Journalist & Author Glenn Greenwood in Boise for ACLU Event

Glenn Greenwald, Jody May-Chang, ACLU, Idaho, Salon.com

Glenn Greenwald, prominent author, journalist, and political commentator from Salon.com is here in Boise tonight and will be the guest keynote speaker at the annual Bill of Rights diner for the ACLU of Idaho. I had the great honor and privilege to have sit down with him for a face-to-face interview earlier this morning. More on that later.

I am really looking forward to tonight. Glenn is a captivating and inspiring speaker and has done a tremendous job with his latest book, “Liberty and Justice for SOME, How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful.”

Back to the Future: Sean Hannity vs. Jody May-Chang TOMORROW on KCSB-FM Santa Barbara

Jody May-Chang, Sean Hannity, KCSB, Santa Barbara, Fox NewsHear the original 1989 live on-the air exchange between Jody May-Chang and Fox mouthpiece Sean Hannity that got Hannity kicked off the air at KCSB-FM Radio for his homophobic rants.

As part of KCSB’s 50th Anniversary of broadcasting, the Hannity vs. May-Chang exchange will be rebroadcast for the first time in 22 years!

This will be part of tomorrow’s LIVE CALL-IN broadcast of: ‘Revisiting Sean Hannity’, Thursday 12/22/11 10 am – 12 Noon on “50 Years of People Powered Radio” on KCSB-FM 91.9

Hannity and May-Chang both produced weekly shows at KCSB, the University of California at Santa Barbara radio station, as community members in the public affairs department. May-Chang hosted “Gay & Lesbian Perspectives,” a one-hour weekly news, information program. Hannity on the other hand hosted a ranting imitation of Rush Limbaugh type show called “The Pursuit of Happiness.”

May-Chang called in to Hannity’s show to dispute Hannity and his guest spreading misinformation and homophobia over the air. Hannity’s guest Gene Antonio, is the author of a propaganda book titled “The AIDS Cover-Up? The Real And Alarming Facts About AIDS.” – a book written to spread misinformation and hysteria about AIDS.

It was this very exchange that got Hannity kicked off the air at KCSB, and what Hannity subsequently used to bolster his career as a victim of the left and branding himself as the most controversial college radio talk show host in America.

PACIFIC TIME 10 am – Noon
MOUNTIN TIME 11 am – 1 pm

LIVE STREAMING HERE: http://www.kcsb.org

Call In # (805) 893-2424

If you miss it, a podcast will be posted later on http://may-chang.com

As I See It…PODCAST: On the Record with Constance McMillan

As I See It… Talks ON THE RECORD with Constance McMillan who, with the help of her local ACLU affiliate, sued her Fulton, Mississippi school district for barring her from taking her girlfriend to the senior prom. Constance visited Idaho last week as the keynote speaker for the ACLU of Idaho Bill of Rights fundraiser, Prom is for Everyone.

ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Monica Hopkins and Constance McMillan

ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Monica Hopkins (left) and Constance McMillan


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Lesbian Teen Who Sued to Go to Prom is ACLU Keynote

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Mar. 25, 2011

Like most high school seniors, Constance McMillen wanted to go to her prom. One problem: she wanted to take her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo but her Fulton, Miss., high school’s policy required prom guests to “be of the opposite sex” and girls were required to wear dresses.

After McMillen’s failed attempt to get school officials to change the rule, the ACLU of Mississippi sent a letter on her behalf informing the school that their actions were illegal. The school ended up canceling the prom, keeping McMillen, her girlfriend and everyone else from attending. With the help of the ACLU, McMillen sued the school district and won.

“It was so bad,” McMillen told Citydesk today. “It got to the point where I had to change schools altogether because I was harassed on a daily basis. One girl wore a shirt to school that said ‘No Prom Thanks Constance.’ People were booing when I walked in the lunchroom. My best friend stopped talking to me completely.” Continue reading

Senate Votes to Repeal DADT

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Dec. 18, 2010

In a historic move, the U.S. Senate passed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell by a 65 to 31 vote this afternoon. Once signed into law by President Barack Obama, the 17-year ban on gay and lesbian members of the military to serve openly will be over.

Republicans who voted in favor of repeal were Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and George Voinovich of Ohio. Republicans who were not present for the vote were Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

“This is incredible news for equality and justice. We commend the senate for repealing this discriminatory and unconstitutional policy known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” said ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Monica Hopkins. “This is a huge win for civil rights here in Idaho. We have to remember there are many Idahoans serving in the armed forces, and now they can be judged on the content of their character and their skills as soldiers. It opens up their work environment to live openly and honestly, which is one of the core values of our armed services.” Continue reading

Local Reaction to Prop 8 Ruling

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Aug. 6, 2010

“We’re so filled with hope for same-sex couples in Boise and across the country who want to get married,” an Idaho couple told Citydesk.

Jade and Ria—who prefer to go by their first names—were among 18,000 couples legally married when they lived in California before Proposition 8 banned same-sex marriage. U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Prop. 8, Aug. 4 saying, “it disadvantages gays and lesbians without any rational justification” and it “violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.”

