings for a Colombian gay man married to an American citizen for whom we had filed a marriage-based green card petition last year. A copy of the 77-page Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor was delivered to the court by our summer intern, Gabe, who ran five blocks and made it in time for the decision to be submitted to the Immigration Judge and to serve a copy on the Immigration & Customs Enforcement Assistant Chief Counsel. DOMA is DEAD and it had its first impact on a binational couple within 30 minutes of the Supreme Court ruling.

The horrific nature of Justice Scalia and his son, who doesn’t think homosexuals even exist.

And of course, if you haven’t heard yet, Brian Sims, who was trying to speak on the Pa. House floor about the rulings, was silenced by the representative from Cranberry.  He’s garnered national attention for “speaking against God’s will” as the bigot from Cranberry said.  He keeps pushing for a non-discrimination ordinance and marriage equality, we’ll see how far he can get.

Garfunkle and Oates are back with “The Loophole.”  Sadly, this is a real thing, and they are of course, pointing out the absurdity of it.  Not at all safe for work, or for easily offended eyes.  But wroth it if you get to the end to see the list of other rules they ignore:

That’s it for today, but I’ll be back soon with more.  Have a great one!

Updated: Check out the very bottom of this post for an update log.

I think that sometimes I take for granted that everyone else isn’t inside my head.  Believe me, that’s a good thing (for all of us), but just in terms of some knowledge, I want to make sure we all understand what I’m talking about.

Chances are you’ll recognize or know some of what I’m talking about below, maybe even all of it, but I hope you learn something.  I’ve tried to organize it in sections, hopefully it makes sense.  I also tried to keep it brief, there are of course many more details and many more subjects I did not get to, and I’m focused on Pennsylvania, since I’m here.  Your mileage may vary.

There’s a lot we should be proud of (ignoring the fact that we had to fight for what few rights we have), and a lot to continue to work for.  There are many people we owe quite a bit to, and all those we continue to fight for.  Let’s get started.

Hank Green (SciShow, Crash Course, Vlog Brothers), sums up the biological side of things pretty succinctly and is a good place to start:

Alphabet Soup
LGBTQ….There’s a lot more letters that come come after, many of which I don’t know.  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans(gendered and sexual), Queer, Questioning, Ally….and the list goes on and on.  Hence the name, “alphabet soup.”  In our desire to be inclusive, we have a huge tent.  I’ve noted it elsewhere, but I, when I remember, like to use the order GBLT, because who doesn’t love a good BLT sandwich?

Lawrence v Texas
This 2003 supreme court case struck down anti-sodomy laws across the country, although many still remain on the books.  Anti-sodomy laws were used primarily against the LGBT community to literally invade their bedrooms and arrest them, while heterosexuals engaged in any sodomy behavior (any sex not for procreation) were not prosecuted.  This was actually the second time these laws were brought before the supreme court, the first being 1986’s Bowers v Hardwick.  Basically, before these laws, it was illegal to be LGBT in states with these laws.

Hate Crimes
Federal hate crime legislation protects citizens against hate crimes based on a variety of classes, and in 2009, sexual orientation and gender expression were finally added (as well as other expansions of the law).  Hate crime protection gives police forces additional funds to investigate and prosecute hate crimes, as well as bringing stronger sentences for those convicted.  Fun fact, heterosexuals are now finally protected from hate crimes by homosexuals as well.

Hospital Visitation
It was not until 2011, after a series of high-profile incidents, that hospital visitation rights were extended to the LGBT community (in hospitals receiving federal aid).  Imagine not being allowed to be next to the person you love as they lie dying in a hospital.  Powers of attorney, patient wishes and even civil unions had been ignored, leading to the necessity of an executive order.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was the policy, fully repealed in 2011, that made LGB members of the armed forces hide who they were or face a dishonorable discharge.  Members of the military can still be dismissed for being transgendered.

Defense of Marriage Act is what currently defines federal marriage law and the reciprocity between states’ marriage laws.  The federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage, so couples in states with marriage equality are barred from over 1,100 rights and must file separate tax returns.  Lambda Legal brought the case Windsor v United States to the supreme court to overturn parts of DOMA, especially those dealing with federal recognition and taxation.  Edith Windsor is a widow, but was forced to pay over $300,000 in estate taxes when her wife died, since in the eyes of the federal government they were strangers.

