Saturday, February 27, 2010

Maryland To Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages

Maryland is the latest state to show progress on gay marriage.

Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler (pictured), on Wednesday, has declared gay marriages performed outside the state as legally valid. This means that, if Gansler's directive is followed, all Maryland state agencies will afford married gay couples in the state the same benefits that straight married couples receive.

What this means is that Maryland has, in effect, rejected DOMA. It also means that, while gay marriage is not yet able to be performed in Maryland, if a couple gets married outside the state and returns, their union will be recognized.

According to Thursday's Washington Post,

Gansler, a supporter of legalizing same-sex marriages, was asserting his authority as the top legal adviser to state agencies to answer a question that experts say had been left unclear by Maryland law. He was responding to a legislator's request that he issue an opinion.
The attorney general's opinion unleashed a torrent of emotions from both gay rights advocates and those opposed to same-sex marriage, adding a potentially explosive issue to election-year politics in Maryland. It is likely to be quickly challenged in court, Gansler acknowledged.
Also, from that edition, for any people who still think that Democrats have our back, note this:

His opinion is certain to have political implications. Democratic leaders in the state's General Assembly appear to have little enthusiasm for making same-sex marriage a marquee issue in the 2010 elections.
Hmmm....where have we heard that before?

Washington Post Editorial supports decision

Today, an editorial in the Washington Post came out in support of the Attorney General's decision:

The Attorney General of Maryland does not have the power to legalize same-sex marriage; the legislature almost 40 years ago determined that "only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this state." His opinions do not carry the weight of law; only legislative pronouncements and court rulings do.

What he can do is provide an authoritative reading of what the law commands. That is what Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) has done in concluding that same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions may -- and should -- be recognized under Maryland law. In the process, he has produced a legal compass that should be followed to provide overdue equality for gay and lesbian couples in Maryland.
The editorial concludes, as follows:

Mr. Gansler's opinion and the possibility that gay couples in Maryland may soon be able to marry in the District are welcome developments. But they are no substitutes for permanent protections in Maryland itself. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) should direct state agencies to begin applying the attorney general's advice immediately.
Considering that, for the most part, Democrats will hardly be embracing glbt issues, with the mid-terms happening later this year (and with Democrats in serious need of a spine), this development is rather encouraging.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Miss Beverly Hillbilly

Here we go again.

In the latest quest to get the Carrie Prejean award for California's hottest homophobe, Lauren Ashley, who gave herself the title of Miss Beverly Hills, without any pagaent being held, has just suggested that God wants gays dead.

 Lolita Ashley, who is a contestant for Miss California 2010, because she passed an interview, had her comments posted at the entertainment section of the Fox News site called "Pop Tarts."

Interestingly, when Fox News updated the story today to express the outrage from Beverly Hills residents that this bimbo is supposed to represent them, they took down Ashley's most incendiary comments.

I was able to access the original, from a cached version found at Google.

Here is what the porn beauty queen wannabe had to say about gays:

"The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. In Leviticus it says, 'If man lies with mankind as he would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them.' The Bible is pretty black and white," Ashley told Pop Tarts.
"I feel like God himself created mankind and he loves everyone, and he has the best for everyone. If he says that having sex with someone of your same gender is going to bring death upon you, that's a pretty stern warning, and he knows more than we do about life."
Yes Lauren, suggesting that God wants gays murdered is indeed a pretty stern warning. And phrasing it the way you did is also a stern warning to you....that brain cells are precious....and you need to salvage the healthy ones that remain.

Then there was this:

 But with the Miss California Pageant still months away, and Ashley already echoing the views that got Prejean in trouble last year, is she concerned that she may ruin her chances of taking home the tiara?
"That isn't really the issue. I have a lot of friends that are gay, and ... I have a lot of friends who have different views, and we share our views together," she said. "There's no hate between me and anyone."
I suppose this is just another way of saying....'I have friends who God wants put to death, but, personally, I could never get my hair and nails done without them.'

She even made comments about how pre-marital sex is awful and how her body is a temple of God. It reminded me of Mimi Rogers discussing what led up to the dissolution of her marriage to Tom Cruise.

I guess Fox must be feeling quite uncomfortable about Ashley's comments, because, as I wrote, you can't find them up on the website anymore.
What you find, in its place, is how the bad people of Beverly Hills are upset about how their name has been co-opted by this piece of trash:

"The City of Beverly Hills today denounced statements made by Miss California USA contestant Lauren Ashley, the self-described Miss Beverly Hills. Ms. Ashley resides in Pasadena and is currently a contestant for the Miss California USA title. She does not represent Beverly Hills in any capacity," the city said in a news release issued Wednesday. "The City of Beverly Hills strongly condemns Ms. Ashley's recent statements and has contacted pageant officials to determine ways to formally prevent any beauty contestants claiming the title of Miss Beverly Hills in the future."

A representative from the City Council told Pop Tarts that the mayor and the entire council were very upset by Ashley's comments and the council will decide whether or not to take the issue up with the Miss Universe Organization, co-owned by Donald Trump and NBC.
State pageant director Keith Lewis said all applicants are interviewed by a representative from the organization and if successful they can then choose what city they wish to represent in the quest for the Miss California title. But despite the Beverly Hills City Council's desire to have the pageant structure changed, Lewis said, "the incident has no bearing on Miss California USA or the way the pageant will be conducted in the future."
"I would love for the City of Beverly Hills to have their own preliminary pageant to determine a representative," Lewis added. "But until then, this is the way Miss Universe runs it and this is how it is done in other states."
I don't know about you, but the way I see it...a potential, new Fox anchor is born.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Hold Your Breath On Repeal

Maybe I am too close to this story, but I am seething over the latest comments from military 'leaders,' who have been commenting this week on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' I am even angrier about advocates in Congress and the press, who don't challenge the blatant abuse of truth that these homophobes, and their political enablers, put forth.

Specifically....this is the type of quote that drives me nuts. From the New York Times:

“I do have serious concerns about the impact of repeal of the law on a force that’s fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for eight-and-a-half years,” General Casey told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We just don’t know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness.”

Let me get to the greater point first...the blatant fallacy. There will be NO impact on readiness and military effectiveness. NONE. There is no need for a study to investigate something that has no grounding in reality.

How can we be so sure that readiness and 'unit cohesion' will not be an issue?

Well, let's see....Great Britain has done it. So has France. And Germany. Even Australia. Israel, too. Nothing happened to troop morale in any of those nations. Are we to believe that American men are just so hypersensitive that they would break out in hives at the thought of showering with their fellow gay soldiers (which they do now, anyway)?

And to that absurd second point about 8-1/2 years of wars. Iraq and Afghanistan are being set up to be endless occupations. As far as I know there is not even a formal declaration of war. What are these people talking about? The "War" on Terror? That Orwellian device is going to keep us in a perpetual state of war and these generals know that.

However, even if we buy that argument, how can we dispute the fact that Israeli soldiers, who should probably be more concerned about the state of their military than anyone, hasn't had any issues. And this from a country where Orthodox Jews are as virulently homophobic as the right wing of any religion?

One would think that this prime falsehood would be easily shot down, right?

So, why the Hell are our advocates in Congress, or reporters themselves not challenging this assertion openly?? As I wrote. It drives me nuts.

And now, it just keeps getting more annoying, because these same military homophobes are now saying that even placing a hold on expulsions, which is now being floated by Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, is also unacceptable to them.

Personally, I have had it with America's backwardness on every single social issue. We are so behind other Western nations that it's frightening. We are backwards on health warming....and every single glbt issue.

Sadly, given his track record on gay civil rights matters, I think we have a better chance of seeing Armageddon in 2012, than we do of seeing President Obama stand behind his promises to end this insanity.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

BBC Article Takes On Growing, Religious-Based, African Homophobia

Excellent article at the BBC today over the growing anti-gay climate being spread through much of Africa.

We are sometimes quick to attribute this homophobia to a less-civilized mindset, yet, the BBC story points out that some of the worst offenders have the West to thank:

Homosexuality is illegal in many African countries - particularly Arab North Africa and those with a British colonial past such as Kenya, Uganda and Malawi.
British colonial legislators outlawed "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal".
It is that law which Uganda is now proposing to strengthen, from a 14-year sentence to prison to life.

The article quotes Monica Mbaru (pictured), from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, who attributes the  rising anti-gay tide to the role of religion in Africa, and indicates,

...many African leaders and communities remain hostile to gay people because of pressure from religious leaders.

"Our politicians have great respect for religious leaders and are careful not to disagree with them, especially not on homosexuality," she says.

