Kevin Bondelli’s YD Blog

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Archive for the ‘GLBT Issues’ Category

Nearly 50 Colleges Come Out to Recruit Gay Youth This Week

Posted by Kevin Bondelli on April 7, 2008

NEARLY FIFTY COLLEGES COME OUT TO RECRUIT GAY YOUTH AT NATIONAL GAY-FRIENDLY COLLEGE FAIR THIS WEEK
Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Penn among the diversified list of colleges

WHAT: Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Penn among the nearly fifty colleges who will be in attendance at the gay-friendly college fair hosted by Camps Pride this Friday, April 11 on the campus of University of California San Diego. The fair is designed specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight ally youth and their families who want to find campuses committed to LGBT people. The event is in coordination with the LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index (www.campusclimateindex.org), the only online resource of its kind, which rates LGBT-friendliness at colleges and universities. More information online at www.campusclimateindex.org/events.

WHERE: Ballroom of the Price Center at University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093

WHEN: This Friday, April 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHO: Nearly fifty colleges and universities from across the United States will be in attendance. In addition, expert presentations will take place throughout the day, which include “Finding Your LGBT-Friendly Campus” by Shane L. Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride; “The Pros and Cons of Selecting a United States Service Academy: The LGBT Experience” by the U.S. Naval Academy Out Alumni Group, “Navigating the College Admissions Process” by the UC San Diego Office for Admissions and Relations with Schools, “Point Foundation Scholarships” by Point Foundation staff, and “Financing your Education” by the UC San Diego department of Financial Aid.

WHY: According to Campus Pride, an increasing number of colleges and universities are openly recruiting LGBT students and are doing so for the first time ever. In addition, over 150 colleges and universities are reaching out to LGBT students through the LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index (www.campusclimateindex.org). The fair and index are active ways for campuses to be out and proud in attracting LGBT student populations as well as increase enrollment with a seemingly “untapped” population. Even straight students are looking for LGBT-Friendly campuses. Isabel Galupo, a high school senior in Towson, Maryland who attended the first LGBT-friendly college fair this past December, said, “It was great to have my first college fair be one where I could ask important questions about myself as someone from the LGBT community. This type of college fair was also very important for me as I have two moms – I want to be at a college where I can feel comfortable about my family.”

HOW: The event is free and open to the public — LGBT and ally prospective students and their families. For more details, please visit www.campusclimateindex.org/events or contact Campus Pride at 704-277-6710 or info@campuspride.org.

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Believe InCampus Pride. Campus Pride is the leading national nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) for student leaders and campus organizations working to create safer, more LGBT-friendly colleges and universities. It exists to give “voice and action” in building future LGBT and ally leaders.

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Posted in GLBT Issues | Leave a Comment »

A Message from the YDA GLBT Caucus on Puerto Rico

Posted by Kevin Bondelli on April 5, 2008

NOTE: THE YOUNG DEMOCRATS OF AMERICA SUPPORT THE OPPORTUNITY FOR STATEHOOD FOR PUERTO RICO. ALL PUERTO RICANS, INCLUDING THE TERRITORY’S LGBT POPULATION, ARE DENIED FULL PARTICIPATION AND REPRESENTATION IN OUR POLITICAL PROCESS. PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO READ THIS MESSAGE FROM CAUCUS MEMBER EMILIO SEIJO AND TAKE ACTION TO SECURE STATEHOOD FOR PUERTO RICO AND WELCOME OUR LGBT PUERTO RICAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS FULLY INTO OUR POLITICAL MOVEMENT FOR LGBT EQUALITY.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear GLBT Caucus member:

I am Emilio Seijo, Vice President of the Young Democrats of America Puerto Rico Chapter and a proud Gay Democrat. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my good friend Rachel, my good friend Kyle and all the members the GLBT Caucus, which are my extended family, for their support and enthusiasm in the discussion of this important issue for our Nation and our Community in the past YDA’s 2008 Winter National Conference.