While all 50 states have reciprocity of heterosexual marriage (i.e., when you get married in one state, you’re recognized as such in all 50), each state may individually decide whether or not to recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships for other states, leading to a patchwork of legality for same-sex couples as they travel across the country.

This video, shows why fighting DOMA is so crucially important:

Prop 8
Proposition 8 is the ballot initiative that removed the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry in California, creating three classes of people in the state: heterosexuals, homosexuals who were not married, and homosexuals who were married, but would never be able to marry again (in case of the death of a spouse or divorce).  AFER, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, brought the case Perry v Schwarzenegger, and it was argued before the supreme court after a string of victories for equality.  Side note: Schwarzenegger and the government of California declined to defend Prop 8 in court, and as the basis of standing was examined, the case evolved and is now finally known as Hollingsworth v Perry.

Marriage Equality
One scenario, even if parts of DOMA is repealed, is the continuation of a country with a mishmash of marriage laws.  Fighting for full, federal marriage equality is necessary, not just for a marriage certificate, because that is not what defines a relationship, but for the social recognition, the stability of a family and the comfort that we’re all equal in the eyes of the law.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has so far, been a pipe dream.  This law would make it illegal to fire (or not hire) someone based on their sexual orientation.  Versions that also include gender expression have also been proposed, but to the same effect.  Currently, it is completely legal to fire someone for their real or perceived sexual orientation.

Student Non-Discrimination Act, the same as ENDA, but protecting students from institutionalized discrimination.

Housing Inequality
Just like employment, housing and housing loans can also be denied based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lavender Scare
Just like the “Red Scare” of communism, this was a systematic purge of LGBT workers in the federal government.

Blood Ban
Any man who has sex with a man (and that’s the language used), regardless of sexual orientation, since 1977 is barred from giving blood for life, according to current regulations.  All blood is already screened for a multitude of diseases, but the implication here is that all gay men have HIV, or at least, we all contracted it simultaneously in 1977 and that heterosexuals have no diseases that couldn’t be detected.

Immigration Reform
Until 1991, members of the LGBT community could not legally immigrate into the United States.  Immigration reform is also of special concern to the LGBT community because, when coupled with DOMA, we face extra barriers to overcome to be with the person we love, if they happen to be a citizen of another country.  Bi-national same-sex couples are routinely separated, having no protection under the law, tearing apart families.

Local non-discrimination
This of course, varies by area.  Allegheny County, for instance, has their own version of ENDA (which does not apply to 501(c)3 charities).  If I were to work less than a mile to the east, I would have absolutely no protection against employment discrimination.  Philadelphia recently passed the most comprehensive protection package in the country, and Pennsylvania is once again attempting to enact statewide protections.

Boy Scouts of America
I’m not going to go into it here as it is constantly evolving and I’ve written about it…at length (and yes that was in the voice of Prof. Snape).  If you’re interested, just read the rest of the blog.

Freedom of Association/Postal Service
Before 1957 it was illegal for LGBT citizens to use the postal service to promote their rights, and prior to Stonewall (and far after), LGBT groups were routinely harassed by police.

While not the first time members of the LGBT community stood up for themselves, it is what kicked off the modern gay-rights movement in 1969.  After being raided, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, in New York City, stood up for themselves, were joined by fellow citizens of Greenwich Village, fought back, and the ensuing riots was the catalyst for our demand for equality.

Harvey Milk
The first out elected official in the country.  Elected to the board of supervisors of San Francisco, famous for his work for equality, not only for the LGBT community, but the elderly and children as well.  His famous quote, in reference to coming out and working to make the world better for those coming after him, “You gotta’ give them hope.”  Was assassinated, along with the mayor of San Francisco.

James Dale
Brought the supreme court case Boy Scouts of America v Dale in 2000, led to the BSA upholding their ban on LGBT scouts and leaders.

Matthew Shepherd
Brutally murdered in Wyoming.  His mother created the Matthew Shepherd foundation and extension of hate crimes to cover sexual orientation and gender expression was the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Act.

Alan Turing
British scientist responsible for the modern computer age and cracked the Nazi enigma codes during WWII.  Was convicted of being homosexual by the British government and sentenced to chemical castration.  Committed suicide before the sentence could be carried out.  He has yet to be pardoned by the British government.

