Tag Archives: GOP

Reaching A Critical Mass

28 Apr

As goes New York, so goes the nation?

Advocates for marriage equality suffered a devastating defeat in 2009, when efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in New York fell eight votes short in the Senate after receiving strong support in the state’s Assembly.

Many may recall Senator Diane Savino’s powerful and heart wrenching testimony in defense of gay marriage prior to the bill’s defeat, stating for all to hear that “we have nothing to fear from love and commitment.”

“If there’s anybody threatening the sanctity of marriage,” Savino said, “it comes from those who have the privilege and the right, and we have abused it for decades.”

A renewed fight to grant marriage equality has resurfaced in New York, stronger than ever. And this time, it may have larger ramifications for the country and the world.

“A win in New York will provide significant momentum for the movement nationally and, quite frankly, internationally,” says Brian Ellner of the Human Rights Campaign. “New York is very significant.”

Why has the landscape changed so drastically in less than two years?

This time, it’s personal.

The true-life stories of decent men and women who have suffered first-hand the inequality of being denied the right to marry the person they love has struck a chord with citizens both in New York and across the country, resulting in many to switch sides.

“That debate has been replicated hundreds and thousands of times over the Internet, emails and coffee klatches and over glasses of wine in New York’s suburbs that has rapidly changed – at an accelerated pace – public opinion.” says Bruce Gyrory, a political science professor at the University of Albany.

Even populations traditionally seen as reliably conservative, such as Catholics, have seen rising support for marriage equality.

Support for marriage has dramatically increased in New York, reaching as high as 58% in a recent poll. “I think at the point you cross 60 percent and approach 2:1 levels of support, the opposition loses its critical mass,” says Gyory.

And as overwhelming support among younger generations continues to make its mark, the realization that this fight is close to a tipping point has begun to dawn.

Law firm King & Spalding, who signed on defend the now defenseless DOMA on behalf of House Republicans, dropped a bomb earlier this week when it abruptly withdrew from the case. Reports of internal conflict and “mayhem” were rampant. “Management was divided, people were threatening to quit,” said one source.

Prior to King & Spalding’s exit, the response from the LGBT community had been strong and forceful. And while DOMA has already recruited fresh defenders in the wake of its latest setback, don’t expect public support to be on their side anymore.

In its latest episode, “Glee” reached new heights of fabulous when its cast belted out Lady Gaga’s gay pride anthem “Born This Way.” It depicted a high school coming together in a defining moment of unity.

Having already called the show a “disgusting gay teen sex romp”, Dan Gainor, a conservative media critic, was less than pleased, panning the show’s creator Ryan Murphy and calling the episode his “latest depraved initiative to promote his gay agenda.”

“This is clearly Ryay Murphy’s vision of what growing up should be, not most of America’s. It’s a high school most parents would not want to send their kids to.”

Hate to break it to you, Mr. Gainor, but you’re dead wrong. Your words have lost their power to persuade. Your hateful rhetoric no longer has a place in a country that is turning increasingly towards love and fairness.

You’re history.

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Newspeak

23 Apr

In a move straight out of an Orwell novel, Tennessee state Senator Stacey Campfield’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill has advanced out of committee and will be sent to the Senate floor.

The bill would effectively criminalize teachers and school officials who talk about homosexuality before the ninth grade.

Conveying the message that being gay is neither appropriate nor suitable for public discussion, Campfield is attempting to further alienate and isolate a vulnerable population from seeking help and guidance from educators.

Supporters of the bill maintain age sensitivity is the primary goal, but Matthew Parsons, a socially conservative advocate and founder of the anti-gay “Something Better” campaign, may have spoken too soon. “If we’re talking about homosexuality, we are talking about specific acts that are going to be unhealthy for anybody to engage in outside of marriage.”

Let’s be clear. Campfield’s proposed bill has nothing to do with what is “age appropriate.” This is about fundamentally altering society. It would effectively prohibit speech and further push the civil rights struggle away from mainstream radar. Out of sight, out of mind.

“The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill raises all kinds of issues about anti-gay bias, free speech and government overreach,” said Tennessee Equality’s Ben Byers. “It means [teachers] can’t talk about gay issues or sexuality even with students who may be gay or have [a] gay family.”

