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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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.