Annise Parker – Houston’s First Lesbian Mayor?

The Eyes Of Texas Are Upon Her

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Both mayoral candidates in Houston’s upcoming runoff election are Democrats. Both are considered socially liberal, but Gene Locke has quietly sought the support of anti-gay Christians who would rather dine on offal than vote for Annise Parker, an out lesbian. Even so, polls have consistently given Parker a modest but solid edge in the race, which indicates that for most Space City residents, her sexual orientation is not a determining factor.

From the Houston Chronicle: City Controller Annise Parker holds a slight advantage over former City Attorney Gene Locke just a week before the Dec. 12 runoff, according to the latest Houston Chronicle poll. While the race for Houston mayor remains too close to call, Parker’s 5.5 percentage point lead stems from advantages among several demographics, including women, whites, Hispanics and self-identified independent voters. Parker leads with 41.9 percent of the vote, followed by Locke’s 36.4 percent, according to the poll conducted last week by Zogby International. Nearly 18 percent of likely voters remain undecided in the contest, a sign of how fluid the race remains just days before the campaign will come to an end. “There’s a huge pool of undecided voters and the real question now is which way they split or whether they vote at all,” said John Zogby, president and CEO of Zogby International… Locke’s success will depend greatly on the turnout of African-American voters. (Parker is expected to pick up many of the whites who voted in the November election for third-place finisher Peter Brown, while Locke will hang on to Brown’s black supporters.)

The two most important issues in Houston politics have traditionally been crime and fiscal responsibility. Poll numbers show that voters give Locke an edge on the first issue – but they overwhelmingly believe Parker is better equipped to handle the second. Gay and Democrat she may be, but when it comes to city finances, her business street creds are impressive. Also, her promise to create jobs will probably resonate with citizens.

11118 If Parker wins the election, her partner of nineteen years, Kathy Hubbard, and their children, will not be eligible for city benefits. Here in Houston, same-sex households are considered unworthy of such fripperies as health insurance and pensions. From Bay Area Reporter: Parker is campaigning with a focus on fiscal restraint that, ironically, puts her in a wait-and-see position on the issue of domestic partnership benefits for city employees, while Locke says he’s for them now. (This isn’t surprising. If Annise had dared mention this issue during the campaign, religious conservatives would have flayed her alive.) Parker and Hubbard have been together since 1990 and have two adopted children. Locke is married to Aubrey Sampson Locke and they have five children. Neither candidate lists gay civil rights as an issue on their campaign Web sites. (Again, not surprising. Parker has the LGBT vote Locked Up. Pardon the pun. But addressing specific concerns of the community would at this point be viewed as favoritism. Gene Locke, an African American, is under no such constraints when appealing to black voters.) The gay newspaper Dallas Voice noted that Parker, unlike Locke, released her tax returns, and those of Hubbard, to the press. The paper reported that some criticized the move as her attempt to present her and her domestic partner “as a married couple.” (And if she had failed to release Hubbard’s tax returns, opponents would be shrieking, “What are they hiding?” It was a lose-lose situation. But Parker chose transparency as the better option. Why Locke hasn’t released his own tax records is anybody’s guess.)

It’s a sad state of affairs. On Annise Parker’s official website, I could find only one brief mention of Kathy Hubbard, referred to as her “life partner” – and no pictures of her lovely family. (The photo at the top of this post is from the Dallas Voice.) On Gene Locke’s campaign bio page, his wife and children are figured prominently.

In Texas, it’s all about appearances.
UPDATE: Election Day, December 12. The latest Rice University poll shows Annise Parker with a significant lead over Gene Locke – 49% to 36%.

UPDATE: Annise Parker has won the election.

Rhode Island Governor Vetoes Burial Rights For Gay Couples

An Empty Place Where His Heart Should Be

It seems like such a simple act of compassion – allowing the partners of committed same-sex couples to make funeral arrangements for their significant others. But according to Governor Donald L. Carcieri of Rhode Island, bestowing this small but vital legal right to gays and lesbians will somehow “degrade” traditional marriage. From the Providence Journal: An opponent of same-sex marriage, Governor Carcieri has vetoed bill that would have added “domestic partners” to the list of people authorized by law to make funeral arrangements for each other. In his veto message, Republican Carcieri said: “This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue.”

