Tag Archive: gay rights


When I was a member of the Young Democrats at Marshall University, I remember attending a function at which some of the more prominent members of the state party were present.  I remember quite clearly a man saying that, all else being equal, what could cost us the election were three simple things, “Gods, Guns, and Gays.”  Aside from being horrendously offensive and irritating, his comments were part of a wider conversation going on at the time, both among my fellow Young Democrats and among the party as a whole.   Well, it was more of a one-sided conversation, and it went something like this:

Party Leaders:  Now, you gay people and women, we know that you have legitimate problems and issues, but we need you to clam up on those during the election so that (insert applicable name here) can be elected.  Once they are, then you can bring your grievances out (though not too loud), and we’ll see what we can do about them, at least until next election season.

Said Groups:  Okay.

Well, I’m sick and tired of that shit.  Even now, after we have one of the most progressive Presidents EVER in office, we still face the same kinds of problems.  Sure, Obama has been helpful about getting DADT repealed, but I think it also helpful to point out that it was the Log Cabin Republicans who actually brought the issue to the courts.  Not to mention the fact that simply repealing DADT doesn’t help the members who have already been discharged (there’s a great HuffPo article on that, by the way).

What really pisses me off, however, is the fact that in many other ways he continues to be lukewarm about other issues of importance to LGBT people, such as gay marriage.  In fact,  upon hearing that New York had legalized same sex marriage, he said that was supposed to be how it was done, at the state level.  Umm…since when have civil liberties been a state issue?  Since when do states have the right to decide which of their citizens they are going to treat as second class?

All of this just goes to show that we are still stuck with a President who refuses to take a firm stand in support of the very GLBT people who helped get him elected, in the hope that his administration would help to usher in and celebrate a new age of equality.  Instead, we still have to struggle for every inch of political ground, often times without the explicit support of the Democratic President that we helped to get elected.  But hey, isn’t that better than having the Republicans in charge, when we know that most of them are so viruently anti-gay as to be dangerous?  Perhaps so, but that’s precisely my point.  I’m sick and tired of having to settle for a President and a party that remain so wishy-washy about the rights of GLBT people, even when we do a lot of the grunt work to help get them elected.  In my humble opinion (which I am not shy about sharing), we should become more vocal and demand that the people who represent us take a firmer stand on our rights.  Otherwise, they need to get voted out.

Otherwise, we’ll just have to live with our status as second class citizens and I, for one, am not going to do that.

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In honour of the fact that so many wonderful LGBT people have been getting married in New York the past couple of days, I’d thought I’d post a few supposed “facts” or beliefs about gay people that I think are just plain stupid.  They’re not listed in any particular order, but they all piss me off in one way or another.

1.  I’m not gay, and I don’t have a problem with gay people, unless they hit on me.  Then I’d probably have to hit them or something.   Where to start with this one.  Although some gay men do get a thrill out of hitting on straight guys (and the same goes for lesbians and straight women), it’s not as if we all set out to seduce straight men (although many websites claim to do just that).  While there is always discomfort with unwanted sexual advances, I hardly think it requires violence.  And, of course, I’m sure those same straight men would have little or no problem making those same unwanted advances on women without seeing anything wrong with that.  Let’s just learn to respect each other’s space and let it go at that.

2.  Love the sinner but hate the sin.  I’m not sure what makes me the angriest about this particular myth, whether it’s the self-righteousness of it or the fact that it makes an assumption about human sexual behaviour that I’m not sure is true.  Basically, this delightful little truism allows Christians the opportunity to pass judgment, without ever pausing to take stock of their own biases, prejudices, and sinful behaviour.  They get to take the moral high-road, while condemning everyone else.  Rather sad, really, but all too common nonetheless.

3.  Disagreeing with gay people has now become against the law, and that goes against my rights.  I’ve already talked about this one before, but I feel it bears repeating.  Just because you have a bigoted belief doesn’t give you the right to enforce that belief on others.  If you want to bash gay people, then do it in the privacy of your own home our Church, rather than out in the open where we have to listen to your misguided and unfortunate ideas.  When your hatred begins to spill out into the public space, then you have to be prepared to face the consequences that your hatred necessarily brings about.

And finally…

4.  Gay marriage should be left up to the states to decide.  The people have a right to decide whether to allow gay marriage to happen.  No, actually, they don’t.  The U.S. Constitution, for better or worse, is the framework of our government and it specifically guarantees equal protection under the law.  Perhaps the “Founding Fathers” would not have liked to see it used to promote gay marriage, but some of them also wouldn’t have liked to see it ban slavery either, yet it most definitely does.  Civil rights are not a states’ rights issue, regardless of whether those rights are for women, people of colour, or members of the LGBT community.  Those basic rights are not a pile of treasure that can be pieced out to the deserving, they are for everyone.

So, there you have it.  Some gay myths and beliefs that are absolute nonsense.  Hopefully, one day in the not too distant future, they’ll be buried in the past where they belong.

