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Adherents of U.S.’s Largest Religion Persecuted by Upstart Queers

December 25, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Gay Rights

help-persecutionIf I hear one more conservative whine that the A&E Network violated Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s free speech rights by suspending him from the show, I’m going to choke them with a duck whistle.

Here’s a primer for conservatives who have dedicated themselves to becoming experts on the Second Amendment while abdicating the First to liberals: Freedom of speech means the government can’t stop you from saying what you want, or force you to support what you don’t believe.  It doesn’t mean you can avoid the consequences of people’s responses to your speech.  It doesn’t prohibit others from choosing not to give you a forum for your views.

Conservatives have been leaping in front of bullets to defend Robertson’s First Amendment rights.  What about A&E’s First Amendment rights?

In an interview with GQ magazine several months ago, Robertson declared that gays, fornicators, drunks, terrorists, and people who commit bestiality—you know, kissing cousins—won’t make it to heaven.  In a 2010 sermon, he thundered that gays are “full of murder, envy, strife, hatred.  They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters.  They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless.  They invent ways of doing evil.”  A&E subsequently announced that they would no longer bankroll Robertson’s cable TV stardom—a decision they have since reversed.

The way some Christian groups reacted, you’d think A&E had successfully lobbied the President to sign an executive order mandating that adherents of the country’s largest and most powerful religion communicate only via duck whistle.

The Duck Dynasty brouhaha isn’t about “tolerance,” as Robertson supporters claim.  Pro-Robertson conservatives aren’t particularly tolerant of A&E’s right to express its views by declining to pay Robertson millions of dollars and give him airtime on their network.

In National Review Mark Steyn complained, “The forces of ‘tolerance’ are intolerant of anything less than full-blown celebratory approval.”  I don’t know, lumping in members of committed, decades-long relationships with sheep buggerers and people who fly passenger jets into skyscrapers, and generously letting God decide who will spend eternity in a lake of fire, is rather far removed from “full-blown celebratory approval.”  I think most same-sex marriage supporters would settle for “grudging acceptance of the law.”

You could just as easily say Steyn is intolerant of “anything less than full-blown celebratory approval” of Christianity and gay marriage opposition.  Why does Steyn’s stance get to be the default position and support for gay marriage have to be the upstart one?

In a series of hyperventilating exaggerations, Steyn compared A&E’s business decision to Muslims in London bullying shopkeepers into not selling alcohol; chess players in the former Soviet Union politicizing the game; and French Revolutionaries hanging political enemies to set an example.  How are any of these situations analogous to A&E’s private business decision?

Other false pro-Robertson arguments abound: Liberals are upset about Robertson but didn’t complain at the nasty things Martin Bashir said about Sarah Palin.  Liberals are outraged over Robertson’s views but don’t balk when Muslim countries execute gays.  Liberals support A&E’s right to fire Robertson but don’t favor the right of Christian bakers not to decorate wedding cakes for gays.

But “Liberals are hypocrites” is not an argument against A&E’s decision.  Liberals are hypocrites—so?  MSNBC made a defensible decision to fire Bashir.  Iran’s virulently anti-gay leaders deserve condemnation.  Owners of private shops shouldn’t be forced to cater to groups they don’t want to.

And A&E has the right to deny a platform to someone whose views it finds repugnant.

Other conservatives argue that Robertson is simply parroting his religion’s beliefs.  Really?  So because the holy text for his religion includes vile, dehumanizing statements about large subgroups of people, he’s allowed to repeat them at will without having to worry about his job security?  Don’t most conservatives criticize Islamic extremists for similar behavior?

It’s embarrassing to see Christian groups leaping to Robertson’s defense the way they leapt to the defense of Chick-fil-A after gay groups boycotted the fast food chain over CEO Dan Cathy’s anti-gay views.  I’m guessing those who jumped to Cathy’s defense thought the boycott was over his opposition to gay marriage, and weren’t aware of his comparison of homosexuality to pedophilia, his view that homosexuality should be illegal, his donation to groups that support “conversion therapy,” his preference for “exporting” gays out of the country, and his solidarity with anti-gay groups that opposed the U.S. condemning Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.  Similarly, I notice that Robertson supporters haven’t been quite so vocal in their defense of him since the revelation of his belief that African Americans were happier under Jim Crow.

