Thursday, June 25, 2009
This is getting old. Another "Family Values", "Christian Values", "Protector of Marriage", FRAUD is out there doing EVERYTHING he has been so sanctimoniously preaching against for years. Governor Mark Sanford (South Carolina) gets added to the loooong and ever-growing list of Sanctimonious GOP Frauds who have given the term Hypocrite new meaning:
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
And why wouldn't you? This is Nevada Senator John Ensign and his wife Darlene. And yes, this is the same guy who proclaimed back in 2004:
“Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded. For those who say that the Constitution is so sacred that we cannot or should not adopt the Federal Marriage Amendment, I would simply point out that marriage, and the sanctity of that institution, predates the American Constitution and the founding of our nation.”
Well guess what?
The sanctity of the born-again Senator’s own marriage didn’t last so long. Ensign has now admitted that he had an affair between December 2007 and August 2008 with a woman who worked for both his re-election campaign and his Battleborn political action committee. To make matters worse, the New York Times reports that the woman’s husband had worked on Ensign’s Senate staff. MSNBC is reporting that Ensign is telling fellow Senators that he’s coming forward to head off an extortion attempt by his former mistress. Politico reports that it’s the mistress’s husband who was trying to shake Ensign down.
Ensign demanded Sen. Larry Craig’s resignation in September 2007 over Craig’s arrest for soliciting sexual favors in a Minnesota airport public men’s room. He also called for President Bill Clinton’s resignation during the Monica Lewinsky scandal while running for the Senate in 1998. No word yet on whether Ensign plans on resigning, or if he’s going to relinquish his chairmanship of the powerful GOP Policy Committee. Darlene Ensign, like Larry Craig’s wife, is standing by her man.
Ho hum. Another loathsome holier-than-thou Republican fraud who cannot keep his own you-know-what in his pants, but has no problem legislating other people's morality. What a creep.
Rachael Maddow's take on the affair:
I am too heartsick to say much about Obama's vigorous and very hurtful defense of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. But suffice it to say that not only did this administration defend DOMA with a zeal that could warm the cockles of even James Dobson's stone-cold heart, but gratuitous Religious Right homophobic venom such as comparisons between same-sex marriage and incest were used to make extra sure they got their point across. And yes, I got their point loud and clear, my son is just as much a political tool and liability to this administration as he was to past administrations. The only difference is I expected this hateful nonsense from George W. Bush, I didn't expect it from this President. And that is what stings the most.
What a naive fool I am. I actually believed I was supporting, both financially and with my vote, a man who was going to be my beloved gay son's "fierce advocate" (Obama's words, not mine) in the fight for his equality. And my husband and I did everything in our power to help him get elected.
Someone please please kick me in the gut, I need something to take my mind off the intense grief and betrayal I am feeling.
From the New York Times:
The Obama administration, which came to office promising to protect gay rights but so far has not done much, actually struck a blow for the other side last week. It submitted a disturbing brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the law that protects the right of states to not recognize same-sex marriages and denies same-sex married couples federal benefits. The administration needs a new direction on gay rights.
...If the administration does feel compelled to defend [DOMA], it should do so in a less hurtful way. It could have crafted its legal arguments in general terms, as a simple description of where it believes the law now stands. There was no need to resort to specious arguments and inflammatory language to impugn same-sex marriage as an institution.
The best approach of all would have been to make clear, even as it defends the law in court, that it is fighting for gay rights. It should work to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," the law that bans gay men and lesbians in the military from being open about their sexuality. It should push hard for a federal law banning employment discrimination. It should also work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress.
The administration has had its hands full with the financial crisis, health care, Guantánamo Bay and other pressing matters. In times like these, issues like repealing the marriage act can seem like a distraction — or a political liability. But busy calendars and political expediency are no excuse for making one group of Americans wait any longer for equal rights.
Never again will I be so gullible. Never again.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Here’s a story that goes to show that marriage opponents will lie, cheat and steal to have their way.
Last summer, Arizona lawmakers broke Senate rules in order to place an anti-marriage amendment on the 2008 ballot. At the time, they said that Prop 102 would not endanger domestic partnerships, and that all they wanted to do was “define marriage” in the state constitution. Marriage opponents went on to make this a key centerpiece on their Prop 102 campaign, that they had no interest in denying anyone’s domestic partnership benefits.
Well now we know that was yet another bold-faced lie:
State lawmakers are moving to strip the domestic partners of state and university employees of the health insurance coverage they gained just a year ago.
A provision in the state budget would legally define “dependents” of state employees who are entitled to coverage as a spouse or a child younger than 19 — or younger than 23 if a full-time student. Changing the law would override regulations adopted last year that added domestic partners and their children to the list.
The state Department of Administration says about 750 workers who have signed up for the benefits would be affected.
