Mary Cheney Couldn't Share Her Thoughts While Working On Campaigns
"Matalin, a Republican pundit and strategist, said the book would give Cheney a chance to give her thoughts on the issue -- something she couldn't do while working on the campaigns."Mary Cheney is writing a memoir with Mary Matalin. Nothing groundbreaking there. But I did find the above quote to be interesting. Matalin, who was a central figure in the Bush/Cheney campaign, said, "something she couldn't do while working on the campaigns." My question would be why couldn't she share her thoughts on issues then and will she be addressing why she couldn't in her book? *UPDATE: One of the above questions has been answered. MTV.com is reporting:
"Republican political strategist Mary Matalin, the head of Simon & Schuster's new conservative publishing subdivision, Threshold, said that Cheney was barred from discussing her personal life while working as a top aide on her father's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, but that the memoir will give her an opportunity to speak her mind." [hat tip:gay_blog.blogspot.com]So I guess we now know why she couldn't. She was barred from discussing her personal life. Now the $500,000 question is, will Mary Cheney address this in her book and give her opinion on how it felt to be openly gay yet barred from speaking about her life. As many times as those grandchildren were trotted before the cameras, I would bet her heterosexual married sibling didn't receive the same treatment in regards to their personal life.
Ohio Closes Loophole Only For Heterosexuals
"(Canton, Ohio) A state lawmaker from northeast Ohio says he'll introduce a bill this week to close a perceived loophole in the domestic-violence law created by the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Democratic state Representative William Healy of Canton says his bill would define domestic violence as an act committed when individuals reside together, regardless of marital status."The article also says:
"However, the change in the law will only affect heterosexuals in non married relationships. The domestic abuse law will not apply to same-sex couples because of the constitutional amendment."Now wait, wouldn't that be special rights?
GayPatriot Responds to Interview Request
I appreciate the offer....and this is my official response: "On the advice of my legal counsel I cannot comment on the situation until it has been resolved through the proper channels."I thanked GayPatriot for responding to the email and told him basically that my offer stood. I will be glad to present GayPatriot's side of the story, accurately and in his own words, when he chooses to speak on the record.
Michael Rogers Goes On The Record
Joe Solmonese On Outing
"Q: Newt Gingrich's sister works at HRC. Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian. Do you think family members can have an impact on policymakers? Do you exploit that? A: The simple answer is: unquestionably. It is at the core of what we need to do. When you know someone, whether it's a co-worker, a family member or a friend, it influences the way you see the world. It is, I believe, the single most important thing in changing the hearts and minds of Americans. Q: What do you think of outing campaigns? A: Different people have different philosophies about this and approach it in different ways. If you're outing someone on the Hill, are you doing it because you're going to change their mind about their vote?... I think that I and the HRC focus on how people vote and what people say. Q: Would you advise people who are waging outing campaigns to stop? A: Well, I haven't really had a long conversation with anyone who's on this, so I can only speak to what I think. Q: Can you say whether the campaigns are good or bad, helpful or unhelpful? A: You ask yourself, good, bad, helpful or unhelpful in doing what? In doing what? I'd be curious to see how they would answer that sentence. Is it in causing someone to lose their job? Is it in changing a vote, changing the direction of Congress? That is the question I would ask. Q: Have you seen votes changed as a result of outing campaigns? A: No, I haven't."
A Republican Weighs In on Religion in Politics
"I do not fault religious people for political action. Since Moses confronted the pharaoh, faithful people have heard God's call to political involvement. Nor has political action been unique to conservative Christians. Religious liberals have been politically active in support of gay rights and against nuclear weapons and the death penalty. In America, everyone has the right to try to influence political issues, regardless of his religious motivations."With this concept I would agree. The writer continues:
"The problem is not with people or churches that are politically active. It is with a party that has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement. When government becomes the means of carrying out a religious program, it raises obvious questions under the First Amendment. But even in the absence of constitutional issues, a political party should resist identification with a religious movement. While religions are free to advocate for their own sectarian causes, the work of government and those who engage in it is to hold together as one people a very diverse country. At its best, religion can be a uniting influence, but in practice, nothing is more divisive. For politicians to advance the cause of one religious group is often to oppose the cause of another."This op-ed piece was written by John C. Danforth, a former United States senator from Missouri who resigned in January as United States ambassador to the United Nations. He is also an Episcopal minister. His advice for his party:
"The historic principles of the Republican Party offer America its best hope for a prosperous and secure future. Our current fixation on a religious agenda has turned us in the wrong direction. It is time for Republicans to rediscover our roots."Amen.
Lawmaker Faces Choice
The Catholic Church chooses to be in the health care industry by operating Hospitals. Health care in this country should be based on sound, scientific practices and not religious dogma. If the Catholic Church wants to be in the health care industry, then they should have to abide by all applicable laws, regardless of the impact on their faith. Does it qualify as a violation of freedom of religion when any Church of any religion makes the free choice to enter any industry that is governed by laws? This goes hand in hand with other laws being passed that would allow any health care provider to refuse treatment to someone because to treat that person would violate their religious beliefs. This bill would give a woman who has been raped the information regarding possible treatment that could prevent her from carrying to term an egg that was fertilized as a result of violence. I have largely stayed out of the abortion debate mainly because as a gay man I most likely will never father a child via the conventional method and as a man I will never be in the position of having to carry to term a child from an unwanted pregnancy. In this case, however, it seems somehow wrong to force a woman to carry a child to term that would be a daily reminder of something so heinous as a rape or to prevent her from receiving information which, by her choice, could prevent this simply because she wasn't taken to a secular hospital.
"Colorado Gov. Bill Owens could face a tough choice deciding whether to sign a bill requiring hospitals to tell rape victims about emergency contraception. Fellow Republicans say the bill, passed by the Legislature on Tuesday, violates Catholic hospitals' freedom of religion by forcing them to offer information about abortion."
Historical Marker to Gay Activism
"In the summer of 1965, a group of about 40 gays and lesbians picketed in Philadelphia to remind Americans that gays did not have equal civil rights. Their stage, in front of Independence Hall, was significant because as the birthplace of the United States, it symbolizes freedom and equality. Now the annual 'reminder' marches held July 4 from 1965 to 1969 will be commemorated by a blue and gold historic marker issued by the state."This marker will commemorate a major step in the march toward equality. It is nice to see a piece of gay history recognized.
Gay Parent Wins Appeal
"(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) A woman should be able to visit her former partner's child, even though the birth mother does not want to her to do so, a Pennsylvania appeals court has ruled."The story goes on to say:
In the court's ruling, Judge Michael T. Joyce wrote, "Imagine a scenario where the same premise is applied to spouses. It is inconceivable that an embittered spouse who successfully estranges the children from the other spouse, to the point where the other spouse is unknown to the children, should be rewarded by a determination that it shall be in the best interest of the children not to have any relationship at all with the alienated spouse because of the custodial spouse's feelings. The preposterousness of this scenario is equally applicable to the case at bar, despite Appellant's non-traditional status."This is good news. Several years ago my partner and I were involved in a custody battle over his son in which our gay relationship was the central issue. We were lucky enough to prevail. Many others are not. While I understand this is not exactly the same it does recognize that the "non-traditional" relationship should be treated the same as a "traditional" one. Another small step in the right direction.
Boy Scout Leader Charged With Having Child Pornography
"The national director of programs for the Boy Scouts of America has been charged with receiving and distributing child pornography, the U.S. Attorney's office here told NBC News on Tuesday."I was a cub scout and a boy scout. I never made Eagle but I earned my share of badges. I was a big supporter of the boy scouts until they made it clear that by virtue of my being a gay man, I would not be welcome. Then there is this breaking story. Forget intelligence, it makes me wonder about the good old common sense of the leaders of this organization. They would ban me but yet they keep this guy around for years. When are people going to learn that even if you purge all the "dangerous" homosexuals from your midst, children will still not be safe because most pedophiles, child molesters, child abusers, etc are heterosexual men.
Extremism Is Cause For Attention
"Democratic societies have a hard time dealing with extremists in their midst. The desire to show respect for other people's beliefs all too easily turns into denial: nobody wants to talk about the threat posed by those whose beliefs include contempt for democracy itself."Paul Krugman wrote the above in his column today making the point that in a democracy extremism can come to power. Extremist usually use the democratic process, even profess to hold it's tenets sacred, until power is obtained. As has been said, "absolute power corrupts absolutely". This scenario has played out in other countries and at other times in history. However, Krugman continues:
"But it's also true of the United States, where dangerous extremists belong to the majority religion and the majority ethnic group, and wield great political influence..."
"Another thing that's going on is the rise of politicians willing to violate the spirit of the law, if not yet the letter, to cater to the religious right. "Read this op-ed. It contains issues worth contemplating especially in the wake of the Terri Schiavo situation where the religious right made it clear that laws were trumped by what they understand to be God's will. Hopefully Krugman isn't prophetic when he says:
"And the future seems all too likely to bring more intimidation in the name of God and more political intervention that undermines the rule of law."I have said it before but will say it again, "Freedom of religion means freedom from religion".
Morals and the Judicial Branch
"'Today's ruling further confirms that the judicial branch of our government is nearly bereft of any moral foundation,' said Tom Minnery, the group's [Focus on the Family] vice president for government and public policy."The Colorado Supreme Court in a divided decision has thrown out the death penalty in a case because some of the jurors discussed biblical scripture during sentencing. This decision has several aspects to it worthy of discussion but the above quote in the article startled me. Focus on the Family is what I would consider an ultra-conservative fundamentalist Christian organization. Mr. Minnery in the quote above seems to be suggesting that because the Colorado Supreme Court found issue with religious dogma being considered outside of the facts of the case that this is evidence that the judicial branch is morally bankrupt. Make no mistake. The hard core religious right to whom the Republican party seems to be beholden believe that the only moral compass is found in their narrow religious view. One can only be a moral person if they are born again and subscribe to fundamentalist ideals. This clearly illustrates their contempt for the judicial system. Fundamentalist have no problem with the judicial system until it acts outside what they would consider correct. The Terri Schiavo case is another illustration of their belief that God's law, or at least their view of it, trumps all laws. The Republican majority in Congress is considering ending the tradition of the filibuster so that a handful of right wing judges can be confirmed. The religious right wants the courts stacked toward their interests. It will make the remolding of America so much easier for them.
Mike Roger's Comment on GayPatriot
Don't believe everything you read. Just because something appeared on the internet does NOT make it so. Mike Rogers Homepage 03.28.05 - 2:29 pm #I would agree with that which is why I qualified what I said. I have no idea if the story I linked to is accurate or not. But I stand by what I said. If it is accurate then it is beyond the pale. I tried to backtrack this so I could ask this person: 1. Are you the Michael Rogers referred to in GayPatriots post? 2. What is your side of the story? But I could not find an email address functional for the comment. I also could not find an email address on BlogActive. If this is the real Michael Rogers, please email the answers to these questions to email@example.com. I would welcome your side of this story.
Betty DeGeneres Leaves PlanetOut
Her bio line reads:
"Just a few weeks ago, the idea popped into the back of my mind that it might be time for me to retire. And you know how that goes -- once a germ of an idea creeps in, if the timing is right, the idea just grows and grows until it happens. At least, sometimes it happens like that. This is what has happened for me, and so this is my farewell column. I've been writing this column for six years now. It has been a challenge, an honor and a privilege. I thank you all for the love, trust and faith you've shown me. "
Betty DeGeneres, mother of actress Ellen DeGeneres, is the spokesperson for the HRC Coming Out Project and an active member of PFLAG. She lends her expertise to PlanetOut as an advice columnist on issues of coming out and acceptance. She is the author of "Love, Ellen" and "Just a Mom."I want to wish Mrs. DeGeneres all the best. I will miss her column as it was heartwarming to read. Her books, writings and appearances have helped countless families come to terms and deal with the issue of a gay family member. All is not lost however, for it seems that she will be working on a new book. Good luck on the new venture. Your regular column will be missed.
Arson Often a Weapon
Gay persons have often been attacked with arson, especially if we dared to form a place where we could actually worship while being openly ourselves.
"Since its founding in 1968, more than 20 UFMCC churches have been bombed or arsoned, while many others have been vandalized, desecrated or threatened. Proportionally, no other institution in America has been the recipient of as much arson, bombing, vandalism and desecration motivated by hate crimes as have the churches of UFMCC. An astounding and shocking seven percent of our congregations have been targets of bombing or arson.' "
Ministers Come Out For Rights
"'For me, as a Christian, if I am taking the faith seriously, there's only one way I could vote and that's no,' said the Rev. Robert Meneilly, a retired Prairie Village pastor who was among those who signed the letter. 'If we are all made by the same God in the same image, we should all have the same rights.'"A group of ministers in Kansas have written an open letter to let people know that not all religious minsters, leaders, etc. believe that discrimination should be written into the state's constitution. They clearly state:
In the letter, the ministers say that "it is not the state government's role to codify one religious interpretation of the Bible, or one religion over another in the Kansas Constitution. To the contrary, the great contribution of our constitution is to protect the rights of all faiths."Not all people of faith are the heartless biggots they are often portrayed to be.
Seperate Not Easily Equal
'"The domestic partnership law marks a path toward equal and just treatment for LGBT couples, but the reality is tax inequality and other grey areas exist that would otherwise be eliminated if the LGBT community were afforded the same rights and benefits of marriage," Equality California spokesperson Eddie Gutierrez told 365Gay.com. 'The above article makes the point that progress is being made (at least in California). It also points out the complexity involved when writing a new class of relationship into law. One statement I found refreshing:
“One thing is clear: the government cannot continue to be in the business of discriminating, which is why so many inequalities remain under state and federal law. Fair-minded Americans know that separate institutions, regardless of intent, is seldom if ever equal.”As regular readers know, I am not a huge proponent or oponent of gay marriage. I don't care about what you call it as long as my rights are recognized. But the stories that are starting to emerge illustrate how hard it will be to enshrine those rights into new legislation.
The partner law does not allow for joint filing for state taxes and certain other protections under state law. It also does not provide access to over 1,000 federal protections that heterosexual married couples enjoy.Maybe co-opting the word marriage would be the easiest path.
Religious Freedom Means Freedom From Religion
The bill mentioned above would allow a health care provider to refuse service based upon religious grounds. I would assume the author's of this bill had the Christian faith in mind when this was written and passed but for those who seemingly are so wary of slippery slopes when it comes to gay marriage, this bill is pratically the luge. Obviously this bill means that a doctor could refuse to treat a gay person because that person's sexual orientation violates the doctor's religious beliefs. But doesn't it go further? Could not a Muslim doctor refuse to treat a person of Jewish heritage (or vice versa) because of their religious beliefs? The question then becomes whose religion and what constitutes a "religion". The fundamentalist Christians (or whoever) are not thinking these laws through. Just like the amendment in Ohio which was written to "protect marriage" which opened a loophole in the law for domestic abusers, these laws are rushed out of legislative bodies. People don't look at them from all sides because they are so focused on their target -- gay Americans. There is a reason the founders of our country believed in separation of church and state. They knew what is was like to be persecuted for their religious beliefs and because of someone else's. While clinging to our own personal faith, we should demand the free exercise of religion in this country and to be free from the imposition of religion.