Conservatives rightly denounce the moral relativist stance of “non-judgmentalism.”  So why don’t they condone letting us use our brains to judge whether Robertson’s comments about gays and blacks are reasonable in this day and age?

Westboro Baptist Church members—they of the “God Hates Fags” and “God Loves Dead American Soldiers” funeral pickets—announced their solidarity with Robertson.  That tells you about all you need to know.  The group that condemns the American military for protecting a country that “embraces homosexuality” is A-OK with Robertson’s views.

If the head of Duck Dynasty espouses views that tickle the fancy of the most despised family dynasty in America, I think A&E is allowed to tell him to duck off.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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Grasping at Straws To Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

March 27, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Gay Rights

scared-rush-limbaughI hate taking Rush Limbaugh down a peg as much as any conservative—and am usually found defending his quotes against the left—but listening to him on Tuesday afternoon deconstruct the same-sex marriage debate and oral arguments presented to the Supreme Court on California’s Proposition 8 was downright painful.  Principled opposition to same-sex marriage is abundant, though dwindling, but lately Rush and other conservatives seem to be grasping at straws:

  • According to one caller to Rush’s show who was an appellate litigator in Los Angeles, Prop 8 defenders didn’t have standing to ask the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule California’s enactment of the law after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger decided not to defend it anymore.  Therefore, the Supreme Court must invalidate the Ninth Circuit’s ruling overturning Prop 8.

Yes, you read that correctly—the defendant (the state of California) decided to no longer defend its original opposition to gay marriage; therefore, the plaintiff can’t challenge the defendant’s original position, and Prop 8 must stay on the books.  Only if the defendant still supported Prop 8 could the plaintiff challenge it—but not if the defendant had dropped all support for it.  Even the conservative Supreme Court Justices should make mincemeat of that argument.

  • According to Rush, same-sex marriage proponents have made such inroads in pushing their case in the media that those discussing the issue are now required to recite “opposite-sex marriage” instead of just “marriage.”

This is patently ridiculous, in that (1) commentators who oppose same-sex marriage have never, to my knowledge, been bullied into saying “opposite-sex marriage”; (2) such pundits already have to add a less precise modifier—“traditional”—if they want to indicate that they’re talking about opposite-sex marriage; and (3) if same-sex marriage proponents are correct, then marriage for same-sex couples is simply “marriage,” not “gay marriage,” and it’s opponents who are forcing the distinction.  (No man has ever asked a woman, “Will you opposite-sex marry me?”  Has any man ever asked another man, “Will you gay marry me?”)  During the legal debate over same-sex marriage, both sides have to clarify their terms, but that doesn’t mean same-sex marriage proponents are trying to trick people with language.

  • Speaking of forcing, according to Rush, same-sex marriage has never won at the ballot box, only when courts or legislatures have forced it on them; every time same-sex marriage has been put to a popular vote, it’s been rejected.

Conservatives have been using this canard for so long that perhaps Rush was reciting it out of habit, but even I was surprised at his erroneous repetition of this claim (which Mark Levin restated on his Tuesday evening show).  On a single night in November 2012, voters in state referenda legalized same-sex marriage in Maryland, Washington, and Maine, and voted down a proposed ban on same-sex marriage in Minnesota.  I know a lot of us conservatives have tried to block out the fog of Election Night 2012, but did Rush have the whole evening lobotomized from his brain?

  • According to Rush, conservatives don’t try to force their will on the people like liberals do.

Except with, um, referenda like Prop 8, as well as dozens of referenda states have enacted or tried to enact to ban same-sex marriage.  Also state referenda like the one in North Dakota that would effectively ban abortion, or Mississippi’s infamous “personhood amendment.”  Or referenda to remove state court justices, force public funding of religious institutions, or secede from the nation.  Other than that, conservatives never, ever use state referenda.

