Friday, June 19, 2009
Both these sentiments are echoed in our own times by Bahá’u'lláh:
O Children of Men! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.
(The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 68)
O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.
(Ibid: Arabic No. 2)
If only most of us could live according to those two principles the world would be transformed. How many times must they be repeated before we get the point?
Thank you Everybody Means Somebody!
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed the first amicus brief in support of Ted Olson and David Boies' federal marriage suit.
"The constitutional challenge to Proposition 8 in federal court persuasively argues that the measure's only conceivable purpose was to withhold honor and respect from the relationships of same-sex couples, and to do so to them alone," Herrera said. "This kind of discrimination against lesbians and gay men as a class has been remedied before in our federal jurisprudence -- in Romer v. Evans, in Lawrence v. Texas, and in other cases. The plaintiffs here make a compelling case for the federal courts to ensure that justice is done in California, and I am pleased to offer San Francisco's expertise to support their efforts." Herrera's brief additionally supports the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, which if granted would immediately require local governments in California to resume issuing civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples.Two days ago California Attorney General Jerry Brown said that Prop 8 be kept legal until the federal suit is resolved.
Courtesy of JMG for this:
More reaction from the Obama administration. The DOJ has agreed to meet next week with Lambda Legal, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) and other LGBT orgs to "hash out how to proceed with pending DOMA cases." Via Greg Sargent:
Keep up the pressure, it's working.
The Obama Justice Department has reached out to major gay rights organizations and scheduled a private meeting for next week with the groups, in an apparent effort to smooth over tensions in the wake of the controversy over the administration’s defense in court of the Defense of Marriage Act. Tracy Russo, a spokesperson for Justice, confirmed the meeting to me, after I posted below that top gay rights lawyers were miffed that administration lawyers had rebuffed their requests to meet and discuss ongoing litigation involving DOMA. At the meeting — which hasn’t been announced and is expected to include leading gay rights groups like GLAD and Lambda Legal — both sides are expected to hash out how to proceed with pending DOMA cases.
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Christine Bowman
Congress and AG Eric Holder are Standing Up To Hate. Fundamentalists and GOP Disingenuously Ask, 'Hate? What Hate?'
Hate crimes are up -- especially against gays and Latinos. "There has been a documented rise in these threats of violence" which have been "stoked by extreme political rhetoric... sensationalism and irresponsibility that we've seen on talk-show radio and other forms of communication, like the Internet," Wade Henderson, head of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, reports.
A new and broader hate-crime bill that should help address the issue passed in the House in late April [vote summary here], and it is slated to be taken up by the Senate before August. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced the bill, and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) are cosponsors. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) called hate crimes "a unique brand of evil" that distresses entire communities.
Paraphrasing a summary by the Human Rights Campaign, the bill would give the Department of Justice (DOJ) the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence when the perpetrator selected the victim because of their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It would also let the DOJ aid state and local jurisdictions or take the lead in investigations and prosecutions of bias-motivated, violent crimes resulting in death or serious bodily injury. Finally, the bill would provide for grants to help state and local communities combat violent crimes committed by juveniles, train law enforcement officers or assist in investigations and prosecutions.
That is what is being done on the legislative side to keep America safe from ideologically-driven violence. Attorney General Eric Holder, too, is ready to fight back against crimes driven by hate. Tuesday, speaking before the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Holder was unequivocal in his support for the bill and vowed to use the full power of the DOJ to protect all Americans. Here's part of what he said:
Over the last several weeks, we have witnessed brazen acts of violence, committed in places that many would have considered unthinkable – a sacred memorial in the nation’s capital, a recruiting station for the nation’s armed forces, and a church in the nation’s heartland. The violence in Washington, Little Rock, and Wichita reminds us of the potential threat posed by violent extremists and the tragedy that ensues when reasoned discourse is replaced by armed confrontation. ...
But neither our respect for the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, nor our earnest hope for common ground, can justify the violence we saw in Kansas. We will not tolerate murder, or the threat of violence, masquerading as political activism. So let me be clear, the Justice Department will use every tool at its disposal to protect the rights ensured under our constitution. And we will do all that we can to deter violence against reproductive health care providers and to prosecute those who commit such violence to the fullest extent of the law. ...
The violence we have seen during the last month may seem daunting to some. But I view these tragedies as a call to action. ... Let us commit ourselves – regardless of party affiliation or political viewpoint – to the difficult work ahead: building an America in which the kind of violence we have seen these last few weeks is but a distant memory. And building an America in which all of our Nation’s citizens, in equal measure, enjoy the fruits of our founding documents. [our emphasis]
Holder also addressed voting rights: "Our commitment to Equal Protection -- and to full participation in our nation's elections -- will not waiver." (A case now before the Supreme Court of the United States challenges Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.) He said the DOJ's Civil Rights Division "is on its way to regaining its luster."
All that is music to progressives' ears, of course. Although Obama's attorney general has disappointed many in how he has continued some cases begun under the Bush Administration, he does stand up for principles, as when he argued for the release of the torture memos in April. And he told a West Point audience, "the strength of our nation has always been our ability to correct course ..."
Do not let it be said that the right wingers do not have their principles, too. They're just different. Ashley Horne, analyst for Focus on the Family Action, enunciated the do-nothing principle: "Hate-crimes laws are unnecessary in a civil society like ours based on the rule of law. ... Democrats in Congress who are pushing this legislation forward really just have a solution looking for a problem." Yes, the right stands firmly against "the homosexual agenda," as they put it, and against reproductive freedom. The recent hate-drenched shooters had principles, too. They just lacked certain others.
Hate crimes occur at least once every hour in the United States. Can the GOP come to grips with that? Can they cut loose their radical fringe and follow the lead of the "Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act" cosponsors Snowe and Collins? "Equal Protection" -- it's for all Americans.
Note: The bill's opponents identify the following as needing to hear from citizens:
|x||Blanche Lincoln D- AR||202-224-4843|
|x||Byron L. Dorgan D- ND||202-224-2551|
|x||Herb Kohl D-WI||202-224-5653|
|x||James Webb D- VA||202-224-4024|
|x||Jon Tester D- MT||202-224-2644|
|x||Kay Hagan D- NC||202-224-6342|
|x||Kent Conrad D- ND||202-224-2043|
|x||Mark Pryor D- AR||202-224-2353|
|x||Mark Warner D- VA||202-224-2023|
|x||Max Baucus D- MT||202-224-2651|
|x||Michael Bennet D- CO||202-224-5852|
|x||Robert C. Byrd D- WV||202-224-3954|
|x||Russ Feingold D-WI||202-224-5323|
|x||Ted Kaufman D-DE||202-224-5042|
|x||Thomas Carper D- DE||202-224-2441 |
|x||Tom Udall D- NM||202-224-6621|
Best response to all things homophobic. Viva la France! (thanks Dan)
It's the French video response from http://www.GayClic.com readers to Stevie Bee Bishop's "Big Fat Gay Collab". Posted on the International Day Against Homophobia, May 17, 2009.
Leonard Pitts Jr., The Miami Herald: "Modern conservatism is defined by an Alice-through-the-looking-glass incoherence: small government except when it is growing larger than ever, fiscal restraint except when we are spending like Michael Jackson in a Disney gift shop, foreign-policy pragmatism except when we are trying to transform the Middle East. Indeed, sometimes it feels as if it is no longer defined by principles at all, nor by energy and ideas, but rather, by a limitless ability to feel put upon and slighted."