"(Lansing, Michigan) Doctors or other health care providers could not be disciplined or sued if they refuse to treat gay patients under legislation passed Wednesday by the Michigan House. The bill allows health care workers to refuse service to anyone on moral, ethical or religious grounds. "
The Answer to Why GayPatriot Went Silent
"According to GayPatriot, who is also a client of mine, Michael Rogers called GayPatriot's place of employment on Friday immediately following the post above and spoke to GayPatriot's secretary and boss. GayPatriot had no idea Rogers would go to such measures and shared with me that both he and his secretary were very upset by the calls but that his boss was understanding. Later on that day, Rogers personally called me and recounted much of the same account, adding that he had also called the police and is working with the authorities on the matter. Rogers expressed feeling threatened by the post and compared it to posts by anti-abortionists who posted the names of doctors performing them. "I received an email this morning from gaypatriot2004 containing a link to the above post. I have written on the departure of GayPatriot from the blogosphere and had wondered out loud if it had to do with a "violence threat" resulting from his gay terrorist post. It seems we were on the right track. Read the whole article that is linked above as it contains details that round out and close the loop on this story. Outing is a very controversial issue within the gay community. There are folks lined up and hard set on each side. I certainly don't believe that every Republican, simply by nature of belonging or aligning with a political party that advocates anti-gay positions, should be outed. (nor Democrat, Libertarian or whatever for that matter) That being said, I do think that any closeted gay person of any stripe who directly influences or shapes public policy and who uses that power to strip away the rights or dignity of gay Americans, loses the right to call foul when their sexual orientation is made public. When the choice is made to draft or support policy detrimental to gay people, the advocate's sexual orientation is relevant to the story. Maybe GayPatriot went too far with the gay terrorist post. But if the link posted above is correct, then Michael Rogers has more than overstepped. The press has power and certainly we in the blogosphere are seeing that the wave of new media is effecting public opinion and policy. With any power comes responsibility. To quote the article above, "Free speech isn't free of consequences." Those of us who chose to enter the fray understand that. However, vindictive attacks made with malice are not free speech nor activism. They do nothing to further the great debate going on in this country. Acts such as these are the work of a bully who has no cogent argument.
Schiavo Case Getting Out of Hand
"Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Herald has learned."
"...ignoring the rule of law, the Supreme Court and the opinion of the vast majority of Americans -- to in effect delcare martial law and seize Terri Schiavo. (Thanks to blogger Andrew A. Gill for the heads-up on this one.) Think about this. Top far-right religious leaders told Jeb Bush he shouldn't be pushed around by some 'piddling judge.' Anne Coulter shouted they should send in the National Guard. Silly talk-radio/Fox News rhetoric? Jeb Bush damn near did it. And if the brave men and women of the local police hadn't decided to uphold the law, Bush would have succeeded."The above statement from AMERICABLog is slightly misleading. The Herald story cited as his source went on to say:
"It also shows that agencies answering directly to Gov. Jeb Bush had planned to use a wrinkle in Florida law that would have allowed them to legally get around the judge's order. The exception in the law allows public agencies to freeze a judge's order whenever an agency appeals it. "Jeb Bush and Co. found a "wrinkle" in the law so therefore they were not exactly "ignoring the rule of law." They were, however, going against the grain of legal thought. This does illustrate how far some in the extreme will go to enforce their will on others and I believe that is the greater lesson to this whole fiasco. Some believe that our form of government is under attack from these extremist.
"Participants in the high-stakes test of wills, who spoke with The Herald on the condition of anonymity, said they believed the standoff could ultimatelyhave led to a constitutional crisis and a confrontation between dueling lawmen."This case unfortunately has now grown beyond the heartbreaking story of Terri Schiavo. It is now moving into the realm of power and who has the right to excercise that power. It calls into question states rights, the principles of federalism and constitutionally mandated separation of powers. No man, be it Governor, President or stranger on the street is above the law and they should not be allowed to operate outside of it. If there were a window of opportunity created by a provision in the law where the agency could have acted, then they were not necessarily violating the law. But it is time cooler heads prevail in this issue. My heart breaks for Terri Schiavo and all those closest to her. Regardless of whether she would have wanted her life continued in this manner, I doubt she would want to be the poster child in this on going struggle.
More on GayPatriot
"In the interest of constructive political discourse and open and free discussion, GayPatriot.org and those responsible for its content always urge its readers to practice non-violence in their daily lives and political activities. No posting on this site shall be construed as advocating for violence against anyone or any organization."Seems we might have been on to something when earlier today we pointed out this quote from GayPatriot:
"WANTED! Let's do something about these gay terrorists who have infected our community with their hatred and self-loathing bigotry of gay Americans who wish to live their lives in peace."I took him to task over using the word terrorist to describe John Aravosis and Michael Rogers. When I read this statement on his blog (which included their pictures), I wondered if a call to "do something about these gay terrorists" might seem to some as a call to do harm against the two pictured men. I certainly don't think that was GayPatriot's intent. But, there are some wack-jobs out there who just might. I think he could have made his point without using the intentionally inflammatory word terrorist. That being said, and it seems this might be close to the point from the above posting on his blog, I don't think this should chase him from the blogosphere. All of us who publically write do have a certain amount of responsibility, but we cannot and should not be taken to task simply because some nutso out there might go off the deep end. That could happen with just about anything written by anyone on any subject. So to GayPatriot I say that if this is the case as to why you stopped writing, then please come back. Your voice in the debate is an important one.
IRS Says "No", Massachusetts says "Yes"
"Ask the taxmen: Married in Massachusetts"The Q&A shows how difficult it is in reconciling federal treatment of same-sex couples with states that recognize gay marriage. It has long been the tradition of the federal government to recognize a state's definition. That is until now.
Straight Talk about Gay Rights
"'While other books have been written about this issue, Get Over the Rainbow was written by a heterosexual male who had nothing personal to gain from legal, same sex marriage, other than living in a nation where everyone is treated equally,' writes Redmond. "This book offers:
"A passionate discussion about equal treatment of gays from a straight perspective, Get Over the Rainbow also offers compelling arguments that cut to the chase and eliminate misconceptions."
HIV Protection an Individual Responsibility
"Drake was charged under Ohio's controversial 2000 law requiring people who "knowingly" have HIV to disclose their status to their sexual partners "prior to engaging in the sexual conduct."Interesting article about responsibility and HIV infection though I tend to side with the following:
“The message this sends is that someone else is always responsible for actions,” said Sullivan, “that HIV prevention is everyone else’s responsibility. That burden does not always need to always come down on HIV positive people.”I think HIV prevention is the responsibility of each individual. We have to take that responsibility because, as this story shows, we can't always depend on someone else. Every person, regardless of what they are or are not told by a potential partner, should take precautions and protect themselves. To act otherwise is, in my opinion, irresponsible.
Same Sex Couples Penalized on Tax Day
"As millions of married couples are signing and sending off their tax returns prior to the April 15 tax day deadline a new study shows that same-sex couples face widespread economic disparities and hardships because they are denied equal marriage rights. "This article illustrates how same-sex couples are treated differently than their opposite-sex counterparts by the IRS. As a gay man in a long term relationship of 10 years, it would be nice if my family got the tax breaks we hear so much about that are supposed to benefit families.
GayPatriot - This Just In
"For personal and professional reasons that I am unable to fully discuss, I have to stop blogging as GayPatriot effective immediately. This has been a great experience for me and I have learned a lot as well as met a lot of good people (if only through the internet). As of this moment, I am no longer affiliated with this blog and I turn over all control to GayPatriotWest who will keep the fire going. Thank you for letting me come into your homes since last September. It has been an honor."This morning GayPatriot posted to his blog that John Aravosis and Michael Rogers were gay terrorist (see posting below). Then he suddenly removed that posting and now has posted the above. First, I did think he went too far in his posting comparing outing to terrorism. However, GayPatriot has been an excellent writer and his blog has been thought provoking. I didn't always see eye to eye with him, but I certainly enjoyed reading him. Secondly, I have no idea if the two situations are related or if he suddenly decided to stop. I don't want to add to speculation but it just seems odd that these two events coincided. Whatever the reason, I wish GayPatriot all the best and hopefully he will return. Open, logical discourse on topics is a good thing for American democracy and his voice added to that debate.
Gay Terrorist? I Don't Think So.
"WANTED! Let's do something about these gay terrorists who have infected our community with their hatred and self-loathing bigotry of gay Americans who wish to live their lives in peace."I am a regular reader of GayPatriot's blog and I find his writing inciteful and thoughtful, even when I don't necessarily agree with his position. However, in reading the article linked above I have one question. Has he lost his damn mind? What I am assuming he is referring to is John Aravosis and Michael Rogers' campaign to out conservative media personalities and Republican officials and office holders as allegedly being gay. While I don't always agree with the outing of any individual, I hardly think these two individuals have infected our (meaning the gay) community "with their hatred and self-loathing bigotry of gay Americans who wish to live their lives in peace." The persons at the center of their outing campaigns have been the ones to help infuse not only the gay community but the country as a whole with hatred and loathing of gay Americans. These are the people who support, defend and even co-ordinate Republican ideology that is aimed at keeping gay Americans defined as second class citizens. It is these people who have created, fanned the flames and used fear of gay Americans as a convenient motivator on their march to power. It is these people who have routinely bashed gay people over the head with their ultra-right wing view that gay people don't deserve what little rights and respect we have gained since Stonewall and certainly shouldn't be entitled to the same rights as hetrosexual Americans. The hypocrisy of a gay person supporting and doing these things to people cut from the same cloth is chilling. And though at the moment life or death doesn't hang in the balance, I would still liken these hypocrits to the handful of Jews who worked with the Nazi party during Germany's darkest days. One definition of terrorism is: "the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimindation or coercion or instilling fear." The outing of these people certainly isn't violent nor have John or Michael ever advocated the use of violence against anyone. While the people who are conducting outing campaigns may be using fear of discovery as a weapon against some people who have chosen a public life specifically aimed at molding how life should be in this country, I would argue that, under the same definition GayPatriot is applying to the word terrorist, these public figures are terrorists as well. They certainly have went out of their way to instill fear. I do believe in fighting fire with fire. If someone is going to stand before the public and support ideology that harms gay people then I believe it is certainly within the scope of fair discourse to point out that these people are in fact gay themselves. I don't understand why these office holders and Republican party officials don't stand there and proudly say, "I am a gay person and I don't believe gay people should..." (fill in the blank with whatever right-wing issue against gay people you choose) I don't understand why they aren't openly gay to begin with. Maybe it is because they are afraid of the consequences of being known as gay in the atmosphere of this country they have helped create.
Terri Schiavo and Death
"I want Terri Schiavo to die because I believe she's earned it."Conservative writer Neal Boortz with his position on Terri Schiavo. There are so many complicated side issues swirling around this case but to the central issue of why should Terri be allowed to die, I was heartened to read this. My opinion on this is relatively the same.
Government Recognizes Validity of Gay Relationship
"A gay Montclair veteran and his partner won their property tax case against the township last week in a Tax Court decision that is believed to be the first of its kind."One small step....
"gay men also have to put up with shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy portraying gay males as invariably having comically flamboyant personas. It's as if the media fears that if it doesn't exaggerate traits of homosexuals, we won't be able to recognize them, because we can't immediately observe the difference between them and heteros. "To "exaggerate" the traits of homosexuals, assumes there are common traits among homosexuals. While it is true that homosexuals do most likely share certain proclivaties, in manerisms, actions, attitudes and opinions, we are as diverse a group as there comes. Not all heterosexual men are crotch scratching, tobacco spitting rednecks. While this group certainly does exist, no one would assume that the depiction of this somehow stereotypes heterosexual men. To see traits as being exaggerated only reinforces the idea of stereotypes -- that all gay men are one way or another.
Special Treatment Should be Given
"'This case is a good example of why we need a domestic violence law. A misdemeanor assault doesn't carry with it a significant enough penalty for repeat domestic violence abusers,' said Matt Meyer, an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor."But is it worse that someone repeatedly assaults someone with whom they have a relationship than it is if someone repeatedly assaults a total stanger? In a similar way, isn't that the same arguement against hate crime legislation? The arguement goes, all crime is based on hate and therefore a hate crime. It should be treated equally regardless of who it is perpetrated against. So why should spouses be a special class and get special treatment?
Out or Not to Out?
"So it is okay for a member of the Mainstream Media to decide to come out on his own terms, or avoid the subject altogether. But what about the outing witchhunt going on against conservatives (elected and non-elected) by Michael Rogers? What a double standard. One could use the exact same arguments against Anderson Cooper that Rogers has used against Ken Mehlman for example. Neither make public policy, but both can help positively influence it. So why the pass for Anderson but the unhealthy obsession and hate against Mehlman? I have no idea if either of them are gay. But if either of them are, I stand by my belief that both should be allowed to come out on their own terms.... or not come out at all."I would argue that Ken Mehlman has more chance of influencing public policy and most especially Republican Party Policy. Since anti-gay issues have been a regular part of the Republican Party platform, then whether Ken Mehlman is or is not gay can become of interest. While I certainly support the concept that coming out is a very personal thing and should be a private decision, I think you lose that right when you act as a hypocrit.
Actual Outrage or Political Maneuvering
I just have one question. Where were all of you and your "outrage" when President Bush (then Governor of Texas) signed this law?
"Yet Terri is no criminal, and she's not brain dead. She isn't even in a coma. She suffers from a trauma-induced disability which has left her disabled. While the courts and the pundits seem willing to be led by Michael Schiavo and his attorney George Felos, Terri's story clearly resonates with Americans who hear the details, including many of our politicians and our congressional leadership."
Section 166.046, Subsection (e): If the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient is requesting life-sustaining treatment that the attending physician has decided and the review process has affirmed is inappropriate treatment, the patient shall be given available life-sustaining treatment pending transfer under Subsection (d). The patient is responsible for any costs incurred in transferring the patient to another facility. The physician and the health care facility are not obligated to provide life-sustaining treatment after the 10th day after the written decision required under Subsection (b) is provided to the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient … (hat tip to thinkprogress.org)
This also from Think Progress:
With the above law, the inability to pay for health care can be enough to take the same action that is happening in the Schiavo case even against the will of the family. So again I ask, where was the outrage when this was passed into law? Why were these same people who are so outspoken now silent in regards to George W. Bush when he signed this law into effect? Why isn't my Republican controlled House and Senate here in Texas rushing to repeal this law even as we speak? Maybe it has to do with headlines?
"Bioethicists familiar with the Texas law said yesterday that if the Schiavo case had occurred in Texas, her husband would be the legal decision-maker and, because he and her doctors agreed that she had no hope of recovery, her feeding tube would be disconnected."
The Separation of Marriage and Parenthood
"If the gay marriage battle hadn't already done so much to separate the idea of marriage and parenthood, an article like this could never have been written. Once we act as though children are anything other than the central reason for the public interest in marriage, we open the way to exactly what Emens offers."This is Stanley Kurtz, a long and vocal opponent to gay marriage, writing in regards to polygamy. The exception I take to what he writes above is that heterosexuals themselves damaged the separation of marriage and parenthood long before homosexuals even had the idea that gay marriage might be possible. With divorce rates such as they are and the majority of children growing up in another "family" household other than that of their mother and their father, I think this pretty much put the nail in the coffin in regards to the link between parenthood and marriage. Since a vast number of heterosexual marriages with children end in divorce, I think it is heterosexuals who pioneered this disconnect. Gay marriage aside, if these conservatives are so concerned with protecting marriage and the traditional family unit then why not argue for limitations on divorce? No fault divorce in this country has done more to destroy the traditional family unit than my partner of 10 years and I ever will. And I speak as a product of the new traditional family unit where parents are divorced, remarried and have moved on leaving my family and it's memories in the dust.
