SUCCESS | Lisa Blue Baron, center, keynote speaker for the Landmark Dinner held Aug. 13 at the W Hotel is pictured with Lambda Legal Leadership Committee member Brian Bleeker and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. The event raised more than $120,000 for Lambda Legal. (Photo courtesy Debra Gloria)
The DOJ brief amounts to collusive litigation, failing to even offer to the court, much less vigorously defend, the reasons Congress laid out in the statute when it passed DOMA—especially responsible procreation. This is an attack not only on marriage, but on the prerogatives of Congress. The Executive branch should not attempt to exercise this kind of retroactive line-item veto over a bill passed by Congress.
—Brian Brown, the adorable Smiling Bigot of the National Organization for Marriage, happens to be just as furious with the Obama administration defending DOMA as you. But for very different reasons: While you hate seeing the White House's attorneys continue to find reasons to say the law is constitutional, Brown thinks DoJ is throwing the case. Now you go! [via]
It’s been a long historic day and the reactions have run the gamut from “you know it played out just as the President planned” (the brilliant 12 dimensional chess strategy meme), to “HRC claiming any responsibility for this is BS” to “it couldn’t be done without “X” (as in there’s a single reason for DADT’s legislative repeal).
As always, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I’m not sure why any one faction has to “claim” victory — that seems very Beltway, as opposed to the big picture that there was a win today, one with an incomplete asterisk next to it.
A promise to repeal the discriminatory policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is exactly that – repealing the impact of the policy itself. That was made quite clear — from SLDN’s cautionary warning to service members not to come out yet, to HRC’s victory post saying the same thing.
Here are two examples of viewing the glass of pre-victory from today. First, Brian Bond, Deputy Director of the Office of Public Engagement at the White House (a.k.a. the “LGBT liaison”) has a post up: “Ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
Today, I had one of those “once in a lifetime” moments. As I sat in the Senate Gallery with my bosses, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Tina Tchen, I saw history being made as the US Senate voted 65 to 31 to pass the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. I am proud of the many leaders in Congress and all those who have worked to put an end to DADT. And I’m proud of the President for his leadership on this issue. It has been a long time getting here and it has been a struggle – but as the President has said many times, “Change isn’t easy.” But today we took a huge step forward to set right a wrong.
Last December about this time, I was at a small event in the Roosevelt Room. The President was just getting ready to leave for the Christmas Holiday. He walked over to me and without missing a beat, put his hand on my shoulder, and I will never forget what he said to me – unsolicited — “We are going to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. We have a little bit of work to do still, but we are going to get it done.” A month later, in his first State of the Union Address, the President said, “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.”
Now I am sure that there will be many stories written about what happened and how we got here, but for me, the key part of the story that I will never forget is that commitment from the President. Nor will I ever forget the brave men and women who have served with distinction who also happen to be gay or lesbian. Throughout the course of this effort, I have been privileged to meet some amazing heroes who just wanted to serve their country. I will carry their stories with me for the rest of my life.
Dan Choi (who is out of the hospital and received his Blend “get well card” today), has a piece up at Huff Po — “Congress Repeals DADT” — and strikes a different tone.
No revolution towards justice ever went backwards. To all the supporters of equality and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’s death, I am so grateful. The road has not been easy. We have learned many important lessons about social justice, movements, supporting each other, and speaking out against discrimination.
The mission is not finished; it has only just begun. The most critical mission is supporting and encouraging closeted soldiers to finally access their full integrity, dignity, and humanity. This mission is in keeping with the first lessons learned at West Point or basic training. As the legislation signals a new chapter in our journey, we can be sure that our work has only begun. I call on all soldiers to gain the courage to come out. First come out to yourselves, then tell your trusted friends and family. Tell everyone who you trust and who deserves nothing less than truth. Stop hating yourselves as your country has signaled for so long. Furthermore, your coming out is not for you. It is for all those who come after. Military service is not about rank, pension or paycheck. Climbing the ladder is shameful without true purity of service and I applaud those who give up the superficial artifacts of career in favor of complete integrity and justice.
