Archive for New England

Buehrens on Equality Outlook Podcast

Long-term marriage equality warrior Rev. John Buehrens does not see smooth seas for that struggle, but to torture the nautical image, he is sure the ship will arrive…and sooner that many think. He’s served nine years on the board of Freedom to Marry and joined us today.

Listen in as he talks about the five states in play this year, with legislative votes or referenda in the works. Two are defensive actions.

He speaks of the trends favoring per-state and nationwide equality. That will of course include removing the Defense of Marriage Act. He also foresees the 14th Amendment (equal protection) coming into play as more courts base decisions using it.

He paints a picture of 10 states with equal marriage and 10 more with all-but-marriage legalization. He figures that will be the tipping point. Coupled with the slight and growing national support for equality, he sees that math as undeniable.

He discusses the big parties as well. He would be very surprised if the Dems did not include an equality plank in this year’s platform, even it it phrased in mild terms. For the Republicans, despite the current POTUS candidate rhetoric, he finds many GOP pols and legislators far from monolithic in opposing marriage equality.

Listen in as he touches on state-by-state and national trends and expectations.

icon for podpress  Buehrens [41:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


State of SSM, Redo

We’re on for Rev. John Buehrens on national and state-by-state prospects for marriage equality. The show will be Monday, March 12th at 2 PM Eastern.

If you can listen live, click in then to this URL. It will be available on-demand afterward, here on Left Ahead, at the show URL, or on our iTunes page. John Buehrens

While many of us have been supporting same-sex marriage, Rev. Buehrens has been in the van of the struggle. Through his work on the board of Freedom to Marry, he’s fought and lost and won, coming to the show with powerful insights from 9 years at it.

He offers some encouragement after seeing much faster advances than he had expected. He carries no delusions this battle is over. He’ll tell us what to expect.


Robyn Ochs on Sexuality Podcast

The spectrum or range or continuity of human sexuality was today’s show topic with Robyn Ochs. She is a workshop leader, sometimes professor and prolific author on gender identity and sexuality. Her website is here, replete with a link to her most noted book, Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World.

We ran a little overtime. So anyone listening who missed the last eight minutes can hear them here.

We got into the messy, politically related aspects as well as the intended topic. Those are inevitably linked.

She started by describing a workshop exercise she says she has led over 1,000 times. Do listen in to how she gets the participants to define how they have identified their sexuality over time, and then gets everyone to place themselves in relation to the others in the room. There are many I-never-thought-about-that moments and often the surprises of people who define themselves as straight, bi, pansexual, homosexual, asexual and on and on, overlap in how they fit along a continuum of identity. She said the labels thus become less different from each other as they move along the range of descriptions.

To the tricky questions related to the binary concept of straight/gay, she said that both people of all ages are changing perceptions, broadening them, and that those who fear or are confused about the concepts are in for more change. She noted that older people are changing perceptions too. She had little patience for those who use code phrase like lifestyle to imply that a bisexual or homosexual chooses gender identity arbitrarily. She finds it odd that they seem to think that heterosexual-identified people have lives and other people have lifestyles. Instead, everyone has a life, including sexual identity, which may change over time.

Ochs was also plain in saying that the concept of choice here is absurd. She said, “I’ve never met a single person who has decided whom to fall in love with.”

She’s seen terrific improvement in support for the range of sexuality, as well as such overt effect as same-sex marriage legalization. Even in her own family and friends, she’s found a marked shift toward acceptance. Part of this is awareness of people identified as gay, bi and more. This trend is linked to three factors:

  • People are going public with their sexual identify at an earlier age
  • The marriage-equality movement is making more people aware of overt discrimination
  • The media coverage and such shows as Glee and The Ellen DeGeneres Show are showing more types of people as likable

Click below to hear her describe the workshop and her insights on that spectrum of sexuality.

icon for podpress  Robyn Ochs [37:51m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


MA on Casino Abyss Brink

It’s highly likely that MA will take the first giant step to casinos. We’ll do an update show today. We’ll talk economic realities, as well as fantasies.

Join us live here at 2:30 PM Eastern today, Tuesday, September 27th.

You can always hear it later at that URL, here at Left Ahead, or on iTunes.