What a Difference a Boycott Can Make
"At Tuesday's scheduled hearing in the state Senate on the Anderson-Murray Anti-Discrimination Bill, three representatives from Coors Brewing Company will testify in favor of passing this very long overdue bill: Joe Benda, Regional Account Executive for Coors Brewing Company; Brad Nadal, Seattle Metro Manager for Coors; and Marty Weisbrod, Pacific Northwest GLBT Liaison for Coors. "The purpose of this bill is to reform state anti-discrimation laws to include sexual orientation. Representatives of the Coors Brewing Company will be testifying in favor of passing this bill. I remember the boycott, which began in 1977, of Coors beer. Cases of it which had already been purchased were piled high against walls in every gay bar I went into. The clubs refused to sell even what they already had in stock. From the discriminatory Coors of then to the gay friendly Coors of today. I guess boycotts and speaking out does make a difference.
USGA Recognizes Transsexual Competitors
"The United States Golf Association announced Monday it has adopted a new policy that allows transsexual athletes to compete in USGA golf championships, including the upcoming U.S. Women's Open."I don't know why I posted this. I really don't have a dog in the transgendered/transsexual fight as I am happy in the body I have. But I do support rights for all and it is always nice seeing someone finally recognized and included. I have several friends who are transsexual and though I don't necessarily understand it myself, I certainly feel they have the right to be who and what they are. Just like the rest of us.
Republicans Are Supposed To Be Conservative... Right?
"The vote by Congress to allow the federal courts to take over the Terri Schiavo case has created distress among some conservatives who say that lawmakers violated a cornerstone of conservative philosophy by intervening in the ruling of a state court."Republican's are losing their "conservative" credentials.
Andrew Sullivan on Republican Conservatism
"In my view if a Democratic president had Bush's record, the Republican party would have come close to impeaching him for his adventures in big government, fiscal insanity and foreign policy liberalism. But it swallowed its principles and covered up its differences to keep him (and itself) in power."More from Andrew on how the Republican Party has lost its conservative soul.
Are Republicans Still Conservatives?
"THE CONSERVATIVE CRACK-UP II: It's been a fascinating few days, watching today's Republicans grapple with their own internal contradictions. It's been clear now for a while that the religious right controls the base of the Republican party, and that fiscal left-liberals control its spending policy."Andrew is one of my favorite writers and reading his blog is actually what inspired me to create The Central Front. He is a conservative, former (or maybe current--not sure on that one) Republican, gay man. I disagree with him on various opinions but I am an avid reader of his work as he always makes me think and consider a subject. His take on how the Republican party is coming out from under the sheep's clothing of the conservative movement is interesting.
For Everything there is a Season
"A lawyer for the parents of the brain-damaged woman said they would continue their fight, The Associated Press reported."I cannot begin to imagine the pain the parents of Terri Schiavo must be going through. To lose a child is horrendous. To have to make the choice, unbearable. But it is time. For those that argue that only God should make the choice, I offer this. It seems to me he did. If it had not been for extraordinary measures being applied, Terri would now be with her Lord. The Schiavo's have openly stated they are Catholic and Terri has a deep faith. Call on that faith now. As hard as it may be, don't let your child stay trapped in a living pergatory here on earth when all evidence says there is no hope of recovery to a normal life. If a person is of faith then they know there is a better existance waiting. This could possibly be why Terri may have told her husband to not let her linger in what is now her current state. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
"13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."And while we are on the subject. To the media and everyone else, stop demonizing Michael Schiavo who for the past 15 years has watched the person he loves exist in this state. We do not know what is in his heart and we should not judge. He could have divorced Terri years ago and washed his hands of her. This he did not do. According to testimony, he has fought for what he believes his wife would have wanted. Even now he sits at her side. This to me, is not the mark of a cold man without love in his heart. Neither the parents of Terri nor her husband are bad people. They are just dealing with what has to be an excruciatingly painful event the best way they both know how. We, the public, should leave them to what should be a private situation. God's speed Terri and God bless her parents, husband and family members. Remember: 23 Psalm 4
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me."
Heading the Right Direction
"The Family Research Council has on its payroll, I'm not kidding, a homosexuality detection expert, whose duties include informing us that words like tolerance and diversity are part of a coded language that is regularly used by the homosexual community as well as alerting families to potential gays in the midst. What a dream job--Gaydar to Go. I picture a Miss Gulch type roaming the aisles of churches and schools, armed with a crooked stick that violently shakes whenever a teenage closet case is near. Maybe Dick Cheney should have hired her years ago. "When the hard right lay claim to the electoral victories in the last election, they also seemed to relax a bit. Having hid their true selves from the mainstream for years in order to advance to power, now, having grabbed said power, are beginning to finally air every hair brained, half baked idea that they have discretely kept beneath the surface. They feel they have the majority now and therefore nothing to worry about. I have a little more faith in the majority of Americans that they will see this extremism for what it is. The pendulum always swings and it will swing back our direction.
The Gay Agenda
"We know there's an antigay agenda: They want us gone, period. But a "gay agenda"? Can we all even agree on anything? Yes. In fact, the gay agenda is familiar to every schoolchild: liberty and justice for all"Take a moment to read this. Great rant on the "gay agenda." I liked this very much even though I found his reference to the bible as a book of fables a little over the edge. We as a cultural group have to understand the faith of those who are religious. We have to respect their right to their beliefs if we are to ask for their respect for ours. This is definitely a two way street.
The Darkness Before the Light
"Recent victories in the gay community seem to have only increased existing homophobia lately."It is always darkest before the dawn. Yes, homophobia is on the rise but change always meets with resistance. It is not time to back off now out of fear. Where would we be today if the folks at Stonewall had backed down?
Domestic Partnership Benefits Clear Maryland Senate
"A bill that would let unmarried domestic partners make medical decisions for each other has cleared a state Senate committee. "More evidence that the American public is ready to recognize gay relationships as legitimate and that they are deserving of equal treatment under the law, same as heterosexual relationships. So I ask again, "what's in a word?"
FMA is Back
"The Human Rights Campaign denounced yesterday's introduction in the House of an amendment that would deny marriage and likely civil union and domestic partnership rights to same-sex couples. Introduced by Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., the bill would have the same effects as last year's failed amendment."FMA raises it's ugly head once again. Descrimination should never be written into the document that millions around the world look to as a beacon of freedom.
Witnesses Claim GOP Strategist Participated in 'Gay Orgies'
"Barnes Review News editor, Walter Storch, shocked the nation recently alleging chief Republican strategist, Karl Rove (pictured), participated in homosexual orgies in the Washington D.C. area. "In researching Barnes Review News and Walter Storch, the source seems a little wacky and I don't know how true this is. The site seems to have a huge problem with gay folks in general. I post it here because I found it amusing. The story is that Karl went to an orgy during Mid-Atlantic Leather, an annual gathering of Leatherfolk in the DC area. My mind goes everywhere on this. First is the image of Karl in nothing but a harness and jockstrap. Yuck! Next is the idea of him being a submissive bottom and getting to flog the tar out of him. That might be worth the visual.
Who is Funding the Schiavo Court Battle?
"Millions of dollars have been spent by conservative political organizations that are using the Terri Schiavo case as a means to further their political agenda. This list of players comes from The American Journal of Bioethics"More evidence Terri Schiavo is just a political pawn.
It's Time to Make Schools Safe
"Bullying and safety issues continue to be a major problem for gay high school students, according to activists. A national survey conducted in 2003 by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network found that most gay students feel unsafe at school. Eighty-four percent of them said they had been verbally harassed, threatened or called derogatory names, and 41 percent said they had been physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation. Most of the gay students surveyed said faculty never or rarely intervened when present. "It is time the public schools were made safe for all students. There are too many instances where the educational experience is interrupted by inappropriate behavior and actions. Even the courts are beginning to understand this problem:
"Last year, six gay and lesbian former high school students won a $1.1 million settlement against the school district in Morgan Hill, Calif., for discrimination they suffered while students. According to the suit, the students were verbally and physically abused by other students who were never punished by school administrators."
Oppose William Pryor
"As Attorney General of Alabama, he was the only attorney general outside of Texas to author an amicus brief in the Supreme Court defending Texas's anti-gay sodomy statute. Pryor argued that states have an interest in singling out same-sex relations for punishment, even though his own state's statute made no distinction between same-and opposite-sex relations. His brief also compared same-sex relationships to pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia."Another reason to oppose William Pryor's nomination. Democrats have filibustered Bush's judicial oppointments but only in the extreme cases. As we are seeing all around us these days it is imperative that we have non-partisan and impartial judges sitting on the bench. Nominees who come with preconceived ideas and those who have a track record of ideology effecting their opinions should be opposed. America doesn't need these types of judges regardless of which side of the political spectrum their ideology runs.
Civil Unions Move Forward in Connecticut
"A bill to allow civil unions in Connecticut has passed another key committee in the legislature despite a Hartford Republican's attempt to derail the measure."Again I say it. Give me rights. I don't care about a word.
Democrats Still Afraid
"Oh that the Democrats listened to us crazy bloggers who said this issue was outrageous and that the American public would be on our side. I mean, I'm glad some Dems like Pelosi did speak out, but there was hardly a Democratic counter-attack on this issue commensurate with the attack the GOP did in pushing this issue, especially in the Senate. "The Democratic Party has got to lose it's fear. They are so afraid of the 10 second sound bite that, as a party, they are losing their heart and soul.
Speaking Out Does Make a Difference
"The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego apologized Monday to the family of gay nightclub owner John McCusker, less than a week after decreeing that McCusker couldn't have a Catholic burial because of his 'business activities,' according to a statement released by McCusker's family. In a statement released by McCusker's family Monday night, the bishop was quoted as saying: "I deeply regret that denying a Catholic funeral for John McCusker at the Immaculata has resulted in his unjust condemnation, and I apologize to the family for the anguish this has caused them."Just when you thought that speaking out on something doesn't make a difference, something like this comes along. It is re-energizing.
GayPatriot and an Arab Passenger
"On the Dulles-Atlanta leg (Delta Flight 748 to be exact), there was a bit of an issue surrounding an Arabic gentleman sitting in the exit row across the aisle from me. I know he was Arabic because he was reading a book with Arabic text. You see, you have to speak fluent English to sit in the exit row in order to handle instructions and give out orders in the case of emergency. Now what if the new al-Qaeda strategy involved bringing down planes by reaching over in mid-air and pulling out the emergency exit doors on the wings? I nearly got up and said something to the flight attendant to complain about my safety. And I probably should have. But instead I kept my eye on the man the whole way. "Let me say it clearly. Not all Muslims or persons of Arab descent are terrorist. This is plain stereotyping based upon one's race or beliefs. While I certainly understand the fear involved, I pray we are the type of people who can rise above our fears and live in the type of society in which we have always believed. A society where people are not thought of or treated differently based upon race, sex, beliefs or orientation. On a side note, I guess I expected more from GayPatriot. His writing is still exceptional even though he and I don't always see eye to eye.
What Happened to Small Government Republicans?
"Republicans have their victory, but now they must live with consequences of having made a state case into a federal case. Having intervened in this state issue in 2005, future Republicans will have a hard time urging federal restraint in the name of decentralization. Which is to say, whenever the Democrats retake power and resume their own ambitious national agenda, they will happily trample on 'states' rights,' citing the Schiavo legislation as their precedent. But maybe by then Republicans won't care as much, because the traditional conservative belief system, which grounded its politics in the original intent of the Founding Fathers, has been superseded - the Constitutional Right now being the Religious Right.Americans are now learning that the social-issue core of the newly energized, Southernized and Christianized Republican Party cares a lot more about its faith and its values than about the old verity of small government. "I miss the conservatives of old. The ones who believed in a decentralized form of government. As I have long said, it isn't that Republicans don't believe in big government. They just believe in the big government they want.
Schiavo Reduced to Talking Point
"* This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue. * This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida - has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats."Republican's reveal what Terri Schiavo actual is to them -- a political talking point.
What Exactly Is An Activist Judge
"Religious conservatives and other conservatives have protested judicial activism for all these decades on what issues? Abortion, school prayer, sex education, pornography, same-sex marriage, the mandated teaching of evolution, and now, of course, the issue of end-of-life decisions and assisted suicide. Again and again and again, they see the judiciary as power-grabbing activists, and most importantly, violating their own personal religious liberties. And this is the latest in those grievances that have been brewing for decades."I guess the definition of activist judges are any judges who don't agree with someone's particular point of view.
Should Quality of Life Matter
"Rather than a political precedent, I am more concerned about the medical precedent of pulling more and more tubes. There are patients who appear to be 'locked in' to a neurological state very similar to Schiavo's except that they understand and feel everything. These patients are often mistaken initially for being in a persistent vegetative state, and they could be starved before they are properly diagnosed. "This is a very hard choice and one I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. But, if someone is trapped in a body that is non-functional and has no hope of ever becoming functional again and yet they still understand and feel everything around them, how is this different from being locked in a prison. I wouldn't want trapped in this kind of existance. Time to get that living will written.
The Masters of Sleaze
"Back in 1995, when Republicans took over Congress, a new cadre of daring and original thinkers arose. These bold innovators had a key insight: that you no longer had to choose between being an activist and a lobbyist. You could be both. You could harness the power of K Street to promote the goals of Goldwater, Reagan and Gingrich. And best of all, you could get rich while doing it! "Is it just me or does it seem like the "greed is good" groupies of the 80's are coming into power? Politics and money are unfortunately inseperable, but it is getting blatant these days. What concerns me most is that the American public seems to buy into this as acceptable. Simply business as usual. For many years it was a joke that an honest politician couldn't be elected in Louisiana. This was because there was a belief that there was no such thing as an honest politician. I hate to think this is what we are coming to in America. Where is the outrage?
The Saga of Terri Schiavo
"Hours earlier, President Bush signed into a law a bill authorizing the federal courts to review the case after emergency weekend sessions in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. "I have not written earlier on Terri Schiavo largely because I didn't want to add additional exposure to what should be a completely private affair. But when President Bush cut his vacation short to fly back to Washington to sign this, I felt it now was a larger issue. President Bush while he was governor of my great state (Texas) signed a law that allows a hospital to remove extraordinary measures from patients who cannot afford medical care even against the wishes of the family. From Mark A. R. Kleiman:
"Sun Hudson, a six-month-old boy with a fatal congenital disease, died Thursday after a Texas hospital, over his mother's objections, withdrew his feeding tube. The child was apparently certain to die, but was conscious. The hospital simply decided that it had better things to do than keeping the child alive, and the Texas courts upheld that decision after the penniless mother failed, during the 10-day window provided for by Texas law, to find another institution willing to take the child ."What happened to Republicans who in their own Contract with America advocated that government was "too intrusive"? This is shameful political posturing and blatant hypocrisy. It is not hard for me to believe that her husband might not be a person who has "simply moved on," as Ann Coulter tried to paint him, but a man who actually loves his wife and wants to carry out her wishes. Is it not logical to entertain the idea that a woman might tell her husband what her wishes were in this area even if she didn't share them with her parents? My partner and I have had similar conversations and my parents were not aware of them. Since it obviously can now be the government's or a hospital's decision what steps can or will not be taken in regards to personal medical care, I would suggest that anyone who has concerns and feelings in this area have a living will drafted as soon as possible.
Seems a Wedding Isn't a Wedding After All
"JIDDA, Saudi Arabia -- Thirty-one men arrested at a party for homosexuals last week are scheduled to be released today after what appears to have been a bungled police raid. The online Saudi newspaper Al-Wifak first reported that 108 mostly Saudi men had been arrested at a 'gay wedding' on March 10. Seventy-seven of the men used influential connections over the following days to win their release. "I liked the part about using influential connections to win their release. Not hard to believe when connections can get you into the Whitehouse, even if you are a gay hooker. (hat tip to rawstoryq for this)
No Wonder Some Right Wingers Love These Guys
"Police in Saudi Arabia have arrested a group of presumably gay men, claiming they were celebrating a gay wedding in the city of Jeddah. "Remind me again why Iraq was a brutish dictatorship that we had to topple to spread freedom but Saudi Arabia is our friend we support?
Martina Just Says No
"Out international tennis star Martina Navratilova is suing Do Tell Inc. of Conshohocken for refusing to stop using her name, image and likeness in its promotion of the Rainbow Card credit card."Could it be because:
"The Rainbow Card, which is marketed to gays and lesbians, is sponsored by MBNA, which recently surpassed Enron as President George W. Bush's top lifetime contributor, according to the Center for Public Integrity."
And They Say Gay People Take Marriage Lightly
"The pop princess has explained that her Las Vegas marriage to childhood sweetheart Jason Alexander was intended to 'shock the sh*t' out of her parents."Now that is a good reason for having the state recognize your marriage as oppose to say, living together in a committed union for 20 years. Do I really need to say more?
Village People "Not Gay"???
"John Murphy, a rep for Lovett, said Kopitko told him the Village People didn't want to be thought of as just gay and wanted to be 'mainstream.' Therefore, he refused to let Lovett use the songs in his documentary, which focuses on the gay sexual revolution that swept New York and the country following the Stonewall Riots in 1969. "Seems the ultra-campy Village People want to climb back into the closet and not be seen as gay. This is just unbelievable even in today's world of spin control. I mean, listen to YMCA, Go West, and Fire Island for goodness sake. Gay, Gay, Gay. On a side note... maybe the Village People need to talk to Donna Summer about disavowing the culture that made you a star. Disco dance with the one that brung 'ya, baby.
Ohio FMA May Give Loophole to Abusers
"Last November Ohio passed one of the nation's most far-reaching gay-marriage bans. It prohibits not only gay marriage but also any relationship that 'intends to approximate' marriage. Now that broad language is being used in an array of unlikely legal cases. Dozens of Ohio men charged with domestic abuse, for example, are prepared to argue in court that domestic-violence laws, which carry stiffer penalties than standard assault charges, no longer apply to them, since they are not married to the women they're accused of beating. Legal experts fear they may be right. 'It's very clear that this amendment applies to unmarried heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples,' says Lewis Katz, a criminal-law professor at Case Western Reserve University."Obviously some folks didn't think these Marriage Amendments through very well. Will be interesting to see how they gel the "this is to protect marriage and not against homosexuals" line and reality as they fix the loopholes concerning heterosexual relationships.
Gay Bashing in NYC
"(New York City) Four teenagers have been arrested in the beating of a 35-year old gay man in a Bronx neighborhood. The victim was treated at the scene. Police say that the teen jumped the man on West 197th Street at University Avenue. As they beat him they repeatedly screamed homophobic epithets at him. The beating is one of a growing number of attacks on Bronx gays."Is it just me or are we seeing an upswing in "gay" related crime. Maybe it is just that gay people finally have the self-respect and dignity within themselves that allow them to report such instances as what they are. My gut feeling is that these types of instances really aren't on the rise so much as people are speaking out. In the past, most likely, many crimes of this nature went unreported or were not reported as being related to gay bashing because the victims were afraid of the backlash they would receive by being known as gay. So possibly a little progress on the self-respect front but still too little on the "it's ok to beat up gay people because they are worthless" front. It is that attitude that makes hate crime legislation necessary. Coming from a state where a sitting judge gave a lighter sentence to a man because his victim was gay and having known several people who were victims of crime simply because they were gay, I find the state of things rather depressing. It is time all people speak out against crimes that are based on hatred (And no, all crime is not based on hatred) whether it be because of race, gender or orientation. If we all speak with one voice on this topic, then maybe we can create a world where fewer people see these types of crime as acceptable.
Montana Christian Legislators Bash Gays
"(Helena, Montana) Legislation to include gays and lesbians in Montana's human rights law is discrimination against Christians, foes of the measure have declared at a House committee hearing. "Seems the legislature in Montana is using Christianity once again as the cover for descrimination. They are rolling out the same old standards such as:
"It's an abomination in God's sight," Peter Merkes of Helena said of homosexuality at a House Judiciary Committee which was holding public hearings on the bill.What does the bill do?
The bill would add sexual orientation to the state's human rights laws against disscrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing, financial transactions, education, job referrals, licensing, training programs, government services and funding, and public contracts.So basically all it is saying is that you can't descriminate against anyone for any reason. The ultra right wing is once again using God to try to keep gays in their place. Personally I don't think that is ejactly WJWD.
London Leads the Way
"(London) As American same-sex couples struggle with their income tax the British government has decided to recognize gay and lesbian relationships. Under new measure announced this week in the Blair government's budget, same-sex couples will be able to transfer assets between themselves with no more tax liability than married couples. Pension tax legislation will also be amended to include civil partners. They will also be allowed to make gifts or bequests to their partners with the benefits under Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax exemptions."Funny how stodgy 'ole England is leading the way in equality. Maybe it is because our gay brothers and sisters across the pond haven't led all out warfare on a word. That word of course being marriage. Again, I say, let's go for our rights due to us as Americans and forget being hung up on a word.
Catholic Church Denies Funeral for Gay Man
"A member of the Greater San Diego Business Association and owner of two gay bars has been denied a funeral at the University of San Diego and in any Catholic church or chapel in the Diocese of San Diego."Seems the catholic church identifies gay bars as "adult entertainment." I wonder if they have the same rules for heterosexual bars.
Wolfowitz Seeks Advice from Bono
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Paul Wolfowitz, whose nomination as World Bank president has stirred controversy, discussed poverty and development issues with Irish rock star Bono in two telephone conversations Thursday, an adviser said. Wolfowitz adviser Kevin Kellems told Reuters the deputy U.S. defense secretary initiated the lengthy conversations with the lead singer of the rock group U2, whose name had been bandied about for the World Bank presidency. "Does anyone else find this odd? The possible head of the World Bank seeking advice from a rock star instead of say... a Nobel prize winning economist?
Privatization Good for Gays
"If allowed to go forth, Social Security privatization will limit the ability of the government to act as arbiter of Social Security survivor benefits, and therefore recognition of beneficiaries. Up to this point, gay activists have focused on working through the judiciary and state or local governments to recognize same-sex partnerships. Although the gay community might dream of government recognition, at present this is impractical. Without sweeping federal redefinition, gays and lesbians will continue to receive unequal benefits. If they are to make the best of the situation, they should support private accounts, forming alliances with Republicans who support limited government. "I would agree with the above statement if I only thought in terms of myself, which is not the way I look at Social Security. For myself personally, I really don't have a dog in this fight. I have secured my retirement in other methods and (knock wood) I probably won't be relying on Social Security. However, that doesn't mean that I don't see the need for an institution that has done so much to help keep our seniors from becoming completely destitute. Privatizing Social Security opens this vitally necessary program up to risk and while I might get the added benefit of being able to bequeath this to whomever I might designate, this isn't a good trade off for risking the possibility of a generation of seniors who through bad investments or economic downturns are left with nothing to keep them out of poverty in their golden years. Social Security is an insurance program not an investment strategy. It was never intended to be anything other than a safety net from devastation. Privatization puts the federal government in the role of investment banker and one look at our country's growing debt is enough to scare any prudent investor because the government might not be the best money managers around.
