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!)

Dear Less Famous Feminists: Language Miss!

Harriet J has a largely brilliant post over at RH Reality Check.  In it she makes a passionate plea for famous feminists to stand up to Naomi Wolf’s execrable defense of Julian Assange.  (Before we get started, I want to make clear that there is a difference between believing the charges against Julian are politically motivated – which I do – and failing to take the issue of rape seriously).  The issue at hand is how we talk about consent, and that is a very important conversation to have.  However on reading her post I was jarred by running into the unfamiliar terms “Zhe” and “Hir”. Had Harriet become a lolcat? No, it turns out she was simply using gender neutral terms.

This is a problem.

The English language badly needs gender neutral pronouns, this is true.  However Harriet’s use of them in her post were counterproductive for a few reasons:

  1. She does not use them consistently.  This is confusing for the reader.
  2. To the uninformed they are obstacles to understanding.

The consistency issue is self explanatory.  If you are going to make use of new pronouns you need to do so consistently, not haphazardly.

It is the obstacle they create that is crucial.  The issues of consent and the Assange case specifically are both hot button issues.  Communicating clearly is essential.  Given the relative obscureness of gender neutral pronouns (and lacking any introduction), they appear as typos and function as the sort of specialized language one might find in a term paper – jargon.  Jargon serves a useful purpose – it can form a mental shortcut of sorts – a method for passing larger amounts of information in a shorter amount of space.  However technically specific language is the domain of the specialist – not the layperson.  The use of such language alienates potential supporters.

As for her point, it is well made.  Naomi Wolf’s comments on rape need to be answered by someone who can concisely convey that there is more to rape than overt physical violence.

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?

Its Hard to Say Rape

Its hard to say rape, nevermind talk about it.  Yet talking about rape is the surest way to fight it.  Leaving rape as an unspeakable part of our discourse leaves victims and criminals out of the public consciousness, and only serves to aide rapists and rape-apologists.  The more we talk about rape, the less they have to stand on.

I’d like to talk about the date rape scene in Observe and Report, as well as Lil Wayne’s interview on Jimmy Kimmel.  They both provide an opportunity to discuss one of the more problematic and persistent aspects of rape apologetics: the notion that the victim deserves or wants the rape to occur.  (Trigger Warning).

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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.

Theocrats: Don’t Tread on Me

I’ve got a post over at Revolutionary Act on Republicans, Gay Marriage, Palin, and Theocracy.  You are all warmly encouraged to drop by and share your voice.

The Gay Agenda

Ending the hate and violence of homophobia.  Via Pam:

What is going on in the Sunshine State? In Jim “Potty Sex” Naugle‘s Fort Lauderdale, apparently the homophobia is rubbing off on residents. (WSVN):

Police are searching for a man driven by hate, who beat a gay man and threatened him and his partner, after they finished a meal at an outdoor restaurant.

His crime?  Being homosexual.

There’s all this talk about the “Gay Agenda”.  Its psychotic.  The only agenda is one held in common by ethical people everywhere:  Equality.  And yes, I mean directly that if you oppose equality for Gay people, you are an unethical fuck.  There is no room for sugarcoating the blood being spilled by pretending homosexuality is a sin, a choice, a blasphemy.  Everyone on this planet deserves equal rights, deserves human rights.

This was a hate crime.  It was a crime that hurt the direct victims, who were threatened and assaulted.  It is a crime that says to Gay people everywhere this is what happens to you:

Brunner recalled, moments later, the man returned visibly upset. “He just started with this barrage, of, ‘Are you looking at me, you faggot? You know what I do to faggots? I break their necks!'”

This kind of violence and hatred has no place within society.  It is deserving of no respect, and must be given no quarter.  The struggle forhuman rights is a universal one, and one that we can all take part in.  I am a man and I am a proud feminist.  I am straight and I stand tall for Gay rights.  You don’t need to share anything in common with the victims here to share sympathy for their suffering and anger at those who caused it.  From the man who beat them to those who filled that man with ignorance and hatred.

