Friday, January 29, 2010

Signing off until Monday

I'm signing off until Monday.  Come back and visit then!

Gay marriage ban starts rolling in Indiana

According to The Journal Gazette, the GOP-led Senate voted Thursday to approve a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in Indiana.  The vote was 38-10. 
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.  The resolution must be approved again in 2011 before voters could make the final decision in a 2012 statewide referendum.

“Marriage is one of the foundations of our society and one I firmly believe needs to be protected,” said Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury.

Indiana already has a state law defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and it was upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals in 2005.

How many times do these legislators feel like they have to slam the door?

Super Bowl ad controversy

A few years ago, CBS turned down a Super Bowl ad for a gay-accepting church, calling it too political.  Here's a clip of that ad:

No comes word that the network has okayed a ad by an anti-abortion group, with a former quarterback as its spokesperson, for Super Bowl 2010.   I wouldn't argue against the right of this group to buy ad time, but what's with the double standard?  When did abortion stop being a political issue?  And when did opening up the doors of a church become so political that the ad was banned?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A tricky question in Tampa

The day after President Obama's State of the Union Address, he talked to a crowd in Tampa, Florida.  A student asked him a question about same-sex marriage.  President Obama's response, I think, highlights how much of a hot potato this issue has become for the Democrats.  (H/T

Anti-gay rumblings in New Hampshire

Here's a great quote from a David Bates, a Republican state representative in New Hampshire about the passage of a same sex marriage bill -- signed by the governor -- that went into effect on January 1: “For there to be peace in our society, we need to decide this issue once and for all."

Translation: the issue needs to be decided the way I want it to be decided.  The legislature has already decided the issue.  Once and for all.

That hasn't stopped some anti-equality folks from getting non-binding referenda in the ballots of their cities and towns.  The results won't mean a thing.  They'll just let LGBT people know that a percentage of the population in certain towns consider them second class citizens.

 And people wonder why we call it hate.

Reactions to President Obama's reference to Don't Ask, Don't Tell in his State of the Union Speech

"President Obama's call to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell' marks the beginning of a new era of equality and justice in America. The military's 'don't ask, don't tell policy' is an unfair, outdated measure." — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

"President Obama asked Congress to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. ... At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy." — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz

"That's certainly a step beyond saying it in front of a bunch of gay donors...My concern has been all year that the president is dithering - that's a political mistake and an operational mistake...People of bad faith can exploit the opening and turn this into a culture war battle," he said, "and make no mistake, they can win this if people of good faith think they can coast along or show up every once in a while with a vague reiteration." -- Nathaniel Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire (a book about DADT) and a senior fellow at the Palm Center on the President's reference to DADT

Forcing soldiers to cohabit with people who view them as sexual objects would
inevitably lead to increased sexual tension, sexual harassment, and even sexual assault. America's military exists to fight and win wars --not to engage in radical social engineering.

I was out last night celebrating my birthday with my husband, so I didn't see the speech.  I did read it this morning.  These quotes are fairly representative of what seem to be four camps: (1)  Folks who believe that DADT is over and that last night's speech was the death knell; (2) The policy is working and we shouldn't change it; (3) President Obama has said nothing new, although the forum was the most significant in which he expressed his opposition to DADT (4) the far right alarmists that use words like "radical social engineering" to scare Americans into believing this as horrible an idea as gay marriage.

My question is this: if the administration opposes DADT, why not take McCain's argument and actually use it to our advantage?  It is BECAUSE we are at war that we need to change the policy.  We need every person we can get right now.  This is exactly what Bush Sr. said when he suspended the ban during the Gulf War, to almost no opposition.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

He prayed away the gay

Ted Haggard was recently on Oprah with his wife to say once and for all that he has put the abominable gay lifestyle choice behind him.  Here's singer Roy Zimmerman's song of a few years ago when Ted assured us yet again that he was straight.  (H/T Joe.My.God)

A quote from Barney Frank, and a website

"Recently, Liberty University, the college founded by Jerry Falwell, named me as one of the ten liberals most in need of prayer through the school's new "Adopt-a-Liberal" program. Participants are supposed to pray for liberals to be "quiet and peaceable." This strikes me as somewhat hypocritical because Reverend Falwell was the opposite of quiet and peaceable. This is a man who said Tinky Winky was gay, and that the terrible things that had happened in America were a punishment because the country wasn't sufficiently anti-gay. He conjured up a vengeful and vindictive God, who hurt innocent people because other people did things with which Reverend Falwell disagreed. This is a distortion of what I understand to be the meaning of prayer."


Yes, this "adopt a liberal" website does exist.  Take a look and see who's on it:

adopt a liberal prayer program

Another take on the Supreme Court Decision

In the midst of the energetic discussion about last week's Supreme Court decision, there was an important argument that was missing.  Today I heard that argument from retired Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O'Connor (left).

