Feedback • 12.09.11

Perry’s anti-gay ad in Iowa
What does gays serving in the military have to do with prayer in schools or your faith, Gov. Perry? Shamelessly pandering to voters of faith by conflating two unrelated issues is not a recipe for success. Gov. Perry’s attack on service men and women regardless of their sexual orientation is unprecedented. Mr. Perry has stated that he would re-instate “don’t ask, don’t tell,” even though a survey conducted and released by the Pentagon shows that 70 percent of service members have positive reactions or no problem with the repeal of the policy.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas honors and is thankful for our service men and women and their sacrifices for our freedoms. Stonewall Democrats of Dallas condemns this opportunistic ad released by the Rick Perry campaign.

Sadly, Mr. Perry has decided to release this anti-LGBT attack ad a day after President Obama issued a memorandum to federal agencies to address LGBT inequality abroad. The memo directs all federal government agencies to “promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons” and establishes a working group to monitor the progress of the initiative.

In addition, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. in Geneva to commemorate the signing of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and devoted most of speech to discussing this new measure. This is the first strategy put forth by any U.S. administration to combat discrimination toward LGBT people outside the United States.

President Obama’s dedication to LGBT equality within the United States has had a major impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. No other president has expressed the kind of deep commitment to improving the lives of LGBT people and certainly no other president has attempted to project such a promise around the world.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas applauds President Obama and Secretary Clinton for their steadfast leadership on these issues, as well as all of our service men and women.

Omar F Narvaez,
president,
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas,
via Instant Tea

—  Kevin Thomas

President Obama issues memorandum on protecting LGBTs abroad

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Four days in advance of  Human Rights Day on Saturday, Dec. 10,  President Barack Obama today issued a presidential memorandum “to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” according to a statement just released by the White House press office.

The statement sent out by the White House includes these comments by the president:

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.  I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.  That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, “no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”  Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.  Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”

The memorandum from Obama directs agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination, and report on progress.

I give the president credit for issuing the memorandum at the same time he’s gearing up for what will likely be a tough re-election campaign during which opponents will no doubt use his stance and actions on LGBT issues against him. But I still have to point out that we as LGBT people still face discrimination and inequality right here in the good old U.S.-of-A:

• Our marriages are legally recognized at the federal level and they aren’t recognized in the VAST majority of state and local jurisdictions. We want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed and local and state ordinances and constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of our relationships need to be overturned.

• There is still no federal protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/gender expression and gender identity. Congress needs to pass — the president needs to sign — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

• Even though there is now a federal hate crimes law that includes LGBT people, as well as similar laws at many state and local levels, those laws are not well enforced.

Anti-LGBT bullying remains a deadly problem in our schools and our workplaces and on the Internet. We’ve made progress in combating such bullying, but not nearly enough. Dedicate the resources necessary to address the issue effectively.

So let’s applaud our president for the steps he has — and is — taking. There’s no doubt Obama has been more open than any other president about addressing LGBT issues and we have seen great strides forward toward equality during his administration. But there’s a long way to go yet, and we need to make sure that the president — and all our elected officials — know they can’t just rest on their laurels.

—  admin

Elton John: Most annoying out performer

Elton John

Am I the only one who finds Elton John getting more and more annoying by the day?

First of all — and maybe this is more of an argument with American media than with John — why do I see him referred to as “Sir” Elton so often? I thought we fought a war against the tyranny of a monarchy and as Americans we do not recognize the inequality of those silly titles. The Queen is nothing more than the world’s wealthiest welfare recipient. I do not recognize nobility and I’m won’t call anyone by a title of inequality.

But here’s my real beef:

Two years ago, John was criticizing the LGBT community for pushing for marriage equality rather than civil unions in the Prop 8 debate. Now he’s complaining he can’t get married.

—  David Taffet