  • Rush claimed that our Founding Founders could never have envisioned same-sex marriage several hundred years down the road; therefore, the Supreme Court cannot infer original Constitutional intent for the institution.

Original intent refers to broad principles that are applied to concrete instances, and invoking original intent doesn’t imply that our Founders supported or could have foreseen every specific example those principles would ever cover.  Our Founders never thought we’d have interracial marriage, women voting, or a half-black President, either.

If I were the type to casually label entire groups of people based on what I thought they believed, rather than asking them what they believe, I would ascribe bigotry to gay marriage opponents who assume supporters all cynically label them as bigots.  But I’m not, so I’ll assume that they’ve just had a few bad experiences with shrill same-sex marriage proponents and should try discussing the issue with a wider array of supporters, including those who respect their prerogative to thoughtfully evolve on the subject.

There are a thousand other stupid arguments made against gay marriage that have been shot down as ridiculous again and again, and I applaud Rush for not trotting out the more shopworn and vulgar ones.  But c’mon, Rush—you can do better.

Or maybe today’s show proves that, on this issue, you can’t.

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Santorum’s Sham Conservatism

February 15, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2012

Michael Barone titled a recent column “Romney Appeals to White Collars, Santorum to Blue.”  Santorum’s appeal to blue-collar workers—at least those who believe in hard work, small government, personal responsibility, and self-driven upward mobility—is highly suspect.

Santorum woos primarily conservative voters who obsess over opposing abortion and gay marriage.  These voters would gladly hand over the country to a big government “compassionate conservative,” so long as he channels his policies on social issues from holy men in white collars.

Mitt Romney downplays social issues relative to Santorum (which isn’t hard) and focuses on economic issues, emphasizing his private sector business experience running Bain Capital and the Salt Lake City Olympics.

How are “blue collar voters” supposed to get excited about a candidate whose strongest campaign positions are outlawing abortion and gay marriage rather than stopping the federal government from micromanaging our economy via taxes, regulations, and shovel-ready-job-killing “green” initiatives?

Santorum boosts “faith-based initiatives”—basically welfare redirected toward religious rather than secular agencies.  He calls for expanding Medicare, and authored a “Social Security Guarantee Act” that promises never to cut seniors’ benefits—in fact increases them every year.

As a Pennsylvania Senator, Santorum earmarked record amounts of money for public education and proposed more funding for the demonstrably worthless Headstart program.

Santorum sponsored a “Fair Care” act that would require taxpayers to subsidize continued health benefits for laid-off workers, and a “CARE Act” to deal with drug addiction, and wants more federal funding for organizations like “Healthy Start” and “Children’s Aid.”

He corralled federal funding to pay for low-income Americans’ heating bills.  He blocked federal legislation that would have made tiny cuts to food stamps.

He wants the U.S. to spend even more millions we don’t have to fight AIDS in Africa and genocide in the Sudan.  (Bono’s a big Santorum fan.)

He proposed a “Gasoline Affordability and Security Act” that would ban gas “price-gouging”—in 2005, years before the economic crisis and $4-a-gallon gasoline caused liberals to lose their minds over the fact that our gas prices were only moderately less expensive than Europe’s instead of much less expensive.

He bailed out Pennsylvania dairy farmers via the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program.

Why, Santorum is positively Reaganesque!

As Jonathan Rauch noted, Santorum favors “national service, ‘individual development accounts,’ publicly financed trust funds for children, community-investment incentives, economic literacy programs in every school in America, and more.  Lots more.”

And Santorum brags about all of this, on his website and in his campaign literature and in his books and on TV and in radio appearances and at voter rallies.  And then he has the temerity to lecture the GOP that he is the most conservative of the 2012 lineup.

In case you were wondering, Santorum dabbles in environmentalism when he has the time.  He secured $100 million in earmarks to build an expensive, inefficient “clean coal” plant in Pennsylvania.  He diverted funds to pay for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and preservation of farmlands, natural resources that could otherwise have supported greater commercial fishing and agricultural activity.

