Progress Then and Now

As I sit on the dais at Johns Hopkins Turner Auditorium waiting for the press conference announcing the first U.S. HIV positive to HIV positive organ transplants to begin I reflect back to what brought me here. I am not anyone of prominence. I was born and raised in South Baltimore and worked as a teller for many years at the racetracks where I punched out the wagers for customers betting on the races.

No, Margaret Cho–Vigilante Killing isn’t Cool

Margaret Cho’s call for women to kill their rapists was treated with the general adulation that Gregg Shapiro showed for the Korean-American performer in his interview (Baltimore OUTloud, March 4, 2016). But Cho’s widely publicized celebration of vigilante killing of men and boys accused of sexual misconduct should not pass without condemnation and consideration of history.

Remembering Scalia

I’ve never wished… …a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure. – Clarence Darrow Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached. – Antonin Scalia HE MAY NOT HAVE WISHED HIM DEAD, but Antonin Scalia would have surely  tested Clarence Darrow’s limits. One can wonder what the attorney for the damned, as they called Darrow when he defended Leopold and Loeb from the gallows, would have thought of a judge who could say in all seriousness that mere innocence is an insufficient reason to call off the hangman.

State Power: A Friend We Should Do Without

A recent lawsuit filed by a Baltimore lesbian-feminist against a San Francisco lesbian-feminist, two high-profile heterosexual underage sex cases, and the raid on the male escort advertising website by Federal Homeland Security agents and the NYPD has gotten us thinking about the use of state power to address community grievances and enforce moralistic sex codes. It’s our belief that sexual minority peoples and communities should be extremely suspicious of state power.

Pride Weekend is Not an Entitlement Program

Pride weekend I overheard snippets such as: “The Pride parade wasn’t big enough or long enough.” “The Block Party was not very good and I didn’t want to stay.” “The Festival last year was bigger and it cost too much to park today.” “Why wasn’t there a map showing where everything is and a program about when it is?”

Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church Celebrates Pride 2015

Two pastors and 16 members of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church joined marchers from many other congregations in the Baltimore Pride parade on Saturday, July 25.  The church is an inclusive, inspiring, urban Christian community committed to following Jesus and exploring and living out the Christian faith in Baltimore and beyond with an emphasis on worship, justice, service to others, and preaching relevant to the questions of modern life.

Don’t You Dare Forget About Frank Kameny

Where would I be without the work I love? There is nothing more rewarding to me than working on behalf of American workers. Serving U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is both an honor and a joy, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished as a public servant during my “tour of duties” as a political appointee in the Clinton and Obama administrations. The work is exhilarating, interesting every day, and has become a central part of who I am.

Looking Back on Marriage Rights in the Supreme Court

The Culture Wars are really over. Most Americans believe gay people should marry, abortion should be legal, contraception readily available. So, what is a lost culture warrior to do? Americans also believe in religious freedom. So, the answer is to recast yourself as defending religious freedom. After all, you can’t trump a civil or privacy right with a political argument. For that you need another right like freedom of religion.

Unraveling Codewords: High Court Parses Gay Marriage

Just over two weeks ago, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in favor of, and against, same sex marriage. As expected, the Justices actively questioned the lawyers on both sides of the argument, and in doing so, triggered a great deal of speculation as to whether or not their questions indicated how they would ultimately vote. Here are some of the key excerpts from the transcripts of the oral arguments.