Humanity of Transgender Civil Rights

The very human face of civil rights is at BMG now in the form of an open letter from parents of their transgender children. They address the real issues underlying the rights bills under consideration on Beacon Hill.

We find it disgraceful that anti-LGBT forces lie about this. With a vast number of basic human rights at stake, trying to divert the discussion into fantasized scare tactics centered on public toilets insults us all. It also puts us far behind over a dozen other states, including all but NH in New England in protecting this group of us.

Read and respond at BMG. Then catch Kara Suffredini and Gunner Scott here next week.



SSM Forecast Podcast

In a welcome surprise, John Hosty-Grinnell joined Ryan and Mike for most of today’s show. The blogger/activist added his insights to our analysis of what follows the NY state marriage-equality victory and the RI tepid civil-union thingummy.

We extrapolated from the passage of SSM in Albany beyond to Maine, California and other potential transition states. In particular, Ryan and Mike are optimistic and reserved for different states. The three of us did concur on the decreasing efficacy of SSM and gay rights as campaign issues for wingers.

Listen in as we parse the trends.

icon for podpress  SSM Forecast [37:22m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Big and Little Equality Podcast

Big and small doings on marriage equality will be our show tomorrow, Tuesday, July 12th. Ryan and Mike will talk about what did and did not happen in New York and Rhode Island.

You can catch it live at 2:30 PM Eastern here. Afterward, you can get it on demand there, back here at Left Ahead or on iTunes.

It’s also a good time to consider the effect of leadership, as in the three paths of NY’s governor, RI’s governor and house speaker, and the POTUS. We need to consider the recent laws in relationship to the national temper, threats from anti-equality sorts, what we see coming next.


R.I. SSM Podcast

“We’re absolutely beating them on the ground,” said the R.I. SSM campaign director, referring to anti-marriage equality forces there. Ray Sullivan joined us with a very positive update on the struggle there.

The anti-LGBT/anti-SSM political leaders have recently been replaced with those more representative of the people there. Gov. Lincoln Chafee and House Speaker Gordon Fox, for two, are civil-rights friendly. The election has combined with the growing public sentiment for marriage equality.

Sullivan is in a solid position to comment. In addition to heading the campaign for Marriage Equality Rhode Island, he was a state Rep for six years. He co-sponsored SSM enabling legislation each of those years. In all, this bill has appeared each of the past 10 years.

He expects the bill to finally come for a vote by the time the legislative session completes at the end of June. Click the player below to listen in as he updates us on the trends, polls, atmosphere and efforts of the volunteers and larger public.

Those who want to get in on this historic civil-rights advancement can go through the MERI site and directly to the TAKE ACTION page. It offers four choices of how you can help. You can even do phone work for them if you are out of Rhode Island.

icon for podpress  SSM in R.I. [30:13m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


R.I. Marriage Equality Special Show

A second show in the week, this one at an unusual time and day features the campaign director for Marriage Equality Rhode Island. It’s been a long struggle there, previously against hostile governor, legislative leaders and local bishop. The good guys are within striking distance.

Ray Sullivan joins us on Friday, April 8th at 6 p.m. Eastern to talk about the chances for passing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. If you can join the live stream then, do that here. Afterward the show will be available to hear or download at that location, back here at Left Ahead or on iTunes.


NH SSM Fight Podcast

NH is oddly back in a manufactured fight over same-sex marriage. Guest John Hosty-Grinnell, LGBT activist, KnowThyNeighbor principal and blogger, joined us to report and comment.

Note: Our host service messed with us today and cut off the show exactly at the 30 minute mark. There were no thanks, good-byes or conclusions. I apologize.

He is also a NH resident, one of many with the question of after a thorough series of hearings, a non-binding plebiscite, and considerable protracted debate in the legislature, the state passed SSM just over a year ago. Why, then if this is settled and there are no problems, would the new Republican supermajority in both houses try to pass a law taking away a groups established right? Why pass a needless law?

Listen in as he speaks of his testimony before the recent hearing on the matter. He also recounts his exchanges with the governor and legislators one-on-one, and his attempted contact with his own state rep. From those perspectives, plus being a gay man with a husband, he sees this issue with great clarity.


icon for podpress  NH SSM Fight [29:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download