Tag: gay rights

Baltimore City’s First Chick-fil-A to Open in Canton



Chick-fil-A — the formerly anti-gay-marriage purveyors of bepickled chicken sandwiches are opening their first location in Baltimore City, likely in April. The restaurant is popping up at the Canton Crossing on Boston Street.

If you’re one of the first 100 adults in line on opening day — to be determined — you’ll receive 52 certificates for free Chick-fil-A meals. But be warned, if you’re used to McDonald’s Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich, the Chick-fil-A version might take some getting used to; apparently, they put their pickles under the chicken filet.

Twenty Percent of Same-Sex Couples in Baltimore Area Raising Children



When gay marriage is debated, it’s often considered more or less hypothetically — Should one have the right to marry another of the same sex? But to think of it this way obscures the reality that gay men and women are already committing to one another indefinitely, sharing resources, and raising children. The more relevant — and urgent — question is Should gay families be considered families? 

That urgency is underscored by a new study from the Williams Institute that used 2010 U.S. Census data to determine that in six major population hubs across the country at least 20 percent of same-sex couples are raising children, the Baltimore-Towson area among them. Of course, here in Maryland, gay marriage is technically a settled question. Not so for the other five major metropolitan areas, all of which fall within states that have constitutional bans on gay marriage.

So congratulations, Maryland, for recognizing all the families in our state. Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Utah — let’s get a move on!


Did the Ravens Axe Brendon Ayanbadejo for his Gay Rights Activism?



It’s been an up-and-down week for Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo. The outspoken gay rights advocate flew to New York to accept the Straight for Equality in Sports Award from PFLAG, only to learn that he would be “released” — polite sportstalk for “cut” — from the team. In an interview with Newsday, Ayanbadejo intimated that his activism was perhaps to blame:  “My bark is louder than my bite. I make a lot of noise and garner a lot of attention for various things off the football field. When that starts happening, why do you have that player around?”

Del. Burns Admonished Again, Officially This Time

L to R: Brendon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe, Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr.
L to R: Brendon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe, Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr.

It wasn’t enough that Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe wrote him an obscenity-laden, chastising open letter back in September. Del. Emmett C. Burns is facing heat again for the letter he wrote to Ravens owner Steve Biscotti asking that Biscotti discourage Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo from being so vocal in his support for marriage equality. This time it’s from the General Assembly’s ethics committee, and though Burns hasn’t not revealed the exact contents of the letter, we know it’s over Burns’s use of legislative stationery in his plea to silence Ayanbadejo.

Baltimore Raven Uses Super Bowl Fame to Advocate for Gay Rights



Just hours after the Ravens won the AFC Championship game, Brendon Ayanbadejo was already thinking strategically — not so much about football (though we hope that’s on his mind, too), but about how he could use this trip to the Super Bowl to further his favorite adopted cause, gay rights.

For Ayanbadejo, Being Called “Gay” Is an Honor


Time was, celebrities rumored to be gay would issue a statement vehemently denying any queer tendencies and then quickly add, “not that there would be anything wrong with that!” Well, we may be fast approaching a time when those same celebrities may responding with something more like, “No, but I’m so flattered you’d assume that,” what with GQ naming Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo (as well as Viking Chris Kluwe) an “honorary gay” for his vocal, uncompromising support of gay marriage this past year.

A Good, Short Life: Baltimore Remembers Writer Dudley Clendinen


Writer and journalist Dudley Clendinen, 67, died on Wednesday – he had suffered from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, since 2010. Clendinen remained in his Baltimore home until Wednesday when he was relocated to the Joseph Richey House for hospice care. A reporter and editorial writer for The New York Times, Clendinen carved his name covering hot-potato topics about which he felt fiercely passionate or hugely curious — gay rights, crowded prisons, abortion, homelessness, elder care — challenging readers to think and to dialogue. A deep-voiced Southern storyteller never at a loss for words, he chronicled his own alcoholism, his difficult coming out and divorce, his friends lost to AIDS, as well as his degenerative illness, which he’d nicknamed “Lou,” all with strength and style.

Clendinen and reporter Adam Nagourney’s landmark book, Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America, was published in 1987, A Place Called Canterbury: Tales of the New Old Age in America in 2008. For Canterbury, Dudley took up residence for 400 days in his mother’s retirement home in Tampa.

He also served stints as senior editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Baltimore Sun. In 2009 and 2010, he taught writing at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Baltimore. Recently, Clendinen conducted a series of radio interviews on “Maryland Morning” with Tom Hall called “Living with Lou: Dudley Clendinen on a Good, Short Life.” The man was also known as a world-class dinner party host.

I asked several Baltimore creatives who knew and loved Clendinen’s voice – and his spirit – to describe his presence in their lives.

Tom Hall met Clendinen 21 years ago when the journalist moved to Baltimore to take a job at The Sun.

“Linell, my wife, worked there at the time, and although Dudley’s tenure at The Sun was short, our friendship lasted until he passed away,” Hall said. “I’ll miss being at dinner parties with Dudley, who was one of the great raconteurs of all time. We always met wonderful people at his house, and the people we introduced Dudley to at our house were always charmed and engaged by [him]. We spent a lot of holidays together…and my daughter, who is now 23, grew up with Dudley’s fantastic presence, his support, and love. Our family will miss him dearly.”

You can listen to Hall’s remembrance of Clendinen at WYPR.org, and find related pieces.

Author and Baltimore Fishbowl columnist Marion Winik met Clendinen in 2008 at the University of Baltimore. She remembers his wit and great face, his scrambled eggs and salad.

Maryland Coalition Strives to Increase African-American Support Statewide for Gay Marriage


Required reading in Wednesday’s New York Times reported on a coalition working to bring more black voters in Maryland to a pro-gay-marriage mindset — the Human Rights Campaign and the Service Employees International Union trains focus on African American Democrats, whose high-population support is essential for the passage of a bill to legalize gay marriage, now headed to the state legislature.  

“The campaign includes videos of well-known African-American Marylanders, including Michael Kenneth Williams, an actor from the television series ‘The Wire,’ and Mo’nique, a Baltimore-born actress; an editorial in The Afro; and conversations in churches and union halls, where most members are black,” reports Sabrina Tavernise in her thorough NYTimes piece.

Tavernise recounts a Washington Post poll from last month which reported that 71 percent of white Maryland Democrats support gay marriage, which only 41 percent of black Maryland Democrats are pro-same-sex union. (Shocking, no?)

The coalition may or may not succeed in shifting the bias of a certain slice of the black community historically opposed to homosexuality, usually on religious grounds. Last year, several black churches joined forces to launch the Maryland Marriage Alliance, their own coalition to fight the gay marriage bill — the massive Maryland Catholic Conference is on board, too.

So, it’s really uplifting to read in this article about activists like the Rev. Larry Brumfield, an African-American pastor in Baltimore, who speaks out regularly on his radio program about gay rights, aiming to be “extra vocal” to change people’s minds and help change the law.

“It really bothers me how black people can be so insensitive to oppression,” he said in the NYTimes story. “They use the same arguments that were used against us by the segregationists in the 1950s.”

It bothers us, too — in fact, the situation outright confounds us. In our view, homophobia is absolutely identical to racism and sexism. Haven’t we all learned anything from the civil rights movement? Why doesn’t a larger portion of the Democratic African American community feel compelled to empathize with a minority making brave strides in the name of basic equality? And if the Human Rights Campaign fails to sway enough black voters, will Obama feel comfortable supporting gay marriage with maximum courage? What are your thoughts on the issue, readers?