If Santorum were merely a garden-variety big government type, I would call him a “Democrat” and move on.  But Santorum claims a different mantle.

Santorum has been making the rounds expressly rejecting the libertarian brand of conservatism, going so far as to say he has “real concerns” about the Tea Party, because they focus too much on economic and not enough on social issues.

Rauch notes that Santorum favors “promotion of prison ministries, strengthened obscenity enforcement, and covenant marriage”—all hot-button issues at the top of voters’ priority list this year.

In a disgusting interview with NPR in 2006, Santorum lamented, “[T]he left has gone so far left, and the right in some respects has gone so far right, that they touch each other…  This whole idea of personal autonomy—well, I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view.  Some do.  They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low…”

Take away his opposition to abortion and gay marriage, and Rick Santorum doesn’t have a conservative bone in his body.

Santorum’s followers see his crusade as blinding white and pure, because it centers on the moral absolutes of two narrow religious issues on which at best half the country agree with him.

Given his 18-point loss in his senatorial reelection bid in his home state of Pennsylvania and his spiritual inclinations, it seems that Santorum’s true calling—and most suitable vocation after he loses the Republican presidential nomination—is that of a small-town preacher, or perhaps a Salvation Army volunteer.

While Rick Santorum courts evangelicals in a holy war to save fetuses and the exclusive legal status of opposite-sex marriage, Romney focuses on the issue that interests conservatives, moderates, and independents—our next president’s hands-off handling of the economy.

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Michele Bachmann’s Official Stance on Gays: “Yawn!”

August 17, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Gay Rights

michele

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Maybe Michele Bachmann is reluctant to elaborate on her views on homosexuality with reporters because—gasp!—she doesn’t care.

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, host Dick Gregory badgered Bachmann about comments she had made seven years ago on her interpretation of the Bible’s statements on homosexuality.

Since 2004, the country has radically evolved in its understanding and acceptance of homosexuality, including its approval of same-sex couples getting married and adopting.  Gay marriage is legal in six states plus D.C. and available to 11% of the country’s population.  Gay marriage was used as a wedge issue in many states in the 2004 Congressional elections, but in 2008 it was used as such primarily in the context of California’s Proposition 8.  Prominent Republicans who now support same-sex marriage include Dick Cheney, Laura and Barbara Bush, Cindy and Meghan McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, S. E. Cupp, Margaret Hoover, Ted Olsen, and Vaughn Walker.  Countless other prominent Republicans favor gay civil unions; most didn’t back in 2004.  Even Ann Coulter was recently appointed Honorary Chair of the Advisory Council for gay conservative group GOProud.

Bachmann’s views on gay issues have also presumably evolved since 2004, or else she would have racked up a lot more anti-gay statements since then.  All of the Bachmann homosexuality quotes the media have been broadcasting appear to have emanated from just two sources: a two-part March 2004 interview she gave on the local Minnesota radio program “Prophetic Views Behind The News” and a November 2004 address she delivered at the EdWatch National Education Conference.  That’s it.  If Bachmann had truly been waging an anti-gay jihad for the past seven years, liberals wouldn’t have had to dig up archives of obscure evangelical talk shows and one-off education conferences from George W. Bush’s first term to find recordings of self-incriminating statements.

Bachmann’s position on gay marriage roughly mirrors President Obama’s.  Like Republicans Rick Perry and Herman Cain, she prefers allowing states to implement gay marriage if they choose—a position even Obama has barely uttered his support for.  She favors a constitutional amendment defining marriage as opposite-sex, which Obama opposes—though she well knows that such an amendment has little chance of becoming law.

If Bachmann weren’t too polite to share it, her response to repeated questions on her views on homosexuality would be, “Oh, God… not again.  Really?”

