Monday, January 14, 2008

Fact-Correcting the Queer Press

As the endless old-party primary process slogs on, replete with glittering generalities and shameless efforts to pander and mislead, I figured that this article in the Southern Voice needed some factual correction.

So, without further ado. . .

With Hillary Clinton fresh off a crucial win in New Hampshire and Barack Obama still riding on his win in Iowa, local gay voters acknowledge they are torn between the two.

That would be local gay Democratic voters, of course. Many of us insist on voting for actual pro-gay candidates.

Both tDemocratic [sic] presidential candidates claim nearly the same stance on gay issues such as repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as well as providing legal protections for gay couples.

Neither Democratic candidate has introduced companion legislation to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act which actually would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, despite years in the Senate (and the fact that the MREA is so old that it was originally introduced into the House by a Congressman, Marty Meehan, who has since retired).

Both candidates are also opposed to marriage equality, rendering their commitment to "legal protections for gay couples" questionable at best.

But John Edwards, also a strong gay rights rter, [sic] seems to have lost his footing in the race, according to University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock.

I assume that the article was claiming that John Edwards is a "strong gay rights supporter," but that's difficult to reconcile with his extremely poor record on issues including marriage equality. The former Senator even stood up at last year's LOGO Democratic debate on gay issues to declare that he opposes gay marriage.

How that translates into "strong gay rights support" fails to be seen. But perhaps I got the missing word wrong and it's really "punter."

Ben Labolt, a national spokesperson for the Obama campaign, said the campaign was definitely seeking gay support in Georgia and referred calls to Drenner for further comments.

Press releases from the Obama campaign listing Georgia supporters don’t include other notable gay leaders.

I guess that would be called "support from the closet."

Clinton’s campaign released a list of Georgia supporters with several prominent gay and lesbian leaders

I guess that's a little better, although it begs the question what constitutes a "leader" (which, like "strong support," remains undefined.)

“[Clinton’s] doing a good job of actively reaching out to gay voters,” she said. While there is not a great deal of difference on gay issues among the Democratic candidates, Demorest said, it is Clinton’s experience and how effective she can be in the White House that resulted in her backing.

I suppose that, if pandering to the right by refusing to criticize a homophobic general's comments on gay people being "immoral," and sharing a similar do-nothing attitude vis-a-vis equal military service, marriage equality, immigration equality, and tax treatment equality counts as "experience," then Mrs. Clinton is very experienced.

Of course, it's still not giving gay people a lot of reason to support her.

On the Republican side, there is obviously not much gay outreach

This quite possibly qualifies as the understatement of the year so far in the queer press.

When he introduced himself to Romney as the president of Georgia’s LCR, Ensley said Romney “looked like a deer caught in headlights, and then mumbled something awkwardly and smiled. I told our national office after meeting him that if Gov. Romney is the answer, then it was a stupid question.”

Your faithful blogger got to meet the former Massachusetts governor at the Conservative Leadership Conference in Reno, Nevada and concluded that Romney is just as pandering and principle-free as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the other Democrats. In fact, they could swap places and not many people would notice.

His meeting with Giuliani went better, Ensley said, with the former New York mayor thanking him for his support.

Never mind that Giuliani is on the record as backtracking on ending the anti-gay military ban and has flip-flopped on marriage equality, stating recently that even New Hampshire's civil union law "goes too far."

Wow. What a leader.

But as a political activist, he said he knows Clinton, Obama, Edwards as well as Gov. Bill Richards, [sic] Giuliani and even Ron Paul are receiving significant gay grassroots support.

Considering that former governor Richardson has exited the race, and that Ron Paul has no significant gay support that I've been able to discern as a longtime gay Libertarian activist, one wonders how plugged in he is.

So basically, gay voters have three choices this election season.

They can throw their support to Democrats, who define "outreach" as segregation of gay people into "separate and unequal" legal status; who argue about which is "bolder" by naming so-called partisan gay "leaders" as supporters (or keeping them in the closet, in Obama's case); and who claim to be "supporters of gay rights" yet have done literally nothing after years in the Senate to support even the most rudimentary (and aging) legislation pertaining to equality under the law.

Or they can throw their support to Republicans, who flee at the mention of gay people; thank gay people for their "support" while supporting anti-gay policies; or have the dubious distinction of politically and/or financially profiting from homophobic public statements or publications.

Or they can choose to support Libertarians, who unequivocally support equal treatment in marriage, taxation, immigration, military service, and adoption.

It's not a tough choice for those of us who are aware of the differences (and insist on quality gay journalism, something that's increasingly hard to find in the political arena).