Its the 2st century.  We don’t need to wait 20 years and live through a giant struggle to recognize the rights of our citizens.  We are in the midst of a new civil rights movement.  One that frames the struggle properly in terms of human rights, and that extends to people of every possible description and category.  The Gay rights movement is but a part of this struggle.  But it is a vital and irreplaceable part, just like every other battle for equality and humanity around the globe.  The Gay agenda is our agenda.  It is the Human agenda.

Gay Teachers and Brains

My post mulling over atheocracy‘s thoughts on gay hating has generated some rather interesting comments.  I thought I’d share a few.  This stuff is really classic (and indicative of the mental clarity and logic brought to the table by both sides).  (The fun is at the bottom of the post).

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Abortion Myths and Lies

This is about those anti-choice standbys, myths and lies.  We’ll start with Neil’s post (4Simpsons) about abortion and guilt, then move into the comments:

Pro-choicers may claim that people feel guilty because others make them feel guilty.  There could be an element of truth to that.  But abortion is legal and 90% of the media are strongly pro-choice, so why would the “minority” view have such an impact?

If the “90% of the media” stat seems like it was pulled out of the nether regions, thats because it was.  There’s actually a fair amount of evidence suggesting just the opposite.  In fact, the media routinely frames the debate in terms that favor the anti-choice side of the aisle.  In fact the LA Times article Neil links to is a piece that discusses the abortion debate safely in anti-choice territory, using a notion of potential life as a means to tug at readers heartstrings and suggest men’s heartbreak over their female partner’s choice to not see a pregnancy to term is reason to prevent that choice from ever occurring.

The mere legality of abortion does not translate into availability (Amanda, Pandagon, emphasis mine):

But the idea that reduced access to abortion might be a factor is an intriguing one to me. It makes me wonder if anti-choicers have more success at punishing women for sex through forced childbirth when abortion is technically legal but unavailable to a lot of poorer women than if abortion is outright banned.

most women probably think, in the back of their minds, that if they need to get an abortion, they’ll be able to get one pretty easily. Katha Pollitt picked up on how this erroneous assumption played out in “Juno”—there’s very little chance that a teenage girl in a Midwest state could get a speedy appointment without having waiting periods or parental notification in her way in real life. I’d also add that there’s a high chance that, depending on how big her town is, the possibility of finding an actual abortion clinic in the yellow pages under “abortion” might be very slim indeed, since 87% of American counties have no abortion provider. But I’m guessing that with the common nature of abortion and the relentless debate about it, a lot of Americans are under the impression that there’s a clinic right around the corner in every town.

And there is still severe social pressure surrounding abortion.  Far right groups picket and threaten clinics and individual doctors who provide abortions.  Religious families and some communities of faith put intense pressure on women to avoid abortions as a matter of the gravest morality.  And finally the mere act of expressing yourself sexually, if you are a woman, is viewed with barely concealed derision (Comment by Jersey):

If you give me a valid reason why you had your abortion, by all means I’m cool. Kill a baby because you are a slut, didn’t want to play safe sex because real sex felt better, or that it was “all a mistake and I don’t want to live with the consequences”…eh, no, that’s BS to me. I am one of those rare ones who think if you get raped or incested, keep the child to term and give him/her up for abortion afterwards. Women do have the right to control their bodies, but they have no right to deciding whether a fetus should live or die. When the fetus becomes a rational adult, let that person decide then to commit suicide or not.

Jersey isn’t all that rare I’m afraid.  (Perhaps only in his insistence that “incest” is a verb).  The view he is representing puts the life of the fetus, even the life of a fertilized egg, above the life of the woman.  And it feeds some of the more vicious lies surrounding the abortion debate.  No, women who have sex are not sluts.  No, it is not a child when its a clump of cells in a uterus.  It is a potential child.  If you believe that even a fertilized egg is a person, then menstruation is murder in your view.

Every step of the way, from sex (freely or forced in the eyes of the real nuts) up to the abortion, is fraught with a society that tells you at every level abortion is wrong.  The pressure on women is intense.  So when I read a line like this (from the LA Times article):

We had abortions,” said Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor. “I’ve had abortions.”

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.  In the end I’ll settle for joining feminists who recognize the anti-choice side for what it is, an effort to reinstate male control over female sexuality and liberty.  I’ll join in, and I’ll fight.  I warmly invite you to do the same.

Huckabee’s Judgement Trick

Huckabee just keeps running into his biggest liability: his own words.  (If all of this is pouring out now, imagine Huckabee in the general).  TPM via freakgirl:

Oh, man. One of Mike Huckabee’s chief advisers has just attempted to clarify the Arkansas Governor’s apparent equating of homosexuality and necrophilia.

In an interview with TPM Election Central, Joe Carter, Huckabee’s director of research, argued that while Huckabee does think both fall in the category of “aberrant behavior,” he’s not arguing that they’re the same and sees them as being at “opposite ends of the spectrum” of such behavior.

Captain tolerance doesn’t stop there:

Asked to elaborate further, Carter said: “He was describing behavior. He’s not casting judgment on the people themselves. His point is, the culture is becoming more accepting of aberrant behaviors.”

This is a really neat trick played to the tune of “hate the sin, not the sinner”.  To put this in perspective, Carter could have just as easily said Huckabee won’t cast judgement on murderers, adulterers, thieves, or anyone else who “sins”.  This only confirms that Huckabee’s objection to homosexuality is grounded in religion.  Further, the rhetorical impact approaches that of explicitly casting judgment.  The language shift is crafty, but it is working towards the same tired effect:  the demonization of an “other”, in this case homosexuals.

One more note (emphasis mine):

As first reported yesterday by David Corn at Mother Jones, Huckabee said the following in a 1998 book he co-wrote called Kids Who Kill:

It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations—from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia.

When we asked Carter if Huckabee stood by this quote, he didn’t disavow the comment. But he sought to clarify its meaning, denying our suggestion that the quote equated homosexuality and necrophilia.

“He’s not equating homosexuality with necrophilia,” Carter told us. “He’s saying there’s a range of aberrant behavior. He considers homosexuality aberrant, but that’s at one end of the spectrum. Necrophilia is at the other end.”

The real outrage isn’t that he places homosexuality and necrophilia on the same spectrum.  As Carter takes pains to point out, that isn’t equating them.  But he is quite clearly putting pedophilia at the same end of the spectrum as homosexuality.  So if Huckabee equating homosexuality and pedophilia?  That strikes me as casting a very nasty judgment indeed.

James O’Brien: Gay Baiting in Virginia

James O’Brien, with the help of the Republican Party of Virginia, is trying to use gay-hate to fight a strong Democratic opponent. (Via Pam Spaulding of Pandagon). O’Brien’s opponent, George Barker, is looking better and better:

It’s clear that the right wing is ratcheting up the homo-hate as Barker has received the endorsement of the Washington Post.

Republican Sen. James J. “Jay” O’Brien Jr. is an affable incumbent, but his scant command of policy and legislative issues has failed to impress. His Democratic rival, George L. Barker, a health-care planner, would make a far more able, detail-oriented and effective senator in this district straddling the Fairfax-Prince William line.

Barker also has strong support from educators (I’m sure O’Brien feels they are part of the Homosexual Agenda anyway).

No wonder the Republicans are so nervous. This isn’t the first time they’ve pulled such a dirty trick. In fact the Republican Party in Virginia has a real problem with running a clean election. I still remember getting their flyer warning me to watch out for “San Francisco and New York Liberals” (read “Gays and Jews”).

Raising Kane goes deeper:


Update: The Virginia Partisans have responded and issued a challange

What is that challenge?

State Senate Candidate George Barker has come under attack in a vicious anti-gay mailer run by his opponent and paid for by the Republican Party of Virginia. If you want to get your blood boiling, YOU CAN SEE THE MAILER BY CLICKING HERE.

George Barker is one of Virginia Partisans’ endorsed candidates and is one of the key races in the effort to retake the state Senate from the Republicans. VP’s PAC has already donated more to Barker’s campaign than to any other candidate in our organization’s history. But we need to do more.

