Speed Read: Wednesday 9 October 2013

1-    NEW IOC PREZ SENDS REASSURANCE: Thomas Bach, the recently installed president of the International Olympic Committee, sent a letter October 7 to a group of activists concerned about how Russia’s new anti-gay laws might affect the winter Olympic games in Sochi. Bach said the IOC “will do everything it can” to ensure the games will be “free of any form of discrimination.” But he stopped short of AllOut.org’s specific request that he “publicly confirm” that LGBT people are included in the IOC’s Principle 6. Russian officials have promised to abide by that principle, but the language of its text says only that it is against “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise….” No mention of sexual orientation or gender identity.

2-   BALDWIN WINS GOLD: The first openly gay U.S. senator, Tammy Baldwin, has become the first rookie senator to win the U.S. Senate’s “Golden Gavel” award for having presided over the chamber’s activities for more than 100 hours, reports Roll Call, a Capitol Hill news organization. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bestowed the award (it’s actually made of brass but is nonetheless quite coveted) Tuesday during the Democratic caucus meeting. Relatively new senators are encouraged to take up the often tedious task during the Senate’s routine activities as a way of learning the rules and ropes. According to Roll Call, Baldwin presided over one session that began at three in the morning, while Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) staged his mock filibuster.

3-   TONY PERKINS THREATENS A RUN: Tony Perkins, head of the anti-gay Family Research Council, told a Louisiana political publication that “many people” are encouraging him to run for a Congressional seat there and that he’s “thinking about it.” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gave him a boost by appointing him to a state law enforcement commission. The Human Rights Campaign criticized the appointment as giving Perkins “a platform to inflict his brand of anti-LGBT propaganda on a state department that awards grants, trains officers and regulates law enforcement and puts the LGBT community of Louisiana in harm’s way.”

4-   BIBLE-BABBLE PETITION STARTED: An Irvine man got clearance from the California Secretary of State October 4 to circulate a petition seeking a ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to allow discrimination, including hate crime, by people, organizations, and companies who use the Bible to “communicate any views” on homosexuality, transsexuality, sexual orientation, gay marriage, abortion, fornication, and a host of other issues. Pastor Allan Esses of “Yes Jesus Is Lord.Org,” withdrew a similar petition in August. He has until March to collect 807,615 signatures.

5-   HRC FAULTED FOR PERCEIVED SNUB: Stampp Corbin, who co-chaired an LGBT arm of the first Obama for President campaign, expressed disappointment that the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner last Saturday paid little notice to gay Presidential Medal of Freedom winners Bayard Rustin and Sally Ride. “What could be more important than acknowledging the person who planned the historic 1963 March on Washington that was the blueprint for our LGBT marches on Washington? Or acknowledging the first woman in space who was also a lesbian?” said Corbin in an email on private list of activist postings. HRC spokesman Fred Sainz says his group has acknowledged them, including three times at the dinner, and even put a 45-foot tall banner of Rustin on the front wall of its headquarters building.







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