C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How Gay Obama Is Destroying America

From Free Press Houston via Joe.My.God.: anti-immigration protesters in Houston last week sound off about that homosexual boyfriend-killer Obama in league with the flood of gays, Chinese, Mexicans, and Muslim jihadists coming across the border to destroy America. A few pro-immigration protesters are also interviewed.

Why, even our embassies abroad fly the rainbow flag, and we have a bunch of queer ambassadors - isn't that terrible?! So God just might nuke America into oblivion any day now, says Houston pastor Rick Scarborough, for the evil, wicked, detestable sin of loving the gays:

Funny how all those liberty-loving, flag-waving, right-wing patriots, as soon as you take the whip and the rod out of their hands, they want to destroy "this great country" that they have always professed to love so dearly - isn't it? If they don't control it, they want to see it smashed to pieces, and then gloat over the smoldering ruins. A fine Christian attitude, ain't it boys?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spotted Dick and Bacon Butties

They're not what you think.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vito Russo's Our Time, Episode 4 - AIDS

This episode, which aired on WNYC-TV on March 3, 1983, focused on what was then the still-new epidemic of AIDS that was cutting a deadly swathe through the ranks of gay men. At this time, cases were still concentrated in big cities like New York and San Francisco, but the alarming news was filtering slowly into the hinterlands, where we were bewildered and afraid. As seen here, activists like Larry Kramer and Michael Callen were informing and organizing their brethren in the Big Apple - with the enormous help of our lesbian sisters, to whom we owe an enduring debt of gratitude - but between the coasts, rumor and confusion prevailed.

As you will see in the video, very little was known for sure about the HIV virus and how it was transmitted. Could you catch it by kissing someone? Hugging? Shaking hands? Breathing the same air? Sharing finger foods? Eating off the same plate, or drinking from the same glass? What about toilet seats? Not even the doctors were sure, and most doctors were themselves still uninformed of the latest research. News reports told of nurses and hospital staff refusing to touch or treat AIDS patients, who were sometimes flatly turned away from the hospital doors, or left to lie in hallways, unattended. Some funeral homes refused to accept the bodies of patients who died from the disease.

Politicians were starting to call for mass internment of people with HIV or AIDS, and your Head Trucker heard with his own ears the pontificating asshole and conservative pundit William F. Buckley calling for all men with HIV to be tattooed on their foreheads to warn the public to stay away from them.

All that seemed certain was that the virus was spreading among gay men, apparently like other sexually transmitted diseases. And yet, we read in the scanty, infrequent news reports, some men who had a "promiscuous lifestyle" seemed unaffected, while others who rarely had sexual partners were stricken. So what did that mean for us young gay men, newly out and relieved to be free from the soul-destroying closet of celibacy? Your Head Trucker remembers sitting in a gay rap group where this very topic was hotly discussed: some guys were ready to wall themselves away from all sexual contact, while others swore they would not change a thing they were doing until science had determined the exact cause - why go back to living like a lonely monk for no good reason?

And all this was before the concept of "safe sex," later cslled "safer sex," was really developed or publicized. The best advice the medical establishment could give in those early days, which most gay men in the provinces read in abbreviated news reports in gay porn magazines - even those were simply not available in most towns and cities or through the mail in most Southern states - was to "avoid exchanging bodily fluids" with other men. But what the hell did that mean, exactly? What is a "bodily fluid"? Blood? Cum? Piss? Spit? Sweat? Tears? For a long time, nobody bothered to clarify for us, and the national magazines and network news shows, when they did, at long intervals, mention the AIDS epidemic, were not about to descend into the gutter by specifying what was meant. Not even the word condom had ever yet been heard on American television.

Thus, many thousands of men died. It was a scary time to live through, a walk in the dark through a cemetery - no doubt unimaginable to the smartphone-toting, constantly linked-in younger generation. But important to remember.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 7/28/14

Lots of good news for marriage in the South today.  Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

And Freedom to Marry reports on Friday's ruling in Pareto v. Ruvin:
Judge [Sarah] Zabel ordered the Miami-Dade County clerks to stop enforcing Florida's anti-marriage constitutional amendment, and for now, the ruling only applies to Miami-Dade County. The ruling does not require the state of Florida to respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states.

