Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Senators Gillibrand, Udall, and Liebermann
"The Pentagon report makes it unambiguously clear that the risk of repeal on military effectiveness is minimal, that any risks can be addressed by implementing the report’s recommendations, and that a clear majority of active duty servicemen and women have no problem with repeal. The military has spoken and now is the time to repeal this policy that is damaging to our national security. The report is the product of one of the most, if not the most, extensive studies on a military personnel issue that has ever been conducted and its findings demonstrate that we can proceed with repeal of this discriminatory policy in a way that ensures that the U.S. military continues to be the best fighting force in the world. Men and women, regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation, who are willing to fight and defend our country should be allowed to do so without fear of discrimination."Servicemembers United
"This thorough and comprehensive report makes clear to lawmakers and the American people once and for all that the U.S. military is capable of handling the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' The questions are now answered and the debate is now settled," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector who was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." "It's now up to the Senate to bring the defense authorization bill back to the floor, allow 10 to 20 amendments to be debated on each side, and get this bill passed. We have the votes now if the process is fair."People For The American Way
“For years, the Right has fought to preserve the discriminatory, ineffective Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, claiming that allowing gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country would put American troops in harm’s way. The Defense Department’s comprehensive study exposes this ugly, dishonest fear-mongering for what it is. The vast majority of U.S. troops do not feel threatened by serving alongside gays and lesbians, and our military leaders say repealing the policy won’t put national security at risk—in fact, the opposite is true. Allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve openly makes all of us safer. The arguments for keeping Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell have come up empty. It’s time for the Senate to listen to our troops, to the courts, to the majority of Americans, and to their own common sense, and end this failed experiment in discrimination once and for all.”Stonewall Democrats
"Recent statements by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and even Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) that more study needs to take place before repeal are just stall tactics, especially given the thorough, year-long process that the Defense Department undertook to study the issue of repeal. We also find it ironic that the Senators said that the upper chamber should be talking about jobs and not ‘political’ issues like DADT repeal. We remind the Senators that DADT is about jobs: the jobs of thousands of soldiers, some of them mission critical and irreplaceable, who were discharged from the military because of the discriminatory DADT. DADT repeal is not some fringe issue being pushed by a small minority; it is an issue supported by a large majority of Americans and now, we find with the official release of the study, by an equally large majority of the military."OutServe
"This report definitely answers the question of the impact of DADT repeal on the military. Specifically, knowing a soldier is gay has no negative impact on readiness," said Jonathan Hopkins, former Army Captain and veteran of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We've known this for a long time. Among military members who know they've served with someone gay, 92% said that repeal would have little or no negative effect on military readiness. 69% of servicemembers who responded to the survey said they served with someone they knew or suspected was gay. "This study gets to the facts, and exposes the invented argument of 'unit cohesion' as a myth," said Hopkins. "Those who've served with gay or lesbian soldiers, Marines, or servicemembers of any stripe recognize that gay troops have – as the Pentagon report says – a 'patriotic desire to serve' as well as a 'desire to fit in, coexist, and succeed in the military environment.'""I don't want any special treatment. I just want them to take the knife out of my back so I can serve," said an anonymous gay Marine on the OutServe network.Human Rights Campaign
“This issue has been studied for fifty years, including by the military itself, and the results from over twenty-two studies are uniform: open service does not harm effectiveness,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The small handful of Senators blocking repeal no longer have any fig leaves behind which to hide. The time for repeal is now.” “America’s men and women in uniform are professionals who already serve with gays and lesbians and repeal will do nothing to change their dedication to protecting our nation,” said Solmonese. “Senators who said they want to hear from military leaders and troops now have their answers. Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will allow every qualified man and woman to serve without sacrificing the high standards that have made our military great.”
Labels: DADT, HRC, Joe Lieberman, Kirsten Gillibrand, People For The American Way, Stonewall Democrats
The Washington Post has leaked the results of the hotly-awaited DADT survey, which is not due to be officially released until later this afternoon.
According to a survey sent to 400,000 service members, 69 percent of those responding reported that they had served with someone in their unit who they believed to be gay or lesbian. Of those who did, 92 percent stated that their unit's ability to work together was very good, good, or neither good nor poor, according to the sources. Combat units reported similar responses, with 89 percent of Army combat units and 84 percent of Marine combat units saying they had good or neutral experiences working with gays and lesbians. At the same time, the report found that 30 percent of those surveyed overall -- and between 40 and 60 percent of the Marine Corps -- either expressed concern or predicted a negative reaction if Congress were to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law, which allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military on the condition that they keep their sexuality a secret.It appears that a rather large percentage of soldiers (particularly Marines) have had no problem working with gay servicemembers, yet still don't want DADT to be repealed.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
“The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice.” -Mahatma Gandhi
❉• Namaste •❉
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Today the New Jersey legislature overwhelmingly approved a new anti-bullying bill. Passage of the law gained momentum in the wake of the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who threw himself from the George Washington Bridge after his dorm mate live-streamed a gay sexual encounter over the internet. The bill passed 30-0 in the state Senate and 71-1 in the Assembly.
The bill (A3466) would require training for most public school employees on how to spot bullying and mandate that all districts form “school safety teams” to review complaints. Superintendents would have to report incidents of bullying to the state Board of Education, which would grade schools and districts on their efforts to combat it. Administrators who do not investigate reported incidents of bullying would be disciplined, while students who bully could be suspended or expelled. School employees would also be required to report all incidents they learn of, whether they took place in or outside of school.The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Chris Christie.
(Tipped by JMG reader Brian)
Following up on last week's press release by GOProud in which they pleaded with the anti-gay candidates they endorsed to not be so anti-gay, a massive coalition of Tea Party groups has responded with an attacking letter sent to the GOP leaders of the Senate and House. Turns out, they are interested in "social issues," not that we ever doubted it.
Here's the preamble to the letter, written by Free Republic founder Jim Robinson.
Today, Tea Party Nation, along with over 180 other Tea Party Groups, Leaders and Activists released a letter to the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. Last week, GOProud, a non-Tea Party group, sent a letter to Senator McConnell and Speaker to be Boehner, claiming to speak for the Tea Party movement. It was signed by 16 people. We decided to send a letter that speaks for the mainstream of the Tea Party movement. This letter is going Senator McConnell and Congressman Boehner today.The letter goes on to oppose the repeal of DADT, oppose the DREAM Act, oppose immigration amnesty, etc etc. Nothing really new there, other than the Tea Party's explicit condemnation of GOProud as "not one of us."
Yesterday the Pentagon revealed that under the new rules, not one soldier has been discharged under DADT for a full month.
Under new rules adopted Oct. 21, Defense Secretary Robert Gates put authority for signing off on dismissals in the hands of the three service secretaries. Before then, any commanding officer at a rank equivalent to a one-star general could discharge gay enlisted personnel under the 1993 law that prohibits gays from serving openly in uniform. Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told The Associated Press that no discharges have been approved since Oct. 21. Smith did not know if the absence of recent discharges was related to the new separation procedures. The Pentagon has not compiled monthly discharge figures for any other months this year, she said.A spokesman for the Palm Center said it would normally be "statistically unlikely" to go a full month without a DADT-related discharge. Last year 428 soldiers were fired over their sexuality.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Via JMG: Southern Poverty Law Center Adds Family Research Council & American Family Association To Anti-Gay Hate Groups List
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the nation's leading watchdog of hate organizations, has added the Family Research Council and American Family Association to its list of anti-gay hate groups. Also making the list for the first time is the Illinois Family Association, the former home of Porno Pete LaBarbera, whose own group was already listed. Here's the SPLC's updated list, via Truth Wins Out.
1. Abiding Truth Ministries [Scott Lively]In addition to the "hate group" designations of those listed above, the SLPC lists the following organizations as "anti-gay": National Organization for Marriage, Concerned Women for America, Liberty Counsel, Coral Ridge Ministries, and the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.
2. American Family Association
3. Americans for Truth About Homosexuality [Peter LaBarbera]
4. American Vision
5. Chalcedon Foundation
6. Dove World Outreach Center [Terry Jones]
7. Faithful Word Baptist Church [Steven Anderson]
8. Family Research Council
9. Family Research Institute [Paul Cameron]
10. Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment
11. Illinois Family Institute
13. Traditional Values Coalition
I cannot fucking WAIT for the OUTRAGED press releases from Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer! Squeee!
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
According to my own experience, the highest level of inner calm comes from the development of love and compassion. The more concerned we are with the happiness of others, the more we increase our own well-being. Friendliness and warmth towards others allow us to relax and help us to dispel any sense of fear or insecurity so we can overcome whatever obstacles we face. - Dalai Lama
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
The Wall Street Journal reports that the attempt to repeal DADT legislatively is "all but lost for now" as top members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are working to strip it from the defense authorization bill to which it's attached.
Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and John McCain of Arizona, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, are in talks on stripping the proposed repeal and other controversial provisions from a broader defense bill, leaving the repeal with no legislative vehicle to carry it. With a repeal attached, and amid Republican complaints over the terms of the debate, the defense bill had failed to win the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle in the Senate in September. A spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, who opposes the repeal, confirmed he is in talks with Mr. Levin on how to proceed on the defense bill but didn't provide details.The Pentagon's repeal study is due on December 1st, but it looks as if they may not even wait for it to be issued.