"So they pretend that homosexuals do not exist or that they can be 'cured' and communicate this message to the community."
You can read the full article here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stopping Gay Marriage Not A CPAC Priority

The CPAC convention has produced some interesting results.

While the news media is generally reporting that the biggest news from the convention was that Ron Paul is the CPAC-ers #1 choice for president, the conservative blog Hot Air has an even more interesting tidbit.

Apparently stopping gay marriage is not a top priority. In fact, it is right there at the bottom, along with not wanting to reduce health care costs (there is a bizarre correlation in that, somewhere, I'm sure).

Click on the above picture for a larger (and clearer) view.

Thanks to Joe. My. God. for highlighting this.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ugandan Anti-Gay Pastor Showing Gay Porn In Church

Uganda has officially entered the "Twilight Zone."

According to the BBC, Ugandan Pastor Martin Ssempa, one of the leading proponents of that nation's proposed new anti-gay legislation, has shown gay pornography in his church to bolster his case.

Seriously. You can't make this stuff up. We are talking about the showing of gay porn to families. C'mon, this is positively surreal.

Then there is this, from the USA Today blog:

Pastor Martin Ssempa defends his screening of the porn to 300 church members Wednesday night by telling the BBC, "We have to educate ourselves about what homosexuals do.
I guess there weren't any copies of "Will & Grace" available. Or "Brokeback Mountain," for that matter.

The BBC site added this gem from Ssempa, "In Africa, what you do in your bedroom affects our clan, it affects our tribe, it affects our nation."

He neglected to add how gay Ugandans are now getting screwed by their countrymen.

Fortunately, this has woken up others to just how unfathomably daft these religious loons have become.

Monica Mbaru, from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, apparently made the following comment to the BBC, "I think we are dealing with someone who needs medical help,"

Well.....yes. It would seem that way.

As the BBC reports:

Noma Pakade, from the African gay rights group Behind the Mask, accused the pastor of perpetuating violence by his anti-gay campaign.
"Showing pornography in church in the presence of minors is twisted homophobic propaganda, where homosexuality is equated to paedophilia and pornography," she told the BBC.
Maybe Tim Burton should do a documentary on this. It would be the perfect follow-up to his upcoming "Alice In Wonderland."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Advocate Raises Questions About HRC

The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld (pictured) has just put out an online video that directly questions the relevance and effectiveness of HRC, and President Joe Solmonese, in particular.

The article is titled, "What Happened to 'Yes We Can?'" and makes clear that gay activists want to know of Solmonese "what gives?"

While I have not written extensively about HRC in this blog, I have been on record, at blog sites such as AmericaBlog and firedoglake, as being highly critical of Solmonese. After becoming friendly with a woman in my bowling league, who is both extremely passionate about glbt advocacy and very involved with HRC on a local level, I am now very careful to not smear the entire organization because of my dissatisfaction with some.

As a glbt activist in my own rite I know how easy it is for us to cannibalize our own over policy differences. I also know that there are many advocates and pundits in the community, on both sides of this debate, that are enamored with their own sense of importance and relevance. It seems to go with the territory. And it is why I prefer to take things case-by-case.

The HRC's 2 prime detractors in this piece are a man I greatly admire, Act-Up founder Larry Kramer, along with AmericaBlog's John Aravosis. Kramer is especially harsh and blunt. When you get to the article (which I will link to below) you can see from what Kramer says about Solmonese, in the comments section, that there is no love-fest going on.

I initially got motivated to going back to my glbt activism, and away from my progressive blogging (where I foolhardishly blogged very successfully on Barack Obama's behalf during the campaign, under the pseudonym 'scootmandubious'), by reading some of Aravosis's posts about the glbt community's total disconnect with Obama.

I thought I was going a little crazy in my fairly rapid disillusionment with the man that I worked, in my own small way, to help elect. I was glad to read that others shared my views. I had a brief correspondence with Mr. Aravosis a decade ago, from the days of my glbt newfeeds, which I used to send to subscribers via e-mail, so I was pleased to see how far he had come with his AmericaBlog. He has always been good at positioning and defining himself and his politics. I tend to agree with John on many issues, though not all. 

Meanwhile, I had always been very suspicious of glbt advocacy groups. Actually, outside of Rev. Mel White's Soulforce, the SLDN and NGLTF, I am not particularly impressed with any of the others, for various reasons.

It was understandable, when the GOP ran things, that we would have a hard time scoring legislative victories. So, even though I had been critical of the HRC's efforts, I understood the reality of the result.

