Tag Archives: Prop 8

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Simultaneously paying lip service to evangelicals and playing the outdated fear mongering card, Newt has seemingly forgotten he is living in the 21st century.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

Keith Olbermann & Prop 8

8 Feb

Following massive victories that put Democrats in control of the Executive and Legislative branches of government in the November 2008 elections, spirits on the left were flying high. But not as high as they could have been or should have been. In California, Proposition 8 was passed by a majority of voters, which effectively ended same-sex marriage in that state. As Keith Olbermann so memorably stated in his Special Comment following the passage of Proposition 8: “This isn’t about yelling, this isn’t about politics, and this isn’t really just about Prop 8… and yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn’t about yelling and this isn’t about politics, this is about the human heart. And if that sounds corny, so be it.”

Keith Olbermann did something that night that would go down as one of the most memorable and referenced moments during his eight-year run on Countdown. Keith, in the midst of a massive liberal victory at the federal and state level, tempered his celebration with a sobering reminder of the consequences the public sphere can have on the private sphere. For years politicians and media had been exploiting the ‘gay issue’ for votes and ratings. Genuine arguments were hard to come by. So many dealt with the hypotheticals. The slippery slopes. The sort of arguments that placed proponents of equality at a financial and organizational disadvantage. The power was tipped significantly in favor of those with money and a means to be heard.

During the days leading up to the 2008 elections, the Mormon Church, one of the chief sponsors and contributors to the proposition’s success, poured an estimated $25 million into California’s battle over gay marriage. Citizens were flooded with false and wildly exaggerated claims. But money speaks. And the proponents of Proposition 8 were just loud enough.

Enough to successfully pluck the private sphere and place it under the scrutiny of the public sphere, anyways.

In all 31 states where gay marriage has been put to a public vote, it has failed.

But as Keith reminded us in November 2008, this isn’t about politics.

As the consequences of Proposition 8 and other similar initiatives have been to shown to tear families apart and be recognized as second-class citizens, this argument has become increasingly genuine and not a falsely spun gimmick by 24-hour news networks. Keith left his popular MSNBC program in January, but announced today his return to television in a deal with Al Gore’s Current TV, which would place Olbermann as the network’s chief news officer and an executive producer and host of his own nightly show. The move will give Olbermann a considerable amount of freedom in his new role at Current, a relatively new and small news network independent from much of mainstream media’s conglomerate influences. He built a primetime line-up, but can he build a channel? Olbermann has tirelessly fought for equal rights, and it’s important that all of us continue to stand up and speak out against those who wish to advance an argument that is false and deceiving or put minority rights up for majority vote.

Keith isn’t without his own sins, and his show may have eventually become something of a self-parody. But for speaking up so eloquently and from the heart, he deserves credit.

The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage

3 Feb

The controversy over California’s Proposition 8, which was passed with a majority vote in 2008, has since sparked a public discourse which has brought the issue of gay marriage back into focus. Cable news pundits, state legislatures, town hall meetings, and, perhaps most importantly as far as producing results, the judicial system have all wrestled with the subject.

We often look at argument in terms of “who won”. Yet what we are witnessing right now is a process that’s just as important as the outcome itself. Commentators on both sides of the aisle are fighting to frame the debate in an attempt to gain control over the conversation. And through this public struggle in which both sides have an opportunity to be heard, an increasingly tolerant public opinion will prevail.

Below, we see Rachel Maddow framing the debate in an unusual but perhaps strategically brilliant light: gay marriage as a “fundamentally conservative idea”.

Say what?

As evidence, Maddow brings on to her show a legal odd couple who have helped fast-track Proposition 8 to an eventual United States Supreme Court ruling. Ted Olsen and David Boies, who were opposing lawyers in the landmark Bush v. Gore ruling, have crossed aisles to spearhead the movement to overturn Proposition 8 and create a federal precedent for marriage equality on a national level.

Like Maddow, Olsen and Boies frame the debate over gay marriage in a broad stroke that’s difficult to find fault with. It is a clearly legal strategy, but by branding marriage equality as an “American value”, who can disagree? In court, these two have consistently brought real people into the conversation to show the human side of this controversial subject and make opposing it seem that much more extreme and out-of-touch.

It is, of all things, a centrist position that is taking the legal battle over gay marriage to within striking distance of the finish line.

Read Ted Olsen’s The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage Newsweek article here: