Archive for the ‘Gay/Lesbian Rights’ Category
Today is “Write to Marry Day“, viz:
Bloggers around the country will participate in “Write to Marry Day” on October 29, 2008, posting on their blogs in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples and against California’s Proposition 8. Prop 8 is a measure on California’s November ballot that would take away the right of same-sex couples to marry.
“Prop 8 is an unfair and unnecessary measure that would eliminate equal protections for same-sex couples and write discrimination into the California state Constitution,” adds co-organizer Dana Rudolph, founder of LGBT-parenting blog Mombian. “As marriage equality spreads throughout the country, people in all states have a vested interest in making sure this hard-won right is protected.”
Basically what happened is the usual right-wing folderol. The California Constitution was finally interpreted correctly by the State Supreme Court and gay marriage became legal. It’s pretty much the same thing that happened in Massachusetts last year and the response was equally typical: the Religious Right – Jimmy Dobson, the Devil’s Friend, and his bag of nuts in Focus on the Family are right in the middle of it no doubt – got a proposition on the California ballot demanding that the California Constitution and the rights of a group of people they don’t care for be violated in order to make the country safe for bigots and haters.
Let just get this straight (no pun intended) once and for all: gay marriage does not and cannot and will not endanger hetero marriage in any way shape or form. The whole argument against it is bogus from beginning to end.
Yesterday the Mass legislature defeated an amendment to the State Constitution that would have put an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative in front of voters next year. This wasn’t a surprise. Even though the forces from the religious right who have poured people and money into the state since the Mass Supreme Court overturned anti-gay marriage laws only needed a quarter of the legislature to back them up – 50 votes – the word was they didn’t have it.
And they didn’t. The measure lost by 5 votes. New Democratic Gov Patrick Deval put a lot of time and energy into cooling down any potential hotheads, which was good of him and maybe it made a difference. But the truth is that the right-wing whackos who have been inundating us with prophesies of doom if the Supreme Court’s decision wasn’t overturned have been terminally embarrassed by the total lack of any negative effect of the law. Or any positive effect, for that matter. No one can find any difference in the way life proceeds in the state of Massachusetts between pre-gay marriage years and post-gay marriage years.
The sky, you see, contrary to all the predictions by the members of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family who’ve been shooting off their mouths for the last 3 years, didn’t fall. Crops didn’t fail, goats weren’t born with two heads, straight marriage rates didn’t change, teenagers didn’t start fornicating in the streets, and Satan didn’t buy a place in Back Bay.
Really, nothing happened. Nothing.
People for the American Way are reporting that Bush has just nominated yet another racist, sexist, anti-labor judge to a seat on the Federal bench, this time for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
President Bush has nominated Leslie Southwick to fill a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Bush previously tried to fill the seat with Charles Pickering and then Michael Wallace, both of whom faced significant opposition due to their disturbing legal records, especially on civil rights.
“Regrettably, Southwick also has a troubling record and appears to be cut from the same cloth as the others,” said Ralph G. Neas, President of People For the American Way. “First Pickering, then Wallace, and now Southwick – Bush has completely struck out on the Fifth Circuit.”
Hardaway’s comments are everywhere and everywhere discussed, so no, this isn’t really about him. Good basketball player but another bigoted idiot-athlete. Nothing new there, end of story. At least he has the excuse that he was being honest: homophobia is a disease and he’s sick.
No, this is about the Concerned Women for America, a far-right, Xtian Nationalist group with an agenda less humane that Genghiz Khan’s. According to Julian Sanchez of Notes from the Lounge, CWA is circulating a press release condemning what he said. Good, right? But dig the reason they’re condemning it:
“Hardaway’s comments are both unfortunate and inappropriate,” said Matt Barber, CWA’s Policy Director for Cultural Issues. “They provide political fodder for those who wish to paint all opposition to the homosexual lifestyle as being rooted in ‘hate.’ [....] It’s perfectly natural for people to be repelled by disordered sexual behaviors that are both unnatural, and immoral [....] Hardaway’s comments only serve to foment misperceptions of widespread homosexual ‘victimhood’ which the homosexual lobby has craftily manufactured.”
IOW, it’s “perfectly natural” to hate somebody different but don’t say it in public because that makes it harder for other haters to get away with hating. And if you must say it in public (this goes for Isaiah Washington, too, I’m sure), use the politically correct, Xtian-fundie-approved language in which it’s the gays’ own fault that you hate them. If you don’t, you run the risk of arousing sympathy for the fact that they’re hated, thus feeding into “the gay agenda” of “victimhood” which the “homosexual lobby” has “manufactured” and “foment[ing] misperceptions” that gay people might actually be human and not deserve the hate they’ve brought on themselves.
That would be bad.
Yoicks. That’s double-helix pretzel logic. In a can. With whipped cream on top and a make-believe cherry. A version straight from your standard rapist: “It’s her fault I raped her. Her skirt was too short/blouse was too tight/she has legs/she had the gall to be female.” In Right-Wing LaLaLand, there are no victims except the ones who want to be, so of course wingnuts have to oblige them but it’s their fault. They forced the wingnuts to hate them.
This is also the argument that’s been used by oligarchs and despots from time immemorial. When the populist Gracci brothers were murdered during the Roman Empire, the Senate explained that it was their own fault for advocating land reform. When Pinochet murdered Allende, the staid NY Times editorial board allowed as how he had given the Junta no choice because he impinged on the prerogatives of the privileged class.
It’s always somebody else’s fault, and Hardaway’s sin was to forget that by admitting it was his. Shameful.
PS Am I the only one who finds it odd that the Concerned Women for America’s Cultural Policy Director is a guy? Don’t women even run their own groups over there?
(Lounge link via Jon Swift)
Veep Cheney, after months of waffling, has returned to his original position on gay marriage: that it’s an issue that should be decided by the states.
DAVENPORT, Iowa — Vice President Dick Cheney, whose oldest daughter is a lesbian, said Tuesday he believed that decisions about same-sex marriages should be left to the states, contending that “freedom means freedom for everyone.”Despite his personal view, he added, President Bush is his boss, and Bush favors an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning such marriages. “The president makes policy for the administration,” Cheney said.
His comments came in response to a question during an invitation-only town hall meeting in Davenport, a city both presidential campaigns have focused on in their competition to win Iowa. Cheney’s remarks were his first this year on the gay marriage issue while campaigning.
So what’s the actual news here? The LAT seems torn between three possibilities:
1) It’s news because Cheney is openly breaking with Bush;
2) It’s news because he did so at an ‘invitation-only’ appearance where both the questioners and the questions are known in advance;
3) It’s news because the Veep decided to let the Pres call the shots just this once.
Asked later about the difference between Bush’s and Cheney’s positions on the constitutional amendment, Anne Womack, a spokeswoman for the vice president, responded: “The vice president respects the president’s right to make that decision.”
Out of the mouths of babes. Quite subconsciously, it seems, Little Dick’s spokeswoman let the cat out of the bag. If the Veep respects Junior’s ‘right’ to make ‘that’ decision, the unspoken assumption is that ‘that decision’ is an exception to the general rule. She might as well have said, ‘Dick decided to let George have his way on this one, but it probably won’t happen again.’
In true Publican backstabbing style, naturally she said this after the Vice President had torpedoed one of his boss’ favorite far-right panders in a semi-public forum. Look for the Mighty Wurlitzer to chop him up in little pieces for subverting their dearly beloved campaign distraction and ‘major social issue’ about which they have been fulminating for months, the FMA. They’ll call Dick a ‘traitor’, they’ll say he wants to destroy the institution of marriage, that he hates America, that he’s a tool of the ‘special interests’.
Sure they will.
As expected, the discriminatory anti-gay marriage amendment is DOA. Even a majority of the Pubs themselves are against it. Meanwhile, Repub Sen Rick Santorum, the guy who can’t tell the difference between a gay man and a dog, was one of several to repeat things only he has heard.
“Marriage is hate. Marriage is a stain. Marriage is an evil thing. That’s what we hear. People who stand for traditional marriage are haters, they’re bashers, they’re mean-spirited, they’re intolerant. … Well, we’re not,” he added.
Heard where, Rick? Nobody ever said ‘marriage was evil’. We said you are intolerant of gays because you are. None of us, outside the confines of your fevered brain where tiny voices tell you to kill, ever said marriage was a ‘stain’. It’s just you. Rick.
