Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Real Dignity Before False Unity

Much has been made of Barack Obama's invitation of anti-gay Brokeback... um, I mean SADDLEback Church pastor Rick Warren to deliver a convocation at Obama's inauguration.

Obama is free to invite who he pleases, and those who are displeased with his choice are free to criticize it. We at Outright take no pleasure in seeing that our well-rooted concern that the Obama Administration would throw LGBTQ Americans under the bus will be commencing literally from the first hour of his administration.

There has been much debate over the situation, some valid and some merely rhetorical. Comparisons to racist pastors have been made -- and they have some validity. If Obama is seeking to "unite" the country, including all bigots fearful of his administration, then the most magnanimous step he could take would be to invite some racist leaders, such as David Duke or Louis Farrakhan, to the event as speakers.

That would doubtlessly invite controversy. African Americans and supporters of equal treatment under the law would doubtlessly disapprove across all three national political parties and independents alike. But such a move, given Obama's status as America's first African American president, would have validity and meaning, and would represent true courage in underscoring his commitment to "dialogue with all." It would represent true sacrifice on the part of the president-elect.

Throwing gay people to the wolves is far less "courageous," and resembles something more akin to what Bill Clinton would have done. It's easy for a powerful heterosexual man to demand sacrifice from LGBTQ people who have already lost so much -- their family rights in the largest state in the country, their jobs in the military, and even their physical safety in brutal and traumatizing assaults like the recent gang rape of a gay woman in San Francisco. LGBTQ people have "sacrificed" far too much, and for this powerful man to demand further sacrifice from them when he has sacrificed literally nothing is staggering to behold.

The reality? Barack Obama's shameless pandering to homophobia in his inauguration is an inexcusable demand that gay Americans exchange their dignity as individuals for a phony feel-good "unity" around a vision of America where LGBT Americans are on the outside looking in. This is NOT "change we can believe in" -- it is rather "more of the same."

With this in mind, I'd like to turn more of my attention to the wheedling and excuse-making by LGBT Obama partisans like Atlantic columnist Andrew Sullivan and pop singer Melissa Etheridge.

Etheridge opines:

Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.

Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.

Sullivan adds that:

The journey that Melissa Etheridge has taken is my own... we are the ones we have been waiting for.

While it's sad (if not nauseating) to watch these two grown people fawn over their hero selling them (and us) down the river again, I'm reminded of something my mother taught me many years ago.

If you have to "prove" you're a good person, the person demanding that proof isn't.

Rather than go down this path of "reaching out" to bigots who had, until just a couple of days ago, posted lists of people who may not join their church (including "homosexuals")... Rather than fawn over Obama's Clintonian ways... Rather than spit out his trite one-liners... we have a real choice this holiday season.

Let us do what we have always done and contribute to our communities in the ways we always have -- without an agenda of "proving" ourselves "worthy" of the admiration of bigots. Let us stand up and refuse to be thrown under the bus along with Obama's late grandmother, Obama's pastor, Obama's Chicago mentor, and every other individual he's sacrificed in his unrelenting thirst for power.

Rather than take yet another for "the team" (which never really seeks to include LGBTQ people as out and equal partners), let's just tell the truth: Obama's demand for our reticence, and his partisans' glorifying of Warren's ideology as an opportunity for "dialogue" is an insulting, condescending and inexcusable embrace of homophobia. And further, let us deliver a message to both Obama and his bigoted base: we seek unity as Americans and as vigorous participants in a free society, but we shall never do so at the cost of our own dignity.

Those who demand otherwise seek power for themselves, not promise for America, and they should be held to account. So long as such attitudes enjoy a position of prominence in strategies of the American president, this country's promise shall remain elusive.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Remedial Review for Ridiculous Religious Rightists

As I scour through the comment threads of various news items, the true stupidity of the religious right smacks me, smack-dab in the snout.

However, your friendly blogger is a compassionate fellow and is quite able and willing to explain a few things to the pro-Prop-8 religionists who are foaming at the mouth in fury.

First of all, please stop referring to the lists of pro and anti Prop 8 supporters as "blacklists" and to boycotts as "blacklisting." A blacklist is a list developed by government specifically to punish and illegalize certain people.

A boycott is not a "blacklist" and never was. Boycotts are legitimate expressions of individuals' right to consume as they please. You seemed to understand this when you boycotted American Airlines for offering same-sex partner health benefits, when you boycotted United Airlines for doing the same thing, when you boycotted Ford Motor for advertising in gay periodicals, when you boycotted Disney for not banning LGBT families from their park, and even when you threatened Proposition 8 opponents with a boycott of your own if they didn't stop contributing to the anti-Prop-8 initiatives.

