It’s official: For GOP hopefuls, making life harder for LGBTs will remain a primary goal

Fischer-PawlentyHaley Barbour loves his gay marriage ban. Mike Huckabee loves most all gay marriage bans. And now a third potential 2012 presidential candidate on the GOP side, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, tells the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer that he’s itching to keep/reinstate a ban on open military service for gay soldiers:

Pawlenty: Bryan (Fischer), I have been a public and repeat supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but if you look at how the combat commanders and the combat units feel about it, the results of those kinds of surveys were different than the ones that were mostly reported in the newspaper and that is something I think we need to pay attention to. But I have been a public supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I would support reinstating it as well.

If Elected President, Pawlenty Tells Fischer He’ll Reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell [Right Wing Watch]

Ya know, I knew when I woke up this morning that I felt my sense of being able to breathe easily in my country subside just a bit. I thought I was coming down with something. Should’ve known it was just GOP primary season heating up.

Though we do should all give Mr. Pawlenty a compliment in terms of where he chose to make this statement. Because if one is going to support something as out-of-touch with the public as the reinstatement of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, then it certainly makes sense to say it to a man who’s contributed things like this to the discourse:

“homosexuals in the military gave us…six million dead Jews

“homosexuals should be disqualified from public office

Called on Christian conservatives to breed gays and progressives out of existence,

Called gay sex a “form of domestic terrorism

Said only gays were savage enough for Hitler

Compared gays to heroin abusers

Directly compared laws against gay soldiers to those that apply to bank robbers

Invoked a Biblical story about stabbing “sexually immoral” people with spears, saying we need this kind of action in modern day

Spoke out against gays serving as public school teachers

Questioned why Medals of Honor are given to people who save lives (rather than take lives)

Said that open service will “assign the United States to the scrap heap of history”

Blamed gay activists for dead gay kids, saying that: “If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students.”




Good As You

—  admin

New Hampshire to LGBTs: Happy New Year! Now Die.

The “Live Free or Die” State is about to choose option B for its LGBT citizens. In November Republicans were elected in veto-proof majorities to both Houses of their Legislature — 19-5 in the Senate, 298-102 in the House — and it is their stated intention to repeal the marriage equality law that went into effect a year ago today. Taking away their citizens' freedom to marry, the state's motto leaves them but one other choice: death.

Already four Legislative Service Requests (precursors to formal bills) with intent to redefine marriage solely between a man and a women have been filed by members of the new legislature. It seems all but certain that one such bill will be brought up and passed in the coming session, vetoed by Democratic Governor Bill Lynch, and then a veto override attempted.

What will it take to sustain the Governor's veto? Assuming all remaining Democrats would vote to sustain the veto, it would take four Republican Senators, for a total of 9 votes of out 24, or 32 Republican House members, for a total of 134 votes of out 400 to deny a two-thirds supermajority. My understanding is that the former (finding four Republican Senators) is considered extremely unlikely, leaving it to defenders of marriage equality to round up at least 32 House Republicans (and possibly more, if there are Democratic defectors) — approximately 11% or one in every nine Republican House members.
 

Crossposted from Daily Kos

I certainly don't know if that can be done, and nothing I've read on the subject is making any predictions at this point. But according to SeaCoastOnline, Jim Splaine, who sponsored the existing law, has done some calculations:

Splaine looked at the numbers and said, if those who support marriage equality can find 50 or 60 Republicans “who will join the Democrats in upholding any veto,” he believes they will succeed.

That's seriously depressing, if true, but math doesn't lie: it mean that he believes that at least 18 Democrats would defect and vote for repeal.

So what happens if such a law is enacted?

While the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New Hampshire did not take effect for more than six months after it was passed, there is no guarantee that there would be any such delay if a repeal were to become law. In New Hampshire, each bill contains the date that it will take effect; there is no mandatory waiting period.

No one knows yet whether the language in such a law would completely annul existing same-sex marriages, turn them into civil unions or leave them as is. The language may be vague enough, as was California's, to force a court to ultimately decide what the fate of the approximately 3,000 same-sex couples who have been married since January 1, 2010 is to be.

Another question is whether enacting such a law will trigger a new federal suit, similar to Perry v Schwarzenegger. It too would claim that revoking marriage equality violates the United States constitution. Unfortunately, it seems like such a claim would be a lot harder to make stick, since it will be much harder to point to animus on the part of the Legislature than it was in the Perry trial. In Perry, the defendant-intervenors were the group that organized and campaigned for the Proposition 8 ballot initiative. Unlike Perry, there will be no television ads seething with hatred to cite, no innuendo that gays are out to steal children for their agenda to point at, and no campaign websites spouting lies and bigoted attitudes to present as evidence.