We need to make sure that this kind of homophobic attack backfires on candidates like Jay O’Brien who use them — and that George Barker wins in a landslide!

Here’s where you come in.

Indeed. Here is where we come in. Let’s bury this homophobic asshole, and toss in the practicality of gay-bating tactics along with his political career. Let’s help George Barker win.

George Barker’s ActBlue Page.

George Barker’s Campaign.


Obama Hearts Gay People

Obama is touring with a singer who hates gay people.  Obama’s religious affairs director, Joshua DuBois, has responded to the criticism.

He is a master of spin (USAToday onpolitics):

Stops on Obama’s gospel tour are Charleston on Oct. 26,  Greenwood on Oct. 27, and Columbia on Oct. 28. Joshua DuBois, the campaign’s religious affairs director, said in announcing it: “This is another example of how Barack Obama is defying conventional wisdom about how politics is done and giving new meaning to meeting people at the grassroots level. This concert tour is going to bring new people into the political process and engage people of faith in an unprecedented way.”

Unprecedented?  Hell yes it is.  The GOP has never appealed to “religious” votes using hateful bigot musicians.  Not ever.  So there.

How to Hate Gays, a Guide

Commentator Michael D:

Try this on for size. I live in RI, originally from MA. MA illegally legalized gay marriage. Two women from RI got married in MA immediately after the illegal legalization took place. Now, 3+ years later, the two women want a divorce but can’t get it in RI because they don’t acknowledge MA’s illegal legality. They are forced to either, one moves to MA for the prescribed amount of time to get the divorce there or, be a couple of bitches and attempt to force RI to acknowledge same sex marriages (divorces). I think if you are gay then you have a condition that can be fixed but don’t try to force it down my throat (pun intended). Pushing your unnatural agenda on states (made up of people) and then using the illegal legalization to force it upon another state is insane. The concept is mind boggling, the tactics are reprehensible. The right to have sex with the same is to me your right to free speech, beyond that I do not wish to hear of the deviant factions of our society. Thank you.

Let’s start with the severe logic flaw.  If two people get married, this does not effect anyone.  How are two people living together as a married couple any more repulsive than two unmarried people living together?

And why the fuck should we care about what repulses a bigot?

At some point we need to have this conversation.  Loudly.  If Jill and Alice get married, how does that affect Michael?  How does it shove anything down his throat?  On the flip side, if Michael prevents Jill and Alice from getting married, he is clearly shoving his beliefs down their throats.  It is a simple argument.  Why should the beliefs of one group of people prevent another group of people from acting in an otherwise safe and legal fashion?

Michael calling these women “bitches” for attempting to act like any other married couple with rights is offensive but sadly unsurprising coming from a small minded fool who views homosexuality as unnatural and deviant.  But it is instructive with regards to the debate over Gay Rights.

There is no justification on the anti-Gay side.

There is no argument that doesn’t involve forcing a barbaric interpretation of one religion’s revered text upon the entire populace.  There is no way to justify inequality without resorting to the worst tactics, hypocrisies, lies and uninformed hatred.

Craig Sticking It Out (GOP Freaking Out)

Larry Craig is going to try and finish his term.

Remember this?

The Washington Post is reporting that the GOP is threatening to drag Craig through public hearings if he doesn’t resign:

Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho is a tough guy to run out of town.

Not that his Republican colleagues aren’t trying. Worried that the disgraced lawmaker intends to remain in the Senate indefinitely, they are threatening to notch up the public humiliation by seeking an open ethics hearing on the restroom scandal that enveloped Craig last month.

Its go time GOPpers.  Start up those hearings.  I’m sure they’ll do wonders for your party’s popularity.  LA Times Top of the Ticket:

His decision will not please Republican colleagues who wanted the latest scandal distraction gone. Just the other day, as Craig continued serving beyond his own Sept. 30 deadline, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he still felt resignation was the “right choice.” McConnell cancelled a media availability in Washington this afternoon to avoid talking about the Craig situation.

Right now the GOP is in a bad place.  Yet another hypocrite Republican homophobe is dominating the headlines, and now there is no easy way out for the Republicans.