Friday, February 24, 2006

Don't let Fred Phelps kill the First Amendment

Does anyone else think it's odd that states like Kansas had no problem when Fred Phelps picketed the funerals of gay people, and even gay servicemembers, but now that he's protesting the funerals of straight servicemembers, they think it's time for a law against protests at funerals?

Make no mistake -- Fred Phelps is an evil, evil man who hurts not only other people's feelings but is likely torturing the gay members of his own family. (I saw a TV interview with his webmaster/grandson -- you know, the one who did the GodHatesFags website -- and that poor kid was just painfully gay and closeted.)

Yet, the First Amendment is way more important than Fred Phelps, and, I'm sorry to say, even more important than the feelings of the family members of the brave military personnel who died serving their country. It would be an insult to the memory of those servicemembers to restrict the liberty that they were willing to give their lives for.

As Michael Badnarik often said during his 2004 campaign for President, "A free speech zone for me is defined as wherever I happen to be standing." And though Fred Phelps is mean, evil, and needs to hurry up and die, he too should have a free speech zone wherever he happens to be standing, just like the rest of us in a free society.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It's About Time!

It's about time the LGBT "establishment" decided to support, or not support, a candidate based on their stand on important issues such as same-sex marriage rather than their party affiliation.
The head of New York State's largest LGBT civil rights organization is calling for an end to financial support by gays of Hillary Rodham Clinton's re-election campaign because of her refusal to support same-sex marriage. The call was made by Alan Van Capelle, Pride Agenda's executive director in a confidential memo to the group's board members.
We are happy to see someone say the emperor has no clothes—even if it was in a private memo.
Van Capelle said in his memo to board members that he refuses to help sell tickets or endorse any Clinton fund-raiser sponsored by gay groups because her re-election would actually hurt the gay and lesbian community.
"We have become a community that throws money at politicians, and we demand nothing in return. And that's what we get: nothing. It's the wrong message to send."
That's one person telling it like he sees it. Now, if he could just convice his board members and the rest of the GLBT voting public to think for themselves instead of blindly voting a straight Democratic ticket.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

You need to see the Call to Duty Tour

I just got back from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where the first stop of the Call to Duty Tour took place (watch the video). I had thought I knew everything there was to know about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays and lesbians in the military, and was mainly attending to support the young veterans speaking, including Jarrod Chlapowski, the former Army linguist and card-carrying Libertarian Party member who first brought the Tour to our attention. But tonight I learned a lot more than I expected when I heard the veterans' stories. The stories from these young veterans, some who were discharged under DADT, and others who resigned early in promising military careers because they couldn't or wouldn't lead the double life required by the policy, were different than anything you've read in a newspaper or magazine or heard some politician or talking head on TV speak about.

The most chilling story came from one young linguist who spoke Arabic (as one of at least 5 languages he spoke), when he recounted that one of the bits of pre-9/11 intelligence "chatter" was a single sentence in Arabic, "Tomorrow is zero day." Any of the 54 Arab linguists who had been discharged prior to 9/11 under DADT could easily have translated it immediately had they still been serving, but due to the shortage of such linguists, this sentence wasn't translated until two days after the attacks.

The Call to Duty Tour is coming to a college campus near you. You can find their schedule here, so mark your calendar and go listen to these very human stories about the effects of the DADT policy. You'll be glad you did.

And while we didn't have time to raise the funds to co-sponsor this tour as we had hoped we would, we do have time to become a sponsor of the next tour. I've created a special field on our online donations page to raise money specifically for this purpose. Go hear them talk when they come to your town, and when you get home, go to our donations page and make your pledge for the second Call to Duty Tour.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Robida case shows why big government doesn't protect queers

Jake McCafferty at Breakfast at Tiffany's (whose philosophy statement sadly takes a swipe at those of us in the Libertarian Party) makes the valid point that Jacob Robida, the neo-Nazi who attacked a bunch of people in a gay bar here in Massachusetts, committed this crime when:

1. Massachusetts already has a law banning handguns for those under the age of 21, including Robida, and

2. Massachusetts already has a "hate crimes" law that supposedly "protects" gay people (which HRC's recent fundraising letter doesn't bother to mention).

To be honest, when I heard that a violent gay-basher was on the loose and was last seen in a car less than an hour from my home, I called my husband-to-be and told him to be careful walking home that night. The whole Robida manhunt was indeed a scary time for those of us in Massachusetts. But that was the case even with "hate crime" laws and some of the strictest gun laws in the country. If anything, the Robida case proves that big government doesn't work, even for LGBT people. I'll take my freedom and a weapon to protect myself over (big, expensive, and most importantly ineffective) government "protection" any day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

You Can't Have It Both Ways, Boys

Either stop discriminating, or get off the government teat! Better yet, both.

Seems the Boy Scouts are getting it from all angles since the 2000 'Dale' decision. See the latest.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Outright Loves (and Hates) the Boy Scouts

Well, we don't think much of their leadership, in any case.

Outright Libertarians sided with the Boy Scouts of America when their freedom of association was threatened. But when they try to use the courts to get a government handout, we have to draw the line. Here's the year 2000 case . . .

Though Outright Libertarians discourages the type of discrimination exhibited by the Boy Scouts in kicking Dale [a gay man] out, Outright agreed with the Boy Scouts that the First Amendment provisions of freedom of speech and association rightly prevent the government from forcing the Boy Scouts to accept Dale into their organization.

But in 2006 we find the Sea Scouts are suing about this . . .

[The city of Berkeley is] removing a financial subsidy—of somewhat questionable propriety in the first place—on the legal and very reasonable grounds that the taxpayers of Berkeley should not be forced to fund something that is discriminatory.

Read the entire press release, here.

US military over budget even on its bigotry

Report: 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Cost $363M - New York Times tells us that the military ban on gays and lesbians is twice as expensive to the taxpayers as previously thought.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Eminent Domain is a Gay Rights Issue

Eminent domain laws are often used to the advantage of the politically well-connected classes at the expense of those that are out of favor. Be honest, when was the last time you heard of a rich white guy's house in the suburbs being condemned? A perfect example is illustrated in this Washington Blade article which describes the forceful displacement of "gay entertainment businesses" in favor of a new Washington DC sports stadium.

Tracy Hughes, a spokesperson for Spagnoletti [the DC Attorney General], said the office issued eviction notices to all property owners and occupants two months ago. She said the court has already transferred the ownership of the property on the stadium site to the city and that the process cannot be reversed.

"If the stadium deal falls through for whatever reason," Hughes said, "the land remains in the sole possession of the city."

In trying to relocate, the owners of the gay businesses face the catch-22 situation of having to meet both zoning and licensing requirements, neither of which favor the rights of minorities. The zoning laws require that they cannot locate anywhere but in or near the central district. But even there, sexually-oriented businesses require a variance, and there are other reasons why this district may be unsuitable.

Gay business owners have said excessively high rents and restrictions against operating near residential buildings would likely make it impossible for them to move to the central business district, even if they were to win a zoning variance.

Both the zoning laws and the current licensing laws, prevent them from relocating to a lower-rent district that may be more suitable. Says a sympathetic Councilmember:

"Assuming these licenses are sexually oriented businesses, I am now informed that there is nowhere in the District where these licensees may move as a matter of right. . . Indeed, the zoning regulations prohibit them from transferring anywhere except to the central business district and nearby areas."

Proper respect for the property rights of the gay business owners would have prevented this blow to the local gay community. When these eminent domain, zoning, and licensing laws were put on the books, no one who supported them at the time thought these affronts to property rights would be used against them. LGBT individuals should ask themselves, if not for use by majorities against minorities, why else would these laws exist?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Former DNC GLBT director calls for queer Dems to withhold money

Ramon Gardehire opines in the Washington Blade that the recent anti-gay shift in the Democratic Party is reason for LGBT people to withhold their contributions from the DNC and homophobic candidates. What a novel idea! But will we ever see any of those three-dollar-bills going to third party candidates? Not if the largest LGBT organizations have their way. Socialism is still more important to these folks than equality under the law for LGBT people.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Please support the Call to Duty Tour

At the end of last week, we were put in contact with the organizers of the Call to Duty Tour, which is a college speaking tour intended to generate support for overturning the ban on gays and lesbians in the military (a.k.a. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"). Unfortunately, we were not in three days able to raise the amount of money required for Outright Libertarians to become a named sponsor of the Tour, which starts on February 20. However, we do strongly encourage our members to visit their website and make a personal donation. (The donations link is through LEF, the nonprofit set up by the Log Cabin Republicans, but please overlook that, and make the donation anyway.) This is a great cause, and while we hope this one tour will be enough to overturn DADT, we recognize that our organization will likely get another chance to sponsor this great program in the future, when we have more than three days to raise the necessary funds.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I Blame Gay Marriage

Check out this "it would be funny if it weren't so true" blog by Radley Balko on Bush's SOTU address. He calls it I Blame Gay Marriage.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Are Gays Too Hot for the Democrats to Handle?

It's possible that the Democrats are trying to distance themselves from GLBT issues, notes this article from the Washington Blade.

Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean has abolished the Democratic Party’s constituent outreach desks, including the post of director of lesbian and gay outreach.
. . .
Until last week, when contacted by the Blade, the DNC Gay & Lesbian Americans Caucus and the National Stonewall Democrats, a group representing gay Democrats with affiliated chapters throughout the country, had not publicly acknowledged or expressed an opinion on Dean’s decision to eliminate the gay outreach desk position.

Seems Outright's Democratic counterpart, the Stonewall Democrats, either don't know what to make of the news, or are diplomatically biting their tongues so they don't say what they are really thinking.

But what can one expect from someone capable of this kind of double-talk:

Dean carried his message of opposition to gay marriage into his role as DNC chair last February, after winning the post at the party’s annual winter meeting in Washington, D.C. At the time, Dean told the Associated Press that the Democratic Party is "not for gay marriage," although it has always and continues to believe "in equal rights under the law for all people."

Perhaps some GLBT Democrats will see the light and come over to the Party of Principle, where gay rights are not subject to being blown away by the prevailing political wind.