AUDIO: Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos on gay Democrats

Dan Ramos on Stonewall Democrats, homosexuality by gharman

Daniel Graney, president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, has been doing a great job keeping us posted on the Dan Ramos situation. If you’ll remember, Ramos is the chairman of the Bexar County Democratic Party who recently compared gay Democrats to “termites” and the “fuckin’ Nazi Party.” Just today, the San Antonio Current posted some audio from the interview in which Ramos’ originally made his anti-gay comments — in response to Ramos’ allegations that the newspaper misrepresented what he said. Also, after the jump are several statements condemning Ramos forwarded by Graney over the last few days, including from state representatives, a Congressman, the San Antonio mayor and the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats.

—  John Wright

Stonewall protests Ramos, whom Richie says is ‘in desperate need of mental health services’

Members of Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio protested Thursday outside a fundraiser that Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos was scheduled to attend. Ramos didn’t show up, but other Democrats who did condemned Ramos for his recent remarks comparing Stonewall Democrats to termites and Nazis. At a press conference earlier Thursday, Ramos refused the many calls for his resignation and repeated some of his previous anti-gay statements:

Singling out the Stonewall Democrats, Ramos said “they have infiltrated the Bexar County party, much like termites infiltrate your house. They’re trying to destroy what has been around for a long time,” he said. …

Ramos said he supports gay rights — including marriage — but said “I don’t regret anything” about assailing the Stonewall Democrats. Ramos apologized to anyone offended by his remarks, but he rehashed several of controversial statements involving gays.

“I don’t care if they marry each other. That’s not my private business. I do care when they adopt kids that are already traumatized and are coming from orphanages and stuff. And then they wake up in the morning and say, ‘What? My mama is my daddy also?’ That’s my heartburn,” Ramos said.

Also Thursday, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, one of the many who’ve called for Ramos’ resignation, said he believes the party’s Bexar County chair is “in desperate need of mental health services.”

“I don’t know Mr. Ramos all that well personally,” Richie told Sirius OutQ’s Steve Newman. “If this had only happened one time and he had made a sincere apology, then I might feel differently. But after having had the opportunity to do that, he’s only exacerbated the situaion and made it worse. In my humble opinion, Mr. Ramos is in desperate need of mental health services.”

Listen to the full interview here, and watch a video report about the protest here.

—  John Wright

GOP Senate candidate Tom Leppert tries to distance himself from fag-loving past in Dallas

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert just announced his resignation today (effective Friday), and he hasn’t even formally announced that he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2012. But Leppert has already started pandering to social conservatives as he prepares to seek the Republcian nomination for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat.

As you can see above, Leppert sent out an anti-gay tweet today in response to the Obama administration’s announcement that it will no longer defend a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court.

“Another mistake from Obama on DOMA,” Leppert tweeted. “We need leaders in Washington to stand for the principle of marriage between one man and one woman.”

Clearly, Leppert is anxious to distance himself from his record in Dallas, where he hired an openly gay chief of staff, Chris Heinbaugh, and appeared in two gay Pride parades. Being a big old fag-lover could seriously hurt Leppert in a statewide Republican primary, so he’ll have to work hard to prove how much of a bigot he is.

Leppert’s tweet is utterly disgusting, but it isn’t at all surprising.

—  John Wright

A New Year’s wish for the community: Joe Solmonese’s resignation

I’m sure you know that’s been my position for some time, but in harmony with Autumn’s post last night that summarized the complete Senate legislative fail yesterday, it’s simply too easy to point the finger at just Harry Reid, the GOP, or the President for the public bumblef*ck of DADT repeal.

All of the FAILs lead to one obvious conclusion,  though. It’s time for the Human Rights Campaign’s Joe Solmonese to tender his resignation.

By any sane performance metrics, he has failed to successfully lead. Promises like those made in the “This year we are going to bring down DADT” video at the HRC Carolinas dinner on Feb. 27 were used to extract money from low-info, fat wallet attendees. It’s rinse and repeat at events like that around the country and there is precious little to show for it in terms of the major promises made by Solmonese — and this President.

I thankfully captured Joe’s bold promises to the HRC Carolinas dinner attendees. You realize that was before we had to deal with the failed, weak DADT compromise language, the sad shell of pre-repeal we’re dealing with now. He makes it abundantly clear that true, full repeal would be achieved in 2010.

Joe Solmonese should do the honorable thing and step down. It is shameful to cash all those checks  without the follow through on the job. The White House was never put under serious pressure; the late calls now in the e-blasts for the President to do something ring hollow after the toadying that has gone on for two years.

As we saw, Reid couldn’t get it together in the Senate and the wingnuts will have more control in January. The watered-down repeal doesn’t do much of anything at this point (even if it passes as a separate bill during the lame duck session — good luck with that), and we’re still dealing with all the GOP squawking by McCain and others who want a “do-over” of the Pentagon’s implementation report. It’s a big f’ing mess because there has been piss-poor leadership by those who are lobbied in government.

In turn it’s the unelected, highly marketed, well-tailored representative of the entire LGBT community, Joe Solmonese of HRC, who also has to be held accountable for these failures. It’s clear that those in power had no fear of the vast war chest of HRC being used to turn up the heat. No, the heat came from less well-heeled activists who didn’t have the access to power, only voices and fearlessness to call out the purposeful foot-dragging and inaction.

One can only call Joe Solmonese’s reign as a “could have been,” with DADT as the latest of a string of lobbying efforts, such as they are, that seemed more in tune with keeping the peace (and cocktails) flowing when it was clear to even a political novice (or Cheetos-stained blogger) that the Obama administration had only a limited amount of time to move any LGBT legislation in the first two years, and repeal of DADT was back-burnered in favor ENDA by HRC in “the plan”, which has, as we have seen, gone NOWHERE.

Honestly, for HRC to become the organization the community needs it to be in terms of a lobbying organization with access to our elected power brokers, it will take more than Joe Solmonese’s resignation. The organization is multi-faceted and is populated with well-meaning, hard working people who deserve better leadership — and the buck stops at Joe’s desk.

His position at the top requires that he set tone for the organization, provides the baseline for staff morale (god knows how many hair-raising off the record tales I have heard about failure on that level), and effectively uses the incredible war chest developed by formidable fundraising and branding machine.

FAIL. Tone deaf to community concerns and political momentum at the grassroots level.

FAIL. An inability to admit mistakes in strategy and correct course.

FAIL. A refusal until the back is against the wall to publicly criticize the very people in power who needed to be shamed for the slow-walking.

FAIL. The institutionalization of paranoia and defensiveness toward the activists, LGBT media and independent voices of criticism rather than looking inward to see whether the organization is bloated, and has failed to evolve and become nimble and focused in its leadership.

It is not airing dirty laundry to hold Mr. Solmonese accountable in his position that he is happy to promote as the voice of the community when called upon by the mainstream media. With that position comes responsibility — and accountability. We, as “the community” cannot vote him out of office, we can only 1) point out how and why he isn’t the voice of the LGBT community and 2) form alternate means of sharing that dissent through commentary, and/or action — e.g. GetEQUAL.

It is not divisive to ask what have we gotten for the million that flowed into the coffers of the Human Rights Campaign when it comes to leadership. Those funds  — were they effectively used to ensure promised action on by this President on his major promises?

For those who simmer with anger and immediately call any criticism the “circular firing squad”, that’s disingenuous. There have been plenty of kudos for what has been accomplished (including those Cinderella Crumbs); but we’re talking about a long list of major issues (DADT, ENDA, etc.) that were not seriously pushed after the promises were made.

In any case, critics haven’t any power to change the strategic vision (such as it is), within HRC, and if those in charge simply blow off any criticism, is the community expected to sit silent with hands politely folded? There certainly hasn’t been a private summit to discuss the myriad problems that have arisen, nor does there appear to be any feedback mechanism desired. I don’t expect that it would occur, anyway, given the bunker mentality in place.

That can only change if there is a thorough shake-up, even if only a symbolic one such as Solmonese’s departure, that can signal an understanding of the magnitude of disconnect, discord and failure to lead that needs to be addressed. How that occurs is up to the board of HRC – so my little call for a change at the top is of little significance other than it’s just me sharing my two cents and you all reacting to it in the comments.

And as far as calls for accountability for new media/bloggers/citizen activists? Hey, that’s easy — people won’t read what doesn’t interest them, and our voices are limited by time — we’re not news services. As we all know here at the Blend, all it takes is a health issue to take me offline for a good long while. Voices will come and go.