Once again, we are witnessing a scared GOP attempting to limit debate and stifle meaningful conversation. The party of small government seems perfectly supportive of government’s large hand so long as it furthers their culturally radical agenda.

Senator Campfield’s cowardly attempts to institutionalize discrimination are painfully obvious for anyone with half a mind to see. If it’s a debate about substantive issues you wish to have, I welcome that debate. But leave the children out of it.

Gay Marriage Opponents a Shrinking Minority

21 Apr

A majority of Americans now support gay marriage.

Adding to mounting evidence that gay marriage opponents are increasingly out of touch with rational, mainstream America, a CNN poll released this week revealed that 51 percent of respondents back marriage equality for gay couples. 47 percent oppose.

“This is the fourth credible poll in the past eight months to show an outright majority of Americans in favor of gay marriage,” wrote Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight. “Support for gay marriage seems to have been increasing at an accelerated pace over the past couple of years.”

But are lawmakers listening? Will social conservatives, concerned for nobody’s happiness but their own, stop to reconsider their actions?

“If support for gay marriage were to continue accelerating as fast as it has in the past two years, supporters would outnumber opponents roughly 56-40 in the general population by November 2012,” Silver predicts.

Such staggering numbers render opposition a politically bankrupt position. As more and more young Americans come of voting legal age, opponents face an un-winnable battle.

“We have passed an inflection point wherein it is no longer politically advantageous for candidates to oppose same-sex marriage,” Silver concludes.

In more sobering news reiterating the importance of now, a study released this week revealed that LGBT youth were considerably more likely to attempt suicide, show signs of depression, binge drink, and be victims of physical abuse when raised in “unsupportive” social environments.

Who are the worst culprits? “More than 70 percent of the thousands of calls to the 24/7 Trevor Lifeline originate in the southern and central regions of the United States, where there are traditionally fewer legal protections, in-and-out-of-school support services and accepting environments for LGBTQ young people,” revealed a statistical breakdown of the results.

And to those who believe that the war against bullying is a “sexual anarchist agenda,” remember Tyler Clementi. And remember Dharun Ravi, Tyler’s roommate who secretly filmed Tyler with another guy. Remember his 15-count indictment and years of prison that await him.

Haters Gonna Hate

12 Apr

Being the shining beacon of light that they so lovingly represent, Liberty University hosted a panel discussion this weekend that addressed ways in which Christian conservatives can effectively combat the so-called “gay movement.”

Apparently, the word “gay” is the problem. Is “hedonism repackaged” too flowery?

“‘Gay’ is a left-wing socio-political construct designed to create grounds for fundamental rights [based on] whimsical capricious desires. Gay identity does not exist,” said Ryan Sorba, chariman of the Young Conservatives of California.

Rather than using the word “gay,” Sorba believes in taking a more level-headed approach. “Same-sex attraction,” “same-sex intercouse,” “sodomy,” “unnatural vice,” and even “anti-Christian” were all popular and well-received replacements.

Because nothing cures the radical “gay agenda” quite like semantical tweaks that seek to demean, belittle, oppress, deprive, and silence those who have been denied equal rights for hundreds of years.

Jerry Falwell would be so proud.

Arguments such as these are never used with the intention of spurring civil debate. They are used to squelch conversation and categorically disrupt claims based in logic and fact. They mean to attack and offend.

Liberty’s panel of so-called Christians even included a man who was ‘cured’ of his “unnatural vice,” 52-year-old Greg Quinlan. He founded the Pro Family Network and is president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays.

“If you had all the facts, you wouldn’t choose to be gay. When you live a lie, you tell a lie… A civil right that conflicts with natural right is no right at all. The [homosexual] behavior is immoral. It divides you from truth and what’s the meaning of life. If you don’t have truth, you have nothing but fake.”

Quinlan underwent extensive counseling to cure his “same-sex attraction,” and he even went on to marry a woman.

He’s now happily divorced.

The panel’s moderator, Matt Barber, couldn’t help himself from attacking the recent repeal of DADT. To him, gays in the military constitutes a serious threat to the national security of our country. After all, those pesky gays can’t turn down an opportunity to lust over straight men in uniform, and when the tough gets going, it all boils down to the soldier who “has your back or the one who wants to rub it.”

Better not drop the soap!

