Wash. State Senate Introduces Marriage Bill

WASHINGTON STATE CAPITOL BUILDING x390 (.gov) | Advocate.comLawmakers in Olympia, Wash., introduced a marriage equality bill in the
state senate Monday — Valentine’s Day — and a companion bill is set
to be introduced in the state house Tuesday.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  David Taffet

Wash. Post names Cicilline as one of the ‘Freshmen to Watch’

Rhode Island is providing the good news today. As the new Congress convenes, the fourth openly gay member, David Cicilline from Rhode Island, will be sworn in.

Today, the Washington Post profiled ten “Freshmen to Watch.” Most of those named are hard-core right wingers, like Allen West from Florida. Only two Democrats made the list, Senator Chris Coons from Delaware and Cicilline:


—  admin

Wash. Post on new DADT legislation: ‘Friday’s bill is a Hail Mary’

It can be done, but won’t be easy:

Initiated by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) a day after supporters of repeal saw their efforts defeated for the second time this year, the new bill uses the same language that had been tucked into the defense authorization bill.

The defense bill failed in a procedural vote on Thursday, which frustrated supporters who said the defeat was the result of bad timing rather than a lack of votes. They sharply criticized Majority Leader Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) – who is racing through a packed legislative agenda as the congressional clock winds down – for moving prematurely. A similar attempt failed in September.

Friday’s bill is a Hail Mary. Several Democratic senators are cosponsoring the new measure, and while Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) – key potential GOP votes – remain supportive of ending the ban, they are not expected to cosponsor it, according to Senate aides. The aides asked their names be withheld because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

It is a “Hail Mary.” But, sometimes Hail Mary passes actually work (Sports reference here: I remember watching Doug Flutie’s famous “Hail Mary” pass back in November of 1984.)

For success, everything has to go like clockwork. There can be no protracted discussion about amendments or time for debate. It’s got to be simple: The sponsors file cloture and there’s a vote. Collins and her colleagues can’t complain and whine when Democrats “fill the amendment tree.” They’ve got to agree to a seamless process in order to get an up-or-down vote in the Senate.

Collins has to bring Brown and Murkowski along. Those GOPers have to withstand the pressure from their leader, Mitch McConnell, and the volatile John McCain. The Republicans are in no mood to give Obama a win here.

If you start hearing that one of the GOP Senators needs time to offer amendments or isn’t happy with the process or needs to wail til something else passes on the Senate floor, this new bill won’t move. Since we’re using sports metaphors, Collins is not calling the plays. We’re in overtime.


—  admin

Wash. Post on AMERICAblog’s sign on letter to Obama about DADT

Last week, AMERICAblog launched a sign on letter to President Obama. We asked him to become fully engaged in the effort to pass the DADT language this year. We’ve nearly reached our initial goal for the letter, which you can sign here.

Today, Washington Post’s Perry Bacon wrote about our effort to get Obama engaged in the effort to end DADT:

Liberal groups are demanding the president not shift to the center or look for compromises with Republicans. They are already organizing to protest the idea of an Obama-created commission to reduce the budget deficit and pushing him to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy that bars gay from serving openly in the U.S. military.

“When John McCain was leading the filibuster against the Defense Authorization bill, President Obama didn’t make one phone call to Capitol Hill. But he did find time that day to call the WNBA champs,” wrote John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay, two gay rights activists, in an email appeal to progressives last week that referred to the legislation that includes that the “don’t ask” repeal.

“With the Defense bill being brought up again in the next few weeks, we need President Obama’s leadership once again — this is not the time for him to be MIA. He promised to be our fierce advocate,” the email said.

If the DADT language is going to pass, the President has to step up. His staff concocted the strategy that got us into the legislative mess we’re in. He has to help fix it. You can sign our letter to Obama here.


—  admin

Wash. Post editor won’t defend or explain endorsement of NOM-backed candidate

The Washington Post’s endorsement of NOM-backed candidate Delano Hunter has caused a firestorm of criticism. We blasted it here. Over the weekend, Kerry Eleveld took a whack at it, too, stating “When The Washington Post endorsed Delano Hunter for D.C. City Council it endorsed homophobia by justifying his stance against marriage equality.”

The author of the Post editorial, Joanne Armao, tried to downplay Hunter’s homophobia despite his deep ties to one of the nation’s leading homophobic organizations. NOM exists to be homophobic. Jeremy Hooper posted the mailer sent by NOM in support of Hunter. It’s homophobic.

Michelangelo Signorile invited Armao to be a guest on his show today to discuss the editorial. She refused. Armao told Signorile’s executive producer David Guggenheim that the editorial speaks for itself and she wouldn’t be in a position to elaborate or discuss how much (if anything) the Post knew about NOM’s relationship with Delano Hunter.

Okay, then.

Ms. Armao would only have to do a search of her own paper to know about NOM’s relationship with Hunter. It’s been reported here (that one actually includes the homophobic mailer from NOM) and here.

Well, Ms. Armao has quite a perch at the Washington Post’s editorial page. She shouldn’t tell Washingtonians that marriage equality doesn’t matter. And, she shouldn’t be telling us that Hunter isn’t a homophobe when his campaign’s existence is so deeply tied to NOM.


—  John Wright

Kerry Eleveld explains to the Wash. Post what homophobia means in 2010.

In this week’s “View from Washington,” Kerry Eleveld takes the Washington Post to task for its editorial endorsement of NOM-backed candidate Delano Hunter. (My post on the Post is here.)

This is an especially good column because it explains what homophobia means in 2010. And, it calls out the usual B.S. arguments used by those who oppose full equality:

First off, can we please drop the canard that allowing certain people to marry each other somehow impinges on certain other people’s religious freedoms? No one will be forcing churches or religious leaders to perform same-sex ceremonies against their will, and people will undoubtedly maintain their right to worship as they choose completely free of government interference—as they always have. And for the Post to suggest that recognizing marriage equality necessarily conflicts with the beliefs of all religious groups is completely disingenuous, especially after nearly 200 religious leaders in the district stood with the multifaith group D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality.

But perhaps more to the point, it’s time for mainstream America to realize that endorsing politicians who claim to support “equality” for LGBT Americans but not marriage equality is tantamount to aiding and abetting homophobia; that they are mounting a direct attack on the love shared by fellow tax-paying, law-abiding citizens who want to make lifelong commitments to care for one another; that they are relegating people they work with, live with, and, yes, worship with, to second-class status.

There is no gray any longer, no hair-splitting, no rationalization or triangulation that suffices anymore. If you don’t support same-sex marriage, you don’t support equality and that is quite simply homophobic.

Sure, some pols are more virulently homophobic than others, but the outcome is the same: equality denied.


—  John Wright

Wash Post Acquires Rights to Define Homophobia

The Washington Post's endorsements or lack of endorsements in the September 14th DC Democratic Primary make one thing very clear, if you challenged Mayor Fenty or questioned schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, “No Endorsement for You”.

Nothing made this clearer than the Washington Post editorial board's decision to endorse Delano Hunter for the Ward 5 City Council seat dismissing his stance against marriage equality in the District of Columbia and his call for a referendum or initiative on the legislation and ignoring him having tied himself to the homophobic, hate filled, and offensive statements and actions of the National Organization for Marriage. They even went as far as to list on the site under his listing among the bulleted reasons why they endorsed him, “Smart ideas on truancy, joblessness, and gay rights”. REALLY?

In my mind this endorsement was not only an endorsement of Mr. Hunter, but it was a slap in the face to the DC LGBT community and an endorsement of those who oppose marriage equality and who are actively working to divide our city over the issue.

Mr. Hunter cannot take money from the National Organization for Marriage and participate in their campaign organizing efforts by passively endorsing the National Organization for Marriage's mailing promoting his campaign stating that he is fighting the Gay Agenda and trying to keep San Francisco and New York values out of DC, and he not be considered a homophobe. Mr. Hunter has yet to publicly distance himself from NOM's activities on his behalf and has not disconnected himself from the mailing.

(Visit the GLAA Forum for more coverage on the mailing)

How dare Joann Armao and the other members of the Washington Post editorial board tell members of the LGBT community; that since Mr. Hunter isn't a major homophobe by their standards we should get over it and let it go.

The Washington Post has the right to endorse whomever they desire based on whatever criteria they establish, however you don't get the right to tell the LGBT community what is and what isn't homophobic.

I gather that their tunnel vision focus on standing firmly behind Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee has resulted in them having no idea how offensive their statements in this endorsement actually are.

If the Post's leadership and members of the editorial board don't understand, I think there needs to be some changes at the Post to try to re-build the public trust that once existed.

Jeffrey Richardson is a Ward 6 resident and the President of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Wash. Post endorsed NOM-backed candidate for City Council

DC is holding its primaries on Tuesday, September 14th. In this city, winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to winning. So, it was disconcerting to read a Washington Post editorial supporting NOM’s candidate in Ward 5, Delano Hunter over incumbent Harry Thomas:

We give the edge to Mr. Hunter, an engaging newcomer who is running a grass-roots campaign. He has an intimate knowledge of the needs of the ward and has smart ideas on how to tackle issues such as truancy and joblessness. Mr. Hunter is not a supporter of marriage equality, but he is not the homophobe his critics make him out to be, but rather someone who thinks there is a way to provide equality for gays while respecting the beliefs of religious groups. He said he would not seek to change the law.

That’s an outrage.

Since DC passed marriage equality, NOM and its allies have been doing everything they can to thwart the law. The latest tactic has been to demand a public vote on marriage. That was one of the themes of NOM’s pathetic tour stop at the Capitol last month.

