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June 13, 2009


Many in the GLBT community are very upset with Obama's silence and inaction on DOMA and DADT.

To some, the Dept. of Justice's (DOJ) baffling, specious and almost unintelligible brief filed IN FAVOR OF UPHOLDING DOMA in a recent court challenge is the last straw.

The media, from countless blogs and websites to prestigious newspapers and national broadcasts, have espoused scathing commentaries about this latest slap-in-the-face action taken against the rights of GLBT people throughout the country. I too am incensed that the DOJ (i.e., the Obama administration) would even consider taking such a stand when Obama is already under a great deal of fire for his unwillingness to use the stop-loss power he already has to at least suspend the continuing DADT discharges so that no more American Patriots are unceremoniously kicked-out for nothing more than being gay.

What makes this even more confusing is the way in which the DOJ handled the filing of their brief. Their actions just simply make no sense. Even if you buy into the argument that this particular case isn't the right one to challenge DOMA on the grounds of a constitutional right for gays and lesbians to marry because it only addresses the right to have the already performed legal gay marriages recognized by other states and the federal government. There are, in fact, several cases in the pipeline that directly challenge the constitutionality of prohibiting only gay marriages and would be much stronger challenges to DOMA.

In a June 12th posting renowned journalist Andrew Sullivan said:

There's a completely decent reason to keep DOMA in place for the time being, especially in the federal courts right now - where bad precedents could wound us in the future. But to file an actual brief re-stating some of the worst and most denigrating arguments against gay civil equality is just bizarre. They could have argued for a narrow ruling or kept the "reasonable" arguments to a minimum. What they did - without any heads up to any of their gay supporters and allies - is unconscionable. Citing incest precedents? Calling gay couples free-loaders? Arguing that our civil rights are not impinged because we can marry someone of the opposite sex? Who on earth decided that that was a great idea? Marc is right that this will be simply incomprehensible to most gay people. To have unloaded it after refusing to do anything on DADT, after failing to lift the HIV travel ban, after punting on even pure symbolism like hate crimes - well, it's no way to treat those who worked their butts off to elect you...

I'm baffled by this, I really am. The content of this brief is a massive political error from an administration that is making it impossible for its gay supporters to stay supportive. What's next? A Clintonian political ad boasting of these arguments?

It's now even more important to visibly remind Obama that we are NOT AT ALL HAPPY with the way he and his administration are handling the issues of vital importance to our community. One way to do this is to show up and protest whenever Obama makes any kind of visit to cities and towns outside of Washington.

Queers United has reported that one such visit will be in Chicago TOMORROW MORNING. If you live in Chicago or the surrounding area, you owe it to yourself and your gay brothers and sisters to attend the demonstration that's already planned. Here's the specifics:

Monday, June 15th from 10:30 AM – 12 noon

Hyatt Regency Hotel
151 E. Wacker Drive
(one block east of Michigan Avenue)

June 11, 2009


As some of you may know, over the last couple of months the New York Legislature has been going through a very public and very tumultuous power struggle over who controls the senate. And Governor Paterson's gay marriage bill has been embroiled right in the middle of the drama.

Well, The Advocate reported this past Monday that a political coup, of sorts, was successfully executed. The democrats had only a two vote majority so when two democrats, Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate, announced that they agreed to vote with senate Republicans after reaching a power sharing agreement that made Republican Dean Skelos majority leader of the senate and Espada temporary president of the senate.

This, in effect, unseated Democrat Malcolm Smith who had been dragging his feet in bringing the marriage bill to the senate floor for a vote claiming there weren't enough votes to pass it even though the bill's sponsors claimed otherwise. Speculation was that in order for Smith to become majority leader last April, he made a deal with a couple of senate democrats who strongly opposed his support of gay marriage and didn't want the bill to go forward.

Wait. It gets better. Ironically, many now feel that the bill has a much better chance of being voted on and very possibly passed because of this coup.

Espada has publicly stated his support for granting same-sex couples the right to marry and although Dean Skelos has expressed opposition to the bill, he has also previously stated that he would allow his party colleagues to vote their conscience.

Unfortunately, today the Buffalo News reported the following:

With protesters from Democratic-leaning groups trying to block lawmakers from entering the chamber, the session fell apart immediately when the official bills that the Senate was about to move to the floor were locked in a desk by Democratic officials seeking to prevent the Republican-backed coup group from voting. Republicans did not have keys to the desk.

Sen. Hiram Monserrate, a Queens Democrat who is considered the weakest link in the uprising, walked out of the session — which left not enough members to have a quorum to take up any business. He said he needed more Democrats to join the takeover effort to make it a true coalition Senate.

"This chamber must not remain divided, so I'm going to excuse myself from this chamber," he said.

The on-again, off-again supporter of the coup said he will not return until the coalition expands. That leaves the Senate in a complete standstill with neither side able to produce the 32 votes needed to call session.

The state assembly overwhelmingly approved the bill last month and, of course, Governor Paterson is eager to sign it.

Now, if someone could only get the senate to act like adults instead of spoiled little children arguing over who's football it is, we just might be able to see a gay marriage bill passed in New York State. Maybe.

According to a NY Times article, the situation in the senate has gotten even more chaotic.

Shortly after the republicans found a set of keys and were able to get into the senate chamber, one of the two defecting democrats (Hiram Monserrate of Queens) the republicans were counting on to complete the forum needed to conduct business, walked out saying he wanted to work on getting more democrats to join the coup before he would participate any further.

Pedro Espada Jr. (who is now sharing power) was so desperate to get his democratic colleagues back into the chamber, he's using the same-sex marriage legislation as a lure by promising to bring it to the floor for a full vote next week which would be the first time in the Senate's history.

Apparently our marriage equality cause has become a linchpin in the Senate's keystone cops like power struggle. Now if they can only get enough senators back into the chamber, we might have a real chance of not only finally getting a senate vote on this but actually even getting it passed.

Stay tuned.

June 9, 2009


The publication Mother Jones (one of my personal favorites) reported Sunday that according to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll conducted May 7-10, 2009 and released last Friday, support for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly has increased from 63% to 69%.

That's now over 2/3 of the general public that believe gays should be able to serve in the military without any of the preconditions of the now obsolete and embarrassing Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy.

According to the poll, the biggest increase in support has been among conservatives. Their support has increased an encouraging 12 percentage points from 46% in November 2004 to 58% in May 2009.

As Mother Jones pointed out,

There's a rule of thumb that says social policies are resistant to change until they garner two-thirds support from the public. Allowing gays to serve openly in the military has now officially passed that point. That means it's safe to keep your campaign promise and act, Mr. President.

Mr. President, it's more than obvious now that not only is there widespread, overwhelming support throughout the country for ending DADT but that you also clearly have the authority to put an IMMEDIATE end to these harmful and disruptive discharges that have so negatively and cruelly impacted so many honorable veterans. So, once again, I ask:


June 8, 2009


Since my last few posts have been somewhat top-heavy with political issues, I thought I'd share the following video with you just to get the week started off on a lighter note.

The song, by artist Lily Allen, has scores of versions at YouTube that combine the song with very clever images but the one I'm including below features the lyrics. The first time I heard this, the images (although very entertaining) distracted from the words and I missed some of what was being said.

I love the contrast between the lighthearted music and the pointblank, in-your-face message. Enjoy...

I'll get back to more serious matters tomorrow.

Okay, I just had to post this. My partner found it again last night so I wanted to share it. This is my favorite version...