Bachmann clearly cares first and foremost about federal spending and national defense.  She became a conservative rock star two years ago as the most prominent elected official to spearhead the nascent Tea Party movement, with its primary goal of stopping ObamaCare and runaway government spending.  She has voiced vociferous, well-informed support of Israel and our military missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran to stop the threat of Islamic terrorism to the U.S.  These are the things that keep her awake at night—not whether Ellen DeGeneres gets a marriage license instead of a domestic partnership.

On Meet the Press, Bachmann addressed Gregory’s questions on homosexuality by insisting that she is not one to “judge” anyone.  She affirmed that she would not use sexual orientation as a criterion in hiring for positions in her administration or for judgeships.  Why wasn’t that a good enough answer for Gregory, who continued to hound her on her theory of human sexuality?  What was she supposed to do—declare herself a True Blood fan and invite Gregory out for cosmos?  Why don’t reporters grill Obama about his opposition to gay marriage, bludgeoning him with the same boring questions and refusing to accept his self-protective platitudes on his eternally “evolving” stance?

Liberals call Bachmann a hypocrite and claim they object to her “double-talk” and dodging questions.  They declare that they would have more respect for her if she simply endorsed her past statements point-blank.  What if she doesn’t quite believe them anymore?  What if the issue isn’t as important to her, or wouldn’t be a legislative priority for her if she became president?  Bachmann repeatedly responded to Gregory’s questions by reminding him that she is running for the presidency of the United States.  If she believes gay marriage should be dealt with by the states, then why would a President Bachmann staring down a $14 trillion deficit and a hostile Middle East worry about Neil Patrick Harris’s love life?

Liberals aren’t upset about a Bachmann presidency because they fear she would roll back gay rights or slow the national tide of increasing acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage.  As with Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, and Sharron Angle, the left are using a few nutty, outdated statements to stop a genuine reformer and charismatic populist, whose views on social issues are probably evolving like everyone else’s, from getting into office.  Liberals can’t stand the fact that Bachmann might effect real change on causes that are anathema to them, such as slashing unsustainable entitlement spending and stopping the worldwide spread of Sharia.

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DOMA Is Not Roe v. Wade

March 02, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Gay Rights

gay-marriage

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President Obama announced last week that his Attorney General Eric Holder would no longer be defending the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which Congress passed in 1996.

His declaration may have had something to do with the fact that Ninth Circuit Court Justice Stephen Reinhardt and federal trial judge Joseph Tauro of Massachusetts ruled across three separate cases in 2009 and 2010 that DOMA was unconstitutional.

Obama’s Justice Department will be submitting its official response next week to two fresh lawsuits against DOMA filed last year in New York and Connecticut.  The Department is not expected to argue in favor of the law’s constitutionality.

Constitution-revering conservatives have responded to Obama’s announcement by howling that there is no precedent for his declaration in all of American history, that Obama is overturning DOMA just because he doesn’t like it, and that his actions may be grounds for impeachment.

Jonah Goldberg of National Review claimed Obama has “thrown in the towel on the Constitution.”  On her radio show, Monica Crowley stooped to the level of Wisconsin pro-union protestors by labeling the president “Oba-Mubarak.”

Newt Gingrich declared that Obama’s actions could lead to a constitutional crisis.  He offered the hypothetical counterexample of President Sarah Palin declaring that she doesn’t like Roe v. Wade, thinks it’s unconstitutional, and will no longer allow the executive to enforce the right to an abortion.

There’s just one little difference between the Obama and Gingrich scenarios: no court has ever ruled Roe v. Wade unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, had the last word on that matter in 1973, and no lower court or the Supreme Court has declared the unconstitutionality of the fundamental right to an abortion since then.  State courts have chipped away at the edges of the ruling and allowed restrictions on abortion, some of which the Supreme Court has upheld, but no court has ever reversed the Supreme Court’s ruling on the basic right to an abortion.  In fact, because the Supreme Court has already ruled on the matter, only that court would be able to reverse its 1973 ruling.

In the Gingrich scenario, Palin would indeed be imposing her preference on the nation illegally.