Jason Collins
First male athlete in the big four (football, baseball, basketball, hockey) to come out while still playing.  Although has not been re-signed (free agent) for the 2013-2014 season.

Brian Simms
First out state official in Pennsylvania, elected in 2012.  Currently represents downtown Philadelphia.

I’m from Driftwood
Video series dedicated to the many unique stories of the LGBT community and our allies. (

It Gets Better Project
Founded by Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller to combat LGBT suicide.  The idea is that because of the Internet (and YouTube specifically), we don’t need permission to talk with the kids that need our support the most.  We can tell them that life does get better, and it’s worth sticking around for. (

You Can Play
Founded in memory of Brendan Burke, out, gay player and manager for Miami of Ohio by his father (Maple Leafs former GM, Brian Burke) and brother (Flyers Scout, Patrick Burke), You Can Play has officially partnered with the NHL to tackle homophobia on the ice, in the locker room and in the stands. (

Trevor Project
Crisis intervention and suicide prevention for the LGBT community.  (

Human Rights Campaign
The main lobbying group of the LGBT community, working with local organizations and lobbying in Washington, D.C. for equal rights.  Their symbol is the yellow equals sign on a blue field.  Fun fact, you can be a card-carrying gay (or ally), by joining the HRC (they have fairly useless donor/membership cards), but it’s a nice gesture.

SLDF/Out Serve
Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund and Out Serve merged after the repeal of DADT, they work to support LGBT members of the armed forces, veterans and their families.

Equality Pennsylvania
The state-level organization working for equality in Pennsylvania.  Reintroduced the state-level ENDA in 2013 with record support, over 100 co-sponsors in the house and senate.

Lambda Foundation/Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh
The Lambda Foundation is the local LGBT organization, the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh is a spin-off organization that puts together Pittsburgh Pride.

Lamba Legal
National legal organization focusing on LGBT issues and fighting for those with HIV/AIDS

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, national organization of allies.

Previously the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, now just goes by GLAAD and also focuses on trans and bi issues as well, media watchdog for the LGBT community.

Pride is usually celebrated in June to coincide with the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, although some locations move it around due to weather concerns.  An open celebration (seriously, everyone is invited, including allies) of how far we’ve come, the fact that we’ve survived and enjoying the community that we’ve created for ourselves.


Update Log

May 27 – Added alphabet soup, a few other details.

Alright, let’s see what we have going on today.  First up, of course, thoughts go out to Boston.  I was running tonight at the gym, and not that it did a bit of difference, but it was nice to run for them.

This capped off the week with the DOMA and Prop 8 cases, and of course, it’s always fun when there’s alcohol involved:

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

 This judge is awesome: his cell phone went off during court, so he held himself in contempt and paid the fine.

Here are instructions for making a picnic table with a built in cooler, perfect for wine or beer for a picnic.  Awesome DIY project, and I can certainly think of certain family members/friends who would love this!


A good comic:

California is moving to remove tax-exempt status from charities that discriminate based on sexual orientation or religion, which would make the BSA councils pay tax.

The Church of England slowly moves forward, suggesting that they allow same-sex blessings.  Now, to be fair, the marriage equality legislation moving through Parliament specifically outlaws same-sex matrimony in the Church of England, and the Church says matrimony itself should only be between a man and a women, so they have some room to grow.  It’s weird having a state religion.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back with more.

Here we go everyone, let’s see what I have today.  First up, the best news ever:

And following up in the Disney line, scary, scary anatomy drawings of their characters.

Chris Kluwe once again knocks it out of the park.  Have a read and take a look at the video where he discusses “distractions” in the locker room.

And Justice Ginsburg also created a meme during the marriage equality trials last week.  I mean, she herself didn’t, as far as I know, but her quote led tho this:

That’s all I have for now, but I’ll be back soon with more.  Have a great one!

Short update today, but I’ll be back with more soon.

First up, today was the day Prop 8 was argued at the Supreme Court.  The New York Times has a nice flowchart as to what the outcome will be.

And if you didn’t read it, there is a great article over at The Stranger about acceptance, love and bigotry.

And finally, this really cool desk made from a piano:

Short update today.  First up, the big news here in Pittsburgh is Luke v. UPMC.  Ginny talks about it, and you should give it a read.

