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Friday, December 05, 2008

Respected Gay Writer Paul Varnell Writes of the Uselessness of Democrats

Read his column at the Independent Gay Forum.

Although Barack Obama stated his opposition to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on open gays in the military, the Obama team has let it be known that it will not try to repeal the law during the next session of Congress.

And now there are reports that despite New York state Democrats' support for same-sex marriage, the state Senate will "probably" not take up the issue during the coming session.

Have gays been had? Maybe so.

A lot of gays contributed time and money to the Obama campaign, not only because Obama represented a welcome change from the dismal Bush administration, but because he espoused a number of gay-supportive positions, including repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

I can understand the Obama administration's desire not to make the same mistakes as the Clinton administration in 1993, when Clinton proceeded without taking account of the strong military opposition to the inclusion of gays such as Gen. Colin Powell's and congressional resistance as personified by Sen. Sam Nunn. You may remember Sen. Nunn's highly publicized visit to the "close quarters" of a submarine. The implication was obvious.

"I would not go so far as to say that the Democrats deliberately lie about their intentions on gay issues. But they certainly promise more than they can or know how to deliver."And I can even understand that there are more nationally pressing issues for Obama and the new Congress to deal with such as the state of the economy, the war in Iraq and the worsening situation in Afghanistan.

Then too, in 2006 and 2008 Rep. Rahm Emanuel helped create Democratic majorities by recruiting candidates who were "moderate" (and often socially conservative) Democrats to run in swing districts. He achieved his goal, but weakened the strength of Democratic support for gays.

But at some point, say within a year, I would want to see the administration form a working group or task force to develop a plan to gain military and congressional approval for repeal. It could include deployment of those 100-plus admirals and generals who recently signed a statement supporting gay inclusion, commissioning opinion polls on the issue in marginal districts, and targeting wavering members of Congress for serious lobbying and promises of pork. Without some real indication of administration intentions, I'd be inclined to think they aren't serious.


Read the whole thing.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Liberal Gay Blogger Aravosis Thinks Appointing Gay Labor Secretary Good Way to Shut the Gays Up about Repealing DADT

Americablog:

Appointing Maxwell is also a smart way for the Obama administration to circumvent rumblings in the gay community to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in the opening months of Obama's first term, a move some think might prove a bit too aggressive for a new administration that's supposed to be focusing on the economy. A gay Labor Secretary is not the equivalent of solving the gays in the military problem, but it is one hell of a step forward for civil rights and "change," and it's one hell of a comeback to anyone who tries to claim that Obama isn't coming through on his support for the entire civil rights community.


I don't expect Obama to put repealing DADT first on the list, but I do expect progress in this front, otherwise he will have lied to the gay community.

Conservative Writer Kathleen Parker Points Out the Theocratic Political Liability in the Republican Party

WaPO:

Three little letters, great big problem: G-O-D.

I'm bathing in holy water as I type.

To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.


The choir has become absurdly off-key, and many Republicans know it.

But they need those votes!

So it has been for the Grand Old Party since the 1980s or so, as it has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.

Short break as writer ties blindfold and smokes her last cigarette.

Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.

Here's the deal, 'pubbies: Howard Dean was right.

It isn't that culture doesn't matter. It does. But preaching to the choir produces no converts. And shifting demographics suggest that the Republican Party -- and conservatism with it -- eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one's heart where it belongs.

Religious conservatives become defensive at any suggestion that they've had something to do with the GOP's erosion. And, though the recent Democratic sweep can be attributed in large part to a referendum on Bush and the failing economy, three long-term trends identified by Emory University's Alan Abramowitz have been devastating to the Republican Party: increasing racial diversity, declining marriage rates and changes in religious beliefs.

Suffice it to say, the Republican Party is largely comprised of white, married Christians. Anyone watching the two conventions last summer can't have missed the stark differences: One party was brimming with energy, youth and diversity; the other felt like an annual Depends sales meeting.

With the exception of Miss Alaska, of course.

Even Sarah Palin has blamed Bush policies for the GOP loss. She's not entirely wrong, but she's also part of the problem. Her recent conjecture about whether to run for president in 2012 (does anyone really doubt she will?) speaks for itself:

"I'm like, okay, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is.... And if there is an open door in (20)12 or four years later, and if it's something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."

Let's do pray that God shows Alaska's governor the door.

Meanwhile, it isn't necessary to evict the Creator from the public square, surrender Judeo-Christian values or diminish the value of faith in America. Belief in something greater than oneself has much to recommend it, including most of the world's architectural treasures, our universities and even our founding documents.

But, like it or not, we are a diverse nation, no longer predominantly white and Christian. The change Barack Obama promised has already occurred, which is why he won.


James Dobson is having a hissy fit. He's also urging his cult following to write Kathleen Parker to let her know what they think. I encourage Lloydletta readers use his form to send her some "atta girl" comments. I just did.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More Back and Forth on OutFront Minnesota

From the comments:


Markh said...
I'd concur with DavidD....

The DFL rolled over very quickly on the municipal domestic partners legislation... nothing new there.

At the mere mention of a veto, we're thrown under the bus, rally or no rally. Make some actual demands of the politicians who grin and wave at us during the Pride Parade... and take our money.

With a solid majority in the Senate, and a near veto-proof majority in the House, this is not a year to be shy or timid. Put the bills up for a vote, and see what happens.

10:58 PM


Mark made an excellent point. To their credit, OutFront Minnesota's communications director stopped by again to respond.


Jo Marsicano said...
OutFront Minnesota is the leader in our state in lobbying our lawmakers on GLBT issues. We are the only GLBT organization lobbying full time while the legislature is in session every year. We've worked with lawmakers and candidates in the DFL, Republican, Green, and Independence parties. These relationships resulted in forward-moving bills being introduced, receiving bipartisan support, getting committee hearings, passing the floor, and going to the governor’s desk in each of the last two years. Some of the bills were vetoed and others didn’t make it to the governor’s desk. Some in our community are dissatisfied with these results and the tactics used, and we understand those sentiments. However, it is simply untrue that the lawmakers you refer to are “do nothing.” The lobbyist we worked with to advance positive bills in 2007, C. Scott Cooper, did an outstanding job as did our legislative allies, working closely with us to be able to consider – for the first time in years – legislation that moves our community forward rather than having to beat back the attack of the constitutional amendment. The process at the state capitol can seem slow, inefficient and unfair and we appreciate those who want more and who want it faster. We will continue to work closely with our allies, building and expanding on these relationships so that when we have a fair-minded governor, the legislation can actually become law.


Outfront Minnesota is conspictuous by their absence when articles, like the one on Minn Post are infested with bigoted comments like these:

On November 24, 2008, Jeff Kline says:
Absolutely no hate here. But ain't no way I will stand for someone who comes in and wants to trash things here by removing the defense of marriage act. Not going to happen. I don't believe this is an "over time" thing either. It has to do with a definition rooted in scripture which is what this country was and still is based on. To remove this separator is to then remove the constitution and many of us will not stand for it.
(#6) On November 24, 2008, Thomas Swift says:
I'll be on-board with the notion that two guys playing house = marriage the day after the USDA announces that sand is a food group and publishes a minimum recommended daily allowance.
(#7) On November 24, 2008, Rachel Munoz says:
The tactics of those that support homosexual marriage to obfuscate the issue through emotion will not get them what they want (calling those that oppose the effort hateful among other things). It doesn't matter what they do to try to "normalize" their behavior and gain respect and acceptance. It is abnormal behavior. If every person on the planet supported GLBT efforts and said it was okay it still would not be.


Doug Benson and his cohorts have started a small non-profit, MarryMe.org to challenge the DOMA statute, on the basis that it was passed linked to a non-related bill.

On November 25, 2008, Doug Benson says:
Jack Baker and James McConnell did the right thing nearly forty years ago when they challenged marriage discrimination in Minnesota by taking the state to court. The ten couples of Marry Me Minnesota are doing the right thing now by following their lead. Please help support us in this effort.


Going to the Marry Me Minnesota website, one finds a simple, heartfelt website with a clear goal. The site states:

One aspect of Marry Me Minnesota's lawsuit against the state will be to challenge the state's DOMA law, which was passed in 1997. This law, among other things, prohibits the state from recognizing same-gender marriages obtained in other jurisdictions. Overturning this law would make it possible to have our out-of-state marriages recognized as legal here in Minnesota.

And, the DOMA law has a problem. It was passed by the legislature in the same manner that the state's recent "concealed carry" gun law was passed. That law was overturned by the Minnesota Supreme Court because of the manner in which the bill was passed.

Our law firm, Mansfield, Tanick and Cohen, is the law firm that brought that case against the concealed carry gun law and won. They will take their experience and expertise in winning that lawsuit and apply it to our case against the state's DOMA law.


This law should be thrown out of court for that reason. If the legislature wants to pass the law again, they should pass it on an up or down vote. Overturning DOMA would not allow for gay marriage, since the Baker decision would still stand.

Doug Benson also was a one person lobbyist, who was able to persuade several legislators, including Sen John Marty and Sen Linda Higgins to introduce a marriage equality bill in the Senate. The bill won't pass this year, but the way to get these things passed is to start getting the issue discussed openly in committees. As Vince Lombardi the famous football coach has said "the best defense is a good offense." It appears that Outfront Minnesota doesn't understand this concept.

Outfront Minnesota also makes no effort to go on "Christian" talk radio to counter the lies propogated by the Minnesota Family Council. Not all that audience is closed to hearing a different point of view.


As for the term “grow a pair,” OutFront Minnesota takes the position that sexism and misogyny are as big a problem as homophobia, and this phrase expresses a sentiment disrespectful to women, including lesbians and transgender women. We strive for our political discourse to be rigorous but we avoid unnecessary and hurtful terms such as this.

Thanks to Lloydletta’s Nooz for this forum to debate and discuss these issues.

Jo Marsicano
Communications Director
OutFront Minnesota

12:37 PM


Funny, I've yet to see Outfront Minnesota put out a press release about Al Franken's many offensive misogynist and anti-gay "jokes". How did you feel about Franken and his Saturday Night Live team discussing a skit that would show the drugging and raping of journalist Leslie Stahl? Or what about his joke about the murder of a gay man? This was widely publicized. Betty McCollum spoke up loudly about these issues. Outfront Minnesota was curiously silent. It seems a little selective to go after the term "grow a pair".


Markh said...
Why don't these great 'allies' hold their ground when bills go to conference committee?

Why don't we insist that gay questions be part of stand-alone bills, so we can get a clean vote?

When gay-friendly language is buried in some big omnibus bill, and the battle to get it signed fires up, the gay language is the first thing that is deleted. The DFL majority doesn't want to be blamed for major programs not getting funded... we're an easily discarded bargaining chip.

It happens over and over again.

You can't blame it all on a popular governor... the DFL could be told to hold some ground when it comes to the homos.

3:40 PM


Exactly.

I just got a newsletter from Outfront Minnesota touting their email newsletter redesign. That seems like a waste of time and money. I'd rather see them focusing on their mission, than on endless branding and re-branding efforts. Marry Minnesota's website is simple, homemade, and no frills. I think they are a good investment.

Pack of Lies from Thomas More Law Center

Catholic News Agency:

Crystal Dixon, associate vice president of human resources at the state-run University of Toledo, wrote an April 18 column for the Toledo Free Press in response to an April 4 column by the paper’s Editor-in-Chief Michael S. Miller. Miller argued that Ohio is behind in “gay rights” and also criticized the University of Toledo’s lack of health care benefits for some domestic partnerships.

Dixon, who did not identify herself as a university employee, wrote in her column:

“As a Black woman... I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are ‘civil rights victims.’ Here's why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman. I am genetically and biologically a Black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended.”

She referenced prominent individuals who had renounced their homosexual behavior, sometimes because of “a realization that their choice of same-sex practices wreaked havoc in their psychological and physical lives.”

She closed her column with two references to the Bible. She said that God had created humankind male and female and gave them free will, which she described as an “inalienable right to choose.” Saying there are consequences for our choices, Dixon said it is “base human nature to revolt and become indignant” when the world or God Himself disagrees with our choices.


The bolded segment is a bold-faced lie. She mentioned she was a former graduate student and an employee of the University of Toledo.

This is excerpted from Dixon's letter:


As a Black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo's Graduate School, an employee and business owner....

The reference to the alleged benefits disparity at the University of Toledo was rather misleading. When the University of Toledo and former Medical University of Ohio merged, both entities had multiple contracts for different benefit plans at substantially different employee cost sharing levels. To suggest that homosexual employees on one campus are being denied benefits avoids the fact that ALL employees across the two campuses regardless of their sexual orientation, have different benefit plans. The university is working diligently to address this issue in a reasonable and cost-efficient manner, for all employees, not just one segment.


This suggests she was speaking on behalf of the University. It was irresponsible of her to do so - in the context of her anti-gay screed. She has every right to write anti-gay screeds. She does not have the right to drag the University of Toledo into her anti-gay agenda.

Crystal Dixon had a high level HR appointment at the University of Toledo.

The Thomas More Law Center defended the creationist School Board in Dover Pennsylvania in Kitzmiller v Dover.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Milk

I hope to watch the movie "Milk" pretty soon. Here's a clip of the NBC news account of the assassinations.

Grab Your Popcorn

There's quite the discussion over at Triple A's blog about the Minnesota Republican State Chair race. Tony Sutton and Rod Grams are among the people mentioned that are considering running.

Outfront Minnesota and Readers Respond


Markh said...
so... Outfront MN raises funds from the gay community because.....

anyone?

anyone?

(it's hard to hear anything with the noise of the crickets)

8:57 PM


Jo Marsicano said...
OutFront Minnesota raises funds from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community because our organization works year round advocating for this community.

This year, for instance, our legal program worked with elected officials in the City of Minnetonka to revise an ordinance that penalized people for being in the "wrong" bathroom - obviously creating potential hazards for our transgender brothers and sisters. You now cannot be arrested just because someone thinks you're the "wrong" gender for the bathroom you're in. Our Anti-Violence program provided referrals, helped get orders for protection, and provided direct one-on-one counseling for GLBT members who were victims of domestic violence and hate or bias crimes. We went all over the state co-sponsoring screenings and post-film discussions of "For the Bible Tells Me So" - helping people talk more meaningfully about the intersection of religion and sexual orientation, and about 1,000people in all attended these events.

Our training and education team went to public schools, universities, correctional facilities, police academies, churches, and workplaces to facilitate positive, constructive conversations about sexual orientation and the way it plays out in all areas of our political and social life.

We worked with state lawmakers to again advance bills to improve the lives of GLBT people including the local government domestic partner bill. We conduct the largest GLBT lobby day in the country and have every year increased attendance at this event, reminding lawmakers and reaffirming for them that they have GLBT constituents and that their votes on our issues matter. In addition, 54% of OutFront Minnesota Action-endorsed candidates won their races for election or re-election, helping our community rely on a fair-minded majority at the legislature.

The grassroots organizing OutFront Minnesota has been doing is necessary in order to get marriage equality passed by the legislature in our state. We talk to 25,000 each year all over Minnesota to lay the groundwork for this change.

OutFront Minnesota is proud of the work we do on behalf of our community. Vocal criticism of the organization helps us stay on our toes, always looking for ways we can do better.

We also acknowledge that given the diverse views of our community, there will at times be disagreement with our approach, tactics, or strategies.

In turn, however, we must disagree with those who claim that we "do nothing." Our donors, members, volunteers, and straight allies would also disagree with this assertion, as would the hundreds of individuals and organizations who contact us every year for assistance, information, referrals, and guidance on a host of issues related to the work of pursuing equality for GLBT people.

We are grateful for forums like Lloydletta's Nooz for enabling the community to discuss these issues with vigor.

Jo Marsicano
Communications Director
OutFront Minnesota

10:09 AM


DavidD said...
Well Praise Be To Jesus! We've solved the bathroom problems of transgender people.

OutFront needs to grow a pair. And Jo, don't even think about eviscerating me for saying "grow a pair" like you did to Eva the last time she said that about OutFront.

You are nothing but shills for the do nothing DFL. OutFront can blow me for all it's worth.


For the record, I am impressed by Outfront Minnesota's legal and anti-violence program. I've always been very unimpressed by their lobbying efforts. I have never understood the point of continuing to contract with C Scott Cooper as a lobbyist.

I believe the gay community would be better served by a new group that would work on lobbying the legislature.

It's true I was scolded by Jo Marsicano for using the term "grow a pair." This was when I sent an email to a number of legislators. Among them was Mindy Greiling. Greiling wrote back - and didn't appear offended at all by the use of the term.

What a Pointless and Tacky Action

Pam's House Blend:

A half-gay wedding, anyway. Impact Florida plans to stage a protest at the Dec. 12 wedding of Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist, a suave, confirmed bachelor as well as a vocal proponent of banning gay marriage and domestic partnerships, has been the subject of gay rumors, but the mainstream media isn't focusing on any of that -- just on the irony of his celebrating marriage in light of denial of that right to Florida's gay citizens. The organizer of the protest says that it will be "peaceful and respectful."


Crist has never made going after gays a priority. I don't understand the obsession with outing gays (especially gay republicans). I'd rather see the straight adulterers who are supposedly traditional marriage supporters confronted with their hypocrisy. David "Diaper-boy" Vitter anyone?

Thank you to all who commented about my Mother

I printed out the comments and shared them with my family. They were all moved - and very much appreciated hearing them.

We have a memorial service coming up this Saturday. Congresswoman Gwen Moore will give a speech. I heard her speak before at my mother's Woman of the Year presentation. Gwen really roasted Mother over her poor taste in clothes. It's probably something I've inherited.