The State of the Union

28 January, 2010 at 11:13 am (Civil Rights, Historical Figure, Politics, President Obama)

Okay, while I would love to write all about this – I actually do need to work. Terrible, right? But I wanted to just mention one thing…

I have become frustrated with how President Obama has handled “the gay issues” (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act). I, along with many, feel he hasn’t done all he could (and should!) for equality. And last night, many felt he should have said more on this issue. His full quote in his speech about DADT:

This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.

No, that’s not a lot. And it’s also not a promise, or him issuing an executive order. However, his saying that he’s going to work to end the repeal – and that he said so in front of a joint session of Congress, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Supreme Court Justices – is promising.

But I started thinking… The first time a president ever mentioned advocating for gay rights in a SOTU was President Clinton (the one who signed DADT and DOMA into law, let’s remember), back in 1999. And all he said was:

Discrimination or violence because of race or religion, ancestry or gender, disability or sexual orientation is wrong and it ought to be illegal. Therefore, I ask Congress to make the Employment Nondiscrimination Act and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act the law of the land.

Talk about vague, eh? And let’s remember he was on his way out of office; Obama still has three years on this term.

And so it helped to remind myself what President Bush (#43) said about gay equality. Oh, he talked about gay rights during his SOTU – about how there shouldn’t be any. From 2004:

A strong America must also value the institution of marriage. I believe we should respect individuals as we take a principled stand for one of the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization. Congress has already taken a stand on this issue by passing the Defense of Marriage Act, signed in 1996 by President Clinton. That statute protects marriage under federal law as a union of a man and a woman, and declares that one state may not redefine marriage for other states.

Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people’s voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.

I won’t go into all of Bush’s points – thankfully, he’s out of office and can’t do any more damage. But he certainly did dedicate a large chunk of his speech to that, huh?

So all I am saying is, when we’re frustrated with Obama’s ‘lack of action’, it’s important to remind ourselves where we’re coming from, and what we’re trying to correct from the past. I hope (and trust) that he’ll do more before he leaves office; in the meantime, I am just happy we no longer have a bigoted man in the White House who uses anti-gay rhetoric to ‘motivate the base’.

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Obama and “The Gays”

6 August, 2009 at 5:04 pm (Civil Rights, President Obama, SuperGay)

My friend Austin shared a commentary written by Dan Savage in this month’s Advocate, and I wanted to share it here. In it, he talks about why the Gay and Lesbian (or LGBTQAMSNOVP) community supported Obama…

Remember when he practically spooned Melissa Etheridge during the Logo–Human Rights Campaign debate? Remember when he positioned himself to the left of Hillary Clinton on the Defense of Marriage Act? While Clinton came out in favor of a partial repeal, Obama said he favored — and would fight for — a complete repeal, and described DOMA as “abhorrent.”

That was pretty sweet.

Then there was Barack Obama’s open letter to the gay community. “Equality is a moral imperative,” candidate Obama wrote, before reiterating his promise to repeal DOMA. He also promised to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,” to pressure Congress to pass the Matthew Shepard hate-crimes act, and to lift the HIV travel ban. And then this line in particular jumped out at me, as it must have for other gay parents: “As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws.”

…and why he is now making us angry:

…his Department of Justice chose to celebrate the beginning of Gay Pride Month by defending DOMA, leaning on every bigoted argument against marriage equality that Pat Robertson ever advanced.

and

Take “don’t ask, don’t tell.” During the campaign Obama promised to “end” the ban on gays in the military, but now he talks about “changing” it. Apparently, the president hopes to find some middle ground, a “bipartisan solution,” some compromise that pleases both advocates of gay equality and raving antigay bigots. Someone needs to tell the president that “don’t ask, don’t tell,” crafted in 1993 by the Clinton administration, was the split-the-difference middle ground, it was the “bipartisan” compromise, and it’s proved to be as unworkable as it is unjust.

The way Obama has “dealt” with gays and lesbians (and their allies) sucks. Really, really sucks. And so I’m torn…I’m mad – really mad – at Obama, but not in the way the angry conservatives (and irrational bigots) are. My anger could be mollified. Outside of the gay & lesbian issue, I have no problems with Obama…but the thing is, the gay & lesbian issue IS my issue. We all have that one “thing” that we’re most passionate about, and civil rights is mine. Gays & Lesbians deserve equal rights – period. Obama isn’t delivering – period.

