Methodist Panel Reinstates Frank Schaefer, Who Was Defrocked Over Gay Wedding

Carlos Santoscoy | On Top Magazine | June 24, 2014

A United Methodist Church panel on Tuesday reversed the conviction of Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked because he presided at the wedding of his gay son.

According to the AP, the nine-member panel concluded that the punishment was too harsh.

Schaefer, who had been the pastor of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pennsylvania presided over the 2007 wedding of his son Tim Schaefer to another man in Massachusetts, which legalized gay marriage in 2004.

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Ted Olson compares Ted Cruz’s gay marriage views to racist miscegenation laws

 | America Blog | June 24, 2014

Republican super-lawyer Ted Olson — who, along with co-counsel David Boies, successfully defeated California’s gay marriage ban (Proposition 8) — has a few choice words for GOP presidential hopeful, and Tea Party favorite, Ted Cruz.

Olson was responding to Cruz’s recent comments to Jeffrey Toobin about gay marriage, in which Cruz suggested that voters have the right to vote away the rights of minorities.

Here are Cruz’s comments at the Texas Republican Convention earlier this month (June, 2014):

Security Adviser Rice on Global LGBT Human Rights Forum

Office of the Press Secretary
June 24, 2014

Remarks by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice
at the White House Forum on Global LGBT Human Rights
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

As Delivered

It’s great to be here, and particularly great to see such a wonderful collection of faith leaders, human rights activists, private sector representatives and colleagues in government all in one place. Protecting and upholding human rights, especially for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters, is work to which we all are called, so thank you, thank you so much for joining us here today.

The inexhaustible pursuit of equality, the drive to expand opportunity, the unshakeable conviction that human dignity and human rights are the natural endowment of all humankind—these are qualities that are fundamental to our American character. For many Americans, they are also essential to our personal story. I would not be standing here today if those who came before me had not pried open doors that had long been shut to people who look like me. So, I feel a responsibility and a personal passion to help others enjoy the same opportunities that I have been blessed to receive. It’s what drives me as a public servant and as a mother, because I do not want my children, or anyone else’s, to have their life choices limited by how they look, who they worship, or whom they love.

Universal human rights are not bestowed by governments or powerful majorities, they are God’s gift and the birth right of all people. They belong to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender men and women as surely as they belong to anyone in the human family. As President Obama has said so eloquently, “If we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

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Friday, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released guidance to same-sex married couples seeking benefits to which they are entitled to under current laws and regulations. The announcement was made after working closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) following the Windsor decision at the Supreme Court.

Another provision of the law governing VA – 38 U.S.C. § 103(c) – requires that same-sex married couples must reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages. This means that same-sex married couples applying for their earned VA benefits will now be processed – provided the couple lives in a marriage equality state. Legally married same-sex couples residing in a non-marriage equality state will not have their applications processed at this time. For the full press release from the VA please visit:

The Military Partners and Families Coalition, alongside OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (OS-SLDN) and American Veterans for Equal Rights, Inc. (AVER), applaud the VA administration on their step forward in equality for all.

“The released guidance is an exciting step forward by the VA and we acknowledge their commitment to the equal treatment of all Veterans and their families, ” said Military Partners and Families Coalition President and Co-Founder, Ariana Bostian-Kentes. “While we celebrate this victory for equality, we remain well aware of the work we have ahead.”

“This is a great step towards equality for all of our lesbian, gay and bisexual veterans. They deserve to be treated fairly and equally for the service they gave to our country. Anything less would not live up to the President’s demand that we take care of our veterans,” says OS-SLDN’s Co-Chairman of the Board, Jeff Mueller.  “We still have work to do to bring equality to all of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans and servicemembers and we will continue to work, alongside partner organizations, to gain this equality.

“For 25 years American Veterans for Equal Rights has worked to secure equal treatment for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender service members who defend our nation’s freedom,” said AVER President, Lt. Col. Steve Loomis, USA(ret).  “With the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the extension of benefits by the Department of Defense to the same-sex spouses and children of active duty gay and lesbian Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, our nation’s leadership has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring equality to all the men and women who stand on guard to defend our liberty. As a Veterans Service Organization, AVER strongly believes this commitment must not stop with those who serve on active duty, but be extended to the honored veterans from World War II to Afghanistan who deserve no less for the sacred duty they have performed on behalf of our nation, regardless of where they live or who they love.  AVER calls upon all Veterans Service Organizations to support full equal benefits for our nation’s veterans regardless of diversity.  Honor all veterans, all the time.”

OutServe-SLDN provides free legal counseling to service members with legal issues stemming from or relating to the previous DADT law banning military service by lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons, the regulations governing military service by HIV+ people, and the regulations addressing military service by transgender persons.  For more information please visit:

The VA calls on Congress to take legislative action to ensure all Veterans and their families are treated equally. “We will work with lawmakers to address the changes that are necessary to allow all veterans and their families to access the benefits they have earned and deserve,” said Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson.