Without the access or proximity, that means actual influence of new media is limited to perceived power. Certainly if the Cheetos-stained PJ set  all thought we could effect change in the structure of the broken parts of Gay Inc. through a twitch of a virtual nose it would have happened already.

I suppose HRC could ban its staff from reading critical blogs, or make them take some sort of absurd loyalty oath to the organization, but unless they are going to lock down internet access in their building, people will read what they want to read. And when they are bored or disagree strongly, they’ll move along.  
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Students Protest Lesbian Dean’s Resignation

ChristineJuddProtestx390 (Screengrab) | Advocate.comCathedral High School students protested the forced resignation of lesbian dean and athletic director Christine Judd on Friday. Daily News

—  John Wright

Students Protest Lesbian Dean’s Resignation

ChristineJuddProtestx390 (Screengrab) | Advocate.comCathedral High School students protested the forced resignation of lesbian dean and athletic director Christine Judd on Friday. Daily News

—  John Wright

MA: Students at Catholic HS protest dean’s forced resignation for marrying same-sex partner

It’s great to see the support for former Cathedral High School Dean and Athletic Director Christine Judd, who, as a Massachusetts resident, could legally marry her partner in the Commonwealth. What made her step down was the inevitable clash between her civil rights and the Catholic school’s religious right to employ people who agree to abide by its doctrine. Dozens of students and supporters of Christine Judd gathered at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield. (WWLP):

“When I found out she was terminated and I found out why she was terminated, I was outraged and disgusted with the decision that was made. They have people working for them who are divorced, they have people who are using contraceptives, they have students who go to the school who are pregnant, and they don’t make them leave, so why should they decide to act on those principles now?” said Martin Boyle, a Cathedral High School Senior.

Springfield Diocese Spokesperson Mark Dupont says Bishop Timothy McDonnell was not available for an interview Sunday.

But Dupont says these students’ accusations are just speculation, and this is not a moral issue, but an employment issue.

Judd agreed to abide by school policy, which clearly indicates that administration members must uphold the doctrine and teachings of the Catholic Church.

“She has acknowledged to her credit, that she undertook actions this past summer, which were in violation of an agreement she freely accepted. Casting aside what she did, the nub of the issue is that we ask people to make agreements and we ask people to keep those agreements,” said Dupont.

The protests will appeal to the hearts and minds of those at the school and in the community; it won’t be the last time we see this clash occur. I see no successful legal recourse for Judd or others in similar cases, since the church can do what it wishes (barring acceptance of state funds), even if it’s inconsistent in enforcing its “morality clause.” What do you think?

Hat tip, Michael M.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

School official loses job after marrying partner

Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A top administrator at a Springfield Catholic school says she was forced out of her job after marrying her female partner last month.

Christine Judd, who served as dean of students and athletic director at Cathedral High School, tells The Republican newspaper that she met with school officials on Wednesday, Sept. 1 and was given the choice of resigning or getting fired.

Judd said she was “hurt,” and is exploring her legal options. Although gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, it is against church policy.

Judd worked at the school for 12 years, beginning as a science teacher in 1998. She became dean of students six years ago and athletic director three years ago.

A spokesman for the Springfield Diocese said Judd resigned, but would not discuss the reasons for her resignation.

—  John Wright

Another anti-gay Republican lawmaker, Rep. Mark Souder, resigns over sexual pecadillos

U.S. Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind.

U.S. Rep. Mark Souder, a Republican from Indiana, announced today that he is resigning from his seat in Congress, effective Friday, May 21, after being caught having an affair with a member of his staff.

I assuming the staff member he was sleeping with was female, because I have seen no mention otherwise anywhere in the news coverage of his resignation, and I’m sure that if her had been having an affair with a man SOMEONE would have pointed that out!

Human Rights Campaign spokesman Michael Cole released a statement just a few minutes ago that described Souder as “notoriously anti-gay,” and noted that Souder has scored “a zero on every single Human Rights Campaign scorecard since entering Congress in 1995. He has consistently voted against equal employment protections, common-sense hate crimes laws, increases in HIV/AIDS funding and providing any measure of equality to same-sex couples.”

“Rep. Souder proves once again that it is not LGBT people who are the threat to ‘family values,'” the HRC statement said.

—  admin