The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) held it’s annual Philadelphia Region Gala Dinner on Saturday. Philly native and HRC Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs Tom O’Donnell served as the speaker for the evening, welcoming Philly State Rep. Brian Sims as special guest. Other notable honorees and performers that evening included 30 Rock star Maulik Pancholy, who received the 2014 Visibility Award, out country singer Steve Grand, and ’90s pop diva Crystal Waters. The evening began with a cocktail party, and an impressive silent auction featuring everything from dinner at a Stephen Star restaurant to signed footballs and trips abroad. Then guests enjoyed dinner and the program in Millennium Hall, followed by an after-party at Voyeur.
PA Senator Pat Toomey “Hasn’t Given Any Thought” to Whether Hotels Should Be Able to Kick Out Gay People
Last year, PA Republican Senator Pat Toomey stood on the right side of history when he joined nine other GOP lawmakers in voting “yes” on ENDA, a bill that bans discrimination toward gays in the workplace. But for some reason he can’t make up his mind if LGBT discrimination is okay in other places. Check this out, from Salon:
Asked Thursday morning whether it should be legal for a hotel to turn away a couple because they’re gay, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey told Salon, “I haven’t given that any thought.” Salon’s question was one of several asked by reporters as Toomey walked to his car following an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference. As Salon and other outlets attempted to ask follow-up questions, Toomey told the crowd, “Have a nice day. Take care.”
Come on, Mr. Toomey, the right side [of history] is the best side.
On March 30th, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) will honor six local LGBTers and allies at its eighth annual HEROES event. The affair was created by DVLF to pay tribute to “youth, adults, non-profits, straight-allies & businesses who have bold ideas, act with selfless intention, are admired for their integrity, and are regarded as courageous in advancing the equality of the [region's] LGBTQ community.”
Those being awarded are mega gay rights advocate Mel Heifetz (Lifetime Achievement), Philly State Representative Brian Sims (Community HERO), pro-marriage fighting MontCo Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes (Straight Ally HERO), Donald Jackson (Youth HERO), the City of Brotherly Love Softball League (Non-Profit Organization HERO), and Philly iconic gay bookstore Giovanni’s Room (Business/Corporation HERO).
The awards will be handed out at a brunch on May 30th in the Lafayette Ballroom of the Hotel Monaco. For more information and tickets go to dvlf.org.
I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for all the best new gay movies on Netflix streaming, and I’ve come up with a pretty good list. Notables? Capote, starring the recently deceased Phillip Seymour Hoffman; Looking‘s Jonathan Groff stars in C.O.G., a film based on a short story by gay humorist David Sedaris; and the critically acclaimed Blue is the Warmest Color. Check out the full list below, with trailers, links to streaming pages, and descriptions.
Equality Forum 2014 launched this week, unveiling what activities to expect during this year’s week of events (May 1st to May 4th), and who’s being honored at the ritzy International Equality Dinner on May 3rd. Here’s the deal:
Panels: Equality Forum 2014 will include a National Politics Panel, National Religious Colloquy, International Workplace Panel, National Legal Panel, and Featured Nation Panel, which is TBD.
Featured Nation: Canada gets the prize for featured nation this year, honoring the country’s 10th year of marriage equality. ”It is an opportunity to learn from same-sex marriage experience of our nation’s closest ally,” says Equality Forum Executive Director Malcolm Lazin.
Honorees: This years honorees includes PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane will receive the Distinguished Equality Award for her refusal to defend Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage; the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Burke family will receive the International Role Model Award for instituting the You Can Play Project, an initiative to make the NHL more inclusive for LGBT players; and TD Bank gets the International Business Leadership Award. Awards will be given out at the International Equality Dinner on May 4th at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Get tickets here.
SundayOUT: returns to the Piazza on May 4th.
The Equality Forum takes place May 1st to May 4th. More information here.
A lot has been made of bills in Kansas and Arizona that would give Christian business owners and employees the right to refuse service to customers based on their religious feelings about gay marriage. Via Keystone Politics, though, blogger Tim Stuhldreher suggests that Pennsylvania may already have such a law on the books.
While we all wait on bated breath to see if Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will veto that terrible bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people, there’s something similar brewing in Pennsylvania that we should keep our eyes on.
Lancaster County Representative Gordon Denlinger has proposed the Freedom of Conscience Amendment, which, according to Philly.com, says “employers, store owners, realtors, motel managers, etc., could deny jobs, groceries, homes or rooms to anyone (tall, short, pregnant, Catholic, Jewish, gay, Goth, Democrat, newspaper columnist) offending their beliefs. Just as long as those beliefs are ‘sincerely held.’”
To stop this proposal from gaining ground, MoveOn.org has started a petition that will be delivered to Rep. Denlinger and The Pennsylvania State House. At post time, there were 3,415 signatures, and 4,000 are needed before it can be sent. Click here to add your name. A move like this would be devastating, a terrible backtrack on our route to equality. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen.