We’re still dreaming; IFI still acting like particularly atonal alarm clock

Martin Luther King Jr. of course didn’t live to see a day when his friend and trusted ally Bayard Rustin could fight for his own political rights as a gay man. But the person who knew MLK best, his late wife Coretta, certainly felt that King’s dream included LGBT:

CORETTA QUOTES

I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice… But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ … I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.

-March 31, 1998

Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others”, she would tell black civil rights leaders angered by gays and lesbians comparing their struggle to their own. She would quote her husband and say, “I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible.”

-June 23, 1994

Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.

March 24, 2004

We have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say “common struggle” because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination.

November 9, 2000

We have to launch a campaign against homophobia in the black community.

June 8, 2001

Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.

April 1, 1998

Though why should we glean our insight from she who was enshrined in the bonds of marriage with the late civil rights leader, when we can instead let the self-appointed “protect marriage” crowd tell us what MLK wanted? This from the Illinois Family Institute:

King’s Legacy and Civil Rights Cause Misrepresented

“Civil Unions” Bill Not Analogous to Civil Rights Movement

Contact: David E. Smith, 773-858-6602; Pastor Al Cleveland, 708-275-1633; Laurie Higgins, 815-519-3808

HILLSIDE, Ill., Jan. 16, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ — More than 40 African-American religious and political leaders will gather on Martin Luther King Day to decry the misrepresentation of King’s legacy and the noble civil rights cause. The recent passage of the “civil unions” bill has been trumpeted by some lawmakers as an achievement to civil rights. It is not.

Some lawmakers have suggested that King’s interest would have included homosexuality. David Smith, Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute, says, “Skin color is not analogous to behavior. To equate homosexuality to race is offensive and perverts the noble cause of a great man and an important movement in our history.”

Press Conference Details—

When: January 17, 2011; 10:30 A.M.

Where: Freedom Baptist Church, 4541 Harrison Street, Hillside, IL 60162; 708-449-3733

Speakers:

Pastor Al Cleveland

Bishop Michael Love

Dr. Hiram Crawford

Apostle Stephen Garner

Dr. Eric Wallace

Rev. Isaac Hayes

Pastor Larry Rogers

Cedra Crenshaw

John Arrington

Linda Jernigan

plus others…

During House Floor debate on the issue of “civil unions,” both State Representative Careen Gordon (D-Morris) and openly homosexual State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago) exploited a flawed analogy by comparing same sex marriage to interracial marriage. In essence they are claiming that opposition to discrimination based on an immutable, non-behavioral, morally neutral condition like race is equivalent to homosexuals’ fight to normalize and institutionalize deviant sexual relations. Rep. Gordon expressed a radical and heretical notion in her plea for civil unions, which is merely a more publicly palatable term for same sex marriages. She described the passage of the civil union bill as doing “God’s work.”

Homosexual activists and their allies are advancing their subversive moral and political goals by hijacking the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. They seek to intimidate philosophical conservatives into silence by associating them with racism and bigotry. Volitional homosexual acts are not equivalent to race. And morals beliefs regarding volitional homosexual conduct are not equivalent to racism.

We shouldn’t allow the exploitation of the legacy of Dr. King to be exploited for the destructive purposes of the movement to normalize homosexuality and demonize traditional moral beliefs.

King’s Legacy and Civil Rights Cause Misrepresented [Illinois Family Institute press release]

(*Sidenote: Clearly IFI’s Laurie “homosexuality is like incest” Higgins wrote this release, as she is bizarrely/humorously addicted to the word “volitional” and its overuse)

Pretty rich to hear the word “exploit” tossed around by people who are HOLDING A POLITICAL PRESS CONFERENCE ON MLK DAY! If you want to get mileage out of this day, then fair enough. But at least have the fortitude to admit your own capitalization and derived benefit!

Though who has the time for self-awareness when there are just so many good and decent gay couples to purposelessly decry?

***

*Pete’s excited:

Screen Shot 2011-01-17 At 8.29.53 Am




Good As You

—  admin

BREAKING: Senate blocks DADT repeal, but Collins, Lieberman to introduce stand-alone bill

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS AND VIDEO FROM THURSDAY NIGHT’S DADT RALLY ON CEDAR SPRINGS

JOHN WRIGHT  |  Online Editor

In a major blow to repeal efforts, Senate Republicans on Thursday afternoon blocked the Defense spending bill that includes an amendment that would end “don’t ask don’t tell.”

However, advocacy groups insisted that DADT repeal isn’t dead in the lame duck session despite the setback. A short time after the vote, senators who support DADT repeal said they plan to introduce a stand-alone measure to end the 17-year-old ban on open service.

The Senate voted 57-40 on a motion to proceed with the Defense bill, falling three votes short of the necessary 60, after negotiations apparently broke down between Majority Leader Harry Reid and key Republicans. Reid and other pro-repeal Democrats needed 60 votes to end a filibuster, but they were unable to reach a deal with Republicans concerning the rules for debate and amendments.