As it is now, same-sex couples cannot receive Social Security survivor benefits or dependent benefits because they are not married under federal law. If Social Security were privatized, however, the federal government could not regulate the beneficiaries of private accounts. Same-sex partners, like any other beneficiary, could receive survivor benefits or dependent benefits.It seems to me a better focus of energy would be to work to ensure that gay Americans were able to access the same programs and benefits available to non-gay Americans. If Britney can marry someone for 12 minutes and during those 12 minutes her partner is able to receive survivor benefits, then I see no logical reason why same-sex couples, many of whom are in very long term relationships, shouldn't have access to the same benefits. That's a better fight with less risk for all Americans.
Being "Out" Matters
"Hate is not a gay thing. It's everywhere. We need to take care of each other. You're being denied rights because people don't know anything about you. You have to let them know who you are." This statement by Judy Shepard, whose gay son Matthew was beaten to death five years ago, to a gay group in Lake Tahoe, Nev.I have always said it is easier to hate in the abstract than in the personal. In other words it is very easy to hate a "faggot" but when that faggot is your brother, cousin, best friend, co-worker, etc... it becomes a lot harder. Coming out is a very personal thing and the decision should only belong to the person. There are many good arguements for coming out and Mrs. Shepard's above certainly is added to that list. [UPDATE: When writing the above post I stated that the decision for coming out should only belong to the person. When reading this it would seem to contradict my opinion on "outing". In the above post I was describing coming out in regards to plain, everyday private citizens and was not thinking at the time about public figures and especially those who work to draft legislation detrimental to gay people. As I read more about outing and in reflection on the on-going controversy, I have re-thought my opinion as to outing. I wanted to make it clear that I was not trying to be misleading in what I wrote above. I do think that for private citizens going about their daily lives that the decision to come out is a personal one and should not be made by anyone else. However, when a person works in the public sector and is involved in drafting, proposing, or supporting legislation or policies that are detrimental to gay Americans, they lose the right to call foul when it is pointed out that they themselves are gay.]
Gay Marriage in Washington Court
"The state Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this week on whether gay couples should be allowed to marry in Washington State. "
FMA Back to Front Burner
"In the wake of this week's California court ruling that declared that state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional President Bush on Wednesday renewed his call for an amendment to the US constitution to prevent gays from marrying." Bush denied that he has softened his position if favor of pursuing changes to Social Security. "No, I haven't changed my position," the President said. "And as a matter of fact, the court rulings are verifying why I took the position I took. And that is, I don't believe judges ought to be deciding this issue. I believe this is an issue of particular importance to the American people and should be decided by the people. And I think the best way to do so is through the constitutional process. "Contrary to some of my stripe, I have no problem with the word marriage being defined as between one man and one woman. I, myself do not feel any discrimination by not referring to my relationship as a marriage. In fact I wouldn't describe it that way for many reasons, not the least of which being that marriage to me defines a heterosexual institution and I have never aspired to most things heterosexual. The push for gay marriage and the co-opting of the word marriage has given cover to many who want a world where gay relationships have no standing whatsoever. Many people who support equality in civic and personal affairs with regards to gay couples, do not want to see the word marriage re-defined. This allows the anti-gay crowd to write Defense of Marriage acts, which seemingly on the surface reserve the word marriage to define a heterosexual union but underneath strip most if not all rights away from gay couples, in a way that camouflage their real intent. I personally don't care what you call it. I just want my rights as an American who is in a long term relationship recognized the same as my heterosexual counterparts.
Equal Protection Action
"A Long Island gay couple who married last year in Canada are suing a local school district for discrimination." Duke Funderburke, 72, married his partner of 42 years, Brad Davis, 67, in October of 2004 in a ceremony in Ontario... "New York law is clear that when couples get validly married somewhere else, their marriages are recognized in New York. It doesn't matter whether same-sex couples can get married in New York right now -- if they were married legally somewhere else, the law says they're legally married here," said Alphonso David, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal which is representing the couple.This is a good challenge under the equal protection clause.
Another Small Ray of Hope
"A New Jersey judge has ruled that that a gay, disabled veteran who owns a home with his partner should receive the same tax break that a married veteran would receive."
Why did the judge rule this way?
"Judge Vito L. Bianco said he based his ruling on New Jersey's new Domestic Partnership Act."Domestic Partnerships are a recognition of gay relationships. Maybe the word "marriage" isn't in there but if domestic partnership policies and laws bestow the "instances" of marriage -- rights, obligations and privileges-- then as they say, "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck." Why get caught up in a word.
Constitution Denies Rights
"Michigan's attorney general issued an opinion Wednesday saying cities and other government entities won't be able to provide benefits for same-sex partners of employees in future contracts because that would violate Proposal 2 - the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. " "Cox said Kalamazoo's policy accords domestic partnerships a "marriage-like" status, and given the amendment's broad language, conferring benefits recognizes the validity of same-sex relationships."This is why I think we are pushing too far too fast. By trying to force gay "marriage" down people's throats, we are losing what we already have. Domestic Partnership laws and policies are a very significant step that have been hard won. These Defense of Marriage laws are stripping away protections offered under these statutes. They also, in many cases, supercede any previous domestic partnership laws and take away what we already have.
"the decision that I wouldn't and haven't for a second, doubted, which was the decision of our National Board to make the decisions of not endorsing [President Bush] in the last election. It came with consequences. It came with the reality that this organization at a pretty historic moment did draw a line in the sand and said we are so disappointed and somewhat angry that this issue [FMA] is being used the way it is." Patrick Guerriero, head of the Log Cabin Republicans speaking to Gay Patriot.I, for one, applauded the Log Cabin Republicans for finally drawing the line at least somewhere. In the interest of honesty, I have to say I am not a huge fan of the LCR largely because I don't buy the "working within" strategy. But, this time I guess they finally took a stand. Gay Patriot did a four part interview with Guerriero and it really is worth a read.
Equal Protection Spreading
"No matter how much opponents of same-sex marriage will try to say otherwise, Judge Kramer is not a radical liberal judge, wired on lattes in Haight-Ashbury. He's just now catching up to what the mayor and city council and state legislature - and courts from sea to shining sea - have known for years: that all Americans are entitled to equal treatment. Is that news?"Gay marriage is picking up steam though I fear it still has many roadblocks ahead.
"Still, I doubt that Mrs. Clinton can be elected president. I use my hometown, the farming community of Yamhill, Ore., as my touchstone for the heartland, and I have a hard time imagining that she could do well there. Ambitious, high-achieving women are still a turnoff in many areas, particularly if they're liberal and feminist. And that's not just in America: Margaret Thatcher would never have been elected prime minister if she'd been in the Labor Party."While I have some reservations about Hillary as the Democratic Party's candidate, I find it sad in this day and age that "ambitious, high-achieving women are still a turnoff in many areas." It certainly doesn't help that she is liberal and a feminist but it seems those two criteria alone wouldn't sink a male candidate. I do hope Hillary makes a credible run at the Presidency if for no other reason than to break the barrier. If she can mount an actual formidable campaign, it will open doors and possibly the minds of voters for women candidates in the future. This would be a good thing because someone's gender shouldn't be an obstacle to achievement in America.
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