…President Obama, you are not off the hook. The compromise bill passed today puts the moral imperative squarely on your desk. Sign an executive order instituting a full non-discrimination policy throughout the military. If you do not, if you drag your feet and politicize this with your theoretical calculations as you have these past two years, you will be guilty of abetting those who loudly proclaim homophobia from their platforms and pulpits. Provide them no shelter or safe haven. Institute justice now.
Both points of view are personal, both stem from resolve to see equality happen, but there is no black and white to the struggle for equality, it involves many political shades of gray. For those who are so motivated by being “right” or on top politically, they don’t want to see that there are many routes to success along the way, that the spectrum of ideas and tactics were responsible for today’s step, not in spite of one viewpoint or another. That’s pretty disappointing, but not unexpected. There are many battles ahead, perhaps people can get their heads together after popping the champagne corks this evening. Pam’s House Blend – Front Page
"Alante Saunders was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years in prison in Montgomery County Circuit Court. He pleaded guilty to felony murder earlier this month. Prosecutors said Saunders and Brian Betts, the principal of Shaw Middle School, met through a sex chat line and Betts agreed to leave the door of his home open for Saunders. Betts was found dead in his Silver Spring home April 15 after failing to show up for work. Three other teens have also been charged."
Said Allred: "Brian’s family retained me to represent them as victims in the criminal case. The family has also retained me to explore whether or not Brian’s murder should also be prosecuted under the new Matthew Shepard federal hate crimes law. Brian was a gay man and we believe an investigation should be opened under that law to determine whether a hate crime has or has not been committed by defendant Saunders and if it has whether it is appropriate to proceed with a federal prosecution under that law."
But fellow gays, you should still probably go ahead and believe Brian when he says that NOM’s “protect marriage” fight is a nonpartisan one. About as much as you should trust him to be your ring bearer!
And now, here’s National Organization For Marriage’s partisan president Brian Brown telling us what a world with a equality-backing SCOTUS would look like for them/us:
Brown: Ultimately if this Perry vs Schwarzenegger case out of California goes to the Supreme Court – and I’m confident that we will win at the Supreme Court – but if we were to lose and if the Supreme Court was to force same-sex marriage on, for example, Texas or Alabama or states that have voted by something like seventy-five percent to support marriage as a union of a man and woman and you have the US Supreme Court throwing out the vote of these states, I think you’re going to have a strong movement for a federal marriage amendment. And that would also be a very clear sign to the courts that they are bound by the law and they don’t have the right to simply put into law their own personal preferences.
You also have under Article III in the Constitution the idea that Congress could limit the appellate jurisdiction of some of these federal courts, so that’s another way in which, that’s already in our law, that Congress could limit the ability of the federal courts to force same-sex marriage on the rest of the country, or any other issue on which the court’s overstepping its bounds.
And if none of this works? Public flogging of all judges, natch.
In another part of this same interview (which he gave to David Barton), Brian also accuses the Iowa Supremes of “mak[ing] up the law out of thin air,” and says he wants them removed by state voters so that “there will be reverberations throughout the country all the way to the United States Supreme Court” (see above link for audio). Jurisprudence which Brian of course culled from that noted legal textbook,It’s Not True What They Say: If You Keep Saying Certain Things About Complex Constitutional Law, Some People Really *WILL* Think It’s True and Become Foot Soldiers For Your Vindictive Causes (4th Edition, Houghton Miffed-at-Progress)
The entire focus of the Proposition 8 campaign — THE. ENTIRE. FOCUS! — was on telling California citizens that gay people, via their unmufflered civil marriages, would reshape society, harm children’s lives, and warp religious freedom in ways dissimilar from heterosexual couples. Unapologetically, the Prop 8 backers told the voting public that opposite-gender marriage is a public good, but same-sex marriage is a civil wrong. In fact, the National Organization For Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher, a major prop 8 backer, still uses that very language: “It is not discrimination to treat different things differently. Same-sex marriage is not a civil right, it is a civil wrong.”
But don’t you dare offer an accurate assessment of what the Prop 8 backers so tangibly did and do. Because if you note the undeniable historical record, NOM president Brian Brown will accuse you of “character assassination, pure and simple“:
“Fight back”? Ha! That’s like the fabled wolf “fighting back” against the first two little pigs for forcing him to waste so much huff and puffery!