Please don't tell me that you're so stupid as to believe that now that the shoe is on the other foot, it's suddenly wrong, bad and illegal.

None of us have a right to employment, public or private. And the fact of the matter is, a number of people in rather prominent positions -- fully knowing that their large contributions are a matter of public record -- declared that they favored Prop 8.

Some of them were rather silly. Did the guy who oversees musical theater in Sacramento actually think he'd be able to avoid fallout from the gay community when they learned of his efforts to revoke their rights? It's musical theater, for criminy's sake -- without gay cash, it would cease to exist.

How about the mental midget in LA who was a part-owner of a gay-oriented Mexican cantina? How stupid is she? (The mind boggles).

Or the director of the Sundance festival -- a festival that goes out of its way to market itself to LGBT people.

Let's put the shoe on the other foot, shall we?

Imagine if a man who owns a restaurant catering to Mormons contributed a large sum of money to revoke their tax status. Or if a man who sells religious garments to the Catholic Church campaigned publicly against Catholicism.

Would they have a magical right to expect business to continue pouring in? Would they be "blacklisted" if right-wing religious groups called for boycotts or other action?

Of course not. Your actions facilitating this sort of thing over the years prove it.

Unfortunately for you, the worm has turned.

Gay people represent over $900 billion in annual spending power in the USA, pushing to $1 trillion by 2012. That's a lot of cash.

And now, thanks to the internet and instant access to public records, they can decide where and how they're going to spend that money.

Which means that if you want to continue channelling money to bigot amendments, you're going to have to find one of those shrinking number of jobs where little or no money comes from gay consumers -- or you're going to have to decide if your hate and anger is worth a loss of revenue to the competition.

That's the beauty of free markets. You have the right to express whatever point of view you'd like, but others have the right to spend their money however they see fit.

That the LGBT boycott of anti-gay businesses and individuals is more successful than the abortive boycotts you've launched over the years is less a sign of "unfair blacklisting," and more a sign of your lack of influence over modern American economic life.

And while that may upset you, it's no basis for you to claim a right to the dollars of gay people who you have insulted, belittled, hated, attacked and disenfranchised so often over the last several decades.

New York State Democrats Commit Electoral Fraud

New York's Democratic Party politicos promised voters, in an intense campaign, that if elected to a majority in the state house and state senate, they would introduce a marriage equality bill into law in 2009.

New York's Democratic governor, New York's Democratic majority leader, and New York's partisan Democratic gay lobby Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) all promised LGBT voters that if they handed control of the state senate -- long controlled by the GOP -- to the Democrats, a marriage equality bill would hit the books in 2009.

They even backed up this plan with a symbolic huge passage of a marriage equality bill in the lower house, blaming its failure in the Senate on Republican leadership.

Gay voters in New York got the message loud and clear, and a flood of campaign contributions, votes, and campaign support came in for the Democrats. As the New York Times notes:

After a pledge from New York Democratic leaders that their party would legalize same-sex marriage if they won control of the State Senate this year, money from gay rights supporters poured in from across the country, helping cinch a Democratic victory.

But now, just weeks after the Democrats won their big victory in NY's elections, it turns out that the entire set of promises were a giant con game -- structured electoral fraud by Democrats who knowingly lied to the electorate of New York. As the Times describes it:

party leaders have sent strong signals that they may not take up the issue during the 2009 legislative session. Some of them suggest it may be wise to wait until 2011 before considering it, in hopes that Democrats can pick up more Senate seats and Gov. David A. Paterson, a strong backer of gay rights, would then be safely into a second term.

Classic bait-and-switch.

Classic fraud.

Now, it's not illegal for Democrats to lie -- heck, if it was, most of that party would be serving long terms in jail.

However, it's instructive to note the reactions of most of the NY Democrat leadership:

“We want to get there, but we want to get there the right way or else we risk setting ourselves back another decade,” said Senator Liz Krueger, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side.

Ah, but will the people who are "reassessing" their "strategy" be refunding the money they received in contributions as a result of their commitment?

Of course not. Fraudsters rarely reimburse their victims.

Meanwhile, the Gay A-List Democrats have demonstrated the lack of leadership they've demonstrated to date on Proposition 8, DOMA, DADT and every other Democratic Party con-job on the LGBT community to date. It's not like ESPA wasn't singing the praises of the Democrats up to election day, and providing top Dem politicos with a bully pulpit:

Mr. Smith, speaking about same-sex marriage at a fund-raiser for the Empire State Pride Agenda last year, was emphatic, saying, “We’re going to make sure that happens in ’08, when we take over the majority.” He now avoids questions on the topic and instead gives a standard reply about the need to focus on the economy when asked about it.

And you've got to love the quisling queers, selling you down the river after defrauding you for The Party. Smith, who rarely meets a microphone he doesn't want to monopolize, has been downright circumspect in the wake of this electoral fraud, and his de-facto campaign organization also isn't talking:

The Empire State Pride Agenda, an organization known for aggressively pursuing news media attention, said through a spokesman that it was in a “quiet period” and would not respond to questions.

That accountability thing is so tedious, dontcha know. And now, the Defrauding Democrats have picked up Smith's line about "the economy" and are peddling it to pissed off voters and contributors:

Asked about when Mr. Paterson would like to see the Senate vote, the governor’s communications director, Risa B. Heller, said, “For now and the immediate future we are focused on the state’s fiscal situation.”

The fiscal situation was bad before the election, too. Didn't stop the Democrats from defrauding the voters of New York State.

Your rights weren't too insignificant to serve as a campaign slogan to get cash out of your pockets and your vote. Only after providing the margin of victory did LGBT people become a non-priority to this Party of Parasites.

In the meanwhile, to our Democratic Party colleagues expressing shock and grief over this betrayal -- this blatant electoral fraud -- we hate to say we told you so, but we told you so.

In 1991, Bill Clinton and Democrats campaigned as the president who would desegregate the military. Instead, he signed the anti-gay Don't Ask Don't Tell law, resulting in the illegalizing of out gay servicepeople and the discharge of tens of thousands of servicepersons.

In 1996, Bill Clinton and Democrats campaigned on a platform of "fairness and equality for gay people." Then, Bill Clinton signed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act -- and campaigned on it. As a result, married families in Massachusetts, Connecticut and (until recently) California continue to be treated as legal strangers by the federal government that has its hands deep in their pockets.

In 2000, Al Gore campaigned in favor of the UAFA, pledging to promote it. After losing the election, he and the Democratic Party made it clear that UAFA was permanently off the agenda -- despite the massive amount of LGBT support his campaign attracted.

In 2004, John Kerry campaigned for state DOMA laws in Missouri, and after losing the election (despite a large amount of LGBT support), called his first press conference after the election in Louisiana to denounce his own state of Massachusetts for making marriage equality a reality.

And in 2008, supporters of Barack Obama provided the margin to push the anti-gay Proposition 8 over the top, with Obama refusing to lend his voice to commercials in opposition to that law.

Libertarians can attest that this latest Democratic Party betrayal is just one in a long line of con-jobs foisted by Democrats on the electorate.

What else would you expect from the ethical lowlifes who gave the world Elliot Spitzer?

We hope that rather than jumping through the hoops yet again, the gay community responds to this latest outrage by saying "sorry, we have other priorities" when the defrauding Democrats of New York State come begging for votes and donations. Hopefully a few election cycles in the minority (and a defunct ESPA) will be instructive to fraudster politicos and their phoney promises made with your family's future.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Could this have ended up any worse?

eHarmony to offer same-sex matches after New Jersey settlement* | Technology | Los Angeles Times

1. Government regulation of a privately-owned business.
2. Gays given "separate-but-equal" treatment yet again.
3. Does anyone think this "" site will be anything but utterly craptastic?
4. Fundamentalists predictably are screaming "judicial activism" even though this was a private settlement outside of trial.
5. Fundamentalists threatening to sue gay dating sites for not offering straight matchmaking.
6. More undeserved press for that Fundamentalist bozo Neil Clark Warren.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mercury-News's Mangled Muddied Muddled Marriage Malarke

The San Jose Mercury News, the top paper of Silicon Valley, has gotten it wrong again. This time, it printed a presumptuous and somewhat insulting editorial about the present controversy around California's anti-gay Proposition 8. Most notable are some rather questionable assertions that the paper asserts as truisms:

Had supporters of gay marriage shown as much fervor for their cause before the Nov. 4 election as they have since, they probably would have defeated Proposition 8. But they will surely fail in their campaign to repeal the ban if threats and coercion continue to be among their tactics.

Threats and coercion?

Such as threatening to launch recall petitions against Supreme Court justices who vote in favor of the 14th amendment rights of gays and lesbians?

Or referring to peaceful protestors in last weekend's nationwide marches as "terrorists?"

some extremes we're seeing are just plain wrong. For example, the vandalism of Mormon churches might be interpreted as a hate crime if it were directed at gay and lesbian institutions.

Vandalism is indeed nasty. However, several investigations in California have suggested that the vandalism (and the various other claimed threats) was not committed by LGBT people at all -- but rather by Mormons themselves, in a bid to generate public sympathy and change the subject.

In fact, not one of the alleged "vandalism" incidents has been traced back to any member or ally of the LGBT community.

That doesn't stop the Mercury-News from presuming the community's guilt however... which is amusing since it then begins a lecture on the Constitution that is laughably inaccurate.

One ugly case was the boisterous protest by dozens of gay marriage supporters outside a small Los Angeles restaurant where the owner's daughter had contributed $100 to Proposition 8. The loss of customers threatened the livelihoods of employees, some of whom were gay and opposed the initiative.


the selective boycotts of small donors clearly is meant to send a message of intimidation and suppress the First Amendment right of expression.

Well, let's set the record, ehrm, straight here.

Firstly, the bar in question was a popular Mexican cantina in Los Angeles that catered heavily to the LGBT community in the area.

Secondly, the "small donor" was not merely the "owner's daughter," but a part owner of the firm in question.

Thirdly, there was not a "raucus demonstration," but rather a press conference called by the other owners, where the owner in question attempted to explain her contribution to the anti-gay initiative.

A majority of attendees at the gay-catering establishment rejected her argument, and a large number of people have decided to take their business elsewhere. Which is their right.

Let's ignore the fact that the Mercury-News has refused to criticize anti-gay boycotts conducted against firms ranging from a California pumpkin farm (for flying rainbow flags) to large institutions like Apple, Ford Motor Co., American and United Airlines, and Walt Disney Co. for having the "audacity" to offer domestic partner benefits.

Let's even ignore the fact that the Mercury-News has refused to criticize the pro-Proposition-8 campaign's tactics as "dangerous," despite the fact that it was the first party in this debate to play the boycott card, threatening anti-Prop-8 donors with boycotts back in October.

Both mulligans for the Mercury-News aren't difficult -- LGBT people are long used to a lack of even-handed treatment by the established media, and while that's rather inexcusable in this day and age, there's something far less excusable at play in the M-N's editorializing.

The Mercury News has demonstrated it has absolutely no understanding of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of individuals to express themselves free of government coercion or harrassment. It provides no guarantee to a comfortable living despite one's political opinions, nor does it provide a guarantee or "right" to avoid criticism and boycotts.

The business owner in question certainly had a right to donate to a gay-hating constitutional amendment. Just as she has the right to contribute money to a pro-racial-segregation amendment, or an amendment to strip women of the right to vote, or any other initiative that may or may not appear in the future.

However, she has no "right" to expect LGBT people, or African Americans, or women, or any other group negatively impacted by her actions, to continue to patronize her business. Her decision to support an anti-gay constitutional amendment was one she made as a result of her religious ideas, and part of that decision should include accepting the consequences of that decision -- including loss of business.

By making the donation, she indicated that she valued her ideals above her economic well-being (especially considering her heavily gay clientele), and the responsibility for the consequences lie primarily with her -- not her customers. Her decision to publicly make such a donation was an economically foolish decision for an owner of a gay-targeted business -- equally as stupid as the loan decisions of subprime mortgage issuers, or any other bad business decision.

Putting aside Hank Paulson's TARP bailout package, the last time we checked, there was no Constitutional right to avoiding the consequences of bad business decisions.

On an emotional level, much has been made of her tears and frustration. But the Mercury-News needs to consider the tears and frustration of families across the state of California tonight, many of whom have children who are now "legally bastards" (to use Dan Savage's inelegant yet accurate verbiage).

It's a pity that the Mercury-News isn't concerned about them (and their rights). Rather than mangling, muddling and muddying the First Amendment to invent a right to not suffer the consequence of bad business decisions, the paper would be better served defending the Fourteenth Amendment rights of all Californians.

Friday, November 14, 2008

On Proposition 8

At Outright, we give credit where credit is due, even when it comes from people with whom we often disagree.

In this case, your humble blogger believes that Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's Democratic Party talking head, has more-or-less nailed it on Proposition 8's passage in California.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Buying in to right-wing talking points

If I hear another gay conservative complain that the loss of marriage equality in California is due to "judicial activism," I will absolutely explode.

Listen up, conservatives: You know that recent Supreme Court decision that struck down D.C.'s gun ban as Unconstitutional? Judicial activism. Court decisions striking down campaign finance laws as Unconstitutional? Judicial activism. And conservatives loved those precedents. So, why is it that judicial activism is only bad when gay people are the beneficiaries?

And as if it's not bad enough that some gay conservatives parrot the right-wing talking points about judicial activism, I occasionally see one fly so far beyond the most arch-conservative pundit to say something so ridiculous that it would make Pat Buchanan cringe:

The gay marriage issue is not going to be decided over the heads of the American people, and no amount of comparing it to Brown vs. Board of Education or any other dubiously relevant precedent will change that. -- Jonathan Rauch

This is why gay conservatives aren't taken seriously. By anyone.