The inaction under Obama is inexcusable to me. Just as it was inexcusable under Bill Clinton...the man who gave us DADT and DOMA.

I will leave it at that for now, but watch the video. Where is the anger on Joe Solmonese's face? Where is the outrage? This is a point Mr. Kramer makes and he makes it elffectively. Solmonese actually looks bored. Aravosis is a bit more diplomatic, but raises valid points.

It is not a hatchet job, since Eleveld gives Solmonese more than enough time to defend himself.

Reading the Advocate's comments section, it is clear that the HRC has work cut out for itself. The commenters are extremely critical of Solmonese.

Is it fair criticism? Watch the video and decide for yourself? Personally, I think it is.

You can access the piece here.

Michael Douglas And Matt Damon Are Lovers

Don't you just love titillating headlines?

Actually, this headline is correct if I the new upcoming Liberace bio-pic.

Yes, Douglas and Damon are set to co-star in the film version of Liberace's life story. I am hardly thrilled.

Look, I know that a film like this would probably never get made if it didn't have star power, but what straight men are gonna be flocking to a movie about Liberace (pictured above, decked out in his trademarked slaughtered animals) to begin with?

Remember the scene in "Longtime Companion," when one of the principles described portraying a gay actor on screen as the career kiss of death? He was obviously referring to what happened to the stars of the soaper "Making Love."

Well, times have changed.

With Sean Penn nabbing an Oscar for playing Harvey Milk and Philip Seymour Hoffman getting his for playing Truman Capote, gay roles are now considered de rigueur for serious straight actors seeking major awards. Heath Ledger should have probably won for "Brokeback Mountain."

With all the gay actors out there (no comment on anybody else who appeared in "Brokeback Mountain"), one would think that maybe one of them would have better insight into what made Liberace tick, no?

It is hard to imagine that homophobic Hollywood would ever cast an openly gay man in a straight, romantic leading role, although closet cases often get the parts, which is what makes this hypocrisy so annoying.

However, if you want to read more about the upcoming Stephen Soderbergh-helmed flick, skedded for a 2012 opening, go here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I saw this at firedoglake today and had forgotten just how much I absolutely love this scene from "Lady and the Tramp." It is one of my 2 favorite romantic moments from animated films.

So, I thought maybe I should post the other one too.

I will close my Valentine trilogy with one of the best gay love songs you will ever hear.

To show you just what a mush I am....and how utterly off-the-wall is my other all-time romantic, animated movie favorite. I actually get misty each time I watch this. No joke.

It's the final scene from "The Nightmare Before Christmas."



I wanted to include one last Valentine's Day video. I do hope to get married someday (of course, the challenge is finding that special person to marry!) and, if I were to think of one song that I would want as a wedding song, I'd have to select the following, which gives me the same chills now, as when I first heard it.

It is "What More Can I Say," from my all-time favorite musical, "Falsettos," and is sung, in this version, by the same actor who did it on Broadway, and who also performs it on the cast recording, Michael Rupert.

This version was found at You Tube and was from a performance that Rupert did in Los Angeles in 1994, with his original co-star Stephen Bogardus. It doesn't get sweeter than this, though how his partner still sleeps at the end is beyond me! ;-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Accuracy In Media's Kincaid Endorses Ugandan 'Kill The Gays' Bill

I have blogged in the past about the proposed new legislation in Uganda that would, among other things, execute gays for engaging in sexual behavior and incarcerate citizens, including reporters, for not reporting on those one knows to be gay. This, in a country where it is already a crime to engage in same-sex activity.

While some in America have chosen to be vocal about this obscene bill, others are actually demonstrating their utter lack of a moral compass by being apologists for the Ugandans and excusing it. And then there are the most repugnant of all....

Now, a pundit for a right-wing media watcher, the erroneously-named Accuracy in Media, actually endorsed the Ugandan bill, portraying the Ugandan government as the victims.