In her ruling, Judge Zabel writes:
The flood of cases that have come out since Windsor amply demonstrates this truth as not one court has found a same-sex marriage ban to be constitutional. As case after case has come out, unified in their well-reasoned constitutional condemnation of the deprivation of one class of person’s right to marry, the answer to the question of whether it is constitutionally permissible to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry has become increasingly obvious: Of course it is not.

Preventing couples from marrying solely on the basis of their sexual orientation serves no governmental interest. It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society.
Full text of Judge Zabel's ruling here.

Update, 8:15 p.m.: 

Freedom to Marry reports:
Today, July 28, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Virginia from February.

The landmark ruling follows a similar ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that banning same-sex couples from marriage in Utah is unconstitutional. It is the 29th consecutive ruling in favor of marriage for same-sex couples in the past year. Read about all of the rulings here.

The decision reads:
We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.
Text of the ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer here; the ruling is stayed pending appeal.

And in a further development, North Carolina's attorney General announced this afternoon that he will no longer defend his state's same-sex marriage ban.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

How Fashions Come and Go

The first episode of a fascinating BBC series - unusually for 1957, filmed in color - on the history of fashion, presented by noted fashion historian and scholar Doris Langley Moore, who designed Katharine Hepburn's wardrobe for The African Queen. A young Vanessa Redgrave is one of the models wearing original period gowns; can you spot her?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Coming Out in Britain, 1976

This is the lost documentary "Coming Out" which screened on ITV as part of Southern Television's "Southern Report" in February 1976. The programme prompted nationwide gay rights protests after one of the participants was fired from his job at British Home Stores.

It would be interesting now to interview these guys in the program and hear their reflections on all the amazing changes of the last forty years.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another Marriage Victory in Colorado

On July 9, Adams County Judge Scott Crabtree struck down Colorado's same-sex marriage ban. This afternoon, as USA Today reports, the federal district court in Denver has done the same thing:
Judge Raymond P. Moore's ruling Wednesday was in response to a lawsuit filed July 1 by six gay couples who asked the court for an injunction ordering that the state's ban no longer be enforced.

Colorado Republican Attorney General John Suthers and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper had requested a stay so the issue could eventually be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court — though both agreed the state ban should be declared unconstitutional.

The couples filed the lawsuit after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled against Utah's gay marriage ban but put the ruling on hold pending an appeal.
The ruling in this case, Burns v. Hickenlooper, is stayed until August 25, allowing the state time to appeal to the Tenth Circuit or the Supreme Court. Full text of the ruling is here.

It's been a crazy month in Colorado as judges, state officials, and county clerks have been scrambling to stay on top of the rapidly changing legal landscape. Freedom to Marry explains:
On July 9, a judge in state court issued a ruling in Brinkman v. Long that Colorado's marriage ban was unconstitutional. Shortly after, county clerks in Denver County and Pueblo County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, joining the Boulder County clerk, who had begun issuing marriage licenses when the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit (which has jurisdiction over Colorado) affirmed that same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry. Over the past few weeks, the state of Colorado has tried to stop clerks in Denver, Boulder, and Pueblo County from issuing marriage licenses as the appeal in Brinkman proceeds to the Colorado Supreme Court. Last week, the CO Supreme Court ordered Denver clerks to stop issuing marriage licenses (but did not issue any orders about Boulder and Pueblo County).

Update, 7/24: The Colorado Attorney General has filed an appeal of the case with the Tenth Circuit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vito Russo's Our Time, Episode 3

Episode 2 is missing from this YouTube collection, but Episode 3 aired on WNYC-TV on January 26, 1983:

Abbot and Costello: 13 x 7 = 28

Some arithmetic exercises to start your day with a chuckle.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 7/21/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

And some long-awaited good news today from the White House, the Washington Post reports:
President Barack Obama on Monday gave employment protection to gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, after being convinced by advocates of what he called the “irrefutable rightness of your cause.”

“America’s federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people,” Obama said at a signing ceremony from the White House East Room. He said it is unacceptable that being gay is still a firing offense in most places in the United States. . . .

Since Obama announced that he would take executive action, he’s faced pressure from opposing flanks over whether he would include an exemption for religious organizations. He decided to maintain a provision that allows religious groups with federal contracts to hire and fire based upon religious identity, but not give them any exception to consider sexual orientation or gender identity. Churches also are able to hire ministers as they see fit. . . .

The change for federal contracting will impact some 24,000 companies with 28 million workers, or one-fifth of the U.S. workforce. Many large federal contractors already have employment policies barring anti-gay workplace discrimination. However, the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School estimates that the executive order would extend protections to about 14 million workers whose employers or states currently do not have such nondiscrimination policies.

While few religious organizations are among the biggest federal contractors, they do provide some valued services, including overseas relief and development programs and re-entry programs for inmates leaving federal prisons. . . .

Obama also amended an order signed by President Richard Nixon in 1969 to prevent discrimination against federal workers based on race, religion, gender, nationality, age or disability. President Bill Clinton added sexual orientation, and Obama will include gender identity in a change that will immediately take effect.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Republican Mom Defends Transgender Kid

Debi Jackson, a self-described "conservative Southern Baptist Republican from Alabama" shares the story of her daughter A. J., who transitioned from male to female at age 4, in this speech given last May in Kansas City:

The family was profiled in the Kansas City Star in February of this year.  Debi has set up a blog called Trans-Parenting to help bring attention and clarity to the issue of transgender children.

Sunday Drive: I Can Hear Music

I may just do a string of Sunday Drives featuring some of my favorite beach music while the summer lasts, which as it happens is relatively mild this year here in Texas.  Enjoy.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Holy Crap, Electric Bacteria

Geobacter rockin' the electron gobble.

New Scientist reports:
Unlike any other life on Earth, these extraordinary bacteria use energy in its purest form – they eat and breathe electrons – and they are everywhere.

STICK an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein's monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these "electric bacteria" are very real and are popping up all over the place.

Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity. . . .

The discovery of electric bacteria shows that some very basic forms of life can do away with sugary middlemen and handle the energy in its purest form – electrons, harvested from the surface of minerals. "It is truly foreign, you know," says Nealson. "In a sense, alien."

Nealson's team is one of a handful that is now growing these bacteria directly on electrodes, keeping them alive with electricity and nothing else – neither sugars nor any other kind of nutrient. The highly dangerous equivalent in humans, he says, would be for us to power up by shoving our fingers in a DC electrical socket.

This modern world is just Too.Fucking.Weird. Can I please have a ticket back to the nice, quiet, normal 20th century? Pleeease?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

(Photo #1 removed at request of the subject - 6/22/17)

(Photo #3 removed at request of the subject - 9/20/17)

Another Win for Marriage in Oklahoma

Freedom to Marry reports:
Today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Oklahoma in January. It is the second ruling by a federal appellate court since last year's victory in the Supreme Court and, unless reversed, will pave the way for the freedom to marry throughout the 10th Circuit, including in Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas. Last month, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of marriage in a Utah case, Kitchen v. Herbert.

The ruling is stayed pending further action, which could include an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The state of Utah has already said that it will ask the United States Supreme Court to review its case, which received a ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last month.

Full text of the case, Bishop v. Smith, here.

Photos and background of the four plaintiffs here.

And a news report on plaintiffs Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin's ten-year legal case, produced at the time of the district court's ruling in their favor last January:

And in other news, marriage equality in Utah must wait a while longer, USA Today reports:
In a minor victory for opponents of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court ruled late Friday that Utah can ignore for now the marriages of more than 1,000 couples hitched there in late December and early January.

The apparently unanimous order blocked a decision issued by a federal district judge in May that required the state to recognize those marriages, even though it was appealing its loss on the broader question of allowing gay and lesbian marriages.

The state has since lost that appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, but it will ask the Supreme Court to take the case. (Oklahoma lost a similar appeal on Friday.) In the meantime, it won the court's blessing to keep those early marriages on hold.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Marriage OK'd in Key West

Weddings can begin next Tuesday, the 22nd, in fabulous Key West, Florida, but this is only a partial victory.  The ruling is by a state circuit judge, not a federal judge, and applies only to Monroe County, not the entire state. Freedom to Marry reports on the ruling.

The ruling applies only to couples who get hitched in Monroe County, not to couples who already got married out of state.  Full text of the ruling here.

Brits vs. Americans: Who's Smarter?

Anglophenia has a cute little YouTube series I'll be sharing here on the Blue Truck - here's Episode 1:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Andrews Sisters Meet the Supremes

Seriously. Just ran across this charming set from 1966, thought I'd share it with you fellas. Film quality is crappy, but the sound is great.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vito Russo's Our Time: Episode 1

Hey guys, check out this fabulous buried treasure newly come to light.  Description:
In 1983, Vito Russo produced and co-hosted "Our Time," a television series focused on the gay community. The thirteen episodes that ran on public television station WNYC-TV tackled important issues such as gay history, drag, alcoholism, race, and a famous episode at the dawn of the AIDS crisis featuring Larry Kramer. On-air guests included luminaries such as Harry Hay, Rita Mae Brown, Tennessee Williams, Harvey Fierstein, Quentin Crisp, Lily Tomlin and many other notable public figures.

This first episode includes an interview with Harry Hay and Barbara Gittings, both important figures in the start of the gay liberation movement that I've read about many times but never seen on film. Groovy. I'll be posting a new episode each week.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 7/14/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Drive: Wouldn't It Be Nice

Back in your Head Trucker's young-and-closeted days, he used to put a different twist on the line Wouldn't it be nice to live together in the kind of world where we belong - can you relate?

A fascinating glimpse into the studio recording of this song:

Just the song, if you want to hear the standard version:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cowboy Dreams

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain:

He’s So Fine
Prequel II – Cowboy Dreams

I wanna be the guy who wears the white hat
and rides across the plain

I'm gonna be your enigmatic stranger
Honey, you’re lookin' at your Shane

Cowboy dreams, cowboy dreams
You give me cowboy dreams
--Cowboy Dreams by Paddy McAllon

Remember a while back I wrote some self-revelatory stories under the title He’s So Fine. Part I went back to my adolescent crush Wayne and starred the sexy Steve McQueen . . .

. . . whilst Part 2 featured the gorgeous Cam Gigandet doubling as a more recent crush, my Spanish friend José.

Then I wrote a Prequel, which looked back to some of my earliest memories and childhood heroes. It featured Champion The Wonder Horse, Tales of Wells Fargo, and Flipper. You fellows seemed to like that prequel, so here is Prequel II, where we take a look at another three of my all-time childhood favourite TV shows. They cover my age from 3 to 19, and whilst there may not be too many self-revelations this time, I hope you’ll be entertained by the personal anecdotes, and perhaps rekindle some happy memories of your own.

It’s not by chance that Steve is wearing cowboy gear in the image above, for Prequel II is all about the Wild West and cowboys, those chaps in leather and especially requested by your Head Trucker. I’m not sure which is more beautiful, Steve or the scenery, but thanks to Mother Nature for both!

The fact that Cam is in a wetsuit will give you a clue to the content of Prequel III, which is currently on the drooling board, er, I mean drawing board!

Continued after the jump . . .

Friday, July 11, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kidnapped for Christ

Do American parents have the right to forcibly send their gay kids out of the country and have them brainwashed by pray-away-the-gay Bible-thumpers in a remote Caribbean location, far from the protection of U. S. laws? Filmmaker Kate Logan explores such a school in a new documentary premiering tonight on Showtime.


Marriage Victory in Colorado

Yesterday, Adams County District Judge Scott Crabtree struck down Colorado's same-sex marriage ban as a violation of constitutional guarantees of Due Process and Equal Protection, as Freedom to Marry reports:
In the ruling, Judge Crabtree explained how civil union - which Colorado has had in effect since 2013 - is a lesser, unequal form of family status that does not compare to marriage. He writes:
The fact that the State has created two classes of legally recognized relationships, marriages and civil unions, is compelling evidence they are not the same. If civil unions were truly the same as marriages, they would be called marriages and not civil unions. If they were the same, there would be no need for both of them. The fact that Colorado denies same gender couples the same right to apply for federal benefits that it grants to opposite gender couples is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
Read the full ruling here.

