From Brownback and Cheney, to Nigeria and Iraq, 2007 holds hope for real changes on LGBT issues
At the start of a new year, much seems achievable. Therefore, in honor of 2007, I offer up to the universe or whatever deity happens to be paying attention seven hopes for the next year.
First, I hope Sen. Sam Brownback starts a career as a model, because nobody can touch his posturing. The Kansas Republican, eyeing a presidential run as the standard-bearer of social conservatives, has stalled the nomination to federal district court of Michigan judge Janet Neff. Why? Because she attended a commitment ceremony.
She wasn’t one of the women getting committed; she didn’t perform the ceremony. But she was there, so Brownback fears for her impartiality.
He has magnanimously stated that he would quit stalling if Neff agreed to recuse herself from gay marriage cases. Consequently, I think every judge who has ever attended a straight wedding should bow out, too. It’s only fair.
Second, I hope the nation of Nigeria gets a grip on itself, instead of on its gay folk. Nigeria already has a lengthy list of ridiculous anti-gay laws, and now legislation is being considered that would make it illegal to meet with a gay person. The penalty would be up to five years in prison.
It’s a brilliantly cruel way of literally isolating every known gay or lesbian person.
What happens, say, when a mother wants to visit her gay son? She walks over for a drink and a chat, and doesn’t make it home for five years?
That people would stop disappearing in another country is my third hope for the new year.
Everybody with at least one brain cell knows Iraq is a mess. But not everybody knows what lesbians and gays are enduring at the hands of Iraqi death squads. According to the British gay rights group Outrage, gays are being murdered in a systematic attempt at “sexual cleansing.”
To me, that phrase involves soap, not guns.
Recently five men who had been providing safe houses to gays and were reporting on executions to the west were themselves abducted and are feared dead. In June, Islamist death squads shot two lesbians dead in their home, and also murdered a child the women had saved from the sex trade.
Beam me up Scotty. There’s no love down here.
I’m still in Iraq for hope number four and Afghanistan, and everywhere else our military has been sent.
In 2007 Congress will again see an attempt to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” If the pure lunacy of booting experts in Arabic out of the military hasn’t convinced those on Capitol Hill that it’s time to repeal, perhaps a new poll will.
Conducted by Zogby International and the Michael D. Palm Center, the poll showed that 73 percent of U.S. military members are fine about serving with gay colleagues.
Maybe this will be the year DADT dies. I’ll always remember it as the very definition of a compromise because it made both sides miserable.
My fifth wish is simple. I hope Mary Cheney has a healthy pregnancy and Concerned Women for America throws her a baby shower.
Number six concerns the picture book “And Tango Makes Three,” about a male penguin couple who hatch an adopted egg.
Based on a true story, the book so far has been challenged in schools or libraries in eight states. Give it up, people, and buy the book for Mary’s shower.
My seventh hope is that Janis Smits loses his job as head of Latvia’s human rights commission. The man just said of gays, “The only thing I can do is call on these people to return from their sins, be healed by God and recover normal sexual orientation.”
With Smits in charge, Latvian gays have loads more to fear than fear itself.
Read more of Leslie Robinson’s columns at www.GeneralGayety.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, December 29, 2006.