Gay Rights – Minor Advances From Left, Same Bigotry From Right

Posted in General by TBartine on October 15, 2009 No Comments yet

Knowing that thousands of citizens would be marching in Washington D.C. the next day, President Obama said about what one would expect him to say at a Human Rights Commission dinner the previous evening: “I will end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’…We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve the country.  We should be celebrating their willingness to step forward and show such courage…especially when we are fighting two wars.”

Of course…this is what he said during the campaign…AND he could immediately call a moratorium on enforcement of the policy…AND hundreds of highly trained soldiers, technicians, translators, and medical personnel have already been lost this year.  Since the policy’s inception in 1993, over 12, 500 men and women have been discharged…men and women that took millions of dollars to train, and who will take many millions of dollars to replace.  Men and women…who are American heroes AND citizens.

So I guess we can’t blame the people marching the next day for being skeptical about Obama’s promises regarding DADT, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), securing hate crimes protection for gays, and providing equal work benefits for gay employees and equal rights for their gay partners.

But…he has taken some steps:  Obama has just nominated the first openly gay person to serve as a U.S. Marshall, and there is word that talks have been initiated with Senator Joe Lieberman about repealing DADT, since Lieberman sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

And there is one thing you have to admit…the other side of the aisle, isn’t even trying.

For all the Republicans’ talk of being the “civil rights party” and the “party of Lincoln,” the GOP leadership has offered little in the way of hope to the gay community.  One notable exception: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just signed two bills, one honoring Harvey Milk, and the other recognizing gay marriages performed in other states.

But the GOP leadership? If Representative John Boehner is any indication…they are still engaged in the “dark ages” belief that homosexuality is a “choice.”  When asked why he opposed the currently proposed legislation to add sexual orientation to the list of things protected by hate crime laws (ie. race, religion, gender), Boehner said that sexual orientation is different from the currently protected classes, which he says are “based on immutable characteristics.“  It’s hard to tell which of Boehner’s positions makes less sense:  that sexual orientation is NOT based on permanent traits from birth…or that religious choice IS.  Seeing as this argument doesn’t make any sense, allow me to translate Boehner’s response on behalf of the GOP to the question of “why shouldn’t gays have equal legal protection: They just don’t respect gay Americans.  And it is, in part, because of this viewpoint…homophobia-fueled beatings like the one endured by Jack Price (disturbing video here) continue to occur with some frequency.

And the Prop 8 Supporters? If their lawyer, Charles Cooper, is any indication…the pro-Prop 8 groups can’t even explain why Prop 8 (a California ban on gay marriage) is necessary.  In a recent hearing U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker asked Cooper to explain just how gay marriage poses any threat to heterosexual marriage, as alleged in Cooper’s lawsuit.  Cooper’s response: “My answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know.“  Seeing as this argument doesn’t make any sense, allow me to translate Cooper’s response on behalf of Prop 8 supporters to the question of “why shouldn’t gays be allowed to marry:They just don’t respect gay Americans.

And the right-wing media? If FOX News is any indication…they’ll cover Tea Party protests, no matter how small, but barely give airtime to a protest of 75,000 protesters in Washington, D.C., marching for gay rights.  In fact, the recent Tea Party protest in D.C. which netted about the same number of participants, seemed to warrant (by FOX’s standards) almost endless coverage and ads that also served to PROMOTE the event.  FOX News even had the nerve to criticize the other networks for covering the event too little, saying that the number of attendees alone merited great attention…but somehow the same number of gay people, and their heterosexual supporters, just don’t seem to count.  Seeing as this argument doesn’t make any sense, allow me to translate FOX News’ response to the question of “why shouldn’t gay civil rights protests get fair and equal treatment on the news:They just don’t respect gay Americans.

Here’s Jon Stewart of The Daily Show on FOX News’ hypocrisy:

What all these people forget, is that there are consequences to ignoring segments of our own citizenry.  Republicans, and FOX…will increasingly just have to do without the votes and viewership of gay Americans.  Democrats, and Obama…need to show gay Americans the respect the others won’t, or they will similarly be penalized.  And they ALL should realize, that a growing number of heterosexual Americans…ALSO support equal rights for gay Americans, and will vote/spend/watch  accordingly.