The worst part is, if he’s not, who would? Clinton promised us less, and it was her husband’s administration who created a lot of the anti-gay laws (DOMA and DADT) that we’re trying to repeal today. And a Republican? McCain or anyone else? Forgetaboutit. As angry as I am at Obama, I have to remind myself that it could be worse; lest we forget, Bush and the Republicans ran their 2004 campaign on passing an amendment to the constitution that would have stripped gays and lesbians of equal rights. So things aren’t as bad, comparatively…

I haven’t given up hope on Obama, I think just because I can’t – it’s too awful. And outside of that stupid DOJ briefing (I will never, ever understand the rationale for that Bush-era p.o.s.), I can’t say it’s not completely unexpected. (though you have to wonder why they can’t repeal DADT at least, something most people support, and something that everyone in the country would benefit from). The worst thing, to me, is that a person who campaigned as being strong for equal rights; a person that was able to be elected while being strong for equal rights, STILL ISN’T DELIVERING. So there’s the sense of hopelessness – we’re a small minority group, and they know they “have” us. “Things would be worse under Republicans (or at least they would going by the rule of the last 15+ years)”, Dems think, “so why would gays and lesbians change their loyalty?”. And the sick thing is, it’s true; things could be worse. And I know eventually change will come, as progress can’t be stopped; no amount of right-wing, fundie hatred will put gays and lesbians back in the closet. But when? And how can we make this happen? Because voting for the man that was for us sure didn’t do the job.

Anyway, read Dan Savage’s article – he’s a better writer than I.

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Proclamations Are Great and All…

1 June, 2009 at 7:18 pm (Civil Rights, Politics, President Obama, SuperGay)

…but actions speak louder than words, Mr. President. From the proclamation:

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security.

Look, we all know I love President Obama, and am (overall) just fine with the job he’s done thus far. And I know that these things take time, and that he needs to spend political capital wisely. BUT – enough with the rhetoric, President Obama. You know who can actually end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? YOU. I understand waiting to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act – let the states gradually come around to give us equal rights before changing the federal law that President Clinton so erroneously signed into existence. But DADT (another anti-gay law given to us by President Clinton)? We’re in so many wars (excuse me, “military actions”) right now, I hardly think it would be all that unpopular to give our military MORE people who are willing and able to serve.

So thanks for the kind words of support, Mr. President. Now can we have some action to go along with it?

(And spread the word – March On Washington October 10 and 11th! Sign up for updates, and join me there! Because, unless the federal laws change in the next four months, you bet I will be there!)

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Forget Those “Tea Parties”…

15 April, 2009 at 9:53 am (Civil Rights)

this is a protest that I can really get behind.

Women in Afghanistan are protesting a new law which makes it necessary for a woman to ask her husband’s permission before leaving the house, and essentially legalizes marital rape (says a husband can demand sex from his wife every four days). Forget vague protests here in the United States; these women are protesting something that really matters.

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On Why Some Conservatives Should Learn To Use “The Google”

13 April, 2009 at 7:02 pm (2M4M, Civil Rights, Funny Stuff, SuperGay)

Exhibit 1: Teabagging So as you may have heard, some people will be participating in Tax Day Tea Parties on April 15th. Frankly, I’m not exactly sure what they’re protesting (and I’m not the only one who is confused). However, before the actual protests on the 15th, they’re building up to this by sending individual tea bags to The White House…something they’re calling, um, teabagging*.
Rachel Maddow hilariously goes over the whole teabagging debacle…

I love how she can’t stop laughing!