Reid blamed Republican opponents of repeal for stalling on the Defense bill in an effort to “run out the clock” on DADT repeal. He said every time he met their demands, they came back with something different.

“They want to block a vote on this issue [DADT repeal] at all costs even if it means we do not pass a Defense Authorization bill for the first time in 48 years, and even if it means our troops don’t get the funding and the protections they need,” Reid said. “In my effort to get this done, I don’t know how I could have been more reasonable. … It’s our troops that will pay the price for our inability to overcome partisan political posturing.”

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who supports a repeal of DADT but had said she would only vote to move forward on the Defense bill after the Senate addresses tax cuts, pleaded with Reid not to call for a cloture vote on the Defense bill Thursday.

“I am perplexed and frustrated that this important bill is going to become a victim of politics,” Collins said during an exchange with Reid on the floor prior to the vote. “We should be able to do better, and Sen. [Joe] Lieberman and I have been bargaining in good faith with the majority leader. … I just want to say that I’m perplexed as to what has happened and why we’re not going forward in a constructive way that would lead to success.”

Despite her statement, Collins was the lone Republican to favor of Reid’s motion, but only after it was clear it didn’t have enough votes to pass. Other Republicans who’ve said they support DADT repeal, Scott Brown of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voted against Reid’s motion for cloture on the bill.

Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison also voted against the motion, but Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was absent for the vote. Cornyn has said he opposes DADT repeal.

Shortly after the vote, Collins and Lieberman announced they plan to introduce a stand-alone bill to repeal DADT, but prospects for the bill are unclear given that even if it passes the Senate, it will have to go to the House for approval, and time is running short.

“We support Sen. Lieberman’s plan to move a stand-alone bill,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a leading repeal advocacy group. “We also believe another viable option is the Continuing Resolution (CR) coming over from the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate and the president must remain in session and in Washington to find another path for repeal to get done in the lame-duck.”

President Barack Obama issued a statement saying he was “extremely disappointed” in the Senate vote.

“Despite having the bipartisan support of a clear majority of Senators, a minority of Senators are standing in the way of the funding upon which our troops, veterans and military families depend,” Obama said. “This annual bill has been enacted each of the past 48 years, and our armed forces deserve nothing less this year.

“A minority of Senators were willing to block this important legislation largely because they oppose the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” the president said. “As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal this discriminatory law, a step supported by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and informed by a comprehensive study that shows overwhelming majorities of our armed forces are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian. A great majority of the American people agree. This law weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality.

“I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin, and Senators Lieberman and Collins for all the work they have done on this bill,” Obama added. “While today’s vote was disappointing, it must not be the end of our efforts. I urge the Senate to revisit these important issues during the lame duck session.”

Earlier, after the vote, the Human Rights Campaign called on Obama to immediately halt discharges under DADT and stop defending the policy in court.

“The Senate’s apparent refusal to act on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal makes presidential action imperative in order for him to fulfill his state of the union promise,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said. “The only measure of success is an end to the discharges and anything less is unacceptable.

“In this time of war, we cannot sustain a policy that has already deprived our military of thousands of service members, many with critical skills in fighting terrorism,” said Solmonese. “Every day that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is in force, Americans are losing out on the best and brightest service members defending our country. If Congress won’t act, it’s up to the President to clean up the mess they made when they enacted this discriminatory and unconstitutional law nearly two decades ago.”

ROLL CALL ON MOTION TO PROCEED WITH DEFENSE SPENDING BILL:

YEAs —57

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Coons (D-DE)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Specter (D-PA)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

NAYs —40

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brown (R-MA)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kirk (R-IL)
Kyl (R-AZ)
LeMieux (R-FL)
Lugar (R-IN)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Snowe (R-ME)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Wicker (R-MS)

Not Voting – 3

Brownback (R-KS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Lincoln (D-AR)

—  John Wright

The Palm Center’s “Countup clock” – no military disaster since DADT ban lifted by fed court order

Ah yes, another appropriate poke in the eye of an administration and Pentagon that are making all sorts of specious excuses why the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military should be restored.

From the Palm Center, a new site “EnormousConsequences.com

At 2:00pm ET on Tuesday October 12, a federal Judge ordered the military to stop enforcing “don’t ask, don’t tell”. The Pentagon has announced that it is complying with the order. On Wednesday October 13, Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared that the suspension of the gay ban “has enormous consequences for our troops.”

The next day, the Pentagon stated that disruptions would occur in the short term: “Requiring the Department to cease all enforcement of DADT, immediately and worldwide, will cause significant disruptions to the force in the short term…” The Pentagon also suggested that it has not provided the troops with any training to prepare for the suspension of the ban: “…training programs cannot be provided instantaneously.” Research shows that two thirds of the troops know or suspect they know gay peers in their unit.

Above is a clock with the running total of hours during which gays have been allowed to serve openly, as well as a chart with the number of reported consequences of the new policy. The Palm Center has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for documentation on all negative consequences that result from the new policy.

