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Friday, October 10, 2003

The Texas Republican Party

Calpundit weighs in on the Texas GOP and their wacky platform. So I thought I'd post the report from Log Cabin Republicans, when they held a rally in opposition to the bigotry espoused by the Republican Convention in Texas, who refused to allow LCR to have a booth at the convention.

Log Cabin Confronts Bigots at Texas GOP Convention

Governor, Party Chairwoman Distance Themselves from Attacks on Gay GOP Organization; Supporters Rally in Ft. Worth

June 15, 1998

(FT. WORTH, TEXAS) Over 50 openly gay Republican delegates and alternates to the Texas Republican Convention rallied with their supporters next to the convention hall in Ft. Worth on Saturday, capping an extraordinary week of confrontation between Log Cabin Republicans of Texas and far-right, anti-gay extremists within the state GOP.

Log Cabin delegates and their supporters were met at the "Rally for Liberty" by aggressive and hostile counter-demonstrators who held anti-gay placards too obscene for television broadcast, and sought to drown out the speakers onstage who read statements of support from leading Republicans around the country and called for an inclusive Republican Party.

Rally speakers also challenged Republicans who pander to the bigots to gain support, and promised to confront them in Texas and across the country in the coming election cycle.

The controversy began when Log Cabin elected over 50 delegates and alternates to the state convention, and applied for an exhibit booth along side other Republican and conservative organizations. Log Cabin was the only Republican organization denied a booth. State party spokesman Robert Black escalated the situation by comparing Log Cabin to the Ku Klux Klan and pedophiles, and labeled the organization a "hate group."

LCR Texas President Steve Labinski held a press conference at the state capitol in Austin, calling on Governor George W. Bush (R-TX) to speak out against Black's comments. The governor issued a statement through spokeswoman Karen Hughes later that day, criticizing the party's attack comments: "Governor Bush believes all individuals deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. While he differs with the Log Cabin Republicans on issues such as gay marriage, he does not condone name calling. Governor Bush urges all Republicans to focus on our common goal of electing Republicans based on our conservative philosophy."

LCR Texas bought over $50,000 in major newspaper print ads last week throughout Texas responding to Black's comments, while the Log Cabin delegates leafleted the convention floor as the convention opened. On Saturday, June 13, over 100 supporters joined the delegates at the rally next to the convention center, where the anti-gay counter-demonstrators confronted them before television cameras and reporters from local, state and national media.

One counter-demonstrator jumped onto the stage repeatedly with a sign reading "Faggots Go Back to San Francisco," to which Dallas lesbian Republican activist Lory Masters, who was speaking before the rally, said: "We are not from San Francisco -- we are from Texas and we're here to stay! This is our party and I'm not going away!"

"The faction that runs the Texas party has a narrow social agenda," said Labinski from the stage. "We have to stand up for what we believe and set an example for other good Republicans to follow."

"Don't back down until we take back this party from the extremists," said openly gay Dallas Councilman John Loza (R), from the stage. "Don't back down! Don't back down!"

At one point, 74 year-old Martha Theilhorn, former chairwoman of the Refugio County Republican Party, was speaking onstage about her longtime GOP activism and her support for her openly gay grandson, GOP delegate Dale Carpenter from Houston, when a counter-demonstrator shouted over her: "Your grandson is a sodomite and you're both going to burn in hell!"

"We are not afraid," Richard Tafel, executive director of the national Log Cabin Republicans said from the stage over the jeers of counter-demonstrators. "They may have greater numbers and more delegates. They may have people here to shout us down, but we will win because our cause is just, because a movement founded on honesty and love and a movement for the voiceless cannot be defeated. We must never forget that moral force will beat the numeric forces every time."

"No properly elected Republican should be denied access or exhibit space at any gathering of our big-tent party," said Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD) in a statement read at the rally. "As an inclusive big-tent party, we can move America forward. A party that looks to divide and exclude fails all of us."

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ)

"Log Cabin Republicans has been, and continues to be, a contributing mainstream Republican organization that has supported Republican candidates of all ideological stripes," wrote openly gay Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) in a letter to Robert Black, read at the rally. "The politics of exclusion and intolerance should have no place in our Republican Party. Period."

"Republicans should not be turned away from a state party convention because of their sexual orientation. I find it particularly disturbing for a party official to compare the Log Cabin Republicans to a hate group such as the Ku Klux Klan," said Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) in a statement read at the rally.

Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA)

"The Republican Party is the Party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, and it must remain the party of the big tent, where all Americans who share our core Republican principles, including gay and lesbian Americans, stand shoulder to shoulder equally with everyone else," said Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA). "Don't give up, don't stop fighting for a better America and don't stop advancing the cause of equality and liberty that so many Americans from all walks of life share with you and me."

Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), in a statement read at the rally: "The strength of the Republican Party and our democratic system of government lies in our diversity of opinion, and our tolerance for those with experiences and views different from our own."

Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-PA), the chairman of Speaker Newt Gingrich's (R-GA) Planning Advisory Team, a senior House leadership post, said in a statement: "We must welcome every citizen -- regardless of age, race, creed or sexual orientation -- who wants to join the Republican fight for a better America. Gay men and women awake each day, go to work, volunteer in their community, pay their taxes, and contribute to worthwhile charities in every American neighborhood. Increasingly the Republican message appeals to all segments of American society and we should encourage the participation of the Log Cabin Republicans as we would any other group."

"As a Republican I am horrified to learn that a state Republican Party would resort to the divisionary politics of hatred and bigotry," said Susan Cullman, president of the Republican Coalition for Choice, in a statement read at the rally. "With actions such as these, we are left with one question -- who's next?"

"As a Republican member of the Council of District of Columbia, I am extremely disappointed in the recent statements released by the Texas GOP Leadership. Efforts to exclude Texas Log Cabin Republicans from the State GOP Convention are both inappropriate and short-sighted," said openly gay DC City Councilman David Catania (R).

As the counter-demonstrators, many of whom were GOP delegates themselves, grew louder and more aggressive and began jostling Log Cabin supporters, jeering loudly on and off the stage and blocking cameras with their signs, the state GOP sent spokesman Craig Murphy into the crowd to claim for reporters that a number of the anti-gay demonstrators were not delegates.

Then, news came from inside the convention hall that Texas GOP Chairwoman Susan Weddington stood up to comment on the events unfolding outside. Referring to the anti-Log Cabin demonstrators, Weddington denounced "in any public forum and debate attacking people in such a mean-spirited and derogatory way."

"In Forth Worth, we drew a line in the sand against the radical right, and it was a major turning point for our movement," Tafel said after the demonstration. "We played by the rules, our people got elected as delegates, and the party went on the attack, but the brave and well-organized response was overwhelming, and the statements of support for Log Cabin from Republicans all over the country was a wake up call to the Governor and the senior leadership in the party, and they backed off. This is only the beginning for Log Cabin in Texas, and it's a warning to Republicans everywhere that those who pander to the far right will pay a price from inside the Republican Party."

Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay and lesbian Republican organization, with 50+ chapters nationwide, a full-time Washington office and a federal political action committee. In addition to the Texas state chapter, there are local chapters in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.


Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Bleating from the FRC on Arnold

With Arnold Schwarzenegger's win in the California recall election last night, we are left with many questions. Chief among them is this: as a self-described "moderate Republican," will Gov. Schwarzenegger resist the strong left-wing lobby that so consumed Gov. Gray Davis' time in office? In just the previous few months, Gov. Davis has signed five bills into law which expanded "abortion rights" in California. Additionally, a new Davis-supported law will fine businesses and non-profit organizations up to $150,000 if they refuse to hire a transsexual.

The Davis administration has been a non-stop party for extremists on the left who desire to change everything from the definition of gender to the composition of the family. Mr. Schwarzenegger has said that his time in office will be spent trying to fix the massive budget deficit and economic problems California now faces. But with his "moderate" views on abortion and the homosexual agenda, will the Schwarzenegger administration soon find itself kowtowing to the same liberal activists that are used to running the Sacramento puppet show?

Some political observers are saying that if Arnold is successful as governor, there will be immense pressure on social conservatives within the GOP to begin backing candidates who have a shot at winning, regardless of their views on abortion and marriage. The truth is, however, that such pressure already exists, and this "winning" philosophy has been proven wrong time and time again. Just in 2002, we saw that when candidates like Sens. Jim Talent (R-MO) and Norm Coleman (R-MN) took strong pro-life stances, they were successful on Election Day.

We certainly hope that Mr. Schwarzenegger is successful in fixing California's many economic problems. However, we are also hopeful that his administration - mindful that he did not receive a plurality of the vote, and mindful that many of the votes he received were from pro-life, pro-family Californians - will resist the left-wing forces that seek to further devalue life and deconstruct marriage in the Golden State.

EY: He doesn't owe these bleaters anything. They worked against his election. I doubt Arnold got the bigot vote.