Meanwhile, Wayne Allard, Repub from Colorado, had his tinfoil hat locked down with sheet metal screws.
“There is a master plan out there from those who want to destroy the institution of marriage to, first of all, begin to take this issue in a few select courts throughout this country at the state level,” said Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo. Pointing to rulings in Vermont and Massachusetts, he said that “once they get their favorable rulings from activist judges … they want to take it to the federal courts and they’ll eventually move it to the Supreme Court.”
Yikes! A ‘Master Plan to Destroy the Institution of Marriage!’ Where’s Superman? Where’s Spiderman? We Must Stop These Dastardly, Evil Villians, Else They Will DESTROY CIVILIZATION!
Wayne. Babe. Get a grip. You gotta start reading something besides comic books, man. They’re warping what little brain you’ve got to work with. Your gray cells are oozing pus, atrophied from disuse. Try getting through at least one book without pictures this summer. It’ll do you good. Therapy might not be a bad idea, either.
Jaunty Bill Frist promises we ain’t seen the last of this, no sirree.
“This issue is not going away,” Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said in a virtual concession that the measure would fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance past a Wednesday test vote. “Will it be back? Absolutely, yes,” he added.
Meanwhile, back in the House, Denny Hastert was moving swiftly to keep the pandering to wacko right-wing Xtians alive in the months before the election.
The Senate moved toward a showdown as House Republicans pursued a different plan — seeking to pass legislation rather than an amendment.
Except of course that without the Amendment, the legislation is un-Consitutional. Or it is until Big Tony Scalia goes to shoot some more tame ducks with Little Dick.
You know, it’s impossible to satirize insanity.
(Thanks to northstar at The People’s Republic of Seabrook who warns:
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CAT LITTER! If Republicans succeed in heading down this slippery slope, where will they stop? Who will stand up for you when they come knocking on your door?To me, this is not about whether or not gays should be allowed to marry (hey, if you’re opposed to gay marriage, don’t have one….). It’s about ensuring that Republicans are not allowed to nibble away at the civil rights of an entire class of Americans. When they are done there, do you really think they’re going to stop? Not if you have anything resembling a grip on reality.
I don’t usually write about local politics for one simple reason: I only have a couple of readers who live in Mass. The rest of you are scattered across the US–and indeed, the world; thanks largely to Tim Dunlop, I have more readers in Australia than I do in Massachusetts. That’s the nature of the internet.
But this latest development in the culture wars in Mass has larger implications than its local nature would suggest. First, let’s look at the story.
Three weeks ago, the decision of the Mass Supreme Judicial Court that banning gay marriages was in violation of the State Constitution took effect and the first legal marriage licenses ever issued to gay couples were signed by municipal clerks in the cities of Provincetown, Springfield, Somerville and Worcester. Many of those couples married almost immediately; many others waited until friends and families could gather. Rep Gov Mitt Romney, who is basically a moderate but plays to the radicals for effect (and votes), announced his opposition to the clerks’ compliance with the law as given in the SJC decision and warned them that they were guilty of flouting a law dating from 1913 that he had dug out of the tomb where it was resting comfortably and was now using to threaten any city clerk who dared to comply with the Constitution rather than with his stated position.
On Friday, May 21, Romney asked State’s Attorney General Thomas O’Reilly to stop the clerks on the basis of a 1913 law prohibiting couples from other states from obtaining marriage licenses in Mass ‘if they would be void in the state in which a couple resides.’
Romney said he expected Reilly to urge the clerks to stop issuing the licenses with calls and letters at first. If that does not work, Romney said, a court injunction might be warranted.
Reilly repeatedly stressed that under Massachusetts law, the governor has the power to prosecute all matters related to marriage without the help of the attorney general. “I want to recognize here and acknowledge that the governor of Massachusetts has special authority and jurisdiction when it comes to the regulation of the issuance of marriage [licenses], and enforcement of the marriage laws and process,” Reilly said. “I certainly understand that authority, and I respect that authority. We will take it in that context.”Romney said he has spoken to Reilly personally and that the two officials are “on the same page.”
