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Saturday, February 07, 2004

Kerry and the Massachusetts Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment

The Boston Globe comments.

With the high court's ruling, civil unions, the middle ground Kerry supports and Romney has suggested he would at least consider, were suddenly eliminated as a compromise position. Kerry, now the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, issued a statement noting that, though he favored civil unions, he disagreed with the SJC's demand for full marriage. But the thornier issue is one Kerry declined to address. Given his opposition to gay marriage, would he now support amending the state constitution to prohibit homosexual unions? Asked that question, Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan said the senator would wait to see what the Legislature does before commenting further.

In another article from the Globe, Kerry doesn't rule out support for the Massachusetts amendment.

Kerry told reporters querying him on the gay marriage issue after a Portland rally that if Republicans "want to turn this into some wedge sort of issue and distort my position, I will fight back very clearly."

"I support equal rights, the right of people to have civil unions, to have partner rights. I do not support marriage" for gays and lesbians, he said.

Asked if he would support a state constitutional amendment barring gay and lesbian marriages, Kerry didn't rule out the possibility. "I'll have to see what language there is," he said.

I've gone on the Kerry webforums to discuss this. Here's a post from a thread I started on the topic.

I wrote:

He's not going to make a net gain on bigot votes - and he will lose gay workers and money if he supports anti-gay state constitutional referendums (including the one in Massachusetts).

Edie responded:

And your statistical support for this statement is?

Partly from the chatter I hear on other gay lists - where there are many gay Democrats. Kerry can get out of supporting a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage because he is concerned that it will have the effect of banning private employers from offering Domestic Partner benefits. The argument to gay voters - that you have nowhere else to go - is not a motivating argument for the purposes of getting $ and volunteer time. People always have somewhere else to go. Remember that Gays are a significant percentage of high level donors to the Democratic party. Many gays I know are wondering about the return on that investment. John McMullen from Sirius OutQ Radio was hitting Kerry strongly over this issue.

Edie:
Eva, in this election gays and lesbians are confronted with the same choices they've had to make for the last several presidential elections.

Voter News Service (VNS) reported that Bush captured 25% of the gay vote in 2000. Now, VNS is not the most reliable source for such statistics in my opinion; they are now defunct. Moreover, their statistics consider only the 4% of voters who identified themselves in exit polls as gay. As NGLTF says, "The true size of the gay vote is probably significantly larger, given that many people remain uncomfortable disclosing their sexual orientation to exit pollsters." [http://www.ngltf.org/news/release.cfm?releaseID=586] So we should keep that in mind in assessing your 25% figure.

EY: That's 25% of out gay voters. I agree that it's hard to measure the gay vote because of closet cases. I think it's still a better number than most others. I still think the Voter News Service numbers provide useful information. Republicans were very aware that Log Cabin Republicans in Florida's help with the Bush campaign was crucial.

Edie:

But even assuming the 25% figure is accurate, the 2000 election preceded Bush's endorsement of the federal constitutional amendment, and preceded his decision to exploit gay and lesbian Americans as this election's "Willie Horton."

EY:
Bush had the same problem with Gays the last election cycle. Remember that Bush in 2000 had used the "fag candidate" campaign against John McCain in South Carolina - something which was well publicized. Log Cabin Republicans did eventually endorse Bush last time - and that was after the Bush campaign had agreed that Bush would not overturn Clinton's executive order banning discrimination against gay civil service employees.

Edie: So, really, I don't know what your point is.

Do you seriously believe large numbers of us will choose to support Bush to punish John Kerry for whatever stand he takes on amending his state's constitution? If so, I think you are deluding yourself. The vast majority of gays and lesbians, like every other group that has endured abuse from the Bush administration over the last three years (i.e., veterans, seniors, latinos, blacks, etc.), know full well which party has the better record in addressing their needs and concerns.