Exhibit 2: 2M4M Remember just a few days ago, I posted that video that the National Organization for Marriage made? The hateful, lie-spreading ad? Well, that same organization decided to start an initiative – the Two Million For Marriage initiative (and let’s be clear: they mean marriage only for straight, seemingly Christian folks who can have their own biological children. But I digress). Anyway, they have this initiative, but they decided to call it by the acronym 2M4M. Uh oh.
See, for a very long time, “M4M” has been personals-ad speak for “man for man”. Therefore, it could be reasonably assumed that 2M4M would be two men looking for a third… and yet, somehow, nobody – nobody! – in the NOM realized that their proud new acronym had a decidedly pro-gay slant (and pro-gay in the most tawdry sort of ways). And regardless of that, nobody in NOM thought to register the 2M4M url!!
Once again, Ms. Maddow:

Talk about your PR faux pas.
Well, luckily, a fast-moving individual registered 2M4M.org, and has set it up to mean Two Men For Marriage. Kudos to Christopher (the guy who started the site). And then Robert got the idea that we should start a facebook group to support the site, and so we did. So, if you’re on facebook, join our group. And don’t forget to check out 2M4M.org!
*If you don’t know what teabagging means, you might want to check out Urban Dictionary…I couldn’t bring myself to define it on here. My grandmother reads these posts, for godsakes!

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A Storm is Coming…

8 April, 2009 at 1:03 pm (Civil Rights, SuperGay)

a storm of lies and misrepresentation! This is the new ad from the “National Organization for Marriage” I won’t link to their site, though I’ll post to the HRC’s End the Lies site.

Okay, first of all: Jesse Jackson already has a Rainbow Coalition, and you ain’t it. Also, rainbows are pretty gay. Just saying.

But the real issue here is that this ad is using ridiculous fear tactics (shocker!) and saying things that just aren’t true. Granted, a few – a very few – activists may have gone too far after Prop 8 passed…but other than that, these stories are stretching the truth at best, and outright lying at worst. Yes, as new laws come about, there might be rocky patches as we’re adjusting as a society. But, by bringing equality for all, the freedoms for anti-gay marriage people are not being taken away. Freedom means we’re all free, kiddos. (if you’d like a break down of each of the lies here, Dan Savage has it over at The Slog)

Anyway, the greatest video is the one that my friend Amelia posted on Facebook. The doctor and guy from New Jersey, and others, featured on that video? All actors. And here’s their audtion:

I can only imagine the direction they were given to recite these lines!

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Why there was no amendment debate in Iowa

8 April, 2009 at 11:25 am (Civil Rights, SuperGay)

This was Dan Savage’s “required viewing” on The Slog yesterday…I have to say, I agree

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Keira Knightley in New Ad for Women’s Aid

3 April, 2009 at 10:13 am (Civil Rights, Miscellaneous)

Women’s Aid, an anti-domestic violence organization from the UK has a new ad out, starring Keira Knightley. It’s been getting a lot of attention because it is so disturbing – but frankly, that’s why it is so effective. I won’t lie, I actually got emotional while watching it. See it for yourself:

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Score One More for Equal Rights!

3 April, 2009 at 9:33 am (Civil Rights, SuperGay)

This morning, Iowa became the 3rd state in the country to have legalized same-sex marriage. It should have been 4th, but we all know what happened in California in November…

Anyway, this is exciting news! And rather unexpected. I didn’t even know until the beginning of this week that Iowa’s court was making a decision on this today, and I certainly wouldn’t have predicted this outcome. First Massachusetts, then Connecticut, then [technically] California, and now, Iowa. One of these things is not like the other… It’s great, though. Who said that progressive states are only in the Liberal-Elitist States of New England, or on the hippie-liberal Left Coast? Farm states can be progressive, too! Gives one hope for the rest of this county 🙂

So, this is a great way to kick-start the weekend. I’m working at home today, waiting for Tina (an old roommate) to get to town. I was already looking forward to that, but now with this happy news on top of it – yay!

So 3 down…47 to go…

Cake toppers are tacky, whatever the gender

Cake toppers are tacky, whatever the gender

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This is the best showing of “Straight Ally” I think I’ve ever seen

12 March, 2009 at 11:46 am (Civil Rights, Funny Stuff)

Everyone knows that Westboro Baptist “Church” is a joke, and that they actually help gay rights more than hurt (they look so ridiculous, you can’t help but side with the gays). However, this counter-protest from earlier this week is the best I’ve ever seen. And the greatest part is that this showing of solidarity is from a bunch of straight frat guys. Social progress, indeed!

via The Slog

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