Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trending COP 24/7

Amtrak Joins Cadre of Companies in Support of Pride

Who knew? Amtrack has "jumped the broom" in attracting the LGBTQ community with its new "Ride with Pride" campaign using the tag line, "priceless family moments are now available," complete with same sex couples featured in their advertising. Way to go Amtrack! In case you have had the pleasure of traveling by train it can be quite an experience as I learned a few years back. I recalled much of that travel here in COP 24/7 to the delight of many readers. In association with the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, the campaign also included a now concluded contest in which entrants could win travel on Amtrack to Pride weekend via the train. Winners headed to Chicago, NY, San Francisco and New Orleans for a fun-filled weekend. Couples enjoyed the comfortable seats, had cocktails in the Lounge car, and arrived at the Amtrak stations refreshed and ready to enjoy the festivities. My short hop was to St. Louis from Little Rock, which did allow me to check out all the amenities of this type of traveling. Actually, the next time I use train service I am certainly going to look into getting a sleeper cabin that offers a sense of privacy and also allows you meal service which is included in your fair. Coach seats can be comfy, but if you are going for the long haul, the sleeper is the only way to go. I can't end this post without also mentioning that Amtrack isn't always on time, so if you've got to be there by a definate timeframe, you might want to take this travel mode as second choice. Despite it all, I loved going by train and can't wait to do it again maybe across country. So Amtrack, I'm ready whenever you may want to send me!  Big Kudos to Amtrack for its diversity pledge and forward thinking about the traveling public.

Obama Nominates Openly Gay Judge to District Court

Today, upon recommendation by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), President Obama nominated Pamela Chen to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. If confirmed, Ms. Chen would become the second female Chinese-American and the fifth openly-gay individual to receive a lifetime judicial appointment in the U.S. There are nearly 900 lifetime federal judgeships.
“I am proud to nominate this outstanding candidate to serve on the United States District Court bench,” said President Obama. “Pamela Chen has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve on the federal bench with distinction.”
Senator Schumer work to ensure that the federal bench contains diversity is notable. He has recommended two of the three openly-gay federal judges currently serving.
“Pamela Chen will be an excellent federal judge. She is an experienced attorney with a long record of public service who possesses the legal excellence, intellect and temperament to be a first-rate judge,” Schumer said. “Ms. Chen is a trailblazer in every sense of the word. Her leadership skills, her commitment to justice, and her extensive experience make her an fantastic choice for a position on the Eastern District Court.”
Ms. Chen currently heads the Civil Rights Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York. She supervises the investigation and prosecution of criminal civil rights matters, including hate crimes, color-of-law offenses and human trafficking. Ms. Chen’s parents were immigrants from China. Her father was born near Shanghai and grew up there, and her mother was born in Changsha, the capital of Sichuan Province. They met in the U.S. at the University of Chicago during WWII.
HRC has actively supported and advocated on the behalf of Ms. Chen. We congratulate her on a much deserved achievement.

Army Promotes First Openly Gay General Officer

Tammy S. Smith became the first openly gay officer of flag rank in the U.S. Military after her promotion Friday to Army brigadier general.

Smith is now the highest-ranking openly gay service member in the U.S. military.

The officer’s wife and father participated in the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery’s Women in Military Service for America Memorial.

Her promotion is less than a year after the implementation of the repeal DADT, the discriminatory policy banning lesbian and gay service members from serving openly.

In an interview with Stars and Stripes, Smith said she is not focused on the milestone as an openly lesbian individual, but rather on the honor of “upholding Army values” as brigadier general.

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