Last week, Cliff Kincaid wrote a column titled, "Uganda Confronts 'Loud-mouthed Homosexual Lobby.'" In it, Kincaid blames the bad press on alleged "homosexual activists," such as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Jonathan Capeheart of the Washington Post, and writes:

Uganda not only suffered under the murderous dictator Idi Amin, but revolted against a homosexual pedophile King Mwanga in the 1800s, a period in the country's history that is not well-known. The result was the establishment of National Martyr's Day on June 3 in honor of the Christians tortured and killed by Mwanga.
Showing disdain for Uganda's sovereign right to chart its own course in domestic and foreign affairs, the "gay rights" lobby has mounted an aggressive strategy to undermine the government of Uganda and threaten the cut-off of foreign aid if the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda is passed. All of this may have something to do with the fact, as AIM has disclosed, that billionaire George Soros, a major financial backer of the Democratic Party and the "gay rights" movement, has been funding efforts to promote homosexuality and legalized prostitution in Uganda and throughout Africa. The Open Society Institute of Soros calls these activities "the rights of sexual minorities" and "sex work."
This entirely perverse article concludes with quotes from Charles Tuhaise, the CEO of a Ugandan Christian organization. Christian CEO? In other words, one who makes his living off of religious ignorance and bigotry.

Tuhaise told AIM that Uganda needed the support of conservatives from the U.S. but that there is an obvious problem in America itself. He explained, "We sometimes wonder why Americans are not rising up to stop many shocking things happening there, like the predators who are luring children into dangerous sex rings and destroying their lives...In Africa we think of the welfare of the community and we care what is going on in the neighborhood, because whoever takes over your neighborhood has got your kid, too."
In case the subtlety has evaded anyone, Kincaid suggests that killing gays is a good thing because, as Kincaid keeps hammering home, homosexuality supposedly equals pedophilia. His last paragraph suggests it would be a good thing for America to have similar antipgay laws.

The article made my blood boil, so I was relieved to see Media Matters for America rip Kincaid a new one.

On Tuesday, Terry Krepel cited the AIM column, writing:

In fact, one of the offenses of "aggravated homosexuality" that would warrant a death penalty in the bill is being a "serial offender," which the bill defines as "a person who has previous convictions of the offence of homosexuality or related offences." In other words, if you were convicted of previous homosexual behavior -- or even one of the "related offences" such as "failure to disclose" homosexual acts or "conspiracy to engage in homosexuality" -- and were convicted of it again, you could be put to death.
While there has been much discussion of amending the bill, it has not yet been amended. So as the bill currently stands, despite Kincaid's insistence, mere homosexual behavior is a capital offense under the bill, meaning that it will, in fact, "kill the gays."
There are other things Kincaid doesn't mention -- for instance, the fact that the bill applies to Ugandans not living in the country. He's also quiet about another inconvenient fact: In Uganda, HIV has historically been spread mostly through heterosexual or mother-to-child contact.

It seems that, when it comes to his own writing, Kincaid doesn't believe in fulfilling the promise of his employer's name.
You can read the entire Media Matters piece here.

I would like to thank Mr. Kincaid, for saving me the trouble of finding the link to the Ugandan Embassy.

If you would like to express yourself to the Ugandan Ambassador click here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Brendan Burke Killed In Auto Accident

After reading an ESPN story this past November on how Brendan Burke was helping to combat homophobia in sports, I posted on my blog about him.

I was impressed how the then 20 year-old, openly gay son of a legendary NHL executive, was breaking down barriers. John Buccigross had just written a piece on how the Miami University student was serving as student manager of his university's ice hockey team and opening a dialogue about gays in the world of sports.

Yes, he wasn't a player, but he was the son of hockey royalty and his openness and candidness about his sexual orientation are a big deal in a country that still doesn't allow gays to serve openly in the military, for fear of such inane things as community showers.

Burke was viewed with nothing but respect by the Miami players. That there was a need to even feature a story like this at our nation's most pre-eminent sports website was revealing.

Sadly, Burke was killed in an automobile accident in Indiana on Friday. He was 21. His burial was yesterday.

Buccigross has written an equally eloquent piece about Burke's passing. He ended his tribute by speculating about all the things Burke could have accomplished over his next 21 years:

I would have hoped he would have become a teacher and coach at some point; lighting people up with his glow would have been best utilized on the young. He would have indelibly inspired, shaped and motivated kids with his energetic words and actions, and led with a kindly light amid the encircling doom of adolescence and young adulthood.

Burkie would have been the all-time favorite teacher of hundreds of students. He would have written books, spoken at conventions, probably run for local or state office, started a blog, been a guest on television and radio, and probably become well known for many things. But teaching would have been his core strength because his strength was his quest for intimacy. His light was a spotlight ... on you.

