Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It has been a tumultuous week since last Tuesday’s elections. Maine voters stripped their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends and neighbors of the right to marry. Meanwhile, Kalamazoo residents voted to preserve anti-discrimination protections, and Washingtonians said “yes” to domestic partnerships. Now that the votes are in, it’s time to reflect on what is next in the push for full equality.
So now what? What does the path forward look like?
- Federal courts are considering a challenge to Prop. 8 on the grounds that it violates the United States Constitution. EQCA strongly supports this case and has filed a powerful brief urging the court to overturn Prop. 8. The Obama Administration needs to join the fight and stop the abhorrent abuse of the initiative process to eliminate the rights of any targeted minority. I strongly encourage you to sign our petition asking the Administration to file a brief in support of this case, and ask your friends and family to sign it, too.
- We must continue to come out and tell our stories to the people that matter. We need to gain support for marriage and that means talking to people who are not yet supportive. EQCA is going door to door with our coalition partners in neighborhoods across the state. Join our next canvass or volunteer at one of our local field offices.
- We must stop endorsing and giving money to candidates for office who do not support full and complete equality. Until the politicians who take our community for granted realize that they can no longer count on our votes unless we can count on theirs, they will not change. EQCA’s Political Action Committee has always endorsed only those candidates who support our equality 100 percent. We must emphasize that there is no middle ground. Either you support equality or you don’t.
- We must also make clear that there is nothing wrong with children learning that there are LGBT people. Our children should grow up in a world where they know they are safe and can fall in love and get married regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That is why we worked so hard to pass a bill in California establishing Harvey Milk Day, and we will continue to work for an inclusive curriculum. Those who oppose marriage equality are simply relying on blatant scare tactics. By working to ensure an inclusive curriculum we can take this argument away from them.
While I remain sad and angry about what happened in Maine, the results in Washington and Kalamazoo and the election of LGBT candidates throughout our nation demonstrate the progress we have made. Add these victories to the passage of federal hate crimes legislation, the signing of the Harvey Milk Day bill, marriage victories in Vermont and Iowa and the many other gains our community has made this year alone, and there is much reason for hope.
We are making tremendous progress, and while there will continue to be setbacks along the way, we will prevail.
Filed by: Alex Blaze
November 9, 2009 1:00 PM
Do you still shop at Wal-Mart? If you do, you might want to read this story about two gay dads getting kicked out.
Thomas Hitchcock and Joe Paolucci were there buying groceries, and Hitchcock used the self-scan lane. As he was leaving, a security officer approached him and accused him of stealing about $15 worth of lighters. People started shouting, the kids started freaking out, and the police were called. They promptly put the gays in squad cars and the kids were taken to a detention room.
The police reviewed the security tape and found that they hadn't stolen anything. The Wal-Mart manager then presented the two dads with a letter saying they were banned for life for "being uncooperative." Wal-Mart is also asking them for $150-some dollars, not for stealing, of course, but for creating a scene.
The boycott has been endorsed by such progressive luminaries as Daily Kos, Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake, Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, David Mixner, Andy Towle and Michael Goff of Towle Road, Paul Sousa (Founder of Equal Rep in Boston), Pam Spaulding, Robin Tyler (ED of the Equality Campaign, Inc.), Bil Browning for the Bilerico Project, among others.
Here is a list of their "beefs" with the Democrats in general and President Obama in particular:
Can you give examples of how the President and Democrats have not been fierce advocates for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans?
- Asking a religious right activist who claims to have been “cured” of his homosexuality to headline campaign events in South Carolina. Then letting the anti-gay bigot spend half an hour, on stage, haranguing gays at the Obama event.
- Refusing for months to interview with LGBT newspapers during the campaign, while his opponent did repeatedly.
- Flubbing question on whether gays are immoral.
- Inviting anti-gay activist Rick Warren, who helped pass Prop 8 in California, to give the invocation at the inaugural.
- Inviting a gay bishop to the inaugural festivities, then not beginning the TV broadcast until the gay bishop has finished and left.
- Refusing to appoint an openly gay Cabinet member.
- Abolishing the LGBT outreach position at the DNC and never reinstating it.
- Refusing to re-establish the White House Office of LGBT Outreach and the White House LGBT Liaison (which was a Special Assistant to the President at one point).
- Continuing to discharge two gay servicemembers a day, even though he could stop it immediately by issuing a stop-loss order immediately.
- Asking for a study on “whether” repealing DADT would hurt national security, rather than a study on how to repeal it, as promised.
- Deleting his gay civil rights promise from the White House Web site.
- Changing his commitment to “repeal” Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, to “changing DADT it in a sensible manner.”
- Repeatedly defending DOMA in court, including just a few weeks ago, even though he didn’t have to.
- Making jokes about marriage equality, which President Obama claims he doesn't support, even though he once did.
- Comparing gay relationships to incest and pedophilia in a Justice Department brief.
- Joking about gay protesters upset about the DOMA brief.
- Refusing to provide health care benefits to the partners of gay employees, and then claiming that DOMA precludes it, when it does not.
- Refusing to meet with gay legal groups to discuss how to provide such health benefits within the confines of DOMA.
- Claiming that health benefits for partners of federal employees were new, then being caught in a lie.
- Showing visible discomfort when asked about gay civil rights.
- Suggesting he won’t get to DADT, DOMA or ENDA until his second term, if ever.
- Refusing to suspend implementation of anti-gay laws, like DADT and DOMA, while suspending laws that hurt others.
- White House staffers worked against amendment proposed by Rep. Alcee Hasting (D-FL) to defund Don't Ask, Don't Tell investigations
- Saying won’t repeal DADT until wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have finished.
- Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid had to beg President Obama to help on DADT repeal.
- A White House official referring to gay civil rights advocates, marching on Washington, as part of “the Internet left fringe” whose opinions don’t matter.
- Saying he won’t touch DOMA in his first term.
- Refusing to release list of gay attendees at hate crimes reception.
- Refusing to mention Maine or Washington state, or anything of substance, in his speech to the Human Rights Campaign dinner.
- Saying gays are “naïve” for wanting the president to keep his promise.
- Refusing to issue a statement specifically opposing anti-gay ballot measures in Maine and Washington state.
- Attorney General Eric Holders flubs question on Maine, twice -- once while in Maine.
- DNC/OFA emailed supporters in Maine and Washington state, but didn't ask them to vote against anti-gay ballot measures, then lied about it.
- Senator Durbin (D-IL), a very close ally of Obama, says Senate probably won’t repeal DADT in 2010, as promised.
- Senior DNC official accuses gays and lesbians of “helping Republicans” by simply asking Democrats to keep their gay civil rights promise.
- Refusing to publicly endorse marriage equality for gays.
- Continuing to dawdle over DADT.
- Refusing to this day to interview with the gay press.
- Refusing to apologize for any of these slights.