EY: No, Gays won't support Bush - but many gays will withhold money and volunteer efforts on the Presidential campaign - preferring to put money and time into defeating Federal and State Constitutional Amendments. Many of us remember Bill Clinton promising to allow gays to serve openly in the military only to give us Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And we all remember Clinton signing - and liberal icons such as the late Paul "DOMA" Wellstone supporting the bigoted Defense of Marriage Act. Kerry to his credit opposed that bill.

In fact - should Kerry end up supporting a Massachusetts constitutional amendment, I will encourage people to donate to the Human Rights Campaign - and then send a copy of the receipt to the Kerry campaign. That's sometimes the only language people understand. When I get appeals from the Bush campaign for money, I've been telling them, that I'm donating to Log Cabin Republicans to fight off these bigoted amendments - state and federal.

What people don't remember about the "liberal" Mike Dukakis - also from Massachusetts - was that Dukakis had persistant problems with the Gay community because he opposed gays being able to be foster parents. The same argument was used to try to motivate gays in the general election - basically - you have no where else to go. Bush the First got 40% of the gay vote in that election.

Eddie:
As in elections past, the Democratic nominee this year will receive the overwhelming majority of gay votes for the very reasons I outlined in my earlier message. And I think you know that already.

EY: Sure - I'm sure gays will vote disproportionately for the Democratic candidate. However - if the Democratic candidate is seen as someone who will not fight anti-gay bigotry in the form of constitutional amendments - well it won't help them. Intensity matters in elections. Gays voted for Gore - but most weren't particularly excited about helping with his campaign - or contributing money. In Minnesota Nader's campaign had a booth at Gay Pride - and Gore's campaign did not. That spoke volumes.

You can't argue the "blame the republicans for the bigotry" argument if you end up taking the same position the republicans have.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Contradictory Gays Can't Get Married Amendments

Split Among Anti-gay Activist Groups

Concerned Women for America pushes for a different marriage amendment - not the FMA. This will be interesting. This showed up in my inbox today.

Dear Friend,

As you know, Concerned Women for America (CWA) and other family groups have been working on language for a federal marriage amendment (FMA) over the past several months. Because of the dangers posed by the Supreme Court's Lawrence decision and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's decision to force same-sex marriage upon that state in its Goodridge decision, marriage is under assault as never before. Your own state is at risk.

One way to solve that problem is with a constitutional amendment. That's controversial and it's extremely tough to do. But, it could be effective. I have felt from the beginning that if we're going to go that route, we must fight for an amendment with effective language that will meet the need. When slavery was abolished, we didn't just ban the word "slavery" and allow some form of slavery as long as you called it something else.

There is now an amendment that I believe will do what's needed . The Institution of Marriage Amendment (IMA), which has not yet been introduced, has text along the lines of what CWA's own Chief Counsel Jan LaRue has urged in the past. Mike Farris, President of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) (and, early in his career, an attorney at CWA!), is boldly fighting for the IMA and has written an alert to his members and a Memo that I urge you to read (below). Then, please take action to support the IMA. Please do not delay. The timing is important in this critical matter.

REQUESTED ACTION

Contact:

(1) Your U.S. Congressman, (click here to find your Congressman)
(2) Both of your U.S. Senators (click here to find your Senators); and
(3) The White House.

Tell them: "The time is now for a constitutional amendment to protect marriage. We want a stop to same-sex marriage. And we want a stop to civil unions. The Musgrave text is unacceptable. Please support the Institution of Marriage Amendment."

Although it is important to call every Congressman and Senator, right now the focus should be on Republicans and the White House. They are going to be the ones who decide what the text looks like.

The time is urgent. The decision on the text will be made in the next few days. This may be the only time in U.S. history that we can stop the homosexual movement from obtaining full rights of marriage, by whatever name it is called.

Thank you for your support of CWA, and for your care and concern for America's families. Read on for Mike's e-mail, and please, take action now!