If the Republicans touting this bill are sane (which they will not be, and thank something for that) all there will be will be speeches of the floor of the New Hampshire House and the Senate defending the 'sanctity of traditional marriage.'  Seems hard to prove animus in a court of law from just that. Are national LGBT organizations or others willing to sponsor such a lawsuit without as strong a case, despite the success (so far) of Perry v Schwarzenegger?

Perhaps more importantly, are national LGBT organizations up to fighting these bills-to-be before they become law in any sort of serious way? So far I've seen little to suggest that national organizations like the Human Rights Campaign or the Courage Campaign are focusing effort on New Hampshire. Did they fail to learn the lessons of California in 2008, and then again, of Iowa in 2010 where the battle was never even joined?

From notes on their web site, the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry group seems to be organizing, but I suspect they will be outgunned, outspent and outpeopled by NOM and other hate groups unless there is aid and assistance from national groups.

Opponents of equality will stop at nothing to gain the victory they so desire: a rollback of human rights in New Hampshire. It's time for the LGBT Community and supporters to wake up from the pleasant dream that was the vote on Don't Ask, Don't Tell's still-to-be-realized repeal and smell the stench that is about to rise in New Hampshire.  However badly I mix metaphors.
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—  admin

Open Letter to Brian and Maggie: What About the Real Lives of LGBTs?

Dear Brian and Maggie,

I watched the recent video of Brian's discussion with Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign and was left wishing that Brian had devoted more time to discussing the practical and real impact of marriage restrictions on gays and lesbians.

Both of you have spoken at length about your normative vision of ideal marital and child-rearing policies, as if we were deciding such policies in a vacuum.  We all know where you stand on the policy questions.

But you've never really addressed what should happen to existing gay and lesbian families.  See, your normative argument about how things should be ignores the practical lived experience of legally-married same-sex couples and of LGBT parents raising biological and adopted children.

And this omission, I believe, lies at the root of your public-relations difficulties.  So what can you do about it?

Well, you would go a long way toward building good will with the LGBT community if you would propose a meaningful alternative legal arrangement to govern their lives and families.  You oppose civil unions, domestic partnerships, and similar state-sponsored arrangements.  Are there any arrangements that you favor?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

And while you may not think that NOM should be in the business of offering alternatives, by treating marriage and the incidents of marriage as a zero-sum game, you practically beg for gays and lesbians to call you “bigots”–because you are lobbying for a restriction of their rights while refusing to offer up anything that's relevant to their actual lives.

Granted, Maggie has in the past suggested that LGBT couples could obtain the legal incidents of marriage through private contracts, wills, and similar personal legal documents.  But what about those incidents of marriage that can't be contracted into?  What about, for example, federal or state marital exemptions from gift tax or estate tax?  What about the spousal testimonial privilege?  There are no legal documents that can bestow these (and other) non-contractual legal benefits onto private individuals, absent state licensure or intervention.

In other words, benefits like these only attach to a “marriage.”  Should LGBT couples not have these benefits?  If they should, then how should they get them?  And would you lobby for the necessary legal changes?  If they shouldn't, why not?

Moreover, even if, arguendo, all of the benefits of marriage could be obtained through private contract, the average couple cannot afford the thousands of dollars needed to acquire the limited protection offered by, for example, a will or a power of attorney–both of which, legally speaking, are rather poor substitutes for marriage, as both are subject to facial legal challenges, whereas intestate succession and spousal power of attorney are conferred by law and can only be denied if the entire marriage is nullified.  Why should LGBT couples alone be required to bear this legal risk at a prohibitive cost?

By failing to offer a meaningful, viable alternative, you leave your critics with no choice but to question your motives.  I understand that being called a “bigot” offers you ample opportunity to play the victim card and to ply for attention and donations in the short term, but it's a remarkably short-sighted strategy.  You can only cry “wolf” so many times.  People will eventually tire of the hysterics.

So permit me to ask Rick's question one more time:  In light of the reality that several states have issued valid, legal marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and in light of the reality that many states permit LGBT couples and individuals to raise biological or adopted children, what do you propose?  Should we void or nullify all legal same-sex marriages?  Should we outlaw LGBTs from having biological children?  Should we outlaw LGBT adoption, whether as primary parent or as second parent?  Should we remove children from LGBT homes?

I invite you to clarify your position on this matter.

Regards,

JTW

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—  John Wright