The recent case that resulted in the overturn (however temporary that might prove to be,) of Proposition 8 has raised some important questions for me regarding what kind of allegiance the GLBT community should have toward either the Democratic or Republican Party. (Full disclosure: I am an avid and adamant supporter of the Democratic Party.) A blogger at the Huffington Post (see the original post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/05/prop-8-ruling-exposes-dem_n_671900.html) made some interesting points about the fact that the Democrats have been notoriously reluctant about overtly supporting gay rights, so I thought I would take a look at the situation and offer my thoughts about it.

There are a couple of core issues we need to consider when it comes to gay allegiance. First of all, as the HuffPo points out, why should the GLBT community support a party that has been so lukewarm in its support of those causes? Well, the reasoning typically goes, because they’re not Republicans, who have taken anti-gay sentiment and made it a core part of their platform. However, this may eventually change, as younger members of the Republican Party are much more supportive (as a rule,) than their elder counterparts, and if the GOP as a whole comes around, this could cause some soul-searching questions for those GLBT voters for whom the supposed Democratic support of gay rights trumps anything else.

Which brings me to the other important issue here. Just how prominent should their rights be in the minds of GLBT voters? Most, I think, would say that their fundamental rights trump everything else, which is why they (and other minorities,) tend to throw their support behind the Democratic Party, which has, in theory at least, been the more supportive one. For others, however, their views of economic and foreign policy are deemed more important, and so a substantial number of voters throw their support behind the GOP, even if that means sacrificing their civil rights in the process.

My own personal opinion is that GLBT voters need to protect their rights, even if that means making some concessions when it comes to foreign/economic policy. Unlike the Republican Party, which has as part of its platform the explicit denial of the rights of gay Americans, the Democrat Party has an open-door policy and has, on the whole, been more supportive. The likelihood of the Republican Party swinging in favor of GLBT rights is, in my view, a far off possibility (and, if you ask me, almost an impossibility.) Their 2008 Party Platform specifically says that they are in support of “traditional marriage,” whereas the Democratic National Committee states that it will do everything it can to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation. Face it, being GLBT is an essential part of who we are, and that is worth protecting. If we let Republicans take away our rights now, the end result can only be persecution.

That’s why, in my opinion, we who are GLBT must continue to support the Democratic Party. That being said, I do not think that we should just write them a blank check and assume that they are going to help us. We need to pressure them to stand up for the rights that are guaranteed us by the Constitution. All too often, “moderate” Democrats use their moderate nature as an excuse to let social and civil rights issues slide. It’s high time that we who are members of the GLBT community tell our party that we’ve had enough, and that we’re going to demand that they live up to their promises. Otherwise, why should we supper them?

It was a great and historic day in California today, as the pernicious and oppressive Proposition 8 was overturned by the ruling of a federal judge. This is, in my opinion, the first step on a journey that will, hopefully, result in the full inclusion of gay men and women in the fabric of American life, including and especially the right to celebrate and share our lives with those we love, with the approval and rights that heterosexual couples currently enjoy. The judge has shown that, when it comes to a democracy, the opinion of the “many” (even if that term is defined by a narrow majority of approximately 52%,) should not be allowed to oppress the lives of a few.

However, although this ruling is indeed a cause for celebration among those of us in the GLBT community, we should also be cautious in our optimism. Those who are in favor of a gay marriage ban have already stated that they are going to pursue an appeal, and it will most likely be several years before the case goes before the Supreme Court, and even then there’s no guarantee that we are going to get the ruling that we might desire (although there has been some speculation, including a recent piece in the “Huffington Post, that Justice Kennedy might come down on our side, assuming the rest of the court is split into its usual liberals and conservatives.) So yes, we should celebrate this day as another step forward in the fight for gay rights, we must also be certain to be cautious. The fight is far from over.

We should also remember that, just because the court has found in our favor, doesn’t mean that there aren’t still lots of people out there dead-set against the idea of gay men and women sharing their lives together in marriage (or any other sort of legal recognition, for that matter.) Yes, we most definitely should take this issue to the highest court in the land. After all, it is only there that we can hope to get a fair and balanced ruling, one based (ostensibly, at least,) on the rules set down by the Constitution rather than on the religious zealousness of bigoted fundamentalists. However, we also have to remember that there are many people who will do whatever they can to deny those in the GLBT community their equal rights, so we must always be vigilant.

So, what can we do in light of these developments? We can bask in the euphoria for a few days, but then the work must resume. We must ensure that we apply as much pressure to as many political points as possible. The wind is blowing in our direction, so we need to make sure that we take advantage of that fact and move ahead with our movement to gain equality. We can’t let this victory slide or fade away from public consciousness. We need to keep up the momentum, and never stop fighting until this issue goes straight to the Supreme Court. And, even if they rule in their favor, we must be always vigilant to ensure that those rights are guaranteed and protected in every way. Then, and only then, can we breathe easy.