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Friday, October 8, 2010

Special vigil Mon, Oct 11: National Coming Out Day, Napa

I am sure many of you have heard of the tragic loss of at least 6 youth around the country during the final weeks of September due to anti-gay bullying. The youngest youth was ELEVEN years old.

It is time we got together as a community and demanded that this kind of hate and harassment stop. It is time we got together as Napans to show our community--and especially those youth who feel the most pain and isolation--that they are not alone and that they are loved.

The Unity League contacted me about helping to get something happening for National Coming Out Day.
VOICES Q*Youth will be attending and helping, but this is a side project and event of the Napa community and is for everyone: straight as an arrow, queer as a 3-dollar bill and everyone in between--butches, femmes, trans, genderqueer and vanilla as icecream.

It'd be great to have you all (and your friends, family, colleagues) show up and show our youth support. Do you think we could get a ton of people together at Veteran's Park downtown (next to Downtown Joe's) on Monday at 6:30p? It would be to honor the memory of the youth who committed suicide due to anti-gay bullying and to show any other queer/questioning members of our community that they are not alone.

It would be a brief and informal "ceremony", but would be a powerful message to youth who feel hopeless.

They will only hear our message if we show up. How can we get a ton of people downtown w/ candles so our presence of love and support can be powerful?

The Facebook event page can be found here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

CA Fed Court rules DADT Unconstitutional: BREAKING NEWS

Breaking news from CNN, another win for the good side:
A federal court in Riverside, California, ruled Thursday that the
military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy - which bars lesbians and gay men
from serving openly in the military – is unconstitutional.

Virginia A. Phillips, U.S. district judge in Southern California, has ruled
that the policy violates the Fifth and First amendments, and issued a permanent injunction barring its enforcement.
I'm not sure yet how far reaching the jurisdiction of this decision is. Lawyer friends of The Fruit or Constitutional Law experts, please weigh in.

It also just happens that demonstrations were being held in SF (i.e., the complete blocking of the Market/Castro intersection) and Pennsylvania to protest Pelosi and Congress' inaction on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Napa Unity League Mixer, Mon, Sep 6, 6-8p

Monday, Labor day, September 6, 2010 is Napa's next Unity League mixer and meeting. A social gathering w/ good people, bites to eat and usually a great local winery pouring something tasty.

With a mission of enhanc[ing] the sense of community for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning (LGBTQ) citizens & their families, friends and allies through: social networking, community service, health & education and social justice, the folks from the Napa Valley Unity League are the main organizers for Napa's Pride, the Academy Awards party/fundraiser and AIDS Walk Napa Valley, among many other events.

Here's the lineup for this month's meeting:
  • This month we'll be celebrating Labor Day with a BBQ on the lawn above the pool at Riverpointe
  • Folks from Honig Winery will be on hand to pour their wines and talk about their facility and operation
  • We'll find out more about the 19th Annual Napa Valley AIDS Walk which takes place in Yountville on Saturday, October 30
  • We still have a few Napa Valley Pride dog tags ($3 each or 2 for $5) and wristbands ($2 each or 3 for $5)
  • Meet great folks and find out what's going on in the Napa Valley and the surrounding areas
There's a Facebook event page if you'd like to RSVP or peek at who's saying they're going.

Additionally, Josie just sent us out a special reminder about a community service project she and TJ are encouraging our support on:
I just wanted to remind people it is not too late to pick up some school supplies to donate to the Teachers Resource Center (formerly Change for Kids). Teachers have it tough these days and many spend up to $500 a year out of their own pockets so that all of their students can have needed supplies. There are still deals on paper, pens, notebooks and such at Office Depot, Target, Staples and Wal-Mart.

Bring your donation to the mixer and I will deliver it to the TRC. I talked to a teacher friend yesterday who said copy paper is really a strong need for most teachers. She is copying old textbooks to use in creative ways in her classes. Thanks in advance to all who can help.

Josie Jenkins
TJ Danser
Community Service Co-Chairs

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gay Day at Discovery Kingdom now called JUNGLE, Sat, Nov 13, 2010

Click to enlarge or click here for the full PDF

After last year's well intentioned but not hugely attended revamp of Gay Day ("Out In The Park") at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, I was wondering what might be in store for this year. Still not having heard anything, I thought they might have given up and left the big "gay day" parties to the other theme parks...