The measure passed the House last night and is now on the governor’s desk. Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who became governor when Janet Napolitano (D) became Homeland Security secretary for the Obama administration, was on record in 2006 for opposing domestic partner benefits for state employees.
As I've mentioned before, I'm a native Arizonan, but as far as I am concerned, it's nothing I want to brag about. Right now, I can feel nothing but shame. No wonder my three children, all of whom graduated in the top 5% of their high school classes, hoofed it out of this backward state as fast as they could. Why would they stay? They had merit scholarships giving them almost free rides to private universities in more progressive states that value people on their abilities and not whom they choose to love. Why the hell would anyone stay here when one's potential contribution to this state is completely irrelevant if the person they love doesn't meet the standards set by the neanderthals in our state legislature?
There is nothing left here for my husband and me. Our kids are gone. Any pride we had in this state is gone. I suppose we are not long for this place either. But until we can get out of here, I am going to fight on. Hopeless as it feels right now.
If you are an Arizona resident, please call and give our governor an earful (Jim lists the numbers above). Who knows, maybe our new governor has enough sense to see that this legislation is nothing more than hate and homophobia. And Arizona is the loser.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
I write to you today as a parent, and I am asking you to hear my plea not as President of the United States, but as the parent of two beautiful daughters.
My husband and I cried tears of joy that November night back in 2008 when you were declared the victor and 44th president of the United States. But despite our tremendous relief that George W. Bush would soon be gone and you would soon be taking over, it was still a bittersweet night for us. Yes, our hopes and prayers had been answered. Yes, the eight year nightmare finally felt almost over. But our intense joy was overshadowed by the passages of hateful marriage amendments in both Arizona and California.
My husband and I understood exactly what those horrible marriage amendments were really all about and we knew it had nothing to do with protecting the sanctity of our 27-year marriage, and everything to do with hate, ignorance and bigotry masquerading as a mandate from God. It was also the point at which we painfully realized that enough of our fellow Arizonans, possibly friends and neighbors among them, felt so strongly that our son was not worthy of the same rights they enjoyed that they could pull the lever for enshrining his second-class citizenship into our state constitution. I cannot describe the pain we felt. Saying it was excruciating just doesn't do it justice.
But thankfully I was able to console myself with the knowledge that these amendments represented the last of the divisive political tactics used by the previous administration to pit American against American simply to win, with no regard to the damage it would do to our country. We just knew that with your election this kind of stuff would soon be an ugly memory and that we would soon have a man of honor and dignity coming into office - a man who promised, over and over, to make things right.
Mr. President, we were deeply moved by all of the inspirational speeches you gave during your campaign. We hung on to your every word. We were so desperate for change and your words filled us with so much hope and optimism. We believed you when you promised you'd fight for legal equality for gays and lesbians by expanding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity, we believed you when said you'd urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws, we believed you when you promised you'd repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and we believed you when you said you'd support the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Just recently you spoke about choosing a person who would judge with “empathy” for the U.S. Supreme Court. That resonates with me. I believe in the power of being able to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. I believe that ability makes one a better a better friend, neighbor, parent, judge, lawmaker, and yes, President of the United States. And it is, Mr. President, a quality I thought I saw in you.
But maybe I was wrong.
Yes, I know, you walked into a horrific mess on January 20th, 2009. Yes, your plate is full. Yes, there are many urgent matters that must be dealt with. And yes, you must make some tremendously difficult prioritizing decisions. But your silence on every single one of these LGBT issues Mr. President, is deafening. And it is a crushing disappointment.
Do you ever ask yourself how you'd feel if one of your precious daughter's rights were up for negotiation at the ballot box every time some person or church decided that who your daughter chooses to love doesn't meet their religious standards? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to explain to your daughters why one of them will have all the rights and protections guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the other never will? Have you ever asked yourself how you would feel if people who claim to be religious used all their time, energy, and precious resources fighting to keep one of your daughters from being included in school anti-bullying measures or hate-crime legislation while the other daughter's inclusion is a foregone conclusion? Do you ever ask yourself how you'd feel if one of your daughters was dismissed from the military after years of committed service to her country because she refused to lie about who she was? Do you ever wonder how it would make you feel if one of your daughters was turned away from a job, or fired from a job, or denied housing because of her sexual orientation, percieved or real? Does the idea of putting one of your daughter's rights up for a vote feel like mob rule to you? Do any of these scenarios make you sick to your stomach. Would these scenarios feel like minor injustices that could be put on a back burner to be addressed at a much later date if one of your daughters were gay?
I could go on and on, but I won't. The fact that I am pleading with you nearly 5 months into your presidency to keep the promises you made while asking for my vote is telling. The fact that I have to beg you to make my son an equal citizen of this great country is something I cannot believe I'm being forced to do. The idea that the constitutionally protected rights of a minority can be put up for a vote by the majority is un-American, unconstitutional, and just plain wrong.
So I ask you Mr. President, how would you feel if you were forced to beg your friends, your neighbors, your fellow citizens, and even the President of the United States to treat one of your precious daughters the same way they treat their own children? How would you feel? Horrified? Indifferent? Filled with seething rage? I need to know, because your answer to that question will tell me just how much empathy you have.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
The book tells the heart-wrenching stories of teenagers from religious families and congregations and the sheer hell they go through because of their sexual orientation:
Jarrod Parker woke up one morning at Boy Scout camp (having apparently been drugged the night before) with the word "faggot" written across his forehead, "a picture of a penis at the corner of my mouth," and further obscenities and drawings scrawled over his chest and back. Jorge Valencia, who works at a teen crisis and suicide prevention hotline, recalls getting calls from youths whose parents had told them, "I would rather have a dead son than a gay son." Rodney Powell, a black homosexual who marched during the civil rights movement, says: "I suffered more fear and numbing anxiety from my 'secret' as a teenager than I did from racism and segregation."
Two of the stories are told by the parents of young adult children who died. Mary Lou Wallner lost her 29-year-old daughter Anna to suicide. Wallner was estranged from her daughter because of her inability to come to terms with her daughter's sexuality. She writes that the last communication she had from her daughter was a letter telling her that "I was her mother only in a biological way, that I had done colossal damage to her soul with my shaming words, and that she did not want to, and did not have to, forgive me." Wallner decided to "respect Anna's wishes and give her the space she was asking for." The next communication she received was the news that Anna was dead.
"What do I wish I'd done? What would I do now? Grab my toothpaste, credit card and car keys, jump in the car, drive to where she lives and tell her I love her no matter what. I did not do that, and now I never can." Wallner and her husband now run an organization whose goal is to reunite parents with their gay children.
Elke Kennedy was awakened at 4:30 one morning in May 2007 with a call from a South Carolina hospital, where her 20-year-old son Sean had been brought. "When I finally got to see my son, my knees buckled. He was lying flat on his back, stitches on his upper lip, blood on his hair and neck, hooked up to a respirator. As I stood there holding his hand, he felt so cold. I wanted to hug him, to keep him warm. I kissed him, telling him I was there and that I loved him so much and to please wake up. I remember praying. A doctor came in and explained that the tests had revealed Sean had severe brain damage and his injuries were not survivable."
What had happened to Sean? "As he was leaving a bar, a man named Stephen Moller got out of the car and called Sean a faggot. Then he punched Sean so hard he broke Sean's facial bones and separated his brain from his brain stem. Sean fell backward onto the pavement, and his brain ricocheted in his head."
Sean died. Moller was convicted only of involuntary manslaughter and was jailed in November 2007. Although his request for early parole was denied in February of this year, he will finish his modest sentence in July.
The book also offers some pretty sobering data as well:
• Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among 15-to-24-year-olds; for every young person who takes his or her own life, 20 more try.
• Gay teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
• Forty-five percent of gay men and 20 percent of lesbians surveyed had been victims of verbal and physical assaults in secondary school specifically because of their sexual orientation.
• Gay youth are at higher risk of being kicked out of their homes and turning to life on the streets for survival. They are more likely than their heterosexual peers to start using tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs at an earlier age.
• Twenty-eight percent of gay students drop out of school—more than three times the national average.
This book really opens Professor Gushee's eyes to the sheer hell that our gay and lesbian children go through. In fact, to the professor's credit, he doesn't shield his Christian brothers and sisters from the cold hard truth about what they have done to these children and young adults in the name of God:
As an evangelical Christian whose career has been spent in the South, I must say I find it scandalous that the most physically and psychologically dangerous place to be (or even appear to be) gay or lesbian in America is in the most religiously conservative families, congregations and regions of this country. Most often these are Christian contexts. Many of the most disturbing stories in this volume come from the Bible Belt. This marks an appalling Christian moral failure.
In contrast to the love and mercy that Jesus exemplified, Christian communities offer young lesbians and gays hate and rejection. Sometimes that rejection is declared directly from the pulpit. But even when church leaders attempt to be more careful, to "hate the sin but love the sinner" (as that hackneyed formulation has it), the love gets lost. Perhaps we need to focus on refining our ability to love; maybe we are not actually capable of compartmentalizing hate.
And a big AMEN and thank you to Professor Gushee from this Seething Momma for closing with this:
Crisis recounts the sad stories of dozens of young people who, like the biblical Esau, cried for a blessing from their parents, friends and churches. All too often they have not received it. All too often they have been left broken, rejected as human beings—at the hands of Christians and in the name of the Bible. Obviously we must extend basic acceptance to gay youths such as these, as well as Christian love.
Moreover, after reading these stories, I feel that Christians have something they need to request from God and from gays and lesbians, and that is forgiveness.