Bookmark this one!
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

House Republican Leaders Want to Turn the Clock Back with “Pledge to America”

Today, House Republican leaders released their “Pledge to America,” outlining how they would govern should they win back control of the House in November.  While the document focuses heavily on economic issues, its “pledge” also includes hostility to LGBT equality, promising support for “traditional marriage” and, in a thinly-veiled attack on LGBT advances through legislation and the courts, criticizing actions that “thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values.”  While the document itself doesn’t tell as much more about how these Republicans would treat our community, the lengthy record of anti-LGBT efforts during a decade of Republican control of Congress speaks volumes.  LGBT people should see this “Pledge” for what it really is – a promise to try and turn back the clock on the LGBT equality on Capitol Hill.   

When anti-equality forces controlled Congress for a decade (1994-2005), they stymied any progress on LGBT issues, instead making attacks on our community part of their governing agenda.  Among these were:

  • Attempting twice to amend the U.S. Constitution to deny marriage equality to same-sex couples nationwide
  • Trying to strip federal courts of the authority to hear marriage equality cases
  • Blocking the District of Columbia’s local efforts to provide domestic partnership benefits to its employees and to fight astronomical rates of HIV infection through proven needle exchange programs
  • Cutting funding for HIV prevention, research and treatment despite a growing epidemic, while pouring federal dollars into disproven abstinence-only programs that exclude or even denigrate LGBT youth
  • Standing in the way of the appointment of openly-LGBT administration officials, like openly-gay Ambassador to Luxembourg James Hormel

A Congress controlled by anti-equality Republican leaders could very well return to this playbook, and even go further by:

  • Cutting Justice Department funds for enforcement of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
  • Trying to roll back Obama administration advances for LGBT people, like benefits for the partners of Foreign Service officers or hospital visitation protections, by threatening appropriations dollars for federal agencies
  • Standing in the way of the nomination of pro-equality federal judges

Under a Republican Congress, key positions that control the fate of pro-LGBT legislation would be held by notorious anti-equality legislators.   In such a world, for example:

  • The House and Senate could both be led by a group of legislators who, at best, rated a 20 on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard for the 110th Congress.  In fact, potential House leaders Reps. John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence have consistently scored a perfect zero since they came to Congress.  The highest any potential Senate leaders – including Senators McConnell, Kyl, Thune and Cornyn – could muster on our Scorecard is a 20.     
  • Arizona Senator John McCain, the notorious opponent of repealing the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, could become Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee could be led not by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, a supporter of marriage equality, but by Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who attacked then-Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan for opposing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as Dean of Harvard Law, arguing that in doing so she “punished the military, and demeaned our soldiers as they were courageously fighting for our country in two wars overseas”  
  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), a champion of the hate crimes law, could be replaced by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who said expanding hate crimes protections “undermines one of the most basic principles of our criminal justice system — ‘equal justice for all.’”
  • The House Education and Labor Committee, where the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is considered, could be led by Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, who called ENDA “a significant departure from longstanding civil rights law” that could “lead to an explosion in litigation “
  • Instead of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), a longstanding leader on LGBT issues and HIV/AIDS as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we could have Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who recently opposed a bill that would collect health data on LGBT people in an effort to address health disparities, saying, “for the life of me I do not see any reason at all to do this bill.” 


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

The clock is now ticking for Obama admin. to decide on DOMA appeals

We’ll know in 60 days whether the Obama administration is going to appeal the recent decisions in Massachusetts, which found Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional. Judgment was entered today so the clock is ticking.

Activists in Massachusetts are saying don’t appeal. Via press release:

Although the ruling was released on July 8, 2010, the judgment in the case was not entered until August 12, 2010. Per Rule 4(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the deadline for submitting an appeal, if any, must be submitted within 60 days after judgment is entered. Thus, President Obama’s Department of Justice has a deadline of Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by which it must decide whether to appeal the decision or not.

Advocates are demanding that President Obama order his Department of Justice not appeal the decision. “This decision by Judge Tauro was a landmark ruling for gay and lesbian equality — the civil rights struggle of my generation’s time. The discriminatory law that is Section 3 of DOMA, which denies married same-sex couples all 1,138 federal marriage benefits, had its day in court and it lost out to the promises of fairness and equality in our Constitution. The President and his Department of Justice should allow that decision to stand.” said Paul Sousa, a Boston College Law School student and gay rights advocate in Massachusetts.

Now, I have every confidence in the legal team from GLAD, led by the legendary Mary Bunauto. I know they can whip DOJ’s ass again on appeal. And, it’s widely assumed that the DOJ will appeal.

While this will be viewed by many as a purely legal decision, there are huge political implications for the Obama administration. Huge. Essentially, the Obama administration will have to go to court and argue that DOMA is constitutional. That won’t be good. The usual apologists, lobbyists and job-seekers will tell us that DOJ has no choice moving forward. That’s not true.

I want to hear President Obama’s opinion on the constitutionality of DOMA. He’s called it abhorrent. He’s called it discriminatory. Will he ever call it unconstitutional?

If DOJ appeals the decisions that DOMA is unconstitutional, we’ll get our answer.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright