Thursday, November 5, 2009

Election Aftermath: News Reports, Interviews, Opinions, Rants - Quite a Stir.

I'm a bit behind. Sorry folks. Lots to cover. Here's a roundup of the election aftermath.

Tony Perkins of the staunchly anti-LGBT Family Research Council and Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry appear on AC360 to discuss the defeat in Maine.

Dan Savage counters Yes on 1's claim that they don't hate gays on MSNBC.

New Yorkers held a rally in Union Square on Wednesday night protesting Question 1's success in Maine. Currently, New York's Senate is supposed to vote on the state's marriage equality bill, but whether or not they will vote is still up in the air.

This MSNBC report is causing quite a stir due to the fact that the reporter used the anti-LGBT jargon "traditional marriage." However, the report itself does a good job of showing the consequences of Maine's Question 1. It includes an interview with a lesbian couple.

Contessa Brewer continues her reporting by interviewing Bishop Harry Jackson, the face of the opposition to same-sex marriage in Washington D.C. She asks the pertinent question, "People seem so energized to go out and fight same-sex marriage. why aren't they spending all that energy fighting divorce?" What a lame, hypocritical response.

She also brings up the half million the Catholic Church spent in Maine. Want to see who contributed? Go here.

Lisa Leff and David Crary write "Gay leaders blame TV ads, Obama for loss in Maine" for the AP:
Stunned and angry, national gay rights leaders Wednesday blamed scare-mongering ads - and President Barack Obama's lack of engagement - for a bitter election setback in Maine that could alter the dynamics for both sides in the gay-marriage debate.


"President Obama missed an opportunity to state his position against these discriminatory attacks with the clarity and moral imperative that would have helped in this close fight," said Evan Wolfson of the national advocacy group Freedom to Marry. "The anti-gay forces are throwing millions of dollars into various unsubtle ads aimed at scaring people, so subtle statements from the White House are not enough."

The White House, asked about the criticism, had no immediate comment.
Go Evan.

My two cents: Obama hasn't been there much to back us up when we need him. Why should we be there for him when he extends his hand to us . . . palm up for cash?

Washington Post, "Gay groups say loss won't alter strategy":
For the gay rights movement, the defeat is another setback to its long-held strategy of building the case for marriage equality state by state. Historically, the tactics have been to target places where conditions seem favorable, and Maine, characterized by its governor as a libertarian state, seemed to fit that criterion.

Still, advocates say the strategy remains effective. They point to Tuesday's balloting in Kalamazoo, Mich., where voters approved an anti-discrimination ordinance that provides gays protections in employment, housing and public accommodations. Another victory appeared to be likely in Washington state, where incomplete returns indicate that a majority of voters have approved the legislature's expansion of domestic partnership rights.

Advocates say there was a partial victory even in Maine, where the vote was closer than it had been in previous campaigns.

"We're hopeful that it's a signal that there is increasing support for gay couples to marry," said Dan Hawes, field director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Nationally, we're going to continue education efforts to move the needle of public opinion, especially in California."
What do you think? Do you feel that we should keep going down this same road, engaging in a degrading referendum process that allows citizens to vote on each other's civil rights?

Wayne Besen at Truth Wins Out doesn't think so:
It is time we wake up and acknowledge that the GLBT fight for equality is the world’s first “Civil Likes” movement. Each year, a popularity contest is held somewhere on the map and if the locals find us likeable our families are protected. If the natives have a negative view of gay people, we remain second-class citizens.

Given this reality we have to make a major choice.

We can declare the current process a disgusting and humiliating insult to our humanity and opt out of all future referendums. The movement would make the case to the nation why such votes are anathema to American values and in the process educate people about our families and quest for equality. A powerful campaign of continued and sustainable civil disobedience would have to supplement this strategy.

Or, we can continue to participate in degrading referendums. But, if we do so, we have to stop pretending that the majority of the American people understand the U.S. Constitution, much less the notion of equality. Those who vote against GLBT rights simply do not like gay people and their antipathy, often masked by religious bigotry, overrides the idea of equal protection. What our public relations experts will have to figure out ways to make us more likeable [sic] and overcome such objections.
Wayne isn't alone. David Mixner is fed up with the current strategy.
How can we have any dignity, honor or pride in ourselves if we validate this continued process of ballot box terrorism? How can we stand tall next to each other if we explain away another's cowardliness? How can we allow people to dehumanize our relationships and our very integrity if we give people passes to sit out the battle for our very freedom? No longer are political timelines a reason for delay, no longer are incremental approaches acceptable and no longer can the political process expect us to be patient and wait our turn. Our turn came long ago and there will be no more waiting.


New tactics must be embraced and honored. Civil disobedience must now be on the table and it is time for a long discussion about how it is to take place in the community. Perhaps we have to fill the jails, block military bases, sit in Congressional offices, block marriage bureaus, etc in order for them to know that business as usual has stopped. Careful and thoughtful consideration must be given now to this option.


No longer can I stand before you in speeches and rallies urging you to stay the course. The course needs changing and we need to toughen up in the process. Yes, we must continue fighting but this time, instead of responding to their strategy, we must forge our own. Make no mistake about it. The days of acquiesce are over. There is no option except one at this stage and that is full equality now.

Freedom,Liberty,Justice are not mere words. They represent a way of life that is being denied to LGBT Americans every day of our lives.

Enough. No More, Enough

On a related note, read NY Times piece, "Gay Rights Rebuke May Change Approach."

I for one am hopeful about the federal challenge to Proposition 8. For the first time ever in a marriage case, there will be full-on public trial, including witness testimony and cross-examination of those behind these discriminatory initiatives to discover their true motives. (Presiding Judge Walker ordered the Yes on Prop 8 campaign to hand over internal communications in an effort to uncover motivation.)

If the Olson/Boies team can prove that these referendums, particularly Prop 8, are done purely out of animus towards the LGBT population, then the state of California will have no bearing interest and render Prop 8 unconstitutional. This would have a direct, nationwide effect.

(Read David Boies editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Yes: It is a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution.")

It is expected that this case will go all the way to the Supreme Court. But the data discovered in the upcoming January trial will be examined. History in the making.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it is demeaning to have fundamental rights like marriage up for a vote. However, if we do have to go back to the ballot, we must play as hardball as our opposition does. We also need to do what they do in terms of laundering money. Their pattern is having our enemies donate money to tax exempt groups like the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, the Knights of Columbus, etc., and then funnel that money into the campaign chests of our opponents. We need to do the same. Pro-gay churches should take up special collections and immediately send them to our campaign chests. I am tired of subsidizing our enemies by allowing them to make tax-deductible campaign contributions while our campaign contributions are not tax-deductible.