In the Obama scenario, in contrast, his Justice Department would be upholding the interpretation of the law offered by two members of the judiciary in three different court cases.

Obama hasn’t even said his Justice Department isn’t going to enforce the law—only that it will not be arguing in court that the law is constitutional.  Which, you may remember, is what two of the highest courts in the land to rule on the constitutionality of DOMA have found in three separate cases.

Even after Obama’s announcement, courts will still be able to rule on DOMA, regardless of the arguments Eric Holder declines to proffer in support of it.  Outside parties, including Congressmen who support the law, will still be able to file friend-of-the-court briefs outlining the exact same by-now-familiar arguments the Justice Department will no longer be citing.

Other conservatives who are upset with Obama’s actions have argued that Florida District Court Justice Roger Vinson recently found ObamaCare unconstitutional, yet Obama is still implementing that law.

Well, yes—clearly Obama is ideologically disposed toward overturning DOMA and not Roe v. Wade or ObamaCare.  But that doesn’t mean he does not have the prerogative to disavow the identified-as-unconstitutional DOMA, or the obligation to uphold the never-identified-as-unconstitutional Roe v. Wade.

As for ObamaCare, two justices had already (ludicrously) upheld the constitutionality of ObamaCare before Virginia District Justice Henry Hudson ruled the individual mandate component of the bill unconstitutional last December, and before Justice Vinson ruled the entire bill unconstitutional in January.  So while one would hope for Obama to take Hudson and Vinson’s cues once their rulings came down, one wouldn’t hold one’s breath.  A third justice has since found ObamaCare constitutional, which sadly gives liberals more cover for continuing to defend ObamaCare until the Supreme Court rules on it.

In the same interview in which he claimed Obama couldn’t decline to enforce DOMA, Gingrich declared that Justice Vinson’s ruling represented “solid grounds for the House to cut off all funding for implementation.”  Apparently the link between Gingrich’s stances on DOMA and ObamaCare was that both criticized supposedly unconstitutional actions of Obama’s.  Yet evidently Justice Reinhardt and Tauro’s rulings on the unconstitutionality of DOMA didn’t figure into Gingrich’s equation.

Other conservatives have questioned the timing of Obama’s announcement, suggesting that it was made to distract voters from the economy or set a trap for Republicans—as though this determined the propriety of Obama’s non-enforcement of a law.  Gingrich noted that Obama had campaigned for president in opposition to gay marriage and promised to uphold DOMA, and is therefore breaking a campaign pledge—again, as though this has anything to do with the legality of Obama’s decision not to defend the law.

Without trying to read Obama’s mind, I can say only that his motives for no longer defending DOMA have absolutely nothing to do with the constitutional appropriateness of his decision.

Here are some hypothetical actions that would be unconstitutional if Obama actually took them: Not enforcing DOMA after the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional.  Enforcing DOMA after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.  Implementing ObamaCare after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.  Implementing ObamaCare after Congress cut off funding for implementing it.

But deciding not to defend an argument behind one section of a law while still enforcing it, when two of the highest courts in the land have deemed the law unconstitutional in three cases—sorry, but that is not unconstitutional.

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Obama Misquoted: “I Looked Fierce on the Cover of The Advocate!”

October 20, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Gay Rights

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President Barack Obama demonstrated his pro-gay credentials last week by having Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett renounce comments she had made that 15-year-old gay suicide victim Justin Aaberg had been bullied because of a “lifestyle choice” he had made.

Obama backed up Jarrett by announcing at an MTV townhall meeting that being gay is “not a choice,” thus discovering something Ronald Reagan figured out 32 years ago.

The remarks topped off a busy week of fierce advocacy from our Fierce Advocate for gay rights, coming as it did after Obama’s Justice Department filed a fierce brief appealing U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro’s overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and an advocatory brief appealing U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips’ injunction against Pentagon enforcement of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT).

The administration evidently hates DADT so much that it disobeyed Philips’ injunction and upheld the law by allowing a Texas recruiting station to refuse reenlistment to decorated veteran Omar Lopez, who had been ousted after five years of service in the Navy for “homosexual admission.”