David Jennings withdraws from consideration for Superintendent of Minneapolis Schools

MPS Staff:

Below is a letter I have submitted to the Board of Education, today, withdrawing my name as the next permanent Superintendent of Schools for MPS. As you know, the board's recent decision to move past my previously planned service as interim superintendent and to move directly to naming me for the permanent post has caused some controversy.

The voices of dissent are from a radical element in the community and do not
represent the larger group's view, but they persist and that persistence is
getting in the way of the real work of the district.

I am sure my decision comes as a surprise to all and a disappointment to some.
The board is adamant in their opposition to the idea, but willing to respect
my wishes. From you, I ask understanding.

You know as well as I do the importance of the work and the vulnerability of
the population of kids we serve. I believe this is the best way to keep the
focus on them and not on city politics.


Sharon Henry-Blythe, Chair
Minneapolis Board of Education
807 Broadway NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Dear Chair Henry-Blythe:

I came to MPS two years ago with a simple agenda. I hoped to be able to
help a district that was struggling financially and to help poor kids
and kids of color in Minneapolis find the same kind of academic success
as their white and middle class counterparts. I know that Dr. Johnson
and the Board, and you in particular, share that dream.

With her departure, however, other events have begun to take over center
stage on our agenda and they are beginning to get in the way of the real
cause we pursue. It is for that reason, that I must use this means to
withdraw my name as the successor to Dr. Johnson and recommend that the
Board pursue a different course of action.

I will not dwell on the events of recent days and the obvious
speciousness and venality that underlie the charges and accusations made
toward the Board and toward me. It is tempting to fight the fight
against this lunacy and win, which we would surely do. What nags at me
is the likelihood that we would win the battle but the kids would lose
the war.

You and I both know the responsibility for why kids of color are lagging
behind academically must be shared by many. Part of it belongs to us and
to the system we run. The good news is that we know it and have
committed ourselves to doing something about it.

The rest of the story, however, is that part of the responsibility also
falls directly on the shoulders of the community itself. If we force
this issue around my appointment and "win", we will have just handed a
perfect excuse for inaction to anyone in that community who is looking
for such an excuse. We cannot do that. It might feel good to us for a
time, but it would also condemn us to failure in the real mission long term.

Instead, I recommend a simple plan. I will stand by my original
commitment to the board and serve as interim superintendent until a
suitable replacement can be named. I will assist you in organizing and
conducting that search in a timely way and in finding the right leader
to continue the dream we share.


David M. Jennings
Chief Operating Officer

Clark's Statement on Donnie Fowler - posted on his blog

Clark's Campaign Manager Quits

Andrew Sullivan links to the New York Times Report. The Clark "Official Blog" is also taking comments.

Atrios makes mention of this in his blog. From Elrod commenting on Atrios's blog:

Dean has nothing to do with Clark's manager resigning. It's about a power play between the Draft Clark movement, which resembles Dean's campaign, and the DLC Washington insiders. This development is troubling if it means the DLC will take more central control. It might necessarily mean that, however. It really could be a clash of personalities and grassroots movement that drafted Clark might still be able to play a critical role. But this is an important time.
elrod | 10.07.03 - 8:55 pm |

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Marriage Protection Week, 2003 : Presidential Proclamation Friday, October 3, 2003

Marriage Protection Week, 2003 By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation

Marriage is a sacred institution, and its protection is essential to the continued strength of our society. Marriage Protection Week provides an opportunity to focus our efforts on preserving the sanctity of marriage and on building strong and healthy marriages in America.

Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and my Administration is working to support the institution of marriage by helping couples build successful marriages and be good parents.

To encourage marriage and promote the well-being of children, I have proposed a healthy marriage initiative to help couples develop the skills and knowledge to form and sustain healthy marriages. Research has shown that, on average, children raised in households headed by married parents fare better than children who grow up in other family structures. Through education and counseling programs, faith-based, community, and government organizations promote healthy marriages and a better quality of life for children. By supporting responsible child-rearing and strong families, my Administration is seeking to ensure that every child can grow up in a safe and loving home.

We are also working to make sure that the Federal Government does not penalize marriage. My tax relief package eliminated the marriage penalty. And as part of the welfare reform package I have proposed, we will do away with the rules that have made it more difficult for married couples to move out of poverty.

We must support the institution of marriage and help parents build stronger families. And we must continue our work to create a compassionate, welcoming society, where all people are treated with dignity and respect.

During Marriage Protection Week, I call on all Americans to join me in expressing support for the institution of marriage with all its benefits to our people, our culture, and our society.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim the week of October 12 through October 18, 2003, as Marriage Protection Week. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.


EY: Very toned down - I know now why the FRC doesn't seem to include the text of this proclamation on their site. The sentence about marriage being between a man and a woman is no different than what most Democrats say.

The Bush Campaign has a blog now. In contrast to Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee blog - no commenting allowed.

Why the Gore Campaign did so poorly in Minnesota in 2000

A poster to the DNC Blog writes:

Nevada and West Virginia are the only two states Bush carried in 2000 that Dean needs in order to win the electoral college. It's not a stretch to think Dean could hold his own in the states Gore won. The winning margin in many of the states Gore carried only narrowly—Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, even Florida—was depressed because of defections to Nader or liberal dissatisfaction with Gore. Dean's aggressive criticism of the president only helps him here.

EY: In Minnesota, the reason Gore did so poorly was a very poorly run campaign - run partly by party hack Rick Stafford - who is much disliked by rank and file Democrats and many other Minneapolis Residents. Rick Stafford will use the "openly gay" card to move himself forward in the party - but does little for other gays. He refused to confront Dukakis on his anti-gay foster care policy in 1988 for example. (In 1988, 40% of gay voters voted for Bush - Dukakis's anti-gay positions were a political liability in that election).

An example of the appalling Gore campaign in Minnesota - no Gore booth at Gay Pride in 2000 (Gay Pride in the Twin Cities has around 200,000 visitors) - and Nader was the only Presidential Candidate with a booth.

The campaign was too stupid to win.

I understand Rick Stafford is a big Dean supporter - and was pushing - and lost a resolution that would have helped the Dean forces tactically within the DFL - why did he lose this one? Too many rank and file DFLers have been burned by Rick's dishonest tactics.

DNC Niche Marketing

I get the following from the DNC - a targeted mailing to gays..... Again showing they are trying to be rather closeted about supporting gay issues. Ofcourse ENDA does nothing about eliminating the policy on gays in the military - showing the Democrats might say a few things, but are hoping to distract from the anti-gay military policy by supporting ENDA.

Democrats Voice Support For GLBT Community

Democratic National Committee Chairman McAuliffe Statement on National Coming Out Day

Washington, D.C. -- Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe issues the following statement:

"On behalf of the DNC, I would like to recognize Saturday, October 11, 2003 as the 16th Annual National Coming Out Day. Coming out as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (GLBT) American is a tremendous act of courage. In most states, GLBT Americans do not have the full protection of the law from violent attacks motivated by hate and misunderstanding. In 36 states, it is legal to fire someone who is otherwise qualified simply because they identify as GLBT.

"The DNC supports the immediate passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act. We commend Senate Democrats for recently re-introducing ENDA, and
Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who, along with other House Democrats, intend
this week to introduce ENDA in the House. While President Bush continues to use attacks on GLBT Americans as a political strategy, Democrats continue to work toward creating an environment that makes it easier for all GLBT Americans to come out."

Democratic National Committee Chairman McAuliffe Statement on Marriage Protection Week

Washington, D.C. - Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry
McAuliffe issues the following statement:

"On October 3, 2003, President Bush, facing the reality that increasingly fewer Americans think he should be re-elected, and at the direction of ultra-conservative organizations, declared the week of October 12-18 'Marriage Protection Week.' In a desperate move to attract the right-wing base of his party, Bush has again aligned himself with the Rev. Jerry Falwell and right-wing organizations such as the Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council. These groups, who have formed
'The Coalition to Protect Marriage,' last week declared that with Bush's support they would begin lobbying all members of Congress for the passage of the anti-gay 'Federal Marriage Amendment.'

"The DNC has already declared its opposition to this amendment, which legal experts from both ends of the political spectrum have acknowledged would be used to repeal hundreds of laws enacted by state legislatures to provide basic benefits and rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Americans. According to a recent ABC News Poll, only 20 percent of Americans favor this anti-gay amendment. Even Vice President Dick Cheney, former conservative Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson (WY) believe that the issue of civil marriage equality is one for the states. The President's position and the Republican National Committee's plan to place in its official party platform the language of this anti-gay amendment, shows that the Republican party is again moving further outside of the mainstream. We can only assume given the President's support for this divisive measure and his otherwise poor record on GLBT issues, that he and his Party are indeed uninterested in demonstrating compassion toward GLBT Americans."

Update The DNC now links to this press release in their news release section, and it's retrieved in the search.