What the Globe article carefully refrained from mentioning was that the 1913 law Romney is using as an excuse to stop out-of-state gay marriages was originally written to stop ‘mixed-race’ marriages. The SJC then had recently struck down the laws forbidding mixed-race marriages using the same reasons and referring to the same clauses in the State Constitution as the present SJC, and the State legislature promptly scurried through a loophole and passed a law preventing out-of-state mixed-race couples from ‘flooding into Massachusetts’, as one outraged Republican State Senator put it, to get married here when it was illegal in their home states.
This onerous law, ignored for 75 years and illegal by intent if not language, should have been repealed a long time ago, and probably would have been if anybody had remembered it existed before Romney disinterred it from its vault, dusted it off, and applied it to gays rather than to ‘miscegenation’. (Bigots have such harmless-sounding words for their bigotry, don’t they? ‘Miscegenation’. Such soft syllables. Almost sounds like something that happens to an undercooked pie.) For him to be using that law in this context is tantamount to an admission that gay marriage is in fact a civil rights isuue, not a ‘religious’ issue, and that Mitt is standing four-square with the bigots of yesteryear to deny a minority their rights.
The pressure, of course, is coming from radical conservative groups like the Mass Family Institute, and from the religious right who have been outraged by the SJC decision. They are key players in Romney’s constituency, having supported handsomely both of his failed senate campaigns against Ted Kennedy as well as his squeaker-of-a-win in the Gov’s race against the weak Democratic hack who was his opponent. They have a lot of influence with the Romney Admin and, as is usual with the radcons, they’re not shy about using it.
Unfortunately for them, Mass is a very Democratic state. While it’s a lot less liberal than its radcon attackers would have you know, it is definitely NOT a bastion of right-wing ideologues and bigots. The Mass GOP has in the past been fairly centrist in its leanings, an old-style moderate Republicanism that harkens back to people like Ed Brooke and Bill Weld, the kind of men (usually men) who defined the ‘fiscal-conservative/social-liberal’ model in the late 80′s and early 90′s (clarification: Ed Brooke was the first black US Senator from NE and was waaaay ahead of his time in pioneering the fc/sl model, an achievement for which he receives very little credit). They haven’t tended to the extremes and in the past have been known to hand radicals their walking papers. No more. Like everywhere else, radcons have hijacked the state GOP and used it to push moderates to the margins and their own radical policies to the center of the party platform, and like everywhere else, they have been none too dainty–or scrupulous–about how they did it.
Local Republican politics is becoming as radical, arrogant, autocratic, and unsavory as its national Big Brother. Cockroach Master Tom DeLay, from his perch as House Majority Leader, ordered the Texas State Legislature to re-district the state to favor Republicans in defiance of a tradition that only allowed re-districting after each census because Republicans happened to control that legislature at the moment and DeLay was determined to see it stayed that way. In California, the RNC used a wealthy used-car dealer, Darryl Issa, to force a recall vote on Gov Gray Davis right after an energy crisis brought on by big corporate Republican donors running energy companies in Texas had stolen $Billions$ from the state by illegally manipulating the market, causing an artificial shortfall that all but bankrupted the state coffers. They used the recall to blame Davis for the energy crisis, and when people turned against Davis because of it, they used Davis’ weakness to foist The Terminator on a punch-drunk state reeling from the Republican-engineered body blows. In Georgia, radcon-elected State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox tried to force a school curriculum that replaced evolution with creationism, and in Colorado, they tried the same re-districting trick the Texas Republicans had succeeded with only to be slapped down by the courts.
You probably knew about those, but here’s the sort of maneuver becoming standard for radcons that doesn’t get much press: Jeff at Notes On The Atrocities lives in Oregon and reports on the machinations of its far-right Speaker of the House, Karen Minnis, who has just ordered the House to meet in a special session–without the Senate.
It’s an unprecedented move and has no legal standing. Without Senate approval, no legislation can go through. But Minnis isn’t afraid to use whatever tiny reserve of goodwill that remains to try to rend the state further apart. We will now watch the GOP spend days or weeks passing phony laws and calling Dems rat bastards–all on the government dime. (Hey, fiscal responsibility is only good when you’re cutting programs that benefit Democratic constitutencies.)
