Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Anti-gay marriage forces getting wrecked in D.C.

To paraphrase one of my favorite singers, Anne Murray, we sure could use a little good news today.

So how about this from D.C.

During the recent hearings about marriage equality, the anti-lgbt forces have been slipping and they have been slipping badly. First comes our friend Sista Hot Mess from last week. Remember her?

Then comes Ruth Jacobs and her fascination with the "anus":

And those are just the preliminaries. Next is National Organization for Marriage head Brian Brown. It turns out that Brown doesn't do that well when faced with someone who will not fall for his silly talking points. Geez, why are the cute ones so dumb:

And for the main event - This is Walter Fauntroy. He is a black minister who is against marriage equality. He is also a former Washington, D.C. delegate and an organizer for the 1963 March on Washington. That last point is important to remember because every now and then, the conservative groups he aligns himself with sometimes try to slip in the notion that he was the main organizer of 1963 March on Washington; a notion that is inaccurate because the main organizer was Bayard Rustin, an openly gay black man.

His testimoy was been labeled as "bizarre" and "incomprehensible"


''I have advocated, where there are contractural relationships between people who, who have same-sex relationships, that they ought to be granted; and provided the contractural that the courts re -- provide everyone. However, on the question of marriage -- you cannot equate marriage with a contract when marriage is nature's schoolroom for teaching people how to care for, protect and defend one another.... That's why across the world, we are in danger, quite frankly, of violating the principle of perpetuation of the species. I have many, many friends, who are -- have, uh, sexual preference to others of the same sex. But they cannot reproduce....

''I just want to make it very clear that we who are most concerned about this issue, are concerned as political scientists, who know that this issue has been used by people who want to deny people five things, and are doing it effectively, in order to win eleven states in 1984 by diverting the attention of the people from the issue which was an ill-advised WAR in Iraq that has wrecked the world.... I've known homosexual couples for years and always advised, 'Protect yourself.' Please, get rid of -- I've married couples -- heterosexual couples who need a contract to make sure, that 'if you rat on me' -- uh, excuse me! If -- if we buy this house and, and you -- you're not gonna have it. You, it's -- as we used to say on the street -- uh, um -- 'It's cheaper to keep her!'''

Two lessons to take out of this:

1. Smile, folks. Things aren't as bad as you think. We will win this.

2. The vast importance of having lgbt elected officials. In the Jacobs, Brown, and Fauntroy clips, the city councilman who basically breaks them down is openly gay David Catania.

It's something to contemplate when one thinks of our city council victories last night.

And if it doesn't cheer you all up, then we could always talk about the "alleged" Carrie Prejean sex tape.

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Don't let the tears of a Maine loss blind us from seeing our victories or the entire struggle

I won't do it. I refuse to do it.

No matter how sad folks are over the loss in Maine, I will not give in to the malaise of anger and bitterness.

I understand the anger and bitterness over Maine, the need to spell out portents of doom and to seek inner meanings into the defeat.

But it was a defeat amongst a crop of victories.

In Kalamazoo, Michigan, voters rejected the phony notion that giving lgbts non-discrimination rights would somehow lead to a legion of predators invading women's restrooms.

What is that? Two victories in the face of an ugly lie (I say two victories because earlier this year, Gainesville, FL rejected the lie also.)

We are still leading in Washington state as far as I know.

And along with the openly lgbt mayor in Chapel Hill, NC comes this news from Houston, TX:

Houston City Controller Annise Parker was the top vote-getter Tuesday in the race for mayor, garnering more than 30% of the vote in a crowded field of candidates. Parker will now face former city attorney Gene Locke, who finished second, in a runoff election in mid-December.

Furthermore, lgbts were elected on city councils in Detroit, MI; Atlanta, GA; Akron, OH; and St. Petersburg, FL.

And last but not least, the House of  Representatives will start debate on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act today.

While we cry over Maine, let's not forget our other victories or battles. The fight for lgbt equality is an eternal struggle on many fronts. The opposition knows that.

We should too.

So let's cry as much as we need to over Maine, fix our faces, and come out swinging.

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You want pity because of Maine? You won't be getting it from me

We lost in Maine but I don't view it as a total defeat.

I know that we have a reason to be angry. The opposition lied, they stooped to underhanded tactics. They used the time honored false implication of "the gays are after America's children."

But in 2004, we lost a multitude of anti-gay marriage votes by double digits and the momentum was totally against us.

Last night, while we did not get all that we wanted in Maine, it was very close.

In these votes over marriage equality, the opposition may have crossed the finishing line before we did 31 times but every time we get just a little closer.

And let's not forget that we won in basic non-discrimination rights in Kalamazoo (despite the lies about the transgendered community and bathrooms) and continue to hold the lead in Washington state, which expands the rights of same-sex couples.

Not to mention that we now have an openly gay mayor in Chapel Hill, NC.

Unfortunately, all of the sadness and hyperbole will be directed towards Maine, which like a sponge will soak up all of the attention; some of it totally undeserved.

Sorry if I sound too pragmatic for some but I live in South Carolina, the state that is never on the radar regarding lgbt rights.

The lgbt community here have had the wolf at our door so many times that we could sue him for non-support.

I know the lesson not giving up when things look down and everyone has written you off.

So basically, I break it down to the following:

Forget the crap about Maine being supposedly independent and progressive because the fact of the matter is that marriage equality is still a murky issue which confuses and scares a lot of people, lgbts included.

And there is still enough uneasiness about what it could mean for the schools and children for religious right groups to exploit.

That is the reality and no amount of hand wringing or grousing about how we are "second class citizens" (and I really hate the tendency of my community to grab a catchphrase and use it to death) is going to change this fact.

But the landscape is changing. The more America sees lgbt couples, the more America sees lgbt families, and the more open and out we are, the more opportunistic charlatans like Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, and the rest of the "we need to protect marriage" crowd will be seen for what they are - silly clowns repeating silly catchphrases rooted in scare tactics and phony victimology of being called a "bigot."

The momentum still remains with us.

So I'm truly sorry for the folks who feel that last night was a total loss, who feel that last night is another excuse to sit in front of their computers, engage in pity parties, bring up fond memories of past street protests, or go so far as to make ignorant comments about the physical features of the opponents of equality.

Because I refuse to view last night as a loss. Any time that we can stand up and fight and educate people about our rights is never a loss.

A good fight was fought by many people and instead of contemplating about what we didn't get, why don't we take time out of our day to commend those who devoted time and effort to the cause.

The campaign workers, the volunteers, the bloggers - everyone who worked their tail off in pursuit of our equality deserve our praise and our thanks instead of the self-cannibalization that's sure to come. They deserve a big thank you instead of "see, I told you so," or "if I had run the campaign, I would have . . ."

So what do we do now that this election is over?

We continue to work for our rights and not just the right of marriage equality.

Despite the tendency of our opponents to make grand prognostications, our spirits may be diminished just a little but our backs aren't broken.

The round may have been lost, but the fight isn't over yet.

View last night as a teaching lesson.

Lgbts gaining full equality, including marriage equality, will probably be at times slow and tedious, tiring and time consuming.

There is no place for slackers or armchair warriors or those who get easily tired and discouraged.

If lgbt equality is to be achieved, it's going to have to be via sweat and toil.

There is no other choice.

There is no other alternative.

There will be no deux ex machina descending from the sky making everything right.

There will be no addendums or loopholes.

It's a job that will have to accomplished the hard way because there is no other way.

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