Sincerely,

Sandy Rios
President, CWA

P.S. Please read Mike's email below for more information. It concludes with a link to a Memo he has written which you will find a great help.

===================================
From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
===================================

February 5, 2004

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Having litigated the issues surrounding homeschooling for over 20 years, it is my belief that the fundamental right to direct the upbringing of children, including their education, is largely predicated on the institution of the traditional family and its status in society - a status which predates even the founding of the United States. Should the nature of the traditional family be changed, indeed radically re-defined by the modern state, the constitutional-historical basis of what the family is and its privileges are weakened. We cannot let this happen.

Congress will soon be deciding on the right text for a constitutional amendment setting forth that marriage must be between a man and a woman. It is critical that we get this text right. We must protect marriage by name, but we must also prohibit states from getting around this limitation by simply enacting marriage by any other name, such as "civil union" or "domestic partnership". Marriage, by whatever name you call it, must not extend to same-sex relationships.

The leading text, the so-called Musgrave Federal Marriage Amendment (named for its sponsor in the House) does not prohibit marriage by another name and its chief sponsors actually promote it as not reaching the issue of civil unions. However, there is competing language, the Institution of Marriage Amendment, yet to be introduced, which will accomplish the goal. We must therefore make ourselves heard in this debate.

Please call now and pass this elert to every friend you have. For my complete analysis, please read the following alert.

Critical Decision on Text of
Constitutional Amendment Protecting Marriage

Mike Farris
HSLDA Chairman






Problems for Kerry on Gay Marriage

from Kerry's webforum:

I am a mom in suburban LA, and I really want to enthusiatically support JK, but his equivocal comments concerning a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage are troubling to say the least. My younger son is gay, and I will be reluctant to work for the election of someone who proposes the inclusion of an amendment to the Constitution that codifies discrimination against him. As for the political implications of alienating the LGBT community vs. the "heartland" of America, I wonder how many other people there are out there like myself who have sons, daughters, other relatives, and friends who would be directly targeted by such an amendment.

EY: This is a problem. This isn't a gay voter - its the parent of a gay person. Kerry needs to take a clear stand against both the FMA and the proposed state marriage amendment.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Follow the Money - or Google on Minneapolis Park Board

Google search on Minneapolis Issues Postings on the Park Board here.

John Erwin posts a shot across the bow on the Superintendent Selection Process.

Minneapolis Park Board Watch Site

Recent shenagans by the Minneapolis Park board has gotten a grassroots citizens group to put up a website to monitor Park Board activities.

Minnesotans Oppose Gay Marriage and Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage

In reaction to the poll, Tom Prichard, of the Minnesota Family Council, said Minnesotans mirror their compatriots in other parts of the country in opposing gay marriage. He also objected to the wording of the poll question on the constitutional amendment.

The question ? "Do you support or oppose amending the Minnesota State Constitution so that same-sex marriages, including those performed in other states, could never be legalized or recognized?" ? misses the reason behind the amendment, he said.

Prichard, a key backer of the amendment, believes the goal of the amendment is to prevent judges from "usurping the will of the people."


EY: Hello? I haven't seen the wording of the amendment they are proposing - but if they want a constitutional amendment to prevent judges from usurping the will of the people - then the wording of the amendment will say that - and not talk about banning gay marriage.

Associated Press covers this also and gives specific poll numbers:

Sixty-three percent opposed legalizing gay marriage compared with 27 percent who said they supported it. Ten percent was undecided in the poll conducted for the Pioneer Press and Minnesota Public Radio.

State law already prohibits same-sex marriage, but some lawmakers say Minnesota's Constitution should explicitly ban gay marriages to make sure the courts here don't allow them as the Massachusetts Supreme Court recently did.

But the Pioneer Press/MPR poll found that 49 percent opposed a constitutional amendment so same-sex marriages, including those performed in other states, could never be legalized or recognized. Forty-three percent supported it.

While a majority of the women surveyed opposed a constitutional amendment (53 percent), the men were split - with 48 percent supporting it and 45 percent opposed. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The poll was based on telephone interviews with 625 registered voters from Jan. 26 through Jan. 28. It was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc., of Washington, D.C.

Voters were split on allowing same-sex couples the same legal protections as marriage through civil unions - 47 percent opposed, 44 percent supported.



Kerry's Incoherance on Massachusetts Ruling

His blog is hopping on this issue. I posted on this - and my post got fairly quickly pulled. (Though I'm not banned from the forum).

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said in his own statement: "I believe and have fought for the principle that we should protect the fundamental rights of gay and lesbian couples — from inheritance to health benefits. I believe the right answer is civil unions. I oppose gay marriage and disagree with the Massachusetts Court's decision."

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, another Democratic presidential candidate, said: "I leave that to the states and the courts — whether you call it a marriage or not, I leave up to the states and churches and synagogues and mosques."

EY: Kerry has also said the reason for marriage to be restricted to straights is because marriage is for procreation - but he's been in a nonprocreative second marriage.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

White House politicizes Peer Review in Federal Research

This time, Wired covers this.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Panning Faith Based Pork

"In his bloated budget for 2005, the president seeks funds to keep marriages intact, to prevent overeating, to encourage teenagers not to have sex, and to help give Americans the willpower to stop smoking. Should it bother us that both parties have bought into the belief that government now needs a federal program, bureau, agency, or grant contract to deal with every conceivable human need? An indoor rainforest in Iowa? Arts festivals in Alaska? Swimming pools in New York? What's next, my teenager's right cheek gets a relief from acne?" - Stephen Moore, National Review Online. (via Andrew Sullivan)

POSTCARD FROM THE FRINGE

(from Chuck Muth's News and Views)

Over the weekend, an op/ed I penned on the dangers posed by unwed motherhood and divorce on the family -plus an argument in favor of allowing the states to control their own marriage laws rather than the feds or activist judges - appeared in the Toledo Blade. The following letter-to-the-editor by "willi qwinti" (typos, etc., in the original) came my way in response. You might not want to let the kids - or your mom - read it.

*** QUOTE ***

Dear jk, chuck, editors:

...It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for America to wake up to the truth in this and the Queer manipulators and liars pushing for Queer acceptance. The Queer deal is about legitimizing licking, lapping, sucking, blowing, buggery, pederasty, pedophilia and sh*t eating which is their big desire, not equal rights. Get to the nitty gritty, not the smoke screen you present. the blade has become ( THE QUEER- FAG RAG ).

*** UNQUOTE ***

Umm...yeah. What he said. Does anyone really believe this federal marriage
amendment is "pro-family" and not "anti-gay"?

EY: Funny how these characters screech and whine when they are called bigots. If the shoe fits.....

Account of the "Blame the Gays for the Problems in Straight Marriages" Hearing at the Minnesota Legislature

Taken from MN Politics Discuss.....

I was at the hearing, and I was surprised to see that it was not dominated by witnesses supporting the idea of the amendment. In fact, the first two who presented were the only proponents--the majority who followed were all against the idea. I didn't take many notes, and I did not record the names of those who presented, but I can give a brief rundown and try to give an impression of the hearing.
The legislators present were almost exclusively Republicans--Ron Latz was the only DFLer present. The two speakers supporting the idea of amending the Constitution sat together. It appeared that much of the rest of the room was filled with opponents of the idea, and that became clearer when the audience reacted to speaker comments. On a couple of occasions, Holberg reprimanded the audience for making noise, primarily when muffled cheers erupted.
The first speaker gave a "history of marriage" rooted in religious origins. When Latz asked if there were any examples of same-sex marriage in societies, he said no. (Thankfully, this was later rebutted by another speaker. As a student of anthropology, I know that there are other examples, although they are not prevalent.) When asked a question about the possible consequences of gay marriage, he suggested that this could lead to the downfall of civilization.
The second speaker, Professor Teresa Collett, was more sharply critical of gay marriage than the first. She presented scenarios in which current legal decisions in other states might force Minnesota to confront the issue. She argued that "activist judges" were forcing change on the people, rather than allowing people to decide. Latz pressed her regarding miscegenation laws, women's rights, etc.--he asked if it was bad that judges ruled in favor of minorities and ushered in change. Collett's response was that such rulings came about after civil rights laws had been passed. Latz's response, which was one that evoked laughter from the audience, was that such laws were actually passed AFTER those rulings, and that judges had actually helped to usher in positive change.
Another speaker was the executive director of OutFront Minnesota, Ann DeGroot. She was very articulate in arguing that the Constitution is meant to protect the rights of minorities, rather than restrict them. She emphasized that same-sex couples deserve the same rights as married couples, and actually was received quite well, even by those who seemed to lean against gay marriage. Some questions regarded the difference between partnership rights and marriage--DeGroot explained that she was in favor of full marriage, but that she was not pushing that idea; rather, she was opposing the amendment concept.
Another speaker, whose name I missed, described the changing concept of marriage, and how the institution gradually evolved from a property arrangement to an expression of love. She also described how that institution had changed to become more and more inclusive over time.
The last speaker (I may have missed someone else, but I can't recall) was a professor of ethics at a local seminary. He served primarily to suggest that there were many different ways to think about marriage, and that Augustine (whom the first speaker used as a point of reference) began as a sex-crazed nut, who later espoused marriage as a method of "taming" urges. His presentation seemed to be opposed to such an amendment, but it was not as directly confrontational as those preceding him.

Overall, the Republican legislators seemed open to concerns about the idea of amending the Constitution, even if they didn't care for same-sex marriage. Some of them expressed sympathy with the plea for equal rights for those in committed partnerships. Latz was clearly the champion of the opposition to an amendment, and he deserves praise for his deft handling of the hearing. I wish that some other DFLers had been there, but Latz did an excellent job on his own.

I hope that helps. If I have in some way misrepresented anything that anyone said, I ask forgiveness. I am merely reporting from memory.

David Weinlick
Minneapolis -- Armatage

Atlanta Journal Constitution Calls Out the Bigots

The Georgia Legislature is looking at a constitutional amendment to the Georgia Constitution (similar to the Bachmann/Holberg proposal here). The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a strongly worded editorial on the topic.

Andrew Sullivan comments:

CONFRONTING BIGOTS: Good for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The very idea that gay people are trying to tear down marriage is nonsense; heterosexual people are doing quite fine on their own in that regard and hardly need the assistance of others. Gay people have not caused the divorce rate to soar. Gay people haven't caused the rise in single-parent families. To make gay people the scapegoat for the problems that plague modern marriage is absurd on its face.

In fact, to the degree that gay Americans wish to join in marriage, it ought to be seen as an endorsement of the institution, as a recognition that the civilizing merits and rich emotional rewards of marriage appeal not just to people of all cultures, races and ages, but to people of all sexual preference as well.

The interest of gay Americans in getting married is a celebration, a validation of marriage. It is not a threat.

Ten, 20, 30 years from now, we're going to have to go back into the Georgia Constitution to pull this hateful language out. And some of the very politicians who today will vote in favor of that language will no doubt be
there when it is repealed, sheepishly trying to explain how it wasn't really about hate and discrimination, how back then they were just worried about protecting marriage and the family.

And you know what? Nobody will believe them. Nor should they.


I sure won't.

====================================================
EY: I won't either. This editorial applies equally to the anti-gay Bachmann/Holberg proposal before the Minnesota legislature.

I was not at the "blame the gays for the problems in straight marriages" hearing this past Wednesday. If someone on this list was at the hearing, I'd be interesting in reading a report here.

Also - I have yet to see language on the proposed amendment. Is it going to - like the Ohio Super DOMA - potentially make it more difficult for private businesses to offer domestic partner benefits? Will the language
make it harder for gay couples to visit each other in the hospital?