Minnis, who has a background of dirty tricks and slimy campaign tactics that would rival Saxby Chambliss’ for sleaze (read Jeff’s post for details), is typical of the rising radicalism in local GOP organizations across the country who have used Bush’s popularity and the excuse of the ‘new reality’ since 9/11 to ram through extreme right-wing programs that would be DOA if offered fairly and openly. They have crow-barred their way to power and they have no intention of letting it slip away just because the standard-bearer is self-destructing.
With his own party turning against him, the Cult of Personality that was built up around Bush over the past four years may be crumbling but its purpose has been to some degree served: radical conservatives now control not only the national GOP but many of the local party mechanisms as well. Rejecting Bush will weaken but hardly destroy them. For those who may be thinking that if we just get rid of Junior everything will be alright, think again. That’s only half the battle. The other half will have to be fought right in our own home towns.
In the words of Han Solo, ‘Don’t get cocky, kid.’ We’ve got a long way to go before we can rest.
Something’s happening out there that is as direct a slap-in-the-face to faux-Christian moralism as any legitimate human being could wish. Not only aren’t the masses rising up to denounce the godless blasphemy of gay marriage, they’re sending it flowers.
San Francisco’s florists have been overwhelmed by orders from people as far away as Australia who are paying for flowers to be delivered randomly to the gay and lesbian couples getting married at City Hall.The requests from same-sex marriage supporters have come from some surprising places — Minneapolis, Atlanta, Kalamazoo, Mich. Even Hong Kong.
“It has just exploded, skyrocketed, spread like wildfire,” said Thim Phan, owner of Flowers By the Bay. “We’ve been bombarded with phone calls, and we knew we couldn’t handle it alone, so I’ve been calling other florists in San Francisco like, ‘Please guys, help!”‘
Phan said he has processed nearly 200 orders from almost every state since the city began allowing the gay marriages.
Right-wing Christian zealots, stand down if you know what’s good for you. You have made your bed and the people are saying they want no part of it. Love, they are saying, is so rare a commodity in these days of hate and intolerance that we will support it even if we don’t care for the way it’s expressed and wouldn’t personally choose that option for ourselves. Love is precious however it comes, and we’re going to prove it to you.
Join the parade.
SEND FLOWERS TO SAN FRANCISCO! SEND FLOWERS TO BOSTON OR PITTSBURG OR ANYWHERE ELSE MAYORS DEFY THEIR STATE LEGISLATURES AND ALLOW LOVE TO SPREAD ITS WINGS! SUPPORT LIFE AND FIGHT THE DEATH THAT IS BIGOTRY!
I wish I had a button you could push but there isn’t one so you’ll have to take the responsibility for doing this on yourself. Good Luck and God Bless You.
(Via the San Francisco Chronicle by way of Mark Morford)
In the wake of the tag-team gay marriages in San Francisco and the overwhelming reaction to them from conservative “Christians” even unto Junior’s support for a Consitutional Amendment, the questions are being asked: “Why do conservative ‘Christians’ care so much? What’s it got to do with them? Exactly how does it hurt them, anyway? Why don’t they just ignore it?” On the surface these would seem to be legitimate questions. After all, it’s hard to see how a personal and private ceremony involving a couple in San Francisco can directly affect another couple in, say, Alabama, especially if they don’t know about it and aren’t acquainted with any of the people concerned.
But that’s just on the surface. Underneath this seemingly innocuous custom lies a deadly danger, and fortunately we have Susan Sanford of the Jasper, Alabama Daily Mountain Eagle around to point it out for us.
My first question is, do these people not read the Bible? Have they forgotten Sodom and Gomorrah? At what point do they think the Lord changed His mind about the sin of homosexuality?
There you go. If we don’t stop this blasphemous activity, Susan’s God will send down thunderbolts of fire and brimstone to destroy all of America, from sea-to-shining-sea–even the innocents like Susan herself–in a hurricane of volcanic fury.
Thanks for explaining it, Sue! We were confused. Now could you explain why, if that’s his agenda, God didn’t raze San Francisco to the ground 40 years ago? What’s he waiting for? Frisco’s had a large and stable community of gays since the sixties, at least one gay mayor, and a passle of Turkish baths. Seems like that would be more than enough to tick Him off, the way you put it. Also, could you give us an idea how much time we have left? I’d like to go through my Buffy the Vampire-Slayer collection before the Apocalypse.
We await your response with baited breath.