Sam Smith Prays, Love, Simon Gets a Brother and Midterms Examined

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Sam Smith

Progressives waiting for Donald Trump’s repudiation since November 2016 now look to the midterms. Plus Sam Smith returns, and Netflix puts a “questioning” teen in the spotlight.

Roses Are Red; Violets Are Blue

Maybe, but many red and blue states will be in play this fall. Those states hovering between are now dubbed “purple” and include Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia — and they all held primary elections for US House, Senate and state gubernatorial seats yesterday.

It should come as no surprise that in many of those places, GOP contenders often tried to outflank one another on who was the most anti-gay. So at least on the right, it’s safe to say that those wishing to disenfranchise the LGBTQ community will find a number of candidates to suit their fancy.

Among the choices: Greg Pence, who won the primary for a House seat from Indiana’s 6th district. The name is the brand, according to the veep’s brother, who insists there is “no daylight” between him and Mikey on any issue — which would of course include his revulsion at anything that entitles the LGBTQ community to equal rights.

The veep’s boss handpicked Jim Renacci for an Ohio U.S. Senate seat, and was one of the few Trumpeters who will advance to the general election in the fall.

Interestingly enough, he may not be the most virulently anti-gay of the candidates to win last night. In 2015, Renacci voted for an amendment to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in companies receiving federal contracts. The bill failed, and the very next year, Renacci voted against it. In other words, a little arm-twisting from constituents and donors pushed him over the other side of the fence.

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Compare and contrast his weak support/oppostion with Mark Harris, who will be vying for a seat in the US House representing North Carolina. He actually beat incumbent Republican Robert Pittenger, who became the first GOP incumbent to lose a primary race this cycle.

Harris is a pastor and the current president of the North Carolina Baptist Convention. He beat Pittenger the way many have in recent years, by running to the conservative’s right.

Beyond describing his opponent as a “Republican liberal,” Harris’ street-cred stretches back to a victory in pushing for a 2012 amendment to the state constitution banning marriage equality.

Also in Indiana, Jim Baird is in the hunt for a seat in the US House, representing the 4th Congressional District. His record? He spoke in favor of businesses citing faith as justification to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community.

Other foes in the fight include Patrick Morrissey, who will run for a US Senate seat to represent West Virginia. As the state’s Attorney General, Morrissey joined a lawsuit to undo the Obama administratation’s federal protection of trangender students.

Also on the hit list: Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine, who will be running for governor of the state this fall. DeWine’s record on LGBTQ rights is similarly dismal. Back in 2014, he also challenged a court ruling — this one would have compelled Ohio to recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other states.

Sam’s Prayer

There’s a new video for “Pray,” one of the two songs that wowed critics and crowds when Sam Smith performed last fall on SNL and at the Grammys recently.

In a statement, Smith says he wrote the song after spending five days in Mosul with the charity War Child. As he explains it, “We are all looking around at what’s happening in the world and it is just messed up. You’ve got no choice but to look up to the sky and put your hands together and pray for something to happen.”

Smith kicks off the North American leg of The Thrill Of It All tour at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, then performs New York City. Concerts are scheduled for June 27 at Barclays Center and June 29 at Madison Square Garden — and Smith has now added a third show at the Garden June 30.

Here’s the video:

Simon Says

If you thought Love, Simon and its After-School Special vibe would be the end of such fare, think again. Netflix has a new series debuting next month called Alex Strangelove. Alex has a girlfriend. She wants to share their magical “first time” together. But then … a boy appears.

Have a look:

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Last modified: May 10, 2018

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