Friday, May 14, 2010

Via JMG: The Equality Tsunami Approaches

Today's headline at Washington City Paper: "Gay Marriage Opponents Inch Closer To Death." Hello, Lady Bluntness! The below graph vividly demonstrates how seniors remain the group most strongly opposed to marriage equality. Think of the chart as color-coded waves of acceptance. Still far offshore is the red wave, but it will arrive.

(Via - Dan Savage)

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reposted from Joe

Via Newstilt: The Gayest Republican

News Guy

The Gayest Republican

Fred Karger is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Really. He won’t get it. He might make things interesting.

by Jon Margolis — 13 May 2010

Ye who doubt that the 2012 presidential campaign has begun, consider this: Fred Karger campaigned in Iowa this week and spent several days in New Hampshire earlier this month.

Fred Who?

Ah, he’s anticipated that. Those are the very words on the logo atop his web site.

The answer to that “Fred Who?” question is “Fred Karger,” a 60-year-old Illinois-bred Californian who is the first person to be openly (if, for legal-financial reasons, not yet officially) campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination.

Also the first openly gay candidate to seek the presidential nomination of either major party, ever.

Waitaminit. Did that say “gay” and “Republican,” in concert as opposed to conflict? Was there a typo involved, or at least a confusion?

Nope. Fred Karger is really a gay advocate—indeed a gay rights troublemaker—who is also really a Republican. He was raised by Republican parents. He first got active on behalf of Illinois Republican Senator Charles Percy. He’s campaigned for Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. This guy’s got GOP cred.

These days he calls himself “an old Rockefeller Republican,” fiscally conservative but socially moderate.

But there’s nothing moderate about his commitment to gay rights. Karger is the founder of Californians Against Hate, inspired by opposition to the anti-gay marriage movement behind the 2008 referendum overturning the California Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples could marry. Under Karger’s leadership, Californians Against Hate organized boycotts against businesses owned by donors to the referendum campaign, and relentlessly attacks the National Organization for Marriage, claiming that it is essentially funded by the Mormon Church.

In fact, the squabble between Karger and the NOM indirectly inspired his presidential candidacy. After Karger filed complaints against NOM with campaign finance agencies in both California and Maine (where gay marriage was also overturned by referendum), he was served with a subpoena ordering him to produce (as he wrote) “all emails, correspondence, faxes and all stored information that deal with my activities…(and ) all correspondence pertaining to three of my four web sites.”

In response, Karger and his supporters organized a “Five for Fred” campaign to raise money for his legal fees. It was so successful that he began to realize that there was a nationwide constituency he could mobilize. As a fellow who does not appear to be short of ambition and ego, he decided to mobilize it on the grandest scale possible.

Now he’s out there on the trail, doing meet-and-greets in restaurants, making speeches in hotel meeting rooms, marching in parades. He even held a press conference (though he had to crash the party and pay for the space himself) at an official Republican event—the Southern Republican Leadership Conference—in New Orleans last month.

At that press conference, Karger said he was running because “Our nation is facing tremendous challenges right now. I pledge to put new effective leadership in place to end our nation’s economic crisis. I will work tirelessly to bring back the spirit in every man, woman and child to help remake America the land of opportunity and equality for all.”

Letting the world know he can spout political pabulum like a more conventional candidate.

No, Karger is not going to be nominated by the Republicans at their convention in Tampa (in mid-summer? Who made that decision?) in the summer of 2012. But GOP bigwigs would be foolish to underestimate him. Not only is he persistent; he’s a pro. He made his money (a fair amount, it seems) as a California Republican political operative. That means he knows how to play the game, with sharp elbows if necessary (or even if not necessary, but just because it’s fun). A recent article about him in Mother Jones magazine said he was once “one of the GOP’s top dark-arts operators.” He’s not ashamed.

He worked with the late Bill Roberts, of the famed Spencer-Roberts consulting firm, in the successful 1986 recall campaign that ousted the liberal, anti-death penalty, Chief Justice Rose Bird from the California Supreme Court. He said he was also involved in the 1988 “independent expenditure” campaign that produced the commercials about Willie Horton, the convicted murderer who raped a woman while on furlough from a Massachusetts prison while Michael Dukakis was governor. Those ads were one reason Dukakis lost to George H.W. Bush. Karger is not a social moderate when it comes to the death penalty. He’s for it.

Now he’s using the same argument against a potential competitor in the 2012 race, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who reduced the sentence of Maurice Clemmons, who was then paroled in 2000. Nine years later, Clemmons killed four police officers in Lakewood, Washington.

Karger raised the Horton connection in a letter to Huckabee after Huckabee was quoted assailing the idea of gays having children, who, he said, “are not puppies,” and should not be part of “experiment.” “You have caused tremendous pain by your widely covered comments,” Karger wrote. “You owe the millions of gay and lesbian families in this country an apology.”

Karger has real public policy goals for his campaign: end the “don-ask, don’t tell” policy in the armed services. pass the federal Employment Anti-Discrimination law; eliminate the federal Defense of Marriage Act; make same-sex marriage legal across the country; try harder to find a cure for HIV/AIDS and a vaccine to prevent HIV.

But his attack on Huckabee indicates there is also a visceral element to his effort, and he doesn’t deny it. “One of my reasons for running is to keep those other candidates in line,” he said, and he will react strongly whenever another candidate “goes after my community.”

There’s one more reason Republicans should take Karger seriously. He will campaign everywhere, but he’s going to make a special effort in New Hampshire, the site of the first primary.

“I’m going to spend half my life there,” he said. “I’ll rent a house, buy a car, and conduct a massive voter registration drive.” He already has a field representative in the state.

As Karger pointed out, more than 40 percent of New Hampshire voters are independents, meaning they can vote in either party’s primary. In all likelihood, there won’t really be a Democratic primary because President Barack Obama won’t face a serious challenge for renomination. So a lot of those independents might decide to vote in the Republican primary, and some of them might decide to have a little fun and make a little trouble. New Hampshire voters do have an anarchistic stream in them.

In that context, with four or five socially conservative Republican candidates splitting the mainstream Republican vote, could Fred Karger actually win the New Hampshire primary?

Oh, probably not. But wouldn’t it make the morning-after political buzz a lot of fun?

Via JMG: CA Assembly Calls For DADT Repeal

Yesterday the California Assembly approved a resolution calling for the repeal of DADT. (The state senate approved the resolution last year.) Speaking in the resolution's support was GOP state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a former Marine. Watch his speech.

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reposted from Joe

Via JMG: This Weekend: Great Global Kiss-In

The Great Global Kiss-In takes place around the world this weekend as part of the International Day Against Homophobia. Hit the link for times and locations in your town.

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reposted from Joe

Quote of the day (via JMG)

HomoQuotable - Alan Cumming

"It is my contention that Ramin Seetodeh is not happy with himself. He has particular shame about being gay. He sees gayness, particularly open and unabashed gayness, or effeminacy, as a reminder of what he does not like about himself. And so he attacks it. His own shame translates into his paralysis when thinking of others who might have his own curse and yet be able to function fully and happily within the rest of the world: a child chasing his friends around a playground in high heels; an actor who he knows is publicly gay but feels he needs to re-out to make himself feel better about his own self-loathing and lack of acceptance of his most basic needs and happiness. As someone who is a only a decade or so immigrant to these shores, I have noticed that shame is one of America's biggest exports, imbibed more domestically than overseas, and Mr Seetodeh could easily manage its Gay division." - Alan Cumming, responding to the continuing controversy over Newsweek's "gays can't play straight" article.

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reposted from JMG

Quote of the Day: the Treaty of Tripoli

President John Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 states: 'The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.' This was ratified by the United States Senate without debate unanimously in 1797.

- Wiki (via Burl Barer on Facebook)

Via NPR: Why Is It OK To Say "That's So Gay?"