Paul Angelo, the Miami Gay Matchmaker who incorporates health, relationship and lifestyle coaching has again “gone wild” with the intention to save the gay community from poor self-esteem, lack of confidence and relationship confusion urges a 60 day moratorium on gay anal intercourse.
Angelo explains that receptive anal sex decreases self esteem by forcing the person to assume a submissive position during an act of pleasure. This confuses the brain to believe that a feminine-like behavior is appropriate for a man and in turn reduces the man’s assertiveness, confidence and will power.
Angelo says: “From Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), we know that a person’s thinking is strongly influenced by his body position. The fastest way to increase satisfaction and self-esteem is to align the thinking with the position/movement of the body, commonly referred to as a mind-body connection. This is often achieved through physical exercise, meditation and affirmations.
For example, if you say to yourself – ‘yes I can do it’ and if you flex your arm, clench your fist and bend your knees all in one move – you get a strong feeling of power.
When the body performs activities that are not in congruence with the beliefs and logic of the brain, conflict is created and with each repetition of the act, self-esteem of the person is reduced.”
Angelo explains that because men behave differently than women, the brain is taught to accept as valid all behaviors that are associated with masculinity and strength. The moment that the brain receives messages that are NOT congruent with the definition of masculinity – the person gets confused.
Aggressive or “pushy” bottoms are an example of this confusion. Those are gay men who succeeded in business and show masculinity in day-to-day life, but in the bedroom – end up engaging in receptive anal intercourse.
“The worse part about this destruction of self-esteem is that it’s on the subconscious level. A person will not feel anything during the act. And the pleasure derived from the act will override the logic necessary to correct the behavior. In addition, there is a delay between the act of anal intercourse and the reduction of self-esteem of the person” says Angelo.
“If you were to put all gay men together in a big warehouse and place the ‘bottoms’ on the left and the ‘tops’ on the right, you’d start seeing negative consequences of the anal sex play out in real life for the bottoms such as: disrespect for their general health, failure at work, failure in love and relationships.” says Angelo.
“I am not saying that every gay man should stop anal intercourse today. What I recommend is that gay men re-think the “Gay-Lifestyle” strategy and stop for one second to question the validity of all that is gay” says Angelo.
Those gay men over 40 who are interested in learning more about how to find a perfect match and how to fall in love are recommended to give Angelo a try. His methodologies are very unique and stand out from other gay life coaches.
Paul Angelo combines the knowledge of psychology, self-management, strategy, persuasion and communication to help gay men over 40 leverage relationships to live the ultimate lifestyle and live a life that is unlimited in potential.
Since starting in 2009, Angelo took on multiple clients that previously saw no hope for a relationship and within 6 months found a partner and moved in together.
By combining strategy, persuasion and psychology, Angelo helps gay men over 40 see a relationship as a sequence of steps that carry a different requirement and which can be taught to anyone who is willing to learn and change.
from Press Relaese
Archive for December, 2011
Paul Angelo, the Miami Gay Matchmaker who incorporates health, relationship and lifestyle coaching has again “gone wild” with the intention to save the gay community from poor self-esteem, lack of confidence and relationship confusion urges a 60 day moratorium on gay anal intercourse.
On the evening of June 24, Steve Mendelsohn celebrated in the street with his friends and nearly a thousand other supporters of same-sex marriage outside the Stonewall Inn, the storied gay bar in the West Village.
The setting was nothing if not appropriate: In 1969, a riot at the Stonewall would make the bar forever synonymous with the awakening of the modern gay rights movement in America. That night, nearly a half-century later, a bill passed that would allow gay men and women to legally marry for the first time in New York State.
For Mr. Mendelsohn, 54, the moment represented an unequivocal victory: an apex to decades of struggle for equal recognition under state law. Still, the moment was tinged with a sense of absence, as it was for many gay men his age. Amid the jubilation, he couldn’t help but think of Phil Kanner, his partner of 15 years, who died of complications from AIDS in 1995.
“I was thinking, ‘I wish Phil were here with me,’ ” Mr. Mendelsohn said in an interview in the fall, adding later, “If my partner were alive, I believe we would have married.”
For many middle-aged gay men in New York City, the passage of the same-sex marriage law was in part a fresh reminder of the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic, when men like Mr. Mendelsohn, the director of a nonprofit media group, lost innumerable friends and loved ones to a disease that was often as stigmatizing as it was deadly.
At the height of the epidemic, the disease took tens of thousands of lives in the United States each year; it reached its deadly peak in 1995, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the number of deaths of those with AIDS reaching more than 50,000 that year.
Those who survived haven’t stopped living, forming new relationships and organizing for equality in the decades since. But the memory of what was lost lingers — a shadow cast by marriage equality’s glow.
“New losses can trigger old feelings of grief, but so can successes, so something like having gay marriage can trigger feelings of loss,” said James Masten, a Manhattan psychotherapist and author who has worked with patients with H.I.V. and AIDS for the last 20 years.
“Even though it’s a positive experience, it can still remind us of all the people who aren’t here, who haven’t had the opportunity to see this — all the activists who never lived to this point,” he added.
Jeffrey Sharlach, 58, founder of a Manhattan-based communications firm and an adjunct associate professor of management communication at New York University, said he lost nearly every one of his gay friends in New York during the 1980s and ’90s, including his partner of more than 12 years, Ken Williams, who died in 1994 at age 33. Mr. Sharlach is publishing a novel in May about that period in his life called “Running in Bed,” which he described as about a quarter autobiographical.
For Mr. Sharlach, New York at the height of the AIDS epidemic became an empty shell, its streets a constant reminder of loved ones who were disappearing. “Every single block would be like, ‘Oh, I remember this guy used to live here.’ ”
“It was like a city of ghosts,” he added.
With the passing of time, many of those who survived the 1980s and ’90s have gone on to form meaningful long-term relationships. Some, like Mr. Mendelsohn, took advantage of the same-sex marriage law fairly quickly. In September, he married Wallie Pagunsan, exactly two years after the day they met.
Others, like Mr. Sharlach, believe that the moment for marrying may have passed. Though he, too, has a long-term partner, his second since Mr. Williams died, he has little interest in marrying.
“I think the relationships that you have when you’re older are different than the relationships you have when you’re in your 20s,” he said. “In your 20s you have this idea that you’re going to grow together, build a life together and kind of grow up together.”
His current relationship, Mr. Sharlach added, is “much more mature.”
The generational marriage gap felt by Mr. Sharlach, and echoed by others, isn’t only about age. It’s also a function of history and denied opportunity. While some middle-aged gay men and lesbians leaped at the chance to marry after having been denied the right, others say the concept feels too foreign today because it was such a remote possibility for so long.