Obama has been insisting that DADT “will end on my watch.”  Given his actions over the past year-and-a-half, perhaps what he really means is that when someone—anyone—other than him takes steps to repeal it, he’ll be “sure to watch.”

Meanwhile, evidence for the administration’s ludicrous claim that immediate lifting of the ban will have “enormous consequences” for the military has yet to materialize.

In the midst of all this fierce advocacy, the national gay Republican group Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) won an actual victory last Tuesday, in the form of Phillips’ injunction against DADT, the next step in the resolution of the case LCR had successfully filed opposing the policy.

LCR and fellow gay conservative group GOProud also called out New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino for his lunkheaded complaints to a group of conservative orthodox rabbis in the Bronx that homosexuality was not a “successful or valid” option and that schools shouldn’t “brainwash” students into accepting it.

The effect of denouncements by these and other Republican groups was that Paladino almost entirely walked back his comments within 24 hours of being criticized, concluding with this statement on Tuesday—“I am 100 percent unequivocally pro gay rights, except for one thing: gay marriage”—which, if true, technically puts him on the same place on the political spectrum on gay issues as Obama.  (A report late last week that Paladino had once been the landlord for two popular Buffalo gay clubs, Cobalt and Buddies II, arguably makes him even more fabulous than Obama.)

Paladino remarked, “I’ve been a high supporter of the gay community my entire career and I will continue to be.  The Log Cabin people know that.  The gay community in Buffalo knows that.  They know my nature and they know the way I’ve been.  The real message is getting out.”

As regressive as Paladino is in his personal beliefs, he is indisputably more susceptible to moderation on gay issues than his rival Andrew Cuomo is on taxes, government regulation, and state interference in economic matters.  Did I miss Cuomo’s public statement asserting, “I’ve been a high supporter of the Constitution and limited government my entire career and I will continue to be.  The Tea Party people know that.  The conservatives in Albany know that.  They know my nature and they know the way I’ve been.  The real message is getting out.”

Paladino’s reversal cost him the endorsement of Rabbi Yehuda Levin, leader of the Orthodox Jewish community to whom Paladino originally made his statements on homosexuality, thus negating the effect of his making the comments in the first place.

Anyway, what role will Paladino actually have in gay issues in his (self-declared) one term as governor, except for vetoing gay marriage should it pass (he has stated he will uphold it if decided in a referendum)?  In contrast, is Cuomo as susceptible to withdrawing his support for crippling taxes on high earners, ObamaCare, cap-and-trade, etc., in the 12 terms he’ll serve if voted into office?

Paladino’s lieutenant governor candidate Greg Edwards similarly demonstrated his loathing of gays by attending a Log Cabin political action committee fundraiser at the Soldiers’ Sailors’ Marines’ Coast Guard & Airmen’s Club in Manhattan last Tuesday, the day Paladino apologized for his comments.  The event’s speakers included New York Republican State Committee Chairman Ed Cox and two pro-gay marriage Republican New York State Assembly members, as well as Republican minority leader B. Dean Skelos, who promised to bring gay marriage back up for a vote if the GOP becomes the majority party next year and urged all Republicans to feel free to “vote their conscience.”

In other recent Republicans-are-doing-more-for-gays-than-Obama news, Republican-appointed Republican judge Vaughn Walker overturned the anti-gay marriage referendum Prop 8 in California two months ago.  The lawsuit was filed by the two lawyers who argued Bush v. Gore in 2000, and the effort was spearheaded by one of them (hint: it was the Republican).

The growing list of prominent Republicans who support same-sex marriage now includes: Dick Cheney, Ted Olson, Laura Bush, Glenn Beck, Cindy McCain, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The list of Democrats who oppose gay marriage still includes: Barack Obama.

For 20 months, the Obama administration has been steadily doing everything it can to bolster the case that Democratic politicians are no better on gay issues than Republican politicians.  Last week was merely a banner week for Obama’s demonstration of this fact.

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