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June 17, 2009


Attorney General Eric Holder made a public statement yesterday about the rising tide of violence and called for a tougher U.S. hate crimes law to stop "violence masquerading as political activism."

He said that in order to stop the violence Congress should pass an updated version of the hate crimes legislation to more effectively prosecute those who commit violent attacks based on gender, disability, or sexual orientation.

"We will not tolerate murder, or the threat of violence, masquerading as political activism," Holder said. "So let me be clear, the Justice Department will use every tool at its disposal to protect the rights ensured under our Constitution."

It was an important and very forceful statement that needed to be said by the man who is in charge of our Department Of Justice (DOJ). I'm sure that he honestly meant what he said. What I'm not sure of is his motivation for saying it now.

Yes, the recent, front page headline murders of Dr. Tiller during a service inside his own church and Stephen T. Johns, the guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, were certainly motivators. But the staggering 28% increase in violence and murder against GLBT people in 2008 alone has been something our community has been shouting about for awhile now and we're still waiting for the hate crimes bill to finish winding its way through congress and to the desk of President Obama for his signature.

Although I welcome this forceful comment by Holder, I can't help but think that its timing is meant to divert our attention away from the now infamous, cruelly offensive and wholly bogus brief that Holder's Justice Department filed in defense of DOMA.

That one brief has incited almost as much outrage throughout our community as the passage of Proposition 8. So much so that in the last few days many of our wealthier GLBT democratic supporters and donors have declined their invitation to the prestigious 10th Annual GLBT Leadership Council Dinner scheduled for June 25th in Washington, D.C. - which is one of the democrat's biggest fundraisers. They have also publicly stated that they will withhold their donations for as long as it takes congress and the President to act on the many GLBT issues vital to our community. Their action is being imitated by scores of volunteers and smaller donors throughout the country who helped put Obama and the democrats in office. And their numbers are growing everyday.

The frustration over the administration's inaction on DOMA and DADT was highlighted by Obama's announcement today that domestic partnership benefits would be extended to all federal employees. The problem is that DOMA makes it impossible, legally, to extend health and retirement benefits so that pretty much guts the advantages of such a move.

Someone somewhere in congress and/or the administration really needs to take the initiative and introduce legislation that would repeal both DOMA and DADT. Before the President and the democrats lose our support entirely.

I still don't, and probably never will, understand just why Obama hasn't yet issued a stop-loss order to at least suspend the destructive GLBT discharges while the details of the repeal of DADT are worked out. Who's the Commander-In-Chief anyway - Obama or a handful of homophobic generals? 'Cause I can't believe that the religious right has enough power left in Washington to even be legitimately effective anymore. So who's pulling the strings now!?


Queers United said...

it may be sincere, but i wanna hear from obama on it

Steve Krotz said...

Me too!

BTW - great new look for your site.