Gay Rights

Legislation introduced in the Senate to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has introduced legislation to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prevents homosexuals from openly serving their country:

“To exclude one group of Americans from serving in the armed forces is contrary to our fundamental principles as outlined in the Declaration of Independence,” Lieberman recently said in a written statement.

It “weakens our defenses by denying our military the service of a large group of Americans who can help our cause.”
Sixty-nine percent of Americans believe openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the military, according to a February 12-15 CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll. Twenty-seven percent are opposed to such a change.

In 1994, shortly after the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was implemented, 53 percent of Americans believed openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the military, while 41 percent were opposed.

It’s clear the policy is outdated. This is one of the few times I’m asking Republicans to get behind Dick Cheney on a policy issue. Republicans should not stand in the way here. They should instead focus their time and energy on economic issues. The social crusades are not appealing to the generation of voters.

In addition to public support of a repeal of the policy, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan support a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Poll: Gay Soldiers Serving Openly OK, Homosexuals Not… HUH?!?

As I await the Snowpocalypse to descend upon my small part of the Deep South, I come across this entry about a New York Times/CBS News poll that shows overwhelming support for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  The poll seemed innocent enough, asking participants a few questions about gays in the military and open service.  In a test, those polling used different terminology for both halves of the respondents.  One half were asked their opinion on permitting “gay men and lesbians” to serve, further asking about whether they should be allowed to serve openly, while the other half were asked were questioned about permitting “homosexuals” to serve, and whether that service should be allowed when they are open about their sexual orientation.  The results are most certainly interesting:

The wording of the question proved to make a difference. Seven in 10 respondents said they favor allowing “gay men and lesbians” to serve in the military, including nearly 6 in 10 who said they should be allowed to serve openly. But support was somewhat lower among those who were asked about allowing “homosexuals” to serve, with 59 percent in favor, including 44 percent who support allowing them to serve openly.

Democrats in the poll seemed particularly swayed by the wording. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats said they support permitting gay men and lesbians to serve openly. Fewer Democrats however, just 43 percent, said they were in favor of allowing homosexuals to serve openly. Republicans and independents varied less between the two terms.

Levy: Privatize marriage

Robert Levy, who was behind the case that led to the landmark ruling for Second Amendnent in 2008, writes explains the moral and constitutional case for gay marriage:

For most of Western history, marriage was a matter of private contract between the betrothed parties and perhaps their families. Following that tradition, marriage today should be a private arrangement, requiring minimal or no state intervention. Some religious or secular institutions would recognize gay marriages; others would not; still others would call them domestic partnerships or assign another label. Join whichever group you wish. The rights and responsibilities of partners would be governed by personally tailored contracts — consensual bargains like those that control most other interactions in a free society.

Houston elects first openly gay mayor

Yeah, Houston:

Houston, Texas (CNN) — Annise Parker made history Saturday as Houston’s first openly gay mayor.

Parker, who served five years as city controller, beat former city attorney Gene Locke with 53.6 percent of the vote in a runoff election.

Both are Democrats who faced off for the second time because neither emerged with more than 50 percent of the vote in the November 3 election.

In addition to being Houston’s first openly gay mayor, she’s the first lesbian to be elected mayor of an American city.


Secretary Of The Army: We’re Ready To Lift Gay Ban Whenever Obama Is

The new Secretary Of The Army said that the U.S. Army stands ready to lift the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military:

McHugh finds himself at the center of debate over Obama’s pledge to repeal the law banning open service by homosexuals.

In the interview, McHugh carefully avoided offering his personal views on the issue, saying his job now is to provide input to Obama on how to make the change and to talk with members of Congress about the issue.

Selling the idea to Congress, which has the final say, could depend on exactly what the administration tries to do in terms of the timing of repeal and how it is applied, McHugh said.

It’s possible, for example, that homosexuals could be allowed into some occupations or units but barred from others, McHugh said, stressing that he was not aware of any such plans but only discussing how the issue might play out.

“I don’t want to prejudge the situation,” he said. “I am saying if he did that, it would be my job to explain it when the appropriate time comes.”

When asked specifically if lifting the gay ban would seriously disrupt the military, as predicted by those who oppose repeal, McHugh said there is no reason to think major turmoil would ensue.

“Anytime you have a broad-based policy change, there are challenges to that,” he said. “The Army has a big history of taking on similar issues, [with] predictions of doom and gloom that did not play out,” he said.

So what are you waiting for, Mr. President?

Pelosi’s Emo Politics

There’s something really bad about politics: it gets people emotional, almost drunk with emotion. Then they do what all drunk people do: they say things that don’t make sense. That’s the case with Nancy Pelosi this week:

In a rare display of public emotion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) choked up Thursday morning recalling the anti-gay rhetoric in the late 1970s in San Francisco, which culminated in the assassinations of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay S.F. Board of Supervisors member, and Mayor George Moscone.

Pelosi, responding to a question about whether anti-government rhetoric posed a threat of domestic violence, said that protesters on all sides had the right to voice their opposition to legislative proposals in a heated fashion. But then Pelosi — whose weekly press conferences are legendary for their highly scripted nature and her rote recitation of Democratic message points — paused and took a deep breath as she recounted the tone of some protests in her hometown.

“I saw this myself in the late ’70s in San Francisco,” she said, a reference to the antigay laws and protests as that city became the flashpoint of the civil rights movement for gays and lesbians. “It created an environment in which violence took place.”

This analogy doesn’t work. I don’t see the connection between anti-government rhetoric and gays and lesbians. If she wanted to illustrate when anti-government politics can get really bad, she could have brought up Timothy McVeigh. That would have at least made some sense. We don’t even know that Harvey Milk would have been on Pelosi’s side in the health care debate. He was a Barry Goldwater supporter, after all.

Democrats Taking Constituents For Granted

The Democratic Party takes black voters and gay voters for granted, just as the Republican Party takes pro-lifers, religious voters and gun owners for granted. We’ve already seen this with Democratic silencing of the D.C. voucher program, which benefitted low income black students (many of whom were big supporters of Obama during the election). Now, with D.C. voting to accept gay marriages, it’s time to see if the Democrats are willing to crap on another loyal voting bloc:

Obama Agrees to Interview with High Times

Yes, you read that right:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs confirmed today that President Barack Obama will respond in writing to four questions submitted by HIGH TIMES magazine “in order to clarify the official marijuana policy” of the federal government.

“The President does not, at this time, support the legalization of marijuana,” Gibbs asserted, in accepting HIGH TIMES’ request for an email interview. “But he does recognize that many Americans are interested in the issue, based on and other online forums, and he wishes to engage all sides on this debate.”

Gay Marriage: Incompatible With Our Culture?

Over at Slate, Susannah Breslin is in a bit of a flame war with former Dan Quayle speechwriter Lisa Schiffren about gay marriage and the speculative political affiliations of Barack Obama’s parents (which we must assume he genetically inherited).

Breslin quoted an article written by Schiffren on gay marriage which she found very disagreeable:

[O]ne may feel the same affection for one’s homosexual friends and relatives as for any other, and be genuinely pleased for the happiness they derive from relationships, while opposing gay marriage for principled reasons.

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