Notably, Judge Crabtree was appointed by Republican Governor Bill Owens in 2001. He is the fifth Republican-appointed judge to rule in favor of the freedom to marry, following judges in New Jersey, Kentucky, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
This is the 24th consecutive ruling in favor of marriage equality since the U. S. Supreme Court's Windsor ruling last year: a complete list is here.

And in other news, the U. S. Supreme Court declined without comment to hear an appeal brought by a Pennsylvania county clerk seeking to stop same-sex marriages in that state.

Also, the Utah Attorney General announced that he will appeal last month's 10th Circuit ruling striking down Utah's marriage ban directly to the Supreme Court.

Freedom to Marry has a comprehensive nationwide database of all 75+ marriage cases now pending, resolved, or on appeal here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Spornosexuals

Apparently, that's the new term for what used to be metrosexual, which is the old term for preening, self-centered party boy, too chickenshit to come out of the closet. 

Britain's Telegraph reports:
Not everyone is such a fan of the look or what they think it represents. The Telegraph columnist Tim Stanley, for example, claims the trend marks an “evolutionary step backwards” for men. “The spornosexual is really only interested in how they look to themselves – it is narcissistic. By toning and perfuming and recording every ripple with Facebook selfies, they’ve converted their bodies into their own masturbatory aids.”

An article in Vice earlier this year, published before Mark Simpson came up with the spornosexual label, read along the same kind of lines. In a piece headlined "How Sad Young Douchebags Took Over Modern Britain," the journalist Clive Martin wrote: “It seems to me that, in a kamikaze attempt to assert their masculinity, our young man of today has repackaged himself as an erection in a vest. . . . They’re the sad, lost children of the metrosexuals and the miners.”

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 7/7/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Way It Was

A poignant selection of oral histories from the Los Angeles LGBT Center:

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Stars and Stripes Forever

Click to enlarge.

Happy Fourth!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Proud Whopper

Sold only at one BK in San Francisco, ending today. What's so special about it? You'll have to watch the vid to find out:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kentucky Marriage Ban Struck Down

It happened yesterday, Freedom to Marry reports:
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down a constitutional amendment in the state that restricts marriage to different-sex couples. The ruling is stayed pending further action from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. . . .

The ruling reads:
Sometimes, by upholding equal rights for a few, courts necessarily must require others to forebear some prior conduct or restrain some personal instinct. Here, that would not seem to be the case. Assuring equal protection for same-sex couples does not diminish the freedom of others to any degree. Thus, same-sex couples’ right to marry seems to be a uniquely “free" constitutional right. Hopefully, even those opposed to or uncertain about same-sex marriage will see it that way in the future.
In the ruling, Judge Heyburn dismantles the arguments that the defendants asserted in their briefs, most prominently the argument that allowing same-sex couples to marry in Kentucky will lower the birth rates in the state. Judge Heyburn wrote:
Perhaps recognizing that procreation-based arguments have not succeeded in any court post-Windsor, Defendant adds a disingenuous twist to the argument: Traditional marriages contribute to a stable birth rate which, in turn, ensures the state’s long-term economic stability.

These arguments are not those of serious people. Excluding same-sex couples from marriage does not change the number of heterosexual couples who choose to get married, the number who choose to have children, or the number of children they have.

Full text of the ruling here.

Also yesterday, in response to an emergency motion filed by Lambda Legal, the 7th Circuit partially lifted the stay of its ruling on Indiana marriages, permitting one lesbian couple to marry; one spouse is terminally ill, but the Indiana Attorney General opposed the motion anyway.

And just for fun, Slate has come up with a create-your-own Gay Marriage Ruling generator.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Canada Day 2014

Friendly good wishes to all my Canadian truckbuddies today - Bonne fĂȘte du Canada!

And just for the eye candy, here's a clip of studly Toronto high-school teacher Joe Killoran confronting douchebag mayor Rob Ford this afternoon during a parade:

More info about Killoran at Joe.My.God.

A Grower and a Shower

Size queens, take note:  crowds of Frenchmen and Frenchwomen are flocking to the Botanical Gardens in Nantes to see the rare flowering of "Titan's Penis" - the Latin name is Amorphophallus titanium.

These things can grow to 10 feet tall. Just imagine. Unfortunately, it stinks.

Well - you can't have everything.

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