Newt Gingrich: I cheated because I love my country so much and I work so hard

Newt Gingrich, on an appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network, defended his serial adultery – including serving divorce papers on his sick first wife so he could marry his mistress – by explaining that he did some things he may not be so proud of because he’s so doggone patriotic and hardworking.

“There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate,” Gingrich told CBN’s David Brody.

This is a rather inauspicious beginning of a run for President. Before the appearance on CBN, he stumbled a bit out of the gate when an adviser leaked the plans for forming an exploratory committee. That was followed by a another adviser claiming that wasn’t true. And finally, an odd press conference that ended suddenly after one question.

I’m not sure if this is how you make a gold medal run for the highest office in the land, but it certainly gets some attention.

Possible amendment to Maryland Marriage Equality Bill

Evidence of just how close the votes look to be on the marriage equality bill in Maryland, leaders in the House of Delegates are considering a “friendly” amendment to the bill that would broaden the intended protections for churches and religious organizations.

Until now, House leaders have sought to resist amendments as that would require sending the bill back to the state Senate. With no amendments, the bill can go directly to the governor’s desk for signing.

From the Washington Post: The amendment, sought by Del. John A. Olszewski Jr., would tweak language intended to provide protections to religious organizations whose beliefs are not compatible with same-sex marriage.

As it stands, the bill says that religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage are not required to engage in a range of activities related to “the promotion of marriage, through religious programs, counseling, educational courses, summer camps, and retreats, in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs.”

Olszewski’s amendment would cut the specific examples contained in the provision, in hopes of broadening the intended protections.

From GLEE: a father/son discussion that is and isn’t about sex

There’s something very moving about honest discussions between parents and their children.

From GLEE last night. As a gay man, what resonates about this scene isn’t about being gay. It’s about a father stepping up and having a really uncomfortable conversation with his son. A father who actually FATHERS a son.

I never had this conversation with my father. In any form. But I have a great amount of confidence that had my “old-world” father been born a little later – my dad would have been something like this.

I’m lucky to have known my father, to know I could say I loved him and to hear him say he loved me. He looked forward to meeting Michael, my husband. He even made us laugh when he met Michael. The first thing my father ever said to Michael was “You must be Michael. Hey – you’re good looking.” How do you not love that and feel good about where you come from?

Every situation isn’t that Disney-wonderful and supportive. Speaking from a different personal perspective, I’ve been with my husband for over 16 years. Legally married for over 7. But his father has never spoken to me, and his father has never shown any interest in speaking to or meeting me. That’s not a judgement. It’s just the facts. (To be clear: The parents needed “time to adjust” to my husband’s coming out, so I didn’t push myself into their lives out of respect. I guess I never thought it would take 16 years to adjust…) Anyway – clearly there’s a big chasm out there in terms of fathers, sons and communication.

I’m not a father. But I am a son. So I get half of this equation. And maybe I get a few points for knowing how much I love my god-son, for whom I have a great amount of respect, love and pride.

What would this world be like if all fathers really took the time and thought to have this conversation without judgement? What if….? Just the idea is amazing.

I think this is really amazing.

Senate rejects both GOP & Dem Budget Proposals

In an effort intended to demonstrate a walk to progress, both the GOP $60 Billion Budget cuts bill and the Democrat $12 Billion budget cuts bill were voted down today.

The GOP bill received 44 aye votes while the Dem bill received 42 aye votes.

Reports say the votes were meant to show Tea Party voters that their desired huge cuts were not responsible or possible while also demonstrating to liberal voters that more needs to be done in terms of budget cuts to come to a consensus on the budget.

From the AP: Republicans dominating the House, driven by a campaign promise to bring return domestic agency budgets to 2008, drove through last month a measure cutting more than $60 billion, imposing cuts of 13 percent, on average, to domestic agencies.