During the hearings on this bill, will we hear about nonsense like this.

There is a plethora of ancedotal evidence that suggests that gay men have a very unhealthy predeliction towards adolecent boys. For instance, no rational person can deny that the catholic church has a pederast (attraction of men to young boys) problem not a pedophile problem. More than 90% of the attacks by priests were upon boys 13 years and older. Gay literature is replete with references to "boys" and youth. (Jim Thomson, post to MN Politics National)

EY: Ofcourse literature in general has lots of references to older man, teenage girl stories. Look at the movies like Pretty Baby as a good example of this. Romeo and Juliet after all has an adult Romeo falling in
love with the 14 year old Juliet.

The other arguments I've seen raised to restrict marriage to heterosexuals only were slippery slope - often the slope leads to bestiality and polygamy:

Yea, I am conflicted. I hate like hell to have to mess with the constitution for something like this, but in the end, this issue is really too important to leave to an unelected judiciary. We already have polygamists added to the circus; it's only a matter of time before some moron sues to marry his cat.
-- Jim Thomson, post to MN Politics National

EY: This ofcourse changes the subject from gay marriage to bestiality and polygamy.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Judith Reisman flown in to testify - ofcourse her degree is in Communications - so it's rather interesting that she promotes herself as a "sexologist".

No Stadium Tax Website Unveiled

here....

Gillespie's Blog

The RNC's Ed Gillespie now has a blog. The blog allows for feedback - but feedback is reviewed before publication.

Moore Trouble for the Bush Campaign

John Fund comments:

There are also signs that Mr. Moore's issue--the public display of Scripture and religious themes--isn't going away. Local officials are seeking to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a public building in Everett, Wash. Last month, a similar monument was placed in a public building in Winston-Salem, N.C., by Vernon Robinson, a city councilman who is running for Congress. It has since been removed. Media outlets seem to love a good controversy and will likely publicize more of these stories is Mr. Moore runs for office.

Reporters who want to see President Bush face a tight race this year will be particularly interested in spilling a lot of ink on Mr. Moore, should he decide to run for president. That's why Republican strategists are trying to talk him into campaigning this year for GOP candidates who agree with his stance rather than mount a quixotic campaign for the nation's highest office. "He can get a lot of attention this year for his themes," one told me. "The question is whether he does it in a way that will help conservatives or whether he tries to do it in a way that could make him the Ralph Nader spoiler of the right in 2004."

EY: Vernon Robinson also is rather foaming at the mouth about gays. From a fundraising letter:

I will *vigorously oppose homosexual marriages* and adoptions, as well as "gay" Scoutmasters. I just don't see how it's a good idea to put a homosexual in a pup tent with your thirteen year-old son. And yet the liberals call us bigoted for saying that. What is the world coming to?

As an Eagle Scout myself, I was furious when the United Way threatened to withhold funding from the Boy Scouts unless atheists and homosexuals were allowed to serve as Scoutmasters. While other Republicans ran scared from the issue, I organized a counter-threat to boycott contributions to the United Way unless it backed off the Scouts -- and it quickly did just that.

Dr. James Dobson featured my efforts on his "Focus on the Family" radio program, and called it a victory for people of faith across the nation. That's the same aggressive spirit I will bring to Washington.

Of course, now that our Supreme Court has "discovered" a right to commit homosexual sodomy in "our living constitution" (I can't find it in my copy, but...) it is more important than ever that we send to the Congress men and women whose sense of decency does not change with the political winds. If we don't, then homosexual marriage and adoption (and worse) won't be far behind.

EY: I called Mr Robinson and asked him, if he was so upset about the Lawrence v Texas ruling, why he didn't propose a Federal No-Sodomy Amendment (FNA). He said he's not going to do that - but my question is why not? He doesn't seem to have the courage behind his convictions.