The conservative politician said he considers the “preferred approach” to address equality – or rather, gross inequality – is to put the matter of full-blown domestic partnerships before Ocean State voters, who at this time would probably nix the idea. As Carcieri well knows.

The legislation defines a domestic partner as someone who was in an “exclusive, intimate and committed relationship” with the deceased and had lived with him or her for at least a year prior to the death; is at least 18, not married to anyone else, not related by blood and who was financially “interdependent” with the deceased as evidenced, for example, by a joint mortgage, shared credit card or domestic partnership contract… (That sounds reasonable to me – and it’s precisely how many corporations set the standard for offering DP benefits.) Carcieri cited at least two other reasons for his veto. As written, he said the bill would allow the decisions of a “partner” of a year to take precedence over “traditional family members,” and he believes a “one year time period is not a sufficient duration to establish a serious bond between two individuals…”

This is downright insulting when you consider the vast array of rights and benefits that are awarded to opposite sex couples the very instant that they say “I do.” There’s no “waiting period” for heterosexuals before their bond is considered “serious.” Also, some of those “traditional family members” hovering on the sidelines are only interested in getting their hands on the deceased’s assets – and they’ll be the first to exclude a same-sex partner from participating in the funeral.

Carcieri said he was also uncertain “how it would be ascertained in many circumstances whether [a couple] had been in a relationship for year” since there is “no official or recognized form” of domestic partnership agreement in Rhode Island. He called this proviso “vague and ill-defined.” (Au contraire. The Republican governor’s attempts to justify his anti-gay animus are “vague and ill-defined.”)

This law was meant to address just one inequality faced by same-sex couples, where the death of a loved one is rendered doubly tragic by the anti-LGBT agenda of right-wing pols. In vetoing this legislation, the Rhode Island governor, bowing to his conservative base, demonstrates a total lack of humanity. And a surplus of mean-spiritedness.

Pastors will test Matthew Shepard Act by “inciting hate crimes”

Religious conservatives still outraged over the passing of hate crimes legislation have decided to test the limits of the new law with a publicity stunt involving incendiary hate speech directed at gays and lesbians. In order to “prove” that their God-given right to harass LGBT folk is being threatened, a group of pastors plan to travel to the nation’s capital and ratchet up the rhetoric in hopes of getting themselves arrested. (Can you believe this shit? And these zealots have the audacity to refer to hate crimes legislation as the “Hate Christians Law.”)

You can’t miss the irony here. Christianity is supposed to be all about “Love Thy Neighbor” and “Do Unto Others,” right? So in order to challenge the new law, a posse of homobigots led by Pastor Gary Cass (president of the so-called Christian Anti-Defamation Commission) is heading to Washington DC on November 16th where they will assemble outdoors and shout hatred and even foment violence against gays – y’know, to see how far they can go before being arrested under the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

From the creepy World Net Daily: The “Rally for Religious Freedom” in front of the Department of Justice in Washington is intended to force Attorney General Eric Holder either to address the issues or be put in a position of ignoring those who say they are violating the provisions of the federal law, Cass said. “We’re basically going to defy the law, and challenge it,” Cass told WND. “We’re going to declare the whole counsel of God, including those parts that some may consider ‘inciting a hate crime’ to see if the attorney general is going to come down and arrest a group of peaceful clergy exercising their First Amendment rights.”

They want to get arrested so that they can assume the role of martyrs. They’ll whine piteously: “See? See? We told you this would happen! Just look how the government tramples our right to agitate against gays and lesbians! See how brave and noble we are when we engage in hate speech! Please, bring us our crosses!”

Don’t expect subtlety from this assembly of assholes. They’re yearning to be handcuffed. I imagine they’ll take a page from Pastor Steve Anderson’s playbook and start demanding the execution of homosexuals. (He got away with it and became a sort of insta-celebrtiy, like balloon boy.) They’ll do their damndest to out-Phelps the Phelps Clan, they’ll try to out-Savage Michael Savage. The spittle will fly.

Still, I don’t think D.C. tourists will appreciate hearing anti-gay slogans shouted as they make their way toward the Lincoln Memorial. The police will be standing by, bored expressions on their faces. The local news might make an appearance. I doubt anyone will be arrested during Cass & Company’s little hate fest, which will only serve to make the participants look like what they are: a bunch of delusional preachers with way too much time on their hands.

