Indiana’s State House earlier today approved the nation’s most anti-LGBT legislation. According to the IndyStar, similar legislation was passed by the State Senate and Indiana’s Governor has said he intends to sign this into law – all under the guise of protecting religious freedom. The legislation is modeled on a 22-year old federal law known as the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. You may recall this act because it was what the US Supreme Court cited in allowing Hobby Lobby to opt out of the Affordable Care Act requirement that they cover contraceptives.
This sort of thing really ticks me off because I get so frustrated having these discussions over and over again. Legally barring a group from a business has haunting parallels to the civil rights struggles from the 1950s and 1960s not to mention more recent legislation organizations like GLAD, HRC and others have overturned in the courts for our community.
Shame on you Indiana – and shame on Indianans. You may not agree with your state government but this is your home and your home makes me sick.
The 1980s Queer activist group Act Up was the first to slap “Silence = Death” stickers all over Boston. While we’ve thankfully moved beyond those times, the basic premise remains true. LGBT issues become more acceptable when they are openly discussed so I applaud the #RingYourGranny campaign in Ireland.
On May 22nd, Ireland will vote on the Marriage Equality referendum, deciding whether or not same-sex couples can get legally married there. I’m posting this to voice my support and to ask anyone who might have relatives in Ireland to call them and ask them how they plan to vote. Sometimes all it takes is the courage to speak up.
Before Barack Obama became elected President of the United States, President Bill Clinton was often referred to as America’s first Black President.
The 1998 Nobel laureate Toni Morrison is credited with naming Bill Clinton “the first Black President” in part because of his life story and some parallels to stereotyping and double standards many African Americans face. Based on those criteria I believe that Barack Obama is America’s first Gay President.
Conservatives have hated Obama from his first day in office with fanaticism that defies explanation. He’s been accused of not being an American citizen, being Muslim (as if that is a pejorative), and according to Mayor Giuliani and many other prominent Republicans – he hates America. This sort of illogical, blind hatred is something the gay community can relate to. Our very presence by many conservatives is perceived as an abomination and it would be best if we could be either subjected to reparative “conversion” therapy or removed from society.
Barack Obama is the first sitting US President to voice his support for many LGBT issues. While some Presidents have voiced support for LGBT causes after they left office – Obama has done this while in office and that makes all the difference. Was his decision to voice support for same sex marriage politically motivated? Probably, but what matters is his actions not his motivations because his support and his words changed minds and hearts.
In addition to what can only be characterized as an unwavering support for marriage equality since 2012, President Obama has worked to help our community more than any other sitting President and possibly more than any Presidents in the near future. Here are some of his accomplishments:
– Ending the hateful Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act (DADT)
– Ending the legal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
– Extending hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation / gender identity
– Federal government recognition of marriage rights for same sex couples even if they live in states that don’t recognize same sex marriage
– Continued support and funding of Ryan White HIV/AIDS programming
– Expanding coverage of health insurance so insurers cannot deny coverage to someone because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender
– Taking a stand both with legislation and by making personal “It Gets Better” videos to help prevent bullying and LGBT suicides
While I may disagree with Obama on some things, I will always consider him America’s first gay President. Obama’s unflinching support for the LGBT community has set a standard which all future Presidential nominees (at least in the Democratic Party) will now be found wanting if they don’t measure up.
I wasn’t going to comment on the current controversy regarding Stefano Gabbana’s recent comments until he decided to open his mouth again in response to a call for a boycott of D&G products initiated by Sir Elton John and quickly picked up by many others in the gay community.
This is so reminiscent of Guido Barilla’s, Chairman of Barilla Group, comments in 2013. It begs the question can the Italians join the rest of the world in the 21st century? Who would’ve ever guessed that the current Pope would prove to be a better friend than the founders of D&G? I’m terribly disappointed in Stefano Gabbana and his one time partner, Dominico Dolce. Their concept of what a healthy family looks like is terribly flawed and while they have a right to their opinion they clearly don’t understand who their buyers are. Insulting one of your most important group of buyers is an odd way to foster brand loyalty. Somehow I don’t see creeps like Senator Rick Santorum and Senator Ted Cruz buying D&G. Maybe Dolce & Gabbana can team up with Chick-fil-A.
Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, has become the only sitting Republican Governor to join an amicus brief that will be submitted to the US Supreme Court tomorrow, Friday, March 6th.
The case that the US Supreme Court will hear later this year challenges states’ prohibitions against same-sex marriage on the grounds of the 14th Amendment, the Reconstruction Era measure drafted to provide “equal protection.”
Charlie Baker has a history of supporting LGBT rights, which probably stems from the fact that his younger brother, Alex, is gay. While I may disagree with Gov. Baker on certain issues, he is a rare breed in the Republican Party; comfortable with the LGBT community and willing to support issues of equality. I would like to see more of his ilk in the Republican party to help mute the Tea Party which seems to have that party by their balls. I wrote about this exact problem facing the Republican Party in last month’s post, GOP: caught between a rock and a gay place.
Today’s Boston Globe has a nice write up explaining the details of the case and who else from the Republican Party have signed on to the amicus here.
Today’s Boston Globe has an interesting article addressing the rift between the Republican Party and American public regarding marriage equality. Matt Viser’s article, GOP hopefuls challenged by growing gay marriage tide, is really worth reading. Viser briefly touches upon how continued opposition to marriage equality could pose problems with attracting younger voters who overwhelmingly support marriage equality. Republican analysts have every right to worry, because with nearly 80 million Millennials now in the workforce and voting, Republicans can no longer afford to only appeal to Baby Boomers. The Republican Party needs to be able to woo Millennials if they want to be able to win national elections.
The primary process for both political parties tends to allow the party base to flex its muscle and shape issues that are important to them. With Democrats a populist message perhaps best articulated by my US Senator, Elizabeth Warren, will potentially move Democrats further left. Republicans seem stuck on a 2004 political playbook using xenophobic and homophobic language to appeal to their base and while this will win primaries – it has not served their party in Presidential elections. How will centrist political heavy weights like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie traverse their party’s self-made political land mines? I don’t know but I’m glad to see the reality of their reactionary stances coming to bite them in the ass. It is time for both major political parties to move beyond pandering to homophobic elements in their party.
The conservative “Iowa Freedom Summit” was hosted this past January. This group of crazies can be best described as the xenophobic, homophobic, reactionary, creationist wing of the Republican Party. After the summit on Sunday, Feb. 1st, Governor Huckabee’s spoke to the media. Among many of his comments that day homosexuality and marriage equality inevitably arose. Speaking to the media Huckabee inferred he had gay friends and they agreed to disagree on certain issues but remain friends. Following his assertions he then offered this helpful bit to clarify.
“I don’t chuck people out of my circle or out of my life because they have a different point of view. I don’t drink alcohol, but, gosh, a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do. You know, I don’t use profanity, but, believe me, I have got a lot of friends who do.” – Gov. Mike Huckabee, February 1, 2015
This man equates one’s sexual orientation to that of a choice between would I like a glass of wine with my meal. What a dick. No actually, what a dumb ass dick.