Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Now is not the time for gay issues to divert attention from our important work."

How many times have we heard that title quote from Democrats (and "gay-friendly Republicans" before them)?

Probably thousands of times.

Whenever we as LGBT people (or especially LGBT Libertarians) point out that Democrats and Republicans should support laws to treat gays and lesbians equally under the law, we're told that gay people are "selfish" for wanting to put our "special interest issues" ahead of "more important things."

Apparently, the constitutional rights of millions of Americans are now "special interest issues."

Meanwhile, just what is this "important work" that's taking up so much of Congressional time? Obviously, this stuff must be vital national security stuff -- perhaps averting an attack.

Or balancing the federal budget? (Although it doesn't seem clear why that would take months -- just cut discretionary spending, allow people to opt out of Social Security, and put caps on entitlement spending and you're there.)

So I decided to have a look at the "important work" that Congress has been indulging in within the last 12 months. All of these Very Important Issues had widespread Congressional support:

1) Gay people wanting immigration equality to sponsor their foreign same-sex partners were told to either break up, leave the country, or maintain a telephone-based relationship. But Democrats and Republicans found the votes to ban online gambling web sites.

2) Gay people who are married or civilly partnered in various US states have had their relationships bases declared null and void by the federal government for over a decade. But in the last year, Democrats and Republicans alike found the votes to mandate and fund electronic tracking ear tags for cows.

3) Gay folks who want to serve openly in the military, in a time of a shortage of personnel that could be accurately characterized as a crisis, were told by Nancy Pelosi that her party would not even consider the issue in this session of Congress. But she and her fellow Democrats -- as well as Republicans -- had plenty of time to debate and pass the "Bainbridge Island Japanese American Monument Act." (We're sure the monument will be quite nice, just as we're sure that most Japanese Americans have never heard of it).

4) Gay parents who are concerned about federal laws and state laws that could deprive them of custody of their children if they cross the wrong border were completely ignored. However, Congressional Democrats and Republicans were fortunately able to pass the "an act to allow for the renegotiation of the payment schedule of contracts between the Secretary of the Interior and the Redwood Valley County Water District."

5) Gay and lesbian Americans seeking equal treatment in taxation and pension treatment from their Social Security payments were told to shut up and keep paying. . . after all, who cares if a surviving partner loses a home to taxes if he's the same gender as the deceased? Nancy Pelosi's House of Representatives had more pressing matters, including 4 bills naming post offices or other federal buildings just this month.

Wow. If I was cynical, I'd think the Democrats really didn't care much about the welfare of gay people, and simply use it as a campaign issue to raise money every two years from the LGBT community.