Senate Democrats had been slow to respond. Their alternative, unveiled only on Friday by Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, cuts about $12 billion below levels enacted for 2010. It’s also $30 billion below a Senate omnibus spending measure that Republicans sidetracked in December.

Inouye said his bill represented months of labor by panel members and their aides and “makes real cuts to real programs. But the cuts … are based on hearings, testimony and a thorough analysis of the current needs of every agency and department. By contrast, the Republicans in the House have thrown together a proposal … based on the campaign promise to reduce spending by $100 billion.”

The White House issued a statement Wednesday clearly stating that the administration opposes the GOP plan and that the president will veto any bill “that undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions, contains earmarks, or curtails the drivers of long-term economic growth and job creation while continuing to burden future generations with deficits.”

Both plans would have funded the federal government through the end of September.

NY Governor moves forward on Marriage Equality

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is slated to hold strategy meetings with LGBT advocates to plan a way forward to advance marriage equality in New York state.

From New York Magazine: “A confidential strategy meeting will be held today between Governor Andrew Cuomo and top gay activists in the state over the topic of marriage equality, the Times reports. While Cuomo has often said that legalizing nuptials for gay couples is a priority, advocates haven’t been sure that he’d put his money where his mouth was — the last time that a bill on the subject was put before the State Senate (in 2009), the body was controlled by Democrats and the measure failed 38–24.”

“Now it faces even higher hurdles; even though Cuomo is vastly more popular than David Paterson, his predecessor, was, the Senate is now controlled by Republicans. He’ll need some of their votes to get a bill to pass.”

I Saw Celine’s new show in Vegas

I don’t want to give too many details away to spoil anything for the fans, but I will say up front – she sings like a dream. What an amazing, amazing vocalist.

We get lots of different styles of songs: her hits, a great James Bond movie song medley, some jazz, an amazing performance of a moving french song… great stuff.

The lighting is really fantastic. Completely what this diva deserves. The entire production is pure class.

A few tech issues – this was the second preview – but that will clearly be tuned before opening.

I seriously predict she’s going to have another record setting run at Caesars.

My favorite, among many things: the whole presentation of “All By Myself”. The vocal, the lighting, the dress. Perfect.

Book your trip to Vegas kids – she’s really amazing.

Maryland House defeats 4 anti-gay amendments to Civil Marriage Bill

From JoeMyGod: After voting down four hostile GOP amendments, the Maryland House of Delegates has just voted to advance its marriage equality bill to a third (and possibly final) reading tomorrow. Here are the failed poison pills offered by the enemies of equality:

Amendment 1: “This Act may not be construed to require an entity to provide adoption, foster care, or social services if providing the services would violate the entity’s religious beliefs.”

Amendment 2: “Providing that, in a public school that offers instruction involving materials that promote same-sex marriage, a public school teacher may not be required to teach the materials and a parent shall be given an opportunity to have the parent’s child excused from the instruction under certain circumstances.”

Amendment 3: “Change title of Act to ‘Same-Sex Marriage Act’.”

Amendment 4: “To require a public referendum on same-same marriage.”

The final vote could come as soon as Thursday.

(via email by openly gay Delegate Luke Clippinger)

Civil Unions pass committee vote in Colorado

Civil unions in Colorado moved forward on an early vote of 6-3 in the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

According to a Feb. 2011 poll by Public Policy Polling, 72 percent of Colorado voters support legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples.

The bill is expected to pass easily in the state Senate where all of the Democratic members, who hold a majority, have signed on as co-sponsors. But the Republican-led state House could be problematic. Republicans hold a one-seat majority in that chamber.

Opposition in the House focuses on whether or not the bill contradicts the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud), who put that amendment on the ballot, opposed the bill, reports the Denver Post.

“It is as close to marriage as can be construed in Colorado law without using that word,” Lundberg said. “For that reason it is marriage and it changes the institution of marriage.”

There you go kids – even when you take the word “marriage” out of the equation, you can’t get past discrimination.