“The idea of gay marriage — I mean nobody ever talked about it, it was nowhere on anyone’s radar screen,” Mr. Sharlach said. During the 1980s and ’90s, he said, “we were just worried about people not being fired from their jobs, people not getting kicked out of their apartments. That was the big thing. Really, basic rights were much more important.”
David Norris lost his partner of 10 years, Jeffery Reddick, in 1992, also from AIDS complications. Like Mr. Sharlach, he focused for years on other issues that, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, seemed more urgent.
“It also just seemed like such a pie-in-the-sky thing,” he said of same-sex marriage. “It was just like: ‘That will so never happen. Why put energy into it?’ ”
Today, Mr. Norris, 57, has a partner of 18 years who lives with him in the Upper West Side apartment he once shared with Mr. Reddick. The two own a house together in Asbury Park, N.J., and were joined there in a civil union to make property ownership more economical and practical.
But it would feel wrong to have a marriage recognized in one home state, but not another, he said. Mr. Norris, a vice president for an insurance group, has long been active in gay equality groups like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Lambda Legal and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. He hopes to engage more fully in his advocacy role once he retires.
Mr. Norris is thrilled about the New York marriage law, he said, especially for younger people who, largely because of his generation’s efforts, will never know the same kinds of discrimination. But he is reluctant to marry because he believes the law doesn’t go far enough. “We probably will get married, but I still go back and forth on it,” he said regarding his current partner. “I want the whole enchilada.”
If the federal Defense of Marriage Act were repealed, he would feel more certain, Mr. Norris added. “Then we’d be booking the banquet hall. It would be a real celebration.”
The men interviewed for this article may form an imbalanced picture of their generation because each has gone on to form long-term, meaningful romantic relationships — despite the loss of partners, and regardless of feelings about marrying. But, as therapists attest, there are silent others who remain haunted by the tragedies of the AIDS scourge, and unhealed by the passing years.
“Of course, there’s a sense of positivity around gay marriage, but many gay men of my generation, I would describe us, actually, as a lost generation,” said Darrell Greene, a Manhattan psychologist who spent the worst years of the epidemic working for AIDS-related health organizations, first as part of the AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland, then at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the AIDS unit at Goldwater Memorial Hospital, in New York. It was, he said, “like living through a war.”
“There are many people who are survivors and who have tremendous resilience, of course,” Dr. Greene said. “But in terms of my population, there are many people who were profoundly traumatized by the epidemic. And they are still processing what happened to them.”
Mr. Mendelsohn, who welcomed the news of the gay marriage act outside the Stonewall, has learned above all to place his loss within a larger context — in a way that, though tragically ironic, gives added positive meaning to the otherwise devastating experience.
“I believe that there wouldn’t be any gay marriage today if it weren’t for AIDS,” Mr. Mendelsohn said. “There was so much intolerance and misunderstanding about who was gay and who wasn’t until everyone found out that people were gay because they were dying. And it was their friends, their family, their relatives.”
Support groups for gay men grieving the deaths of their partners helped Mr. Mendelsohn, like many of the men interviewed, cope with his loss, especially in the years just after his partner died. As time passed, his grieving evolved, his nightmares stopped.
“Somewhere, the memories were less and less about the hard times and the illness, and more and more about the happy times,” he said. “It was less traumatic. I came to see him more as my angel looking over me and helping me.”
from The New York Times
Although the court fight over same-sex marriage in California is unresolved, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups scored major legislative victories in 2011.
“We passed a ton of bills,” said Rebekah Orr, spokeswoman for Equality California, a group that lobbies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. “There is an understanding that inequality is real, so it is relatively easy for a number of these bills to be passed.”
Twelve bills backed by Equality California were passed by the Legislature in 2011. Gov. Jerry Brown signed 10 and vetoed 2.
“There is a new realization that today family is defined differently than it was in the past, and our law needs to reflect that,” said Assemblyman Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo. His bill making it easier for nonbiological parents to win custody of their children becomes law on Sunday.
Mr. Hill’s bill, opposed by conservative groups and passed on a mostly party-line vote, was spurred in part by the experience of Kimberly Smith, a Santa Cruz woman who nearly lost custody of her twin sons to her former partner’s sperm donor because California family law in some cases prescribed an absolute preference to biological parents.
Conservative groups expressed frustration at the process. In contrast with previous legislative sessions, “bills sailed through without serious debate or reflection and the arguments raised by others were simply ignored,” said William B. May, president of Catholics for the Common Good, a San Francisco-based advocacy organization.
Larry Gerston, a professor of political science at San Jose State University, said the shift had occurred largely because of the tone set by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat who took office in January 2011, and by Democrats, who control both houses of the State Legislature.
Mr. Brown “showed his hand even before he became governor when as attorney general he refused to defend Proposition 8,” Mr. Gerston said, referring to the 2008 state ballot initiative banning gay marriage.
Two other bills affecting public education will take effect Jan. 1. One, sponsored by Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco, will require lessons about gay men and lesbians to be integrated into social studies classes in California public schools.
The other, sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, mandates that all schools have clear policies against bullying. It was named Seth’s Law after Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old boy in Kern County who hanged himself in September 2010 after experiencing anti-gay harassment.
Conservative groups are responding by taking their case directly to the voters. In November, two organizations asked California’s secretary of state for permission to begin collecting signatures for a June ballot initiative to repeal Mr. Leno’s bill on social studies instruction. The measure could be added to the ballot for California’s presidential primary.
from The New York Times
Ron Paul has faced a torrent of criticism in recent weeks over newsletters printed in his name during the 1980s and 1990s which contained racist, anti-semitic, and homophobic content. He is also on the hook for accepting the support of fringe right-wing groups. While Paul dismisses these concerns, his campaign seems to have no problem working with and enjoying the support of anti-gay extremists, including one supporter who has called for the implementation of the death penalty for homosexual behavior.
Paul’s Iowa chair, Drew Ivers, recently touted the endorsement of Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska who also draws members from Iowa, putting out a press release praising “the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.” But Kayser’s views on homosexuality go way beyond the bounds of typical anti-gay evangelical politics and into the violent fringe: he recently authored a paper arguing for criminalizing homosexuality and even advocated imposing the death penalty against offenders based on his reading of Biblical law.
“Difficulty in implementing Biblical law does not make non-Biblical penology just,” he argued. “But as we have seen, while many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative. Biblical law would recognize as a matter of justice that even if this law could be enforced today, homosexuals could not be prosecuted for something that was done before.”
Reached by phone, Kayser confirmed to TPM that he believed in reinstating Biblical punishments for homosexuals — including the death penalty — even if he didn’t see much hope for it happening anytime soon. While he said he and Paul disagree on gay rights, noting that Paul recently voted for repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he supported the campaign because he believed Paul’s federalist take on the Constitution would allow states more latitude to implement fundamentalist law. Especially since under Kayser’s own interpretation of the Constitution there is no separation of Church and State.