Barber also advanced another conservative favorite, that allowing gays in the military will lead to a spike in HIV/AIDS on the battlefield.

Really?

“Homosexuality is the greatest threat to the criminalization of Christianity,” said Robert Knight, president of the incorrectly-named American Civil Rights Union.

What do we do in the meantime while the “gay movement” continues to make historic headway?

Wait for homosexuals to “self-destruct,” of course.

Summing up her argument with the utmost professionalism, Professor Cynthia Dunbar leaves us with one more poignant reminder. “There are a lot of gay staffers in Congress. They work all hours and they don’t have family lives, but they do have veto power.”

Oh Cynthia, you doll.

Whoever said, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” clearly wasn’t gay. Words hurt. We’ve seen the consequences. And when you cloak your unbridled hatred of a minority under the guise of religious justice and truth, you not only insult millions of gay Americans who have done nothing to take away your rights, you have done a terrible disservice to a religion aimed at providing people with a sense of comfort and guidance.

Those who came together this weekend at Liberty may call themselves Christians, and they may even have themselves fooled, but their brand of Christianity is unrecognizable. The Devil wouldn’t recognize it. What would Jesus say if he had been in that room? Would he be proud to see his followers use his name to spread hate and pit groups against each other? Would he reject gays and call them “anti-Christian”?

To those panelists who have nothing better to do with their lives than to share their unhappiness and dismally low self-worth with the rest of the world, you’re an embarrassment. To those who accuse districts of inserting a “sexual anarchist agenda into public schools under the guise of bullying,” you’re an embarrassment. You’re an embarrassment to the progress of the human race. You’re an embarrassment to the name of Christianity. And to borrow a few words from Jon Stewart, you’re an embarrassment to yourself for wasting all the time and energy it takes to hate.

Most of all, I’m embarrassed for giving you the time of day and allowing your words to hurt me. I may crack jokes and make light of these otherwise devastatingly serious and sad situations, but sometimes it’s the only thing you can do to keep the darkness from getting in.

I’m better than that. You, sadly, are not. My lifestyle is not a choice nor is it a mistake. The light you wish to extinguish will burn on through me and the millions who live to see the day when your words lose their power. I live with purpose you could never dream of, and nothing you say will ever take that away from me.

‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.’

Matthew: 25:35-40

Toady

30 Mar

Newt Gingrich, your fifteen minutes were up more than ten years ago. And besides, it’s not 1960 anymore, much less 2004.

Gingrich, who has a long habit of opening his mouth, has yet to even officially announce his candidacy for President, but that hasn’t stopped him from engaging in a thoroughly numbing and uninformed media blitz.

When asked what he would do as President to “slow the homosexual agenda”, Gingrich earlier this week made vague allusions to being “pro-classical Christianity” and how important it is to “protect the rights of conscience,” which is somehow being infringed upon in a society that’s growing more and more welcoming of equal rights.

This is nothing new. We’ve heard this before, and it’s getting painfully old, Newt.

When speaking out against opponents of Proposition 8 after the 2008 election, Newt said: “I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.”

Simultaneously paying lip service to evangelicals and playing the outdated fear mongering card, Newt has seemingly forgotten he is living in the 21st century.

And while I wish I were kidding, Newt’s ignorant and backwards ideology is offensive and demeaning and has no place in today’s political landscape.

The thrice married Newt even manages to eloquently talk about the threat of America becoming “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists.”

Killing two birds with one stone. Logic be damned!

But when you’re a man who uses your own country as a scapegoat for your infidelities, logic doesn’t really apply to you, does it?

Time’s up, Toady. Turn the page.

Is the Generational Divide Growing or Narrowing?

15 Mar

James Richardson, who served as the Republican National Committee’s online communication manager during the 2008 election cycle, has a new job to add to his growing resume. Mississippi Governor and likely-presidential candidate Haley Barbour has recruited Richardson to serve as a communications advisor for his Political Action Committee.

Richardson, who has blogged for the right-leaning Red State blog and whose influence inside GOP has been well-regarded, is also a new-breed a political activists who tout the much-talked about generational divide in regards to gay rights.