However, I was wrong. Gay Day at Discovery Kingdom is back, but revamped yet again. I guess you can't blame them for trying!

So what's in store for this year? It looks like they're learning from the past, and this year's Gay Day at Discovery Kingdom is know known as J.U.N.G.L.E. (Jointly Unified in a Nighttime Gay/Lesbian Event):
[From the official website's event page]
The park will be open to the general public from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket holders to JUNGLE can enjoy the festivities until park close at 11 p.m.

Tickets will go on sale starting in September at an early online price. Your purchased ticket to JUNGLE will also be valid during the park's public operating hours and a special wristband will provide access to the exclusive JUNGLE event.

Season Pass holders can enjoy a special Season Pass event wristband price and enjoy JUNGLE all night long. A portion of the ticket proceeds will be donated to our community partners.

Performances by:
Special appearances by:
House of Glitter, Cheer SF, Tita Aida, Rice Rockettes, DieNASTY, and CollaVoce.

Sponsored by:
Vitamin Water, Pink Banana Media, LOGO TV, Grindr, and Andre Harris Designs.

Community Partners:
Solano Pride, API Wellness, and Cheer SF.
They've also started a Facebook Page for the event with more info and ongoing updates. I hope the promoters give me free tickets to give away again! If anyone has connections, please let them know I'd love to hold a contest and promote the event.

Whatdya think? Are this year's changes enough to get you to go?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Same-sex marriage "stay" lifted, not in effect until Aug 18

[Update, 2:00pm, August 12: Early reports claiming the stay was lifted are factually correct, but later news corrected does not go into effect until August 18]

What a roller coaster!

Judge Vaughn Walker has issued his ruling on the temporary stay regarding the resumption of same-sex marriages in California and they are ordered to resume as early as August 18th. He lifted the stay, but gave proponents of Proposition 8 six days to file an appeal.

As I mentioned in an earlier post today, Napa County is ready to issue same gender marriage licenses as soon as the stay is fully lifted.

Next in this political saga and march towards Civil Rights/Equality is our wait to see if the appeal by Proposition 8 supportors will be heard--and if "Yes on 8" (listed as Prop 8 proponents in the official documents) even have a right to file an appeal. Marriages might only be legal in the short window of time between Walker's lifting of his own stay and the Ninth Circuit Court issuing their own.

For reactions to today's ruling from LGBTQ rights groups and others, check out this post by Joe.My.God.

More from SFGate:
(08-12) 19:11 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Gay and lesbian couples in California can begin marrying next week, a federal judge ruled Thursday - that is, unless the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals steps in to stop them.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker last week invalidated Proposition 8, the state's ban on same-sex marriage, saying it was discriminatory and unconstitutional, but put enforcement of that ruling on hold with a stay. Then on Thursday Walker lifted that stay but simultaneously ruled that his order not take effect until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

That gave proponents of Prop. 8 time to ask a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit court for another stay preventing same-sex marriages while that court - and perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court - reviews Walker's invalidation of the ban.

And by the end of Thursday, the ban's supporters had done just that. In a 95-page motion, they said a stay would "avoid the confusion and irreparable injury that would flow from the creation of a class of purported same-sex marriages." The Ninth Circuit court has not indicated when it might weigh in on the stay request...

...Moreover, Walker noted, the state did not defend Prop. 8. Instead, private organizations stepped in - but they might not have standing to appeal.

"It appears at least doubtful," Walker wrote, "that proponents will be able to proceed with their appeal without a state defendant ... In light of those concerns, proponents may have little choice but to attempt to convince either the governor or the attorney general to file an appeal."

That likelihood is less than slim: Opponents of Prop. 8 were joined in their request that the stay be lifted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Napa County ready to resume same gender marriages immediately

Judge Walker announced that he will publish his decision on the temporary stay (the "pause" on same-sex marriages) Thursday, August 12 at noon. Joe.My.God. has published this link to find the ruling when it is issued. (SFGate has shared this link to watch live video outside of San Francisco City Hall.)