“The ruling declared that my wife and I are as human as straight people,” said Jade.

“Using the word ‘wife,’ with all the legal weight of the institution of marriage, is very important to me,” said Ria. “There’s no mistaking my wife for my business partner.”

“Judge Walker made detailed factual findings on three central questions,” said Monica Hopkins, executive director of ACLU of Idaho. “Whether gay people are bad for kids; Whether our relationships are the same or different from those of straight people; and how exactly allowing us to marry would harm heterosexual marriages. Those three questions are key touchstones of the marriage debate all across the country. To have them not only answered, but demolished on the facts after a full trial, is a turning point in the national discussion.”

The court found lesbian and gay couples are monetarily harmed by being banned from marriage, something Ria and Jade know well. “We would have gotten $3,000 more back in federal taxes last year if the federal government recognized our marriage.”

Walker ordered a temporary stay until Friday in order to give both sides a chance to file legal papers on an appeal process that is widely expected to make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We need to continue the fight for equal rights in Idaho and across the country. Everyone has a part to play in making that happen,” said Hopkins.

Will Prop. 8 Decision Affect Idaho LGBT Community?

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com June 30, 2010

Both civil rights advocates and religious conservatives are waiting in anticipation of Federal Chief District Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision in California’s Proposition 8 landmark Perry v. Schwarzenegger case.

Filed over a year ago, the January trial challenged the constitutionality of the voter-initiative that banned same-sex marriage by just 52 percent of the popular vote in the November 2008 election.

Either way Walker decides, it’s likely to spark outrage. Should the decision go the way of the plaintiffs and Prop. 8 is overturned, many wonder how that will affect states like Idaho with constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. The consensus is there is likely to be a long court battle before we have a final answer.

Idaho Attorney General’s office spokesperson, Bob Cooper said,”It’s anticipated that it will be appealed both to the Ninth Circuit and to the Supreme Court regardless of which way it goes, so it’s really impossible to speculate on what impact, if any, it would have on Idaho. It’s going to depend on where it becomes a question of settled law and what the decision is.

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ACLU of Idaho executive director, Monica Hopkins concurred. “It is difficult to speculate on these legal issues. However if Prop 8 is struck down we may see the issue before the Supreme Court. Until the legal question is solved by the courts we have no way of knowing how this may affect the Idaho constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.”

The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the non-profit organization funding the plaintiffs and assembled the legal team lead by Theodore Olson and David Boies.

Spokesperson Robb Yusef told BW, “We are eagerly waiting to see how the court will rule and trust the court will make the right decision. Either way the court rules the other side will appeal this to the circuit court and then we expect this to be appealed to the Supreme Court. We have committed to take this case all the way because we believe that peoples fundamental rights need to be guaranteed once and for all.”

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The California Supreme Court ruled May 15, 2008, in a 4-3 decision that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Marriage license for gays and lesbians began being issued June 1, 2008. Until the passage of Prop 8, 18,000 same-sex couples have been legally married. Thus far, efforts to invalidate those marriages have been unsuccessful and the outcome of this case will not affect them.

Boise Weekly’s requests for comment from Protect Marriage, the organization leading the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign, have not been returned.

Protect Marriage received $40 million in donations from all over the county. Of that sum, $22 million was from members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. At least $419,000 came from Idahoans, with the largest donation of $100,000 coming from Belinda VanderSloot, the wife of Idaho Falls conservative millionaire and Melaleuca CEO Frank L. VanderSloot.

Boise LGBT Pride Grows Bigger Every Year

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com June 23, 2010

Gay Pride Rainbow FlagNearly 1,500 people gathered on the steps of the Statehouse on June 19 to celebrate the 17th annual Pride, the one day a year when LGBT friends and allies are free to openly express pride in themselves, their families and their community.

A short rally opened the day’s events. Monica Hopkins, Executive Director of ACLU Idaho was the keynote speaker (video below). Hopkins addressed a diverse crowd that included everyone from young families to senior citizens and who came from as far as Idaho Falls and Portland. She emphasized the need for people to “come out” and “work diligently on public policy issues.” With the recent closing of the Idaho Women’s Network and Idaho Equality, that leaves the ACLU as the only statewide organization working directly on LGBT public policy issues.

After the rally, the mile-long parade—led by the hallmark rainbow balloon arch, followed by an 80-foot tall rainbow flag—marched to the festivities at Ann Morrison Park. Boise Pride’s executive director, Tom Thompson, estimated overall attendance at 7,500. At a cost of $30,000 to put on, early estimates indicate a small profit from the festival as a result of the first ever $1 gate fee. Some festival goers complained about the fence that encircled the crowd but Thompson says it was required for liability and security issues and provides accurate attendance figures to prospective sponsors and vendors.

Over the years, protesters have always been present, carrying signs and chanting, but for the first time in Boise Pride history no anti-gay protesters showed. Many view that as a positive sign of progress. BW talked to a number of people for the video below, asking what people think are the most pressing issues facing Idaho’s LGBT community and how Boise compares to other communities in terms of being LGBT friendly.