(Pictured: Pastor Gary Cass)

Teacher suspended over article about gay animals.

Illinois high school teacher Dan Delong has been suspended for allowing his students to read a Seed Magazine article about homosexuality in the animal kingdom. Although the assignment was entirely optional, one parent took umbrage and demanded that the Piasa educator be pulled from the classroom. Delong’s students promptly created a Facebook group that now boasts over 1800 members calling for his reinstatement. School secretary Pat Milner says that a special board meeting is set for 6 p.m. on Monday at the district office to discuss how best to discipline the teacher.

11165a From Psychology Today: Mr. Delong is a married, heterosexual teacher who identifies as an ally of the GLBTQ community and clearly has the respect and admiration of his students. This is just one of many examples of how teachers are taught to be conservative and non-controversial and why GLBTQ youth don’t feel safe in schools. If a school district considers teaching with a scientific article written by a professor at Stanford University and published in a popular science magazine as controversial and worthy of suspension – then how can we convince other educators to stand up and teach critically?

The article in question, written by Jonah Lehrer, discusses the research of Joan Roughgarden, a respected biologist who has documented homosexual relationships among more than 450 animal species.

From Leher’s The Gay Animal Kingdom: According to Roughgarden, gayness is a necessary side effect of getting along. Homosexuality evolved in tandem with vertebrate societies, in which a motley group of individuals has to either live together or die alone. In fact, Roughgarden even argues that homosexuality is a defining feature of advanced animal communities, which require communal bonds in order to function. “The more complex and sophisticated a social system is,” she writes, “then the more likely it is to have homosexuality intermixed with heterosexuality.” (Scary stuff, huh? Few homophobes would even bother reading something like this.)

Logan Murphy writes on Crooks and Liars: Bigotry is not a natural instinct, it is taught. Homosexuality is as natural as the sun in the sky, but ignorant, hateful people will never accept that fact. The suspension of this high school teacher in Piasa, Illinois is a perfect example of how this hatred and ignorance infests the minds of our children. I applaud Mr. Delong for attempting to teach his students the art of critical thinking and to open their minds to facts.

Critical thinking is the enemy of people who skew science to fit their literal interpretation of the Bible and use scripture to demonize gays and lesbians. If Delong loses his job over this, I predict there will be an outcry loud enough to bring down those proverbial walls of Jericho.

School Outing Ends in Peer Pressure Baptisms

In Breckinridge County, Kentucky, a high school football coach took twenty of his star players on an excursion to Franklin Crossroads Baptist Church. He said it would bring the team together. The students were offered a free steak dinner – and a complimentary baptism. The school district’s superintendent, who also attended the function, heartily approved of this extracurricular activity. But not every parent was happy.

From the Louisville Courier-Journal: The mother of one player said her 16-year-old son was baptized without her knowledge and consent, and she is upset that a public school bus was used to take players to a church service – and that the school district’s superintendent was there and did not object. “Nobody should push their faith on anybody else,” said Michelle Ammons, whose son, Robert Coffey, said Coach Scott Mooney told him and other players that the Aug. 26 outing would include only a motivational speaker and a free steak dinner… But Superintendent Janet Meeks, who is a member of the church and witnessed the baptisms, said she thinks the trip was proper because attendance was not required, and another coach paid for the gas. Meeks said parents weren’t given permission slips to sign but knew the event would include a church service, if not specifically a baptism. She said eight or nine players came forward and were baptized.

David Friedman, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, says that the trip violates Supreme Court edicts on the separation of church and state, even if it was voluntary and the school district didn’t pay for the fuel: “If players want to attend the coach’s church and get baptized, that’s great. But coaches have great power and persuasion by virtue of their position, and they have to stay neutral.”

Andrew Wolfson reports: The church’s pastor, the Rev. Ron Davis, said that he requires minors to obtain their parents’ consent to be baptized, but he added: “Sometimes 16-year-olds look like 18 years.” (That’s what IDs are for.) “We did the best we could.” (Yes, I’m sure they did their very best to indoctrinate these youngsters into their narrow religious beliefs.) He said the event on August 26 “was a great service” and that attendance by the players was strictly voluntary. Ammons, who lives in Big Spring, said that she is a Baptist but her husband, Danny, is Catholic, and that both feel like their son should wait until he is eighteen to make important decisions on religion. “We felt he was brainwashed,” she said. She said she was prepared to drop the matter until she found out Meeks attended the service.