And so gently grasping his right arm at the wake and hoping for one beam of light, it dawned on me. Yes, Brendan was a star, but he blazed because he found a little gleam in each of us. If his memory enlightens anything in us, it is this: CONFIDENCE.

A terrible loss for the Burke/Gilmore family and Brendan's friends? Unspeakably and unquestionably. But thank goodness they got the first 21 years, the 21 years friends and families treasure most because the team is almost always together and at its most intimate.

 But Brendan Gilmore Burke's death is an even bigger loss for the people in the future who would have known and experienced him just once or on a daily basis. I feel the loss the most for these unknown faces. Because during the next 21 years, they will never see the light.
Read the full tribute here.

Once again, I would like to recommend sending Mr. Buccigross a thank you for helping to make the late Brendan Burke's life even more meaningful, and letting the world know about the man he was. You can e-mail him at

Anne Hathaway Ditched Catholicism For Gay Brother

If her turn as Jake Gyllenhall's disinterested wife in Brokeback Mountain didn't make her a heroine in the glbt community, some new revelations about her family will.

According to an interview in the British GQ, Hathaway, and her family, left the Catholic Church because of her brother's homosexuality.

The full transcript from the interview is not online, though it is being excerpted elsewhere.

From New York magazine:

Anne grew up wanting to become a nun but shunned Catholicism when she learned her older brother, Michael, was gay.

"The whole family converted to Episcopalianism after my elder brother came out," she tells the magazine. "Why should I support an organization that has a limited view of my beloved brother?"
As the article mentioned, Episcolpalianism didn't exactly work out for her either, but apparently, that wasn't the result of institutionalized homophobia, which the Catholic Church is the embodiment of.

Iowa GOP Rebuffed In Attempts To Roll Back Gay Marriage

Iowa Republicans failed yesterday to start a process of banning gay marriage through a state constitutional amendment. This means it will be at least 4 years before it could come up for a vote in the state.

According to an AP story, found at the Chicago Tribune,

The Republican lawmakers tried procedural moves to pull measures out of committees and force a vote, but they couldn't get enough votes in either the House or Senate.
"There are a lot of folks out there who say they support traditional marriage," said House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, "This is an opportunity to back that up."
Once again, the frauds that inhabit the GOP set up a false argument. Allowing gay couples to marry has nothing to do with the 'support' of traditional marriage.

Democrats control both chambers in Iowa. As opposed to allegedly progressive states like New York and New Jersey, Democrats in the Hawkeye State actually are in sync on pro-glbt issues. In fact, the only House Democrat to side with the Republicans was Rep. Dolores Mertz of Ottosen. That should be remembered when it comes to re-election time.

In case there is any doubt, as bad as the Democrats have been, the GOP absolutely disdains gays and is intent on using gay-friendliness as a reason to vote against a candidate in 2010. It is a strategy that they proclaim proudly. Note the following laughable excerpt from the Tribune report:

Some Republicans said they'll now focus on using the Democrats' vote against them in November elections.
"While our bipartisan effort fell short of gaining the 26 votes needed to proceed, the voters this November will have an opportunity to decide if they are content with the continued Democratic obstruction and inaction," said Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley, R-Chariton.
Is there an Alice in Wonderland quality to all this empty rhetoric? It sure would seem so.

The GOP has been successful in defeating gay marriage at the polls, with help from some key Democratic constituencies. Will they succeed in doing the same in Iowa? Not likely.

From Box Turtle Bulletin:

Last year (Republicans) made several attempts at getting an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment up for a legislative vote and were unsuccessful. They chortled that Democrats would be sorry come election time.
But as it has turned out, running opposed to gay marriage has not proven to be a winning strategy. To their surprise, Iowans couldn’t care less about stopping gay folk from marrying. Literally.

The Des Moines Register conducted a poll of Iowans asking, “The state Legislature can address large and small issues during the course of the session. For the following issues, please tell me if you think the issue does or does not deserve the Legislature’s limited time.” Banning gay marriage did not make the cut; only 36% thought it was worth the time discussing.

Not only was it not deemed worthy of legislative time, of the six issues that Iowans were questioned about, addressing gay marriage concerned them the least. Iowans were more concerned about payday loans and puppy mills than they were about whether same-sex couples married.
It looks like the red meat that the GOP thought they had for their fanatical right-wing base is in short supply.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

News Coverage On DADT Starts Improving

While there are still major problems with reporting on "don't ask, don't tell," as I have referred to in recent posts, I am seeing more and more improved coverage. Not just in news reportage on the subject, but in recent editorials and op-eds.