Sounds like something I came up with: replacing guns with thumbs up.

Chiptole has cancelled their sponsorship of a Scouting event in Utah because, you guessed it: the BSA discriminates against children.

And in a week, the arguments will take place at the Supreme Court against Prop 8 and DOMA.  It’s a big deal, and to help support it, a young man wrote a letter to Chief Justice Roberts, who has adoptive children:

That’s it for now, have a great one!

Alright, let’s see what we have today.

One of my professors actually had this happen at her kid’s school, and I think it’s smart.

Today was the deadline for briefs for the Prop 8 and DOMA cases going before the Supreme Court.  Briefs have come in from Democratic members of Congress, Republican lawmakers, NFL Players Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadjeo, 300 major corporations and the rest of the 50 briefs can be read here.

President Obama weighs in here (the justice department submitted a brief):

Kathy Bates is joining American Horror Story for Book 3, very exciting!

A statue of Rosa Parks has been unveiled at The Capital.  Fun fact, she is a saint in the Episcopalian church.

I love when the Internet makes things like this:

How about a replica of yourself…made from gummy candy?

That’s it for now, have a great one!

Whole bunch of stuff to add in today, still not quite caught up, but it’s a big dent, I hope you enjoy:

It’s no longer illegal to jailbrake your phone!  I could have put this under the Great and Secret Show, but I have some other ideas for that, so I figured I would just link this here.  Hooray!

I have no idea where I found this, but it involves The Muppets and Kick-Ass:

Jane Lynch is going to be hosting SNL!  Be sure to tune in on October 9!

Over the summer we searched for fake merit badges and found this page.  I really like the “Easy Button” on!

How about a lot of Iron Chef America secret ingredients?  Ok:

Amazon is now selling more eBooks than physical books.  Kind of scary, but interesting.  Slate takes a look at it, I can’t remember if it is that article, or another that makes mention of the idea of dynamic eBook covers, which I think is an awesome idea.

Good.  Freaking.  Gravy.  This is why I get fed up with people.

I’ve been reading PostSecret for a while.  Frank’s mail carrier retired, but she put some thoughts up on her own blog.  Check them out here.

And here’s another fun video for you:

And here’s an awesome news story coming from I’m not even sure where.  But I have to say, The strippers sound more level-headed than the pastor:

And I was up at camp when it all went down (and continues to go through the legal system), but here’s some updates on Prop 8 being struck unconstitutional:

Andrew Sullivan pulls out the facts from the Judge’s ruling.  He also links to some other excellent writing.

The lawyers go on both Fox News and CBS, and absolutely destroy their opponents (not legal opponents, in these clips, the talking heads).  Both are amazing to watch.

And strangely enough, Fox News seems to be flipping.  One anchor supports Marriage Equality and Bill O’Reilly tries to make Obama stop enforcing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

And on a related note, a candidate for Governor of Florida (and their current Attorney General) wants to ban same-sex couples from adopting, based on his personal religious views.  Dan Savage takes him down a few pegs:

We’re not allowed to slam McCollom for this because, you know, he’s talking about his personal, religious faith here… a personal, religious faith that McColloum would like to impose on everyone in Florida by force of law. And I think we can all agree that every child deserves a mother and a father—particularly the 20,000 kids that are in foster care in Florida right now because they were failed, neglected, abused, or abandoned by their mothers and fathers.

And finally, AFER (American Foundation for Equal Rights), the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the trial, put together this video about one of the couples they represent (points for including Wii Tennis!):

Paul and Jeff from American Foundation for Equal Ri on Vimeo.


That’s it for now, catch everyone later!

Written: 08/15/2010

A quick follow up for my last writing.  A co-worker came back to camp after being gone for a few days for a family event.  He was commenting at breakfast how the Huffington Post was completely covered in coverage of the Prop 8 decision.  He was excited, and inside, so was I.  I wanted to talk about it, I wanted to be elated, I wanted to smile from ear to ear.

But of course, I could not.  Showing that much pleasure about a court case in California would seem suspicious.  So I changed the subject.

Of course it hurts, and I want to be able to talk about things that affect me and make me happy, hopefully someday soon I’ll be afforded that luxury.

All my best,

The King of Spades

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