Because of our relation to the United States we are tied by federal laws. As an example, federal laws knew as Selective Service, We Don’t Ask You Don’t Tell and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). And you are thinking what the difference between you and us is because you are also tied to those federal laws; which is true. The difference is that we have neither Senators nor Representatives at Congress; we only have a Resident Commissioner who has only voice but no vote. We don’t have the power/strength to change those policies that affect us in a negative way.

This means that Puerto Rico GLBT community is deprived of power because our current political status.

A Commonwealth “is not a political status in the way that State, nation, and territory are. It is a word also used in the names of four States and another territory”. What the United Nations concluded was wrong.

Since Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth three plebiscites have been held, all of them by State sanction only. In the first plebiscite in 1967, the commonwealth received 60.4% votes, statehood 39% and independence 0.6%. In 1993, commonwealth got 48.6% votes, statehood 46.3%, independence 4.4%, and blank and void ballots 0.6%. The third plebiscite in 1998 was based on a U.S. House bill never enacted. The Governor and the State Legislature chose to conduct a plebiscite even without a federal sanction. With two additional options; the votes tallied were commonwealth 0.1%, free association 0.3%, statehood 46.5%, independence 2.5%, none of the above 50.3%, and blank and void ballots 0.3%. As you can see the tendency is towards a non-territorial status, and that Puerto Ricans are not satisfied with the current status.

In 2000, President Clinton established the President’s Task Force to address the issue of Puerto Rico’s status. The purpose of the Task Force was to identify options for the island’s future status and the process for realizing an option.

On December 2005, the Task Force filed its report, concluding that only two non-territorial options are recognized by the United States Constitution and made three recommendations. The two options are statehood and the independence. The three recommendations are:

1. [T]hat the Congress within a year provide for a Federally sanctioned plebiscite in which the people of Puerto Rico will be asked to state whether they wish to remain a U.S. territory subject to the will of Congress or to pursue a Constitutionally viable path toward a permanent non-territorial status with the United States. Congress should provide for this plebiscite to occur on a date certain.

2. [I]f the people of Puerto Rico elect to pursue a permanent non-territorial status, Congress should provide for an additional plebiscite allowing the people of Puerto Rico to choose between one of the two permanent non-territorial options. Once the people have selected one of the two options, Congress is encouraged to begin a process of transition toward the option.

3. If the people elect to remain as a territory… that a plebiscite occur periodically, as long as that status continues, to keep Congress informed of the people’s wishes.

Thanks to President Clinton’s initiative, of establishing the Task Force, at this time there is a bill in the House that deal with the status issue of Puerto Rico. The H.R. 900, which is based on the Report by The President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status.

On December 2007, the Task Force filed its second report, concluding again that only two non-territorial options are recognized by the United States Constitution and reiterates the previous recomendations on the 2005 Report.

I can not believe that the United States “intended” to “keep colonies forever …” and “justify 108 years of colonialism.”

As members of the YDA, we had received your support on several resolutions on this issue. In the past years, the National Committee has approved three important resolutions, recognizing the colonial status of Puerto Rico and urging the U.S. Congress to approve legislation where the people of Puerto Rico can vote for their future political relation with the United States, based on non-colonial non territorial formulas. Also, in August of 2005-2007, YDA adopted its platform, which states their support that Puerto Ricans should be given an opportunity to determine the future of Puerto Rico, either as United States’ state, or as an independent nation. The current platform has the same statement.

Now, if you are asking yourself, what can I do? It’s simple. A few calls, emails, and more. We need your help in this endeavor. You voted for your congressperson and you will be voting again, so therefore, you have the power to persuade and convince them to vote in favor of the H.R. 900. We do not have that kind of electoral power/strength since we do not participate in national elections. What we can do is ask for your support. We need you! You would be our best lobbyists. This is an ambitious plan, but I trust America and I trust you my fellow democrats.

P.S. Congressperson draft letter:

March __, 2008.

Dear Congresswoman (man) ________:

I am a young voter who believes in Democracy. For 108 year, we the United States have been keeping a colony, Puerto Rico. The Puerto Ricans do not have real voting representation in the national government and their island is not an independent nation. We have an obligation to enable them to have a democratic form of government at all levels because we promote Democracy.

At this time, there is one bill in the House that deal with the status issue of Puerto Rico. The bill is the H.R. 900, which is based on the reports (2005 and 2007) by The President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status and its recommendations.

I am supporting H.R. 900 because the H.R. 900 proposes a federally sanctioned plebiscite in which the people of Puerto Rico will be asked to state whether they wish to remain a U.S. territory subject to the will of Congress or to pursue a constitutionally viable path toward a permanent non-territorial status with the United States.

The real option that gives the people of Puerto Rico a tool to express their decision about what status they want is the H.R. 900.

I invite you to support the H.R. 900 with your vote!

Cordially,

___________
Jane (John) Doe

Posted in Caucuses, GLBT Issues, YDA | Leave a Comment »

Barack Obama’s Open Letter to the LGBT Community

Posted by Kevin Bondelli on March 30, 2008

An Open Letter to the LGBT Community:

I’m running for President to build an America that lives up to our founding promise of equality for all – a promise that extends to our gay brothers and sisters. It’s wrong to have millions of Americans living as second-class citizens in this nation. And I ask for your support in this election so that together we can bring about real change for all LGBT Americans.

Equality is a moral imperative. That’s why throughout my career, I have fought to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans. In Illinois, I co-sponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation. In the U.S. Senate, I have co-sponsored bills that would equalize tax treatment for same-sex couples and provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees. And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. I have also called for us to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.

The next president must also address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When it comes to prevention, we do not have to choose between values and science. While abstinence education should be part of any strategy, we also need to use common sense. We should have age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception. We should pass the JUSTICE Act to combat infection within our prison population. And we should lift the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. In addition, local governments can protect public health by distributing contraceptives. We also need a president who’s willing to confront the stigma – too often tied to homophobia– that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. I confronted this stigma directly in a speech to evangelicals at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, and will continue to speak out as president.

That is where I stand on the major issues of the day. But having the right positions on the issues is only half the battle. The other half is to win broad support for those positions. And winning broad support will require stepping outside our comfort zone. If we want to repeal DOMA, repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and implement fully inclusive laws outlawing hate crimes and discrimination in the workplace, we need to bring the message of LGBT equality to skeptical audiences as well as friendly ones – and that’s what I’ve done throughout my career. I brought this message of inclusiveness to all of America in my keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention. I talked about the need to fight homophobia when I announced my candidacy for President, and I have been talking about LGBT equality to a number of groups during this campaign – from local LGBT activists to rural farmers to parishioners at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King once preached.

Just as important, I have been listening to what all Americans have to say. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary.

Americans are yearning for leadership that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike.

Barack Obama

Posted in GLBT Issues, Presidential Campaigns | 1 Comment »

Attend a Stonewall House Party Near You

Posted by Kevin Bondelli on March 20, 2008

We’re ready for some new leadership in the White House and need your help to get there! Join us for a night of House Parties on March 27th at 8:00pm ET as we learn about the role of LGBT Democrats in the process.

Keynote Speakers joining for the call include:
– Rep. Tammy Baldwin
– Corporations Commissioner Jim Roth
– National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Jon Hoadley
– More guests to come!

To find a house party near you, please visit:

http://www.party2win.com/stonewall/

Posted in Caucuses, GLBT Issues | 1 Comment »

Sally Kern – Ellen DeGeneres’ response

Posted by Kevin Bondelli on March 13, 2008

After watching the video click here and sign the open letter to Sally Kern.

Posted in GLBT Issues, Video | 1 Comment »

Ellen DeGeneres on Hate Murder

Posted by Kevin Bondelli on March 6, 2008

I posted this video a few days ago on Facebook but I felt that it was important enough for me to also put on this blog. Ellen poignantly comments on the tragic hate-inspired murder of 15-year old Larry King from Oxnard, CA. Larry was murdered by a classmate for asking him to be his valentine. She has put into words what we all feel.

Posted in GLBT Issues, Video | 1 Comment »