And, guess who was there to support NOM? Delano Hunter. I was at the NOM event:

After the NOM event, I really felt like I needed a shower. These people are filled with hatred towards the LGBT community. They can claim otherwise, but it’s clear. They’re driven by hatred.

Now, it may not matter to the Washington Post who Hunter chooses to pal around with, but it does to the LGBT community. NOM has chosen Hunter to be its shining example of how to defeat pro-marriage incumbents. According to Bob Summersgill at GLAA Forum, “Delano Hunter is now NOM’s only hope of unseating a Democratic councilmember.”

Jeffrey Richardson, President of DC’s Gertrude Stein Club, lays it out:

In my mind this endorsement was not only an endorsement of Mr. Hunter, but it was a slap in the face to the DC LGBT community and an endorsement of those who oppose marriage equality and who are actively working to divide our city over the issue.

Mr. Hunter cannot take money from the National Organization for Marriage and participate in their campaign organizing efforts; taking the stance that he is fighting the “Gay Agenda and trying to keep San Francisco and New York values out of DC” and not be considered a homophobe.

How dare Joann Armao and the other members of the Washington Post editorial board tell members of the LGBT community; that since Mr. Hunter isn’t a major homophobe by their standards we should get over it and let it go.

The Washington Post has the right to endorse whomever they desire based on whatever criteria they establish, however you don’t get the right to tell the LGBT community what is and what isn’t homophobic.

Exactly. And, we know what NOM’s doing. They’ve been backing Hunter for months. The group has really pushing his campaign. Last week, NOM sent a misleading mailer to residents in Ward 5, as reported in the Washington Post:

Some Ward 5 residents today found a message in their mailbox from council candidate Delano Hunter: “Thousands of dollars from homosexual activists outside Ward 5 are attacking Delano Hunter because he supports our right to vote on whether the District legalizes ‘gay marriage,'” reads the mailer, which illustrates a river of cash flowing from “New York City” and “San Francisco” into the ward.

Hmm. If there’s “thousands of dollars” from New York City and San Francisco, it’s not flowing into the bank account of incumbent Harry Thomas Jr., who last year voted to legalize gay marriage.

Campaign finance records show that there have been no contributions from San Francisco deposited into the Thomas coffers. He has accepted ,150 from individuals and groups from New York City, but there’s no evidence of the gay agenda — 0 came from pharma giant Pfizer, another 0 came from the Service Employees International Union, and 0 from midwifery advocate Ruth Lubic.

By the way, this message was brought to you by the National Organization for Marriage — a national lobby group that takes money from lots of folks from, well, outside Ward 5.

Hmm. Sounds like NOM is spewing its usual homophobia to influence this election. Haven’t heard Hunter condemn NOM’s lies. Seems like someone who wasn’t really a homophobe would be outraged by NOM’s homophobia.

It’s stunning that the Washington Post had the audacity to tell us Hunter “is not the homophobe his critics make him out to be.”

I’m judging Hunter by the company he keeps.


—  John Wright

Wash Post on increasing GOP support for marriage equality

I’m telling you, growing Republican support for marriage equality is on the verge of posing a serious threat to the Democratic party. No, the Republicans aren’t even close to Democrats, overall, on their support for gay civil rights. But Democrats, as we’ve seen, aren’t often terribly serious in the support they claim to give us, while some Republicans, notably Ted Olson and Ken Mehlman, are doing some serious work to advance our number one issue, marriage.

I’m not saying gays should pick Republicans over Democrats. I’m saying that some very high profile Republicans are making some very high profile endorsements of marriage equality – and putting their money, and their influence, where their mouth is – while some very high profile Democrats, the President included, oppose marriage equality. And even those issues the Democrats claim to be good on – full repeal of DADT and DOMA, passage of ENDA – they aren’t doing squat to fulfill those promises. And in a few short months, if we lose the House, we’ll have lost any chance we had for a very long time.

At some point the Democrats need to realize that a lot of gay people have had it with their empty promises. The year is 2010, not 1985. It’s not enough to show up at our dinners, issue a few administrative tweaks, and think we’re going to jump and down for joy about how free we now are. Democrats promised us a full repeal of DADT and DOMA, and the passage of ENDA. In return, we handed them the House, the Senate, the presidency, and a GOP opposition in shambles. In 18 short months, they pissed it all away. Now none of those civil rights goals are in the offing (and on DADT, the legislation being discussed isn’t even a repeal).

DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias, and all the Obama apologists, can whine all they want about how unfair it is for us to expect the Democrats to keep their promises. But we do expect them to keep their promises, or at least seriously TRY to keep them – promises they made in exchange for our votes and our money – as naive as that may be. And if Democrats want our votes and our money, they can start fighting – really fighting – for our full inclusion in the American dream. And that begins with marriage.


—  John Wright

Wash. Teen Found Not Guilty

A junior at Mount Si High School was found not guilty of an assault charge stemming from a locker-room fight in November 2009. The incident, which involved antigay slurs, raised issues about bullying and gay students.
Daily News

—  John Wright