“Under a Ron Paul presidency, states would be freed up to not have political correctness imposed on them, but obviously some state would follow what’s politically correct,” he said. “What he’s trying to do, whether he agrees with the Constitution’s position or not, is restrict himself to the Constitution. That is something I very much appreciate.”
Kayser’s allegiance to the Paul campaign may reflect who the campaign has chosen to sell Paul to the churches. Mike Heath, who became Ron Paul’s Iowa state director this fall, has spent his career on the Christian right. In Iowa, Heath has focused on outreach to the religious community in the state, where Paul has made an effort to target evangelical voters.
Heath spent 14 years running the Christian Civic League of Maine (which has since changed its name). As a prominent figure in Maine, Heath slowly alienated the Christian right in the state with his extreme tactics. In 2004, for example, he launched a witch hunt to out gay members of the Maine legislature, asking supporters, according to the Portland Press Herald, to “e-mail us tips, rumors, speculation and facts” regarding the sexual orientation of the state’s political leaders, adding, “We are, of course, most interested in the leaders among us who want to overturn marriage, eliminate the mother/father family as the ideal, etc.” The result was that his own organization suspended him for a month.
“He’s a well-known conspiracy theorist about the ‘gay agenda,’” says Travis Kennedy, chief of staff for the House Democratic Office in Maine, who says Heath was a big figure around the capital for many years. Heath made more enemies than friends, says Kennedy, whose “offensive and aggressive” tactics put off even his allies on the Christian right. In 2007, Heath played a big part in opposing a sexual orientation anti-discrimination ballot measure which ultimately passed by a wide margin. On Heath’s new job in Iowa, Kennedy said, “I’m not surprised he’d be hired in a state far away from Maine. He has a pretty poor reputation around here.”
From 2008-2010, Heath served as chairman of the board of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. AFTAH is a fringe, anti-gay organization and has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for promoting false information. For example, the organization and its founder, Peter LaBarbera, have published false reports about LGBT people, including allegations that they live shorter lives and that they are prone to pedophilia. LaBarbera disputes the SPLC’s label.
“Peter LaBarbera is among the most fringe elements of the anti-gay industry in America today,” Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, wrote in an email to TPM. “You’d be hard pressed to find another group that is so singularly focused on telling lies about LGBT Americans.”
It’s unclear if Ron Paul ascribes to some of Heath’s anti-gay beliefs. Paul’s newsletters do contain several quotes smearing gay Americans as well as the AIDS epidemic. Recently, a disenchanted former Paul aide described an instance when Paul refused to use the bathroom of a gay supporter. But whatever Paul’s beliefs, Heath’s work on his campaign is another strike against a candidate with a history of associating with fringe elements of the right.
Neither the Paul campaign nor Mike Heath responded to requests for comment.
from Talking Points Memo
At age 62, Donald Carter knows his arthritis and other age-related infirmities will not allow him to live indefinitely in his third-floor walk-up apartment in Philadelphia.
But as a low-income renter, Carter has limited options. And as a gay black man, he’s concerned his choice of senior living facilities might be narrowed further by the possibility of intolerant residents or staff members.
“The system as it stands is not very accommodating,” Carter said. “I don’t really want to see any kind of negative attitude or lack of service because anyone … is gay or lesbian.”
Many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors fear discrimination, disrespect or worse by health care workers and residents of elder housing facilities, ultimately leading many back into the closet after years of being open, experts say.
That anxiety takes on new significance as the first of the 77 million baby boomers turns 65 this year. At least 1.5 million seniors are gay, a number expected to double by 2030, according to SAGE, the New York-based group Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders.
Recognizing the need, developers in Philadelphia have secured a site and initial funding for what would be one of the nation’s few GLBT-friendly affordable housing facilities. They hope to break ground on a 52-unit, $17 million building for seniors in 2013.
Anti-discrimination laws prohibit gay-only housing, but projects can be made GLBT-friendly through marketing and location. And while private retirement facilities targeted at the gay community exist, such residences are often out of reach for all but the wealthiest seniors.
Census figures released this month indicate about 49 percent of Americans over 65 could be considered poor or low-income.
Gays are also less likely to have biological family to help out with informal caregiving, either through estrangement or being childless, making them more dependent on outside services. And that makes them more vulnerable, SAGE executive director Michael Adams said.
“They cannot at all assume that they will be treated well or given the welcome mat,” he said.
Cities including San Francisco and Chicago also have projects on the drawing board. But the first and, so far, only affordable housing complex for gay elders to be built in the United States is Triangle Square-Hollywood in Los Angeles.
Open since 2007, the $22 million facility has 104 units available to any low-income senior 62 and over, gay or straight, according to executive director Mark Supper. Residents pay monthly rent on a sliding scale, from about $200 to $800, depending on their income. About 35 units are set aside for seniors with HIV/AIDS and for those at risk of becoming homeless, Supper said.
The Triangle’s population is about 90 percent GLBT and it has a waiting list of about 200 people. The project’s developer, Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing, plans to build a second facility in Southern California in the next 18 months, Supper said.
But what took so long for the need to recognized? Chris Bartlett, executive director of the GLBT William Way Center in Philadelphia, noted that advocates spent the better part of two decades devoting their energy to programs for those affected by HIV or AIDS, which were decimating the gay community.
While AIDS remains a priority, Bartlett said, the crisis mentality has passed and allowed the community to focus on other things. He said he looks forward to the Way Center providing social services at the planned Philadelphia senior housing facility, in a sense repaying those who led the gay liberation movement.
“Don’t we owe it to them … to ensure that they have an experience as elders that’s worthy of what they gave to our community?” Bartlett said.
The Philadelphia group has been trying to get its project off the ground for about eight years but has been stymied by location problems, a tough economy and stiff competition for federal housing tax credits.
Rejected once for the credits, developers recently reapplied and hope for a different answer this spring, said Mark Segal, director of the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, which is spearheading the project. It’s planned for a thriving section of the city affectionately known as the Gayborhood.
“I’m extremely optimistic,” said Segal, also publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News.
However, Adams said the real solution lies not only in building more facilities, but in cultural competency training for staffers at existing elder programs. The Philadelphia Corporation on Aging, the private nonprofit that serves the city’s seniors, began offering such seminars to health care workers a couple of years ago, said Tom Shea, the agency’s director of training.
“They’re going to be seeing a diverse slice of the aging population in Philadelphia … and we need to be sensitive to all their needs,” Shea said.
Adams suggested that discrimination faced by today’s GLBT elders could diminish in the decades ahead, since he said opinion research shows that younger generations are less likely to harbor anti-gay biases than older generations.
“So we hope that the passage of time will provide part of the solution,” he said. “But of course, today’s LGBT elders can’t wait for that.”
Jackie Adams, 54, of Philadelphia, said being diagnosed with AIDS many years ago meant she never thought she’d live long enough to need elder housing. But now Adams, who was born male and lives as a female, is part of a local initiative focused on GLBT senior issues.