AVER, MPFC, and OS-SLDN are committed to working together to bring full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans and servicemembers.  There is still work to be done to ensure everyone in all states has access to the benefits they have earned.


ABOUT AMERICAN VETERANS FOR EQUAL RIGHTS: AVER is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, chapter-based Veterans Service Organization of active, reserve, and veteran service members dedicated to full and equal rights and equitable treatment for all present and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.  For more information visit

ABOUT MILITARY PARTNERS AND FAMILIES COALITION:  MPFC is the leading national organization founded by partners of active duty service members focused on support, education, resource, and advocacy for partners, children, and families of LGBT service members. MPFC is a private non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C.  For more information visit

ABOUT OUTSERVE-SLDN: OutServe-SLDN is the heir to the legacy of providing legal services to service members and veterans since 1993. From representing over 12,000 service members during the era of DADT, leading the fight to repeal DADT, through winning the federal lawsuit, McLaughlin v. Hagel, that provided benefits to same sex partners of military members, OutServe-SLDN has been on the frontlines for over 20 years. For more information, visit

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A Secret Plan to Close Social Security’s Offices and Outsource Its Work

Richard (RJ) Eskow | Huffington Post | Reader Supported News | June 24, 2014

or months there have been rumors that the Social Security Administration has a “secret plan” to close all of its field offices. Is it true? A little-known report commissioned by the SSA at the request of Congress seems to hold the answer. The summary document outlining the plan, which is labeled “for internal use only,” is unavailable from the SSA but can be found here.

Does the document, titled “Long Term Strategic Vision and Vision Elements,” really propose shuttering all field offices? The answer, buried beneath a barrage of obfuscatory consultantese, clearly seems to be “yes.” Worse, the report also suggests that many of the SSA’s critical functions could soon be outsourced to private-sector partners and contractors.

Here are five insights from this austerity-minded outline.

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ACLU: US Police Departments Are Increasingly Militarized

Ed Pilkington | Guardian UK | Reader Supported News | June 24, 2014

  • ACLU cites soaring use of war zone equipment and tactics
  • Swat teams increasingly deployed in local police raids
  • Seven civilians killed and 46 injured in incidents since 2010


t 3am on 28 May, Alecia Phonesavanh was asleep in the room she was temporarily occupying together with her husband and four children in the small town of Cornelia, Georgia. Her baby, 18-month-old Bou Bou, was sleeping peacefully in his cot.

Suddenly there was a loud bang and several strangers dressed in black burst into the room. A blinding flash burst out with a deafening roar from the direction of the cot. Amid the confusion, Phonesavanh could see her husband pinned down and handcuffed under one of the men in black, and while her son was being held by another. Everyone was yelling, screaming, crying. “I kept asking the officers to let me have my baby, but they said shut up and sit down,” she said.

As the pandemonium died down, it became clear that the strangers in black were a Swat team of police officers from the local Habersham County force – they had raided the house on the incorrect assumption that occupants were involved in drugs. It also became clear to Phonesavanh that something had happened to Bou Bou and that the officers had taken him away.

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Thanks to WikiLeaks, Public Can Debate Alarming New Trade Deal

David Cay Johnston | Al Jazeera America | Reader Supported News | June 24, 2014

ikiLeaks last week again pierced the veil of official secrecy that surrounds global trade negotiations. The peek it gave us should alarm everyone.

Big Business and national governments wanted to conceal the terms of the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) while keeping consumers, unions, environmentalists and the vast majority of businesses in the dark. Thanks to WikiLeaks, they failed.

The draft agreement WikiLeaks released on June 19 is fresh, written in May. It is a model of secret law, blatant in its disregard for transparency, democratic process and history. Its opening page says the terms are to remain secret for five years after negotiations formally end or the proposed new rules take effect. Talks to refine that agreement were to resume Monday in Geneva.

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Voter Fraud Scott Walker Style

Charles Pierce | Esquire | Reader Supported News | June 24, 2014

SEE ALSO: Wisconsin Republican Donor Busted For Voting 5 Times in Scott Walker’s Recall Election


ey, you there down in Mississippi. All of you people who are worried about protecting the “integrity of the ballot” against the possibility that black people may cast some of them. You’re missing some actual voter-fraud.

According to the complaint: Monroe cast two ballots in the April 2011 Supreme Court election, two in the August 2011 Alberta Darling recall election, five in the Scott Walker-Tom Barrett recall, one illegal ballot in an August 2012 primary, and two ballots in the November 2012 presidential election. In the presidential election, Monroe cast an in-person absentee ballot in Shorewood on Nov. 1 and drove a rental car to Lebanon, Ind., where he showed his Indiana driver’s license to vote in person on election day, Nov. 6, the complaint charges. Monroe owns a house there, according to the complaint. The 26-page criminal complaint was filed Friday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court and is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, one of the prosecutors involved in the John Doe investigations of Gov. Scott Walker’s staff when he was county executive and the now-halted probe into fundraising by Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.

To borrow a vote from the late Mr. Dukenfield. Cast a vote for Fields and look for the silver lining. Cast several votes for Fields and look for the police.

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