I sent an inquiry to our local County Recorder-Clerk, John Tuteur as to how quickly Napa is ready to resume same-sex marriages, and this was his (very supportive!) reply:
"Our staff is ready to issue marriage licenses to same gender couples immediately if the stay is lifted by Judge Walker. We are also prepared to perform ceremonies for same gender couples. We have had gender neutral forms since May 17, 2008.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance, JOHN TUTEUR, NAPA COUNTY ASSESSOR-RECORDER-COUNTY CLERK"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Napa Guerilla Gays head to the Fair, Weds, Aug 11

It's that time of year again! One week before school starts and today, Wednesday, August 11 is the first day of the Napa Town & Country Fair! The Town/Country Fair (not to be confused with Napa County's Fair, held around the 4th of July in Calistoga) is held mid-August, yearly in Napa City, just south of 3rd Street at the Expo.

Many long-time Napans remember fondly riding the Zipper at the Carnival, cruising Chardonnay Hall for infomercial wares, perusing the smelly livestock area (or selling livestock if you're a 4H kinda person), judging local art/food/crafts, watching a performance and buying (insert product here)-on-a-stick and loving it!

Well to make the fair a little "gayer" this year (and what's a fair without fun friends to enjoy it with), Rick has launched a Guerilla Gay mission encouraging us all to head to the fairgrounds today and soak up some of the last bits of summer:
Join the troops from the Napa Guerilla Gay Bar as we invade the Napa Town & Country Fair (on the grounds of the Napa Valley Expo at 575 Third Street in Napa) on Wednesday, August 11 for OPENING DAY!

We'll eat (of course), we'll drink (naturally), we'll visit the exhibits, we'll all hold our noses as we look at the livestock, we'll ride the rides in the carnival area (or watch as others scream and cry like little kids).

Then, at 8 p.m. we'll meet up at the brand new amphitheatre for a concert by jazz pianist David Benoit (pronounced, believe it or not, BEN-wah). Those who saw him perform with Dave Koz at the Robert Mondavi Summer Concert Series know how good this guy is! What could be better? A warm August evening, sitting with friends outdoors and listening to great jazz! And don't forget - the concert is free with your admission to the fair.

Blow off work and spend the entire day or just show up when you can. Be sure to wear your Napa Valley Pride dog tags or other camouflage and/or rainbow paraphernalia so we can spot you.

Advance tickets are available for just $8 (a 20% savings) by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" link at
There is a facebook event page if you'd like to RSVP or see who's going already. Share your favorite fair (Napa or otherwise) moments in the comments.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Photos of Prop 8 overturn rally, Aug 4, 2010

Photo by J. Cortez

What a celebration! Were you at the Veteran's Park rally in Napa (or in your hometown) on August 4, 2010 after Judge Walker's scathing overturn of Proposition 8? Send your pics to contribute to our album:

Can't view flash? Click through to visit the album here.

Photos by:
  • Jessica Cortez
  • Renee Fannin
  • J.L. Sousa/Napa Valley Register
Additionally, the Napa Register has a nice write up from the Associated Press, and a photo-shoot and video of the local reaction.

Prop 8 overturned, temporary stay issued

photos courtesy Jessica Cortez

As you must've heard all over the news, blogs, facebook and twitter, Federal Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Proposition 8 with his ruling on Wednesday, August 4, 2010:
"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."
Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8...
Visit here for the full text of Judge Walker's ruling.

For now, same-sex marriages are still on hold. Judge Walker issued what's called a temporary stay (for two days) to pause the resuming of same-sex marriages while a short trial can be held to see if they should be on hold until the appeal is heard:

On Wednesday, at least, the purely practical impact of the decision was limited, and gay and lesbian couples such as Perry and Stier were unable to rush to the altar. Walker attached a stay order to his ruling, freezing it for at least a few days until a separate hearing can be held on whether to allow same-sex marriages while the case is appealed.

The decision did not affect 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who wed before voters passed Prop. 8. Those unions are still legal.

But the broader legal and political repercussions are weighty, as the trial was the first ever held in federal court on the issue. Legal experts said that if Walker's ruling is affirmed on appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court would almost certainly take up the case and establish law for the rest of the country.

If the appeals court reverses Walker's decision and restores the ban, the experts said, the Supreme Court may leave the case alone.

The appeal to the Ninth Circuit could be decided within months - or the process could take more than a year. [SFGate]

Hundreds of celebrations and 40+ community rallies took place across the state, including a rally at Veteran's Park in downtown Napa.

What was your reaction to the ruling? Thoughts on what's next?