Mark My Words

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at or Twitter at

This last sleepy, dreary, overcast Saturday, you might have missed President Barack Obama as he gave what many might say in the future was one of his best speeches of his presidential years. It was a commencement address at Howard University, and it was a call for what he has consistently stood for: hope. It was also an urge to those in attendance to get involved, and not be afraid to engage with those who do not agree with us, for change only happens with communication.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program Tuesday, Donald Trump asked why people didn’t look into the reports that Ted Cruz’s father was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald, seeming to suggest that Cruz’s father was a part of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This was based on a baseless story from a publication that must be high on Trump’s reading list: the National Enquirer. This is the way, and the day, that Trump essentially won the Republican nomination for president. Do you really think November’s general election is going to be any different?

Before I get to the meat of what this column is about, I’d like to offer an opportunity to anyone who’d like to go to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this July. But it comes with strings, a lot of fun and a little work. Oh, and you have to change your name … and do it in the next 90 days.

Listen up, LGBT history fans.

When you think of LGBT history, you likely think of San Francisco or New York City, but the truth is, 40 years ago, Pennsylvania was at the vanguard of the American struggle for LGBT equality. You’re probably thinking I’m going to mention those pickets outside Independence Hall every July 4 from 1965-69, or the Dewey’s sit-in in 1965. None of the above. 

Last Friday I attended a meeting of the National Gay Media Association, an organization of the publishers of the LGBT legacy publications. At one point when we came back from a break, Lynn Brown, publisher of The Washington Blade, asked all to rise but me. She then asked all the other publishers to toast me and PGN on our 40th anniversary. 

After Republican senators announced they would unequivocally not “advise and consent” to any nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court that President Obama seeks to appoint, I wrote in my Feb. 18 column that “by taking such an approach, the GOP has handed liberals a golden opportunity … Court experts, listen up: There are 13 appellate court districts in the United States and only four of the 13 are considered conservative, meaning that nine — or two-thirds — are comprised of liberal-leaning judges. When an appellate court rules, their position becomes the law of the land, unless SCOTUS agrees to hear, and then overturns, the case. And, if the court agrees to hear a case, and is split four-four — because of Scalia’s vacancy — the appellate court ruling stands.”

Jason and I went to a heterosexual wedding last weekend. (I wonder if heterosexuals say, “I went to a gay wedding last weekend”?) Anyway, it was the first one we’ve been to since our own wedding. We were honored to be asked to be a part of the ceremony itself; we got the opportunity to watch the faces of our friends, Jesse and Mark, as they went through a monumental change in their lives. 

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and other Catholic dioceses around the state are held in such disrespect by Pennsylvania citizens that it takes an out-of-state organization such as New York’s The Catholic League and its official apologist — the well-paid at nearly a half-million a year with benefits, Bill Donahue — to come to the rescue of … get ready for it…. the priest-abuse scandal. 

In less than a month, this newspaper will celebrate its 40th anniversary. That’s really something when you consider there are only two other LGBT publications in the nation that can make a similar statement.

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