Tag Archive: glbt 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  Sure, Obama has been helpful about getting DADT repealed, but I think it also helpful to point out that it was the Log Cabin Republicans who actually brought the issue to the courts.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.

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?