Rob Boston at Americans United writes: The bottom line here is that public schools have no business meddling in the private religious lives of students… I don’t blame Michelle Ammons for being angry. She rightly believes that she and her husband can oversee the religious life of their son. No school official should be interfering in that relationship. As an aside, imagine the uproar that would have erupted in Breckenridge County had the coach taken the players to a mosque where they were pressured to adopt Islam.

I was raised in a Southern Baptist church (to my unending regret) and I know the pressure that’s put on young people to be “washed in the Blood of the Lamb.” For a high school football player who’s trying to impress his coach and win the approbation of his teammates, there would be no choice but to submit to the baptism. Which is what the adults who planned this outing intended.

“Family Values” Politician Caught Describing Sex with Lobbyist

GOP assemblyman Michael D. Duvall not only sleeps around with female lobbyists, he likes to kiss and tell. And spank. He REALLY likes to spank. We know this because during a recent hearing, the Orange County politician shared his sexual exploits with a nearby Republican colleague. Duvall was unaware that the dais microphone was turned on as he regaled his conservative friend with details of an ongoing extramarital affair. Needless to say, he’s a Bible thumper with a wife and kids. Pass the peas.

From OC Weekly: “She wears little eye-patch underwear,” said Duvall, who is married with two children. “So, the other day she came here with her underwear, Thursday. And so, we had made love Wednesday – a lot! And so she’ll, she’s all, ‘I am going up and down the stairs, and you’re dripping out of me!’ So messy!” … Duvall – who was twice a president of the Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce, served two terms as mayor of Yorba Linda before entering the assembly in
 2006, and is the owner of an insurance agency – continues his tale: “So, I am getting into spanking her. Yeah, I like it. I like spanking her. She goes, ‘I know you like spanking me.’ I said, ‘Yeah! Because you’re such a bad girl!’”

From Calitics: Aside from Duvall’s stunning lack of tact, the story reveals possible ethical violations caused by Duvall, who is vice-chair of the Utilities and Commerce committee, apparently sleeping with a lobbyist for Sempra Energy, one of the state’s largest utilities. Of course Duvall comes from a long, long, LONG line of Republican social conservatives who enjoy using morality to argue for denying people their rights while refusing to practice that morality themselves. Duvall was an outspoken supporter of Proposition 8… Of course he was. He spanks his mistress with one hand and prays to Jesus with the other. But heaven forbid gay and lesbian Americans should be given the same rights that this outstanding Christian enjoys. After all, that would be sooo wrooong. (The video from KCAL9 is here.)

UPDATE: Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh has asked Duvall to resign. Duvall sits on the assembly rules committee which handles allegations of member wrongdoing. (Gasp. Snort.) So far, the politician is refusing to step down. He’s telling his colleagues that relationships are “private matters.”

UPDATE: Duvall has resigned – and, he was cheating on his lobbyist mistress with a second mistress. I’m so confused.

SC Education Board Chair (and RW Christian) writes online porn.

Kristin Maguire is chair of the South Carolina State Board of Education. She’s a religious conservative who promotes creationism and “abstinence only” sex education. And, the poor dear, she’s just been caught writing hardcore pornographic stories online. So what’s a smokin’ hot mama to do? Well, she steps down from her post and cites “family difficulties” as the reason.

From FitsNews: Kristin Maguire, an Upstate evangelical and one of South Carolina’s most respected social conservatives, has been one of the governor’s closest education policy advisors for years… What else is she? The prolific author of hardcore erotic fiction on the Internet, according to documents provided to the governor’s office earlier this summer and later obtained by FITS. Maguire, a professed Christian who home-schools her four children, declined to comment for our story but did not deny that she had previously frequented websites that feature such X-rated material. Maguire believes that a former friend is leaking the information to the media in an effort to ruin her political career. As for the specific writings alleged to have flowed from Maguire’s pen, most have been deleted from the Internet. (But not all of them.) FITS was able to use conversations in various Internet chat rooms, however, to link at least two “erotic stories” to Maguire’s alleged pen name, “Bridget Keeney.” From there, numerous similarities between “Bridget” and Maguire emerged, including commonalities in age, geographic location, engineering background, hobbies (knitting, for example) and number of children. One comment left in an erotic chat room by “Bridget” even reveals the name of a professor who was at Clemson University’s College of Engineering at the time when Maguire was a student there, while another comment references a specific medical procedure that Maguire underwent several years ago.

You might think, as I did, her stories can’t be that naughty. She’s an evangelical Christian entrusted with the welfare of South Carolina’s school children. Perhaps Maguire pens bodice ripper fiction, y’know, where the Earl of Buttocks seduces a hapless milkmaid? Something like that? Let’s look at a passage from one of her stories (preserved for all eternity in .pdf format): The train entered a tunnel, plunging the cabin into total darkness. All that existed for me was Joren’s huge, hard dick in my mouth and my throbbing p***y being f**cked with Erik’s fingers. The scent of sex and our moans filled the car. The three of us rocked in time to the train on the tracks. When Joren pinched my nipples, my walls convulsed around Erik’s fingers, my climax ripping through me. My whole body shook with pleasure as I groaned deeply and sucked harder at Joren’s delicious dick. No sooner did I climax than he bucked up into my face, his balls drawing up and his shaft swelling even bigger. I pulled myself back from almost blacking out and gripped his thighs as he splashed his cum into my mouth. Again, I swallowed rapidly, devouring his cock and cum at once. There was so much cum that it leaked out around my mouth, but I don’t think Joren minded. The train pulled into the open again as Joren’s cock and my p***y stopped twitching.

Did I mention that Maguire thinks it’s a sin to teach evolution in public schools?

Hate Jock Michael Savage gets love from New Yorker Magazine

The New Yorker Magazine, whose cover illustration last summer depicted Barack Obama dressed as a Muslim and his wife as a terrorist, has decided to run a sickening “tribute” to hate radio personality Michael Savage in its forthcoming August issue. African-American journalist Kelefa Sanneh, apparently oblivious to the talk show host’s long history of racist comments, heaps gushing accolades on the far-right commentator. This is a bromance made in publishing hell, and just one more example of the New Yorker’s ever desperate attempts to boost sales by stirring controversy. (Honestly, why don’t they just merge with National Enquirer and be done with it?)

Sanneh’s puff piece is called “A Party of One: Michael Savage, Unexpurgated.” Peter at Right Wing Watch collars the hound: While Savage loves to hate the media and Media Matters, he’s found a friend in Kelefa Sanneh, author of the New Yorker profile (subscription required), which feels like a many-thousand word promo for Savage’s radio show. Sanneh is smitten with Savage, “more days than not, a marvelous storyteller, a quirky thinker, and an incorrigible free-associator.” He calls Savage’s show “one of the most addictive programs on radio, and one of the least predictable.” Sanneh doesn’t ignore that Savage has a well-documented hatred of gays and that his central thesis is “that lefties are ruining the world, or trying to,” and quotes some of Savage’s memorable moments, such as the one that got him thrown off MSNBC, when he told a caller “Oh, you’re one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig.” But Sanneh finds Savage so weirdly charming and entertaining (he ruminates about death!) that he is quick to dismiss the host’s virulent rhetoric… Sanneh seems uninterested in considering whether the kind of political rhetoric Savage specializes in has the potential to fuel hatred and violence. Savage’s liberal-hating books were among those found on the shelves of the Tennessee man who opened fire in a Unitarian Universalist church last year to vent his hatred of liberals who he said were destroying the country. Sanneh says that Savage’s best-selling books are “political polemics” but says “none capture the freewheeling sensibility of the show or the complicated personality of the man.”

“Freewheeling sensibility” isn’t the first phrase I’d apply to Michael Savage’s obnoxious brand of hate entertainment. In fact, any descriptor with “sense,” “sensible,” or “sensibility” in it should never be assigned to the man who says this about LGBT Americans: “When you hear ‘human rights,’ think only one thing: someone who wants to rape your son. And you’ll get it just right. OK, you got it, right? When you hear ‘human rights,’ think only someone who wants to molest your son, and send you to jail if you defend him.”

It’s nice that Kelefa Sanneh has made a new BFF, but he should remember that folks are judged by the company they keep and the people they admire. Do loud-mouthed homobigots appeal to Sanneh? I can hardly wait for his follow-up articles: The Misunderstood Compassion of Fred Phelps; and Sally Kern’s Persuasive Fabulosity.

(Pictured: Savage, Sanneh)

Rockstar Energy Drink: Hate in a Can

Whenever you buy a can of Rockstar Energy Drink you’re putting money in the pocket of a man who says this about gays:

When you hear “human rights,” think only one thing: someone who wants to rape your son. And you’ll get it just right. OK, you got it, right? When you hear “human rights,” think only someone who wants to molest your son, and send you to jail if you defend him.

You’ll recognize these words from ultraconservative shock jock Michael Savage, whose real name is Michael Weiner. (It’s easy to see why he adopted a pseudonym.) Back in 2003, the Savage Weiner was fired from a blessedly brief gig at MSNBC when he told a caller to “get AIDS and die.”

Not content with smearing LGBT Americans, Savage sometimes directs his vitriol toward children with disabilities: You know what autism is? I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is!

Savage/Weiner is co-founder and part-owner of Rockstar Energy Drink. His son, Russell Goldencloud Weiner – yes, I said “Goldencloud” – is CEO of the beverage company and architect of a militia-esque group called The Paul Revere Society. (Russell once warmed up a rock concert crowd by screeching: “Who’s heterosexual and proud? If you’re not, hopefully you will be soon.”)

Wife and mom Janet Weiner is Chief Financial Officer of Rockstar, keeping it all in the family. She calls San Francisco a “filthy, drug-ridden vermin city.” (Charming woman. That faded Courtney Love look is so chic.)

Michael Jones, Communications Director of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, writes on Bilerico Project: Russell Weiner, as CEO of Rockstar, makes a boatload of money off the beverage. Do you like your money going to a family that champions hate? Do you want your money going to a man who says that autism is a made up disease? To a man who says that all LGBT people are sodomites who deserve to get AIDS? If the answer is no, then don’t buy Rockstar Energy Drink. And if you see a club – especially an LGBT club – serving it, please say something to the management.

Just passing along the message. Be sure and tell all your friends.

When Mass Rape Becomes the Norm

In a his column for the New York Times, Nicholas Kristoff recently shed light on the atrocities that are – right now, at this very moment – being committed in the African nation of Liberia:

11344In modern times, we’ve seen mass rape as an element of warfare in Congo, Darfur, Bosnia, Rwanda, Liberia — but the lesson here in Liberia in West Africa is that even when the fighting ends, the rape continues. And that brings us to Jackie, a lovely 7-year-old with tight braids and watchful eyes. Jackie is too young to remember the 14-year civil war in Liberia, from 1989 to 2003, when as many as three-fourths of women were raped… Yet somehow mass rape survived the end of the war; it has been easier to get men to relinquish their guns than their sense of sexual entitlement. So the security guard at Jackie’s school, a man in his 50s, took the little girl to the beach where, she said, he stripped her and raped her. Finally, he ran off as she lay bleeding and sobbing on the sand. “I couldn’t walk well, so they took me to hospital,” Jackie told me. It was worse than that: She was hemorrhaging, and the hospital couldn’t stop it… Of course, children are raped everywhere, but what is happening in Liberia is different. The war seems to have shattered norms and trained some men to think that when they want sex, they need simply to overpower a girl.

Sheril Kirshenbaum on Discover Magazine: Today begins a very important initiative called “Silence Is The Enemy” to help a generation of young women half a world away. Why? Because they are our sisters and children–the victims of sexual abuse who don’t have the means to ask for help. We have power in our words and influence. Along with our audience, we’re able to speak for them. I’m asking all of you–bloggers, writers, teachers, and concerned citizens–to use whatever platform you have to call for an end to the rape and abuse of women and girls in Liberia and around the world… There are many ways to contribute: Write and email members of Congress, speak at community meetings, encourage others to get involved, or donate to our chosen charity (Doctors Without Borders)… We want to make sure elected officials at multiple levels realize this is a global issue that matters to a large voting constituency!

Jessica Palmer on Bioephemera: Of course, sexual violence is not limited to Liberia. According to the United Nations, between a quarter and a half a million women were raped during Rwanda’s genocide in 1994. Currently, there are related situations in Congo and in Darfur, where sexual violence against women has become routine and systematic… Congress may be indicating a readiness to act on these issues. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing several weeks ago on “Confronting Rape and Other Forms of Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones.” (Testimony and video can be found here.)

To this important movement The Progressive Puppy adds its small bark.