Moving the defense bill is also complex, especially if it includes controversial measures, because it could take two weeks or longer on the Senate floor, and the coming session is expected to last only three or four weeks. Tommy Sears, executive director of the Center for Military Readiness, which opposes a repeal, rated the chance of action "extremely low." Richard Socarides, an activist and former adviser on gay rights to President Bill Clinton, said it was "extremely unrealistic'' that Congress would take it up this year.
A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs. The predominant usage in modern American English refers to persons hostile to those of differing race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, various mental disorders, or religion.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
A few weeks ago, I was participating in a marriage debate with Glenn Stanton, a Focus on the Family researcher whom I’ve debated many times in the last half-dozen years.
It’s not as if I hadn’t heard the “unnatural” claim before. Indeed, it has roots in otherwise respectable philosophers like St. Thomas Aquinas, and finds expression today among notable conservative academics like Robert George of Princeton and John Finnis of Oxford and Notre Dame.
But I had never heard it from Glenn, and when it came in the wake of an audience member’s linking homosexuality to rape, I lost my cool.
During the ride back to the airport that day I expressed my anger and disappointment that Glenn would fail to challenge the audience member’s strange claim. It’s one thing to oppose marriage for gays and lesbians, I told him, and quite another to remain silent while someone claims that homosexuality is the “unnatural” result of sexual abuse.
Particularly in light of the recent string of gay teen suicides, such myths must be forcibly demolished.
A few weeks later we were speaking together in Missouri, and once again Glenn made the claim that homosexuality is “unnatural.” I asked him again to clarify, and he seemed unable to say more than that “marriage between men and women is a human universal”—something he says in every one of our debates—and that no society in history has accepted homosexuality without effort (a debatable point of dubious significance).
None of these claims were new to me. But the “unnaturalness” wording continued to rub me the wrong way.
I’m still trying to figure out why this bothers me so much. After all, I disagree with Glenn about a lot of important issues—our relationship is rooted in debate, after all. Much of what he believes I find harmful and wrong. Why would this particular claim stand out?
What’s more, the claim that homosexuality is unnatural strikes me as largely impotent. Homosexuality appears, not just across human cultures, but also in hundreds of other species. More to the point, many valuable things are “unnatural” in some sense: airplanes, eyeglasses, iPhones, and government, to take a random list. Unless “unnatural” can be backed up with some morally significant explication, it has no force.
Or at least, no MORAL force. Its force is emotive and rhetorical. And perhaps that’s what bothers me.
We call sexual activities “unnatural” when we want to evoke a certain horror—such as, for example, when we speak of necrophilia and bestiality, rather than, say, adultery. (I’m putting aside here natural law theorists, who hold that all immoral acts are unnatural—because such acts are against reason, which is central to human nature.) The term suggests not merely something bad, but something monstrous and disgusting.
Such rhetorical flourish makes sense if evoking disgust is one’s goal. But I don’t think that’s an acceptable goal in reasoned discussions of same-sex marriage. Hence my dismay.
In the years I’ve debated this issue, I’ve done my part to foster discussions that produce more light than heat. For example, I’ve argued (sometimes in the face of criticism) that the term “bigot” should be used sparingly, because it’s a conversation-stopper.
“Unnatural,” for me, is a similar conversation-stopper.
I don’t know whether Glenn intended to evoke disgust by his use of the term. But I now expect him to know better.
John Corvino, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. His column “The Gay Moralist” appears Fridays. For more about John Corvino, or to see clips from his “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” DVD, visit www.johncorvino.com.
Later this month he will be one of the speakers at the Skepticon convention in Missouri: http://www.skepticon.org/
"I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it. "
-John Stuart Mill
Letter to the Conservative MP, Sir John Pakington (March 1866)
Put in contemporary terms, I suppose, while it is not the case that the Republicans are generally stupid, stupid people are generally Republican. - Prof B. D.
Today Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Congress should hurry up and repeal DADT before the new members arrive in January. But it doesn't sound like he thinks they will.
"I would like to see the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" but I'm not sure what the prospects for that are," Gates said Saturday, as he traveled to defense and diplomatic meetings in Australia. Unless the lame-duck Congress acts, the repeal effort is considered dead for now. The current, Democratic-controlled Congress has not acted to lift the ban, which President Barack Obama promised to eliminate. In his postelection news conference Wednesday, Obama said there would be time to repeal the ban in December or early January, after the military completes a study of the effects of repeal on the front lines and at home.
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "The Senate still belongs to Harry Reid and the Democrats, but by a smaller margin, and while the House is far in the lead when it comes to having new members with certifiable brain damage, the Senate also has some members who are no slouches in Teh Crayzee department. Jim DeMint is a perfect example of the latter, and it may come to pass that DeMint will find himself at the center of a damaging GOP civil war."