Here is a sampling of some recent pieces.

Ken Adelman, former Reagan arms control director writes that there is one essential reason for lifting the ban, in today's Washington Post,

The British, Australian and Israeli militaries all now have solid experience with open gays in uniform. Their forces don't suffer in performance; the gay service members there don't seem to upset the straight members much. And U.S. forces, though far greater in numbers, don't differ culturally or functionally too much from their colleagues in these militaries.
Exactly! It is what I have been writing all along. If the chief argument is fear of destroying unit cohesion, why has this never happened in the military of our allies, who allow gays to openly serve? There is no good answer to counter this.

The Christian Science Monitor references that piece, and adds another point I have been stressing:

Seventy-five percent of Americans in a 2008 Washington Post-ABC News poll said gay people who are open about their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, up from 62 percent in early 2001 and 44 percent in 1993. That included majorities of Republicans as well as Democrats and independents.
That article, by the way, talks about the inevitability of repealing DADT, but suggests that it won't happen soon, because the GOP is trying to score points with social conservatives. Sadly, that may be accurate.

Some Op-Eds and editorials to check out, include the following (click on the links provided):
Clarence Page in the Chicago Tribune
Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorial
San Jose Mercury-News editorial

The above sources are just a few of the many pieces that can be found, offering support for the lifting of the disciminatory ban. I expect many similar pieces to be published in the coming weeks.

It's about time.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Progress On Ending 'Dont Ask, Don't Tell'

Some sanity seems to be returning to the proposition of repealing "don't ask, don't tell."

In a major move in the right direction, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen (pictured above), told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the ban on gays should be lifted.

The Wall Street Journal, reporting on the story, said that Adm. Mullen felt that the policy "could be eliminated without harming military morale, recruitment or readiness."

Considering that this has been the experience of all of our Western allies, that is a logical assumption.

Adm. Mullen went further, echoing President Obama:

"It is my personal and professional belief that allowing homosexuals to serve openly would be the right thing to do. No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens."
Ding-ding-ding.....someone in the military upper echelon actually gets it.

While the WSJ story does not mention our allies, it does refer to the fact that a poll last year showed that nearly 70% of Americans supported lifting the ban.

Of course, the GOP, because it is politically opportune for them to do, unanimously are seeking to demonize gays, pretending that the policy is actually correct. This effort is most examplified by John McCain....a man who still thinks that we live in the 60s, when gays were subect to shame and incarceration....when gay men in a CBS documentary had to be filmed in darkness, so that their identities could not be revealed. That is the world McCain inhabits.

Now that his wife and daughter have become gay advocates, McCain feels the need to beef up his social conservative cred, as he is being challenged by the even righter-wing in his own re-election bid.

What DADT reporting SHOULD look like

An article I found today, from Canada's CBC, summarizes the type of reporting that is seriously missing in this country:

The point is, the U.S. remains just about the only Western nation that still officially denies what most of its allies consider a basic human right: The ability to serve as a gay or lesbian soldier
Not that gays and lesbians don't serve. Tens of thousands do, and unknown numbers are fighting and dying in the aforementioned battlegrounds right now.
Let's be clear about this: Homosexual Americans are risking life and limb in the service of their country and their comrades, and no doubt have been since the United States declared independence.
Then comes this zinger:

But this is America, with its deep moralistic streak, so the policy, at least since Bill Clinton instituted it in 1993, has been to pretend gay soldiers don't exist.
The military doesn't ask, and as long as gay troopers don't admit to anything, everything's jake. Unless some third party rats one of them out.
In that case, regrettably, the offending GI must be discharged. Thousands have been: We honour your service, faggot. Now take a hike.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, gave voice to that double standard at a congressional hearing this week.
Just after going on about the "valiant" service of gay soldiers, Chambliss opined that "the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk" to the high standards of the American military.

Nothing remarkable there. It's an old Republican line.
The piece then went on to refer to the suprise of Mullen's remarks, but you get the complete different approach in coverage.

I want every Republican who opposes this policy to be asked if there are ANY reports of a negative effect of allowing gays to openly serve in the military of our allies. I want them to justify booting more than 10,000 fit soldiers in time of war, when our resources are  stretched thin,

It's time for American journalists to grow a pair.