On a limited income after losing her job as an outreach worker for those with HIV, Adams said affordable, GLBT-friendly senior housing is badly needed. She is not related to Michael Adams.
“I would be incomplete if I had to go from wearing stockings and dresses to (work boots) and jeans,” Adams said. “I would like to be able to live in a community where I could fully be me.”
from The Associated Press
CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – More than 100 people attended an interfaith vigil on Thursday night at Claremont United Methodist Church to show support for the lesbian, gay and transgender community.
The vigil, which featured attendees singing along to songs like “We Shall Overcome” and a candle lighting, was in response to vandalism to a contemporary Nativity display celebrating lesbian, gay and heterosexual couples.
Claremont police officers have called the incident from this past weekend a hate crime.
“We wanted to have an opportunity in response to the vandals,” said the Rev. Sharon Rhodes-Wickett, who was among the speakers at the vigil along with the Rev. Dan Lewis.
Rhodes-Wickett said she was “sorry people have to express themselves in destructive ways.”
She said the church has received positive and negative responses since the incident.
“It’s a very emotional issue for people,” Rhodes-Wickett said. But “scripture says we’re created in God’s image … sexuality is good.”
The damage at the church took place between 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday on the southern part of the church lawn near Foothill Boulevard.
Three wooden displays showed images of couples – a man and woman as well as two men and two women – each holding hands.
The two displays of the same-sex couples were knocked, but the box illustrating the straight couple was left alone.
Kelsey Eiland, 17, who attends Claremont High School, said she attended the vigil to show support for “sexual equality and gay marriage.”
“Initially, I was upset but not surprised,” Eiland said.
Former Mayor Ellen Taylor said the incident made her “quite concerned. It’s a hateful incident.”
Taylor said the church was “very, very brave” for addressing the incident and the vigil made her hopeful.
Church member Pete Serrano, 65, of Montclair said he and his partner had attended the church for 12 years.
“Me and my partner attend the church and we feel welcome here. It was very disturbing,” Serrano said.
Police officers labeled the incident a hate crime because the display was on church property and the wooden box was knocked over.
Artist John Zachary said his artwork suffered at least $3,000 worth of damage and added the exhibit’s three panels weighed 600 pounds each.
from The Daily Bulletin
UNITED KINGDOM – Robbie Williams has given his sauciest interview yet – joking he wanted to romp with Carol Vorderman and Lulu.
The Take That singer answered questions on sex, swearing, his new album and his most embarrassing moments in a two-hour webchat with close pals and wife Ayda Field.
Robbie said: “I’ve got a controversial question. How much would it cost for you to sleep with a man? It’s got to be your minimum if a man comes to you and says name your figure.”
While his friends mentioned figures of around £5million, Robbie butted in saying: “I’ve thought, I’m coming in, £2million.”
When his wife Ayda suggested he had “undercut the competition” he added: “You never know what could come of this, babe you could be having a new car in the New Year.
“You never know, let’s keep our fingers crossed. I’m the cheapest.”
And he then went one step further by saying he would have gay sex for free if Hollywood star Brad Pitt asked to join him in bed.
“Brad can negotiate. It’s £2m for Santa, but it’s a freebie for Brad Pitt.” He then joked: “How much would I have to pay him?”
He also revealed he wanted to sleep with TV host Carol Vorderman as well as singer Lulu if he was given the chance when she duetted with
Take That in 1993.
37-year-old Robbie said his first crush was TV’s Wonder Woman, played by Lynda Carter, when he was three-years-old.
As the conversation turned to older women, he said: “Is there anyone in the room who wouldn’t sleep with Carol Vorderman? The whole room would sleep with Carol Vorderman.”
Rob then added: “Did Jason Orange go out with Lulu? I don’t think they did, but he is a secret squirrel Jay. If it came to pass and it went my way, I would have gone that way. I definitely would.”
Speaking on his Radio Rudebox online show, Robbie insisted he would be on the ‘Christmas naughty list’ for swearing in the Summer at Take That concerts, a move that even saw him told off by Gary Barlow’s mum.
Robbie said his most embarrassing moment was when he tried to force a group of his fans to stand up during a solo gig in 2001 at Lancashire’s Old Trafford Cricket ground.
“I said ‘last night a man told my dear mum to sit down. That is not going to happen tonight. If you all want to sit down go to a Sting concert, this is a Robbie Williams concert, stand up’.”
One small section of the crowd did not stand and Robbie then made the 47,000 fans point at them and boo. Recalling the night he added: “I thought I was doing an ace piece of banter and I turned to the stage and I look at my manager and my mate Johnny Wilkes and they are doing
“I was castrating the handicapped section for not standing up.”
Looking ahead on a more positive note, Robbie has a good feeling about 2012 and vowed to bounce back and become “the best in the world right
now” as he brings out an eagerly-awaited new solo album.
But he also said he had been gorging on Terry’s Chocolate Oranges over Christmas but would hit the gym before going on tour.
He said: “My resolutions, I want to be a better husband. I want to be a better guy and I want to be as happy as I can be. I also wanna get really fit next year, I have got an album coming out and I want to look the best pop star I can look at that time.
“So there will be OCD running up hills I think. I am going to ask for happiness, that is all you need.”
Robbie said his new album had been written “with a live show in mind” and that he also hoped to bring out a Christmas album in the next few years, as well as sing swing songs on stage with Michael Buble, who he rates highly as a performer.
He added: “It’s very important for me to feel like I am competing, more so than ever. I haven’t wanted to go out there and be the best in the world since Intensive Care (2005 album), now I do.
“I am looking forward to going out on tour, doing promo and kicking a**e.
“Someone has to be the best in the world right now and I want to aim for that, and if I don’t make it I want to be somewhere near it.
“This year will be the best year of my life so far, everything is double double cool.”
His wife Ayda caused cheers among Robbie’s friends by saying her New Year’s resolutions were “to be the best wife and to hopefully start a beautiful family.”
from The Mirror
Here’s a little bit of fun Internet fury for a slow news day. A feud is brewing between gay news blogger Andy Towle and Christian cartoonist Joe King over a 2012 wall calendar of King’s gay-themed cartoons entitled “I’m Not Gay, I’m Just A Sissy.” The calendar’s cover features a big cover, a drawing of King done up like a “sissy,” and promises “12 Months of Sexual Confusion: (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!).” 19-year-old Seinfeld references aside, after Towle brought attention to the product on his popular blog Towleroad, readers noticed that one of the months featured the caption “WE ALL HAVE AIDS!” and began petitioning sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble to stop selling it. King got furious and began angrily writing on his Facebook wall and…well, you can guess where a story like this is going.
You see, King actually could have had a good defense. He explained on Facebook that the calendar was a collection of old cartoons that had been published elsewhere, some even in gay publications. And the AIDS cartoon was apparently referencing the marketing motto of the paper it was printed in (I’m not sure how that makes sense but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt). King could have just said these things and left it at that and, despite the rather offensive calendar title, things might have been fine.
However, King decided to keep on talking.
“Hoo-we! Hell hath no fury like a he/she scorned… The telephone tree of tantrums is lit up like a Las Vegas marquee for ‘Boy-Lesque’ today with hate mail, threats of boycott and even the risk of Jesus spitting on me for my ‘Sissy’ calendar. I SAID I WAS A SISSY UP FRONT. Ironic who the real bullies are isn’t it? Let’s see if I get a call from Oprah’s people or even Anderson Cooper…”
“The ‘truth’ is that AIDS is an ‘elective’ disease. It STOPS the day guys quit sticking it to each other. And for the tragedy of women and children infected…
THAT stops the day their gay husbands and fathers stop cheating on them. Anyone need MORE education, science or funding to understand THAT?”
The whole thing feels like the Ocean Marketing controversy that tore up the Internet yesterday. And, just like the angry gentlemen from that story, as things got worse, King claimed that Towle was actually giving him “the best promotion all year!”
Yeah, probably not. The calendar already appears to be gone from Barnes & Noble.
Sigh. Anyone who’s been reading Mediaite for a while knows that I will almost always side with satirists over those they offend. However, once you start calling gays “he/she’s,” you start losing your argument pretty damn quickly.
CHICAGO – Setting off a new round in his dispute with gay right activists, Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George has issued a statement defending his recent comparison of the gay rights movement to the Ku Klux Klan.
George’s initial comments came in connection with a controversy over whether next summer’s gay pride parade would interrupt morning services at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the Lakeview neighborhood.
That dispute was resolved last week, but the cardinal’s KKK comparison – and his new explanation of those comments – have kept the controversy boiling.
“Organizers (of the pride parade) invited an obvious comparison to other groups who have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church,” the cardinal said in a statement issued Tuesday. “One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan which, well into the 1940s, paraded through American cities not only to interfere with Catholic worship but also to demonstrate that Catholics stand outside of the American consensus. It is not a precedent anyone should want to emulate.”
Gay rights advocates said today that George was expressing “bigotry” and should apologize and resign.
In October, the route and time of the pride parade were changed to accommodate larger crowds. The start was changed from noon to 10 a.m., and the new route went past Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Church officials later objected, arguing that it would interrupt morning services. Last Wednesday, an agreement was reached to move the start time back to noon.
Meanwhile, George was interviewed by Fox News Chicago. He said: “You know, you don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism. So I think if that’s what’s happening, and I don’t know that it is, but I would respect the local pastor’s, you know, position on that.”
When excerpts from the interview were disclosed last week, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese said people should view the entire interview, which aired on Fox on Christmas Day.
Gay rights groups on Wednesday said George needs to apologize – among them the Rainbow Sash Movement, an organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics, which also called for George’s resignation.
“Cardinal Francis George’s recent statement comparing the gay community to the KKK is just another example of bigotry sidestepping what it means to be pro-life,” the group said in a statement. “The cardinal promotes his brand of bigotry based on a case of selective Biblical literalism.”
While the cardinal defended his Klan comparison, he also wrote Tuesday: “It is terribly wrong and sinful that gays and lesbians have been harassed and subjected to psychological and even physical harm.”
Joe Murray, executive director for the Rainbow Sash Movement, said George’s new statement is an attempt to have it both ways.
“It’s schizoid,” Murray said. “You can’t say on one hand that you love people and on the other hand condemn them for who they are.”
In an email, the archdiocese declined any further comment on George’s new statement.
from The Chicago Tribune
Church leaders Object To New Route Of Gay Pride Parade
Pariah, which generated a lot of buzz at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and opens in select U.S. theaters Wednesday, is a coming-of-age film about falling in love and embracing one’s identity. The movie follows a 17-year-old black lesbian named Alike (pronounced “uh-LEE-kay”) as she navigates her complex relationships at school and at home.
Director Dee Rees tells Tell Me More host Michel Martin that the film is semi-autobiographical.
“Alike knows that she loves women; that’s not the question. The question is ‘how to be,’” she says. “And so, in my own struggle, a large part of my question was how to be in the world.”
Rees wrote the first draft of the feature script in the summer of 2005, around the time she was coming out herself.
She says she found the star of the film, Adepero Oduye, on the first day of auditions.
“She had on her little brother’s clothes, and she was just already in the zone.” (Alike experiments with dress as she tries to discover how to be.)
But Oduye was not vying for the lead role — she just wanted to be an extra — so the offer to play Alike came as a surprise and a thrill.
“I remember being very excited,” Oduye says. “When I read the script, I immediately related to that idea of not feeling free, just kind of feeling kind of held back by your circumstances, conditioning, all of that stuff.”
Oduye says that playing Alike required her to be vulnerable and open.
“As you kind of grow up in life, as an adult, you learn to kind of cover all that up. So as an actor, it’s a pretty exhausting task to constantly do that,” she says. “It was a very nurturing environment Dee set up, so I was able to continually go to certain places that are just superuncomfortable and superpainful.”
Rees adds, “When we first meet Alike, we’re kind of thrust into this world — this kind of hypersexualized environment [the club]. We see this woman who’s kind of a chameleon, she’s painted by the light around her. And then we see her in the next scene on a bus, transforming into something else that she’s not.”
Alike’s parents each react differently when they learn that she is a lesbian. The couple is also struggling with their own marriage and personal happiness. Rees explains that Alike’s father, Arthur, played by Charles Parnell, wanted to be a doctor but ended up being a police officer. Alike’s mother, Audrey, played by Kim Wayans, is unable to achieve the picture-perfect family for which she strove so hard.
Pariah is making its theatrical debut following a rash of suicides by gay teens who did not feel accepted.
“The timing has worked out,” Rees says, “because there is this awareness about bullying and some of the other things that are going on.”
NEW YORK – A Planned Parenthood program in New York that employs teenagers required them to attend a homosexual pride parade as a condition of employment, causing some to question the organization’s use of taxpayer dollars.
The Planned Parenthood program, Seriously Talking About Responsible Sex (STARS) employs teenagers as “peer educators.” According to the organization’s website, teens participating in the program “go on camping trip and college tours, attend plays and movies and participate in statewide conferences. They do interviews with the media and speak to many kinds of audiences.” The students also learn about sexual health and responsibility “while having lots of fun.”
The program, which is funded by a grant from the state of New York, is open to students enrolled in High School as full-time students or an equivalent position. The Peer Education program is a paid internship that pays a bi-weekly stipend of $75.
Last year’s application stated that as part of the interview process, selected candidates would be required to attend the Capital Pride “gay” parade in Albany, New York.
Duane Motley, with New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, told the Gazette that the idea of taxpayer dollars being used to send teenagers to attend a “gay” rights parade which features men and women in little to no clothing in sexually suggestive and vulgar poses is outrageous.
Motley said, “These groups support each other’s agendas even though they do not have anything in common with each other. You can go to a “gay” parade and see pro-abortion signs and vice versa. They are networking together to make each other more powerful than they would be separately.”
Motley also questioned the basic premise of the program, saying teenagers did not have enough experience to be experts on sex-education. “These teenagers haven’t had enough experiences in life to really be any kind of experts on anything really, let alone about talking about sex education and that sort of thing.” He went on to say they are intending to bring the issue before the legislature in an attempt to pull Planned Parenthood’s funding.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of abortions. The organization was founded by eugenicist, Margaret Sanger, whose goal was to exterminate the black race. Rather than repudiate Sanger, the organization has named its highest honor, the Margaret Sanger award, after their founder.
Blue Carreker, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood in Albany, defended the requirement for students to attend the parade.
“One of our requirements is for our peer educators to be able to reach out and work with at-risk communities, which includes the lesbian, gay and transgender communities.”
Carreker said Planned Parenthood had an information table at the event and the purpose for attending the parade was so the educators could be observed in a setting where they were providing information to the LGBT population. “One of the conditions for our state grant is to educate and reach out to that population. That’s one of the largest opportunities of the year to reach that population.”
Some of the other requirements include, but are not limited to, attending World AIDS Day activities, lobbying and other advocacy activities.
Motley noted that the teenagers were enlisted to make phone calls promoting New York’s homosexual “marriage” bill that was signed into law this year.
from The Greeley Gazette
He carpet-bombed Cambodia, spewed out anti-Semitic slurs and crude misogynistic jokes in the White House and smeared his political opponents with ruthless ‘dirty tricks’ campaigns.
And, of course, he lied to his country about his involvement in the Watergate scandal and went down in history as America’s shiftiest, darkest President.
Given everything that Richard Nixon has been accused of, it’s difficult to believe there could be any more skeletons left in his cupboard. But it seems there are.
A new biography by Don Fulsom, a veteran Washington reporter who covered the Nixon years, suggests the 37th U.S. President had a serious drink problem, beat his wife and — by the time he was inaugurated in 1969 — had links going back two decades to the Mafia, including with New Orleans godfather Carlos Marcello, then America’s most powerful mobster.
Yet the most extraordinary claim is that the homophobic Nixon may have been gay himself. If true, it would provide a fascinating insight into the motivation and behaviour of a notoriously secretive politician.
Fulsom argues that Nixon may have had an affair with his best friend and confidant, a Mafia?connected Florida wheeler-dealer named Charles ‘Bebe’ Rebozo who was even more crooked than Nixon.
The book, Nixon’s Darkest Secrets, is out next month — by coincidence at the same time as the UK release of a new film directed by Clint Eastwood about another supposed closet gay among Washington’s 20th-century hard men.
But while FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover, played in Eastwood’s film by Leonardo DiCaprio, allegedly had an affair with his squeaky-clean deputy Clyde Tolson, Nixon’s supposed secret paramour was a very different character.
Bebe Rebozo was a short, swarthy, good-looking Cuban-American businessman with a history of failed relationships with women and close alliances with Miami’s Mafia chiefs.
The veteran TV newsman Dan Rather recalled how Rebozo ‘transmitted the sense of great sensuality’, paying tribute to his ‘magnetic’ personality and ‘beautiful eyes’.
Fulsom uses recently revealed documents and eyewitness interviews — including with FBI agents — to shed new light on long-standing suspicions among White House insiders that Nixon may have been more than just good buddies with Rebozo.
He claims Nixon’s relationship with Pat, his wife of 53 years, was little more than a sham. A heavy drinker whom his own staff dubbed ‘Our Drunk’, Nixon used to call his First Lady a ‘f***ing bitch’ and beat her before, during and after his presidency, says Fulsom.
The pair had separate bedrooms at the White House — and in Key Biscayne, the exclusive resort near Miami where Nixon holidayed, Mrs Nixon didn’t even sleep in the same building. Rebozo, however, was in the house next door.
Fulsom claims one of Nixon’s former military aides had a secret job ‘to teach the President how to kiss his wife’ so they would look like a convincing couple.
How much of this can we believe? Nixon died in 1994 and his reputation is pretty much irredeemable. As with Eastwood’s Hoover film, there is no definitive proof, but plenty of ‘supporting evidence’.
Fulsom quotes a former Time magazine reporter who, at a Washington dinner, bent down to pick up a fork and saw the two holding hands under the table. It was, the reporter judged, sufficiently intimate to suggest ‘repressed homosexuality’.
Another journalist related how, loosened up by drink, Nixon once put his arm around Rebozo ‘the way you’d cuddle your senior prom date. Something was fishy there’.
But who exactly was Bebe Rebozo, and how did a shady Florida businessman of unclear sexual leanings end up as the bosom friend of one of the most paranoid and buttoned-up political leaders of the 20th century?
Born two months before Nixon in 1912, Charles Gregory Rebozo was the son of a Cuban cigar-maker and, as the youngest of nine, was stuck with the nickname ‘Bebe’.
He came from poverty but worked his way up through property speculation and then banking. According to the FBI, he had close links with Mob bosses such as Santo Trafficante, the Tampa Godfather, and Alfred ‘Big Al’ Polizzi, a stooge of Meyer Lansky, the Cosa Nostra’s financial brains.
By the 1960s, an FBI agent was describing Rebozo as a ‘non- member associate of organised crime figures’. He bought land in Florida with a business partner who was believed to be a front for some of the most powerful Mafiosi.
When Rebozo started his own bank in Florida in 1964, Nixon — then a lawyer — wielded a golden shovel at the ground-breaking ceremony and became its first depositor.
According to Mafioso Vincent Teresa, the bank was used by the Mob to launder stolen cash. It hardly seems possible that Nixon, who pledged to make fighting organised crime a priority of his presidency, could not have known of his best friend’s Mafia links.
Nixon had just won one of California’s U.S. Senate seats when he first met Rebozo in 1950. Fearing Nixon was facing a nervous breakdown, fellow Senator George Smathers suggested a holiday in Florida and enlisted his old school friend Rebozo to show the socially awkward Nixon a good time.
Their first jaunt together — in Rebozo’s 33ft fishing boat — did not go well. Rebozo later complained that Nixon just sat reading papers and, according to his host, barely said half a dozen words to him.
Smathers said Rebozo later told him: ‘Don’t ever send that son of a bitch Nixon down here again. He’s a guy who doesn’t know how to talk, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t chase women…?he can’t even fish.’
But Rebozo persevered — and according to a cynical Smathers, Nixon’s rising stardom in Washington and the potential influence it offered ‘had a lot to do with it’.