Read the Article
Read the Article
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
James Russell, Truthout: "On Tuesday, voters ousted numerous LGBT allies in the US House and Senate, such as Pennsylvania Democrat Patrick Murphy, who led the effort in the House of Representatives to overturn the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. However, they also elected a record-number of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender candidates to public office."
Read the Article
Read the Article
"The battle now is no longer between the Republicans and President Obama. The battle royale now is between citizen class Republicans and ruling class Republicans. It is a battle between the Jim DeMints of the world and the Mitch McConnells of the world. It is a battle between the Sarah Palins of the world and the John McCains of the world.
"Darrel Issa of California a week ago was a conservative hero, ready to hand out subpoenas like candy to get the bottom of the rank corruption in the Obama administration. Now he’s out there, one day after the election, saying absurd things like, 'My job is to make the president a success.' You can forget Issa. He’s a ruling class Republican and now belongs to the Empire and the Death Star that we in the Rebel Alliance must destroy." - American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer, writing on their Rightly Concerned blog.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Protect Marriage lead attorney Andy Pugno has lost his bid for the California Assembly, despite the heavy backing of NOM. Icing on the cake: winner Richard Pan is a strong supporter of LGBT rights. SUCK IT, NOM!
(Tipped by JMG reader Ray)
Monday, November 1, 2010
"Since I can remember, I have felt a very strong attraction to other men and, although I can say that I have also come to feel a lot of attraction and a lot of chemistry towards women, it is men who ultimately awaken what is instinctive, the animal in me. Socially, there are so many prejudices against homosexuals that I thought nobody would understand me, that I'd be rejected, since those are the codes I heard and learned as a child. So since my adolescence, when these desires I first began to manifest themselves, I had to deal with this great conflict between my emotions and my thoughts." - Ricky Martin, in a leaked excerpt from his autobiography. Martin launches his book tomorrow with an hour-long appearance on Oprah.
A complaint has been filed seeking the disbarment of Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell over his anti-gay harassment of UM student body president Chris Armstrong.
The complaint alleges Shirvell harassed and defamed Armstrong during what Gordon describes as a six-month campaign "of lies, dishonesty, heckling, hate speech and even job interference." The commission could disbar Shirvell if it investigates. "I could not stand by and let Mr. Shirvell continue his reckless, bullying behavior," Armstrong said in a statement. Shirvell already is fighting a ban from the U-M campus. And he faces a Friday disciplinary hearing in the Attorney General's Office.Armstrong's attorney: "We just feel very strongly ... that you can't be a licensed attorney and an officer of the court and conduct yourself this way and essentially terrorize a college student."
Workers arrived at the Santa Ana office of Equality California to find a small string noose hanging from the door. Local police were uninterested. EQCA employee Mel Distel relates her exchange with the cop who responded to her call:
"There was nothing they could do, of course, there was no suspect and no crime had been committed. The officer said 'what it is, is a string on a door.' My vision got blurry, I was embarrased and felt stupid for making the call. I took a deep breath and said 'Do you see any correlation between the fact that this is a gay office and there was a noose left on our door in the wake of all of these teen suicides?' The officer said, 'Sometimes you just have to live with being a victim,' and proceeded to mention that his car had been broken into before." That didn't exactly sit well with Distel. "As if that's the same. As if having your stereo stolen is anything like the message 'You should kill yourself.' As if random theft is anything like an act meant to convey hate and stir up fear in the heart of a minority group."Making threats of violence against an LGBT group is considered a hate crime in California, despite the officer's indifference.
Yesterday's Rally For Sanity broke Washington's all-time record for Metro ridership on a Saturday.
By preliminary estimates, Metro recorded 825,437 Metrorail trips on Saturday. Whether it served any of those riders very well is different question. The demand for public transit to attend the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear -- hosted by Comedy Central duo Stewart and Colbert -- exceeded supply. Metro customers suffered long waits at various Metro stations throughout the city. Several even suffered injuries. Nevertheless, the new record fairly shattered the old record, set on June 8, 1991, when Washington played host to a victory celebration for U.S. troops who served in the First Gulf War. That day Metro recorded 786,358 trips. A 1997 Promise Keepers rally in the District has the third-place record, with 735,909 trips.Of course, we'll never know how many more people were turned away from using the subway (as was my group) because the cops were freaking out about how crowded the platforms were. We ended up walking the hour or so from our hotel to the Mall and it was amazing to look down the side streets and see tens of thousands of people streaming up from all directions.
RELATED: Despite the ridership count and all the other attendance reports, the Freepers are, of course, declaring that the lamestream media are conspiring to cook the head count so that Glenn Beck's rally looks smaller in comparison.