Richardson once wrote an article on his blog titled ‘Two Daddies?”, a post in defense of gay adoption and marriage that has since been removed by Richards following his recent employment with Barbour but can still be found using Google’s Cache Pages. In it, Richardson asks, “Is the fight to preserve the traditional American family one to, as its proponents maintain, protect children, or is it means by which to silence the “radical gay agenda” in the United States through institutionalized shame?” He goes on to write,

“My support for gay adoption will surely be met with hostility and, no doubt, charges of party defection by many of my colleagues, but the Republican Party is at a defining crossroads. Now is not the time for an echo chamber. And homosexual demagoguery is not the answer to the Party’s woes, particularly when gay men and women represent the only demographic in which John McCain bested President Bush (27% to 19% based on exit polling).

…gay-hostile rhetoric no longer resonates in suburban areas with soccer moms, many of whom have gay friends or family members, and plays even worse with young voters, 61% of whom voted against stripping gay couples of the right to marry.

To my dissenters, let me be clear: I am not advocating a liberal brand of judicial activism. I maintain that judicial resolution to these matters, adoption and marriage in particularly, typically leads to protracted and bitter legal battles, but, what is perhaps equally as distressing is our collective failure as a Party and movement to hold a candid discussion on the emerging role of gays in society at large – not as outcastes, but as equals.”

This kind of conversation isn’t particularly new or alarming. Even younger conservatives are more open to expanding gay rights than their older counterparts, yet it’s this very growing demographic that continues to work for a close-minded generation staunchly opposed to gay rights. Top campaign advisors for John McCain and George W. Bush have gone on the record to support equality only after leaving their posts, encouraging their party to become more open and accepting. But for an older generation that continues to be stuck in the past, their primary concern appears to be related more towards leaving behind a legacy of bigotry rather than becoming part of a growing, inevitable trend.

A similar paradigm shift exists on the left, as President Obama continues to feel growing pressure from within his own party and staff to endorse marriage equality, an issue that Obama has flirted with but has yet to throw his support behind.

“I’d like to see the president and Attorney General Holder announce that they will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act and to agree with the judge’s findings in the Massachusetts court case,” said Steve Hildebrand, who served openly as Obama’s deputy campaign chairmen during the election. He made these remarks in July 2010 during an interview with The Advocate following an LGBT event where he publicly urged attendees, “Don’t hate Obama.”

“This is a guy who isn’t going to do things exactly the way you want him to do, but know that his heart is in the right place. He has his priorities, they’re in line with our priorities and he’s going to do them at his pace.

That at the end of this four-year period, and ideally an additional four years, I don’t think the gay community will be disappointed with the progress that we made under this president.

I think it’s very important that we keep pressure on the president, the White House, and the Administration, and on elected officials across the spectrum but to understand that President Obama is an incredibly important and good friend to the gay community in this country. He’s not our enemy, we shouldn’t treat him as if he were; we should keep our on eyes on who our real enemies are.”

As for the GOP, James Richardson sums up his message with this cautious warning: “Times are changing, and if the GOP isn’t willing to change with them, they can at least have a discussion on the matter. Silence is not golden.”

Sources:
For Younger Class Of Political Operatives, Gay Rights Issues Often Pit Them Against Their Candidates
Two Daddies?
Hildebrand to Obama: Don’t Defend DOMA

GOP: The Party of Wasteful Spending

10 Mar

Seeing how concerned the GOP has been in recent months about “reigning in spending”, “reducing the size of government”, and “putting Americans back to work”, it should come to the surprise of nobody that House Republicans will now divert precious time and resources to defend a currently defenseless DOMA.

President Obama and the Department of Justice last week determined that the Defense of Marriage Act was “unconstitutional”. Speaker Boehner on Wednesday said, “this action by the House will ensure that this law’s constitutionality is decided by the courts, rather than by the president unilaterally.”

That’s right, your tax dollars will now be used to help ensure your continued status as a second-class citizen. Cheers!

Why should we expect anything less? Republicans who proudly wave the banner of “small government” are more than willing to champion big government so long as it helps proscribe your behavior in the bedroom.

So, where are your tax dollars going? As House leadership continues to slash federal funding for public institutions such as NPR, Planned Parenthood, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the GOP is more than happy to throw your well-earned money toward reactionary political theater.

Mr. Boehner, where are the jobs?

Source:
House GOP moves to defend DOMA