In months, the pair were inseparable, holidaying with Nixon’s wife Pat — and without her. Rebozo became an ‘uncle figure’ to the Nixons’ two daughters, Tricia and Julie. The dapper Cuban-American chose Nixon’s clothes and even selected the films he watched at the White House.
On Nixon’s solo visits to Key Biscayne, they swam and sunbathed, indulging in their shared passions for discussing Broadway musicals and barbecuing steaks.
Both men were also extremely secretive, and their relationship — described as the ‘most important unsolved mystery in Nixon’s life’ — was kept so discreet that the New York Times did not mention it for nearly 20 years.
Observers noticed their intimacy became most apparent when they were drunk. An aide recalled them playing a game called King of the Pool at Key Biscayne: ‘It was late at night, the two men had been drinking. Nixon mounted a rubber raft in the pool while Rebozo tried to turn it over. Then, laughing and shouting, they’d change places.’
They were seen together at the same British-themed hostelries in the Key: the English Pub, where they drank beer from tankards engraved with their names, and the Jamaica Inn, where they ate at a discreet booth.
Both spots were owned by another businessman with Mob links and the secret service asked Nixon to find another place to eat.
Why the President’s minders didn’t raise alarms about Rebozo’s Mafia connections has puzzled experts, but they probably didn’t dare. When a New York newspaper investigated Rebozo’s Mob links in the 1970s, its staff suddenly found themselves under secret service surveillance.
A White House aide once dismissed Rebozo’s role as ‘the guy who mixed the Martinis’, but he was far more important than that.
When Nixon became President, Rebozo got his own office and bedroom at the White House, and a security clearance that allowed him to go in and out without being logged by the secret service. Using a false name, says Fulsom, Rebozo even got into Nixon’s hotel suite during a trip to Europe.
The President’s closest colleagues complained at the way Rebozo monopolised Nixon’s time. General Alexander Haig, his last chief of staff, is said to have imitated Rebozo’s ‘limp wrist’ manner and joked that Rebozo and Nixon were lovers.
According to Fulsom, Henry Kissinger resented the way Rebozo would fly on Air Force One, the Presidential plane, wearing a blue U.S. Navy flight jacket bearing the President’s seal and with his name stitched on it.
Away from Nixon’s side, Rebozo surrounded himself with glamorous women and threw Miami parties that descended into orgies, but was it all a front?
Aged 18, Rebozo reportedly enjoyed an ‘intense’ affair with a young man, Donald Gunn. He later wed Gunn’s teenage sister. The marriage lasted four years and, according to his wife, was never consummated.
Rebozo didn’t marry again until middle age, when he entered what Newsweek magazine described as an ‘antiseptic’ alliance with his lawyer’s secretary. ‘Bebe’s favourites are Richard Nixon, his cat — and then me,’ the lady complained later. A fellow Miami resident told Nixon biographer Anthony Summers that Rebozo was definitely part of the city’s gay community.
Summers and co-writer Robbyn Swan, however, question whether there is enough evidence to suggest Nixon was gay. ‘They held hands on occasion, and both men had problems with consummating physical relationships with women, but we found no evidence that Nixon was actively homosexual,’ Summers told me this week.
Physical or not, Nixon’s attraction to Rebozo has struck many as politically reckless. Nixon expert Professor Fawn Brodie couldn’t understand how he would be ‘willing to risk the kind of gossip that frequently accompanies close friendship with a perennial bachelor’. After all, she added, Nixon was, in public, a virulent gay-hater.
When Walter Jenkins, a trusted aide to President Lyndon Johnson, was caught providing sexual favours to a retired sailor in a YMCA lavatory, Nixon denounced him as ‘ill’. People who suffered this ‘illness’, he added, ‘cannot be in places of high trust’.
Rebozo was certainly in a position of ‘high trust’, and not only because he was a key fundraiser. He was with Nixon when he announced his successful run for President and again in June 1972 when Nixon learned that five men hired by the White House to break into the Watergate building had been arrested.
‘We were swimming at Key Biscayne in front of my house,’ Rebozo recalled. ‘They came out and told him. He said: “What in God’s name were they doing there?” We laughed and forgot about it.’
Rebozo also ended up being investigated by the Watergate committee, which found that a £64,000 cash contribution from the industrialist Howard Hughes that was meant for the Republican Party was actually in Rebozo’s safe deposit box.
It also emerged that both Nixon and Rebozo’s personal wealth had soared during Nixon’s first five years in the White House, Rebozo’s rising nearly seven-fold from £432,000 to nearly £3million.
Rebozo escaped prosecution — allegedly because of a White House deal — and he stood by his disgraced friend. He was at Nixon’s bedside during his final days.
When Rebozo died in 1998, he left more than £12million to the Nixon memorial library, whose executive director eulogised him as a ‘consummate gentleman’ on whose ‘wise counsel, shrewd political insight and ready wit’ Nixon relied.
Typically, Nixon had been rather less charitable — he always described Rebozo as just a ‘golfing partner’.
from The Daily Mail
KINGSTON, JAMAICA – The leader of Jamaica’s sole gay rights group said Tuesday that some ruling-party candidates have aggressively played to anti-gay constituents by resorting to homophobic rhetoric in the final days of the campaign for this week’s national elections.
Dane Lewis, executive director of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, said Jamaica Labor Party candidates have “unfortunately descended into pulling the sexuality card” in advance of Thursday’s tight vote.
“It’s been disappointing that they’ve chosen this road yet again because it seems to historically be their stance during campaigning,” said Lewis, adding that his group is not endorsing any political party.
Politicians have routinely railed against homosexuals in Jamaica, where a colonial-era sodomy law bans sex between men and many people in the highly Christian nation perceive homosexuality as a sin.
ut during a debate last week with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, opposition chief Portia Simpson Miller called for a review of the law. She argued that professional competence, not sexual orientation, will determine who is selected for a Cabinet post if her People’s National Party wins.
Since then, some top Labor candidates have made homophobic comments at political rallies, among them Cabinet minister Daryl Vaz, who said “God created Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve,” prompting applause and anti-gay slurs from his West Portland constituents.
Labor’s candidate for West Central St. James, Energy Minister Clive Mullings, asserted that easing up on laws against homosexuality would bring God’s wrath down on Jamaica, while West Kingston candidate, Kingston Mayor Desmond McKenzie, used an epithet at a rally while an anti-gay dancehall song played.
In a Sunday editorial, the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper called the recent developments “not only sad, but dangerous.”
“Some might add cynical and vulgar.”
On Tuesday, the opposition People’s National Party stressed that Simpson Miller’s comments were being distorted by Labor partisans. They said the party is committed to a review of the anti-sodomy law, not its repeal.
Peter Phillips, campaign director for the People’s National Party, rejected allegations by Vaz that the opposition had received funding from any international gay rights groups, asserting that Simpson Miller’s party in no way supported “any gay agenda.”
It is not yet clear if either side’s recent comments about homosexuality and the sodomy law will hurt their chances in Thursday’s election for the island’s 63 seats in Parliament. Recent polls have shown the two main parties in a statistical dead heat.
Despite the easygoing image propagated by the island’s tourist boards, Jamaica is by far the most hostile island toward homosexuals in the already conservative Caribbean, gays and their advocates contend.
Many Jamaicans insist hostility toward gays is blown out of proportion by gay activists. Some say Jamaica tolerates homosexuality as long as it is not openly displayed.
from The Associated Press
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – Watching her father care for her dying mother was a sobering experience for St. Luke’s nurse Carol Stevens.
Stevens, 56, of North Whitehall Township, realized if her wife, Beth Goudy, became ill she would be ineligible for family, medical or bereavement leave because her employer of 14 years does not recognize Goudy as her spouse.
The couple wed in a religious ceremony May 6, 2007, in Pennsylvania and then legally married in Iowa in Goudy’s hometown Sept. 28, 2009. But their marriage is not recognized by Pennsylvania.
Stevens was heartened when she learned the St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network nondiscrimination policy had been updated to say it does not exclude, deny benefits to or otherwise discriminate against protected classes, including those grouped by “sexual preference, gender identity and expression.”
She thought it meant the network had changed its stance and was going to begin extending benefits like nearby Lehigh Valley Health Network does. Stevens added Goudy to her plan during open enrollment.
“I was excited,” she recalled.
On Dec. 5, her request was denied. It is frustrating to be legally married in one state but not be recognized in another, Stevens said.
“This illustrates the difficult patchwork of LGTB rights in the country,” said Adrian Shanker, president of the nonprofit group Equality Pennsylvania. “You can go five minutes across the border (into New Jersey) and your relationship is now recognized by the state. You step back into Easton, you have no relationship rights.”
While the denial is within St. Luke’s legal rights, it’s leaving lesbian-gay-transgender-bisexual advocates questioning why.
“St. Luke’s created an obscure loophole to expressly deny gay employees these benefits,” said Liz Bradbury, executive director of the Pennsylvania Diversity Network in Allentown. “What’s not clear is why? Why tell the world you don’t discriminate in benefits, and then deny them?”
The policy’s language change almost mirrors a switch LVHN made just before it extended same-sex benefits in 2009, Bradbury said
St. Luke’s defended its policy and said it has no plans to extend coverage to domestic partners, although all benefit offerings are reviewed each year.
St. Luke’s offers health insurance coverage to full-time and eligible part-time employees and eligible dependents, said Gloria Cuadrado, St. Luke’s assistant vice president of human resources, in a statement. Eligible dependents are a spouse — as recognized by state law — and children until age 26.
Pennsylvania marriage law does not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions that take place in other states, she said.
“Coverage is not offered to domestic partners — same sex or opposite sex …,” Cuadrado said. “Even under the most protective law which covers sexual-orientation discrimination — the City of Allentown Human Relations Ordinance — our current policy and approach to benefits is lawful and nondiscriminatory.”
Stevens is hopeful St. Luke’s reconsiders it stance because the company has been such a great employer with a history of providing excellent health care.
“I am proud to be an employee there for the most part …,” Stevens said. “St. Luke’s has such a great reputation for being proactive I would expect that they would continue to want to do the right thing for their employees.”
Same-sex spouses are paying as much as $6,000 a year in extra taxes because the federal government doesn’t recognize gay marriage, according to an analysis conducted for CNNMoney by tax specialists.
While marriage provides tax benefits for many heterosexual couples, same-sex families don’t enjoy the same perks because they are not allowed to file their federal returns jointly.
The imbalance persists despite increasing acceptance of gay marriage as a legal right. More than 12 states now grant full or partial marriage rights to same-sex couples, and a recent Gallup poll showed — for the first time — that a majority of Americans favor gay marriage.
But not the federal government, which is constrained by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Even as more same-sex couples are able to file jointly at the state level, they are still forced to file as single when submitting federal returns to the IRS.
This means they can’t combine their income and deductions to take advantage of lower tax rates. It’s also harder for them to qualify for certain tax breaks because the credits phase out sooner for single filers.
“It’s costing these families thousands of dollars a year, as well as the emotional pain and suffering,” said Ken Weissenberg, a partner at accounting firm EisnerAmper who is in a same-sex marriage himself.
Why gay couples pay more: To zero in on the tax bill gap between same-sex families across the country, CNNMoney asked H&R Block to crunch number comparing same-sex and heterosexual families according to a variety of scenarios.
One scenario involved families with one spouse earning $100,000 and the other spouse staying at home with the family’s two kids.
In the same-sex family’s case, the working spouse files as “head of household,” and the stay-at-home spouse is considered a “qualifying relative.”
Say that couple reported no other income or deductions. In that case, the same-sex household’s federal tax bill is $15,199, which includes tax the head of household must pay on health insurance premiums to cover the stay-at-home spouse. That’s $4,543 higher than the straight couple’s liability.
Why? Because the “head of household” designation comes with some disadvantages.
Filing as “head of household” instead of “married filing jointly” exposes more income to a higher tax bracket. Plus, standard deductions, which are given based on the filing status to taxpayers who don’t itemize deductions, are lower for a head of household than they are for married couples filing jointly.
And then there are the kids. When a child tax credit is claimed, the gap between same-sex households and married couples can grow even wider.
The heterosexual couple in H&R Block’s example is able to claim the full $1,000 child tax credit for each kid. But the credit phases out sooner for families claiming “head of household.” So in this case, the cost of being unable to file jointly comes out to $6,043 for same-sex households.
The one exception where same-sex spouses can actually come out ahead is the so-called marriage penalty. For some same-sex spouses in the higher tax brackets who work and have no children, filing tax returns using the “single” status makes the liability a little lower than that of heterosexual married couples. Still, “single” status is typically less advantageous than “married filing jointly.”
Other factors driving up the bill: It’s not just income taxes that are costing same-sex couples more.
Many same-sex spouses don’t qualify for the same marital exemptions given to other families for inheritance taxes and gift taxes. In addition, same-sex households receive lower tax exclusions for capital gains on the sales of a home (unless the home is jointly owned and each spouse qualifies for the exclusion).
All of this is not only costing same-sex couples more, but it’s a paperwork and compliance nightmare.
Same-sex families who live in states where gay marriage is recognized typically have to fill out up to four separate returns — including mock federal returns — to cover both their state and federal taxes. Plus, hiring a tax preparer to take on these more complicated returns tends to be significantly more expensive.
“But it shouldn’t stop anyone from getting married,” said Weissenberg, who says he pays an extra $5,000 in taxes per year simply because he is in a same-sex marriage. “If I had to pay twice as much in taxes to be married to my husband, I would.”