Full disclosure: I'm not an over-the-top fan of O'Connor.  Do I wish she were back on the court instead of her replacement, Samuel Alito (right)?  Of course I do.  I appreciate that she generally upheld Roe v Wade.  I was happy when she was in the majority in the Lawrence v. Texas case, which made unconstitutional anti-sodomy laws in the United States, thus guaranteeing equal treatment under the law for LGBT people.  However, I still can't forget (nor forgive) her role in Bush v. Gore in 2000, the Supreme Court case that decided a presidential election.

Perhaps it is because O'Connor is not a knee-jerk critic of the Supreme Court that makes her words so persuasive. While O'Connor hasn't explicitly expressed her opinion on the Supreme Court decision last week, she has suggested that people read her decisions to understand how she feels.  And she must feel discouraged, at the very least, since the Supreme Court overruled a decision that she wrote about the role of corporate campaign donations.

What she did state explicitly in her speech this week was her concern about the increasing lack of impartiality of the judiciary.  About 80% of the judges in the United States are elected.  Now that there are no caps on corporate campaign donations, the implications for our judicial system are profound.  The ability to "buy a judge" has been made quite easy; the idea that judges might decide what they feel is popular rather than what they feel is right has become a great threat.  This dramatically makes the balance of powers in our government quite unbalanced.  And since the judiciary has typically stood for the rights of the minority more than the other two branches of government, we can only imagine the negative effect this ruling will have on the civil rights of those groups who are not popular.

This decision becomes more disturbing every day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tony Kushner, author of "Angels in America"

Here's an interesting take on the Obama presidency from Tony Kushner, the gay Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of Angels in America.  I'll let him speak for himself, without comment. (H/T: Joe. My. God)

Is " Don't Ask, Don't Tell" finally on its way out? The State of the Union Address may have the answer

According to Roxana Tiron of The Hill a hearing this week that was to address the Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy was put on hold when White House officials asked for a postponement until after President Obama's State of the Union Address on Wednesday night. 

Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee and opponent of DADT, was expected to have Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs Mike Mullen testify before his committee this week.  The date of the hearing is now February 11.

According to a senate aide, Levin was told to hold off on announcing the hearing until President Obama's State of the Union Address on January 27.

"Somebody representing the Pentagon said that the White House, that the president was expected, they thought, to state that policy at the State of the Union," Levin said.

If indeed DADT is on its way out, it is not only an ethically sound move, but a politically wise move as well.  Polls show solid support for overturning the policy.  President Obama could show decisive leadership with a move that may seem more controversial than it actually is.  He could help shore up his base, which was on the low end of the "enthusiasm gap" in the Mass senate race.  And in case White House officials get cold feet, they should remember that the first George Bush temporarily suspended the law barring gays from the military service during the Gulf War with little controversy.

Whatever is said during the State of the Union address, I hope Joe "You Lie" Wilson will act like a member of Congress this evening and not a spectator at a hockey game.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Protecting children -- really

Rob Tisinai made this video in part as a response to Hak-Shing William Tam assertion in Prop 8 trial  that the ultimate goal is gay activists is to legalize sex with children.  Thanks to Joe. My. God. for posting this.

The wrong battle in Oakland?

Maybe I'm just not radical enough.  No one believes in equality more than I do; I dedicate my whole blog to it.  But I'm actually having a hard time with how some Oakland residents are pursuing equality.

Let me start by saying I have absolutely no affection or sympathy for Lorenzo Hoopes  (left).  I don't care if he's 96 years old.  I don't care that he has served on the Paramount Theater Board of Directors for 20 years.

I do care that he donated money to the Prop 8 campaign.  I do care that he supports an institution, the Mormon Church, that did everything in its power to keep same-sex couples from marrying.

But I must say that I feel uneasy that opponents of Prop 8 (of which, of course, I am one) have lobbied the mayor of Oakland to stop Hoopes' appointment to another term on the Paramount Theater Board because of his opposition to same-sex marriage and the donation he made to Prop 8 supporters.  And the mayor has put the nomination on hold.

Hoopes exercised his free speech in a way that I personally find abhorrent.  But that speech is guaranteed.  And once the state of California put the issue of gay marriage on the ballot, that people would donate money to Prop 8 should have been expected.   Thus far no one has proved that his anti-equality stance has affected his performance on the board.  (I'd feel differently if that were so.)

And remember: our President is against same-sex marriage.

There's also a public relations war going on.  I think heavy handed tactics to keep Hoopes off the board will backfire.  Because the fact is, the man is 96.  The man has been on the board for 20 years.  Gay marriage foes are brilliant in the PR war.  Creating an image of this man as a victim of "activists" would be a piece of cake.  And it would redirect the focus away from the real issue, something else Prop 8 supporters do so well.

We have more important things to do.  In San Francisco, a trial is underway to prove Prop 8 unconstitutional.  In Iowa and New Hampshire, anti-equality folks are gearing up to bring the issue to the ballot box.  The election of Scott Brown has called into question just what can be accomplished for LGBT people this year.

We should focus our energies on bigger things than keeping a man who unfortunately voted the way a majority of Californians did -- no matter how vehemently we disagree with him -- from serving on a city board.