Obama Says Gay Couples Deserve Rights, Just Not Right Now

Obama gingerly endorsed the rights of gay people, if they’d only wait a few more years or like a decade or two tops.  I’m pretty sure this is verbatim you guys:

With cat-like tread, President Obama praised New York state lawmakers who were debating landmark legislation to legalize gay love and Jesus (to be balanced). As expected the president stopped short of committing to supporting equal rights, choosing instead to say “We’ll totally come back to this in 4 to 20 years”.

The president’s views on same-sex marriage are a sore point with gay supporters and even hetero supporters who’ve otherwise warmed to Obama. The president has said his views are “evolving,” but he needs more time to reconcile respect for human rights and equality with his desire to court religious voters who hate him for being black.

As Obama spoke at a Manhattan fundraiser for the people whose rights he needs time to recognize, a handful of pro-gay marriage protesters shouted out “marriage!”.  And Obama said, “I heard you guys, I just don’t want to take a risky stand.  On anything really.  Haven’t you people caught on yet?  I don’t like risk.  It makes me break out.”.  The president never directly mentioned gay marriage instead choosing more neutral terms like “homo-erotic unions” and “marriages that make baby Jesus cry”.

“I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country,” the president said “just not for a few years.”.

Obama said progress will be slower than some people want, but he added that he was confident that there will be a day “when every single American, gay or straight or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, is free to live and love as they see fit.  I just don’t no if I think every single American ought to be free to live and love as they see fit yet.  My views on that are still evolving.”

“Traditionally marriage has been decided by the states and right now I understand there’s a little debate going on here in New York,” he said to laughter. New York’s lawmakers, he said, are “doing exactly what democracies are supposed to do.  In fact I’ve long been a supporter of the states rights”

Debate on the measure continued into the night at the statehouse, and the outcome was uncertain.

Obama said there were those who shouted at him at events about other causes of the gay community, such as the need for anti-hate crimes legislation and for the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on openly gay military service, and both of those have since been achieved.  “So keep shouting, eventually I’ll cave.  In the meantime I’m going to go meet with Republicans and pretend its possible to address our deadly budget issues and still give rich people the massive tax cuts they’ve come to expect.”

Obama also has won favor by instructing the Justice Department to stop defending in court a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, after spending the start of his presidency instructing them to defend that same law.

Obama told of receiving a letter last year from a teenager in a small town. He said the boy was a senior in high school who was gay and was afraid to come out. The boy wondered to the president why gays shouldn’t be equal like everyone else.  The president wrote back “Look, I’ve got to get elected in 2012, and I’ve already sold out women’s rights for my tepid health care law, so now its time for the gay community to take one for the team.  You guys can die for your country now, you just can’t get married or adopt or whatever.”

“So, yes, we have more work to do,” Obama said. “Yes, we have more progress to make. Yes, I expect continued impatience with me on occasion.  Or every day.  I don’t care.  I’m the boss.”

(note: heavily edited for searing political impact!)

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Today in Stupid Hate Crimes…

Two homophobes were charged with assaulting a gay man… in a gay bar:

Two men have been charged with a hate crime after an attack on a gay man in the bathroom of a historic gay bar in downtown Manhattan early Sunday morning

Could this be as depressingly stupid as we are thinking?

The 34-year old victim, whose name is not being released, was at a urinal inside the Stonewall Inn when one of the defendants allegedly asked him if he was gay, according a news release from the district attorney’s office.

When the victim responded yes, Matthew Francis, 21, allegedly yelled, “Get away from me f—-t. I don’t like gay people.”

How stupid do you have to be to experience surprise at finding a gay guy in a men’s room at a gay bar?  Not that homophobic assholes have been known for their brilliance, but this just sets a new standard.

On Obama, Gay Marriage, and Prop 8

A Quick Hit:

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn’t have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead.

Now their son opposes Gay Marriage.  Prop 8 has been struck down, but this battle brings the fight to White House.  Obama must weigh in, and his backward, incoherent and irrational opposition to marriage for some US citizens but not others will once again be brought into the light.  His ironic position is that of “separate but equal”.  The only equality he is defending to place the demands of theocratic bullying on the same level as the rational, compassionate, popularly supported desire for true equality for people of any sexual orientation.

As Keith Olberman said:

This is about the… human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not… understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want — a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Well Mr President?  Will you step up to the ethical plate and take a swing for equality?  Or will you continue to cower and let theocrats – who harbor no intentions of ever supporting you or your party electorally – dictate the policy we all have to live with?

Opposing Gay Marriage in a Recession

One of the best arguments against Gay Marriage I’ve heard from Rob Thomas (emphasis mine):

Still, I’m amazed at the audacity of a small, misdirected group of the ultra-conservative Christian right wing, to spend millions of dollars, in a recession, on advertisements to stop two men or women who love each other from being able to be married, but when you present any opposition to them, they accuse you of attacking their religion.

I had not thought of that angle.  What does it say about those pouring money into opposing gay marriage, during a recession, that they’d rather prevent people from enjoying equal rights than reach out to the poor and the meek and help those in need?

As an added bonus, he adds:

Isn’t it funny that the people who are the quickest to take someone’s basic rights to happiness are always the loudest to scream when someone attacks their right to do so?

Amen.

One of thehttp://melinda.toomojo.com/

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Andrew Sullivan: Shutting Down Discourse

If there is one thing I hate more than watching journalists cook up weak or phony examples of left wing wrong doing to “balance” their stories, its when those journalists use that nonsense to attempt to shut down discourse. Andrew Sullivan is a choice exemplar. He gives his Moore award to Sara Robinson for her insightful post about possible reactions to the prop8 ruling.  Sullivan was attempting to dismiss this particular section (emphasis mine):

In the worst case, this decision could become the catalyst for a new round of large-scale domestic terrorism from the right. As I’ve noted, everything I’m seeing points to a subculture that is gearing up for this kind of heroic last stand in defense of a lost cause. And this time, it’s not going to be just a few white supremacist/militia/patriot/anti-choice wackos. The new crop of right wing militants is better connected, better trained, better armed, and absolutely determined to go down fighting. And, as the SPLC keeps telling us, there may considerably more people motivated to support them than there have been in the past. It’s not unthinkable that between 15 and 20% of the country could be inclined to start — or at least support — a civil war over this,

As Sara sharply notes, Andrew had trouble understanding those first 4 words.  Sara explains them for him gently.

What I take issue with is not Andrew Sullivan’s base need to “tsk tsk” a leftwing blogger.  Its that the effect is to de-legitimize extremely useful analysis and criticism.  Prop8 was upheld, but we have every reason to believe it will be crushed when Californian’s return to the polls.  Voters will be resentful of being a hate state, mindful of the dollars a gay-unfriendly public stance could cost them, and angrily aware of massive amounts of out of state financial and religious influence directed their state laws and rights.  Homophobes and theocrats are going down come 2010.

Which is why Mr Sullivan ought to be paying attention to Sara Robinson’s advice:

Most of yesterday’s piece focused on some very specific, well-supported reasons that I think the gay community should question their complacency. It also included a most-likely scenario (assuming the court rules against Prop 8, which is in itself not a most-likely scenario), which is that a few far-right whack jobs around the country would use the event as an excuse for a fresh round of gay-bashing. We might see another Matthew Shepherd, or another Knoxville. Or two or three. And wise people should at least prepare themselves for that possibility.
There’s nothing particularly outrageous or over-the-top about this claim: this stuff happens fairly regularly in America, as I think even Sully would agree. There’s always been that 2-3% of the population who are implacably and militantly on the political extremes, who aren’t burdened by the same social braking systems the rest of us came equipped with, and who are prepared to act out violently if provoked.  I simply pointed out that overturning Prop 8 is the most perfect imaginable example of the kind of event that might provoke them.

Homophobia is on the way out, and some among the pathetic, the ignorant, the fearful and the violent may lash out.  It is essential that we allow ourselves to be aware of this, and develop strategies for stopping potential violence.  We need to make clear in no uncertain terms that whatever heaven the crazies think they are protecting, when they stoop to violence they are only inviting hell.  We need to reach out to religious communities – who in no way would want to be associated with that violence – and ask them to take active steps to ensure their worshippers understand the difference between peaceful and violent opposition.  That starts with taking the potential for violence seriously and not downplaying the people who are skilled and intelligent enough to see the warning signs and sound a wake up call.

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California’s Prop8 Upheld

Reports are coming in from Twitter that Prop8 has been upheld (with an exception for existing marriages).  This should be overturned by votes in 2010 (Orcinus):

Fortunately, the polls suggest that if it went back to the ballot next year, there’s a good chance a reversal would probably pass. A lot of Californians who stood on the sidelines are feeling embarrassed into action; and the African-American community in particular is realizing that if the voters can strip away gay civil rights with a wave of a ballot marker, they can strip away racial equality rights in exactly the same way — and that’s a situation that ought to make them very nervous. And then there are simply those who resent the idea that the Mormons and Catholics are imposing their values on the state, and using money raised from all over the country to do it.

This is a huge dissapointment, but one which will serve as a rallying cry.  Equal Rights will win out over bigotry, fear and ignorance.
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California Religious Schools Civil Rights Free

Apparently religious schools in California aren’t subject to civil rights laws.  I wonder what else they can get away with, thanks to this ruling?

The funny thing is that the kids were expelled based on the perception of their sexuality.  Wonder if this would fly is the school was run by a Christian Identity Church and expelled students for being non-European.